Marge oversleeps, and not having made Bart and Lisa lunches for the day, Homer makes them instead. He gives them inedible food and Bart plans to scare an alternative lunch out of his friends by making up a story about a cannibal cafeteria worker named Dark Stanley, who killed all the students in the cafeteria and put them in his stew when their teasing of his inability to graduate from college had taken its toll on him. At lunchtime, Bart pretends to be killed by Dark Stanley with pasta on his head acting as a brain and pasta sauce as blood, causing all of the students to run screaming into the woods while he takes their lunches. Groundskeeper Willie is sent to fetch them all back, but he brings seven extra kids who are Cletus's children. Their names are Whitney, Jitney, Dubya, Incest, Crystal Meth, International Harvester, and Birthday. Principal Skinner tells Superintendent Chalmers that the kids have been refused education, which Lisa overhears. To appease Lisa, Skinner and Chalmers appoint her tutor of the kids.
Meanwhile, Skinner punishes Bart by having him spend five sessions with a qualified counlseor. Homer takes him and gets drunk. Bart develops a close bond with his counlseor, Dr. Stacey Swanson, who uses a Mad Libs-like game and violent video games to get Bart to open up. When his sessions end, Bart starts to miss the time he spent with her and enters into a state of depression in which he talks about his problems to an empty chair while lying on his bed. He peeks into her window and sees her counseling Milhouse. He hangs his head while biking in the rain when he looks through a window and sees her dancing with the married owner of the Chinese restaurant that Homer had visited earlier in the episode. Marge, worried, pays for one more session with Dr. Swanson. When it ends, Bart feels that he has been able to get everything off his chest, and Dr. Swanson begins to obsess about him and goes to see her own psychiatrist. It is revealed during this discussion that "Dark Stanley" was in fact real, and had killed her own son.
Lisa's initial tutoring efforts are unsuccessful and so she plans to take the Spuckler kids to downtown Springfield to introduce them to culture in the outside world. However, Lisa's plans are diverted when Krusty observes the kids singing, plans to use them as a musical act for his show, and offers them a contract, which Cletus signs with an "X". Lisa is worried about the way that Krusty and Cletus are exploiting the children, so she sends an e-mail to Brandine Spuckler, who's currently a soldier in Iraq. She arrives by helicopter to tell Krusty that the contract Cletus signed is null and void, since he is only the father of the two untalented ones, and that he signed the contract with an X mark rather than a real signature. The episode finishes with Cletus telling Brandine that they owe Krusty $12,000, but Brandine tells him that they can live off that.