When Marge has to back out of taking Lisa to an ancient Egyptian exhibit at the museum so she can take Bart to Dr. Hibbert's office, Lisa tricks Homer into letting her ride the bus, but she boards the wrong one and must find her way home through a series of unfamiliar neighborhoods.
- Adorkable: Lisa's excitement at being able to ride the bus is adorable to watch.
- An Aesop: Never be afraid to live life on the edge.
- Adult Fear: Lisa being missing. Lenny and Carl have to spell Homer's blunder out to him.Homer: Maybe. But you don't know Lisa. I mean, she's so smart they hooked her up to a big computer to try to teach it some things. But she had so much knowledge, it overloaded. And then it got really hot and caught on fire!Carl: That never, uh, happened, did it, Homer?Homer: Uh, yes. But now, I have to leave on a totally unrelated matter. (runs out of the cafeteria) Oh, Lisa!
- Area 51: Or rather, Area 51-a.
- Balloonacy: Subverted when Homer needs to get up high to spot Lisa. "Oh, I hope this works...These are for you if you let me use your cherry-picker."
- Bait-and-Switch: As mentioned above Homer decides that he needs to get up high to be able to scan the surrounding city for her and then goes to a vendor selling balloons, seemingly leading up to a joke that Homer is dumb enough to think he could float using a handful of balloons.... Then, he offers the balloons to a cherry pick driver in exchange for using his machine to lift him up. It works."Well, I've already got some balloons - but they're not this nice. Deal!"
Mr. Burns: Shouldn't you be at work?Homer: (Nervously) Yes, sir... Mr. Burns... sir.Mr. Burns: Then go back to wherever it is you work, whoever you are.
- Later Homer runs into Mr. Burns while looking for Lisa.
Homer: I'm not much of a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me, Superman!
- Later still
- Bilingual Bonus: The signs in the Russian district of Springfield are actual Cyrillic words and the Russian the chess players speak is real.
- Black Comedy: At the hospital, Marge notices another child with a faucet on his forehead, and reassures Bart he's not the only one in this situation. The mother quickly corrects her by saying that's actually a plumbing explosion, freaking Bart out; Marge, meanwhile, notices that this is the kind of faucet she'd like for their bathroom.
- Chew Toy: Homer. His quest starts with him trying to save Lisa, and it ends with his head caught between two halves of a drawbridge.
- Lisa herself is put through the wringer the moment she tries to take a bus.
- Comically Missing the Point: When Bart asks Homer for some glue, he has to grab the vial (which has stuck itself to the bottom of the drawer) with both hands and use a foot for leverage to get it out... which succeeds only because the bottom of the drawer it was stuck to breaks away. Homer then passes the glue to Bart and, in all seriousness, tells Bart that he hopes this stuff will hold for him.
- Ear Worm: In-universe. The music from the Orb of Isis for Homer, even if he gets the tune wrong.
- Foreshadowing: When the bus stops in Crackton, Lisa remarks, "That doesn't sound right." She was right to be concerned because she later finds out that she was on the wrong bus to start with.
- For Want of a Nail:
- Lisa only had to take the bus because Bart glued comedy props to his face and Marge has to take him to hospital to get them removed... when it turned out all Bart needed to do was sweat.
- Lisa wouldn't have gotten lost if she had checked which buses were running that day, as she would have found another way to get to the museum.
- It was also very lucky for Homer that he and Lisa spotted each other before the cherry picker went out of control.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the joke shop there are labels reading "Itching Powder," "Heart Attack Powder," and "Impotence Powder."
- Idiot Ball:
- Bart, for gluing comedy props to his face so they won't fall off. Partly defied when he says he didn't eat any of the glue when Marge thinks he did.
- Lisa, for not checking that she was boarding the correct bus to get to the museum.
- Mr. Burns, as part of a Running Gag, for not recognizing Homer despite the fact that he has been his employer for years.
- Jerkass: All Larry the Bus Driver did to help Lisa out is tap the sign that says "Do not talk to driver," even after she truly becomes lost and frightened, before abandoning her in the desert.
- Mood Whiplash: The nice moment when Homer and Lisa discover the secret of the Orb of Isis is quickly ended when they trigger the alarms and have to escape, right at the end of the episode.
- Never My Fault: When Lisa gets lost and is forced to walk back, she blames the bus for not going where it was supposed to, despite the fact that it was her own fault for boarding the wrong bus in the first place.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The promos for this episode made it out to be about Bart having to live with gag props stuck to his face thanks to using Homer's industrial-strength glue, but that subplot came to an anticlimactic end when Dr. Hibbert made Bart sweat to get the adhesive to loosen up.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Homer accidentally damages the Orb of Isis: subverted when dropping it revealed a music box with a pretty tune.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Dr. Hibbert suggests getting the superglue off Bart's face with a series of painful injections in Bart's spine; as it turns out this was just to get Bart to sweat to loosen it up. When Bart asked why he couldn't have just turned the heat up, he replied that it had to be TERROR sweat.
- No Indoor Voice: The Russian man Lisa asks for directions.
- No Sympathy: Larry the Bus Driver has a personal sign for all of his passenger's woes; "Do not talk to driver.". Even for a lost and frightened little girl who definitely needs more help than that.Larry: Don't make me tap the sign...
- Oh, Crap!: Homer and Lisa right at the end when the museum alarms go off and they get chased away by guard dogs.
- Parents in Distress: Homer when the cherry picker goes out of control.
- Skewed Priorities: Bart refuses to put dog doo on his face, because it's been on the dirty ground.
- Spit Take: When Lenny learns that Homer let Lisa ride the bus on her own, he spits his food out.