The episode starts off in Bart's bedroom, where a large snake enters the room, waking and frightening Bart who starts hitting the large snake with his baseball bat. The snake is revealed to be a costumed Homer dressed as Lord Evilton, and Lisa arrives dressed as Angelica Button, a character from her favorite novel. The two reveal the whole family is entitled to attend the grabbing of the last novel. While waiting in line, the Comic Book Guy, who is dressed as a character that resembles Hagrid from Harry Potter, criticizes Lisa's costume, stating several differences between her costume and the real Angelica Button. Lisa rebuffs, stating that she based her costume according to the book, not the movie, causing everyone to laugh at Comic Book Guy as he hops away on a broomstick. The family manages to get the book, and while arriving home, they've finished the entire novel, in other words they had Lisa summarize the best parts while not even opening their own copies then throwing them all out the window. Once at home, Homer allows them to watch TV. After watching a variety of shows, Kent Brockman introduces a new commercial for a ballet academy owned by Chazz Busby, a sarcastic man who judges people unfairly. Marge is inspired, and later reveals to Lisa that she has a whole box and closet of unfulfilled dreams. Marge once took ballet, but had to quit because she lost balance after her bosoms started to grow (one grew before the other). Lisa tells Marge to follow through this dream, and she agrees. Marge auditions for Chazz Busby's Ballet Academy, and although Busby lets her pass, he remains bitter about Marge's performance.
Meanwhile, Homer takes his son to the basement and introduces him to his secret room, the "jerkytorium", a room filled with Homer's own stash of beef jerky. The two bond over what they plan on doing with the beef jerky. While dancing, Marge does an impossibly high stretch with her leg, causing it to get stuck. Busby kicks Marge out, insulting her as she goes. An angry Lisa decides to defend Marge, and while berating Busby, he notices Lisa's posture is perfect for a ballerina. He asks if Lisa would join his ballet. Before Lisa can answer, Marge interrupts and says Lisa would be happy to join and Lisa agrees to learn. However, no matter how hard she practices, Lisa soon turns out to be terrible. While on break, a ballerina asks Lisa if she'd like to smoke, saying it would improve her skills like the rest of them. Horrified, Lisa rejects the cigarette. When the ballerina starts smoking, Lisa inhales a large entity of the cigarette's smoke. When the break is done, Lisa enters the studio and performs better than ever, and deduces that second-hand smoke is what makes her excel.
Homer brings Apu to his "jerkytorium", and he and Bart are shocked to discover it is completely empty. After incorrectly blaming Ned Flanders, he discovers that a family of raccoons had made off with his jerky. That night, Lisa hallucinates of a cigarette smoke-shaped older version of her, who attempts to convince her to continue smoking. Saying that the great historical women Lisa admires all smoked. Lisa agrees. Outside her window, Homer and Bart lay a trap to capture the raccoons: a tray loaded with sleeping pills-laced beef jerky. However, it turns out that the plate Homer was eating from was the jerky with the sleeping pills. While driving Lisa to ballet practice, Marge, who becomes proud of having a ballerina as a daughter, starts glowing about how she sees herself in Lisa. Lisa soon begins to suspect that Marge is living her dream through her.
Homer follows one of the raccoons into the family's home under a tree stump, and can't bring himself to attack the family because he sees they are a loving family, and they resemble his own family in both appearance and manner. He soon befriends the family. At the studio, Lisa's dancing falters and she anxiously waits for break, to inhale some smoke. When break does come, she finds out that it is windy outside, so all the smoke begins to blow away. She realizes her only other alternative is to actually smoke a cigarette, and picks one up. Right before she put it to their mouth, Homer arrives, shouting "Lisa, no!" He snatches the cigarette out of her hand, and subsequently throws it on the ground shoots it with a handgun (hidden in his coat, along with a variety of other fire-arms). Angry, Homer decides to go tell Marge, but discovers Marge is so proud and happy of Lisa, he can't bear to destroy her feelings. He does, however, order Lisa to quit cigarettes, and he decides to have Bart tail her.
When Bart informs Homer that Lisa is still addicted to smoke, Homer creates a plan involving one of the raccoons. On the night of the big ballet recital, the raccoon breaks into the changing room and steals all the cigarettes. Homer throws the cigarettes into a nearby motel, where an impregnated Miss Springfield and Mayor Quimby lie; coincidentally, Quimby had been hoping for a cigarette and took it as a wish granted by God. On stage, all the ballerinas soon begin to freak out, a few losing their tempers. The ballerinas soon go out of control, and Lisa tells the appalled audience that ballet is something America has forced onto students, and quits, prompting Busby to also quit. Marge also learns to not display her dreams through her child, though Homer has evidently not learned the lesson, and forces a Mexican wrestling mask on Bart, before making him practice his act.