Chief Wiggum enforces a curfew on the town's children after blaming them for vandalizing the school (when, in fact, it was the fault of Homer and his drunken buddies, Lenny, Carl, and Barney, celebrating the Springfield Isotopes' first win in years), and the kids rebel by hosting a pirate radio show about the adults' embarrassing secrets.
This episode contains examples of:
- Actually Pretty Funny: When Eddie accidentally gives the children Glowing Eyes of Doom (from shining a police light) and frightens Chief Wiggum, he lets out a good chuckle.
- Artistic License Law: The child curfew law that Chief Wiggum enforces is nowhere close to how most cities enforce similar child curfew laws. For starters, these laws usually state when a child can't be out at night without adult supervision (as kids do tend to be out late to attend sporting events, movie screenings, and other activities), not when a kid must be at home. Second, most cities' curfew time is usually a set time (i.e. 9:00 p.m.), not as soon as the sun sets (and even if the time based on when the sun sets, the curfew starts at least an hour after this).
- As Herself: The Cameo of Cyndi Lauper, singing "The Star Spangled Banner" in the style of "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" in the first scene.
- Back-Alley Doctor: It is not unsubtly implied that Dr. Hibbert is one of these in reality (or at least was at the moment the episode takes place). In a Bait-and-Switch moment, Lisa then says that Homer is the one that is one of these.
- Bait-and-Switch Accusation: During one of the radio broadcasts:Lisa: (On air) And guess who's been practicing medicine without a license?(Listening in his home, Dr. Hibbert nervously pulls his collar.)Lisa: That's right, Homer Simpson.Homer: (Distant) D'oh!
- Black Comedy: When Homer's friends tell him that the Isotopes are doing well, Moe remarks "That sniper at the All-Star Game was a blessing in disguise!"
- Brick Joke: Milhouse is seen spending his curfew watching Teletubbies. Later, as they sneak into the drive-in theater, his underwear gets exposed, showing it has pictures of the Teletubbies cast.
- Bring My Brown Pants: In the opening scene of The Bloodening:Boy: You're thinking about hurting us.
Girl: Now you're thinking, "How did they know what I was thinking?"
Boy: Now you're thinking, "I hope that's shepherd's pie in my knickers."
- Buccaneer Broadcaster: The kids get back at the adults by setting up a pirate radio broadcast that tells all of their dark secrets with the demand to remove the curfew or they will continue to embarrass them otherwise.
- Call-Back: The old people playing outside to the tune of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony is a reference to the season 2 episode "Itchy and Scratchy and Marge".
- Conflict Killer: The whole debate about the curfew dies when the elderly get fed up and apply for an extension of the law that would affect everybody under 60. It ends up passing by a single vote, ending the episode with the whole Simpson family (and the town) being forced to stay in their homes after dark.
- Comically Missing the Point: Homer still thought it'd not make a difference if he voted despite the curfew for people under 60 having been Decided by One Vote.
- Counterpoint Duet: "Adults/Kids" is a group version of this
- Creative Closing Credits: The closing credits of this episode roll by while one of the old people keeps on ranting about how one of the others (Jasper) mistreated his stuff, ending with him getting angry at the woman that shushes on the Gracie Films logo.
- Creepy Child: The kids from The Bloodening.
- Crowd Song: "Adults/Kids"
- Dark Horse Victory: Played with for Black Comedy: the Springfield Isotopes, dead-last at the beginning of the season, manages to pull off a Miracle Rally and makes it to the finals and wins... because a sniper went on a rampage and took out the more successful teams.
- Decided by One Vote: The curfew for people under 60. Turns out that there are still enough old people left in Springfield to win the vote... if people like Homer decide not to vote because they believe otherwise.
- Evil Brit: Again, the kids in The Bloodening."We can't have that..."
- False Reassurance: When the adults trace the source of the kids' radio station, Chief Wiggum assures the kids they won't be fine, only for Homer to contradict him by saying he wanted to kill them.
- Fascists' Bed Time: The children are placed under a curfew because Wiggum automatically assumes they were responsible for the school's vandalism. Later on, the adults get slapped with one by the seniors.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: The kids from The Bloodening. The kids watching the movie appear to do this when Chief Wiggum catches them, but it's just Eddie shining a police light on them.
- Goofy Print Underwear: Milhouse's Teletubbies underwear is exposed when Nelson kicks him through a fence.
- Hands-Off ParentingNelson: Breaking curfew, Mom!
Nelson's mom: (off-screen) We're out of Skoal!
- Instant Costume Change: Played for Laughs when Homer, upon hearing that the Isotopes are actually winning, runs offscreen and comes back in full Isotopes regalia in a moment.
- Instantly Proven Wrong: When Marge tries to assure Bart and Lisa that nothing really great happens after dark, Homer comes in cheering that there's a carnival in the street.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Bart may be a jerk but when it comes to the adults and their rules against kids, he was right to call them out on that, even Nelson, a Jerkass himself, agrees to help Bart.
- Karma Houdini: Although everyone in town who is not elderly end up being smacked with a curfew (which is more of a blanket punishment), Homer and his idiotic gang are never directly punished or even called out on their drunken behavior which set all the episode's events in motion. Nobody even finds out that they were responsible. Until way later, in "At Long Last Leave" (though only Homer was found to be responsible and Lenny, Carl and Barney are still unpunished).
- Laser-Guided Karma: The adults made an unfair curfew for children but got the same fate in the end by the seniors.
- Lawful Stupid: Rod and Todd are the only two children in the whole town that follow the rules of the curfew to the letter. They get pelted with produce by the other kids when they point it out on the "Adults/Kids" song.
- Misplaced Retribution: The curfew, which was put in place because the police thought children had vandalized the school when it was Homer and his drunken friends.
- Musicalis Interruptus: Just when Milhouse is about to sing his verse in the "Adults/Kids" song, he's cut off when Abe and his fellow seniors appear on the scene.
- Noodle Incident: Apparently, at one point, Homer practiced medicine without a license. And Dr. Hibbert was practicing without one, too.
Moe: That sniper at the all-star game turned out to be a blessing in disguise!
- Moe also references one that assisted the Isotopes in getting into the championship.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: To break curfew, Nelson disguised his voice and got a fake I.D. Chief Wiggum actually believed Nelson was Dr. Hibbert.
- Produce Pelting: Rod and Todd are pelted with tomatoes during the "Adults/Kids" song.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Chief Wiggum imposes the curfew without getting Mayor Quimby involved, or whatever Springfield has as a City Council.
- The big musical argument between Springfield's children, adults and eventually senior citizens, is a parody of the song "Kids" from Bye Bye Birdie.
- Homer's bizarre recollection about his drunken escapades, "Homer's Night Out", parodies the Charlie Chaplin short film "A Night Out".
- A registered nurse is on hand for those who die of shock from seeing "The Bloodening". This mirrors The Screaming Skull, which includes free burial services for anyone who dies of shock from watching the movie.
- "The Bloodening" itself and the page image is a parody of Village of the Damned (1960), infamous for its Creepy Children having glowing eyes.
- Silent Movie: Homer's attempt to remember what happened the previous night is a pastiche of one.
- The Stinger: The Crazy Old Man's Jewish Complaining occurs while the credits play.Crazy Old Man: (During the Gracie Films logo) Oh, don't tell me to shush, you stupid lady!
- Sudden Anatomy: When Chief Wiggum announces the curfew on the news, a fingernail suddenly appears on his pointing finger.
- Take That!: What drives Bart and Lisa to the breaking point? Sassy primetime TV, like Don't Go There (a parody of NBC sitcoms at the time, the characters patterned off Mad About You, and the set literally lifted from Friends) and Talk to the Hand ("starring" David Faustino. note )
- Tempting Fate:
Bart: ([in a faux British accent) Tune in tomorrow, and every day until the curfew is lifted because well be revealing embarrassing secrets about Springfield's other adults.Homer: Well, at least theyve already done me.Homer: D'oh!
- During the first time the kids started exposing adults' secrets, they started with Homer. When Homer expressed relief that at least they'd already done him, they announced there'd be more about him.
- Later on, people start asking what the senior citizens will do if their demands aren't met. The next scene features a curfew for people under 60.
- Title Drop: In-Universe with Don't Go There.
- Took a Level in Jerkass:
- The adults reveled in the curfew more than any adult ever should. Even Marge, who is one of the nicer Simpsons, made a few jokes. When the kids get even, the adults act as if they did nothing wrong and that the kids are to blame. Even the song is needlessly cruel with Homer singing that Bart and Lisa were accidents because Marge forgot her pill (Marge doesn't even shout at him or correct him, she just murmurs and gives a guilty or embarrassed smile to the other adults, which is out-of-character, as she will tear the world to shreds if her children are harmed in some way either emotionally or physically) while Moe sang about how the all kids should be "drowned like cats".
- Chief Wiggum in particular took a nastier edge beginning in this episode, with him going above and beyond what was necessary to punish the children of Springfield and to make sure his rules were enforced by all means (at the expense of more pressing crimes in the city.) Worse still, he went from being a dim-witted, corrupt but still likable rival of Mayor Quimby to a rogue, irritating jackass who made certain citizens' lives crap just because he could, evidence by his unnecessarily gloating how stupid children are and how "Adults always win!"note
- Your Cheating Heart: One of the dark secrets broadcasted by the kids is the revelation that Milhouse's mom Luanne, which is seeing one of the members of an American Gladiators Expy show (as part of her whole "reinventing herself" post-divorce period) is two-timing the guy with another of the "Gladiators". The two burly men start fighting in the middle of city hall after they hear it.