In the episode, Bart meets Chester J. Lampwick, who claims and successfully proves that he is the creator of Itchy from The Itchy & Scratchy Show. Lampwick sues Itchy and Scratchy Studios, the owner of the Itchy and Scratchy characters, which he claims stole his idea. After the studio awards Lampwick a US$ 800 billion settlement, it is forced into bankruptcy and shuts down. When the The Itchy & Scratchy Show is replaced by a parody of Schoolhouse Rock!'s "I'm Just a Bill" segment, Bart and Lisa try to bring the show back. They find a legal precedent that could help their cause, but before they can contact the studio, Lester and Eliza save the day instead.
The episode finished 47th in ratings for the week of March 11–17, 1996 with a 9.2 Nielsen rating. It was the highest-rated show on the Fox network that week. The episode received a generally positive reception from television critics. DVD Movie Guide and the Los Angeles Daily News enjoyed the episode's focus on The Itchy & Scratchy Show. Criticism of the episode focused on its observations of generic television shows.
It's the 75th Anniversary of Itchy and Scratchy and Bart, Lisa and Homer go to the Itchy and Scratchy Parade. Bart follows it to "Bum Town", where he meets a homeless man named Chester, who claims that he created Itchy of the Itchy & Scratchy cartoons, and cartoon violence. As proof, Chester shows Bart and Milhouse an animated short that he made, in which Itchy is the star, and goes about his usual violent tendencies. Bart now believes Chester, but the nitrate print of the film catches fire, eliminating their only proof.
Even so, Bart decides to help Chester. Chester moves in but things turn bad when Chester and Grampa get into a fist-fight which lasts a third of the episode. When Bart and Chester try to prove that Chester created the cartoon to the C.E.O of Itchy and Scratchy, Roger Meyers Jr., they are thrown out by security. They decide to take it to court. During the trial, Krusty and Chester get into a fist-fight. The Itchy and Scratchy company have much better lawyers (obviously) than the children and Chester. The case seems to be over, due to the fact that Chester has not presented any evidence. However, thanks to Homer lending him $750, Bart quickly runs to the local comic shop, and returns with a framed image of Itchy, which he recognized from Lampwick's cartoon. When Bart removes the image from the frame, an autograph is evident, in which Lampwick dedicated the image to Roger Meyers Sr., encouraging him to keep drawing. The date on the signature also predates Itchy's first appearance in 'Steamboat Itchy'.
With the revelation that his father stole Itchy, along with any every other cartoon the studio owned, Even though Meyers Jr tries to make a last ditch plea that all cartoons borrow from other sources ("If it wasn't for The Honeymooners, we never would have had The Flintstones. If someone hadn't made Sergeant Bilko, there'd be no Top Cat!") Chester wins the case, and the Itchy and Scratchy company pays him his requested sum of $800 million. Bart is happy for Chester, but becomes saddened when he realizes that by helping Chester, he has bankrupted and shut down the production company for Itchy & Scratchy. He and Lisa try to solve the problem, but are shocked when they find out the problem has already been solved, along with other problems, by two other (similar-looking) kids; Lester and Eliza.