"Dial "N" for Nerder" is the fourteenth episode of Season 19.
Bart plays a prank on Martin, but by accident, Martin falls down a cliff. Bart and Lisa start to feel very guilty and behave very suspicious, prompting Nelson to investigate. Meanwhile, Marge thinks that Homer is cheating on his diet.
Homer and Marge are in bed about to snuggle. Homer, however, is far too out of shape to do anything. This prompts worried Marge to make a healthy dinner consisting mostly of vegetables. Marge plans to hire a formerly obese nutritionist named Betsy Bidwell to help with Homer's food addiction. Betsy tells Homer of a simple trick called "substitution": Whenever Homer feels like eating something unhealthy, explains Betsy, he should substitute it with a bell pepper. Homer begins eating the bell peppers everywhere, including at a baseball game, and at Moe's Tavern as a beer smoothie. After Betsy and Marge measure Homer's weight, a suprised Betsy informs Homer that instead of losing weight, he has gained seven pounds. Marge suspects that Homer may have cheated on his diet. While Bart and Lisa are watching television, Marge discovers a show called Sneakers, which purports to investigate people suspected of cheating on their partners. Marge calls the producers, with the intention of having them stalk Homer and see if he is cheating on his diet. Marge manages to reach Sneakers and makes an appointment to talk to the host, and the show plans to help her.
Bart and Lisa plan to tour Springfield Park. At the top of a mountain, they discover Martin excavating for arrowheads. While Lisa joins him in excavating, a frustrated Bart plays a prank on Martin. He steals Sideshow Mel's bone (which causes his hair to fall down, revealing it to be long and straight), and partially buries it in the ground for Martin to find. Martin arrives and thinks it is a real historic bone, and Bart tugs on a string connected to the bone, which causes the bone to fly up and strike Martin in the head. A stunned Martin tumbles over the edge of the cliff, and falls onto a smaller ledge. Lisa, trying to lend a helping hand, taps him with a stick, which causes Martin to fall off the ledge and plunge to the bottom. Shocked at what happened, they presume him to be dead. The two arrive home, where Kent Brockman reveals on the news that Chief Wiggum discovered that Martin was apparently dead and his body had vanished. On TV, Wiggum says that when Martin landed, he was eaten by a cougar, which is still coughing up his clothes. Although Bart wants to admit to what happened to Martin, Lisa, frightened of going to jail for being an accomplice, convinces Bart to deny they were responsible. Homer then abruptly leaves, claiming he is going to work at 4:00 P.M. on Saturday. Marge calls Sneakers and tells them Homer left the house, prompting a nearby van full of Sneakers agents to stalk Homer. They follow him to a motel room, where he lustfully eats a spit of gyros meat (which was disguised as a woman while entering the motel), even taking it into the shower. After briefly observing Homer through camera in the shower, the Sneakers host has seen too much, and orders the cameras to be turned off.
At Springfield Elementary School, a memorial is held as a tribute to Martin. Bart begins to panic frantically, thinking someone would investigate. Sure enough, Nelson starts getting suspicious--the first motive Nelson realizes that it is rather strange how Martin would be anywhere near a cliff, especially considering Martin's fear of heights. Nelson goes up to Mt. Springfield and discovers Sideshow Mel's bone on the string Bart pulled. Meanwhile, the Sneakers agents set Homer up to go to a restaurant for Marge to confront him about his diet cheating. Marge does so, but she realizes that the reality show people do not care about their marriage. She slaps the host instead of Homer and embraces Homer, stating that she would "rather have a chubby hubby than a sexy exy."
Having read Martin's diary, Bart heads to Martin's greenhouse to complete his butterfly project. Lisa follows him and they finish the project. Just then, Martin's recording of a lute solo, set to go off as the butterflies hatch, automatically plays. Alarmed, Lisa hurriedly stops the cassette, but the same lute tune begins to play again. Bart says that she
maybe pressed the auto-reverse button on cassette recorder, but she takes the owner's manual of the cassette recorder, and reads that the recorder is non-reversing. Nelson arrives just in time to catch Lisa's confession on the recording with playing his lute. Right after that, Martin appears, surprising Nelson as well as Bart and Lisa. Martin recounts how he survived the fall thanks to his underwear with an extra-durable wedgie-proof waistband. Lisa learns from the ordeal that underneath her innocent looking self is a dark twisted person and Bart concurs that killing a nerd is not fun. Nelson then breaks the fourth wall to wish the show's audience a good night, and the ending imitates an opening to the NBC Mystery Movie, with Nelson Muntz as Columbo, Dr. Hibbert as Quincy, M.E., Rich Texan as McCloud, and Mr. Burns and Smithers as McMillan & Wife.
Behind the Laughter
The episode was watched by 7.3 million viewers. It has received pretty positive reviews.
Richard Keller of TV Squad quoted "It was a pretty good episode". He went on to say "The addition of Nelson as an investigator to the conspiracy was an interesting move on the producers's part". The Homer subplot was "Entertaining and better than the rental car plot he drove in The Debarted".