Homer watches a 1980s family sitcom called Thicker Than Waters for tips on how to be a better father, while Bart earns money for a dirtbike by selling nuclear secrets to China.
- Blackmail: The creator of "Thicker Than Waters" got the show to be aired because he had proof the network's president ran over somebody.
- Brick Joke: When Milhouse showed interest in a feminine set of overalls, he said he could find a way to make it work. After a few scenes without it being mentioned, Milhouse appears wearing it and being chased by bullies.
- Broken Pedestal: The Running Gag of Homer becoming more of an old-school sitcom dad by the influence of "Thicker Than Waters" ends when he sees an E! True Hollywood Story-style special on the show's cast and learns how bad things were behind the scenes.
- Depraved Dentist: Downplayed. Dr. Waters isn't overly sadistic, but he does encourage his son's friends to eat more sugary foods so he can generate new business.
- Expy/Shout-Out: The A-Team of Finland. One of them was basically a white Mr. T.
- Fun with Acronyms: Chinese Intelligence in America, French Bureau of Investigations and the A-Team of Finland.
- Funny Background Event: The scene with bullies chasing Milhouse for wearing a feminine set of overalls.
- Shout-Out: Bart's Imagine Spot about his punishment for selling nuclear secrets has a bald eagle rip out his liver, a nod to the Greek legend of Prometheus.
- Show Within a Show: "Thicker than Waters"
- Spy Ship: The episode had a series of these, each of them having the initials of an American government agency but standing for something completely different (CIA = Chinese Intelligence Agency, FBI = French Bureau of Investigation, and ATF = A-Team of Finland).
- Vanity License Plate: The license plate for the dirtbike given by the Chinese says "Tr8or".
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The dirtbike given to Bart by the Chinese Intelligence in America comes with a license plate stating it came from "Springfield, USA".