While on a day trip to a hands-on science museum, Marge feels sorry for Ralph Wiggum being bullied and suggests to Chief Wiggum that Ralph and Bart be play buddies, which Bart objects to — until he realizes that Ralph is the son of an incompetent police chief and has police equipment at his disposal (including a master key that opens up every lock in town — including one to an abandoned prison's electric chair).
- Bait-and-Switch: During the science expo, there is a scene on an alien planet with "ARS" written◊ in the Star Wars font. Turns out it's an exhibit for "Mars"◊.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: When Mr. Burns says "There's a rocket in my pocket!", Smithers says "You don't have to tell me, sir."
- Brick Joke:
- Ralph mentions that he's friends with a leprechaun that tells him to burn things. In the end, when everyone is cheering for him, the leprechaun tells Ralph to burn down The Simpsons' house.
- When they first enter the Knowledgeum, The Simpsons are introduced to the place by Troy McClure who warns them that their car might be subjected to repeated break-ins. Homer was the only one worried about that. After leaving we clearly see their car has broken windows.
- Chekhov's Gun: Bart's rocket that Ralph touches turns out to be vital in saving Mayor Quimby.
- Circling Saw: Homer saws a hole into the floor of Bart's home for some reason. He pops his head up, sees Marge and Bart, then says, "Uh-oh" and departs.
- Clueless Aesop: Referenced when Ralph was apparently taught to let authorities know when people are touching his "special area", with nobody defining what that actually is to him. Ralph then thinks this special area is one of his shoulders and becomes very upset if anyone ever comes in contact with it. Don't forget that Ralph's father is Springfield's police chief...
- A Day in the Limelight: For Ralph and Bart mostly, meaning that Nancy Cartwright gets to talk to herself through 90% of the episode, as she also voices Nelson Muntz and Kearney.
- Exact Words: Bart tries to exploit this to trick Ralph into giving him access to Clancy Wiggum's secret closet that he forbids his son from entering. Turns out because of Ralph's Pronoun Trouble, Bart assumes the chief had this covered just in case and he goes in anyway.
Bart: C'mon, Ralph, your dad's a cop. There's gotta be some cool stuff around here. Bullets, dead body photos, what have you.
Ralph: He keeps that stuff in his closet, but he says I'm not allowed in there.
Bart: Did he say I'm not allowed in there?
- Exposition Already Covered: When Principal Skinner is about to surprise Bart's class by introducing a special visitor, Bart cuts him off telling him that the visitor is a robot and they already saw him before coming into class. Skinner thanks Bart in an irritated tone.
Skinner: We have a very special visitor today. But he's no ordinary visitor. In fact, uh, you might say-
Bart: He's a robot. We saw him on the way in.
Skinner: (irritated) Thank you, Bart. (to the robot) All right. Come in. They know.
- Hates Being Touched: Ralph, when Marge puts a hand on his shoulder while empathizing with him about his loneliness. He turns away from her hand with an uncomfortable expression and says, "Help! She's touching my special area!"
- Imaginary Friend: Ralph has one he calls "Wiggle Puppy" who according to Chief Wiggum, is his only friend.
- Insistent Terminology: Marge invites Ralph over without telling Bart and insists on calling it a "playdate," even when Bart keeps calling it "hanging out."
- Ironic Echo: Lampshaded. Bart takes the police master key from Ralph, who laments, "I thought we were friends!" Moments later, Nelson grabs the key from Bart and plays keep-away. Bart says the same thing: "I thought we were friends."
Nelson: Yeah? Well, I hope the irony's not lost on you, Simpson.
- Karma Houdini: The bullies, as usual, suffer no repercussions for turning on Bart and throwing away Ralph's master key, last seen walking off to find huckleberries.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Soon as Bart regrets betraying Ralph to impress the bullies, they immediately turn on him and give him a taste of his own medicine.
- Nose Nuggets: "I found a moon rock in my nose!"
Bart: Houston, we have a booger.
- Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: The Wiggums were watching The Return Of The Pink Panther Returns when Bart and Ralph sneak in and take the skeleton key.
- Sarcasm-Blind: When Mrs. Krabappel asked the students seven times eight, Milhouse answered "low battery" (they were using calculators) and didn't understand her reaction to his answer was sarcastic.
- The Scrooge: Mr. Burns saved Mayor Quimby by cutting off the electricity supply to the electric chair, but his motives were less than noble. Burns simply wouldn't supply electricity to anyone who wasn't paying for it (though why would a prison still have electricity and a security guard if no one's been using it for years?)
- Skeleton Key: Chief Wiggum has one, which is shaped like a skull, which opens every door in Springfield. Bart and Ralph steal it and get up to mayhem.
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: Marge getting hit by the pendulum.
- Three Stooges Shout-Out: Nelson has an Imagine Spot where he measures the Stooges' brains (with their hairdos attached on top for some reason) to see which of theirs is the heaviest and he then comically slaps all three of them.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Lisa was the one to come up with a plan to save Mayor Quimby but the one congratulated was Ralph for suggesting to ask for her help. Lisa gives in out of pity.
- Too Dumb to Live: Quimby seems to be actively trying to get himself killed with the electric chair.
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: When he sees that someone broke into his closet and assuming it's a burglar, Chief Wiggum arms himself and performs one. He ends up throwing his back out upon doing so.
- What Does This Button Do?: Bart presses the keyboard buttons on the visible computer despite Frink telling him to stop. It's done to the point the computer crashes and catches fire.