After Homer is hit by a falling girder at work and suffers a mild head injury, Mr. Burns decides to buy him off with tickets at a luxury box to a hockey game. Homer, Marge and Bart enjoy the show, while Lisa wanders off on her own. When she gives one of the players advice which leads to him scoring a goal, she receives his hockey stick as a gift. However, termites which were living in the stick end up eating away at the entire Simpson house. An exterminator says their house must be tented and fumigated, and they cannot return for six months. However, the family has no place to go as the only hotel they can afford is booked for months. At Moe's Tavern, Barney and Carl inform the Simpsons about a reality show, where a family is put in a Victorian house in which they must live as if it was the 19th Century. Homer is reluctant at first, but the family decides to apply for the reality show.
At the studio, the executives screen many families and finally they settle on the Simpsons, after viewing Homer's overreactions over nothing. They are taken to the Victorian house and shown around by the network executive, who says that they will be filmed at all times. The only thing of the 20th century there is a "Confessional Room", which is a small room with a video camera where they say what they feel about the lifestyle. The family struggles with all of the drastic changes in their daily life and are pretty miserable, much to the delight of the show's audience, who cannot wait to see which of them dies first. Homer tries to lighten up the family, saying they should be glad to be on television, and they begin to conform to their new lives cheerily. This is not deemed as entertaining, however, and viewership begins to drop. In an attempt to save the show, the executives decide to introduce Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley into the household, since he is the biggest 1970s television star whose phone has not been disconnected. But his presence does not boost the ratings, even when he zaps Homer with a taser. Finally, one of the executives comes up with an idea; the house is airlifted at night and put into a river.
The Simpsons are shocked to find what had happened the next morning (there is a blooper where homer comes back into the house after falling into the river and he is shown talking to the camera with the producers of the show replying to him with no way for homer to be able to hear them) The house finally washes up on shore and falls apart, with Squiggy in it. The network crew is filming it and loving the drama that unfolds. They then break for lunch, but deny the Simpsons any of it so they go to eat some bugs. Later on, the family is confronted by a bunch of savage-looking people, who turn out to be contestants who lost a final challenge on a Survivor-type show and were abandoned in the jungle. They decide to overpower the crew and return to civilization. Together with the Simpsons, they attack the crew, overpowering them. Finally at home, Homer decides to watch scripted television shows, as he has had it with reality shows.