"The Painting" is the tenth episode of Season 1 of The Amazing World of Gumball.
Principal Brown believes that the Wattersons are a dysfunctional family and orders them all to change habits and nature.
Anais' family is called up to the Principal's office due to Principal Brown's concern for the Wattersons. He shows a painting by Anais that depicts a stressed Nicole, a sleeping Richard, and a mischievous-looking Gumball and Darwin. To fix this, Principal Browns tells Nicole to stay home and try to relax while Richard goes to work, and tells Gumball and Darwin have to have Mr. Small teach them how to use their energy in a less destructive way. Anais tries to correct Nicole and Mr. Brown of their misinterpretations twice but is ignored both times.
Mr. Small introduces a five-step plan to fix Gumball and Darwin. The first step, called "primal scream" by Mr. Small, requires the boys to vent their "anger" in a focused scream. Gumball says he doesn't have any anger but Mr. Small says everyone has anger and that he just needs to look inside himself. Gumball decides to open his mouth and let Darwin "look inside" for the rage. Gumball then tries screaming twice, only being able to produce a small squeak each time. When Darwin tries to scream, his scream comes out as a huge bubble, taking up a large portion of the room. Mr. Small pops this bubble, and the scene suddenly transitions to a black and white house violently exploding. When the scene goes back to the three, there's a ringing sound, indicating that they have gone deaf for a while.
The scene cuts to Nicole, who is taking Richard's place at home. She finds it hard to relax and do nothing.
The scene then switches to Richard, who has a daydream about being promoted and receiving the key to the executive washroom. However, when he wakes up and tries to get through the automatic door to the building to pursue this goal, he fails and runs into it.
Back at school, Mr. Small starts step two, which has to do with them using their destructive energy into something creative. He shows the boys a portrait of someone who resembles Mr. Robinson and asks them if this is what they consider a painting. After Gumball and Darwin agree that it's a painting, Mr. Small snaps and throws the portrait on the floor and proceeds to smash it to pieces with a baseball bat while repeatedly screaming "THIS IS NOT PAINTING!". He then drops a lit match onto the smashed pieces, saying "Burn, you relic of convention!" and quickly stomps out the resulting fire. After this, he holds up a bucket of paint and asks them who wants to go paint first. Gumball enthusiastically says he wants to, and Mr. Small throws paint all over him, encouraging him to be the brush with the world as his canvas. Gumball opens his eyes, which begin to burn from the paint. He runs in a frenzy and smashes into walls, splashing them with the paint, before collapsing in agony. Mr. Small takes no notice to the pain it causes, and does the same thing to Darwin after Gumball collapses, resulting in the same effect.
At home, we see the house is spotless. Nicole cleans the entire house (including the car) thoroughly, and still has five hours before anyone would be home. She decides to create her own messes for the sake of cleaning them up.
Back to Richard, he tries running through the door again, but fails yet again. Noticing that the door keeps closing every time he gets near it, he decides to walk behind an employee into the building and gets inside.
Mr. Small begins step three: interpretive dance, by explaining that it involves expressing emotion through body movement; an idea Gumball finds the idea somewhat ridiculous. Mr. Small is offended and demonstrates an interpretive dance about Anais's plight. Though Gumball's opinion didn't change, Darwin was touched by Mr. Small's performance. Mr. Small then asks Gumball to try it. He does it amateurishly, yet Darwin is amazed by it. Then Mr. Small tells him to be a "hungry crab", Gumball begins to motion like a crab, then he yells at him to be "HUNGRIER!". He then tells him to be "the color orange". Gumball does a move, and Mr. Small yells at him for being the colour yellow. Gumball then does another move, nearly identical to the first move, and this turns out to be the correct pose.
Back at the office building, Richard struggles to get to the floor where he is to go to apply for a job. He introduces himself to the secretary, while half of his body is still stuck in the elevator doors. However, upon signing the company contract, he immediately receives a pink slip indicating he is fired, being seven hours and fifty-nine minutes late. He is slung back into the elevator just as the doors are closing, his mouth gets caught in the doors somehow and he thanks the secretary for her "kindness" while the elevator descends with his lips still caught in the elevator doors, painfully stretching them.
Back at school, Mr. Small begins step four: the conquering of inhibitions, "the greatest enemy to a warrior's happiness". Gumball is told to destroy the negative feeling in the form of a wooden board, but he is unable to damage it at all. Darwin runs up to them with a baseball bat and obliterates the board, but not before Mr. Small drops it out of fear and hides in a nearby closet. With this done, the teacher dubs them black belts in "Small Kwon Do" and dismisses them with a saying, "When the monkey is looking at the mountain, he's looking for bananas." Gumball soon realizes that they never got to learn step five, but Mr. Small tells them both that the fifth step was "within them all along", and that they should just be themselves. Gumball is disappointed, and replies with a gruff "Weak" while Mr. Small looks at them blankly.
The family finally meets together back home. Nicole feels "relaxed" breaking whatever she could find and cleaning it up. Richard is crying that he never wants to work again, as he rips his shirt off and falls asleep on the couch. Gumball and Darwin return home and tell them all about their day of dancing, painting, and smashing stuff, the last part piquing the interest of their mother.
When Anais and Principal Brown come home, they find that the family is just as chaotic as ever. Richard is still being lazy, the kids are still causing trouble, and Nicole is even joining in. Brown is upset that nothing had changed, and after a short argument, Anais finally speaks up. She shows them her painting again, but also points out the caption below: "I ♥ my family", stating that despite their flaws, she loves them all the same. She then joins in smashing things while Principal Brown leaves. He reminds the kids that they would have to return to their regular classes tomorrow, but not before getting covered in paint by Darwin, who tells him to "be the brush". After a few seconds, his eyes get red and swollen. He states the last line of the episode, "it burns".
- When Gumball stretches his mouth wide open to have Darwin look inside, his irises change their colour from black to grey, suggesting that this is his actual eye color.
- When Mr. Small is wearing his interpretive dance suit he is shown to be extremely skinny and bony underneath his voluminous fluff.
- The painting that Mr. Small broke is a painting of Baroque composer George Frederic Handel (the painting is edited with Mr Robinson's face).
- The exterior of Chanax Inc. where Richard tries to get a job closely resembles the cosmetics building Gumball and Darwin went to in "The DVD".
- The strange behavior of the automatic door and the elevator was never fully explained, but it may have been caused by Richard's universe-warping effects (which were fully unleashed in "The Job"). These effects occur when Richard gets any sort of job.
- When Darwin's scream bubble is popped, it immediately cuts to stock footage of a black and white house exploding. These houses were experimental ones used by the United States army back in the nineteen-fifties to test how well they would hold up in an atomic blast.
- At the beginning of the episode when Nicole is twitching nervously, her whiskers disappear for a brief but still quite noticeable moment. Her mouth and nose disappear for a split second after this scene as well.
- When Nicole is cleaning the floor of the kitchen, her whiskers are missing.
- When Nicole checks her watch to see when the others come home, she isn't wearing one. This also happens to the woman who Richard talks to for a job.
- Richard's sleeves alternate between being rolled up and rolled down throughout the episode.
- When Richard is given the key, the cup he was holding suddenly disappears when he lets go of it.