After procuring an original Radioactive Man action figure and selling it for a good sum, Comic Book Guy finally has enough money to attend San Diego Comicalooza. A dream come true, Comic Book Guy aspires some hefty goals at the event, including asking the perfect panel question. But coming up with the question may be easier than actually asking it.
Meanwhile, a new saxophonist at school has Lisa swooning. Unfortunately, the new kid used it to his advantage to steal the first chair from her. Though it does give her a chance to rediscover her love of music.
Bart lands himself a gig as a voice-over artist. He is disappointed to discover that the character he lends his talents to is a girl. Thankfully, being a girl can be pretty cool.
The seventh episode of season 32 has gone through some name changes. Originally referred to as “The Voice Actor’s Apprentice”, they landed on something much more poignant. “Three Dreams Denied” is an ominous title for an episode of The Simpsons, though it is on-point for the triple plot story.
It would seem as if Comic Book Guy got himself another starring episode. However, playing the part of Uncle Travelling Matt from classic Fraggle Rock, Comic Book Guy’s adventures are a sideshow of a more traditional episode of The Simpsons. With the A-plot and B-plot surrounding Lisa’s newest rival and Bart’s unexpected voice-over job.
Of course, the most fun is involved with Comic Book Guy. It was about time the show sent the legendary super nerd to the world’s nerdiest annual event, San Diego Comic-Con. Of course, the writers gave the convention a new name, but the concept remains.
Comic Book Guy’s adventures in San Diego are as exciting as we would hope. Most specifically a list a mile-long of references including Futurama, The X-Files, and Dr. Who. There was also an appearance of Matt Groening on screen, and guest star Paul Rudd voicing himself and too many cosplays to keep track of. Though some of the outfits that rivaled Comic Book Guy’s own working Dr. Octopus arms included Groot, Kang and Kodos, and Batman’s whole family.
Surprisingly, not more of this episode was dedicated to Bart’s storyline. Although it does repeat previous Bart tales of him landing a cool opportunity only to find out it is not what he had in mind. The plot lapsed on the opportunity to write in something more meta and settled for Bart getting bullied. It was a good concept for a plot that did not lead anywhere.
Despite everything going on, this was more of a Lisa episode. A Lisa episode that exploited our understanding of the character, for something a little different. Instead of Lisa falling madly in love and painfully having to say good-bye, Lisa had her heartbroken and the first chair was stolen right from under her. It was a good twist, played well by guest star Ben Platt. Although, I did find the illustration of his character Blake a tad disturbing with blue eyes. Wouldn’t giving one character blue eyes constitute that everyone else in The Simpsons universe have black irises?
The three-plot episode paid off in the fact that there was lots of content packed in. One moment your keeping track of a parade of reference and costumes. The next your catching clever lines like Bart’s, “I’m hanging with a stranger, he has so many different personalities”.
Once again, this season, this episode was from a new writer, assistant producer, Danielle Weisberg. The diverse group of writers that have already contributed to this season has been a good mix of old and new. Weisberg delivered a classic episode attached with new ideas and fun directions.
This may not be the flashiest episode of season 32, but it continues the same trend of delivering above-average stories. In fact, a few years ago, and “Three Dreams Denied” would have been the stand-out of the season. Instead, it is lifting a new standard for Disney-era quality of The Simpsons .