After Shelbyville accuses Springfield of being hicks, Marge convinces the townspeople to fund a Frank Gehry-designed concert hall, which is then converted to a prison when the concert hall goes bankrupt on opening night. Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa investigate Snowball II's recent weight gain.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: When Homer is offered the position of prison snitch, it's clear he'll be whacked if he refuses.
- Classical Music Is Boring: In order to try and make the city look more "cultured", Mayor Quimby allows the construction of an opera house. The opening night is Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, full house...and every single Springfieldian leaves after the first four notes are played, with them saying that it was the most "interesting" part of the symphony. Then, everyone stampedes their way out, including the orchestra, when Marge tells them the next piece is an atonal medley by Philip Glass. Quimby gets mad enough at the amount of resources that the house's construction required, and everybody else letting it go to waste, that he mournfully calls them "dumb rednecks", after which Mr. Burns buys the property and converts it into a prison.
- Foreshadowing: When Fat Tony recognizes Marge as the woman who occasionally drives her son to school, she figures out he must be Michael's dad. Michael will play a large role in a later episode.
- Karma Houdini: To get a job as a prison guard, Otto switches his urine sample with Homer's. Otto does get the job and is never seen suffering any consequences for it.
- Loony Laws: Homer is arrested for kicking five times into an old can that he found on the floor... because he wasn't accepted for a prison guard job at the Mr. Burns-owned private prison he is to serve his sentence on. Another law that makes it unlawful to be in public without hats is also mentioned, and they are all printed in a compendium of silly laws. It must be mentioned that they were only enforcing these laws to fill up Mr. Burns's prison.
- Magic Skirt: When Lisa falls over attempting to carry a fat Snowball II.
- Noodle Incident: While looking for silly laws to use as excuses to arrest people, Chief Wiggum finds one that makes it unlawful to be in public without hats. Mayor Quimby and Mr. Burns quickly put on their hats but Smithers doesn't have any. Wiggum comments that, if he didn't arrest Smithers at the park during that night, he won't arrest him now. The viewers are never given any clues to what happened back then (however, with Smithers being gay, it may be he was having sex in public with a man).
- Not Helping Your Case:
- To prove that Springfield is not a hick town, Marge has Frank Gehry build a concert hall... only for everyone to walk out on opening night and it to go bankrupt, resulting in Mr. Burns converting it into a prison, which only justifies Shelbyville's belief.
- Homer tries to convince Mr. Burns that his body is "a temple" while smoking a butter bar.
- Pariah Prisoner: Homer, after it's discovered he's the prison snitch. They actually cause a "Prison Riot" just to kill him (although, fortunately, he's saved by his wife Marge, who had the keys to the prison from while it was still the opera house, and later the Governor and Mr. Burns showing up).
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Everyone gets up to leave after the first notes of "Beethoven's 5th." The audience and even the orchestra runs out when Marge says the next piece is an atonal medley by Philip Glass.
- Shout-Out: To Peanuts. Marge's letter to Frank Gehry has a Snoopy theme.
- Walking Out on the Show: Up to Eleven; 'even the orchestra stampedes out of the opera house' rather than stick around hearing Philip Glass.
- What an Idiot!: Homer hiding in the gas chamber while the other prisoners are out to kill him. Fortunately Marge saved him.