Hunger Strikes is the first part of the 4th episode in Season Two of Dexter's Laboratory. It first aired on August 6, 1997. In this episode, Dexter alters his taste buds so he could eat only vegetables (only peas). However, this causes Dexter to turn into a creature if vegetables aren't consumed for a certain period of time.
The family is having dinner and is just getting started on dessert. Mom starts passing out slices of upside-down cake, but when she gets to Dexter, Dee Dee points out that he didn't eat his peas, costing Dexter his slice of cake. Dexter reluctantly eats his peas while watching the family wolf down the cake, much to his dismay. He then leaves the table and heads to his lab. There, Dexter's taste bud sensor indicates a decrease in his tolerance for vegetables compared to other food groups. Dexter goes inside the gamma radiation room to alter his taste buds. After doing so, he heads out of the lab and goes to bed, ignoring his computer's warnings of danger. Suddenly, Dexter's stomach starts growling, he has a sudden craving for a lettuce, cucumber and broccoli sandwich. He heads to the kitchen to find some vegetables to eat, but there are none to be found. After frantically searching without success, Dexter suddenly feels severe stomach pains and turns into a giant Hulk-like creature.
Dexter, now in a hunger-driven rage, plows through the sink and kitchen wall and heads for the supermarket. After breaking in through the wall, Dexter rummages through the produce aisle, eagerly devouring all of the vegetables and fruit he can find. After eating his fill, a long belch returns him back to normal and he falls asleep on the floor. The next morning, Dee Dee, Mom and Dad are quietly sitting at the breakfast table eating grapefruit when dexter, sans lab coat with half his pants legs missing, discreetly enters throught he front door. Mom angrily catches sight of him and scolds him for missing breakfast and not being dressed for school. Just at that moment, Dad realizes he's going to be late for work and unwittingly dashes out of the house through the hole Dexter made last night. Later, at school, Dexter's teacher announces that several guest speakers will be coming to the class for Nutrition Awareness Week. Mr. Dancing Carrot enters the classroom, happily singing "Veggies are your pals" to the tune of "A Hunting We Will Go", and prompts the kids to sing along with him. The sight of a large dancing carrot causes Dexter to shudder and sweat profusely as he becomes transfixed on the man in the suit. Mr. Dancing Carrot is suddenly cut off in mid-song as Dexter bites the costume. The bell rings, and Dexter immediately sprints to the lunchroom, desperately begging the lunch lady for vegetables. She sternly rebuffs him, saying that she doesn't serve anyone who cuts the lunch line. Dexter is then overcome with hunger as he again turns into a violent creature. He plows through the lunch room wall and heads outside the school. He then proceeds to eat an entire lemon tree, obliterating a jungle gym, merry-go-round and seesaw on his way there, before reverting back to normal. Dexter quickly heads back to the gamma radiation room to reverse the effects of the radiation, much to his satisfaction. At dinnertime, Mom presents liver and onions to the family. Dee Dee is disgusted, but Dexter is delighted, but begins to feel the same severe stomach pains from before...
Dexter resembles The Incredible Hulk. His line; "You wouldn't like me when I'm hungry." also alludes to this.
Mom 's line "How can you have cake if you don't eat your veggies?" is a spoof of the ending of the song, Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2 by Pink Floyd, in which an irate scottish school master asks "How can ya have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?".
Although this episode along with "The Koos is Loose" and "Morning Stretch" are aired on August 6, 1997, they were produced in the same year according to the credits.
In the banned episode "Rude Removal", Mom tells Dexter he absolutely can not have any dessert.