Vending machines appear at Springfield Elementary School, and Bart quickly gets hooked on the junk food they dispense. The family is trying their very best to help him lose weight, but the junk food is still in his head. Can Bart break away from this addiction to sugary junk food?
Principal Skinner is seeking proposals for a vending machine contract with Springfield Elementary, with half of the profits going to the school. First they hear from Gil who basically has the kids write down what they want and he brings the snacks the next day, then the Sea Captain who suggests a Gumbo machine but their ideas don't work for Skinner. When Lindsey Naegle approaches Skinner, representing a vending machine chain called Scammer and Z-Dog, Skinner enthusiastically accepts her proposal and the school has its vending machines.
The machines talk in hip-hop slang and feature strangely named snacks, some of which contain harmful ingredients such as depleted uranium. Except for Lisa, none of the kids care about the harmful snacks, and they eagerly line up to feed their money into the machines and chow down on the snacks they dispense. The vending machines' biggest customer is Bart, who (possibly because of the "questionable" ingredients) becomes addicted to the junk food to the point where he won't eat any food that doesn't come from the machines, even rejecting Marge's lovingly prepared tuna steak for dinner which annoys her. Bart continues to buy more and more snacks. In just three weeks, Bart had gained fifteen to twenty pounds (the effects of which are shown in a parody of the Opening Sequence), and as a result he (due to his weight gain) cracks the pavement when he leaves the school, bends the lamppost, runs over pedestrians, hits Marge's car and sends it spinning off screen, and crushes the roof of Homer's car. As soon as Bart arrives home, he suffers a heart attack and collapses on the living room floor.
Bart is sent to the hospital, where Dr. Hibbert explains that all the junk food he's been eating and the subsequent weight gain were the cause of his heart attack. Dr. Hibbert tells Homer and Marge that when Bart gets home, he has to go on a strict diet and exercise a lot. Bart, however, doesn't change his eating habits, almost continuously eating the snacks and even laughs at an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon which ends with Scratchy having a heart attack. Even Lisa is appalled that Bart doesn't realize how serious his position is. After another visit with Dr. Hibbert Marge gives Bart lots of heart friendly food. She asks him with her heart to take this diet seriously as he is in a position where he could have another health problem. Even after saying he’ll do it for Marge, Bart can't stick to the diet, Lisa finds out that he is not eating the healthy food and is still going after the vending machine food which he is storing behind a poster in his room and in the bushes. So the family, some friends and neighbors stage an intervention and even after everyone talks to him, he tells them "Eat my shorts!" So they trick Bart into getting "kidnapped" to Serenity Ranch, a maximum security fat camp. Also at the camp are Apu, Rainier Wolfcastle (who was last seen fattening up for a movie role), and Kent Brockman, and the camp's counselor is none other than former junk food magnate Tab Spangler (who is dealing with many anger issues). Meanwhile, the family is faced with large bills for Bart's treatment. To pay for the camp, the family converts their house into a youth hostel which attracts German tourists.
Bart does not do well at the camp, and continues to eat junk food. Finally, Spangler takes him home to show him what the family is going through in order to afford the treatment. Bart is horrified to see his parents and Lisa abused and humiliated by their German boarders, (they even take the time to blame Bart). Now realizing what has happened, Bart sincerely promises to never eat junk food ever again. Spangler suggests Bart fight his addiction, and Bart takes the suggestion literally, breaking into the school and destroying the vending machines with an axe. He then steals the money from the vending machines, and goes home and announces that he's cured, as he's finally seen the true cost of his addiction. The family chooses to use the money to pay for the fat camp (even though the money is ill-gotten) and give the Germans "Das Boot." Tab Spangler says that they still have three weeks of non-refundable treatment left, and Homer goes with Spangler back to the camp (whether by choice or otherwise is unknown). The episode finishes with Homer and Spangler riding in Spangler's car and bickering over the cheeseburger that Homer is eating.
May 1, 2005
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August 21, 2005
December 27, 2020
Behind the Laughter
This episode was originally set to be the 350th episode, but was inexplicably switched with "Don't Fear the Roofer". Its title is also a parody of the 1972 comedy The Heartbreak Kid, remade in 2007 with Ben Stiller.
The episode was praised for having a serious topic for the episode but still being funny.