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 like Mary Tyler Moore.
This episode has the following tropes:
- Graceful Loser: Nelson once Bart beats him in the finals of the Soapbox Derby races.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.