I have no connection to Hollywood, and I live in Buffalo, N.Y. -- so writing an episode of The Simpsons that sees the light of day is an aspirational goal, to say the least. But it seemed like a nice way to pass some time amid a pandemic.
Ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll, a devout vegan, gives a motivational speech at Springfield Elementary. It has a profound impact on many, including Ralph Wiggum, who gets home from school and eats the porcelain pot of a household plant – resulting in a trip to the hospital and several broken teeth.
Chief Wiggum – against commonly known laws – sets out to Los Angeles to pick up Roll on attempted homicide charges.
Roll spends an afternoon in the Springfield holding center before the erroneous charges are dropped, and he then makes it his mission to get the Wiggum family in tip-top physical and mental shape. Roll succeeds in his plan, and Ralph morphs into an A-plus student and wins the Springfield Marathon in lockstep with Chief Wiggum.
Lisa pleads with her family to follow in the Wiggums’ footsteps, but she has a hard time persuading everyone.
Bart and Homer become desperate to undo the plant-based phenomenon that has all of Springfield buzzing. With the encouragement of Homer – and a helping hand from the local crime boss, Fat Tony – Bart hatches a plan to get the Wiggums (and everyone else) back on meat.
Spring Elementary students grumble as a motivational speaker – Rich Roll – prepares to enter the auditorium. Only Lisa Simpson seems excited at the prospect of a vegan health-and-wellness guru.
Principal Skinner: All right, everyone. I can see you’re all egg-cited to hear from today’s guest speaker …
The students go quiet and look confused.
Skinner: [Chuckles awkwardly] Well, I know our speaker will join me in egg-citement … because he doesn’t eat meat!
Lisa: [From the front row] That doesn’t even make sense! He’s vegan!
Roll gives a confused smile, shrugs his shoulders and takes the stage.
Roll: Thanks, Principal Skinner. And shout-out to the young lady who knows vegans don’t eat eggs!
Lisa blushes and flutters her eyes.
Lisa: Aww! He’s so dreamy!
Roll: Man … I remember being your age. I got straight As … I was a competitive swimmer … and I thought I knew it all.
[Student audience laughs.]
Roll: I was totally a nerd. That’s how I got into Stanford.
Roll: But that nerd became known as Rich “Rock-n-Roll,” because I lost control of my life by drinking too much alcohol and eating terrible food. Today, I eat a plant-based diet and never drink alcohol … and here’s how I’m living in my 50s! [An image of a shredded Roll goes up on a large screen behind him.]
As the students leave the auditorium, everyone seems inspired.
Lisa: Someone pinch me! This must be a dream – elementary school students excited about eating plants!
Ralph Wiggum: Dogs eat grass and get sick. But I’m gonna eat a grass sandwich for lunch every day, and pretty soon I’ll run to the moon like Rich Roll!
Lisa: Ugh. Eating a plant-based diet does not involve grass, Ralph.
Ralph: But I don’t want dogs to keep getting sick!
Lisa: The dogs do it on purpose, Ralph. But that’s beside the point. Rich Roll eats plant-based food. Didn’t you listen to a word he said about his lifestyle?
Ralph gets home from school and begins to survey the house for key ingredients to his new diet. After careful consideration, he narrows in on a porcelain-potted jade plant in the living room.
Ralph: [Hoists the jade plant by its base] Plant … base. New year, new me!
Ralph gnaws off a chunk of porcelain – cracking his front teeth in the process – before painfully chewing and swallowing the first and only bite.
Ralph: Just like Mr. Roll said: No pain, no gain … [Blood drips down the front of his face and a tear runs down his cheek.]
Chief Wiggum walks in the front door to find his son bloody – and immediately deems his home a crime scene.
Chief Wiggum: Ralphie! Who did this to you?
Ralph: [Crying] Rich Roll made me eat this.
Chief Wiggum: I don’t know who maniac is, but he’s going down!
Ralph is rushed to the hospital, where he gets stitches and is checked for internal bleeding. He later visits the dentist to get his front teeth capped – an expense that adds fuel to the fire for Chief Wiggum.
Meanwhile, at the Simpsons’ residence, Lisa is eager to urge Homer and Marge to adopt the plant-based lifestyle. She gets home from school to find Homer on the couch, eating a bacon-topped cheeseburger.
Lisa: Dad – you REALLY need to quit eating so much meat. And why are you already home from work?
Homer: Lisa, sweetie. I’m going to teach you an important rule: You never get between a man and his meat.
Lisa: Sigh. And what about work?
Homer: Oh – you can always get in the way of my work.
After returning home with Ralph, Chief Wiggum seeks justice. He calls Eddie and Lou into his office the next morning.
Chief Wiggum: Boys, we’re headed to the Sunshine State – California.
Eddie shrugs and looks at Lou.
Lou: Uh, Chief … I believe that’s Florida.
Chief Wiggum: Who’s the boss, Lou?
Lou: Tony Danza, sir.
Chief Wiggum: Shut up, Lou. We’ve got some long-haired, plant-eating hippy to catch. He tried to kill my Ralphie.
Chief Wiggum, Lou and Eddie set off to California and track down Rich Roll, who they find at the base of a trail, where he had just finished a run.
Chief Wiggum: You Rich Roll?
Roll: Yes. How’s it going, officer?
Chief Wiggum: Don’t you play Mr. Nice Guy with me, Roll!
Chief Wiggum: You’re wanted on attempted murder in Springfield.
Roll: Missouri or Massachusetts?
Chief Wiggum: Both. Lock ‘em up, boys. Next stop in your run? Prison. Now let’s roll, Rich.
Eddie: Good one, Chief.
Roll: That’s ludicrous. I would never hurt anyone or anything. I’m a vegan for crying out loud!
Roll is handcuffed and taken back to Springfield, where he is arraigned. Before it goes to trial, the case is dismissed. Judge Roy Snyder reprimands Chief Wiggum for leaving his jurisdiction and demands he release Roll.
Snyder: Chief Wiggum, I’ve spoken with the United States Marshals. Quite frankly – you will be lucky if federal charges are not brought up against you. Rich Roll is out there changing lives! My wife lost 50 pounds by following his cook book.
Chief Wiggum takes a dejected stroll over to the jail cell to release Roll.
Chief Wiggum: [Unlocking jail cell] Sorry about all this. Let’s chalk it up to a misunderstanding [chuckling].
Roll: No problem. I’d never let anyone hurt my kids, either. So, I totally get it, man.
Chief Wiggum: Despite almost dying because you told him to eat porcelain, my Ralphie really looks up to you.
Roll initially gives a confused look before reverting to his peaceful self.
Roll: I … never … told … whatever. You know what, Chief? I’m not going back to LA just yet. If you’ll allow it, I’m gonna stay right here in Springfield and personally train your family. Hell … I’ll even cook for you.
“Jock Jam” music plays as Roll feverishly trains the Wiggum family – running, biking and swimming. Suddenly, the whole family is in incredible shape. In fact, Ralph and Chief Wiggum win the Springfield Marathon – hand-in-hand. This, of course, is much to the dismay of Lisa, who watches the race pass her house.
Lisa: Mom, Dad! That could have been us!
Marge: That type of running puts too much strain on your body, Lisa. Our type of running involves errands. You ever go grocery shopping on Super Bowl Sunday? Now THAT will get your heart beating!
After the marathon, the transformation of the Wiggum family begins making news.
Kent Brockman: From half-witted, to fully sculpted: How a father-and-son duo won the Springfield Marathon. And local restaurants have taken notice – with many now offering alternatives to meat.
After Brockman did an in-depth feature story that included vegan menu offerings in local restaurants, Bart and Homer had seen enough. Marge’s temperament, meanwhile, seemed to be shifting.
Marge: You know what? Some of the gals have been cooking with those alt-meat products. And you’d never notice the difference! I think it’s time the Simpsons got on board! [Excited tone]
Homer: That’s it. I’m going to Moe’s!
Homer bellies up the bar at Moe’s.
Moe: Homer, you gotta try one of these new vegan beers.
Homer: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. You, too, Moe? I just want my extra-gluten, non-vegan Duff’s, please.
Moe: Suit yourself, Homer. [Fills up beer stein]
Homer reaches over to grab a piece of presumed beef jerky.
Moe: I gotta warn you, Homer. Them is the new alt-meat beef jerky. Made with nothing but plants.
Homer: [Places head in hands] Say it aint so, Moe! Not the jerky, tooooooooo!
The next day, Homer pulls Bart aside.
Homer: Boy. You might not be the smartest kid in your school.
Bart: I’m the stupidest, actually!
Homer: That’s my boy. But I know one thing for sure: You are one of the smartest pranksters that school – and maybe, just maybe – this town has ever seen.
Bart: I’m listening …
Homer: We need to get the Wiggumses back to being … well … a bit more rounded, like us.
Bart: [Evil laugh] Homer, my man. I’ve got a meaty plan in the works.
At the dinner table that night – with a plate of plant-based food in front of him – Bart sets the stage for his plan.
Bart: Mom, Dad … I’ve been thinking. We should throw Rich Roll and the Wiggum family a party. They’ve really changed the way this town thinks. We should embrace them before we’re too far behind.
Marge: That’s sweet, Bart! I’d be happy to plan a party for them. Plus, I’ve been dying to show off some of these new recipes!
The scene is a backyard barbecue at the Simpsons residence. Homer and Bart meet Fat Tony on the side of the house to acquire some ever-elusive all-beef hamburger patties.
Homer: [to Bart] OK, boy. We got the good stuff. This place will be mooing in no time.
Homer and Bart man the grill.
Bart: Impossible Burgers [says with mischievous voice] for everyone! They go great with my mom’s gluten-free pasta salad, her vegan nachos and all the other no-fun treats!
Dozens of Springfield residents chow down – including the Wiggum family. With each bite, their bodies begin to transform. Roll, who’s yet to take a bite of burger, can tell what’s taking place.
Roll: Nooooooooooooo! You’re being fooled! That little dude is serving animal! Save yourselves!
Ralph: [Eating a traditional hamburger] Daddy! This doesn’t taste like a plant base!
Chief Wiggum: [Seemingly content voice] Ahhhhh. We were meant to be one with the cow, Ralphie.
Bart: Sorry, Rich. That’s how we roll in Springfield, man.
Roll: Again with that joke?
All characters celebrate in the traditional flavors of a backyard barbecue. Rich Roll shakes his head in displeasure and takes off running.