The episode opens with Dawn training Piplup for their next Contest battle while Ash, Brock and their Pokémon look on. Piplup is excited about its good skills in training and collapses from exhaustion. Meanwhile, Team Rocket are complaining about walking up a slight grade, with noticeable signs of putting on weight. Though a bit portly around the edges, the exhausted Team Rocket's stomachs begin to rumble, and Meowth mentions that an all-you-can-eat restaurant is up ahead.
The three recount their days working at the summer school and eating tons of food. The three then get into a small dispute about Jessie's impersonation of Jessilina. At the Pokémon Center, Nurse Joy says that Piplup will be just fine and mentions that the reason for Piplup's exhaustion is over training. Dawn is worried for Piplup's outcome, and everyone agrees to take everything a little easier.
At the buffet, Team Rocket is gorging themselves with masses of food and the plates are stacking up. Jessie notices that Meowth's charm is beginning to sink into his forehead. And James pushes it in almost submerging it in Meowth's head, and says it's like "cream cheese". The three all laugh at each other for being just a bit pudgy. Jessie gets angry and institutes an immediate work out session to become a "fighting machine". They all have their dreams of success (Jessie as an actress, Meowth on Giovanni's lap and James with training). They decide to go back to the basics and become like their days of old, when they began to try to capture Pikachu. When Team Rocket is just about to leave, an old couple calls them "a couple of nice youngsters" when they give up their table to them. They feel the guilt of being nice.
Back at the Pokémon Center, Dawn sits at Piplup's bedside and Piplup wakes up. Dawn begins to cry out of sorrow for all the things that have caused Piplup to collapse from exhaustion. Piplup falls asleep in Dawn's arms. Dawn walks out to find Ash talking to Professor Oak who Dawn still calls "The Poetry Man". Professor was telling Ash about Gliscor about its weak spots and to pay attention to agility when raising his Gliscor. Professor Oak recommends to Dawn to exchange information with other Trainers and coordinators. Team Rocket are beginning their exercise routine, including Wobbuffet, Mime Jr. and Carnivine.
Back at the Pokémon Center, Brock, Ash and Sudowoodo are helping Nurse Joy by doing the dishes, as well as Chimchar and Ambipom. Swinub tries to eat the food for everyone, but Staravia and Turtwig protects the food knowing full well of Swinub's eating habits. Buneary shows herself off in the mirrored side of a counter and Pikachu and Happiny sigh. Croagunk just looks at itself in shiny metal. Everyone gets hungry and Ash begs Brock to make some food. Brock is caught in a trance in helping Nurse Joy. He goes into a small story about his need to help Nurse Joy and day dreams about his little romances, which Croagunk undoubtedly interrupts.
Team Rocket then appear in a fast moving car heading towards the Pokémon Center thinking about their new-old selves. They are planning a heist like they did in Viridian City. They got into the Pokémon Center without attracting attention. They split into two teams: Jessie and James on one and Meowth and the other Pokémon in the other. Meowth and the other Pokémon begin to stuff stolen Poké Balls into Carnivine's mouth, but Carnivine can't hold all the Poké Balls and spits out a couple, which hit the ground waking Piplup up. Piplup walks into the hallway and Piplup screams to grab the attention of all the others. Everyone claims that their Pokémon have been stolen and Nurse Joy says that the repository is empty. Ash and friends run out and see Team Rocket.
Team Rocket begins its motto from the old days. They begin a Pokémon battle and Team Rocket retreats to their car. Their car turns into one of their new mechas, with the captured Poké Balls. Piplup uses BubbleBeam and creates a huge bubble blocking Team Rocket's sight. Pikachu uses Iron Tail to dislodge the pod carrying the stolen Poké Balls and it falls to the ground, which Happiny catches. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt to cause the machine to fail, and then explode, causing Team Rocket to fly and "blast off again". Meowth comments that their original mecha was also vulnerable to electric attacks, revealing he intentionally disregarded it. Nurse Joy thanks Ash and friends, and Brock gets sad and goes into his sappy mood about having to leave Nurse Joy. Ash and friends head to Celestic Town.
- Professor Oak's Pokémon Lecture: Ash's Gliscor
- Both Team Rocket Forever and Face Forward Team Rocket! are used as background music.
- Double Trouble was used in the dub replacing the latter as well.
- Music from Pokémon Heroes is used.
- Team Rocket used their original motto in this episode, and the background music used in it from the original series can also be heard. James displayed his famous rose as well.
- This makes it the first (and so far the only) time Dawn hears their original motto.
- Team Rocket makes a reference to their first machine being vulnerable to Electric attacks, similar to theirs in this episode.
- Meowth tells Wobbuffet, Mime Jr. and Carnivine to return to the basics, even though none of these Pokémon were in the original Team Rocket.
- A girl who is seen in the Pokémon Center telling Dawn how she raised her Glaceon has a design very similar to Pietra from Right on, Rhydon!.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Mew in an episode of the anime (although it is merely in one of Meowth's fantasies). As a result, this means that all of the Generation I Pokémon have appeared in an episode of the anime at some point.
- The disguise Team Rocket wears in this episode looks very similar to The Black Arachnid's, especially when Meowth appears, which the Black Arachnid also owns.
- The dub's title is a pun on the phrase, "a lean mean fighting machine".
- Ash and Team Rocket read the title card.
- In the European Portuguese dub, only Ash and James read the title card. The reason of this is unknown.
- This episode marks the first time Brock is hit by Croagunk during a daydream, instead of really flirting with a girl.
- The transformation of Team Rocket's car resembles the car-to-robot transformation often seen in the Transformers series. This also happened during a previous episode.
During the beginning of the episode, Wobbuffet was shown completely normal-weight, contradicting his chubby appearance in the next scene.