When Lisa discovers that her favorite book series is really the product of committee writing by publishers (with an actress posing as the author), Homer and Bart decide to gain fame the same way until a real publisher wants to publish their work and change it into yet another vampire love story based on Twilight.
Guest stars Neil Gaiman
- Adam Westing: Neil Gaiman
- Artistic License Paleontology:
Homer: I demand to speak to my paleontologist!
- Hilariously discussed. When Homer gets taken away by security for taking a nap inside a dinosaur head he protests that it's not against the law to sleep in a Tyrannosaurus head, to which the guards respond that he's inside an Allosaurus.note
- Milhouse denies that the animatronics seen during the show aren't real dinosaurs, since dinosaurs are supposed to sing. Judging from the masses' reaction, many of the other children may have had similar beliefs.
- Basement-Dweller: Principal Skinner joins the crew to have enough money to move out of his mother's house.
- Broken Pedestal:
- Lisa finding out the author of the Angelica Buttons series is really an actress and that her favorite books are written by the publishers.
- When Marge tries to defend the books by saying Lisa still liked the stories when she read them, Lisa points out that Betty Crocker was never a real person but an invention of men in the 20's. Marge pretends not to be hurt but then goes outside and empties all her Betty Crockers in the trash.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Neil Gaiman. First he betrays the crew by taking sole credit for the book and its success, and then he poisons his co-conspirator Moe. And it's heavily implied that this is what he has done for every single book ever published under his name.
- Doing It for the Art: In-Universe. Lisa, but she is unable to write anything. The other group, driven by greed, is much more productive, so much so that they end up liking their finished work more than the money and defect to Lisa's side.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: At the beginning.
- Evil Laugh: "The audiobook is only available ... abridged. Abridged!" *cackling, maniacal laughter*
- Executive Meddling: In-universe. Homer and Bart originally created a fantasy novel that's best described as Harry Potter with trolls, but when it actually gets published, the company plans to turn it into yet another vampire romance series for preteen girls.
- Fake Defector: When the crew breaks in the printing room, the Executive is aware of this because Lisa informed him in exchange of getting to write a sequel to the book. It turns out she's just tricking him into revealing his password so she can see to it that the original book will be printed instead of the vampire-themed version.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you pause any DVD or streaming video in the right places during the episode, you can see actual story being written, rather than the usual gibberish often used to simulate writing, meaning that either the team at the show were planning to actually make the book in real life and just never got around to it, or they (correctly) assumed people might be curious to what was being written by Homer and Bart's crew and put actual story text in certain shots.
- Heist Episode: Technically only the last part is an out-and-out caper, but it feels like one from the moment Bart and Homer cook up their idea to write a money-making book. The caper consists of writing a young adult fantasy novel. When the publisher changes their manuscript, they execute an actual heist to break into the printer and switch manuscripts.
- Hidden Depths: Whichever of Springfield's denizens viewers might have expected to have written a series of "moderately successful children's books", it almost certainly wasn't Moe.
- Hypocritical Humor: When Lisa "reveals" herself to the rest of the crew as a traitor, Patty comments that it's always a woman who betrays the team.
- Insane Troll Logic: Mrs. Skinner tells her son to wash her undergarments again just because Homer and Bart saw them.
- Kansas City Shuffle: Homer and Bart did something in Kansas City that was regrettable. We don't find out what it is.
- Never Learned to Read: Neil Gaiman somehow manages to have a writing career, despite this.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Played for laughs. Bart tells Neil Gaiman to "lose the [English] accent", which prompts Gaiman to speak what amounts to a line of stereotypically American nonsense in the least convincing American accent ever heard by man.
- Out-Gambitted: The Executive thinks he's pulled this on the crew when he recruits Lisa, only for Lisa to secretly take the crew's side. But then everyone turns out to have been dancing on Neil Gaiman's strings.
- Raptor Attack: The dromaeosaurids at the dinosaur show are Jurassic Park-styled. Justified in that they are just costumes.
- Reality Ensues: The majority of children at the show are terrified by the life sized animatronic dinosaurs and run within moments of the show starting.
- Lisa thinks she can just start writing a novel on her own with no prep work. In real life it can take weeks, months or even years to prepare to even start writing one on your own, so of course she fails to write a single sentence.
- Strictly Formula: The Angelica Buttons series and other popular books. Our protagonists try to make some quick money by writing a book the same way, but accidentally evolve the story into something good, become attached to it, and fight to prevent Executive Meddling from ruining it.
- Tempting Fate: After Lisa explains how she tricked the Executive into publishing the crew's original story, she comments that the best part is that she's been credited as the author. She then opens a copy of the book and learns Neil Gaiman got that credit.
- Tropes Are Not Bad: The people of Springfield love Underbridge Academy, and its publication is a success for the authors both financially and emotionally. (Though Underbridge is portrayed as original in comparison to its vampire version.)
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: After it's revealed to the viewers that the company published the original book instead of the vampire-themed version, Lisa explains how it happened. Knowing the crew would fail without the Executive's computer password to allow them to send the book's original version to the printing machines, she pretended to betray them so the Executive would trust her with the password and she would insert the pendrive with the original book instead of the one with the vampire story. Then she sees Neil Gaiman credited as the author instead of her and the next scene features Gaiman commenting that Lisa never thought there might be three pendrives.