We’ve tackled a whole bunch of secondary characters so far on the Simpsons. Hell, we’ve even had episodes revolving around a lot of tertiary characters. We had a whole episode about Otto for god’s sake. So how about an episode about Comic Book Guy? Sure, why not.
The episode starts off with the family sitting around eating breakfast when Lisa finds an ancient box of baking soda in the fridge. It’s apparently been there since the family moved in, and it looks disgusting. So obviously Bart has to bet Homer that he won’t eat it, which Homer promptly accepts. He then takes a bite of the soda, which has been soaked with the flavors of decade’s worth of meals, causing Homer to have a crazy antacid flashback where he trips out. And since he’s a little out of sorts, Bart just grabs the $50 that they bet, and heads out to spend it.
So Bart meets up with Milhouse and the two decide to go on a spending spree with their newfound wealth. The hit up the Kwik-E-Mart where Apu acts as their personal candy sommelier to get them all the sugar they can handle. Next up they go to a Laundromat to get their clothes dried with fabric softener, because Milhouse is a dweeb. And after that failure they head to the Android’s Dungeon, excited about the new Radioactive Man #1,000.
Unfortunately when they get there they find that the new issue is ridiculously expensive, and they can’t actually afford it. Which obviously results in them getting mocked by Comic Book Guy. But they quickly have their comeuppance because Martin’s mother comes in with a box of crap she found in their attic, and wants to know if it’s worth something. And it totally is, because it’s a box of Star Wars relics that Comic Book Guy can’t even believe. So he decides to lowball her, causing Bart and Milhouse to scare her off by saying she’s being ripped off. And this loss of nerdy relics is enough to get Comic Book Guy to ban the two from the store forever.
And that banning quickly becomes pressing because it turns out that special effects wizard Tom Savini is coming to the Android’s Dungeon for some reason, and everyone wants to go. Homer comes up with a plan to sneak the boys in by pulling a goddamn Little Rascals by standing on their shoulders in a trench coat, but Comic Book Guy figures the plan out immediately, and kicks them back out. So the kids have to peer into the windows and watch the show, which doesn’t go well. Savini does all sorts of tricks, and ends up mocking Comic Book Guy until he freaks out and tries to ban everyone in the audience, where he promptly has a heart attack.
But he’s okay, because Bart and Milhouse apparently took it upon themselves to call an ambulance, even though Comic Book Guy has been such an ass to them. So he’s alive, but he’s going to need some recuperation, and for some reason that’s not properly explained, he decides to let Bart and Milhouse run his store until he’s back to a healthy state. Sure, let some ten year olds run your business, that’s surely not a stressful scenario.
Whatever, Comic Book Guy decides to go live his life and relax while Bart and Milhouse get to work at the comic shop. They decide to make some changes to the store, making it more kid-friendly, and it turns into the place to be among the Elementary School kids. However we see that there’s a bit of a management problem, because Bart quickly establishes himself as the brains of the operation, while Milhouse takes a more subservient role and gets bossed around by Bat while doing all the work.
Meanwhile, Homer and Comic Book Guy decide to start hanging out for some reason, and they head to Moe’s to make friends. Which doesn’t go well, since Comic Book Guy is abrasive and horrible. So he’s kicked out of Moe’s and starts looking for more friends, causing him to go to a class about friend-making. But he doesn’t even make it into the class, because he runs into Agnes Skinner, who is also going in, and they strike up a conversation based on their mutual horribleness, and decide to spend time together.
But while Comic Book Guy is making his first friend, Bart and Milhouse’s relationship is starting to strain. Mainly because Milhouse decides to impress Lisa by being a manager, and gets taken advantage of by a salesman who convinces Milhouse to buy 2,000 issues of some terrible comic about a superhero with glasses. And it doesn’t go over well. No one wants the terrible comic, and it causes Bart and Milhouse to start fighting in the store. But after a minor tussle, they make a wonderful discovery after they fall through a She-Hulk poster and find a secret room in the Android’s Dungeon full of Comic Book Guy’s bootleg video tapes.
Oh, and Comic Book Guy and Agnes have started a relationship, mostly based on mutual disdain for the rest of the world. They walk around ruining people’s days, and even go on a date after Comic Book Guy has an incredibly uncomfortable time with Seymour. But back to the tapes! Because Bart and Milhouse have stopped all of their squabbling and are taking advantage of all of Comic Book Guy’s amazing tapes. Which is when Milhouse has a great idea, to start charging kids in the neighborhood to watch the tapes.
So they hold a little film festival and get all of the kids in town to come look at such wonderful things as alien autopsies, Kent Brockman picking his nose, and Ned Flanders informing to the police that Homer released a radioactive ape into his house. Unfortunately these children didn’t keep their underground quite underground enough, because the cops find them and raid the store. And after establishing that these kids didn’t create all these illegal tapes they head to Comic Books Guy’s apartment and arrest him after he has sex with Agnes. So now Comic Book Guy has a heart condition, is arrested, and has no one to run his business. But the episode is over, so I guess it all just works itself out. Oh, and we get to see that ape picking on Ned as a fun little button.
I think I like this episode, but I’m kind of not sure. I’ve never been a huge fan of Comic Book Guy as a character, mainly because he works best as basically a walking joke and less as an actual character, but the episode is still pretty fun. It’s pretty stupid though. Because seriously, he puts two ten-year olds in charge of his livelihood? That’s some weird stuff. But the Bart and Milhouse stuff was a lot of fun, and I liked it quite a bit. Their hold friendship is a little strange, and this episode really took advantage of this and let their differences play out in a fun way. I just feel like it’s kind of unbalanced. Some fun Bart and Milhouse stuff doesn’t really make up for the weird premise, the bizarre choice of having Comic Book Guy and Agnes become sexual, and the ending that just kind of ends in the middle of a plot just don’t quite gel into a fully functional episode, but it did make one that was enjoyable for the twenty-some minutes I was watching it.
Take Away: Don’t let children run your business. Especially if you’re doing illegal things there.
“Worst Episode Ever” was written by Larry Doyle and directed by Matthew Nastuk, 2001.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons