Lisa's side plot satirizes of click-bait news articles, and online TV show recappers.
The headlines for the school paper on gravy read "A Long Way Brown: Requiem for a Lunch". The first part of this presumably parodies, the comedy film A Long Way Down, while the second part of it is a pun on the drama, Requiem for a Dream.
The Google-Disney CEO reveals that the widely known USA Network doesn't actually exist. Nobody watches it, but they assume other people do. Homer mentions the shows, Royal Pains, Suits, and White Collar. All of which, he's heard of, but never watched. He was always under the impression, that many people have watched them, but was surprised to hear they don't actually exist. The entire USA Network channel is literally just an endless stream of bus ads, in case anyone temporarily visits the channel, while channel surfing.
The bus shown in the bus as, coincidentally, has an advertisement on the side of it, advertising the USA Today show, Royal Pains.
List of shows in wide-shot of TV show grids. (Listed from top to bottom, left to right, one TV screen at a time)
When the circus is shutting down, the ringmaster says that they're only hope at bringing themselves back, is to hire some big-name circus actors, to associate with them. One circus clown suggests "The Flying Branzinos", a fictional acrobatic group, featured as advertising mascots in a series of commercials for The Bank of America.
Krusty’s fake clown name, Soggy the Clown, is a reference to the Yu-Gi-Oh! monster, Saggi the Dark Clown.
Homer and Krusty fight, while driving, distracting them, and sending them both falling down Springfield Gorge, where they hit many rocks on the way down, and end up, severely injured. This is one of the many callbacks to Homer's skateboarding mishap, sending him plummeting down Springfield Gorge in "Bart the Daredevil".
Two of the framed school paper headline read "Glue Sticks: Death in a Tube." and "Steroids and the Whiffle Ball Home Run Surge".
Homer's review of Krusty the Clown's show read as follows: "How do you know a clown should call it quits? Is it when his monologue seems endless? Is it when he throws a pie, that clearly hits the face of a stunt double? Or maybe it's the day, he no longer makes you laugh. Undoubtedly, this was the best episode of the season. But it still fell short. It is a pale shadow of a show that used to be the gold standard in afternoon clown-based kids TV. But still, at some level, it was a thrilling return to form. But, at another more important level, it was terrible. But still pretty good. But not really good at all."
When Krusty reads off the reasons, of why his show is bad, he reads "Monologue seemed endless, pie clearly hits face of stunt double, and overuse of the comedic rule of three!" He is especially enraged by the last one, which refers to a comedic method, wherein three things are listed, with the first two being normal, and the third having some kind of comedic difference attached. What's especially funny about this, is that the list Krusty was reading, utilized the rule of three, as "rule of three" was the third of three things listed, and it contained a self-referential joke to it.
It's also notable, that nowhere in Homer's recap, is the rule of three even mentioned. Only the first two thing on the list. Krusty apparently just added that to his own speech, for comedic purposes.
The fourth wall is broken twice, (or three times), in this episode.
Krusty says he's the kind of comedian, who turns to the camera. Then, he turns to the camera to laugh into it, as an example.
On the list of TV shows, one of the listed shows is "The Simpsons".
As the technical third fourth wall joke, another one of the listed shows was "Tracey Ullman's Show", a reboot of The Tracey Ullman Show, the show, that The Simpsons was spun-off from.
It's learned that circus clowns absolutely despise Krusty, and other TV clowns for that matter.
The female nerd's reference to Ernest Hemingway, is followed by Comic Book Guy comparing Homer to a "Shep Goldfein" character, from a show called "TV Zorp". There is no show or work of media, by this name, and this is not a reference to any "real" fictional character.
Krusty gets addicted to a drug called "Hippo Juice".
When Krusty's Tesla rams Homer's car, neither car sustains damage.
On the list of currently airing TV shows, the shows American Vandal, Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter, Samurai Jack, Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories, The Collection, The Last Post, The Last Tycoon, Switched at Birth, Z: The Beginning of Everything, Halt and Catch Fire, Turn: Washington's Spies, Hit the Road, Ice, Kingdom, Broadchurch, Orphan Black, Being Mary Jane, The New Edition Story, Rebel, The Quad, Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce, Imposters, 2 Broke Girls, Code Black, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Doubt, Kevin Can Wait, Me, Myself, & I, Pure Genius, Salvation, Scorpion, Superior Donuts, The Great Indoors, The Odd Couple, Wisdom of the Crowd, Zoo, Nashville, Still the King, Idiotsitter, Jeff & Some Aliens, Girls, Gunpowder, Bones, The Leftovers, The Young Pope, Vice Principals, Six, Casual, Chance, Difficult People, Freakish, National Treasure, and Shut Eye are included, despite all of those shows being either cancelled or finished, by the time this episode aired.
There is no South Park on the list of currently airing TV shows.