In this homage to the film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Bart (after only earning 50 cents from an old woman [voiced by Cloris Leachman] who hired him to do dangerous chores), Milhouse [who only wanted to buy a baseball card], and Martin pool their money together so they can buy the first issue of Radioactive Man, but their greed, jealousy, and paranoia turn them against each other and turn the treasured comic book into shredded paper.
- Adam Westing: The Wonder Years moment is performed by that show's narrator, Daniel Stern.
- An Aesop: Spoofed at the end when, after summing up their trials, Bart just simply shrugs and says it "just kinda' ticks [him] off," learning absolutely nothing. Though the episode plays it straight in how it shows the dangers of paranoia.
- Aside Glance: Bart while his future self narrates his life (a la The Wonder Years). An annoyed Homer tells him to stop staring into space.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Martin, the show's recurring bully magnet, mostly plays Only Sane Man in the boys' feuding. After Bart starts violently threatening him however, he finally snaps, shoving him back and choking him.
- Big "NO!": Milhouse, when Bart considers letting him fall to save the comic.
- Bolt of Divine Retribution: Right on the comic. After it fell into the wet grass and shredded by Santa's Little Helper.
- Comically Missing the Point: Bart overlooks the fact that Martin was only trying to help by not being paranoid.
- Could Have Avoided This Plot: Martin points out if Bart hadn't tied him up for being so paranoid, he would have saved the comic while Bart saves Milhouse.Bart: Shut up! Shut UP!
- He is also the one who lifts the brick holding down the comic in a manic rant towards Milhouse, leading it to blow away.
- Downer Ending: The boys' collective greed and paranoia causes the destruction of the comic book.
- First Appearance: First episode featuring Comic Book Guy (back before he was an Audience Surrogate for angry nerds, before his real name of Jeff Albertson was revealed, and before he married a Japanese manga artist, he was just a snooty comic book geek who talked down to his customers and often sold crappy and overpriced comics and toys to kids who were dumb enough to fork over the cash for them).
- Friend or Idol Decision: Bart is left holding Milhouse from falling out of the treehouse as the comic edges to blowing outside. Since he tied up Martin (as the latter calls him out on) he, with some hesitation, chooses to lift Milhouse to safety while the comic blows into the garden where is cosmically destroyed in seconds.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Bart tells Homer that he wants the Radioactive Man comic more than anything, Homer responds, "Well, T.S." T.S. means tough shit.
- Heroic BSOD: Milhouse when left dangling from the treehouse, and it not being positive whether Bart will save him over the comic, breaks down sobbing:Milhouse: I didn't even want the comic! I wanted Carl Yastrzemski with the big sideburns!
- Ignored Epiphany: They apparently learned nothing in the end.Bart: We worked so hard, and now it's all gone. We ended up with nothing because the three of us can't share.
Milhouse: What's your point?
Bart: Nothing. Just kinda ticks me off.
- I Love Nuclear Power: The origin of Radioactive Man's powers (via nuclear bomb testing).
- Karma Houdini: The old woman, Mrs. Glick. She pays Bart a paltry fifty cents for a week's worth of chores, and mistakes his attempt to call her out on her BS as him thanking her.
- Nerds Speak Klingon: Comic Book Guy mentions that he has a Masters in Folklore and Mythology, part of which involved translating The Lord of the Rings into Klingon.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: At the comic convention, Bart asks if Dirk Richter, the man who played Radioactive Man in the old TV show, haunts the bordello where they found his bullet riddled body. The actor who played Fall Out Boy breaks down in tears, asserting Dirk was a wonderful man and screams "Can't you little vultures just leave him alone?!" The kids don't understand where this came from.
- Nice, Mean and In-Between: Martin just wants to share the comic book and keep his fair ownership, Bart becomes outright insane and paranoid, while Milhouse, though occasionally siding with his paranoia, calls him out when it goes too far.
- Sanity Slippage: Bart, in a The Treasure of the Sierra Madre homage, becomes incredibly paranoid and violent about sharing the comic with Martin and Milhouse. The others to a lesser degree get rather possessive about it.
- Too Dumb to Live: Mrs. Glick's brother, who died in World War I from pulling the pin on a grenade and monologuing too long about who the grenade is supposed to avenge before intending to throw it.Asa: This one's for you, Kaiser Bill. Special delivery from Uncle Sam and all the boys in "D" company. Yeah, Johnny, Harrison, Brooklyn Bob, and Reggie. Yeah, even Reggie. He ain't so stuck up once you get to — (grenade blows up)
- Unsportsmanlike Gloating:Homer: Are you gonna stop bothering me?
Homer: Are you?
Homer: I win! In your face, boy! How do like them apples?
Marge: Homer, don't gloat!
- What Could Have Been: According to DVD commentary, the third act originally had Bart rally a union of kids who were sick of doing chores for minimum pay, but the writers thought this detracted from the original story and banged out a subtle Treasure of the Sierra Madre parody.
- In hindsight, later episodes would often detract from the first part of many episodes.
- You're Insane!: Milhouse calls Bart crazy when he accuses him of planning to kill him in his sleep to get the comic.