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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Retro Reviews: Three Men and a Comic Book

Or the One Where: Bart, Milhouse and Martin buy Radioactive Man #1

The Setup: After Comic Book Guy agrees to sell the comic for $100, the three boys pool their money to acquire it.

A Work in Progress: Comic Book Guy, who has become one of the show's most popular and most referenced characters, appears for the first time, as do crotchety neighbor Mrs. Glick (voiced by Cloris Leachman) and Bart's Batman-esque alter ego, Bartman.

Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy, Bart's favorite comic book heroes, are mentioned for the first time. Bart, Milhouse and Martin read Radioactive Man #1 and learn his secret origin (he's caught in the blast of an atomic bomb and, in true comic book fashion, receives super powers instead of debilitating illness).


Favorite Lines:

Lisa: If we don't get to the convention soon, all the good comics will be gone!
Bart: Ah, what do you care about good comics? All you every buy is Casper the Wimpy Ghost.
Lisa: I think it's sad that you equate friendliness with wimpiness, and I hope it'll keep you from ever achieving true popularity.
Bart: Well, you know what I think? I think Casper is the ghost of Richie Rich.
Lisa: Hey, they do look alike!
Bart: Wonder how Richie died.
Lisa: Perhaps he realized how hollow the pursuit of money really is and took his own life.
Marge: Kids, could you lighten up a little?

Radioactive Man: Ah, these Laramie cigarettes give me the steady nerves that I need to combat evil.
Fallout Boy: Gee willikers, Radioactive Man. Wished I was old enough to smoke Laramies.
Radioactive Man: Sorry, Fallout Boy, not until you're sixteen.

Marge: Maybe a part-time job is the answer.
Bart: Oh, Mom, I couldn't ask you to do that. You're already taking care of Maggie and Lisa is such a handful.
Lisa: She means you should get a job, stupid!

Homer: Hey, when I was your age, fifty cents was a lot of money.
Bart: Really?
Homer: Naah.
Bart: I am through with working. Working is for chumps.
Homer: Son, I'm proud of you. I was twice your age before I figured that out.


Teebore's Take: This is an episode I really should like more than I do. It was written for people like me, people that know firsthand the traits of comic book fans the show is lampooning in the first act. I love all the stuff at the comic book convention, the screening of the Radioactive Man TV show and the allusions to TV Superman George Reeves' mysterious death. The second act is great too, as Bart struggles to raise enough money for the comic book and realizes working is for chumps. It even has a "Wonder Years" gag, featuring that show's narrator.

But I just can't fully enjoy the episode because of the ending, in which Bart, Milhouse and Martin's squabbling and distrust of one another costs them their comic book. It's one of those endings that hangs over the episode every time I watch it because I know what's coming yet I somehow hope it will change. I want to scream at the kids, "don't fight over who gets to keep it on the weekends! Just get out of there before it gets destroyed! No, don't tie up Martin, you'll need him to save the comic!" It's an ending that could so easily be avoided. Bart's musings that close the episode say it well:

Bart: We worked so hard, and now it's all gone. We ended up with nothing because the three of us can't share.
Milhouse: What's your point?
Bart: Nothing. Just kind of ticks me off.

Okay, so maybe the ending isn't all that bad. Still, I can feel Bart's pain at the destruction of such a priceless comic, and it hurts. 

Classic:

One of the better Bart episodes of the season, plus it features "The Simpsons" first take on a comic book convention and introduces Comic Book Guy and Radioactive Man.

11 comments:

Falen said...

for some reason, this episode remnds me of the Simpson's soundtrack you could buy back in the day. You know the one, that mostly features the characters "rapping"
Sigh. Good times

Teebore said...

Oh, I know it. Some of the songs are on my iPod.

"Everybody, if you can, do the Bartman/Shake your body, turn it out if you can, man."

To be fair, it was, ostensibly, a blues album, and aside from the two songs that Bart sings-but-really-raps, it is, for the most part. Marge's "Sprinfield Soul Stew" is my favorite.

The album was released around the time this episode first aired (the "Do the Bartman" music video is an extra on the season two DVD, and was written by Michael Jackson, who guest starred on the season three premiere), so maybe that's why you associate the two.

Joan Crawford said...

Teebore - You *must* post those songs on here.

Teebore said...

I'll see what I can do, but I make no promises; online Simpsons clips are notoriously hard to come by (Fox is apparently very protective of them) and I lack the computer technology know how to use my DVDs to create some.

I can always post the lyrics, though, and push come to shove, I could always burn you a copy of the CD and mail it to you, Joan. :)

Dr. Bitz said...

I always liked "Sibling Rivalry" when I was younger. For whatever reason I thought the line "And for once try singing background for a living!" was hilarious...I guess you had to be there.

I also liked the Mr. Burns song ("Look At All Those Idiots").

Smithers: I'm sorry sir, I thought I had mojo working.

Dr. Bitz said...

Briefly thought about putting this into a post but realized I didn't have much to say about it. Maybe Teebore does.
Anyway, to anyone who is curious, here are URLs to all the songs from Simpsons Sing The Blues (many accompanied by lame fan created slide shows):

Do The Bartman - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYMzk36201A&feature=related

School Days - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCM1kOmC_1I

Born Under A Bad Sign - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EHrPHrkKPE&feature=fvw

Moanin' Lisa Blues - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLd1Pl_-wWA

Deep, Deep Trouble - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kfhd8-swEY&feature=related

God Bless The Child - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sby0DqEq3wQ

I Love to See You Smile - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fOnKfVBnTU

Springfield Soul Stew - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1R6BIoscOX0

Look At All Those Idiots - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t96Tz_blZwc&feature=related

Sibling Rivalry - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYqUvj9DDt0&feature=related

Teebore said...

Ah, Dr. Bitz, you truly are a prince among men!

I poked around You Tube a bit myself and saw the lame slide shows, but at least the music is right.

I was thinking I might do a post, just to mention "Do the Bartman" and the Michael Jackson connection, between seasons two and three. If so, I'll add these as well.

Oh, and I was always partial to "Look at All Those Idiots" as well.

Falen said...

Ha! I forgot about almost all of those songs!
I think we particularly favored Deep, Deep Trouble

Teebore said...

"Now you can't go/to the boat show."

Falen said...

OMG! You've changed from Zoidberg Jesus to Dharma Teebore!

Teebore said...

Yeah, I like pic my brother did. I figure I'll use that at least through the end of Lost.