Christmas is nearly ruined when Marge has to spend all of the family's gift money to remove Bart's tattoo. Homer becomes a department store Santa to raise more cash (after Mr. Burns announces that Christmas bonuses have been cut for all semi-skilled workers), but blows it all at the dog racetrack.
Bart cheats on an intelligence test and is mistaken for a child genius. In order to offer him more stimulation, Marge and Homer enroll him in a school for gifted students where he is immediately made to feel like the mediocre student he is.
Homer gets fired from the nuclear plant after causing a minor accident. When he can't find a second job, Homer runs away to commit suicide, but ends up saving his family from almost getting hit by a truck. The rescue revitalizes Homer's will to live and he becomes a public safety advocate.
After the family embarrasses him at a company picnic, Homer becomes convinced that something is wrong with them and he sets out to fix his family.
After defending Lisa from school bully Nelson Muntz, Bart becomes Nelson's latest target. Sick of the harassment and torment, Bart, Grampa Simpson, and Herman (a slightly deranged military antique store dealer with a missing arm) rally the town's children into fighting back against Nelson and his cronies.
When Lisa becomes depressed about life, she runs away and meets a jazz player named Bleeding Gums Murphy. Meanwhile, Homer tries to defeat Bart in a two-player boxing video game.
Homer buys an RV and takes the family camping, but end up lost in the forest after the RV goes over a cliff.
While facing an angry mob, Bart tells the story of how he stole the head off the statue of town founder, Jebediah Springfield, in order to impress local thug, Jimbo Jones, and his friends, Dolph and Kearney.
Homer thoughtlessly buys Marge a bowling ball for her birthday, prompting her to take up bowling lessons out of spite. While struggling to bowl, Marge meets a suave, Frenchman named Jacques who teaches her the proper way to bowl - and may be trying to seduce her.
Using his toy spy camera, Bart captures Homer drunkenly dancing with a stripper named Princess Kashmir and Xeroxes copies of the picture all over town - which gets Homer in trouble with Marge, not because he hung out with a stripper, but because Bart may see it as a sign that it's okay to treat women like sex objects.
Bart is sent to France as a foreign exchange student and is forced to live with two slave-driving French winemakers. In his place, the Simpson family takes in Adil, a student from Albania, who's actually a spy stealing the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant's secrets.
With the help of eyewitness Homer Simpson, Krusty the Clown gets busted for robbing the Kwik-E-Mart. Convinced that his hero is wrongly accused, Bart, with Lisa's help, takes the case in order to find out who framed Krusty.
Homer and Marge enjoy a night out on the town. Meanwhile, at home, the kids deal with a diabolical babysitter.