One day the citizens of South Park wake up to find the Internet is gone. When Randy hears there may still be some Internet out in California, he packs up his family and heads west in search of a signal. Shortly after crossing the California border, the Marshes arrive at a refugee camp where they are rationed to only seconds of Internet a day. Randy doesn't know how much longer he can last without unlimited access to the World Wide Web.
The Marsh family are performing various online activities: Stan is browsing randomly, Shelly Marsh is iChatting with her online boyfriend Amir from Montana, and Randy is (discreetly) watching internet porn. Sharon sends them all to bed for the night, insisting that the internet will still be there the next morning.
The next morning they discover that they have no internet connection. They then hastily walk to the Broflovskis' house to use their internet connection, but soon find that the internet does not work there, either. Both families head to Starbucks for free wireless internet, but when they arrive it soon becomes apparent that the entire town's internet connection is down. The TV news, which has nothing to report without the Internet, gives vague rumors of Internet access in Silicon Valley. After eight days without internet, the Marsh family decides to "head out Californee way". As they spend the night in a transient camp, a man delivers a monologue that California is so crowded from other travelers that there is "not enough internet to go around."
When the Marshes reach California, they are placed in a Red Cross "Internet refugee camp" which is so overcrowded that each family is only permitted 40 seconds of Internet access a day. Which Randy says is "not even long enough to check Wikipedia." Shelly is angry that she is unable to communicate with Amir, and subsequently beats up Stan repeatedly out of frustration.
Randy quickly becomes agitated and complains to a guard that he has not jacked off in over two weeks. Randy explains to the guard that he has become so used to being able to find any fetish he wanted with a click of a mouse that he "can't exactly go back to Playboy." Following the guard's refusal to help, Randy encounters a fellow traveler who informs him that many men have come to California because of the same problem. The traveler offers to Randy an "Internet Porn Simulator", a tent with a cardboard computer in which an unseen man displays crudely drawn pictures. Randy leaves disappointed, telling the traveler that it's "just not the same". The man then charges Randy $49 on his credit card, to which Randy replies "Well at least that part's the same." Afterwards, the camp's computer is locked inside for the night. Randy decides to sneak in to use it secretly, looking up bizarre sexual fetishes such as "Japanese girls puking in each other's mouths," "Brazilian fart porn" and bestiality. As he masturbates while watching pornography, his loud moans attract attention and he is discovered in front of the computer covered head-to-toe in semen. He tries to explain that "a spooky ghost" slimed him with ectoplasm. A guard discovers that Randy has used up the little amount of connection they have left.
Meanwhile, the government has attempted to find a way to fix "the internet," a large machine resembling a giant Linksys wireless router, which has stopped functioning for an unknown reason. Several fruitless attempts are made to repair it: negotiating with it, communicating with it musically, and even shooting at it. Acting on a hunch, Kyle disconnects and reconnects its power cord. The network indicator now glows green to indicate that nationwide Internet access has been re-established, much to everyone's surprise.
Back at the camp, everybody discovers that their laptops are working and rejoice at the return of the Internet. Shelly, ecstatic that she will now be able to communicate with Amir, suddenly hears a boy call out her name. It is the actual Amir, whose family had also traveled across the country to get Internet. The two are awkward around each other, and make plans to e-mail each other instead of communicating in-person.
Randy delivers a speech wearing a Native American-esque outfit, warning about overuse of "natural resources" (a parody of the long monologue speech that Steven Seagal gives about the environment at the end of On Deadly Ground). Randy says that people should learn from the experience and stop "over-logging on", because they may be unprepared as a result if the Internet is lost permanently. He advises people to stop browsing pointlessly, to only use it when truly necessary and to only view porn "twice a day... max."
Behind The Scenes
Pop Culture References
While most of the episode is a parody of The Grapes of Wrath, other works referenced include a parody of Steven Seagal's speech from the ending of On Deadly Ground, and the five-note musical motif used to communicate with aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
While Randy searches the camp to satisfy his urges, a Visitor can be seen above the tent he is about to enter.
Peterson makes another random appearance by jumping on the hood of Gerald's car as they are on the way to Starbucks.