"The Man Who Came to Be Dinner" is the tenth episode of the twenty-sixth season of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, and the overall 562nd episode of the series. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 4, 2015.
|"The Man Who Came to Be Dinner"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 26|
|Directed by||David Silverman|
|Written by||Al Jean & David Mirkin|
|Original air date||January 4, 2015|
|Couch gag||A piano version of "Great Gate of Kiev" is played in the background as the gag showcases artwork of each Simpson. The camera turns to the Simpsons sitting at an art gallery. Homer grabs the remote control and all the artwork on the wall changes channels, pleasing the family.|
The Simpsons go to Diz-Nee-Land (a parody of the theme park Disneyland). After a long journey, they dislike all of the rides they visit, and decide to go to "Rocket to Your Doom", a just-opened queue-less ride which was not on the map. They get in and it immediately transforms into a spaceship. At first, the family is skeptical, but a screen appears with Kang and Kodos on it telling them that they are being taken to their home planet Rigel 7. At the planet, Kang and Kodos show them around in a giant pet cage and the Simpsons are informed they are prisoners. Then they are taken as exhibitions to a zoo. After a while, they are informed they must choose one of them to be dined in a ritual. Everybody votes for Homer (even he changes his vote from Bart to himself after seeing the other votes).
Afterwards, Homer is seen walking in something that looks like bacon underwear, to be eaten, but he gets rescued by some hippie-looking Rigelians who believe that eating other sentient species is wrong. After an excessive party, he gets on another spaceship only for one that also pleases all desires, but he realizes he will not enjoy it without his family and goes back to rescue them. The Rigelians have decided to eat the rest of the family and they are glazed over giant plates with some lettuce and tomato. When Homer offers to be eaten instead, he gets put on a similar plate and annoys the Rigelian chef by eating the glaze and claiming he did not get any. The Rigelian Queen then eats Homer's previously off-camera severed buttock and gets poisoned because of the fast food life they all lead; even Lisa is the most polluted of them all and would be better chewing tobacco like Bart. The Rigelian Queen dies from the poison.
Following the Rigelian Queen's death, the Simpsons get sent home on a spaceship that looks like the interior of the original starship USS Enterprise. They set course to Earth, but after a call from Grampa Simpson, the family decides to go anywhere else but home.
The episode was originally scheduled to air on May 19, 2013 as the finale of season 24, but was replaced by "Dangers on a Train". As a result, the production code is dated compared to the rest of season 26.
Just prior to the broadcast of the episode, Al Jean and David Mirkin wrote on Twitter that the episode (which had been produced in 2012 and was originally set to air on May 19, 2013) had been held back because it was being "seriously considered" for adaptation into a sequel film of The Simpsons Movie, as the episode was "very cinematic;" they cited a similar sequence of events that occurred earlier in the show's run with the episode "Kamp Krusty." Jean also stated that he was sure reasons the episode both could and would not work as a film would occur to those that viewed the episode and later expanded that there was the fear of the potential film being considered "not canonical" with the TV series and the potential backlash of overcoming it by using a "memory wipe."
The episode received an audience of 10.62 million and a 4.7/13 rating/share in the 18-49 demographic, making it the most watched show on Fox that night and the show's highest rating since the twenty-fifth season episode "Steal This Episode".
Dennis Perkins of The A.V. Club gave the episode a "D+" rating, criticizing the unrealistic nature of the episode. Perkins said "It would be a lot easier to make the case that The Simpsons still has value if the people behind the show seemed to give a damn. But an episode like 'The Man Who Came to Be Dinner' is a product of such slapdash, breezy disregard for what makes The Simpsons The Simpsons that it functions as a dispiriting signpost to the show's hastening irrelevance." In contrast, Tony Sokol of Den of Geek gave it 4.5 stars and called it “a singular highlight”.