Homer becomes a tabloid photographer and takes photos of a lot of famous people, but they start to get annoyed so they send a photographer who will take photos of Homer's most humiliating moments.
After failing to blow out all the candles on his birthday cake, an exhausted Homer falls asleep, igniting his party hat on the flames. The burning house is saved by the Springfield Fire Department who inspires Marge to purchase a fire-proof safe to protect the family's valuables. Each family member puts one special item inside the safe, Marge choosing the family photo album; Homer, an old bottle of cologne called "Scent of a Wookie"; Lisa, an electric Malibu Stacy car (though not the one Ralph gave to Lisa as a gift); Bart, his Catch-A-Rising Krusty doll, a talking Krusty doll that performs stand-up. When they lock the safe, Bart's doll is switched on, which walks into the car, turning on its headlights which heat the cologne and cause the safe to explode, destroying everything inside (which apparently, was what Homer naturally assumed had happened). Refusing to accept the loss of all their memories, Marge decides to re-stage all of the family's photographs, and when the family spot a celebrity dating scandal (Duffman dating Booberella, despite Duffman being in a committed relationship with a homosexual man) captured in the background of one of their photos, the Simpsons strike tabloid gold. Tasting success and seeing money to be made, Homer takes to the streets as one of the paparazzi.
Overnight, Homer becomes Springfield's most valued tabloid photographer, staging incriminating photographs of, amongst others, Rich Texan's daughter, Paris Texan beating Bart with a bottle then kissing them after he insulted her ("Hey, Paaaris! I saw a disgusting part of your body on the Internet--your face"), Paul McCartney leaving a laundromat, and Drederick Tatum punching Homer's cameras away while he keeps taking out more cameras and taking more pictures until Tatum knocks him out. After Homer photographs Rainier Wolfcastle's wedding within a waterfall, the town's celebrities decide to give Homer a taste of his own medicine by having top paparazzi Enrico Irritazio make him look bad (which apparently isn't difficult), such as Homer hanging Maggie on the car mirror then making her drive the car as he tries to grab Enrico, and him having a shower in the middle of the street with a fire hydrant. After seeing his own behavior published in a tabloid magazine, Homer gives up the paparazzi business temporarily. However, Lenny and Carl reinspire him to continue and Moe lends Homer a camera he had used in the ladies' bathroom to videotape them secretly, explaining that no women ever enter his bar. Homer leaves for the celebrity nightspot across the street, shortly after which two women enter the bar asking for a bathroom to trade bras and panties in, which infuriates Moe for having lent away his camera for just that moment.
Bursting the decadent celebrity nightspot, Homer takes a slew of compromising photos, including ones of Paris Texan making out with Milhouse, Sideshow Mel eating an American flag, Drederick Tatum snorting the ashes of Secretariat as if they were cocaine, and Mayor Quimby and Kent Brockman scantily dressed in costumes for a bizarre sexual roleplaying game. Defeated, Rainier Wolfcastle meekly asks him what he is going to do with the photos. Homer replies "Nothing," providing that the celebrities start treating the public with more respect and not taking their fans for granted. Rainier agrees to Homer's conditions and, as a gesture of good faith, invites the Simpsons to a barbecue party on his "offshore party platform". Marge asks Rainier to look at a screenplay she wrote called "Mrs. Mom". Rainier says that he does not read unsolicited scripts, though his eyes dart back and forth suspiciously. In the next shot, however, Marge and Homer see a theatre marquee advertising the film, crediting Rainier Wolfcastle as the writer, leading Marge to sigh, "Well, at least it got made."
Behind the Laughter
It was written by J. Stewart Burns, directed by Matthew Nastuk, and guest starred J.K. Simmons as the tabloid editor, Betty White as Herself, and Jon Lovitz as Enrico Irritazio. The full-length opening sequence and couch gag ran for over 2 minutes and 20 seconds, making it one of the longest in the history of the show.
In the Fox press release, Peter Wolf and Harry Hamlin were announced as guest stars for this episode. However, neither of them made an appearance in the broadcast version. This episode marks the return of several guest stars; it is the ninth appearance of Jon Lovitz and the second of J. K. Simmons and Betty White. J. K. Simmons had previously guest-starred in "Moe'N'a Lisa", playing another editor. In both episodes his character was a parody of his J. Jonah Jameson character from the Spider-Man films, though the one in this episode does not bear any physical resemblance to Jameson.
Robert Canning praised this episode, calling it clever, ingenious, and one of the most memorable of the season. The episode scored a 9.0 on TV.com, an equivalent to a "superb" rating.