Ralph Bighead decides to leave the television animation industry, but when he is forced to create a new show, he lets Rocko, Filburt, and Heffer take charge of his new series, believing that they'll mess it up. But when the show surprisingly becomes a hit, Ralph constantly attempts to sabotage the show.
After 893 successful episodes of the Fatheads cartoon series, the show is coming to an end and Ralph is ready to retire from the world of television animation so he can finally make meaningful art like he always dreamed of. Unfortunately, his executives remind him that he is required to create one more new show before he leaves, according to his contract. So as he returns to his parents' home, where they are having a welcome home party for him, he gives Rocko, Filburt and Heffer free rein in creating a new television show, hoping that their ineptitude will get Ralph out of his contract for good, after hearing Filburt declaring that Heffer's idea of a cartoon salami would get his contract cancelled. When the trio arrive at Bighead Studios, they create a show called "Wacky Delly", which consists on the characters Sal Ami, Betty Bologna and Mr. Cheese, created and voiced by the trio. While thinking up scenarios of the show's pilot, Heffer and Filburt start changing and arguing over the storylines of the show in a capricious manner, which completely annoys Rocko to no end. When Heffer finally interrupts Rocko, asking if the cheese is really necessary at all, Heffer and Filburt start arguing over it. The trio later spend all night animating the characters and photographing the drawings of them onto several film strips. They only have one last thing to do, which is to edit the strips, but Heffer and Filburt continue arguing over the salami and cheese's sequences and end up ruining every scene they developed. Ralph enters the editing room to pick up the finished film and in panic, the three friends give him one of the film strips they edited. Ralph plays the film which turns out to be a huge, clunky, nonsensical mess at the studio theater to the executives and it turns out that, despite how terribly-made the film is, they love it, much to Ralph's shock.
Running gag: Heffer and Filburt arguing each other about their characters on the show.
Disappointed by the show's sudden popularity due to it squelching his prospects of being free to create his masterpiece, and trying to get out of his contract, Ralph frequently tries to sabotage the show, such attempts as having an episode be a continuous image of a jar of Mayonnaise and over exposing an episode's film reel, but these two attempts only end up increasing the show's popularity. So Ralph goes back home to his parents, and asks his father Ed to help him sabotage "Wacky Delly". Ed takes him down under the house to show him his secret underground invention: a heat ray, which he would use to rid Rocko and his friends out of his life for good. Ralph explains that he is actually not trying to hurt Rocko or his friends and just wants to kill the show itself. In response, Ed decides to use the heat ray to destroy Bighead Studios instead, by shooting at a surveillance satellite he uses to spy on Rocko to melt all of Antarctica, and to cause a giant flood as a result. This fails however when Heffer uses a crank to hoist Bighead Studios (which he thought was hoisting his car) over the impending flood caused by Ed's heat ray, much to Ralph's utter annoyance. He confronts Rocko and his friends in the editing room and chews up the film that they have on the editing machine, only to discover that he has eaten the film of a Fatheads episode the trio were watching and that the latest Wacky Delly episode's film was already developed. Ralph throws up the film he has eaten in dozens of frames and finally shouts at the three that he hates the show and is trying to get out of the animation business to make "real art". Rocky tells Ralph that he should be happy, as he is a much beloved animator and instead of hating Wacky Delly he should be embracing it, as his cartoons are his art. Ralph sees what Rocko is saying and comes round, deciding to throw his full weight and support behind the show... which is then promptly cancelled just a few seconds into the next episode. Ralph, now released from his contract, screams at the 'cretins' who cancelled his show that he'll show them real art.
Ten years later, Ralph finally finishes his masterpiece which is revealed to be an entire Mount Rushmore-esque sculpture of a restaurant table with a bottle of wine, a wine glass and a bowl of fruit only to have someone walk up and comment that it's not as good as Wacky Delly's first season (before "that new guy" ruined it).
Running gag: Ralph Bighead trying to sabotage the show.
Joe Murray described "Wacky Delly" as one of his favorite episodes because it addressed issues affecting Murray, the directors, and the writers. Murray described the episode as requiring "some very strange story elements" and that Olson helped Murray "keep the wacked out edge" of the episode. The influence of the episode was from that Murray wanted to leave the show after his contact expires and the crew joked that he should do a show about "Deli meats" that really sucked, which became the premise of the episode.
Murray and Richard Leroy filmed the live-action meatloaf scene on Murray's patio with a wind-up camera to capture the colors of early 1960s films. The idea was based on how one of the crew members brought in a '50s Dole pineapple promotional film on how to spruce up meatloaf. After being declined permission to use the footage for the show, they decided to film their own meatloaf scene. Murray cooked the meatloaf and Carol Wyatt, the color supervisor, placed press-on nails on her hand and used her hands in the scene. At first the camera did not work. When Murray decided to end the shoot, the camera functioned, allowing for the shoot to continue. During the filming, two flies landed on the meatloaf. Leroy believed that the flies spoiled the shoot, while Murray believed that the flies enhanced the shoot. Murray used the plates involved in the production of the scene until he accidentally broke the plates; Murray discarded the plates.
On the season three DVD, the "Wacky Delly" segment was shortened by approximately ten seconds to remove footage of Sal Ami repeatedly whacking Betty Bologna over the head with a telephone receiver. This scene however still remains uncut on the German release of Rocko's Modern Life: The Complete Series, along with airings in Germany.
The Wacky Delly Pilot that Ralph Bighead shows the executives uses an excerpt from the song Dutch Clog Wedding Dances played on a band organ as the part of the show.
The line "I am the cheese! I am the best character on the show!" is popular on the internet.
On April Fool's Day 2013, TeenNick's Midnight Block The '90s Are All That advertised a long-lost episode of Rocko's Modern Life premiering 3/31/13 (Easter). It was revealed to all be an April Fools' setup, and the entire episode was 30 Minutes of the Mayo Jar.
A shoot of the Mayo Jar for an entire episode is an illusion to experimental cinema from 60's, specifically the work of Andy Warhol.
In 2012, voice actor Rob Paulsen hosted a special event that reunited the original Rocko cast at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles. The event included a live table reading of the first act of Wacky Delly as read by Joe Murray, Carlos Alazraqui, Tom Kenny, Charlie Adler and Mr. Lawrence. The reading is included on the Complete Series DVD Box Set.
The Wacky Delly episode Ralph directs is a spoof of the Mushroom Dance from Disney's Fantasia (1940).
One scene copies dialogue exactly from the creation scene in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) ("a credit to your genius, master. A triumph of your will. It's...okay.")