Recap / The Simpsons S 11 E 3 Guess Whos Coming To Criticize Dinner
Homer becomes a food critic for the local newspaper following the retirement of the old one. But after showering every meal with praise, his fellow critics peer pressure him into becoming a Caustic Critic, which quickly causes the local restauranteurs to plot his murder.


  • Big Eater: Homer enjoys working as a food critic because he's getting paid to eat.
  • Big Fun: Invoked briefly. Homer's fantastic reviews lead to a lot of citizens gaining weight, to which a now heavyset Mr. Burns claims he's "never felt jollier" until his shins break from the extra weight. He's later seen among the mob that delivers Homer's comeuppance at the end.
  • Big "NO!": Homer's reaction when Lisa claims the poisoned eclair is low fat.
  • Brain Bleach: When the Sea Captain and Akira discuss Homer's pants being unfastened:
    Sea Captain: I'm surprised he doesn't give it up and go for sweatpants.
    Akira: He says the crotch wears out too fast.
    Sea Captain: Yar! That's going to replace the whale in my nightmares.
  • Brick Joke: Early on, BART points out that Uter has been missing for a while, which Skinner changes the subject. During the “Did you know Homer Simpson is a food critic?”, the person he talks to replies “Kvit changing the subject. Vhere is Uter?”
  • Call-Back: In the restaurant Uter's parents demand Skinner tell them where Uter is. In the season 6 episode "The PTA Disbands" Uter was accidentally left behind after a field trip to Fort Springfield and wasn't seen again for some time.
  • Caustic Critic:
    • Homer becomes one about halfway through, causing local restaurants to lose so much business that their owners conspire to have him killed.
    • The critic that Homer is replacing was not exactly a nice one either: she gives a caustic criticism to the food of her farewell party (and the editor snarks about how this attitude made him divorce her).
  • Censored for Comedy: Homer's cursing while driving behind an ambulance. The words that got bleeped out weren't the kind of curse words that warrant a bleeping on TV.
  • Constrained Writing:
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: After the French chef is arrested for trying to kill Homer and he's handcuffed, Chief Wiggum suggests to Eddie and Lou that they go get some Belgium waffles but Lou would rather have frittatas. While Wiggum and Eddie laughs at Lou for his frittata obsession, the French chef uncuffs himself and escapes with none of them noticing that he's gone despite the fact that he was standing between Eddie and Lou.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: A funny version.
    Homer: (proudly) Here we are, kids. The zoo.
    Bart: Very nice, Dad, except you were supposed to take us to the newspaper office.
    {Homer shouts "D'oh!" so loudly it makes the zoo animals panic)
  • Epic Fail:
    • Homer's first review is so poorly done the editor immediately believes it's a joke. For context, most of the words he used were made up and half of the content was just "Screw Flanders" written over and over again. Homer just barely saves his ass by claiming it was a joke.
    • Krusty's disastrous dinner theatre role has him dubbed, according to the newspaper article, the "Worst King Lear in 400 years."
  • Evil Laugh: Akira and the Sea Captain share one at the prospect of moving Homer "off the food page and into the obituaries". We than pan out to see Bart laughing along with them, until he remembers what they're laughing about.
    "Wait a minute. They're gonna kill dad!"
  • Extreme Omnivore: Before becoming a Caustic Critic, the only bad review Homer gave was to a slice of pizza he found under the couch, and only then he claims it lost points simply because he found a Hot Wheels toy on it. Even one of the critics balks at the idea of him dying from too much chocolate, citing "I've seen this man eat a bowl of change!"
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Homer shrugs when told the eclair would kill him and still plans to eat it, but throws it away in horror when told it's low fat.
  • Food Porn: The assassin's description of the eclair.
    Assassin: This eclair is over one million calories. Twenty-five pounds of butter per square inch. Covered with chocolate so dark, (the chefs start drooling) light cannot escape its surface! (They grab for the picture and he smacks their hands away) No, no, no! This is just a picture!
  • Four Point Scale: In-universe; initially Homer gives everything a good review, simply because he loves food so much. Even when he becomes a Caustic Critic, his rating of Marge's pork chops is the lowest he ever gave: seven thumbs up.
  • French Jerk: As the French assassin prepares the poisoned eclair meant for Homer, but Ned Flanders notices it first.
    Ned: Oh, that looks scrum-diddley-doodley...
    Assassin: Get lost!
    Ned: (taken aback) A rude Frenchman! Why, I never... (walks away)
  • Hypocritical Humor: Mr. Burns, of all people, gives an employee (or what he thinks is an employee) a promotion just for being in a good mood.
  • Insane Troll Logic: After the newspaper tour guide mentions how Johnny Newspaperseed spread newspapers throughout the country:
    Homer: If he's so smart, how come he's dead?
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks: Invoked with the farm equipment critic:
    Critic: We see John Deere has come out with this year's line of rototillers. Surprise, surprise, they're green! I say it's time to send John Deere a "Dear John".
  • Japanese Politeness: Akira thinks banning Homer from the town's restaurants would be impolite. "I say we kill him."
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Discussed, lampshaded, and ultimately averted when Homer tempts fate at the end saying he'll never receive his comeuppance, only for Laser-Guided Karma to happen during the credits as Homer is beaten up by an angry mob of everyone he pissed off in this episode.
    • In an alternate ending seen only on the season 11 DVD, he actually does become one, as he and Lisa walk off from the festival with him suffering no consequences.
    • Played straight by the other critics that tell Homer to be mean, who are part of the aforementioned mob.
    • Also Played straight with the French chef who runs away while the police are distracted as well as all the other chef's
  • Major Injury Underreaction:
    • When Homer pans Luigi's food to his face, one of the chefs storms out with a knife, slashing Homer. Homer quips "I hope you cut me better than your green beans", but casually concedes when he realizes the chef did cut off part of his ear.
    • After gaining a bunch of weight from all the good food reviews, Mr. Burns' shins collapse and break under the pressure. He only non-chalantly expresses this happening again and waddles away.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • When Mr. Burns' shins collapse, he expresses mild concern that it happened again.
    • Ned Flanders is skinny again near the end of the episode after having put on a lot of weight from Homer's reviews. While that could've been just for a one-off gag, since Burns and Sideshow Mel are still fat at the end, it raises the question of how Ned got back into shape so quickly.
    • Whatever Homer did to piss Sideshow Mel off enough he's in the angry mob at the end.
  • The Nose Knows: Homer can tell that a cake says "so long and best wishes" from it's smell.
    Nelson: Your old man has an awesome nose.
    Bart: That's nothing, he can hear pudding.
  • Nutritional Nightmare: The French chef plans to kill Homer with "La Bombe", an éclair which is said to be over one million calories.
  • Shower of Angst: Homer after he was rejected the first time ("Still not clean...").
  • Shout-Out: Homer's "I Like Pizza" song is in the style of "I Feel Pretty".
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Homer's first review was written with a typewriter that didn't have a working "E". When the editor dismissed it as a joke, Homer decided it was indeed a joke.
  • Take That!: Homer rips up a script of The Cable Guy saying how it almost ruined Jim Carrey's career.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Homer's rave reviews of just about everything cause several Springfielders (Ned and Maude, Otto, Sideshow Mel, Mr. Burns, and Lenny) to put on a great deal of weight. Some, like Ned, are skinny again near the episode's end, while Burns and Mel are still fat when they get ready to give Homer his comeuppance.
  • Walking Disaster Area: When Marge tells Homer she's concerned that something bad will happen if he enters the fairgrounds, Homer dismisses it:
    Homer: Bad things happen to me when I go anywhere. (steps in a puddle, gets hit by a frisbee, and bit on the neck by a random bat) A bat, that's a new one.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Homer, as Marge puts it:
    Only your father could get a part-time job at a small town newspaper and wind up the target of international assassins.
  • Worst News Judgement Ever: The paper for Homer's date of birth reads "Unusually large, ugly baby born".
  • You Keep Using That Word: When Homer defends his new caustic style, he says "My palate has grown more sophisticated.", to which Marge asks "Oh, yeah? What's a palate?" Homer can't answer, thinking it means a special time in a boy's life, so he runs away, grabbing some more food as he does.