After Bart cheats at the Springfield Marathon, he is recruited by record producer L.T. Smash alongside Milhouse, Nelson, and Ralph Wiggum to form The Party Posse. However, when Lisa sees something strange in the band's new music video, she discovers a shocking conspiracy.
Tropes appearing in this episode:
- Actually Pretty Funny: Nelson laughs at the MAD magazine article calling him "Smellson".
- As Himself: *NSYNC.
- Auto-Tune: The Party Posse have terrible singing voices, so L.T. uses NASA voice enhancing technology to make them sound like teenage dreamboats. The secret is let out when his commander turns off the enhancers during a big concert.
- Bait-and-Switch: Done twice. When L.T. learns that the Party Posse will no longer be able to gather recruits for the Navy, his commander says "It's over" before pointing a gun at him... which he then uses to turn off the Party Posse's voice enhancers. Angrily, L.T. takes the gun from him... which he then uses to recommission the battleship.
- Big "NO!": J.C. gives out this after the rest of the band enlisted him in the Navy and he's carried off by two recruiters.
- Boy Band: The Party Posse
- Broken Record: The chorus of "Drop Da Bomb."
Singers: Yvan eht nioj
Yvan eht nioj
Yvan eht nioj, eht nioj!
- Bullet Time: One of N'Sync's dance moves is "a Matrix", where the five jump and stay frozen in mid-air while the camera pans around them.
- Cassandra Truth: Homer and Marge dismiss Lisa's claims that the Party Posse is unwittingly brainwashing people as jealousy of Bart's newfound fame.
- Catchphrase: Justin Timberlake always says "Word."note Joey Fatone repeatedly says "Old school!"
- Come with Me If You Want to Live: The circumstances behind Bart's first meeting with L.T. Smash. Bart had cheated at the Springfield Marathon, and an angry mob of marathon runners are advancing on him. Suddenly, Smash drives up from nowhere in an Ford Mustang convertible and shouts, "Get in, hurry!" Bart glances between the mob and Smash for a while before deciding the trust the stranger.
- Credits Montage: The credits for this episode featured behind-the-scenes footage (taken from an episode of a documentary series called Total Access 24/7 that aired on then-sister network Fox Family) of NSYNC recording their lines, plus clips from the episode. The credits were split-screen, the footage airing next to the credits template Fox used at the time. These credits have never been altered for syndication airings, at least in the United States. Watch them here.
- Dark Reprise: When Lisa puts in the tape for the music video in her room, a more-ominous sounding version of the "Yvan Eht Nioj" chorus plays.
- Disproportionate Retribution: L.T. Smash decided to blow up MAD Magazine just because they wanted to do a spoof of the band. Even more, the boys themselves took the "insult" as a compliment.
- Fanservice: The "Drop Da Bomb" music video features girls in bikinis with 3 of them singing the subliminal "Yvan Eht Nioj" message.
Marge: None of those girls has had three kids, I can tell ya that!
- Foreshadowing: Smash's military connection is hinted at by his record company: "Classified Records". The musical notes atop the sign are from The Star-Spangled Banner.
- Got Volunteered: The other members of N'SYNC enlist J.C. in the Navy without telling him. He doesn't find out until a couple recruiters drag him away.
- Imagine Spot: L.T. has one where the military fights a group of hippies mounted on the back of a giant praying mantis. Based on the conversation with his commander, it's a common occurrence.
- Louis Cypher: Parodied. L.T. Smash is really Lt.... L.T. Smash.
- Lustful Melt: The Party Posse's Camp Gay dance instructor uses the reason he's not affected by this trope as a reason to sharpen their moves. When he hears their voice enhanced singing, he gasps for breath and fans himself.
- Momma's Boy: When Lt. Smash accuses Skinner of standing in the Party Posse's way:
No I didn't! I even came in early and made orange drink! Smash:
"Orange drink"? What do you, live with your mama
? Skinner: (defiantly) She
lives with me
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Bart's disguise consisted of a hat and mustache. No one, of course, recognized him until a bird stole the mustache.
- Pyrrhic Villainy: L.T. succeeds in blowing up the MAD building, however, the writers survive the explosion and are even sober now.
- Rhyming with Itself: Happens during the Party Posse's last song...
So sign me up for a hitch of love
Recruit my heart; four sweet years of love!
- Serious Business: MAD's satires affect popularity so much, that L.T's superior shuts down his boy band project purely because an upcoming satire will tank the band's popularity.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: In the end, Lisa learning the truth about L.T and trying to convince Homer and Marge was unnecessary since the Party Posse was shut down due to a slanderous article about them.
- She Knows Too Much: Lisa finds out Lt. Smash's secret, but leaves before he can do anything about it.
- Bart's line "I use-a up all-a my Engleesh!" was a nod to Roberto Benigni's Best Actor Oscar acceptance speech for Life Is Beautiful.
- His cheating in the Springfield Marathon was this/a Take That! to Rosie Ruiz, who infamously cheated in the 1980 Boston Marathon under similar circumstances. (She also appeared out of nowhere near the finish line to win it all, but unlike Bart, she didn't wear a disguise.)
- Strong Family Resemblance: During the marathon, Homer looks just like his father Abe when he's dehydrated.
- Subliminal Advertising:
- "Yvan eht nioj"
- Inverted with Lt. Smash's "superliminal" strategy. He simply yells out his window to Lenny and Carl, "Hey you! Join the Navy!"
- Take That!: When asked about the "Yvan eht nioj" chant, Homer replies it's just a meaningless phrase, like "Sha-ma-la-ma-ding-dong" or "Give peace a chance."
- Tempting Fate: When Bart is introduced to the other members of Party Posse, he's annoyed that they're just guys from his school. He asks, "Who's next? Ralph Wiggum?" Cue Ralph revealing himself.
Ralph: Whee! I'm a pop sensation!
- There Are No Good Executives: Or at least honest ones. L.T. Smash is really Lt. Smash (or Lt. L.T. Smash) and he tries to enlist the children of Springfield Elementary as well as other town denizens to join the Navy.
- Vocal Dissonance: Played for Laughs when the Party Posse is singing with the voice enhancers. They're pre-pubescent boys singing in deep male teenage/young adult voices. It's especially funny how Ralph Wiggum's voice is the deepest out of all the four.
- Would Hurt a Child: The citizens were not amused by Bart's deception in the marathon and were willing to harm him over it.
Moe: Let's have a fun run... on his trachea!
- You Are Too Late: Even with the help of N'Sync, the Party Posse is unable to stop L.T from blowing up the MAD building.
- You Fool!: L.T's response when his commander turns off the Party Posse's voice enhancers.