After failing a magazine test on being a good father, Homer decides to help Bart out with his Soapbox Derby race car — and soon is left out when Martin gives Bart his race car (after crashing into a wall and getting sent to the hospital) so he can win against Nelson Muntz. Meanwhile, Patty and Selma get their hair styled.
This episode has the following tropes:
- Blatant Lies: When trying to buy a product on TV over the phone, Homer at first says his credit card expired in 1989 but then says it expires in 2012.
- Doom It Yourself: Homer is not the greatest of the handymen.
- Epic Fail: Bart and Homer's Soapbox Derby race car doesn't reach the finish line.
- Martin's parachute only opens after his car crashed.
- Graceful Loser: Nelson once Bart beats him in the finals of the Soapbox Derby races.
- Kick the Dog; This moment:
Homer: I don't know jack about my boy! I'm a bad father! [begins crying]Selma: You're also fat!Homer: I'm also fat! [resumes crying]
- Like Father, Like Son: Dave and Dave, Jr. at the National Fatherhood Institute. Also, when Bart ridicules Nelson for losing the race, Homer gladly joins in.
- Man on Fire: The Honor Roller's crash leaves Martin on fire. Firefighters focus on the crash site, while Martin runs around screaming.
- Multiple Gunshot Death / Black Dude Dies First: Scoey, McBain's partner.note
- Oh, Crap!: Dave's reaction when Homer calls the National Fatherhood Institute and says he got a zero on their test.
- Retirony: Parodied in the McBain clip.
- The Reveal: Bart's hero, three-time Soapbox derby racing champion Ronnie Beck, turns out to be a kid that's younger than him and Bart was well aware of it.
- Reverse Psychology: Homer's brain uses it to convince him to use it to convince Bart to let him help with the Soapbox Derby race car.
- Serious Business: The championship race between Bart and Nelson is broadcast on local television, complete with one of the I Am Very British announcers who called the championship match between Bart and Todd Flanders on KBBL Radio in "Dead Putting Society".
- Skyward Scream: Arguably the show's most famous example:
- "Martin. I'll curse that boy til the day I die!"
- So Proud of You: Homer responds to Bart's mockery of Nelson with "That's my boy!"
- Stylistic Suck: Little Lightning.
- Take That!: Bill Cosby is treated kindly by the episode, though one piece of a dialogue was written as a knock on his criticism of the show.
Homer: God bless you, Bill Cosby! You've saved the Simpsons!
- Threatening Shark: While Homer's at the National Fatherhood Institute, a shark somehow gets into a tank and attacks a father and son in the middle of an underwater activity.
Dave: Oh, dear God, not again!
- What Could Have Been: Homer was originally gonna say "I'm not the bad father, you're the bad father. Leave me alone."
- What the Hell, Hero?: Marge calls Homer a bad father when he refuses to go to the big race.
- Whole Plot Reference: The entire thing is a callout to an old Bill Cosby routine about soapbox derby racing.