Melody comes in from a date one night and finds Brad in bed reading a romance novel. Melody chastises Brad for staying home instead of going on a date. As Melody is about to describe her night to Brad, Danny and Jake show up at their door. Once the guys are invited in, Brad tells them that Mel is about to describe her date. The guys seem strangely amused by the prospect of hearing Melody's account of her date.
Melody describes the guy she went out with in nice, if not glowing, terms. But she is contradicted every step of the way by Danny and Jake. They seem to think the guy was a total loser. The guys confess that they have firsthand knowledge of Melody's date because they were spying on her the whole time, disguised as a couple of bald guys.
Melody's response to the prank leads to inspiration for Danny. The artistic young man decides to create a comic strip entitled The Dud Ranch (The 'e' fell off the sign). The strip is a satire on the lives of the Bar None staff, complete with clever take-offs on their names. Brad becomes 'Drab', Mr. Ernst 'Mr. Earnest', Melody 'Harmony' , Buddy "Buggy" and so on.
When Jake finds him working on The Dud Ranch, Danny reluctantly lets him see his handiwork. Jake is amazed and amused by the strip and he urges Danny to let others see it. Danny, however, is afraid it will offend people and he vows to keep it private. Seeing the commercial potential of Danny's artwork, Jake hatches a plan.
Soon a geeky newspaper man named Roy arrives at the ranch to meet with Jake, who has represented himself to Roy as Danny's manager. Perhaps 'misrepresented' would be the better way to put it, since Danny has no idea he even has a manager. The first person Roy encounters, however, is Brad. It's a love-at-first-sight moment for Roy, but Brad just finds Roy to be something of an oddball. She seems bemused by his reaction to her and by his request to see "Mr. Decker". She points Roy in what she believes to be the right direction and he goes on his on his way. Trying to stay focused, he tells himself not to think about "the girl".
Roy then comes across Lucy and Buddy, both of whom are busy moving a rather odd looking owl statue Mr. Ernst recently bought. Roy introduces himself (telling them he works for The Daily News) and says he has a business matter to discuss with "Mr. Decker". This arouses Lucy's suspicion. She and Buddy escort Roy to the main lodge to meet Jake.
There at the front desk is Jake, improvising a solo percussion performance using a telephone receiver, a stapler and a pen. The introduction is made, and Roy isn't too happy to see how young Jake is. He has pretty much the same reaction when he sees Danny. At this point Danny learns that Jake swiped his art book and submitted the strip to The Daily News. Roy tells Danny that his editor loves The Dud Ranch and wants to run it daily in the paper. Danny is hesitant to go along with this, but Roy strokes his ego enough to get him to change his mind. It's a good thing too, because Roy admits that one of the strips Jake submitted has already been published. At that instant, an angry Melody walks in with a copy of The Daily News demanding an explanation.
Roy has definitely not forgotten about Brad. He lingers around the ranch and repeatedly begs her to go out with him. She turns him down flat each time, but Roy is stubborn. Melody urges Brad to give Roy a chance, but Brad blows off the advice about as easily as she does Roy's request.
The staff is growing ever more upset with the way they are being portrayed in Danny's comic strip. His caricatures have certainly bruised a few nerves. Even "artist manager" Jake becomes angry when he is shown the latest chapter in the Dud Ranch saga. In it is a new character named 'Jerk', a dweeb who got a job at the ranch only because he's the owner's nephew. This hits a little too close to home for Jake. Lucy is angry because of "Lasso" the terrorist ranch hand who is always barking orders.
Danny begins a spin-off venture-drawing caricatures of Bar None guests. Even this leads to disharmony. When one woman's boyfriend laughs hysterically at her portrait, she grabs it and smashes it over his head.
Danny's ego is now well out of control, and he seems to think he is too good to do traditional ranch work. When Brad angrily confronts him about neglecting his chores, Danny lets her know that he has "a better job now". Mr. Ernst has given him the green light to make drawing cartoons his full time job. Brad and Lucy are totally disgusted with his attitude.
Danny makes an overture he hopes will patch things up with his fellow staffers. He shows Brad, Mel and Lucy drawings he has done of them and offers to let them go for $10 each. To his way of thinking, this represents "a good deal" because the signed drawings "could be worth something someday". Naturally, all three ladies reject the offer.
Later, Jake tells Lucy, Melody and Brad about hearing Danny talking in his sleep. He says that Danny appeared to be going over a possible interview in his dream, even submitting questions to himself like a reporter. The four contemplate getting their boss' help to reign in Danny's ego, but that idea might involve telling the clueless Mr. Ernst that he is, in fact, the basis for the 'Mr. Earnest' character. So Lucy suggests they air their grievances directly to Danny at an evening staff meeting.
That evening, the staff members make their case to Danny. Brad urges Danny to think about all the good things they've done for him. Danny tells her he isn't trying to hurt anyone, but Brad says he is. As a frustrated Danny storms off, Jake tells the others they have to do something about Danny.
That something turns out an ugly caricature of Danny and a plan to give the drawing to the artist himself. But Jake comes up with what he thinks is a better idea-try to get the drawing published in The Daily News. He suggests they submit it as a "tribute to the artist". To boost their chances, Jake persuades Brad to use her influence on Roy.
But when Roy shows up moments later asking for Danny, he seems very preoccupied and upset. He barely takes notice of Brad, and doesn't take the time to look at the drawing. The gang senses something is wrong, so they follow Roy as he enters the main lodge. They watch in disbelief as Roy questions Danny about his new cute and nice version of The Dud Ranch. Roy seems horrified when Danny tells him that he's taking the strip in "a new direction". Roy insists that the readers want the strip to be mean, nasty and sarcastic, and won't accept the change. But Danny won't budge. He even rejects Roy's idea for a compromise-alternating mean and nice strips. The result is the end of The Dud Ranch, and Danny's brush with fame and fortune. The old Danny is back, and all is forgiven.
On his way out, Roy inquires about the drawing he was shown when he was walking into the lodge. He now seems interested in possibly printing it because, he now has extra space. But now that The Dud Ranch is history and none of the staff is angry with Danny, no one wants to acknowledge the existence of the caricature. So Jake and the others just try to act like they never wanted any drawing printed. As a curious Danny tries to get a look at what's on the sheet of paper, the others nervously pass it around and crumple it up.
Surprisingly, Brad follows Roy outside. She gets his attention and they both stop to chat. With some reluctance, Brad tells Roy that the ever-dateless 'Drab' character from The Dud Ranch made her take a hard look at herself. She concedes that she may have been too picky and too unwilling to give people a chance. She says she'd like to change and to begin by going out with him. She even suggests some possible activities. Roy turns her down and leaves.
That evening, Melody, Brad, Jake and Buddy throw a mini-celebration for Danny and his return to his normal, humble self. Buddy tells Danny that his father said he was sorry about the demise of the strip. In addition, Buddy reveals that Mr. Ernst was aware that he was the inspiration for 'Mr. Ear-nest'. Everyone is very amused to hear that. Jake says, "Uncle Ben's got a better sense of humor than all of us combined.
Danny shows them the portrait of him that he found in the garbage. Danny assures them he's really not offended, and even offers a good-natured critique of the drawing. .
The episode concludes with Buddy asking Jake to move the weird owl statue into the grill. "We'll tell my dad it flew in there", Buddy says. Jake picks up the owl and walks only a short distance before stumbling and dropping it. When it breaks into dozens of pieces on the ground, everyone gathered starts to laugh. "Mr. Earnest is going to be bummed", Jake says.