"Low Budget" is the twenty-first episode of Kim Possible, and also the last episode of the show's first season (though it is the fifteenth episode in production order). Kim tangles with Frugal Lucre, the world's cheapest villain.
In a marsh, under a mangrove tree, Ron and Kim are helping a man named Jerry load boxes out of his big orange boat, and onto a smaller, white motor boat. Kim thanks him for helping her with her marine biology homework, and he says that with all she has done to help him and his company save the matinees, it's the least he can do. Rufus leans down the side of the bigger boat, staring down into the water. A manatee comes up to the surface, and Rufus, startled, jumps high in the air and runs over to Ron, colliding with his face. When Ron sees what his companion has panicked about, he shouts out that a strange creature in the water is after them. Kim corrects him by telling him what species the animal is, implying that it isn't dangerous in the least, which Jerry agrees with.
There is the sound of loud laughter, and a fan boat passes by with a great splash of water, and Jerry continues talking, saying that unlike the manatee, not everyone in the area is pleasant. The fan boat comes by once more and nearly collides into the marine animal, who has to duck to avoid serious head injury, and Ron angrily shouts after the two drivers. Kim decides to go talk to them, and jumps onto the back of the boat as it passes by again. Surprised, the two men driving it turn around to face her. Kim tells them that they are in a natural wildlife preserve. They are not sorry in the least, and mock her by saying that they are the wildlife. She pulls out her compact mirror, and the shortest of the two men laughs, saying she wants to make herself pretty, while the other one says that it is because they are extremely handsome. Full of disdain for them, Kim places her compact mirror on the backside of the fan, where it sticks. A little grappling hook shoots out, and attaches itself to the trunk of a mangrove. Kim jumps off the boat and into the water. The rope connecting the hook to the compact mirror grows taunt, and with the force of the boat still being propelled forward, the fan is ripped clean off. The two men fall into the water, and the ship sinks while Kim begins to swim back toward the shore. Ron cheers for Kim and tells her to take a victory lap, but Jerry says that might not be such a good idea and pints out a crocodile entering the water. Kim notices the crocodile and dives underwater to try to get away from it, but it follows her. Ron throws a life preserver to Kim, but the crocodile leaps and rips it apart with it's teeth, with Ron remarking how donuts always fill him up. After Kim comes up for air, Ron cries to her to swim and Kim swims as hard as she can with the crocodile closing in. Kim manages to reach the ladder and begins to climb up, but the crocodile reaches her and bites down hard creating a large splash.
Kim asks Ron how bad it is, and Ron holds up her pants apologizing and saying that they're destroyed. Kim, who's now wearing a massive manatee shirt to cover her exposed legs, is upset saying that the pants were brand new Club Banana pants. Kim asks Jerry where the closest Mall is. Jerry says the closest one is in Miami, but says not to worry as there's a store right in town which has everything.
The store turns out to be a Smarty Mart, where according to Ron "smart shoppers shop smart". Kim thinks ill of it saying that it's "so, discounty", but Ron says that it's great and pulls her inside. Inside, they are greeted by a sales associate who offers them a map, and Ron says that Kim needs pants. Kim then says that they're not to wear, but just to have as it's an emergency and she would not be here otherwise. The associate says that emergency pants are in aisle 10, and Ron leads Kim there as the associate wishes them a "happy Smarty Mart shopping". Ron tells Kim that Smarty Mart is a perfectly respectable place to shop, mentioning that it happens to be where he bought Rufus with the two of them fondly saying at the same time "aisle 16". Kim says that she's not shopping for livestock. She's shopping for pants, as in fashion, as in not Smarty Mart. Ron says that he buys clothes at Smarty Mart, which causes Kim to look at him closely for a second before turning away and shivering. Kim walks away, but Ron asks what's wrong.
Kim later checks out the pants while wearing them and the cashier says that they're $5.99, which Ron points out is ten times less than what she would've had to pay for the same pants at Club Banana. Kim pays for the pants and says that they are not the same. Ron calls Kim a "retail snob", which Kim says she's not before telling him that they need to get home before the Middleton mall closes. Ron is okay with this, then points out that Smarty Mart never closes. Kim yells at Ron for what he said, but Ron says that he said nothing before following her.
Later at the Middleton Mall, Kim waits in a bush asking Ron if he's ready to go. She notices that Ron isn't there and sees him looking at a wrestling match between Pain King and Steel Toe on a bunch of TV's in Victoria's Circuit. Kim chastises him for goofing off saying they're on an important mission, but Ron asks how buying the same pair of pants she has on is a mission. Kim once again says that Smarty Mart pants and Club Banana pants are "so not the same", then asks a sighing Ron to get out of there before someone sees her. Bonnie then sees Kim and sees what pants she's wearing and mockingly asks her if it was double coupon day at Smarty Mart. Kim tries to make a comeback by asking Bonnie if she's heard that discount is the new vintage. Bonnie is not fazed, however, and says that she can't wait to tell the rest of the squad that Kim is a Smarty Mart shopper before walking away. Kim then points out to Ron that no one cares if the pants were ten times less if they're not the same. Ron then tells Kim to chill and to not let Bonnie get her cheap pants in a bunch.
Just then, the wrestling match is interrupted by a mysterious broadcast. On the screen appears a mysterious man with a fake mustache and beard (because they fall off twice while he is speaking) and a bad accent who introduces himself as Fugal Lucre. He tells them to listen well saying that although he doesn't have a fancy laser weapon or pricey robot army, he does have something that big budget bad guys lack. Ron think's that it's a cheesy accent, but Lucre says it is computer skills. He claims that in 24 hours, the internet as they know it will cease to exist. He says that the information superhighway will crash unless everyone in the world sends him a dollar, or the equivalent at the current rate of exchange. To prove he means business, he had sent everyone a "little email". He then laughs manically where his beard and mustache fall off again, before the TV returns to normal. Kim tries to call up Wade, but the Kimmunicator isn't working. Kim and Ron find it wierd thinking that Lucre may have done it, but Ron brushes off the thought saying that it must just need new batteries.
In Club Banana, Kim holds up a pair of pants, but Ron says that she has pants and tells her to ask for batteries. Kim angrily says that he doesn't understand and that she needs these pants. She brings them up to the register, but the cashier says that the registers are down. Kim is shocked, and the cashier says that someone whammed the computer system with a gazillion e-cards. Ron realizes it was Frugal Lucre, and the cashier said he toasted everything, even Smarty Mart. Kim asks why she would bring up Smarty Mart, and the cashier explains that Club Banana and Smarty Mart are owned by the same company. Ron then points out that that's why the merchandise is exactly the same, but the cashier also claims that there's a huge difference. Kim then points out to Ron a small Club Banana logo on the left back pocket on the back of the pants. Ron then asks how he missed that with a sarcastic tone of voice. Kim then says that thanks to Frugal Lucre, she has to go home and change, while the cashier says "whatever".
Back at home, Kim throws the pants down to Ron after she's changed, where Ron calls her a "retail snob" again and Kim tells him to shut up. Kim gives the pants to her mother saying that they're for the rag bin. Kim's mother notes that they look brand new, and Kim points out that they're brand new from Smarty Mart, causing Ron to point out what he calls "discountaphobia". Kim's mother says she's surprised at Kim, saying that she's supposed to know labels don't matter. Kim's Dad says that some guys at his lab will only use brand name heat shields, but he's perfectly fine using generic ones that are just as good at half the price. Kim says that you don't wear heat shields, but Kim's Dad says that she'd wish she was wearing them if she was tunneling to the Earth's core.
Kim sighs, and Wade calls up on the Kimmunicator saying that Frugal Lucre crashed his whole system. Ron asks who Lucre is, but Wade says he isn't sure as the broadcast came from over 3,000 places at once. Wade says though that he might have a lead as there was a strange voice in the background. Kim calls it a start and asks Wade to play it back. The message is played back, but the voice can't be understood. Kim asks Wade if he can strip out Lucre, and even though Wade says it won't be easy he does it in a few seconds. Kim asks Wade to add some bass to it, with Ron suggesting he scratch in a chanting monk. Kim looks at him, and Ron says that it could be cool. One part of the voice sounds like "shipers", and Wade suggests that he could be at a shipping yard. Ron is almost certain he's heard this before and asks Wade to slow it down. Wade does and this reveals that the voice is actually "Attention Smarty Mart Shoppers", causing Ron to realize that Lucre was broadcasting from a Smarty Mart. This confuses Kim, as she wonders what kind of self respecting villain broadcasts from a Smarty Mart.
Meanwhile, Lucre is looking at his reflection in his computer monitor trying to practice being more sinister, where it is confirmed that his accent is fake. His boss comes in and addresses him as "Lerman", saying that his 15 minute break is over. He apologizes to his boss and takes off his fake beard and mustache. He then notices a scary look that his boss just made and says he's gonna use that, before laughing manically in his fake accent again.
Later at school, Bonnie mocks Kim again asking if her shirt was 5 for 99 cents, causing Kim to get angry again and stick her tongue out at Bonnie. Ron then says that they could just send Lucre the money, mainly because a dollar each is bargain compared to most evil demands. Kim says that cost is not the issue, and that stopping Lucre is a point of pride. Ron thinks it's because she always has to get her bad guy, but Kim says it's because she needs to shop. Wade appears on Kim's screen and Kim asks what he managed to dig up. Wade says he's had no luck, as Lucre's signal could've originated from any Smarty Mart in the country and there are a lot of them. Ron then mentions that there are 3,000 nationwide with a new store opening every week, this week: Poughkeepsie. Kim asks Ron why he knows that, then admits that she doesn't want to know. She asks Wade to give a freeze-frame on Lucre which he does. He says that he can digitize out the fake beard and mustache, and does so. Kim prints out the picture and says that all they need to do is cross check this photo with the store personnel files and she'll be back in business with Club Banana. Wade calls it a great idea, but says that Smarty Mart security is tight, and that it'll have to be an inside job. He says they need to plug the Kimmunicator directly into a Smarty Mart personnel computer which is in any Smarty Mart store. Ron is overjoyed saying that he needs shampoo and underwear. Kim is not happy but says that it'll at least give her a chance to return the pants.
Kim and Ron go to Smarty Mart, but Kim hides her identity with a blue baseball cap and glasses. She tells Ron to cover her if they come across anyone who might know them. Ron is then greeted by a sales associate named Oscar who knows him and likes him due to the fact that he's a regular customer. He asks who Kim is, and Ron tells him that Kim doesn't want anyone to know she shops here. Kim defiantly says that she doesn't shop here, and Oscar says that she therefore doesn't shop smart. Oscar then slips Ron an advanced copy of the store's next month circular. As Kim walks away, Ron notices a deal on it: 5 pounds of marshmallows for a dollar, and asks Oscar how they do it. Oscar says it is two things, volume and volume. Kim then pulls him away and tells him that they're on a non marshmallow related mission, but Ron remarks how these prices are out of control. Kim says that she'll find the personnel office, and tells Ron to return the pants before walking away. Ron tells her not to worry and that he's focused, but he becomes distracted by the announcement of "brainstorm" on aisle 8, for the next 10 minutes Pop Pop Porter's Pizza Bagels are two for a dollar. Ron and Rufus grab a cart and Ron remarks that they are so there, as they race to get the merchandise.
Meanwhile, Kim sneaks through the Smarty Mart back hallways, avoiding several employees in the process. She accidentally crashes into the Smarty Mart brain mascot who asks if she's lost, but Kim says she's just browsing and the Brain leaves with no trouble. Kim reaches the store personnel office and plugs in the Kimmunicator. Before it's done however, the sales manager returns and sees Kim hiding under the desk, which Kim is able to get out of by pretending she lost and found her contact lens.
Meanwhile, Ron and Rufus are greatly enjoying the sales, but Ron wonders what's taking Kim so long. He thinks that maybe they should go find her, then decides that they could instead get shop towels for $3.99.
The manager believed that Kim came there to apply for a job, and Kim correctly answers questions about the merchandise to buy herself time. Kim impresses the manager and is offered a job, which includes minimum wage and free expired food. Kim tries to play along, until the Kimmunicator beeps to signify that she has the data. She claims that it's an MP3 player, and rushes out much to the manager's confusion.
Meanwhile, Ron is checking out tires. He says that he knows that he doesn't have a car, but he can't resist these prices. Kim then runs up to him and says that she knows that Fugal Lucre is Francis Lerman, which Ron laughs at and remarks that it's no wonder the dude is messed up. Kim says that they only have a few hours to get to Philadelphia before the dollar deadline. Ron then says that they'll need wheels, and points behind him, but Kim pulls him away because she has a better plan. As they run away, Ron says that there was no cash back without a receipt, but hands her a voucher with credit good at any Smarty Mart nationwide, much to Kim's dismay.
Kim and Ron are given a lift by a street-sweeper named Pauli, who says that her campaign for alternate side of the street parking saved his life, with Kim saying that 10,000 windshield fliers is no big. They ring the doorbell to Lucre's house, Ron panics and ducks down to take cover and it is answered by his incredibly sweet mother, with Kim asking if Francis is home. His mother says that he didn't mention that he had friends coming and if he had she would've made more toaster tasties. Ron reaches for one, but Kim slaps away his hand before telling Mrs. Lerman that they thought they'd surprise him. Mrs. Lerman says he'll be thrilled, and says he's in the basement, with her then telling them to make themselves at home. Kim says they will, and they head downstairs.
They sneak in and find Francis, with Kim remarking that it's apparent that he's been using his employee discount. He is happy to see Kim, and picks up a water gun, saying that this is so cool. Ron order him to drop it, calling him a momma's boy, which Lucre denies. He warns them not to come an closer, as the gun is loaded with beef bullion. He implies that it's impossible to get the smell out, and then laughs manically. Kim is disgusted, and Ron says that he's right and to do what he says with the two of them putting their hands up. Mrs. Lerman interrupts by saying that she thought they might be thirsty, so she brought juice sips, which Kim and Ron both take. Francis becomes upset, saying that he's with his friends, and his mother apologizes. She then asks if they want any chips or pretzels, but Kim and Ron both say "no thank you Mrs. Lerman" and she leaves. Lucre says that he knows they're here to stop him, but says that they're too late and that soon the world's fortune will be his. He then laughs again. Ron is confused at his definition of fortune, and Kim points out that he only asked for a dollar per person. Lucre says that like they say at Smarty Mart, "every dollar counts". Kim brushes this off and tells Lucre that he's not a real villain, just a "bargain bad guy". Lucre says that just because he's budget conscious doesn't mean he's not every bit as evil as the other villains. They may have their henchmen and fancy lairs, but he delivers the exact same evil at a fraction of the cost. He tells them to observe, and he pulls a rope which captures the two of them in a net. He then asks them if it is time for him to reveal his evil plan, and Kim tells him to go ahead. He holds up a small inflatable globe which he calls "Frugal Lucre's World", which Ron says is a small world, with Lucre claiming that it was a closeout. He explains that every Smarty affiliate is connected via the internet, and all it takes is one thing to release a commerce crippling virus. He takes it out of his pocket, and Kim believes it to be a ham'n can, though Lucre corrects her by saying it's an expired can of Vienna Sausages. He altered the UPC code to act as the virus trigger, so once it is scanned through check-out his virus will be launched from every single Smarty Mart at the same time, with the effect getting rid of email, chat rooms, online shopping, etc. Kim cannot believe that he's planning to destroy the internet with an old can of meat, and Lucre says that he gets expired foods free and death rays are expensive. He then leaves an inflated pool with hungry snapping turtles in it beneath them in case they try anything cute before leaving. Lucre laughs manically as he leaves, and Ron remarks that he at least has that down as they contemplate the situation they're in.
Rufus tries to bite them out, but the rope is rough and scratching his tongue, and Kim tells him to pretend it's string cheese. Kim gets annoyed at Ron's loud chewing of the lettuce Lucre gave them, so Ron says if she'd rather fall into a pit of ravenous snapping turtles to be his guest. Rufus manages to cut the net and they fall into the edge of the pool. The snapping turtles, however, get scared at this and retreat into their shells. Kim picks one up and remarks that maybe next time Lucre will spring for piranhas. She tells Ron it's time to go as they need to find that can of sausages.
Meanwhile, Lucre checks up on how much money he's received. He believes that he now has a fortune, but becomes shocked that the world has only sent him $17.28. He then dons his fake beard and mustache and sends out another transmission telling the people of the world that they've failed. He says that if they had only bowed to his will, it would've only cost them a mere dollar. He says that in 5 minutes he will destroy the internet and cost them millions of dollars. He then ends by saying if anyone still wants to send in that dollar to do so now, but no one listens to him. As a woman is distracted, Lucre slips the can of Vienna Sausages into her shopping cart, then chuckles evilly as he watches her from behind a shelf.
Kim and Ron arrive at Smarty Mart, where they are greeted by another sales associate, much to Kim's frustration. Ron notices Lucre and points him out to Kim, while Lucre happily watches the woman head to check out her items. Kim confronts Lucre and demands that he cough up the sausages, but Ron becomes disgusted at the implied meaning and asks Kim to rephrase it. Lucre says that they're too late, and that his Vienna surprise is already in place, telling them to observe. Lucre counts down to when the internet will be destroyed, but the can of sausages is not checked with the woman, much to Lucre's surprise. Kim realizes that she must have put them back on the shelf, and Ron says that canned meat is in aisle 22, with Kim remarking how she does not want to even think about how he knows that. Kim says that Lucre planted his virus on an expired can, with Ron saying that Smarty Mart policy is "if it's expired, it's retired", so it should be easy to find. They arrive there and find that much to their dismay, there are a ton of cans to look through.
Lucre then knocks down the Brain Mascot and makes an announcement that they're having a brainstorm on Vienna Sausages: 10 cans for a dollar. Tons of customers rush to aisle 22, and the cans disappear in an instant before Kim and Ron can look at any of them. Ron remarks that that was fast, and Kim says that she'll find Lucre and orders Ron to find that can.
As Kim heads through the toy section, Lucre drives past in a toy car and she tries to follow him. As she nearly reaches him, he rips a hole in a ball bin, causing balls to bounce all over the place and therefore delaying Kim. Lucre heads to the gardening section and laughs, believing he got away, but Kim shows up on a motorized scooter telling him to give it up. Lucre says he'll never give it up and rams the scooter with his car causing Kim to fly and land belly down on a table. He then laughs manically, but accidentally crashes into a forklift carrying boxes of flour.
Meanwhile, Ron begins taking cans of Vienna Sausages from peoples' carts giving customers various reasons for doing so, while Rufus examines them to see if any of them are the right one.
Kim examines the wreck and sees a trail of flour leading to a pants rack. She takes off a pair of pants from the rack, but Lucre is not under it. She then remarks that these pants aren't half bad. Lucre then rams a cart full of clothes into her and laughs again. He begins to run away, and Kim borrows a security tag placer from a sales associate.
Meanwhile, Ron tells a man to give him a can of the sausage saying that future of the internet could be in his hands, but the man refuses to do so because of the extremely low prices. Ron is able to distract the man by telling him to look at the price on some processed cheese, and grabs the can. He sees the expiration date is 1999 and realizes that this is the correct can. He announces this to Kim and she announces back that she has Lucre. She leaps and attaches a security tag to his vest, which activates the alarms as he tries to escape. The sales associate from the front entrance grabs Lucre and leads him back into the store. Ron then eats the expired sausages saying that they're actually pretty good and have a interesting color and taste, much to Kim's confusion and amusement. Kim then admits that Lucre's bargain brand villainy was right up there with big budget evil. Lucre says that Kim may have stopped him this time, but that he will return. He then laughs manically again, then admits that it will depend on whether or not his mom bails him out.
Later at school in the cafeteria, Ron remarks that at $1.50 for a soft pretzel, the cafeteria lady must think he's made of money. He then notices that Kim is actually secretly looking through a Smarty Mart catalog, with Kim remarking that pretzels there are 2 for a dollar. Kim says that the store manager was so grateful that he gave her a $100 gift certificate, and admits that it really is silly to pay designer label prices for the same stuff. She then says that this rule does not apply though to a really really super cool pair of boots at Club Banana. Ron points out the same pair of boots in the Smarty Mart catalog, but Kim says that the Smarty Mart boots come in black, while the Club Banana boots come in Onix (which is just another term for black that some stores use). Ron then puts his hand on his face in frustration, as Kim still hasn't gotten over her "discountaphobia", as the episode ends.
- This is the only time Kim loses her pants instead of Ron.
- She did not "lose" them in the same fashion as Ron routinely does. They were damaged, and is the first of two times.
- When Kim buys her "emergency pants", the clerk allows her to wear the pants and sit on the counter so the label can be scanned. Most stores do not permit this practice because shoplifters tend to try on clothes and then wear them out of the store after removing the tags.
- When Frugal checks to see how much cash people has sent him, he finds out that he has only $17.28, which means that someone has not even sent him a full dollar, assuming that he did not already have the 28 cents.
- The reckless speedboat men at the beginning of the episode are caricatures of the show's creators Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley.
- When Kim and Ron arrive at Francis's door step, Kim's finger is ready to press the door bell in the middle of the door. But when they do a close up, her finger is in the side of the door, getting ready to press the door bell.
- When Kim paid for the Club Banana pants, she pulled the money out of her pocket despite the fact that she was wearing the new pants, in which she wouldn’t have had money within them. Also, the huge shirt Kim was wearing because she needed new pants didn’t have any pockets, so it seems illogical that Kim could pull the money out of her pocket when she didn’t have any pockets to hold the money in the first place.
- When Kim is uploading Frugal's file from the personnel manager's computer (upload in progress), the buttons on the front of the Kimmunicator are missing.
- When Kim and Ron confront Lucre in his house, he traps them in a net. Yet when they first enter the basement, there is no net on the floor.
- When Kim is in disguise to sneak into the personal manager's office, her hair is tied in a ponytail by a band. When she takes off her hat, her hair comes undone on its own, as if it was pulled through the hat's adjuster.
- When Kim was looking at the pants, they are different colors, but when she starts running after Lucre, they're all one color.
- When Kim and Ron enter the Smarty Mart where Francis works, there are no alarms by the doors, but when Kim snaps the alarm tag on his store vest, there are alarms at the store doors all of a sudden.
- When Ron says "Steel Toe versus Pain King!", his mouth doesn't move.
- During the episode when Kim is in her casual clothing her skin is pink, but when she's in her mission clothes, she in her normal tan.
- Smarty Mart is a reference to the big department stores, such as Walmart, in which those stores have nearly everything available and offer huge discounts on their wares.
Home video releases
- Kim Possible: The Complete First Season