The episode begins with Gumball speaking about freedom with the rest of the Wattersons, who are ordering food in the Joyful Burger restaurant. After reducing their order due to Richard's appetite, Larry scans Nicole's credit card. The card does not go through and Larry states that it has insufficient funds, and the family discovers that their credit funds are non-existent. Anais immediately blames her dad responsible, and Richard replies that he deposited their funds in an offshore bank account, but what he really did was throw the money into the sea. Nicole is so enraged about this that she transforms into a huge muscular beast getting ready to severely scold him, but she is calmed down by Richard's "irresistible charm." Realizing that they are now flat broke, the family cries lots of tears which Nicole tells them to drink up since this is the only water they will get. Larry, however, offers them a solution to their money trouble, a commercial of a family eating at Joyful Burger. He says they are the perfect candidates for the role, but Gumball refuses to let the family sell themselves for easy money and convinces them that they will manage themselves in poverty and dignity.
At night, Gumball freaks out at the sight of the empty fridge and Nicole explains that with no money they have nothing. Gumball asks why they listened to him and Anais said that he was right that they should never give up their pride for money. With these setbacks, the family gets ready for bed in their now dark home due to their electricity being cut.
The next morning, Gumball wakes up outside on the roof and luckily falls on top of a sofa which is being repossessed, along with all their stuff, while Nicole just stands there hurling hurtful insults at the repo men. She is about to unleash her wrath on the man who comes to repossess her car when Richard comes back after selling the car for one hundred dollars since he accidentally wrecked it on the way.
With their home completely devoid of all possessions, Gumball tries to cheer them up by telling them to use what they have not lost yet: their imaginations. He sings a song about the joys of imagination, much to the family's annoyance. They turn on Gumball and angrily use their imagination against him since he is responsible for them refusing to sell out. They try to reason with him that advertisement can be done in a discreet manner but Gumball reminds them that their credibility is all they have left; he is proven wrong when the repo men take what remains of their house, including the grass. Despite losing everything, Gumball says that their pride as the Wattersons is all they need. But suddenly, Gumball loses his colors, Anais' mouth begins to glitch, and Darwin looks like he was animated by a little kid. They realize that without money, they are nothing— the show has no budget for animation. The environment starts glitching and degrading due to loss of budget for 3D effects. Nicole then declares that their principles are not worth it and they must sign the contract before Elmore degrades to nothing.
The family runs toward the mall to get to Larry but on the way they lose all their colors and motion animation. They then take the bus to the mall but the glitch begins to infect everything they touch. The bus, the neighborhood, and even the sound begins to degrade and glitch. When they reach the mall, their environment is reduced to a storyboard and when they finally reach Larry, they are further reduced to sticky notes. Once they sign the contract, the world returns to its normal animation quality except for Gumball who still refuses to sell out. However, he finally changes his mind when Larry shows him how much Joyful Burger is willing to pay them, and accepts the offer.
The episode ends showing the ad of Joyful Burger with the Wattersons dressed in 80s fashion and enjoying the food at the restaurant.
[The episode starts with the Wattersons at Joyful Burger in the mall]
Gumball: Look at me. What do you see? I'm still a child. Nothing in my life has been decided yet. I am free. I haven't sold out to a job I hate, I don't have to be part of this dirty rat race that ruined the world chasing money I don't need to buy stuff I don't want, I'm free to make my own choices! So yes, Larry, I will have fries with that.
Nicole: Sorry, it's just another phase. Last week, he only wanted to eat food he hunted himself.
Anais: He broke down when he had to chop the baby carrots.
Gumball: Are you implying I don't live up to my own beliefs?
Anais: Do you know what implying means?
Anais: Then yes.
Nicole: Stop making fun of your brother's principles. He might take it as a challenge and make our lives a nightmare.
Larry: So that's three kids' meals, a salad, and forty-seven double cheeseburgers.
Nicole: Forty-seven?! Richard!
Richard: Relax! I asked for Swiss cheese. It's healthier.
Nicole: What? How?
Richard: It's got holes in it.
Nicole: [Sighs] Let's make that one cheeseburger and some carrot sticks.
Richard: What?! If you don't feed me properly, how do you expect me to keep my six-pack?
Darwin: Your what?!
Richard: [Grabs his belly and squishes it] You'll miss this when it's gone.
[Gumball, Darwin, Anais, and Nicole look surprised and grossed out at Richard's "six-pack"]
Larry: That's seventeen bucks, fifteen cents.
[Nicole hands her credit card over to Larry, who then swipes the card through the ATM, which then buzzes]
Larry: I'm sorry, the card has been declined. It says "insufficient funds."
Nicole: I don't understand. There should be money on that card. Where's it all gone?
Anais: Hmm... I don't want to point the finger, but... [Points at Richard] Dad! What did you do with the money?
Richard: Well, I did what all the business sharks do to avoid getting taxed. I transferred it to an off-shore bank account.
Nicole: [Glares at Richard] Richard, what exactly have you done with my-- I'm sorry, our-- No, wait, actually, my money?
Richard: Like I said, I put it off-shore.
[Flashback to when Richard threw a suitcase full of money off the shore of a dock]
Richard: [Back in the present] But not before converting it into gold.
[The flashback continues and ends with the suitcase sinking into the sea. Back in the present, Nicole gets furious. Her eyes start to glow and her muscles grow bigger]
Richard: Don't worry, kids! I'll calm her down with my irresistible charm!
[Richard grabs his belly again, but this time, he forms it in the shape of a heart, which calms Nicole down immediately. She turns back to her normal self]
Nicole: We're broke.
[The family starts crying]
Nicole: Wait, we can't afford the water bills now. This is all we got. Drink up.
[The family drinks the water from their tears from the floor]
Larry: Okay, there might be a less gross solution. We're filming a commercial for Joyful Burger in here later.
Larry: So, you guys are the ideal Joyful Burger family.
Nicole: What do you mean?
Larry: Not too attractive, not too intelligent, totally dysfunctional, you guys have got it all! And, [Sing-song voice] you'll get pa-aid!
Nicole: Where do we sign?
Gumball: No! We're not gonna let ourselves be reduced to some clichés for a quick corporate buck! We're the Wattersons, and we don't sell out. [Holds the contract and makes a sound like burning it with fire]
Larry: What's that?
Gumball: I symbolically burned it. Because I'm not allowed to use a real lighter.
Gumball: Wait, are you guys already convinced? I haven't even done my rant about how the little fish got together and they...
[Gumball throws the contract in the air, which Larry catches. Gumball catches up with the family, so his dialogue gets quieter]
[Cut to a view of the Wattersons' house that night. Gumball suddenly screams and the family runs to the kitchen, where Gumball is]
Nicole: Now what?
Gumball: The fridge!
Nicole: [Looks in the fridge] What? There's nothing in here.
Gumball: Exactly! Where's all the food?
Nicole: Gumball, you were the one who wanted us to keep our dignity and not sell out. This is what happens when you can't buy things. You don't have things.
Gumball: Then why did you all listen to me?!
Anais: Because no matter how hard it is for me to admit, you were [Gags]... you were [Gags again]... Darwin, you tell him. It's making me gag.
Darwin: What she's trying to say is, you're right. We shouldn't sell out.
Gumball: [Smacks his lips] Funny, I thought victory tasted sweeter.
Darwin: What does it taste like?
[Gumball tries to think of what victory tastes like, but Richard sticks his finger into Gumball's mouth and sticks it into his own mouth to try to "taste" victory before Gumball can say anything]
Richard: [Shivers] Kinda like hunger.
[Everyone sighs. Then, Richard moves his hand to get another taste of victory but Gumball slaps it away. He does this a second time, and gets slapped again]
Gumball: Look, we might have run out of food, but we've still got each other.
[Everyone hugs each other. As they are doing so, the electricity goes out. The kids scream when this happens]
Richard: Hey, let's not panic. I'm sure there's a perfectly rational explanation for this. We've just been kidnapped and we're all wearing blindfolds.
[The kids scream again]
Nicole: Guys, stop! It's because we haven't paid the electric bill. There's no power. We may as well just go to bed.
[Everyone goes to bed, but since there is no power, they cannot see where they are going; random cars drive by the house, their headlights illuminating the house briefly four times. The first time this happens, we see the family trying to walk out of the kitchen but not actually moving; the second time, we see the family stuck in a doorway; The third time, they try to walk up the stairs, but Gumball, Anais, Nicole and Richard do not move, even though they are trying to walk; Darwin mistakes the rest of the family for the stairway and falls; the fourth time, everyone is in the bathroom, getting ready, but everyone takes the wrong part of the bathroom; Gumball uses the toilet as the sink, Darwin uses the sink as the toilet, Anais uses a shoelace as dental floss, Nicole uses the toothpaste as face mascara and Richard uses the toilet brush as a toothbrush; the cars finally stop driving by after the bathroom part of the scene]
Nicole: There you go, all tucked up tight. Good night, kids.
Gumball, Darwin and Anais: Night, mom!
[A car drives by one more time to show the kids' room empty]
[Fade in to a shot of the kids sleeping on the roof. Darwin is sleeping in a glass vase, Gumball is sleeping with newspapers as blankets and Anais is sleeping under a garbage bag. Gumball wakes up and falls onto the couch, which is being repossessed]
Spray-Paint Bottle: I've been sent to repossess your car.
[Nicole's eyes glow and her muscles grow bigger again]
Richard: Hey, I've got a hundred bucks for the car!
Nicole: [Suddenly reverts back to her normal form] Only a hundred? But that car was worth far more than that!
Richard: Well, you know how things depreciate in value.
Nicole: Richard, how much could it have depreciated in the time it took to drive from here to the car dealer?
Richard: Well, I found a dollar in the glove compartment, so I went to that new drive-thru convenience store.
Gumball: The convenience store isn't a drive-thru.
[Flashback from a surveillance camera where Richard crashes into the convenience store]
Richard: Heh! It is now. Anyways, this is all I could get for it at the junkyard.
[Gumball and Nicole facepalm. Richard does the same thing a second later, and the Spray-Paint Bottle takes the one-hundred dollar bill from him and runs off]
Times Are Hard
[Cut to shots of the Watterson's house, now stripped of its furniture. After that, cut to a shot of the family. Richard's stomach growls]
Gumball: Look, guys. I get it. Times are hard. But we have something that they can never take away from us. The dishwasher! We could sell it and—
Anais: They took that.
Gumball: What?! How?! The whole thing was built in! Okay... how about... [Gasps, then talks in a high-pitched voice] Our imaginations! [Normal voice] Can they take that?
[Everyone else sighs]
Gumball: Then what's to stop us from sitting on our imaginary sofa? [Pretends to sit on a couch] Or drinking an imaginary soda? [Pretends to open a can of soda and drink it] Can you taste it? [Starts singing]It's sweeter than the most expensive cola! Just imaginate along with me and I'll imaginate with you! Imaginate the things you want and we'll imaginate them true! Just imaginate a private jet that comes with its very own private crew, or imaginate your favorite pet and it's a pony just for you.
Anais: [Spoken] Gumball, "imaginate" is not a word.
Gumball: Imaginate a swimming pool full of hundred dollar bills! Imaginate a mansion too, up in the Hollywood hills! Just imaginate cosmetic surgery to make you look eighteen![Nicole looks surprised, but then glares at Gumball]Imaginate a butler who will treat you like the Queen of England!
Anais: [Spoken] "Imaginate" is still not a word.
Gumball: [Mainly to Nicole] Just dream with me.
Nicole: I imaginate a ninja kicks your butt!
[Gumball gets beaten, gains black eyes as his family gets angry at him]
Richard: I imaginate you're tasered in the gut!
[Gumball gets "shocked" twice]
Darwin: I imaginate your head is full of pus!
[Gumball's head swells, eyes become red]
Anais: And I imaginate you get hit by a bus!
[Gumball gets "run over"]
Anais: [Spoken] Darn it! I said "imaginate".
Gumball: OK, OK, I get the message. But you did all agree we shouldn't sell out.
Darwin: You know, Gumball, advertising is not necessarily selling out. It can be done in a discreet and tasteful manner. [He lifts his hand, revealing that he is holding a Joyful Burger drink. He takes a sip, then winks at the viewer]
Gumball: What? Who are you talking to?
Anais: I think what Darwin is trying to say is that advertising doesn't need to feel forced or fake. It can be done in a subtle and natural way.
[Anais hops to the side of the screen, revealing a Joyful Burger poster behind her]
Richard: [Suddenly in full Joyful Burger merch, with a Joyful Burger sticker over his mouth] Just because you take their money doesn't mean you're a corporate puppet with no voice of your own.
Gumball: [Takes the sticker off Richard's mouth] Look, whatever it is you're trying to say, it's not gonna work.
Nicole: How about we do it in another country? Nobody will ever know.
[Cut to an over-the-top Japanese Joyful Burger ad]
[Back in the real world, Nicole is making the same pose as in the commercial]
Gumball: Come on, guys! We have to keep our credibility! It's all we have left! There's nothing else we can lose!
[Cut to a view of the Watterson's entire house being taken away. One of the men who repossessed the furniture earlier drags a grass "rug" off of the family's feet]
Gumball: Well, we lost everything, but hey! At least we stayed true to ourselves. We're still the Wattersons.
[Gumball suddenly loses all of his color]
Darwin, Anais, Nicole and Richard: What's going on?
Gumball: I guess it's like what people say! Without money, you're nothing.
Anais: Yeah, literally. [As she says this, her mouth starts moving rapidly]
Gumball: What's wrong with your mouth?
Anais: I don't know! What's wrong with his face?
[Darwin appears similar to a crudely-drawn pencil drawing]
Darwin: [In a slurring, goofy voice] Ahh! What are we going to do?!
[The background suddenly starts to disintegrate, causing some of its polygons to disappear]
Gumball: Ahh! Actually, I think it's way worse than that. When you don't have money, your whole world falls apart!
Nicole: OK, the time for principle is over. We're going to Joyful Burger and we're going to do that ad!
Getting to Joyful Burger
[The family is running to Joyful Burger when they start to lose their color and their animation decreases]
Gumball: Come on, we're not gonna make it in ti-ME!
[The family falls before Gumball can complete his sentence, revealing they have become sketch stills]
Richard: [Mouth not moving] How do we get there!? And how am I saying this!?
Gumball: Let's take the bus!
[The family gets in the bus]
Gumball: Rocky! We need to get to the mall so we can sell out and make a load of cash!
Rocky: Oh, sure. No probs- [Starts to glitch out before he can finish his sentence]
[The bus starts moving but the glitching begins to infect the bus and everything it comes in contact with. The Wattersons scream as the bus glitches out of control but their screams are temporarily switched to lovely-sounding tweeting birds as the sound begins to cut in and out as well. The bus then glitches into the air before falling back down smoothly, phasing through the ground. The bus then hits Doughnut Sheriff and Mr. Robinson who were glitched as well]
Donut Sheriff: Arrrgh!!!
Gaylord: ROAD HOoOoGGS!!!
[The bus continues to glitch and the Wattersons continue to scream as the bus begins to break down. The sound begins to drop in quality as well]
Gumball: We need to get out of here!
[The family jumps out of the bus as it continues to disintergrate to nothing. The family then runs towards the mall]
Nicole: We got to sign that contract before there is nothing left of Elmore!
[The environment then immediately switches from a barely 3D environment to a storyboard as the Wattersons are running through the Mall Parking lot]
Richard: [Muffled] We're... almost... there!
Gumball: [Muffled] Are you sure? Cos' it doesn't look like we're moving.
[The panels then begin to speed up as the Wattersons are apparently moving faster than before]
Darwin: [Muffled] AAARGH! Too faaast!!!
Gumball, Darwin, Anais, Nicole and Richard: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOAH!!!
[Their speed boosts up, which allows them to break through the storyboard panel borders and tear through the entrance of the mall. After they crash through the door, the environment is reduced to a hand-drawn background and the Wattersons become sticky notes]
Gumball: [Muffled] Where's Joyful Burger?!
Nicole: [Muffled] It's that way! [Points in a direction]
Anais: [Muffled] Err... it's over there. [Sticks her thumb in the opposite direction]
[Nicole's arm is suddenly erased]
Nicole: AAAAAAAHHH!!!! [Only for it to be drawn back pointing in the right direction] Oh. I meant that way.
[The Wattersons run into Joyful Burger, now crude post-it note drawings]
Nicole: We'll do the commercial!
Larry: [In a computer-generated voice with Australian accent] Then hurry up before it's too late!
[The Wattersons, except Gumball, all sign the contract, causing their animation and the environment to revert back to normal, while Gumball remains a sticky note]
Nicole: Quick, Gumball!
Richard: Come on, sign it!
[The camera cuts to Gumball, still a post-it note drawing. He grabs the pencil on the contract]
Gumball: [Puts down pencil] Wait. Are we really going to become clichés of ourselves just to sell a few burgers? Isn't there a way to survive in this world without selling out? Not everything has a price! Some things are more precious than money! Like dignity! Freedom! Love! Sorry, Larry, but you could have all the money in the world and you still couldn't afford the Wattersons!
Larry: [Normal voice] Mm-hmm... This is what they're paying.
[Larry shows Gumball the contract, which presumably shows the amount of money they will be paid on it. Gumball stares at it blankly for a few seconds before the screen cuts to a TV]
The Joyful Burger Commercial
Gumball: Mom, I got an "F" in math!
Nicole: But... why?
Gumball: Dad ate my homework! Again!
Richard: But Anais said it had pie in it!
Anais: Dad! I meant pi! As in math! You know, three point one four one five nine-
Nicole: Alright, alright! You know what I think we need?
[Richard, Anais and Gumball all gasp]
Commercial Singer: Some days you wanna take it easy and free, with some country goodness for your family! Kick on back and smile for a while, have a Joyful Burger, do it in style!
[The family stands in front of Joyful Burger as Darwin beatboxes towards them, walking backwards]
Darwin: Finally, a place I can call home! Thank you Joyful Burger!
[The family fake laughs as the Joyful Burger logo shows up on the screen]