After a riot breaks out at a local gross-out contest, Lisa writes an open letter to the town about the people's lack of intellectualism, which captures the attention of the local MENSA chapter, who end up running the town after Mayor Quimby disappears. Meanwhile, Homer "wins"note a chance to pose for erotic pictures as a gift to Marge.
- Adam Westing: Stephen Hawking plays himself as an egotistical, handicapped, badass genius with a souped-up wheelchair.
- Ambiguous Syntax:Skinner: Might I have a peek at your Gazebo reservation form?
Lenny: Beat it.
Skinner: (chuckles) Yes, well, we each have a strong case.
Carl: What part of "beat it" didn't you understand?
Skinner: I guess it would be the "it", I'm not exactly sure to what that refers... (a beer can hits his head)
- Gadgeteer Genius: Hawking is portrayed as one here, his wheelchair equipped with such things as a motorized boxing glove and collapsible - and functional - helicopter blades.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: During the "how low will you go" contest from the episode's beginning, Burns and Smithers are seen doing a two-piece horse costume. Three guesses who's the rear.
- Handicapped Badass: Stephen Hawking."If you're looking for trouble, you've found it."
- Hypocritical Humor: After the talent show:Homer: Look, I got runner-up prize!
Lisa: You won second place?
Homer: No, but I got it! (walks out, but pokes his head back in) Stealing is wrong.
- The Metric System Is Here to Stay: When MENSA starts changing the town, one of the things they do is have the trains run on metric time.Skinner: Remember this moment, people: Eighty past two, on April 47th, it's the dawn of an enlightened Springfield!
- Nerds Are Virgins: During Springfield Mensa's proposals.Comic Book Guy: Inspired by the most logical race in the galaxy, the Vulcans, breeding will be permitted once every seven years. For many of you, this will mean much less breeding. For me, much, much, more!Groundskeeper Willie: Ye cannae do that, sir! Ye don't have the power!
- Noodle Incident: Homer's line about playing a "non-traditional" Santa, which got him in trouble with the neighborhood block association for public indecency.
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: When Homer gives Marge his erotic pictures, she's more turned on by the fancy decor in the backgrounds than Homer's body.Marge: (impressed) That's our basement? (...) It looks so elegant. And all it takes are some lace curtains and a beaded lampshade. You've got to show me exactly what you did!
Homer: But I was gonna score!
Marge: No you weren't.
- Powder Keg Crowd: During the gross-out competition, a stray urinal cake hits Krusty, to which he angrily replies, "A URINAL CAKE?! You, sir, have crossed the line!" A riot soon breaks out afterwards.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: The "real" Stephen Hawking couldn't "talk" as fast as he does here if his life depended on it; it takes him about five minutes or so to input a complete sentence into his synthesizer. The way he "spoke" in this episode was clearly Artistic License.
- Recognition Failure: Homer initially mistakes Hawking for Hustler founder Larry Flynt, who, like Hawking, is also wheelchair-bound (only Larry Flynt was paralyzed from an assassination attempt).
- Shout-Out: During the proposals, Comic Book Guy wears a Star Trek: The Next Generation-era Starfleet uniform.
- Special Guest: Stephen Hawking, whose appearance on this show (and later Futurama) has made him more famous than his studies. How ironic, considering the episode makes fun of intellectualism vs. anti-intellectualism and how people seem to love lowbrow entertainment more than highbrow entertainment.
- Take That: Professor Frink's refers to the phenomenon of an intellectual joke being funny to one person out of a million as "The Dennis Miller Ratio."
- With Us or Against Us: In the climax, it's the smart people (MENSA and Stephen Hawking) vs. the dumb people, who make up the majority of Springfield. During the riot, Carl says, "Let's make litter out of these literati!" Lenny suspiciously remarks, "That's too clever, you're one of them!" and punches him.