After getting branded a coward by Homer during a treehouse fire, Santa's Little Helper becomes a commercial celebrity, and the owner who abandoned Santa's Little Helper on the Christmas Episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" returns to retrieve his meal ticket.
- Adolf Hitlarious: A Rin Tin Tin episode features the titular dog attacking Adolf Hitler.
- Big Damn Heroes: Marge's attempt to rescue Homer is negated when the rope ladder burns away, while Snowball II plays the trope straight.
- Call-Back: The man who abandoned SLH way back in the first episode, returns here to reclaim him after the pooch becomes famous.
- Holding Out for a Hero: All the townspeople are too busy shaming Santa's Little Helper for not saving Homer to actually bother going in themselves.
- I Can Change My Beloved: The Duff executives agree to make Duff McShark the new company mascot because they believe men will want to be him and women will think they can change him.
- I Have No Son!: Or rather I Have No Dog. Homer pays dearly for saying that. As in losing the money Santa's Little Helper got as a celebrity.
- In-Universe Nickname: When the family sees Bart's second treehouse on fire, Marge makes sure everyone is together:Marge: Family head count — Pointy (Lisa), Pointy (Maggie), Spiky (Bart), Stylish (herself)...
(Marge, feeling no other head, gasps)
Marge: Where's Baldy (Homer)?
- Jerkass: Homer is at his absolute worst in this episode. After being saved by Snowball II, he starts abusing Santa's Little Helper horribly and is more than willing to have him be taken by his original owner. He does regret it. At the end of the episode, though, he starts criticizing Snowball II for not doing anything after he saved him, only for Marge to point out he woke Homer up when he stopped breathing. Then Homer blames the cat again for eating the last can of tuna...which Homer had eaten.Homer: Everyone's against me.
- Jerkass Realization: Once Santa's Little Helper is taken away and Bart breaks down in tears, Homer finally realizes how awful he's been.
- Kick the Dog: Literally. Homer abuses Santa's Little Helper and lets him get taken away by his old owner.
- A Lesson Learned Too Well: In order to teach SLH how to be brave, Bart and Lisa show him a tape of Rin Tin Tin attacking Adolf Hitler. SLH ends up attacking a mailman with a Hitler-like mustache.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Homer is wracked with remorse after he breaks Bart's heart by giving Santa's Little Helper back to his original owner.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Despite mentioning Frank Lloyd Wright's name, Homer has actually never heard of him.
- Santa's Little Helper watches an episode of Rin Tin Tin on TV.
- When about to be attacked by a great white shark, Homer asks himself "How did that beautiful naked lady in Jaws make it out alive?!"
- Take That!:
- Threatening Shark: While pretending he's drowning in the ocean so that Duffman can "save" him and become the mascot of Duff beer again, a shark attacks Homer. However, it misses him and ends up biting down on the Duff-brand keg of beer, getting drunk and prompting Duff Beer to proclaim the shark as their new mascot, dubbed Duff McShark.
- Undying Loyalty: Bart is the only one who sticks by Santa's Little Helper's side when Homer keeps shaming and abusing him.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: When Homer and Bart witness a train spinning and flying in the air - and landing on its wheels - Homer has this line of dialogue:Homer: Nothing beats flying across the country on a train.
(Bart looks at Homer as he smiles)
- What the Hell, Hero?: Bart is none too pleased with how his father treats Santa's Little Helper after calling him a coward. To be fair, he left Homer to die to save himself, only coming back to grab the turkey to eat.