Follow TV Tropes

Following

Shout Out / The Bolt Chronicles

Go To

This is a page dedicated to shout outs, Easter eggs, Tuckerizations, Parody Names, and other references found in the series The Bolt Chronicles, including things like symbolism and plot touchstones. While extensive, it is intended that they provide an added layer of enjoyment to the story rather than being a requirement to reader comprehension. They're arranged by story, in chronological order by date set.

Advertisement:

Beware of spoilers.


    open/close all folders 

    "The Seven" 
  • The Call of the Wild: Blaze bizarrely has been known to pass himself off as having several improbable family origins, including being a descendant of Buck from the Jack London novel. Echoes Rhino's behavior in Bolt, who claims a similarly outlandish lineage.
  • Citizen Kane: Frequently appearing on lists of the best movies of all time, the film is referenced by the puppies while discussing the merits of Seven Samurai and its American remake.
    "Well," sighed the Lab pup. "That was kind of a fun film. But like my mama would say, ‘It’s no "Citizen Kane"’."
  • George Enescu: His musical work Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 is mentioned as being a guilty pleasure.
  • Gilligan's Island: This TV show is mentioned as being a guilty pleasure.
  • Ghostbusters: This movie is mentioned as being a guilty pleasure.
  • Jack Kerouac: His novel On the Road is mentioned as being a guilty pleasure.
  • Joyce Kilmer: His poem "Trees" is mentioned as a being guilty pleasure.
  • Lassie: The collie puppy scolds his Jack Russell terrier friend for play-fighting too rough. The latter teases him, saying Lassie wasn't a coward like he is.
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken: Parodied in a shout-out to the dedicatee of one of these stories. Jamal enjoys eating a bucket of Knight's Fried Chicken (a fictional product), saying that he prefers it to "that other KFC."
  • A League of Their Own: Mae is a shout out to the promiscuous character of the same name in this film.
  • Emanuel Leutze: His painting Washington Crossing The Delaware is mentioned as being a guilty pleasure.
  • The Lost Weekend: Blaze's alcoholic owner dies in his easy chair, watching this movie while imbibing. The film symbolizes the man's drinking problem.
  • The Magnificent Seven (1960): Bolt and his six puppy mill friends name themselves after this film. It's also mentioned as an example of a guilty pleasure.
  • Elvis Presley: Bolt is born with a stillborn twin. His mother Cheyenne notes the parallel to Elvis Presley, hoping that bodes well for the surviving puppy.
    Cheyenne: Maybe that's a good omen. If he’s half as successful in whatever life path he takes, he’ll be fortunate indeed. But we'll see.
  • R.E.M.: Blaze enjoys movies and music, with this group being his favorite. Their album Murmur is mentioned as one he enjoys, but he likes Lifes Rich Pageant most, particularly the songs "Begin the Begin," "What if We Give It Away," "Just a Touch," and "Superman." The albums and song titles reference plot points in the story.
    • Lifes Rich Pageant: Symbolizes Blaze's eventful and varied life.
    • Murmur: Symbolizes Young Bolt's taciturn nature.
    • "Begin the Begin:" Symbolizes the story being the first of the series. Bolt's life starts here.
    • "Just a Touch:" Symbolizes the brief tryst Blaze and Cheyenne have conceiving Bolt.
    • "Superman:" Foreshadows Bolt in his later incarnation as (fake) superhero on his TV show. Also ironically references Blaze's outsized opinion of himself.
    • "What if We Give It Away:" Symbolizes the broad sexual experience of puppy mill females Cheyenne, Corabell, Dorabell, and Mae.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: Specifically regarding the segment Peabody's Improbable History. Blaze bizarrely claims to be a direct descendant of Mr. Peabody, saying he has inherited the character's massive brain power. Subverted in that he's not able to figure out a way to release Corabell, Dorabell, and Mae from their cages so he can have sex with them.
  • Seven Samurai: The puppies discuss the merits of this film versus its American remake.
  • The Three Stooges: The reference is played with regarding Corabell, Dorabell, and Mae. The first two are a direct shout out, being names of the Stooges’ wives in Dizzy Doctors and The Sitter Downers. Subverted in that the third dog’s name is Mae instead of Florabell, this character's name deriving from A League of Their Own.
  • The Wizard of Oz: Blaze's owner Roscoe makes fun of the special effects while watching this movie. The film's subject mirrors the fic series's long journey of Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino as a team.

    "The Pilot" 
  • Battleship Potemkin: James recreates conflict scenes from this film as a youngster.
  • The Beverly Hillbillies: The pilot episode of the Bolt television show becomes one of the most-watched shows in TV history, rivaling the record-holding giant jackrabbit episode of this program.
  • Elvis Costello: Each section of this story is subtitled with a song by this artist. James's hope to use selections by this songwriter as underscore music for the Bolt pilot is rejected.
    • "Beyond Belief": Symbolizes James's outrage when he realizes his pilot script has been dumbed down via Executive Meddling and he is unable to get the underscore music he wanted.
    • "B-Movie": Symbolizes the cheezy props used in the scene where Bolt is depicted as getting superpowers.
    • "From a Whisper to a Scream": Symbolizes Bolt's unleashing his superbark.
    • "Goon Squad": Symbolizes the squadron of mooks who come out to destroy Bolt. They don't succeed.
    • "Miracle Man": Symbolizes James's precocious and detailed attemps to recreate scenes from his favorite films as a youngster.
    • "Pump It Up": Symbolizes Bolt becoming upset and outraged upon hearing that Penny's father has been kidnapped.
    • "This Year's Girl": Symbolizes Penny imminently becoming a hot new TV personality as the star of the Bolt TV show.
    • "Welcome to the Working Week": Symbolizes James's obtaining a regular director's gig thanks to the success of the Bolt pilot.
    • "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding": Symbolizes Bolt's confusion about why Dr. Calico has come into his family's life to cause so much disruption.
  • The Dave Clark Five: Songs by this group are heard piped in while Penny and Bolt are in their trailer after shooting.
    • "Any Way You Want It": Symbolizes the studio's attempt to have Bolt's new trailer home contain all the comforts a dog might want.
    • "Can't You See That She's Mine": Symbolizes Bolt's now fully energized protective instinct towards Penny and her father.
    • "Try Too Hard": Symbolizes Bolt's ultra-concentrated efforts to protect his master, which will worsen in canon.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show: James is upset to find that Executive Meddling by the network has cut his script references to this show from the Bolt pilot.
  • Fort Apache: James recreates conflict and battle scenes from this fim as a youngster.
  • Frankenstein: The laboratory scene where Bolt is portrayed as getting superpowers from Penny's father is compared to the one in this film.
  • Gone with the Wind: James recreates the "Burning of Atlanta" scene from this fim as a youngster, setting fire to his bedroom in the process.
  • Lassie: James becomes motivated to create the Bolt television show after binge-watching this program.
  • Nick Lowe: James's hope to have selections by this songwriter as his second choice of underscore music for the Bolt pilot is rejected.
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show: James is upset to find that Executive Meddling by the network has cut his script references to this show from the Bolt pilot.
  • H. L. Mencken: James references this writer's famous quote about the American public's taste when describing the Bolt pilot's runaway success despite its numerous flaws and failings.
  • Modest Mussorgsky: James plays this composer's Night on Bald Mountain as underscore music for the battle and conflict scenes he recreates as a youngster.
  • Paths of Glory: James recreates conflict and battle scenes from this fim as a youngster.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: James plays the Third Movement of this composer's Symphony No. 6 ("Pathétique") as underscore music for the battle and conflict scenes he recreates as a youngster.
  • Rin Tin Tin: James becomes motivated to create the Bolt television show after binge-watching this program.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Luigi and Daisy are referenced from this video game series. Bolt and Penny's chemistry is referred to as being far stronger that that of these two characters.
  • They Might Be Giants: James is told that his wish to have a remix of this group's "Youth Culture Killed My Dog" as the show's theme song will only happen if they're able to negotiate a good price, and furthermore not to get his hopes up. The song's title symbolizes the subsequent strain Bolt will undergo while filming his youth-oriented show.
  • Richard Wagner: James plays this composer's Ride of the Valkyries as underscore music for the battle and conflict scenes he recreates as a youngster.

    "The Survivor" 
  • Tiemann Spring Water and Nduli's All-Natural tinned Savory Stew (both fictional products) are shout-outs to dedicatees of two stories in the series. The latter, which touts its abundance of meat, is ironic given that the individual referenced is a vegetarian.
  • The B-52s: Mentioned as a favorite band of Darnell's.
  • Calista Flockhart: Referenced by Mittens when describing how slender she is. The actress is known for her thin physique.
  • Hüsker Dü: Each section of the story is subtitled after an album by either this group or The Replacements. Song titles from each album are scattered throughout the story, usually in the section containing the album's name. Also, Petey and Darnell move to Minneapolis, home to this group, where they find a better life.
    • Candy Apple Grey: Symbolizes the dreariness of Mittens's new family situation in this section. In the story, Mittens and Petey listen to "Hardly Getting over It," one of the songs from this album; it symbolizes the bleak sadness Mittens experiences through much of the story.
    • Everything Falls Apart: Symbolizes the final collapse of Mittens's adoptive family and Jack's abandonment of the cat in a Manhattan alley in this section.
    • Flip Your Wig: Symbolizes Jack's angry, inebriated attempt to kill Mittens in this section.
    • Zen Arcade: Symbolizes Mittens's homeless misery in this section, a theme explored by this concept album.
  • The Little Rascals: Mittens's dog friend Petey is an Expy for his namesake in this film series. He's a brown and white American pit bull terrier with a ring around the left eye. Except when Jack threatens Mittens or his master Darnell, he's very personable and friendly.
  • Bette Midler: Mentioned as a favorite actress of Petey's.
  • The Night of the Hunter: Mittens is interrupted while watching this film just before Jack tries to kill her, symbolic of this attempt on her life.
  • Queen: Mentioned as a favorite band of Darnell's.
  • The Replacements: Each section of the story is subtitled after an album by either this group or Hüsker Dü. Song titles from each album are scattered throughout the story, usually in the section containing the album's name. Also, Petey and Darnell move to Minneapolis, home to this group, where they find a better life.
    • Hootenanny: Symbolizes the jovial, informal gathering of Mittens, Petey, and Petey's friends in this section.
    • Let It Be: Symbolizes the joy of letting go and being yourself in this section.
    • Pleased To Meet Me: Symbolizes the reader meeting Mittens for the first time, as well as the cat meeting her adoptive family in this section.
  • Debbie Reynolds: Mentioned as a favorite actress of Petey's.
  • Seinfeld: Mittens teasingly references the quote "Not that there's anything wrong with that" when she finds out Petey is gay. He finds this amusing.
  • The Smiths: Mentioned as a favorite band of Darnell's.
  • Strangers on a Train: Mittens watches this film just before Jack tries to kill her, symbolic of the fact that they share the same household yet have little to do with each other. The film also includes a murder.
  • The Wizard of Oz: Mittens invokes a line from this movie when she does a Crash-Into Hello upon first meeting Petey, asking him if he's a good witch or a bad witch. The dog gets a good laugh from this, given that he's a big Judy Garland fan. Mittens further claims to share Petey's enthusiasm by mentioning Easter Parade, Meet Me in St. Louis, and A Star Is Born (1954), all of which star this actress.
  • X: Mittens and Petey hear the song "4th of July" by this band. References the holiday likely being celebrated in this section.
Advertisement:

    "The Clouds" 
  • Jane Austen: The character Tom Bertram in Mansfield Park is referenced in relation to Tom the cat.
  • Bobby Fuller Four: Three of the songs Soapy listens to on his boombox are by this group.
    • "I Fought the Law": Symbolizes Soapy's failed attempts to get arrested.
    • "Let Her Dance": References Soapy and his soon-to-be girlfriend moving from enemies to lovers in short order. He's apparently willing to let her take the lead here.
    • "Love's Made a Fool of You": References Mittens having been made a fool of by Tom, whom she had hoped to cajole into a more stable relationship.
  • Buffalo Springfield: Four of the songs Soapy listens to on his boombox are by this group.
    • "Good Time Boy": Symbolizes Tom's cavalier and hedonistic attitude towards love relationships.
    • "Hung Upside Down": Symbolizes Soapy's attempts to get himself arrested repeatedly going haywire.
    • "Pay the Price": Symbolizes Soapy's half-baked attempts to get himself arrested all ending in failure.
    • "Sit Down, I Think I Love You": Symbolizes Mittens's wish to declare her budding attraction to Tom.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: The character Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby is referenced in relation to Tom the cat.
  • O. Henry: The character of Soapy, as well as his vain attempts to get arrested so he can pass the winter in a warm jail cell, are derived from this author's short story "The Cop and the Anthem." Also, Soapy's new girlfriend calls down to the street in a literal shout out to the author's name (apparently "Soapy" is a nickname and his real name is "Henry").
    Woman: Hen-RY! Oh HEEEEN-ry!
  • Harper Lee: The character Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird is referenced in relation to Tom the cat.
  • The Lion King (1994): Tom says that, like Scar from this film, he'd make a handsome throw rug. Given how furry he is, he's got a point.
  • Meet the Robinsons: Mittens speaks disparagingly of the film, saying her jaunt to New York City's Chelsea neighborhood to dumpster dive was the biggest waste of time since she snuck into a theater to watch this movie.
  • A. A. Milne: Mittens admits her stomach was grumbling like Eeyore (of Winnie-the-Pooh) from hunger at one point in the story.
  • Joni Mitchell: Each section of the story is subtitled with a song from the album Clouds. The album title references the omnipresent appearance of the title objects and bad weather in the story.
    • "Both Sides, Now": Symbolizes Mittens seeing Soapy in a wholly different circumstance than before. References the lyrics when Mittens says respectively during the story that she doesn't know or understand clouds, love, or life.
    • "Chelsea Morning": References Mittens and Soapy's breakfast-time visit together in the Chelsea neighborhood. The upbeat lyrics foreshadow Soapy's positive outcome with the woman he meets.
    • "The Gallery": References the place where Tom and Mittens have their post-relationship quarrel, with the song's lyrics mirroring their bad relationship ending.
    • "I Don't Know Where I Stand": Symbolizes Mittens's uncertainty about her attraction to Tom in the section.
    • "Songs to Aging Children Come": Symbolizes the immature bum Soapy's listening to music on his boombox.
    • "That Song About the Midway": Symbolizes Tom and Mittens enjoying a street carnival, the lyrics further referencing the former's roguishly cavalier attitude.
    • "Tin Angel": References the small angel figurine Mittens sees being buffeted in the cold wind above her. The song's depressed mood mirrors that of this section.
  • J. K. Rowling: The character Tom Riddle in Harry Potter is referenced in relation to Tom the cat.
  • Erik Satie: The physical description of the umbrella manufacturer Soapy unsuccessfully tries to rob is clearly modeled on this composer. He carries an umbrella, has thick glasses and a small pointed beard, and wears a black bowler hat and raincoat. "Gnossienne," the name of the umbrella brand, is one of this composer's most famous works.
  • John Steinbeck: The character Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath is referenced in relation to Tom the cat.
  • Translator: Two of the songs Soapy listens to on his boombox are by this group.
    • "Come with Me": References Tom enticing Mittens to join him at the street carnival.
    • "Fall Forever": Symbolizes Mittens unwisely falling for Tom, with things ending badly.
  • Mark Twain: The title character in Tom Sawyer is referenced in relation to Tom the cat.
  • Wire Train: Two of the songs Soapy listens to on his boombox are by this group.
    • "Everything's Turning Up Down Again": Symbolizes Mittens imminently being turned topsy-turvy by her attraction to Tom.
    • "I Forget It All (When I See You)": Symbolizes Mittens immediately falling for Tom, having forgotten her wariness to trust another street cat.

    "The Marching Song" 
  • Phil Ochs: The work references the song titles "I Ain't Marching Anymore" and "One More Parade" by this performer.
  • Sylvia Plath: This is a work of poetry, written as an homage to the author's poem "Lady Lazarus" and containing a few references to it.

    "The Protection Payment" 
  • Caravaggio: Vinny refers to this painter regarding Joey's artistic efforts. Bobby, who is Comically Missing the Point, thinks he's referring to a character from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival: The story's subtitles are derived from songs by this band. Kelvin also references the group after it's revealed he can't swim when he says his liking the band's music doesn't mean he's a swamping dog.
    • "Bad Moon Rising": Symbolizes Kelvin's getting stuck in a dumpster with just his rear end showing in this section.
    • "Down on the Corner": References where the story opens, on a far corner of Madison Square Park.
    • "Fortunate Son": Symbolizes Kelvin's ability to use psychic powers to solve problems.
    • "Green River": Symbolizes the algae-ridden river inlet where Kelvin and the pigeons try to find fish.
    • "Sweet Hitch-Hiker": References Kelvin and his friends trying to obtain food from hitchhikers.
    • "Traveling Band": Symbolizes the three pigeons traveling together to initially find food with Kelvin, especially the lines "We're flying across the land/Tryin' to get a hand."
    • "Up Around the Bend": References the three pigeons approaching Mittens's alley location, up around the bend at Broadway and Madison Square Park.
  • Goodfellas: The pigeons briefly discuss the relative merits of this movie and My Cousin Vinny. Counts as a multi-layered reference given that the trio of pigeons are based on the "Goodfeathers" segment from Animaniacs, which parodies this movie.
  • Buster Keaton: The theater marquee the pigeons sit on announces a triple bill of films by this actor/director.
    • The General: References Kelvin spearheading the pigeons' attempt to find food. Vinny even refers to the dog as the supreme commander, while the pigeons are just enlisted men.
    • Our Hospitality: References the pigeons offering up edible tribute to Mittens.
    • Seven Chances: Ironically referenced when Joey says Keaton might get seven chances to foul up finding food, but they'll only get the one.
  • My Cousin Vinny: The pigeons briefly discuss the relative merits of this movie and Goodfellas.
  • Pablo Picasso: Joey the pigeon likens himself to this artist in his statue-decorating capacity, referring to himself as "...a modern-day pigeon Picasso..."
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Bobby, who is Comically Missing the Point, thinks Vinny's mention of Caravaggio refers to a character from this series.
  • The Three Stooges: Mittens likens the bumbling of her pigeon associates to that of this comedy trio.
  • Giuseppe Verdi: Two set numbers by this opera composer are referenced as something the pigeons hope to hear when they reach Little Italy.
    • "La donna è mobile" from Rigoletto. Translates to "Women are fickle." Symbolizes Mittens's unpredictable nature in her role as Mafia don.
    • "Libiamo ne’ lieti calici" from La Traviata. Also called "Il Brindisi." Translates to "Let's drink from the goblets of joy." Symbolizes the pigeons' relief at having met their quota and going off to celebrate.

    "The Box" 
  • The Grass Roots: Bolt references the song "Where Were You When I Needed You" by this group. Symbolizes what he believes was his failure to keep Penny from being kidnapped. This and "Secret Agent Man" were both written by P. F. Sloan and Steve Barri.
  • Johnny Rivers: Bolt references the song "Secret Agent Man," by this artist. Symbolizes what the dog believes is his precarious existence as Penny's protector. This and "Where Were You When I Needed You" were both written by P. F. Sloan and Steve Barri.

    "The Seer" 
  • Characters from law-based television shows provide the names of the five rats who threaten Mittens, drawing a parallel between vermin and the stereotypical bad reputation sometimes pinned on members of the legal profession.
    • Arnie: References Arnie Becker from L.A. Law. He is even depicted as losing his hair.
    • Ben: References Benjamin Matlock from Matlock. He is even shown to have a food preference for hot dogs.
    • Denny: References Denny Crane from Boston Legal. He is even depicted as being chubby.
    • Jackie: References Jackie Chiles from Seinfeld. He is even depicted as being darker colored than the other rats.
    • Perry: References the title character from Perry Mason.
  • Edgar Cayce: "Cayce" is one of Kelvin's two middle names, and references his psychic abilities.
  • John Lennon: Mittens listens to songs by this artist.
    • "Crippled Inside:" Symbolizes how far Mittens has sunk in her life on the street, to the point where she is no longer internally capable of doing the right thing.
    • "How Do You Sleep:" Symbolizes Mittens's descent into her present bad behavior, asking how she can live with herself given her actions.
    • "Instant Karma:" Symbolizes Mittens's impending karmic comeuppance from Bolt for her bullying treatment of Kelvin's pigeon friends.
  • The Lion King (1994): The scene where Mittens is menaced by the group of five rats is a shout out to this film, when Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed threaten young Simba and Nala. The cat lampshades this.
    Mittens: [thinking] Boy, this'd be the perfect time for Mufasa from "The Lion King" to show up and play the great liberator.
  • Nostradamus: One of Kelvin's two middle names, and references his psychic abilities.
  • Simon & Garfunkel: Mittens listens to songs by this duo.
    • "The Boxer:" Symbolizes Mittens's hardscrabble existence and struggle to survive.
    • "The Only Living Boy in New York:" Symbolizes Mittens's karmic first meeting with Bolt and her currently being friendless in Manhattan.
      One of the loveliest and most heartfelt releases by this folk-pop duo, its impressionist lyrics paint the portrait of a Manhattanite who misses his close friend — or is he a lover? — terribly much. This friend, an actor, is about to board a plane and the singer tries to remain in good spirits. But the speaker ultimately admits he feels lost and alone without his friend, and urges him to let his naturally honest nature shine through when he arrives. Something about the song resonated powerfully with Mittens, though she wasn’t sure why.
  • The Who: Kelvin's prognosticating ability is symbolized by the song "I Can See for Miles" by this group.
Advertisement:

    "The Blood Brother" 
  • The name of the family veterinarian, Dr. Burkitt, is a shout-out to a dedicatee of one of the stories in the series. He's referenced in a couple fics, but this is the first one he appears in chronologically.
  • Johannes Brahms: Bolt angrily asks Mittens to listen to something by either this composer or Billie Holiday instead of pop music. The cat opts for his Symphony No. 2 in D Major.
  • Frank Collin: Duke's owner Frank is named after the founder of the National Socialist Party Of America.
  • Do the Right Thing: Symbolizes Rhino's chiding of Bolt to break off with his bigoted friend Duke.
  • David Duke: Bolt's friend Duke is named after the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan (not after John Wayne as he believes).
  • Billie Holiday: Bolt angrily asks Mittens to listen to something by either this artist or Johannes Brahms instead of pop music.
  • Charlie Parker: Bolt and Duke listen to jazz selections by this artist.
    • "Billie's Bounce:" Foreshadows Bolt's angry request to have Mittens listen to Billie Holiday instead of pop music.
    • "Bird of Paradise:" References the symbolic use of bird imagery in the story.
    • "Bongo Bop:" References Bolt's question as to whether the term "Bebop" refers to the sound made when a person plays bongo drums.
    • "Moose the Mooche:" References Duke chasing off what he characterized as freeloading starlings in his lawn at the beginning of the story.
    • "Ornithology:" References the symbolic use of bird imagery in the story.
    • "Relaxin' at Camarillo:" Symbolizes Duke's request to have Bolt sit back and enjoy the Charlie Parker selections.
    • "Scrapple from the Apple:" Symbolizes the scrap between Bolt and Duke when their friendship breaks up.
    • "Yardbird Suite:" References the symbolic use of bird imagery in the story, specifically Duke chasing starlings off of his lawn.
  • Saki: Bolt is reading short stories by Saki when he is interrupted by Mittens, who is listening to music by Bruce Springsteen. Two of these short stories are mentioned.
    • "The Hounds of Fate:" Symbolizes the fateful (and ultimately unsuccessful) friendship between Bolt and Duke.
    • "Tobermory:" The subject matter of this story, about a cat who quickly wears out his welcome once he learns to talk, symbolizes Bolt becoming angry with Mittens's behavior.
  • Bruce Springsteen: Mittens listens to pop music selections by this artist.
    • "I'm Goin' Down:" Symbolizes Bolt's gradual descent into latent prejudice against Mittens.
    • "I'm on Fire:" Symbolizes Duke's breakdown into murderous behavior against the local cats.
    • "Jungleland:" Symbolizes the danger to Mittens and other cats when Duke turns murderous.
    • "No Surrender:" Symbolizes Duke's intolerant behavior and refusal to compromise. Given that Duke hates pop music, it is ironic that he inadvertently quotes the line "No retreat, no surrender" from this song.
    • "Point Blank:" Symbolizes Frank's use of gunfire to break the windows of his school when he snaps.
    • "The Price You Pay:" Symbolizes the karmic price paid by Duke and Frank for their villainous behavior.
    • "The Ties That Bind:" Symbolizes the blood brother oath taken by Bolt and Duke to cement their friendship.
  • Steely Dan: Each section of the story is subtitled after a song from this group's album Pretzel Logic.
    • "Any Major Dude Will Tell You:" The song's subject matter symbolizes Mittens's forgiveness of Bolt's bad behavior and comforting his sadness in this section.
    • "Barrytown:" The song's subject matter foreshadows the story's main theme of prejudice and bigotry.
    • "Charlie Freak:" Symbolizes Duke's owner Frank and his isolated and eccentrically bigoted nature referenced in this section.
    • "Monkey in Your Soul:" Symbolizes the gradual reawakening of Bolt's latent prejudice against cats and its resultant anger referenced in this section.
    • "Parker's Band:" References Bolt and Duke's listening to Charlie Parker's music in this section.
    • "Pretzel Logic:" Symbolizes Duke's twisted thinking underlying his bigoted nature against cats in this section.
    • "Through with Buzz:" Symbolizes Bolt's breaking off his friendship with Duke in this section.
    • "With a Gun:" Symbolizes Duke's taking action on his bigotry by killing some of the neighborhood cats, as well as Frank's snapping and shooting out the windows of his school with a gun in this section.

    "The Mall" 
  • Mittens hears several selections that have been turned into canned elevator music while stranded in the title venue. All but one are pop music songs.
    • The Beatles:
      • "Help!" Symbolizes Mittens's distress at being abandoned.
      • "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." Symbolizes Mittens's feeling she has to suppress her budding love for Penny and her family.
    • The Byrds: "If You're Gone." Symbolizes Mittens's feeling of abandonment.
    • Neil Diamond: "Solitary Man." Symbolizes Mittens's being left alone at the mall.
    • Bob Dylan: "Like a Rolling Stone." Symbolizes Mittens's feeling of abandonment.
    • The Everly Brothers: "When Will I Be Loved." Symbolizes Mittens's feeling unloved when abandoned.
    • Buddy Holly: "Raining in My Heart." Symbolizes Mittens's sadness at being abandoned.
    • Joy Division: "Isolation." Symbolizes Mittens's being left alone at the mall.
    • Roy Orbison: "Crying." Symbolizes Mittens's sadness at being abandoned.
    • The Righteous Brothers: "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling." Symbolizes Mittens's believing her abandonment means Penny and her family have lost their love for her.
    • The Rolling Stones: "As Tears Go By." Symbolizes Mittens's sadness at being abandoned.
    • Smokey Robinson And The Miracles: "Tracks of My Tears." Symbolizes Mittens's sadness at being abandoned.
    • The Supremes: "Where Did Our Love Go." Symbolizes Mittens's feeling unloved when abandoned.
    • Jackie Wilson: "Lonely Teardrops." Symbolizes Mittens's sadness at being abandoned.
    • X: "I'm Lost." Symbolizes Mittens's current abandoned state.
  • The store names are parodies of real mall chains.
  • The venue where Penny finds photos of Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino during their cross-country journey is called Farcebook — a parody of the site name Facebook.
  • Johannes Brahms: As much as Mittens dislikes listening to the pop songs that have been turned into canned elevator music at the mall, hearing a selection by this composer (the opening theme from the Intermezzo movement of the Symphony No. 3 in F Major) shoehorned into 4/4 meter and backed by a rumba beat angers her the most. She listens to it again in its original version when she returns home. The melody's distorted version symbolizes Mittens being lost, while its normal version symbolizes the cat's return to a normal home.
  • Cream: Mittens hears this group's cover of the Albert King song "Born under a Bad Sign" being played in a store at the mall. She says it symbolizes her recurrent bad luck.
  • ET The Extraterrestrial: Mittens hides in a mall kiosk vendor's display of plushies to escape an angrily pursuing shop manager, referencing a scene in this film when E.T. hides from Elliot's mother by pretending to be one of Gertie's stuffed dolls. The movie's title symbolizes Mittens being marooned away from home.
  • Simon & Garfunkel: Mittens listens to the song "Bridge over Troubled Water" by this group at the end of the story. Symbolizes Penny's promise not to abandon the cat again, inadvertently or otherwise — that she will always be there for Mittens when she needs her.

    "The Supermarket" 
  • Several British sitcoms are referenced in this story:
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The name of the company manning the free sample table Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino approach is called "The Cabbage Merchant," a reference to a food purveying character on the show. Bonus points given that this story is dedicated to a fanfic author in this fandom.
  • James Bond: Bolt references the fictional spy, saying they need to go cloak-and-dagger like he does in approaching getting free food from the sample table. Mittens quips in response that he must be expecting to get his sausages shaken, not stirred.
  • The Cars: Mittens mentions listening to a CD with songs by this group on them. Bonus points for the group's name mirroring the automobile that accidentally brings them to the supermarket.
    • "Bye Bye Love": Symbolizes the three pets' fear that Penny will unwittingly abandon them at the grocery.
    • "Let the Good Times Roll": References the fun the three pets have exploring the supermarket, as well as Bolt's mad dash to the exit with a shopping cart.
    • "Let's Go": Symbolizes Bolt and Rhino's eagerness to head off and explore the grocery.
    • "Magic": Symbolizes Bolt's (unsuccessful) attempts at sleight-of-hand. Also symbolizes Mittens's joshingly saying that her dropping pumpkins onto the floor so that they come down squash as being a "trick" of her own.
  • The Clash: Each section of the story is subtitled after a song from the albums London Calling or Give Em Enough Rope. Rhino also mentions the group's revolutionary thinking as inspiration for his rebellious streak when the three pets reach the grocery store.
    • "Brand New Cadillac": Symbolizes Penny's mom's new Cadillac, which has the three pets trapped inside.
    • "Cheapskates": References Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino mooching food from a free samples table.
    • Give Em Enough Rope: Symbolizes that the three pets will manage to get into trouble in the grocery store given enough opportunity.
    • London Calling: References the phone call Mittens mentions that may have come from London.
    • "Lost in the Supermarket": Symbolizes Bolt and Mittens being unable to get the dog to juggle successfully.
    • "The Right Profile": Echoes Bolt's debate over whether to get a profile publicity photo or not. Doubles as having a has-been media personality (Montgomery Clift) as subject matter.
    • "Spanish Bombs": Symbolizes Mittens's use of toppled Spanish pumpkins to ward off her would-be capture.
    • "Train in Vain": Symbolizes Bolt's ill-considered mad rush to the exit while pushing his friends in a shopping cart.
  • King Kong (1933): When asking Mittens what's got her so spooked at the supermarket, Bolt references this film.
    Bolt: Wow, what’s with you? You look like you just escaped from a King Kong rampage or something.
  • Lewis And Clark: When Bolt and Rhino eagerly head off to explore the hitherto unknown (to them, anyway) supermarket, Mittens refers to them while jokingly referencing US explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. She calls them "Meriwether Doofus" and "William Bark," and when she dashes off to join them, she joshingly refers to herself as "Snark-a-gawea" (a play on the name Sacagawea).
  • Harold Lloyd: Bolt tells Mittens and Rhino they need to be as noiseless as a movie by this silent film director when they approach the free sample table. The cat references two of Lloyd's films in her reply, Safety Last! and Why Worry?.
  • M*A*S*H: The individual manning the grocery store PA system speaks very similarly to the unnamed loudspeaker person on this TV show.
  • Speedy Gonzales: When Mittens pushes the Spanish pumpkins off the high grocery shelf to ward off her would-be captor, she shouts "Ándale! Ándale!" like Speedy does.
  • Stomp: Penny's mom compares this raucous musical to the racket Bolt makes as he plows into grocery store displays with a shopping cart.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Just before Mittens knocks out her would-be captor with the last pumpkin, she shouts "Hasta la vista, baby!"
  • Winsome Witch: Mittens compares Bolt's poor magician skills unfavorably to that of the cartoon witch — who is especially notable for her spells going haywire. Even Bolt's use of the character's magic incantation of "Ippity, pippity, pow!" won't help.

    "The Wedding Reception" 
  • All Quiet on the Western Front: Referenced by Mittens when teasingly asking Rhino if he has discovered any intruders.
    Mittens: Everything quiet on the Western Front there, Sarge?
  • Fred Astaire: An actor particularly known for his dancing ability, often in tandem with Ginger Rogers. Rhino teasingly refers to Bolt using the actor's name just before the dog begins dancing.
  • Beetlejuice: Referenced by Mittens in relation to Rhino, saying he shows up when you say his name.
    Mittens: See, Bolt? He’s like Beetlejuice. Say his name and he materializes like magic.
  • Dirty Dancing: The film and its music are heavily referenced in the story. The movie's iconic "jump and catch" dance move occurs twice in close proximity, first involving Mittens catching Rhino and then Bolt catching Mittens (who is still holding Rhino over her head). The three pets are also shown watching the film at home on television. Three musical selections from the film appear.
    • Eric Carmen: "Hungry Eyes." Danced to by Bolt and Mittens, this foreshadows the attraction between the two characters that will manifest in later stories.
    • The Contours: "Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)." Symbolic of Bolt hoping that his attempt to solo dance will be effective.
    • Bill Medley, Jennifer Warnes: "(I've Had) the Time of My Life." A song frequently played at wedding receptions, symbolizes the significant amount of fun the three pets experience dancing in front of a crowd.
  • Bo Jackson: Famous professional athlete noted for his ability to excel in multiple sports. In the story, Mittens refers to Bolt as "the closest thing I've ever seen to Bo Jackson in the dog world."
  • Johann Pachelbel: Bolt misconstrues a joke by Mittens regarding "Pachelbel's Canon" and steps all over the punch line. He thinks Mittens's parodied title, "Taco Bell Canon," was the work's title all along after her quip.
  • PenNameSmith. A noteworthy author of Bolt fanfiction and the story's dedicatee. The passage referring to Penny and the actor who plays Dr. Calico corresponding via letter is a shout out to this author, something which occurs in their story "All the Year Round."
  • Emily Post: Author best known for giving advice on etiquette. Mittens references the writer regarding the appropriateness of having a buffet wedding reception dinner.
    Mittens: But anyway, let's move on — who thought the buffet idea was a good one? What would Emily Post say?
  • "Rip Van Winkle": A badly hungover Mittens references this short story's title character when she begs off talking to Bolt so she can go back to sleep, saying "Wake me in twenty years. Rip Van Winkle, signing off."
  • Ginger Rogers: An actress particularly known for her dancing ability, often in tandem with Fred Astaire. Bolt teasingly refers to Mittens using the actress's name the next morning after dancing with the cat.
  • Saturday Night Live: Rhino teasingly refers to Mittens as "Toonces the Driving Cat" when she initially refuses to drink spiked punch by saying "Nah, none for me, I’m driving."
  • John Travolta: Bolt's inability to remember Travolta's name happens twice in the story; for extra irony, Travolta is Bolt's voice actor. Several films that star him and feature him dancing are referenced.
  • Richard Wagner: First Mittens and later Bolt and Rhino add humorous lyrics when singing the melody to Wagner's bridal chorus from Lohengrin. The work is commonly used as a wedding processional, to the point of becoming a cliché.

    "The Paris Trip" 
  • The Aristocats: Mittens's vacation fling Berlioz is an Expy for his namesake in this film. A black cat who can play piano, he lampshades this by saying it’s a naming tradition in his family going back several generations.
  • The Beatles: Mittens has the song "And I Love Her" by this group running through her head after she makes love to Berlioz. Symbolizes her by now deepened affection for him.
  • Hector Berlioz: Mittens listens to this composer's Symphonie Fantastique at the beginning of the story. The composer shares his name with Mittens's vacation fling Berlioz, and the story attached to this program symphony concerns a love affair that does not end happily, paralleling the two cats' experience as Star-Crossed Lovers.
  • Casablanca: Berlioz quotes this movie, which features its two main characters as Star-Crossed Lovers who meet and part in Paris, when he says "We'll always have Paris." Symbolic in that it parallels Mittens and Berlioz's vacation fling.
  • Theodore Gericault: Penny and Bolt see The Raft Of The Medusa when they visit The Louvre. The painting title symbolizes Penny "rescuing" Bolt's vacation by fitting him with special color glasses so he can enjoy the artwork.
  • Hunchback Of Notre Dame: Rhino believes cathedral gargoyles can talk in real life after seeing this film set in Paris.
  • Leonardo da Vinci: Penny and Bolt see The Mona Lisa when they visit The Louvre.
  • Joni Mitchell: Mittens symbolically has this artist's song "Free Man in Paris" running through her head while she and Berlioz are sightseeing in Paris.
  • Thelonious Monk: Berlioz plays three jazz selections by this composer on the piano for Mittens.
    • "Evidence:" Symbolizes information on her life story that Mittens hesitantly shares with Berlioz, which leads the latter to grow to genuinely like and respect Mittens.
    • "Round Midnight:" Symbolizes Mittens and Berlioz's late-night tryst before the former leaves for home.
    • "Straight, No Chaser:" Symbolizes Berlioz's gradual transformation from his initial flirtatious persona to someone who genuinely likes and respects Mittens.
  • Nemean Lion: Berlioz invokes this mythical creature, saying that his paws are nowhere near as big.
    Berlioz: [Art] Tatum’s incredible, does the impossible, amazing technique. I couldn't perform like him if I tried — would need paws as big as the Nemean Lion.
  • Paris: This is a travelogue story set in Paris, France. Several tourist attractions in this city and the nearby town of Chartres are referenced, including the Champs Elysees, Sainte-Chapelle, Notre Dame Cathedral, Chartres Cathedral, art museums such as The Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, cemeteries such as Pere Lachaise and Montparnasse, and parks such as Jardin de Luxembourg and Parc Monceau.
  • Roman Holiday: Mittens references this film, which features its two main characters as Star-Crossed Lovers, while noting that it occurs in the wrong city. Symbolic in that it parallels Mittens and Berlioz's vacation fling.
    Mittens: Professor, as much as I loved the movie ‘Roman Holiday,’ I never thought I'd get to live it for real, not to mention in the wrong city. Exhilarating, but… sad too.
  • William Shakespeare: Rhino hears a troupe of theatrical pigeons performing the play-within-a-play from A Midsummer Night's Dream. He mistakenly thinks the gargoyles at Chartres Cathedral are doing so (the pigeons are located further up on the roof out of sight). Bolt and Mittens later overhear the birds singing Puck's final soliloquy set to music as they fly away; the soliloquy quote is meant to mirror the fic author's hope that the reader enjoyed the story.
  • Simon & Garfunkel: Mittens has the song "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her" by this group going through her head at the end of the story. Symbolizes her and Berlioz's status as Star-Crossed Lovers. In addition, lyrics from the song are referenced when the two cats return to the hotel where Mittens is staying (they walk past closed shop fronts and hear distant cathedral bells while doing so).
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: When Mittens sees Bolt in his special color glasses for the first time, she compares him to Geordi La Forge from this television show.
    Mittens: What's that contraption you’re wearing? You auditioning to be Geordi La Forge on the new "Star Trek: The Next Generation" film installment?
  • Tennessee Williams: Mittens flirtingly paraphrases a line from A Streetcar Named Desire using a fake Southern accent when she first meets Berlioz.
    Mittens: Why certainly, you big, strong, handsome thing. I've always depended on the kindness of strange cats, you know? And I do declare, you look mighty, mighty strange to me.

    "The Funkmeister" 
  • Johann Sebastian Bach: The story's opening shows Mittens listening to Bach's Suite No. 1 in G Major for solo cello. Symbolizes the cat's reticence to let herself go in general, and dance in particular.
    The cat lay sprawled on her back listening to Johann Sebastian Bach’s first solo cello suite, its stylized dance movements being the perfect mix of head and heart on a lazy, late Saturday morning. About the only criticism one could possibly level at this splendid piece was that its Allemandes, Jigs, and Sarabandes don’t readily lend themselves to dancing.
  • James Brown: Mittens and Rhino dance to two selections by this artist. The latter also tries to mimic Brown's dance moves unsuccessfully (he shouts "I Feel Good" after collapsing on his back).
    • "Get up:" Mirrors Rhino's urging to get Mittens to haul herself off the floor and dance.
    • "Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag:" Symbolizes the idea of Mittens's dancing while sober as something new.
  • George Clinton: Mittens and Rhino dance to two selections by this artist or a group associated with him.
    • "Atomic Dog:" Symbolizes Bolt, who will be her future sweetheart, and played a character on television who had superpowers.
    • "Give up the Funk" (by Clinton's group Parliament): Symbolizes Mittens surrendering to the urge to dance.
  • Tom Jones: Mittens claims she cannot dance with Rhino because she has "Tom Jones tremens." The story further makes oblique references to a pair of hit singles by the singer, "What's New Pussycat" and "It's Not Unusual." Symbolizes the cat's reticence to let herself go in general, and dance in particular.
  • Sly and the Family Stone: Mittens and Rhino dance to two selections by this group.
    • "Dance to the Music:" Symbolizes the two characters dancing.
    • "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf):" Symbolizes Mittens letting her inhibitions drop, allowing her to dance.
  • Huey "Piano" Smith: Rhino quotes the title of Smith's song "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu," saying that if Mittens (who he catches tapping her foot to the music) is suffering from any condition, it's this one, not "Tom Jones tremens."
  • Stevie Wonder: Music by this artist is both danced and listened to.
    • "I Believe (When I Fall in Love):" After Mittens and Rhino dance, they hear this song, which makes the cat feel sad about having to leave Berlioz behind in Paris. Bolt, who will become her lover in future stories, enters the room shortly afterwards. Symbolizes Mittens's hope for a good relationship in the future.
    • "Superstition:" Mittens and Rhino dance to this song. References an earlier line of dialogue where the cat jokingly asks Rhino if dancing with a black cat brings seven years' bad luck.

    "The Murder Mystery" 
  • Agatha Christie: Two of this author's detective characters are referenced in the story. When Penny's attempt to solve the murder of The Director backfires, she is described as not feeling like Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot anymore. Also, the revelation that all of the animal characters conspired to kill The Director is reminiscent of the identity of the murderers in Murder on the Orient Express.
  • Double Indemnity: Bolt proudly admits having cheated an insurance company by collecting a double-indemnity life insurance policy payout in connection with The Director's murder. The name of the firm is the same as that in the movie, the Pacific All-Risk Insurance Company.
  • Arthur Conan Doyle: The author's detective character is referenced in the story. When Penny's attempt to solve the murder of The Director backfires, she is described as not feeling like Sherlock Holmes anymore. Penny is also depicted as having typical Holmesian props such as a calabash pipe (which emits bubbles when she tries to smoke it) and a deerstalker hat (which sports antlers).
  • Dashiell Hammett: The author's detective character is referenced in the story. When Penny's attempt to solve the murder of The Director backfires, she is described as not feeling like Nick Charles anymore.
  • The Simpsons: When Bolt proudly admits to masterminding the murder of The Director, he is described as laughing maniacally "sounding for all the world like Sideshow Bob from 'The Simpsons' on an especially angry jag."

    "The Ski Trip" 
  • The name of the ski resort and its restaurant are shout outs to the dedicatees of one of these stories in the series.
  • Algonquin Round Table: When Penny wonders about what the three pets are discussing in the backseat, her mother says, "It won't be anything approaching Algonquin Round Table repartee, that’s for sure." Mittens takes particular offense to this, comparing herself to Dorothy Parker, a frequent participant.
    Mittens: [casting a scornful eye, putting a paw on her chest, and snarking] As the resident Dorothy Parker of this little soiree, I strenuously resent that implication.
  • The Beatles: The group's movies are heavily referenced throughout.
    • A Hard Day's Night: Watched and discussed by the three pets.
      • Bolt mentions liking the film (saying he hasn't laughed so hard since seeing Some Like It Hot), as well as its music. Rhino and Mittens concur.
      • Mittens has the song "Can't Buy Me Love" running through her head during the downhill skiing scene. Symbolic of the cat's total lack of luck stopping the stupid behavior of Bolt and Rhino. Mittens also notes that having this song run through her head is incongruous with skiing, as that occurs in Help!, not this movie.
      • Several of Rhino's lines in the latter part of this story recall the film's dialogue.
        Rhino: He knows how to behave himself. He’s had lessons, you know.
        Rhino: I now declare this trail… open!
        Rhino: Don't worry, just hang a left at Greenland.
        Rhino: Sorry we hurt your mountain, mister.
        Rhino: Can’t help it, cat. I’m a mocker, you know.
      • The slapstick behavior of the three pets is a shout out to this film.
    • Help!: Watched and discussed by the three pets.
      • Bolt mentions liking the songs in this film.
      • Mittens has the song "Can't Buy Me Love" from A Hard Day's Night running through her head during the downhill skiing scene. She notes that this is incongruous with skiing, as they do so in this film instead.
      • The slapstick behavior of the three pets is a shout out to this film.
    • Let It Be: Watched and discussed by the three pets. Rhino mentions liking the songs in this film.
    • Magical Mystery Tour: Watched and discussed by the three pets. They mention liking the songs "Fool on the Hill" and "I Am the Walrus" and the title track, while not enjoying "Blue Jay Way" and "Your Mother Should Know."
    • Yellow Submarine: Watched and discussed by the three pets. Rhino mentions liking the songs in this film. Mittens also later references the "hole in my pocket" joke from this movie.
  • The Bonzo Dog Band: The appearance of this group in Magical Mystery Tour is mentioned. Rhino expresses his distaste of the performance of "Death Cab for Cutie" occurring in the film, but Mittens disagrees and offers to play the hamster further examples of their music to better appreciate their significance. She specifically references the albums Gorilla and The Doughnut in Granny's Greenhouse.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: When the three pets crash their skis into a rock and go flying into the air, this action is likened to the disastrous conclusions of Calvin and Hobbes's downhill wagon runs.
  • W. C. Fields: When Bolt complains about dialogue in Magical Mystery Tour being made up as they went along, Rhino reminds him that this sometimes results in good results, citing Fields's work.
  • Marx Brothers: When the three pets are banished to their hotel room for the last two days of the ski trip, they are delighted to discover that a marathon of this comedy group's best movies is showing. They gleefully sing the snippet of "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me" that appears in the movie Monkey Business when they find out. Parallels the role of Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino as a comic trio.
  • The Three Stooges:
    • Bolt mentions that a marathon of shorts by this comedy trio will be broadcast during the second day of their hotel room banishment, expressing particular satisfaction that they will be showing "the ones with Curly, too." Parallels the role of Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino as a comic trio.
    • When Bolt complains about dialogue in Magical Mystery Tour being made up as they went along, Rhino reminds him that this sometimes results in good results, citing the comedy trio's work.
  • Robin Williams: When Bolt complains about dialogue in Magical Mystery Tour being made up as they went along, Rhino reminds him that this sometimes results in good results, citing Williams's work in Mork & Mindy and Aladdin.

    "The Cakes" 
  • Aladdin: Mittens briefly references this film just before she angrily drops a cake onto Bolt's head.
    Mittens: [yowling] Okay then, Aladdin — your wish is my command!
  • Monty Python: Work by this comedy group is heavily referenced throughout, particularly regarding Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    • Mittens puts forth a blizzard of euphemisms for doing a bowel movement in Monty Python “Dead-parrot-sketch” fashion.
    • Mittens's joking characterization of herself as "the Deaconess of Detroit" and Bolt as "Lord Elpus" is borrowed from a game show spoof sketch by Monty Python.
    • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Watched by the three pets.
      • Rhino the hamster references the French knight's taunting of Arthur.
        Rhino: See, Bolt — I just don't understand why that's an insult. My mother was a hamster, and I'm darned proud of that. Maybe it's some obscure French idiom or something.
      • When Bolt wonders why Penny's mom didn't bring the three pets along with her to the beauty salon, Rhino invokes the film's disparaging description of Camelot.
        Rhino: [giggling] On second thought, we don't want to go to a beauty parlor. ‘Tis a silly place.
      • Rhino invokes dialogue from the film when he tries to intimidate Mittens and have her abandon her post as cake guardian.
        Rhino: [shouting] I am Arthur, King of the Britons! Ruler of the Saxons! Caliph of the Celts and Potentate of the Picts! I command you to step aside and release the bounty that be the cakes and cupcakes, forthwith. And fifth-with, if you know what's good for you!
      • When Mittens is commandeered by Penny into guarding the bake-sale cakes, her efforts to ward off Bolt and Rhino are patterned after those of The Black Knight, and no more successful.
      • Rhino invokes the phrase "Holy hand grenade" when expressing surprise at the bad makeover Penny's mom has just received.
      • Mittens invokes a line of dialogue from the film when suggesting how she knows they are looking at Penny's mom.
        Mittens: [in a nervous quaver] Easy. She's the only one who hasn't got cake all over her.
      • When the three cake-covered pets try to escape Penny's angry mother, they shout, "Run away! Run away!"
  • Pink Flamingos: Watched by the three pets the night prior to the story's setting. They considered it a gross-out extravaganza and nearly gave up on the classic movie channel's cult film binge because of it.
    • Mittens, who just finished using her litter box, evokes a line from the film when Bolt asks her why she went off to the laundry room. She says she was "making a cake." When the dog asks where the oven was located she says:
      Mittens: [peevishly] Oh, I just baked it in my oooown little oven…
    • The toilet humor in the story involving poop was inspired by this movie.
    • When Penny's mom returns home from the beauty parlor, her hideous makeover leaves her looking like Divine from this film.
    • When the three pets are trying to figure out if Penny's hideously made-over mom might instead be Divine, Rhino suggests a way they might be able to tell.
      Rhino: Tell you one thing. If she starts following Bolt around hoping he'll drop a snack, we’ll have our answer.

    "The Wind" 
  • Elvis Costello: This artist's albums Armed Forces and This Year's Model are mentioned.
  • Days of Wine and Roses: Rhino mentions wanting to see this film later in the day, which features two alcoholic characters. Symbolizes Mary's addiction.
  • Derek and the Dominos: Listening to this group's album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs triggers Bolt to go off and find Mary, who has run back to the city. The songs on this release mostly deal with lost love.
  • Dogs of C-Kennel: The five dogs who rescue the injured Bolt and bring him to the nearby animal hospital are expies of the main characters from this comic strip.
  • George Gershwin. Mittens, Rhino, and Penny's mom watch a television broadcast of Porgy and Bess. The story's plot is very loosely based on this work. Other jazz-based classical music pieces are mentioned as well, such as Ebony Concerto by Igor Stravinsky, All Set by Milton Babbitt, and Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra by Aaron Copland, as well as Gershwin's An American In Paris and Rhapsody In Blue and Concerto In F and the Three Preludes.
  • Jimi Hendrix:
    • "Little Wing:" Bolt hears the song twice, once by Derek and the Dominos and once by Jimi Hendrix. He finds the latter version a far better fit for the playful lyrics.
    • "The Wind Cries Mary:" Bolt hears this selection through the sound system while a patient in the animal hospital. The story's title derives from that of the song, and snippets of the lyrics appear as section subtitles.
  • Joy Division: This group's album Closer is mentioned.
  • The Mummy Returns: Rhino references this film when he sees Bolt wrapped up in a full body cast.
  • Roy Orbison: Bolt hears two songs by this artist through the sound system while a patient in the animal hospital.
    • "In Dreams:" The selection describes the end of a love affair, paralleling the end of Bolt's relationship with Mary.
    • "It's Over:" Symbolizes the end of Bolt's relationship with Mary.
  • Roxy Music: Bolt hums "Love Is the Drug" in the story. Symbolizes the simultaneity of love and drugs for his relationship with Mary. Three albums by this group are also mentioned.
    • Country Life: Symbolizes Mary's moving to the country.
    • For Your Pleasure: Symbolizes the carnal pleasure Bolt is enjoying with Mary.
    • Stranded: Symbolizes Mary's eventual dissatisfaction with living in the country.
  • William Shakespeare: Old Ben references the play Romeo and Juliet when he calls Bolt "Romeo" and Mary "Juliet." The love relationships in both the play and the fanfic end badly.
  • Sid & Nancy: Rhino mentions wanting to see this film later in the day, which features two drug-addicted characters. Symbolizes Mary's addiction.
  • There's Something About Mary: Rhino references this movie when he sees Bolt encased in a full body cast. Puffy, the dog in this film, is fully wrapped the same way.

    "The Ship" 
  • Rhino says he has noticed Bolt and Mittens have unspoken feelings for each other, saying it's similar to television shows he has watched such as Cheers, Friends, Futurama, and The Nanny, all of which heavily use the "will-they-won't-they" approach to love shown between Bolt and Mittens found in this story.
  • Marshall Crenshaw: Several songs by this artist are referenced from his self-titled first album and Field Day. Penny is mentioned as discovering his music recently, along with that by Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Robyn Hitchcock, R.E.M., The Replacements, and Hüsker Dü through the influence of a recent boyfriend.
    • "Brand New Lover:" Symbolizes Bolt and Mittens just starting to become sweethearts.
    • "Cynical Girl:" Symbolizes the snarky Mittens to Bolt.
    • "What Time Is It:" Symbolizes Mittens and Bolt's nervousness as 4 o'clock approaches and they find out how they finally feel about each other.
    • "Whenever You're on My Mind:" Symbolizes Mittens thinking a lot about Bolt at the time.
  • The Nanny: Rhino makes up dialogue reminiscent of that in this television show while urging Mittens to admit her love for Bolt. He even mimics Daniel Davis playing Niles the butler while doing so.
  • Theophile Steinlen: Bolt is unable to speak to Penny about his potential love option with Mittens. To clue her in, he finds a picture in a book of Art Nouveau posters by this visual artist with a black cat as subject matter. He puts his paw on the picture and later gives it a soulful lick.
  • When Harry Met Sally...: Bolt mentions this film while first thinking about whether he and Mittens should be in a relationship together. This movie's plot, about a friends-to-lovers scenario, parallels their situation.

    "The Blackbird" 
  • The Beatles: The work references lyrics to the song "Blackbird" in several places.
  • Alban Berg: The composer's opera Wozzeck is alluded to. The phrase "Hop-hop! Hop-hop! Hop-hop!" appears prominently in that work's final scene.
  • Wallace Stevens: This is a work of poetry, written in homage to the author's poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

    "The Walk" 
  • The Beatles: Penny mentions "Yer Blues" as a good example of classic rock. Symbolizes Penny's building angst as she goes walking down the road with Bolt.
  • Miley Cyrus: Penny mentions her dislike for "Party in the USA," the title referencing a relatively vacuous party-hearty concept. Ironic given that Cyrus is the voice actor for Penny.
  • Dave Edmunds: Penny listens to several songs by this artist during her walk.
    • "Bad Is Bad:" Symbolizes bad music.
    • "Crawling from the Wreckage:" Symbolizes Penny pulling out of her angst breakdown.
    • "Girls Talk:" Symbolizes Penny talking to Bolt.
    • "Queen of Hearts:" References Penny listening to Bolt's heart.
  • Friends: Penny disparagingly refers to her ex-boyfriend's songs by saying they're far worse than Phoebe Buffet's tunes on this show. Symbolism bonus in that the show's title reflects the close friendship between Penny and Bolt.
  • The Hollies: Penny mentions "Long Dark Road" as a good example of classic rock. Symbolizes Penny's building angst as she goes walking down the road with Bolt.
  • Katrina and the Waves: Penny mentions this group's early work as something she has grown to like.
  • Nick Lowe: Penny listens to several songs by this artist during her walk.
    • "American Squirm:" Symbolizes Penny's discomfort with school.
    • "Big Kick, Plain Scrap:" Symbolizes Penny's pulling out of her angst breakdown, ultimately battling back to a more pleasant reality.
    • "Born Fighter:" Symbolizes Penny's pulling out of her angst breakdown, ultimately battling back to a more pleasant reality.
    • "Heart of the City:" References Penny listening to Bolt's heart.
    • "Music for Money:" Symbolizes bad music made more for sale than excellence.
    • "They Called It Rock:" Symbolizes bad music made more for sale than excellence.
  • The Ramones: Penny mentions this group as one she has grown to like.
  • Ripley's Believe It or Not!: Bolt says his recently-begun love relationship with Mittens, good as it is, is unusual enough to qualify for inclusion in the paperback version of Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
  • Rolling Stones: Penny mentions "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" as a good example of classic rock. Symbolizes Penny's lack of satisfaction at school.
  • Talking Heads: Penny mentions this group as one she has grown to like.
  • XTC: Penny mentions this group as one she has grown to like.

    "The Cameo" 
  • Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The bad, flowery-worded porn fanfic Penny makes fun of that pairs her and Bolt is described as "featuring some of the most overripe prose since Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s heyday."
  • John Cage: As the composer of Imaginary Landscape No. 4 which features superimposed layers of music presented by several simultaneous radios, it is suggested that he would have appreciated the crisscrossing din of multiple music playback systems in the dog park.
  • Duck Soup: Bolt's look-alike father copies his son's actions in Mirror Routine fashion inspired by this film. The two dogs even shout “Marx Brothers! Duck Soup!” to each other when they finish.
  • Duke Ellington: Tracey cites the title of one of this artist's songs to characterize her feelings for Blaze.
    Tracey: As the old Duke Ellington song goes, I got it bad and that ain’t good.
  • The Empire Strikes Back: Bolt misunderstands Blaze’s I-am-your-father quote paraphrase from this film, wondering instead why the older dog just called him Luke.
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High: After having her unsatisfying first sexual experience, Penny turns on the television to find that this is the evening's featured film. Remembering that it contains a similar bad "first time" scene, she decides to listen to some music instead.
  • Aretha Franklin: When Bolt and Blaze first arrive at Tracey's trailer, they hear this artist's rendition of "Respect" wafting indistinctly from an open side window. Ironic in that Blaze does not treat Tracey with much respect, and Tracey seems lacking in self-respect.
  • Charles Ives: As the composer of a Symphony No. 4 which features superimposed layers of music at different tempi, it is suggested that he would have appreciated the crisscrossing din of multiple music playback systems in the dog park.
  • Katrina and the Waves: This group's song "Brown Eyed Son" is one of the selections played over competing music playback systems in the dog park. Symbolizes Bolt, who is Blaze's son and whose eyes are this color.
  • Lady and the Tramp: When the restaurant dishwasher brings out a plate of returned steak frites for Bolt and Blaze to share, he references the Romantic Candlelit Dinner scene from this movie.
  • Los Angeles: This is in part a travelogue story set in Los Angeles. Several tourist attractions in this city are referenced, including the Gamble House, Getty Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Norton Simon Museum.
  • The Modern Lovers: Penny decides to listen to music by this group after having her unsatisfying first sexual experience.
    • "Girlfriend:" Symbolizes Penny's desire to have a relationship that's more than just physical.
    • "Someone I Care About:" Symbolizes Penny's desire to have a relationship that's more than just physical.
  • My Little Pony. Blaze calls his walleyed girlfriend Tracey "Ditzy-Doo." She is not amused.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Penny and her chemistry lab partner make fun of a porn fanfiction featuring Bolt and Penny, lampooning it in the manner of this television show.
  • Paul Revere and the Raiders: This group's song "Just like Me" is one of the selections played over competing music playback systems in the dog park. Symbolizes the fact that Bolt and Blaze look alike.
  • The Smithereens: Each section of the story is subtitled after a song from the EP Beauty And Sadness or the album Especially For You. The latter album title is not directly referenced, however.
    • "Beauty and Sadness:" Symbolizes the conflicting emotions Penny feels after her first sexual experience in this section.
    • "Crazy Mixed-Up Kid:" Symbolizes Bolt's ill-considered condemnation of his father's sex life.
    • "Hand of Glory:" Symbolizes Blaze's reckless nature having been passed on to his son for more constructive television show stardom purposes in this section.
    • "I Don't Want to Lose You:" Symbolizes Bolt's offer to allow Blaze to be adopted to Penny's home with him in this section.
    • "Much Too Much:" Symbolizes the over-the-top nature of the Penny and Bolt porn shipping story referenced in this section.
    • "Some Other Guy:" Symbolizes Bolt's first meeting with his father in this section.
    • "Strangers When We Meet:" Symbolizes the fact that Mindy Parker and Penny are out of sync with each other in this section, especially when they first greet each other.
    • "Time and Time Again:" Symbolizes the constantly spoiled takes in Bolt and Penny's taping session.
    • "Tracey's World:" Symbolizes the circumstance surrounding Blaze's girlfriend Tracey in this section.
    • Three other Smithereens songs are mentioned when Penny searches her iPod for something to listen to. All are songs from Especially For You — "Alone at Midnight," "In a Lonely Place," and "Behind the Wall of Sleep." The first symbolizes Penny's current status after being abandoned by Lance, the second symbolizes Penny's present feeling of loneliness, and the last references her wish to fall asleep soon and forget about what happened.
  • They Might Be Giants: This group's song "My Evil Twin" is one of the selections played over competing music playback systems in the dog park. Symbolizes Blaze as being Bolt's dissolute lookalike.
  • To Catch a Predator: When Penny makes fun of a porn fanfiction featuring Bolt and her 13-year-old self, she speculates whether the target audience for this story might also end up "starring" in an episode of this reality show.
  • Oscar Wilde: Tracey compares the circumstance surrounding look-alikes Bolt and Blaze to this author's The Picture of Dorian Gray.
    Tracey: Gotta say, though, I’m really amazed at how much you two look alike. Kinda like weird Dorian Gray twins or somethin’.

    "The Baseball Game" 
  • The ballpark name, restaurant names, and player/manager names are all shout outs to friends of the author, most being dedicatees of the stories in this series; first and last names are scrambled or otherwise modified.
  • Alabama: The group's baseball-themed song "Cheap Seats" is played over the stadium's speaker system. Symbolizes the informal nature of this low-level minor league.
  • Bull Durham: Penny and the pets watch this baseball-themed film. Symbolizes the discussion the three pets have later in the story about chewing tobacco, Bull Durham also being a brand of this product in the past.
  • Fever Pitch: Penny and the pets watch this baseball-themed film. Symbolizes Mittens's finding Bolt sexy in his baseball uniform.
  • John Fogerty: This artist's baseball-themed song "Centerfield" is played over the stadium's speaker system. Symbolizes Bolt's being put into the game as a reserve, the relevant lyrics being "Put me in, coach, I'm ready to play today."
  • For Love Of The Game: Penny and the pets watch this baseball-themed film. Symbolizes the affection the three pets have for this sport.
  • A League of Their Own: Penny and the pets watch this baseball-themed film. Symbolizes the unusual nature of the game in which Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino participate.
  • The Natural: Penny and Rhino watch this baseball-themed film. Symbolizes Bolt's natural playing ability in the baseball game.
  • Peanuts:
    • When Bolt asks Mittens how he will be able to play second base without a glove and unable to throw a baseball, the cat brings up this comic strip, telling him how Snoopy managed to successfully play shortstop.
      Mittens: [laughing] I guess you’ve never read the comic strip ‘Peanuts’, huh? Charlie Brown's baseball team had Snoopy at shortstop, and the beagle used the "Ptui" technique when he was on the field. He’d catch the grounder in his mouth and then spit it over to Linus, who would step on second and complete the double play with a throw to first base. You can always do that if you have no other choice.
    • When Mickey Cleary realizes he just hit into a triple play to Bolt to end the game, he screams a Charlie Brown-style "Aaugh!"
  • Phillie Phanatic: When Bolt is looking for advice on what to do as honorary team Mascot, Mittens mentions this character as a successful example.
  • Bruce Springsteen: This artist's baseball-themed song "Glory Days" is played over the stadium's speaker system. Symbolizes Bolt's single baseball game appearance being a most memorable one.
  • The Three Stooges: This comedy trio is evoked for the outfielders' names.
    The heart of the Schooners batting order was its outfield. Consisting of Larry Kuselias, Moe Petrie, and Sam “Shemp” Guranovich, the hard-hitting trio had been dubbed "The Stooges" by the enthusiastic fanbase.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien: When Rhino says he would look distinguished smoking a pipe, he mentions this author as an example of this idea.
  • Mark Twain: When Rhino says he would look distinguished smoking a pipe, he mentions this author as an example of this idea.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): When Bolt pulls off a game-winning triple play, it is referred to as being "'Twilight Zone' bizarre."

    "The Spaceship" 
  • Babe: After Rhino's earlier unsuccessful attempts to communicate with the two aliens, he quotes "Baa ram ewe!" from this film in frustration, hoping they might understand him.
  • David Bowie: Bolt and Mittens listen to two of this artist's songs, "Space Oddity" and "Starman," whose subject matter concerns aliens or space travel.
  • The Byrds: Bolt and Mittens listen to three of this group's songs, "C.T.A.-102" and "Mr. Spaceman" and "Mr. Tambourine Man," whose subject matter references aliens or space travel. Rhino cites the phrase "Take me for a trip upon your magic swirling ship!" from the last of these when he wants the spaceship in Penny's side yard to beam him aboard. He also quotes the space traveler's backwards chipmunk speech from the first song, hoping the aliens that bring him aboard will understand him.
  • Cactus Flower: Bolt mentions the three pets having watched this film not long ago, following which the dementia-suffering hamster has begun to reference someone named Goldie. Symbolizes Rhino's present often-prickly nature which still acknowledging his more pleasant older normal self that comes through at times.
  • The Cramps: Mittens listens to the group's album A Date With Elvis, which makes her very randy. The album title ties in with the Elvis Presley reference in Lilo & Stitch and suggests the cat's tryst with a famous being in their field (note further the comparison to Elvis and Bolt in "The Seven"). Four songs from this release are referenced.
    • "Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?": Symbolizes Bolt and Mittens having sex.
    • "Cornfed Dames:" Symbolizes Mittens being a randy country female.
    • "(Hot Pool of) Womanneed:" Symbolizes Mittens wanting sex.
    • "How Far Can Too Far Go?": Symbolizes the enthusiastic and multi-varied tryst between the dog and cat.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival: Bolt and Mittens listen to this group's song "It Came Out of the Sky," whose subject matter concerns aliens.
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still: After Rhino's earlier unsuccessful attempts to communicate with the two aliens, he quotes "Klaatu barada nikto!" from this film in frustration, hoping they might understand him.
  • The Jazz Butcher: Bolt and Mittens listen to this artist's song "Big Bad Thing," whose subject matter concerns aliens. Rhino quotes "Vhat you vhant?" from its lyrics, hoping the space travelers will understand him.
  • Elton John: Bolt and Mittens listen to this artist's song "Rocket Man," whose subject matter concerns space travel.
  • Lilo & Stitch: Bolt and Penny watch this movie that features visitors from outer space and heavily references Elvis Presley while enjoying Elvis-inspired peanut butter-banana-bacon sandwiches.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: Gidney and Cloyd, the two space aliens, are named after their counterparts from this show.
  • Smokey Stover: A very randy Mittens tells Bolt she wants a tryst with him. She mentions this comic strip and its firefighter subject matter while doing so, with references to firehoses and needing a raging inferno in her haunches doused. As a bonus, this comic strip is the source of the phrase "foo fighter," a term used during World War II to describe UFOs purportedly seen over the European or Pacific battle theaters.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): Specifically, the episode "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby," on which the story is very loosely based. Rhino has bouts of advanced-age cognitive impairment (at times suffering from paranoia, anger, and delusions), which frequently causes him to claim all sorts of outlandish accomplishments. He is beamed up into a flying saucer by two aliens who want to bring him back to their home planet and head up their Brain Trust Committee. The hamster manages to escape by blowing on a dog whistle that proves intensely painful to the bipedal canine-like beings, convincing them to let him go. Bolt and Mittens both watch this show during the story as well.
  • Up: The two dog-like aliens wear speech-translation collars activated by flipping a switch, allowing them to speak to Rhino in English. Recalls the use of similar devices by the canines in this film that permit them to speak to humans.
  • The Wizard of Oz: Rhino watches this film during the story and later references it. In order to convince the none-too-bright space travelers to release him, he convinces them that this movie is very realistic of Earth life, especially regarding scarecrows being intelligent. The two aliens leave with a farm scarecrow instead.

    "The Makeover" 
  • Avon: When Mittens sees Bolt's horrible makeover, she references this cosmetics company in describing it.
    Mittens: [laughing hysterically] What… what did you do? You look… you look like you fell muzzle-first into an Avon lady's sample bag!"
  • David Bowie: When Bolt begins his ill-considered facial makeover, he is listening to the selection "Rebel Rebel" from the album Diamond Dogs. Symbolizes the dog's desire to spice up his looks in radical fashion using makeup, with reference to the song's lines "Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess" and "She's not sure if you're a boy or girl."
  • The Drew Carey Show: Mittens suggests that Bolt's hideous facial makeover is on a par with those of Mimi Bobeck on this television show.
    Mittens: [laughing] Yeah, either that or they just did a reboot of the "Drew Carey Show" and you got cast as Mimi.
  • Erle Stanley Gardner: This author's Perry Mason novels are heavily referenced in the story, including mentions of Paul Drake, Della Street, Hamilton Burger, Arthur Tragg, and Mason himself. Bolt considers his sleuthing attempts to figure out what Mittens means by "doggy lipstick" analogous to private eye work by Drake.
    Bolt: So, let's see if I can solve "The Case of the Latent Lip Gloss," eh?
  • Marx Brothers: The description of Bolt's laughable makeover includes a mention of his having used so much eyebrow pencil that he looks like a canine version of Groucho Marx.
  • Queer Eye: Bolt is watching this television show at the beginning of the story, calling it an enjoyable guilty pleasure like Millionaire Matchmaker. Later Mittens says that the dog's facial transformation would never pass muster on the program.
    Mittens: [chortling] Well, that makeover would never get the Kyan Douglas seal of approval.
  • Rupauls Drag Race: Mittens teasingly suggests that his makeover might be more appropriate for this television show with some alterations.
    Mittens: Tone it down a skosh, add a tiara and a tutu, and you might win first prize in "Ru Paul’s Drag Race." If they had a canine competition, that is.
  • John Travolta: Mittens says Bolt's makeover is even too garish to allow him to play the role of Edna Turnblad in Hairspray (2007). As an added layer of reference, Travolta both played this role and was the voice actor for Bolt.

    "The Kippies" 
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: Songs from the group's album Déjà Vu are referenced. The album title is symbolic of Mittens's recurring daydream.
    • "4+20:" The lyrics reference a character who is upset with his daily life, paralleling Mitten's current dissatisfaction.
    • "Our House:" Symbolizes Mittens's desire to have a family.
    • "Teach Your Children:" Symbolizes Mittens's desire to pass along life knowledge to her youngsters.
  • Buddy Holly: Bolt and Mittens hear this artist's song "True Love Ways" wafting upstairs. Symbolizes the dog and cat being soulmates despite the fact that they cannot have children.
  • Shrek: Bolt and Mittens's hybrid offspring are compared to the mutant youngsters of Donkey and his dragon girlfriend in this film.
  • Igor Stravinsky: In an attempt to cheer up Mittens (who is upset that she cannot have kittens), Bolt references the plot to L'Histoire du Soldat ("The Soldiers' Tale"), which says that having everything is forbidden.
    Bolt: [concurring] And the moral of the tale was that you can't have everything. The soldier — well, he had gotten the whole shebang: wealth, the love of his life, his magic violin, a big castle to live in, and the satisfaction of having cheated the devil. But he decided to leave on a trip to see his mother one more time, adding that to all his other blessings — and he lost everything in the end.

    "The Autobiography" 
  • Piper, the fictional name of the computer speech program, is a shout out to a dedicatee of one of the stories in this series.
  • The Dickies: Bolt references two songs covered by this group.
    • "Communication Breakdown:" Symbolizes Bolt's inability to successfully dictate his autobiography into the computer using a speech program.
    • "Eve of Destruction:" Symbolizes the trashing of Penny's computer by Mittens.
  • Anne Frank: The author's book The Diary of a Young Girl is mentioned ironically by Mittens in comparison to Bolt's own attempt to memorialize his life story, which is of poor quality.
  • The Truman Show: In his autobiography, Bolt compares his on-screen life of deception to this film's plot.

    "The Imaginary Letters" 
  • This is a travelogue story set in various cities throughout the United States. Several tourist attractions in these cities are referenced.
    • Atlanta: World of Coke, High Museum.
    • Birmingham: Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
    • Boston: Faneuil Hall, Old City Hall, Paul Revere's House, Old North Church, Old Ironsides, Museum of Fine Arts, Gardner Museum, ICA Museum, Harvard Yard, Fenway Park.
    • Charleston: Fort Sumter, The Battery.
    • Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, Wrigley Field.
    • Cincinnati: Eden Park, Cincinnati Art Museum, Great American Ballpark.
    • Memphis: Graceland, Stax Museum, Belz Museum, National Civil Rights Museum.
    • New Orleans: National WWII Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, Voodoo Museum.
    • New York City: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum, Frick Collection, Times Square, Statue of Liberty.
    • Oklahoma City: National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
    • Philadelphia: Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Elfreth's Alley, Christ Church, Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation, Rodin Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven. This composer's "Immortal Beloved" letters provide inspiration for Bolt to make up love letters to Mittens in his head.
  • Pablo Picasso: Penny and Bolt see this painter's Self Portrait (1906) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
  • The Romantics: Each section of the story is subtitled after a song from the group's self-titled first album.
    • "First in Line:" Symbolizes this as being the first section of the story.
    • "Gimme One More Chance:" Symbolizes both Bolt's desire to see the Georges Seurat painting several times during their visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as Bolt and Penny's willingness to donate an extra day of the book signing to accommodate the overflow of fans in this section.
    • "Girl Next Door:" Symbolizes Bolt and Penny meeting their hotel next door neighbor in this section.
    • "Hung on You:" Symbolizes how taken Bolt and Penny's fans are at the book signing in this section.
    • "Keep in Touch:" Symbolizes Bolt's desire to remain in touch with Mittens in this section.
    • "Little White Lies:" Symbolizes the various differences between public and private personas of Bolt's Furry-Con dog colleagues in this section. For example, Zaui plays a dumb canine role on-screen but is smart enough to answer Jeopardy! questions without missing a single one.
    • "She's Got Everything:" Symbolizes the fact that New York City has every kind of attraction one could ask for.
    • "Tell It to Carrie:" References an incident in this section where a waitress named Carrie carefully looks after Bolt and Penny's order in the restaurant.
    • "Till I See You Again:" Symbolizes Bolt's excitement at seeing Mittens again in this section.
    • "What I Like about You:" Symbolizes what Bolt likes about both New Orleans and Mittens in this section.
    • "When I Look in Your Eyes:" Symbolizes the striking eyes in Picasso's Self Portrait (1906) as well as Mittens's eyes in this section.
  • Georges Seurat: Penny and Bolt see this painter's A Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte at the Art Institute of Chicago. Symbolizes their leisurely afternoon of sightseeing.
  • Three Dog Night: Bolt mentions that three of his Furry-Con dog colleagues have taken a shine to each other, referring to the song "Eli's Coming" while doing so. Lampshades the band's name in the process.
  • Neil Young: Bolt has the song "Cinnamon Girl" by this artist going through his head when he and Penny are running through Harvard Yard, chasing the moon in and out of trees and buildings. Symbolizes the dog's love for his red-haired master.

    "The Car" 
  • The name of the Drivers Ed teacher, Mr. Oliver, is a shout out to a dedicatee of one of the stories.
  • The social media website company names are parodies of real examples.
  • The dogs/wolves Penny jokingly says she'll hitch up to her sled to explore the Antarctic are all cartoon characters. Besides Bolt himself, these include:
  • Balto: Penny says her new longer hair style makes her look like Rosy from this movie. Her dog Jenna is referenced as one of the sled dogs Penny says she will jokingly hitch to a sled and explore Antarctica with.
  • The Beach Boys: Penny and Bolt listen to the song "Fun Fun Fun" while driving to the diner. The song's lyrics reference a girl driving to a cheap eatery.
  • Chuck Berry: One of the songs Penny and Bolt listen to on their drive to the diner is "Maybelline." The song's lyrics reference driving, and Penny also has named her car after the song.
  • O. Henry: Bolt mentions having read a lot of this author's short stories.
  • Jurassic Park: Penny references this film series disparagingly, saying they dumbed down her English class to appeal to fans of these movies.
  • Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels: Penny and Bolt listen to the songs "Jenny Take a Ride" and "Devil with a Blue Dress On" while driving to the diner. The former selection has lyrics that reference driving, while the latter refers to the blue dress Penny is wearing.
  • The Modern Lovers: Penny and Bolt listen to (and sing/howl along with) the song "Roadrunner" while driving back from the diner. The song lyrics reference driving.
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark: Mittens parodies the "Why did it have to be snakes?" line from this film in describing her discomfort with experiencing Penny's bad first experience driving.
  • Saki: Bolt mentions having read a lot of this author's short stories.
  • Bruce Springsteen: Penny and Bolt listen to the songs "Thunder Road" and "Born to Run" while driving back from the diner. Both songs have lyrics that reference driving.

    "The Coyote" 
  • Apocalypse Now: Charlie references this film simultaneously with Zootopia when explaining why he looks forward to reaching the nearest wildlife refuge or national forest.
    Charlie: What can I say? I just love the taste of bunny in the morning.
  • P.D.Q. Bach: Mittens mentions her and Bolt's recent reading of Peter Schickele's book The Definitive Biography of P.D.Q. Bach, which led to the cat teaching Bolt about puns. Apparently, the dog has been using them frequently ever since.
  • Columbo: Bolt is said not to need the deduction skills of this rumpled detective in order to figure out what music Mittens is listening to. Symbolic, however, of the dog's methodical snooping around to determine the source of the mysterious odor he and the cat have noticed recently in the yard.
  • Fleetwood Mac: One of the songs Bolt conjures up in his head while on a conditioning run is this group's "Go Your Own Way." Symbolizes both Bolt and Charlie's determination to follow their own path.
  • George Frederic Handel: This composer's name comes up during the Hurricane of Puns Bolt and Mittens engage in.
  • Joseph Haydn: Bolt finds the cat listening to this composer's Symphony No. 104 ("London"). The dog uses the composer's last name as the start of a Hurricane of Puns he swaps with Mittens.
  • Franz Kafka: Bolt's conditioning run, during which he has gotten lost and begun to panic, is likened to the feeling of uneasiness often portrayed in this author's work.
    By now, the shepherd had reached a state of full-blown panic. The road seemed to stretch forever, like a nightmare straight out of a Franz Kafka story. The more he ran, the less he seemed to be getting anywhere.
  • Harry McClintock: This songwriter's early 20th century folk-style tune "Big Rock Candy Mountain" is referenced. Its subject matter reinforces the mountain imagery appearing in the story, as well as describing a promised-land style magical place.
  • Joni Mitchell: One of the songs Bolt conjures up in his head while on a conditioning run is this artist's "Coyote." Symbolic of the title animal.
  • The Rolling Stones: One of the songs Bolt conjures up in his head while on a conditioning run is this group's "Sympathy for the Devil." Symbolizes Bolt's taking pity on his rather sketchy coyote adversary.
  • Tina Turner: One of the songs Bolt conjures up in his head while on a conditioning run is Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep — Mountain High." Symbolizes the mountain imagery appearing in the story, and referenced when Bolt says: "There are a couple of state wildlife preserves a few days journey from here, and if you keep going a while longer, there’s a national park and a couple of national forests. When you cross the river and see the mountains looming in the distance, you’ve practically arrived."
  • Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner: An allusion to this cartoon pairing is made when Bolt refers to the title animal as "...one wily critter, whatever it is." Also applies to this exchange:
    Bolt: [asking if Charlie eats them or not] How about roadrunners?
    Charlie: [frowning] Seriously? That’s bottom-of-the-barrel stuff. One of my uncles ate one once when he was desperate — said it was too gamy, nothing resembling the acme of food experiences. Told me it took forever to catch the darned thing, too.
  • The Who: One of the songs Bolt conjures up in his head while on a conditioning run is this group's "Going Mobile." Symbolizes Charlie's rootless wandering as well as Bolt's far-reaching exercise jaunt.
  • Zootopia: Bolt references this film at Charlie's risqué remark, as does the coyote when he makes a pun on the male lead's name.
    Charlie: What can I say? I just love the taste of bunny in the morning.
    Bolt: You know, if we were in Zootopia right now, that’d be considered a risqué thing to say.
    Charlie: [with a wink] Yup — but only if I were a fox with a fancy Nick-name.

    "The Coffee Shop" 
  • The coffee shop franchise names are parodies of real examples.
  • The Beverly Hillbillies: Mittens references this show while correcting Bolt on several of his misconceptions. Ironically contains Mittens's commonly-held misconception of Granny's last name, which is "Moses," not "Clampett."
    Mittens: [drawing a deep breath and tapping where her missing dewclaw would be located] Finally, there's this little factoid. It's true we live out here in the boonies, but we don't live in Bugtussle, Granny Clampett. And in our little corner of rural paradise, you're not an old maid if you aren’t hitched by age 16.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Bolt and Mittens watch the episode "The Peanut Reaction" from this show in the story. It provides the inspiration for Bolt to similarly induce a medical condition on himself to get Penny and Joe to meet.
  • Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: Penny jokingly invokes the title of this series to describe her new position as a rural-based veterinarian by calling herself "Dr. Penny, Frontier Animal Medicine Woman."
  • Fiddler on the Roof: At the end of the story, Bolt hums the song "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" from this musical. Symbolizes the dog's role in arranging for Penny and Joe to meet.
  • The Flamin' Groovies: Bolt and Mittens listen to the album Shake Some Action in the story. Symbolizes Bolt's later attempt to have Joe bring him to Penny's veterinary clinic by drinking a lot of leftover coffee, which gives him a serious case of the shakes.
  • O. Henry: Bolt and Mittens read short stories by this author in the story.
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins: Bolt and Mittens read poetry by this author in the story.
  • Joe Orton: One of the parody coffee franchise names is Joe Orton's. Penny's mom is engaging in Black Humor when she jokingly says their slogan should be "Hammer down a cup of Joe's," given that the playwright was murdered when bludgeoned with a hammer. Given that this writer's work frequently indulges in Black Humor, it's appropriate that she does so.

    "The Rings" 
  • Don Adams: Several television shows starring this actor are referenced in the story.
    • The Bill Dana Show: When Mittens fails to recognize Bolt's Maxwell Smart impression, she mentions Byron Glick, the character Adams played on the show, as one of the possible options.
    • Get Smart: Bolt verbally imitates Maxwell Smart, even using two of the character's catchphrases, "Sorry about that, Chief," and "Would you believe... ?"
    • Inspector Gadget: When Mittens fails to recognize Bolt's Maxwell Smart impression, she mentions Inspector Gadget, the character Adams voiced on the show, as one of the possible options. She further says that Bolt probably wasn't imitating this particular character, because he otherwise would have said how much smarter he was than Gadget's dog Brain. The shout out to this particular show is appropriate given that Bolt's television show has several similarities to it.
    • Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales: When Mittens fails to recognize Bolt's Maxwell Smart impression, she mentions Tennessee Tuxedo, the character Adams voiced on the show, as one of the possible options.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach: Penny and Joe choose the slow movement from the Harpsichord Concerto No. 5 in F Minor as their wedding processional piece, specifically selecting a recording of the original movement, not its rearrangement sometimes encountered at weddings under the title Arioso.
  • Cracker Jack: Bolt and Mittens tear open boxes of this snack treat to get at the Free Prize at the Bottom. In this case, they successfully find plastic decoder rings as a replacement for the wedding rings Bolt has lost just before the ceremony.
  • Hannah and Her Sisters: This is the first film Penny and Joe saw together as a couple, and was where they first heard the Bach movement that would be used as their wedding processional. Two other Woody Allen movies are also referenced as being among the best of this director's films, Annie Hall and Manhattan.
  • Gustav Holst: Penny and Joe choose the "Jupiter" movement from The Planets as their wedding recessional piece.
  • Casey Jones: Mittens teasingly references this American railroad engineer when telling Bolt to be more careful next time he comes into a room. That morning, the dog crashed into the kitchen and knocked Mittens face-first into her food bowl.
    Mittens: You need to toot your warning signal when you come to a crossing gate there, Casey Jones.
  • Herman Melville: When Bolt frantically searches for the missing rings after the ceremony, Mittens compares him to the antagonist in Moby-Dick.
    Mittens: [quipping] Hey, Captain Ahab! Let's head inside and have a munch. Then you can hightail it back out and harpoon the white whale. Those rings won't be going anywhere for a while yet.
  • Auguste Rodin: Mittens references the sculptor's statue "The Thinker" when she notices Bolt being pensive.
    Mittens: Something on your mind there, Wags? You're making Rodin’s "Thinker" statue look like a featherbrained Valley girl over there.
  • Talking Heads: Bolt and Mittens listen to two songs by this group.
    • "Happy Day:" Symbolizes that day's joy the two pets savor from Penny's marriage and later their own private soulmate ceremony.
    • "Thank You for Sending Me an Angel:" Bolt marches in a circle around Mittens to this song. Symbolizes the dog's happiness that Mittens is in his life.

    "The Gift" 
  • Among the cultural delights Bolt and Mittens enjoy on their last day together on earth are picture books containing reproductions of paintings in The Louvre and The Prado.
  • Samuel Barber: The composer's Adagio For Strings is one of the pieces Bolt and Mittens listen to on their last day together on earth.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: The composer's Symphony No. 7 in A Major is one of the pieces Bolt and Mittens listen to on their last day together on earth.
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning: This poet's work is one of the cultural delights Bolt and Mittens enjoy on their last day together on earth.
  • Aaron Copland: The piece Mittens is listening to when she dies is this composer's Appalachian Spring (orchestral suite version). Its variations section on the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts" is also mentioned, with the hymn returning at the end of the story. Several other works by this composer are also referenced, including the Piano Variations, Quartet for Piano and Strings, Billy The Kid, Rodeo, Lincoln Portrait, Our Town, and Fanfare For The Common Man. Appalachian Spring, whose ballet plot tells the story of a young couple who move to the Pennsylvania frontier to set up a life together while interacting with their rural neighbors, symbolizes Mittens's life.
    Mittens lay still, listening intently to the music. As the transcendent final slow section wound to a close, ending with its last few soft glints of sound, the cat slowly drifted from consciousness while seeing her life leisurely unfold from kittenhood in a Manhattan shelter to her last day in the farmhouse.
  • E. E. Cummings: This poet's work is one of the cultural delights Bolt and Mittens enjoy on their last day together on earth.
  • Emily Dickinson. This poet's work is one of the cultural delights Bolt and Mittens enjoy on their last day together on earth.
  • Antonín Dvořák: The composer's Cello Concerto in B Minor is one of the pieces Bolt and Mittens listen to on their last day together on earth.
  • The Hollies: The song "Pay You Back with Interest" gets stuck in Mittens's head when she realizes karma plays a crucial role for final residence in Nirvana. Symbolizes this karma.
  • It's a Wonderful Life: The film title symbolizes the happy conclusion to the three pets' lives. Rhino says his role was to serve as guardian angel for Bolt and Mittens, facilitating their achievment of soulmate status. He references Clarence, George Bailey's guardian angel, in this film when doing so.
    Rhino: Sometimes, though, we fully-evolved sorts decide it’d be fun to head back down to earth and serve as facilitators for those with especially challenging issues. I remember when you and Bolt made your weird pact, and I couldn’t resist volunteering. Keeping you two from straying too far away from the prize — well, let me tell you, I drew real pleasure from that. You remember the movie "It’s a Wonderful Life," don’t you? I was kinda like Clarence, the guardian angel for you two. Only I didn’t get wings or anything if I succeeded — just the satisfaction of knowing I helped two beings reach completion.
  • C. S. Lewis: Bolt mentions meeting this author in Nirvana, the latter being disappointed that the afterlife is not a Christian heaven. Mittens says she remembers when Penny and the three pets spent a weekend reading all seven books in the The Chronicles of Narnia series.
  • "Simple Gifts:" This Shaker hymn serves as thematic basis for a set of variations in Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland, the latter being the piece Mittens is listening to when she dies. When Bolt and Mittens are reunited in Nirvana after their deaths, they sing this hymn together. Symbolizes the idea that ending up in a Nirvana afterlife is a gift for reaching completion.
  • Igor Stravinsky: The composer's The Rite of Spring is one of the pieces Bolt and Mittens listen to on their last day together on earth.
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay: This poet's work is one of the cultural delights Bolt and Mittens enjoy on their last day together on earth.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report