On a trip to the mall, Homer sees an optometrist to get his eyes examined and gets laser surgery after rejecting a number of eyeglasses. After the surgery, Homer rejects the optometrist's advice to take eye drops to keep his eyes from crusting over -- and ends up blind from his eyes scabbing over and tricked into driving to the liquor store to buy Jack Daniel's and "a carton of smokes" for Dolph, Jimbo, and Kearney (the latter of whom fools Homer into thinking he's Marge).
At the same time, Marge and Lisa find items for Bart's school camping trip. Marge sees a marquee for the film Tango de La Muerte at the mall and she and Lisa decide to see it. Lisa identifies with the main female character, a bookworm named "Lisabella" whom the Tango champion asks to be his partner. This inspires Lisa to take up dance lessons. Lisa enrolls at a dance school, where she takes tap lessons from a former child star named Vicki Valentine. However, her hopes of being a dancer are crushed when she finds that she is by far the worst in the class, even worse than the socially inept Ralph Wiggum. She continues to attend the tap classes after being pressured by Homer and Marge, but when the class plans a dance recital, Lisa finds that she will not be dancing and has been relegated to pulling the curtain to open the show. Lisa states that Homer and Marge will be devastated if they do not see her dancing at the recital. Professor Frink, overhearing, devises a plan to attach a device to her shoes that will make them automatically tap at any percussive sound. This allows her to mimic the other dancers and take part in the recital. She becomes a star at the show, even upstaging Vicki Valentine, but when the audience applauds her, her shoes go out of control. Homer stops the shoes from going haywire by tripping Lisa, and she then confesses that she is not cut out for dancing.
Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse sneak out of their camping trip after discovering that Nelson Muntz will be there with them. They decide to hide in the mall and spend the night there, having shoe fights and causing havoc once the mall has closed. The next morning, the mall manager and Chief Wiggum see the mess that Bart and Milhouse have created and comes to the conclusion that it was caused by a giant rat, closing the mall as a result. He releases a puma inside the mall to catch the rat, but Bart and Milhouse use a ball of yarn to distract the puma and escape. Chief Wiggum later sees a piece of red yarn hanging from the puma's mouth and thinks it is the rat's tail, which prompts him to declare that the case is closed.