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, and Marge purchases a fire-proof safe to protect the family's valuables as a precaution. Each family member places one item in the safe, but after it is closed, the items combine to start a fire that destroys both them and the safe. Refusing to accept the loss of all their memories, Marge decides to restage all of the family photos. One shot captures a celebrity sex scandal (Duffman dating Boobarella, despite Duffman being in a committed relationship with a homosexual man) and allows the Simpsons to 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, provoking several local celebrities to commit embarrassing or criminal acts and then snapping pictures of them. After he gate-crashes Rainier Wolfcastle and Maria Shriver Kennedy Quimby's wedding, the celebrities turn the tables on him by hiring top paparazzo Enrico Irritazio to get photos of Homer on his worst behavior (showering at a fire hydrant, letting Maggie drive while trying to beat up Enrico, and burning a jury duty card). Seeing these photos in the tabloids prompts Homer to give up the paparazzi business temporarily, but Lenny and Carl persuade him to resume his work, using a camera that Moe had hidden in the ladies' room of his tavern. Immediately after Moe gives Homer the camera, two women enter the bar and ask to use the restroom so they can trade bras and panties, infuriating Moe since he's no longer have the camera to spy on them.
Homer bursts in on the celebrities at their favorite nightclub and takes many compromising photos (of which include Sideshow Mel eating the American flag, Paris Texan making out with Milhouse, Drederick Tatum snorting the ashes of Secretariat like cocaine, and Mayor Quimby and Kent Brockman dressed in sexual costumes and roleplaying). Wolfcastle, resigned to having everyone's outrageous acts exposed, asks Homer what he plans to do with the pictures. Homer says that he will not make them public, as long as the celebrities start treating their fans with more respect and stop taking them for granted. Wolfcastle agrees and, in a show of good faith, invites the Simpsons to a barbecue at an offshore "party platform" he owns. Here, Marge shows Wolfcastle a screenplay she has written; he quickly flips through it and turns it down. Not long after the party, though, she and Homer find that Wolfcastle has stolen the idea and turned it into a movie, which is now playing at a local theater. Marge does not mind the idea theft, because, in the end, the movie got made.