The Ziff Who Came to Dinner

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"The Ziff Who Came to Dinner"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 327
Prod. code FABF08
Orig. airdate March 14, 2004
Showrunner(s) Al Jean
Written by Deb Lacusta & Dan Castellaneta
Directed by Nancy Kruse
Chalkboard gag I will not speculate on how hot teacher used to be
Couch gag View zooms out to an overhead shot of the house, the neighborhood, the US, the earth, the solar system and finally galaxies, which become atoms, them zooming out to molecular structures, DNA helices and then Homer's head, then back to the couch scene. Finally, Homer exclaims "Wow!"
Guest star(s) Jon Lovitz as Artie Ziff, Jay Sherman, Llewelyn Sinclair, Aristotle Amadopoulos, and Professor Lombardo
DVD
commentary
Al Jean
Deb Lacusta
Dan Castellaneta
Ian Maxtone-Graham
Matt Selman
Michael Price
Marc Wilmore
Tom Gammill
Max Pross
Matt Warburton
Maurice LaMarche

"The Ziff Who Came to Dinner" is the fourteenth episode of The Simpsons' fifteenth season, the third of five episodes written by Simpsons voice actor Dan Castellaneta and his wife, Deb Lacusta and was rated PG in the United States and Ireland and 12 in the UK. The episode aired on March 14, 2004.[1]

Plot[edit]

Homer takes Bart and Lisa to a movie and he has to bring Ned Flanders' children with him, because Ned has taken the senior citizens for ice cream to celebrate Jasper's birthday. However, at the Googolplex Theatre, every kid-friendly movie is sold out, and Rod and Todd will not let Homer see a raunchy comedy called Teenage Sex Wager since it is one of many movies condemned by a Christian publication called "What Would Jesus View?". After listening to Lenny mention he had a small part in the horror movie The Redeadening as a gardener, Homer takes the kids to see the movie. The movie is very scary, causing it to scare Bart and Lisa at home, who think they hear noises from the attic. But when they look in the attic, their fears scare them away. When Bart and Lisa arrange to have Homer and Marge look in the attic, they discover Artie Ziff living there.

Artie Ziff explains that he was living in the attic because he ran an unsuccessful Internet business, Ziffcorp, and lost all his money after spending it on many extravagant items which then got repossessed (including the repo vans). He chose to live with the Simpsons because Marge was the only woman he ever loved (despite that he almost raped her on their prom night as seen in "The Way We Was"). Artie promises that he will not hit on Marge if he stays with them, which Marge objects to, but Homer, Bart, and Lisa do not. While living with the family, Artie connects with Lisa by reading her The Corrections. He then tries to buy ice cream for Bart and Milhouse, but, when Artie's credit card gets cut up, he attempts to hang himself (which does not work as the noose is not on his neck tight enough to kill him nor is Artie high up off the ground for a hanging to be physically possible). Homer gets Artie down and takes him to Moe's.

Marge sees on the news that the SEC is looking for Artie Ziff. Meanwhile, Artie is playing poker with Homer and his friends. Homer wins 98% of Artie's company's outstanding stock. The SEC sweeps in to arrest Ziff, but Homer says he owns 230 million shares of Ziffcorp, making him the majority stockholder. To protect himself, Artie has Homer take the blame. Homer is taken into SEC custody, and placed on trial.

When Homer is on trial (and naturally makes a fool of himself after failing to understand the Fifth Amendment), Marge blames Artie for Homer being put on trial and further adds that his self-centeredness is the reason he has no friends. Homer is eventually found guilty and sentenced to ten years in prison. Marge kicks Artie out of the house and tells him she never wants to see him ever again. Visiting Moe's Tavern, Artie encounters Patty and Selma, and Selma comes to take Artie to her apartment after he mentions putting Homer in prison. As they spend the night together, Artie makes a plan to turn over his corporate books in order to admit he is the real crook. Ziff turns himself in, and Homer is released from prison. The family takes one last look at their "Uncle Artie", who is using a squirt bottle to put out the prisoners' cigarettes, much to their anger.

Critical reception[edit]

In a 2008 review, Robert Canning of IGN gave the episode a 5.8 out of 10, saying "For a character that saw limited screen time in a flashback episode from season two, Artie Ziff sure has some staying power. His failed prom date with Marge was memorable for many reasons -- Jon Lovitz's great voice work, for one -- and though it took him eleven seasons to reappear, "Half-Decent Proposal" saw Artie in fine comical form. When reviewing that episode last week, I found it difficult to fit in all my favorite Artie Ziff moments. In fact, I couldn't even find room to mention the hilarious dancing he does when his second attempt at the high school prom fails. So when a third installment of the Artie Ziff saga aired in season 15, I was hoping for more of the same from good ol' Artie. Unfortunately, "The Ziff Who Came to Dinner" fails to match the previous episode's quality in both story and humor."[2]

References[edit]