Isn’t this, like, the third episode to have a Bill Plympton-animated couch gag?
Yes, yes it is.
But here we have an episode with some heavy continuity references, which only makes sense when the main plot (indeed, the only plot) focuses on Comic Book Guy.
See, Radioactive Man has been killed off, but it’s a temporary comic book thing, so it comes as no surprise that he’s back in a new #1, and Jeff Albertson, the little-used real name of Comic Book Guy–heck, this episode doesn’t use it either—-decides to have a midnight sale of the new issue. There’s a line, and in the back is Bart, Milhouse, and Homer. Milhouse asks if he can skip to the front since he almost was Fallout Boy in a movie. No, he can’t, even if he’s wearing the same costume. All that does is upset guest star Harlan Ellison, who berates Milhouse for a dozen different reasons. What a jerk.
Eventually, the characters we know best get to the front of the line, but they get interrupted by someone else, namely Milo, the owner of the other comic book shop in town. This time around, Milo is voiced by Maurice LaMarche, not Jack Black. These things happen. Milo has big news: he just married his hipster girlfriend. This is actually bad news for Comic Book Guy because it means people like him don’t have to be alone. Heck, seeing Homer actually having someone to go home to makes him worse. But then a cute Japanese girl wanders in looking for that issue of Radioactive Man…
As it is, Comic Book Guy does have someone to give him some pointers: Stan Lee. It’s not really ol’ Smilin’ Stan. It’s an imaginary one Comic Book Guy dreamed up. The real Stan is shoplifting elsewhere in the store. Hey, it’s not his first visit to the place. But with Imaginary Stan’s encouragement, Comic Book Guy asks the manga-loving Kumiko for a date. And she accepts. His next course of action is to ask Homer for help, since Homer is the only real fat guy with a hot wife. That gets Marge on his side. But as it turns out, Comic Book Guy’s natural personality won Kumiko over ages ago, because everyone in Japan is too polite to speak his mind and Nerd Sarcasm really works on her. They even move in together.
Then her father finds out. He sort of finds out from Homer. Kumiko had earlier recognized Homer as Mr. Sparkle, a popular dish detergent and suicide method in Japan. That gives Homer a chance to speak some of the Japanese he learned somewhere. But Mr. Nakamura doesn’t approve of his daughter living with an American nerd and takes her away. Marge blames Homer for this and makes him make up for his mistake. Homer does so by taking Mr. Nakamura out for sushi and drinks, and when the Snake Rice Wine gets to flowing, even if Homer is horrified someone made wine out of rice, then the visions straight out of Studio Ghibli starting appearing as well.
That’s not quite the whole thing, but the only YouTube video with all of it was dubbed in Russian badly, so an American cartoon referencing Japanese animation with Russian voices was too much for me. Point is, Mr. Nakamura realizes he was the monster in the vision keeping his daughter from happiness and insists Comic Book Guy not only keep his ways but also lets the two get married.
The real Stan Lee officiates.
Well, as real as a cartoon version of Stan Lee can be.
But you know, Comic Book Guy shouldn’t have panicked so much. It wasn’t his first relationship. Heck, he almost got married once before. Someone messed up with that continuity, but I doubt anyone got fired for that blunder.