After Bart and Milhouse go on a sugar bender after finding a $20 bill (that Homer found under the couch while looking for a peanut and lost when he slipped on the very peanut he was trying to find) and spending most of the money on a Squishee made of syrup, Bart wakes to find that he's a member of the geekiest club known to man: The Junior Campers (not affiliated with The Boy Scouts of America).
- Abilene Paradox: In a variation, Bart knows that Homer won't want to go on the canoe trip, and Homer knows that Bart doesn't want him to go, but both of them independently decide to express interest and rely on the other to decline:
Bart: [through gritted teeth] Dad, I really want you to come on this trip with me.
Homer: [through equally gritted teeth] Bart, I'd be delighted to go on your trip with you.
Homer & Bart, simultaneously: D'oh!
- Accidental Hero: Homer is The Load all the way through the trip, losing their map and getting himself, Bart, and the Flanderses lost at sea. He only ends up saving the day when his keen sense of smell and the Krusty Burger map he brought along led them to food and rescue. It also turned out that the "correct" path led the campers who went down it to be attacked by mountain men, a bear, and eventually by something (implied to be Jason Voorhees) lurking in an abandoned campground.
- As Himself: Ernest Borgnine
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Homer's attention is quickly drawn away from the group's impending deaths when he gets a whiff of hamburgers.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Hans Moleman draws a big knife that's too heavy for him to use.
- Bait-and-Switch: When Homer drops the Swiss Army knife on the inflatable raft with a number of sharp blades and tools folded outwards, it keeps bouncing around with everyone alternately making terrified and relieved gasps, until it finally stops without puncturing the raft... only for the sun to hit the now-perfectly aligned magnifying glass tool and burn a hole through the raft anyway.
- Becoming the Mask: Bart initially attends the scout meetings in the hope that he'll get a pocket knife. However, he soon comes to enjoy the scout lifestyle.
- Bears Are Bad News: The other Campers group is attacked by a bear. Borgnine's attempt to save the day with his Swiss army knife is subverted because Homer stole it to give to Bart.
- Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: Homer reaching under the couch trying to find his dropped peanut: "Ow, pointy! Eww, slimy! Uh-oh, moving! Ah-ha!"
- Black Comedy: The nasty things that happens to Borgnine and his group are some of the darkest moments in the series but they are still played for laughs.
- Bolivian Army Ending: Borgnine and what's left of the Junior Campers are last seen being attacked by an unseen horror (implied to be Jason Voorhees).
- Booby Trap: Bart pulls a couple of these for Homer including a Snare and Pitfall.
- Broken Record: When Ned loses hope of being rescued, he is reduced to saying, "Done-diddly-doodly-done-diddly-doddly..."
- Calling the Old Man Out: Bart calls out Homer on being a jerkass to Ned since at least Ned is trying to help with the situation and Homer isn't even trying.
- Cane Sword: Hans Moleman has one, and (compared to him) it is a Big Freaking Sword. Unfortunately for him, it is too heavy for him to use once he's drawn it (although how is he able to even carry it to begin with?).
- Chekhov's Gun: The map with the Krusty Burger franchises, showing that there's one on an (unmanned) oil rig about to shut down.
- Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: After Bart decides to abandon the Campers because he's not allowed a knife, he grumbles that maybe they are not exciting. Cue a barrage of exciting (and funny) situations appearing as he walks down the street where a knife saves the day (Hans Moleman getting thrown out of Moe's and threatening to cut him with a cane sword that's too heavy for him, Jimbo and Kearney robbing Martin Prince of his box of cookies after helping him open the box with a knife, and Dr. Hibbert performing a streetside appendectomy with a pocket knife).
- Devious Dolphins: When Bart, Homer, Flanders and Flanders' kids remain stranded at sea, they're eventually approached by a trio of dolphins. Flanders is relieved, stating that dolphins always help people lost at sea. Instead, the dolphins merely chitter to each other that the castaways are all going to die, laugh a bit, and then leave them to their fate.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Moe kicks Hans Moleman out of the bar and threatens him with a knife for not using a coaster.
- Double Negative: "Don't do what Donny Don't does."
Bart: [sigh] They could have made this clearer.
- Epic Fail: All of Homer's attempts at saving the day once the group is stuck at sea. For Krusty, the idea of opening a Krusty Burger franchise on an oil rig without taking heed to the fact that it was unmanned (however, it's just a fail for him — it saves the group's lives).
- Even Nerds Have Standards: Lisa laughs at Bart after he discovers he joined the Junior Campers during a blackout.
Lisa: The few, the proud, the geeky. Heh, heh, heh.
- Fictional Video Game: The redesigned Noiseland Arcade has redesigned cabinets for several unnamed games, and also, Larry the Looter, Time Waster, Touch of Death, View Master, My Dinner with Andre (with controls Trenchant Insight, Bon Mot, and "Tell Me More"), and Panamanian Strongman, which Bart plays until getting a Game Over.
- Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Homer slaps Ned out of a Heroic BSoD when a pod of dolphins won't help them. He repeats the process several times just to make sure.
- G-Rated Drug: Bart and Milhouse go on a bender after drinking a Squishee "made entirely of syrup", which leads to Bart joining the local scout troop and Milhouse getting a rude word shaved into the back of his head.
- Heroic Dolphin: Lampshaded and subverted. A trio of dolphins come across the Flanders and Simpsons' boat and Ned becomes relieved as dolphins always rescue people lost at sea. The dolphins instead mock the two families claiming that they're going to die and leave.
- Hillbilly Horrors: One of the cuts to what the other camper group is doing has them rafting through a swampy area while someone is looking at them with Deliverance-style creepy banjo music playing. The cut to them some time afterwards shows that Borgnine is the only adult that seems to remain in the camper group.
- Horrible Camping Trip: What happened to the Flanderses and the Simpsons. The other Campers don't end quite as well.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Hans Moleman's Cane Sword (or rather, cane machete) is bigger than the cane that sheaths it and even the (admittedly pretty short) man wielding it.
- Hypocritical Humor: When Bart and Milhouse get thrown out of the arcade for running out of money, a hobo tells them that the two mustn't waste time, they should cherish it and seize the day... right before asking the two for change so he can get loaded.
- I Have No Son!: Homer's reaction when Bart laughed at a joke told by Flanders.
- Imagine Spot: Homer briefly imagines himself dancing with some anthropomorphic candy while listening to "Sugar" by The Archies.
- Impending Doom P.O.V.: The POV of the thing that attacks the other scout party, starting with Ernest Borgnine.
- Incompetence, Inc.: Krusty builds a series of Krusty Burger restaurants on unmanned oil rigs. This is pretty much the Krusty Corporation's MO, mind you. What is a stupid investment for him ends up saving the Simpsons' and Flanderses' lives, though.
- Insane Troll Logic: Homer's idea for avoiding going on the river rafting trip is to say "yes" when Bart asks him. The result is obvious. Homer's brain tries to call him on it, but he just threatens to stab it with a Q-tip.
- Instantly Proven Wrong: Flanders notes that a seagull in the air means they're close to land, because seagulls only go out to sea when they're about to die. The seagull immediately drops from the sky, dead.
- Insult Backfire: Bart gets out of an exam after noticing one of his fellow Junior Campers gets to leave class early for a meeting.
Nelson: Hey look, Sergeant Dork! Ha ha!
- Irony: Homer finds $20 while looking for a dropped peanut. He quickly loses said $20 after slipping on the very same peanut.
- I Warned You: Everyone kept telling Krusty he was building his restaurant on an unmanned oil rig.
- Lifesaving Misfortune: As awful as it was to drift in the ocean, going the wrong way actually saved the lives of the Simpsons and the Flanders'. Had they gone the correct route with all of the other scouts and their parents, they would most probably have been killed off by any of the myriad horrors that group ended up meeting.
- Like Father, Like Son: When Bart and Homer both realise that Homer just agreed to participate in the father-son river rafting trip with Bart, they both exclaim "D'oh!" simultaneously.
- Made of Iron: The man suffering from a soon-to-explode appendix just gets right up after it's removed.
- The Millstone: Homer. He lost the map, used the drinking water to wash his socks, destroyed the rescue plane with a flare gun, his Swiss army knife burns a hole in the raft and all while he insists he knows what he's doing. He eventually redeems himself by using his amazing sense of smell to steer the raft to an oil rig with a Krusty Burger on it.
- Mind Screw: Overlapping with Breaking the Fourth Wall. When Homer, Bart and Lisa watch an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon, Bart complains about Itchy tying Scratchy's tongue with a sheet bend rather than a taunt-line hitch, to which Lisa replies cartoons don't have to be 100% realistic. Cue a second Homer walking past the window.
- Never My Fault: While stranded at sea, Homer laments, "Why couldn't I be on one of the smart rafts?" Keep in mind that it was Homer's irresponsibility that got them into this mess.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Homer subverts this trope when Bart joins the Junior Campers and has to take Homer along on a father-son river rafting trip. They're paired with Ned and Todd Flanders, and Homer makes things go From Bad to Worse. Homer loses their map and gets them separated from all the other father-son pairs, and they end up drifting out to sea. They quickly run out of food and water because of Homer's Jerkass behavior, and he makes their raft spring a leak. However, Homer ultimately saves them when he realizes that there's a Krusty Burger on a nearby offshore oil rig, and his amazing sense of smell leads them to it. They get food and a ride back to Springfield, and Bart congratulates his father. It also turns out that Homer actually did Bart and the Flanderses a favour by getting them separated from the other rafts. We see what the other father-son teams go through, and it turns out to be a rather unpleasant series of experiences which apparently ends with all of them killed.
- Played somewhat straight at one point, where he presents Bart with a Swiss Army knife that he wanted to give him as a present, and he states that he stole it from Ernest Borgnine. We then cut to Borgnine and the other campers being attacked by a bear, Borgnine saying that he will take care of the bear... and discovering right then that his knife is gone.
- Noodle Incident: Barney wakes up on a Greek ship wearing a navy uniform. He exclaims "not again!".
- The Nose Knows: Homer is able to guide the troop to the offshore Krusty Burger through thick fog by following the scent of hamburgers.
- Nothing Is Scarier: We never see what attacks the campers at the end.
- Obnoxious Inlaws: Patty and Selma are on fine form, implying to a worried Marge Homer's probably been eaten by a cougar.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Ernest Borgnine and at least some of the Junior Campers somehow escape from a hungry bear.
- Oh, Crap!: The Simpsons and Flanderses when Homer drops the Swiss Army knife on their raft. And again when said Swiss Army knife's magnifying glass causes a leak in the raft.
Bart: Don't take this the wrong way, Dad, but your expression doesn't fill me with confidence.
- Organ Autonomy: When Homer gets disappointed that he found twenty dollars instead of his dropped last peanut, his brain argues that he can use the money to buy more peanuts. Later, when Homer reasons that he doesn't want to go on the father-son rafting trip with Bart and thus should answer yes when he asks, his brain points out that that's not how it works. Homer responds, "Shut up, brain, or I'll stab you with a Q-tip!"
- Pet the Dog: Bart defends Flanders from Homer by stating that Flanders is at least trying to keep everyone alive and sane while stranded at sea, while his father is making things worse while giving Flanders a hard time.
- Poetic Justice: Homer curses this trope when he taunts Bart about his Junior Camper activities, asking if he learned to "build crappy furniture out of useless wooden logs", only for his chair to collapse.
- Police Are Useless: Chief Wiggum believes that Bart and Homer must be missing for at least a week before the police searches for them, and considers his checkers game against a dog more important. When the police finally attempt a search, it is delayed because Wiggum is concerned that their supply of cold cuts and beer is understocked and wants to go shopping first.
- Rule of Funny: Triple-G-rated movies (the kids' version of triple-X-rated movies)
- Ruptured Appendix: A man on a street suffers a severe case of this. Fortunately, Dr. Hibbert had his pocket knife, allowing him to perform a street operation and save the man's life, to the cheers of everyone present. Parodied, as the appendix literally explodes (i.e., like a stick of dynamite would after being lit) after Dr. Hibbert throws it.
- Safe Zone Hope Spot: The final scene of the episode is Ernest Borgnine and the other junior scouts "being lucky" to find an abandoned camp for them to spend the night after dealing with all of the horrors. Turns out that the abandoned camp is the stomping grounds of a Jason Voorhees-style slasher monster of some kind, and they end up being attacked.
- Scout-Out: The Junior Campers are not associated with the Boy Scouts of America, as the sign on their meeting room says.
- Skewed Priorities: Homer is a lot more concerned about gloating over Flanders being wrong than the fact they're still miles out to sea.
Homer: What does it matter? We're doomed! (a seagull caws)
Ned: Wrong, we're saved! Seagulls always stay near land, they only come out to sea to die. (the seagull plunges to a watery grave)
Homer: Woo-hoo! See that, boy? Your old man was right, not Flanders! We are doomed!
- Special Guest: Ernest Borgnine.
- Surprise Creepy: The final scene, wherein an apparent slasher monster (heavily implied that is Jason Voorhees) attacks the scouts, beginning with Ernest Borgnine.
- Take Our Word for It: The curse word written on the back of Milhouse's head. The only clue to how dirty it is was Principal Skinner's reaction upon reading it and the punishment ("I'm gonna shave you bald, young man, until you learn that hair is not a right; it's a privilege.")
- Tempting Fate: When a seagull appears after Homer says he and the others are doomed, Ned explains that seagulls only go out to sea to die, ergo they must be near land. The seagull expires at that moment, and Homer revels in getting one over Ned. Later, when Homer accidentally shoots down a plane with a flare, he reasons that when the pilot is rescued, the raft will be noticed as well. The plane that immediately rescues the pilot just carries on like the raft doesn't exist. Finally, dolphins swim up to the raft, and Ned assures everyone that they'll help those lost at sea like they always do, only for the dolphins to abandon them, leaving behind the subtitle, "You're all going to die."
- Unishment: Nelson, Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney try to mock Bart being in the Junior Campers by playing "keep away" with his uniform. Bart, who was planning on quitting, just walks away indifferently, prompting the bullies into threatening him to at least pretend he wants it back.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: For Bart, it's enlisting in the Junior Campers while going through a sugar-based Mushroom Samba. For Barney, it was somehow ending up on a Greek ship wearing a Greek sailor uniform while passed out on bags of baklava. For Milhouse, it was getting a dirty word shaved in the back of his head and punished for it by being shaved bald.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to the other fathers that were going on the raft tour? Probably they were killed by the hillbillies.
- Who's Laughing Now?: Nelson stops laughing at Bart for being a Junior Camper after Bart points out that being a Junior Camper is what exempts him from taking a test.
- Worst Aid: Dr. Hibbert not only cuts out a man's appendix in the middle of the street with just a pocket knife, but he doesn't even wipe the knife clean until afterwards. However, given that the appendix then exploded, this was probably prudent.
- You Might Remember Me from...: When Ernest Borgnine is introduced, he declares, "I'm sure you kids know me best as Sergeant "Fatso" Judson in From Here to Eternity."