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Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?: Wikis


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"Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?"
The Simpsons episode
Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner.gif
Promotional artwork featuring Homer about to eat meals from Springfield restaurants and purposely give them bad reviews while the restaurant owners and Lisa look on.
Episode no. 229
Prod. code AABF21
Orig. airdate October 24, 1999
Show runner(s) Mike Scully
Written by Al Jean
Directed by Nancy Kruse
Chalkboard "I am not The Last Don"
Couch gag The Simpsons sit down as normal. Marge notices the name "Matt Groening" written on the carpet, gets up, and wipes the name off. A caricature of Matt Groening (wearing a tacky orange and yellow Hawaiian shirt) comes in and rewrites his name on the floor.
Guest star(s) Ed Asner as the Newspaper Editor
Mike Scully
Al Jean
George Meyer
Dan Greaney
Matt Selman
Nancy Kruse

"Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?" is the third episode of the eleventh season of The Simpsons. It aired on October 24, 1999. Ed Asner guest stars as the newspaper editor.


Springfield Elementary School arranges for the students to tour the Springfield Shopper newspaper office, while the original intent is for the faculty to throw a party in their absence. Homer skips work to serve as a chaperone for the field trip, but he shouts obscenities at an ambulance and inadvertently drives Bart, Lisa, Milhouse, and Nelson to the zoo by mistake before arriving at the newspaper office. They arrive just in time for the tour, which passes a characteristically desperate Gil as a phone salesman trying to sell newspaper subscriptions. The tour ventures through the inner workings of the newspaper, including passing the cartoonist behind Mary Worth (who none of the students actually read) and Dear Abby and Ann Landers who are held captive for 23 hours a day in hyperbaric chambers. Homer soon gets distracted by smelling cake from the distance and wanders into a room where newspaper staff are celebrating the retirement of their cynical food critic. When questioned why he is eating everything at the party, he expresses his love for all foods, and the editor decides to give Homer a tryout to fill the now vacant position.

When he gets home, he tries to type an example food review, but the E on their typewriter does not work— making it almost impossible for Homer to type anything since E is the most used letter in the English language. The editor of the newspaper reads Homer's review and proclaims it to be a joke since Homer's review contains gross misspellings, numerous threatening references to the United Nations, and is completed by repeating the words "screw Flanders" over and over again in order to break 500 words (Although this would be impossible because the typewriter doesn't have an operational E, unless Homer misspelled "Screw Flanders"). When the editor is not satisfied with Homer's review, he admits that it really is a joke and tells him that he must promptly bring back a real review the next day if he seriously wants the position. Upset, Lisa offers to help Homer, who is absolutely terrible at trying to write a review. She fluffs it up with impressive, obscure words, and the editor is now impressed and gives Homer the job.

Homer then travels to various restaurants to review, but Homer's love for food causes all of his reviews to be exceptionally great (including one rating of nine thumbs up), while Lisa continues to be the unpaid ghostwriter to all of his reviews. Homer's constantly impressive reviews prompt criticism from other newspaper critics who contend that he must be meaner instead of giving everything overwhelmingly good reviews. Homer then turns into a prude critic and negatively criticizes every restaurant he reviews for no apparent reason, which attracts the anger of restaurant owners who believe his reviews are bad for business. He even criticizes Marge's dinner, and Lisa refuses to help Homer out anymore. In a flaunt of his supposed power, Homer claims that he will never gets his comeuppance as the most powerful food critic in Springfield. In desperation, he turns to Maggie and Santa's Little Helper to help him write his next article, but all they can offer are words such as “sucks”, “chewy”, “bark”, “ruff”, and [angry growls]. The editor calls the review garbage and even asks if it was written by a dog.

Meanwhile, all of the restaurant owners meet to try to get rid of Homer, and Akira suggest that they simply murder Homer at the upcoming Taste of Springfield festival that will feature small booths from every restaurant for Homer and others to review. They all agree, and a French chef says he is going to kill Homer with a fantastically unhealthy éclair— one that has over one million calories, 25 pounds of butter per square inch, and is slathered with chocolate so dark that light cannot escape. Of course, he says he is going to fill it with poison as well, and they all have a good laugh.

At the festival, Homer gorges himself at every restaurant booth, and Homer is unaware that the owners are out to get him. He eats at every booth and summarily gives them all bad reviews. Bart overhears a conversation between Akira and the Sea Captain discussing the planned murder of Homer. He alerts the family who then tries to find Homer before it's too late. Meanwhile, Homer is incredibly full from eating so much, and he eventually stumbles upon the Frenchman's booth, where he has the éclair ready for Homer. Lisa rushes in just in time to stop Homer by telling him the éclair is really low fat. In shocked disgust, he tosses the éclair, causing it to explode on Hans Moleman. The police rush to the scene and arrest the Frenchman, but he escapes after they start talking about what kind of breakfast they want to go eat. Homer and Lisa walk off into the distance with an angry mob stalking him. After the scene goes black, Homer is clearly heard receiving his comeuppance, in the form of a beating, from the restaurant owners.

Cultural references

  • The title references the 1967 film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.
  • While on their tour of the Springfield Shopper, the tour guide says the newspaper was founded by Johnny Newspaperseed, who traveled across the United States establishing newspapers. This is a reference to Johnny Appleseed, who in reality, planted apple trees in several states.
  • The tour of the newspaper office passes the comic department where a cartoonist is seen drawing Mary Worth. The cartoonist is upset when nobody in the group says they actually read the comic. In the background on the bookshelf, a Mary Worth shaped phone is seen similar to the one belonging to Bart on the season five episode, "Lady Bouvier's Lover."
  • The elderly advice columnists Pauline Phillips (Dear Abby) and Ann Landers are seen held captive in hyperbaric chambers for 23 hours of sleep a day, only to emerge to write their respective articles. Pauline wakes up and proclaims, "My advice is to free us or let us die."
  • While Homer is expressing his love for food during the retirement party at the newspaper, he sings a song confessing his love for food. The song resembles the tune "I Feel Pretty" from the 1961 film West Side Story.
  • Homer eats at a restaurant called Planet Springfield, which is a parody of the Planet Hollywood restaurants. Planet Springfield is even owned by Rainier Wolfcastle, who is himself a parody of one of Planet Hollywood's owners Arnold Schwarzenegger. At Planet Springfield, the restaurant is decorated with many movie-related items, including a mug from the movie Heartbeeps, the purported (but nonexistent) cane from Citizen Kane, and the script from The Cable Guy, which Homer destroys while claiming it almost wrecked Jim Carrey's career.
  • When Homer meets the other critics at the newspaper, he shows anger toward one television critic who he claims was responsible for the cancellation of short-lived sitcoms Platypus Man and The Cosby Mysteries, which Homer claims had endless possibilities.
  • While the family is eating at the Springfield Dinner Theater, Krusty the Clown is on stage playing the title role in William Shakespeare's play King Lear. It is obvious that Krusty did not even read the script and mistakes the play for a comedy, in which he strays off to tell hackneyed jokes. The audience boos, and Krusty says it must be a really tough audience since they were booing Shakespeare. The following day, the newspaper proclaims Krusty to be the worst King Lear in 400 years.
  • When the restaurant owners are meeting over their anger toward Homer, Italian restaurant owner Luigi says he tried to seek revenge on Homer by having a friend put a horse's head in Homer's bed– a reference to the famous scene from the 1972 film The Godfather. He did this in retaliation for Homer's bad reviews, but the plan fails when Homer ate the head and gave it a bad review.
  • At the Taste of Springfield festival, the French chef is seen operating a stand called the French Confection, which is a reference to the 1971 film The French Connection. The Frenchman is also heard humming France's national anthem, La Marseillaise.
  • Lisa mentions that they should do a restaurant review sample of Pate Labelle. This a reference to singer Patti LaBelle.

External links



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