Ben-Hur: When Kearney beats a drum to make the kids in the sweatshop work harder, it's a reference to the slave galley scene from the movie.
The French Lieutenant's Woman: Referenced in the scene where Lisa gives a bottle of whiskey to a man on horseback as payment for delivering a letter. Lisa is also dressed much like Meryl Streep's character was in the film scene.
The sequence where Bart leads a revolt and the kids take over the camp is reminiscent of Lord of the Flies. Also a pig head is seen.
The 1991 fall of the Soviet Union is referenced when the rebelling campers uproot a totem pole of Krusty, parodying rioting Russians tearing down statues of Lenin, Stalin, and other Soviet dictators.
Note for Star Wars fans: The scene cannot be a reference to the Emperor's statue being torn down at the end of Return of the Jedi. The episode aired in 1992, but the scene with the Emperor's statue occurs in the Special Edition, which wasn't released until 1997.
The post-revolt Kamp Krusty (where Bart is in charge and the camp has been renamed to "Camp Bart") strongly resembles Colonel Kurtz's camp in Apocalypse Now.
During the news report on the Kamp Krusty revolt, Kent Brockman refers to reports on Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq with the implication that all these paled in comparison to the revolt, referring to the Vietnam War, the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, and either the Iran/Iraq War or the Persian Gulf War.
Krusty's daughter on "President Klown" ("I don't know her name, but she held up a liquor store last year") may be a reference to troubled Diff'rent Strokes star Dana Plato, who held up a video store in February 1991. Kamp Krusty first aired on September 24, 1992.
At Kamp Krusty the kids are only served (Krusty Brand Imitation) gruel while Mr. Black and the bullies get better food just like in the Oliver Twist films.
The Disney theme parks were referenced twice in the episode:
Mr. Black, when introducing himself as the councilor of Kamp Krusty, mentioned that he was formerly the head of Euro Krustyland before it "blew up," referring to the unpopularity of Euro Disneyland.
Krusty, as part of his apology for giving the Krusty Kampers a horrible experience at the camp, took them to Tijuana, Mexico, referring to it as "the happiest place on Earth," a clear parody of Walt Disney World's slogan.
Bart's clothing in the dream resembles Rambo, most notably the headband.
Bart's locker combination, 36-24-36, is a reference to the supposed "ideal figure" for a woman. It may also be a reference to the song "Brick House" by The Commodores.
This is the remain episode to be produced in this run and so the remain animated at Klasky Csupo before the show's producers Gracie Films moved its domestic production to Film Roman.
When Dolph serves the "Krusty Brand Imitation Gruel" to the kids, he is wearing a hairnet, making it one of the few times both his eyes are visible.
Bart's remark of "No way would I lend my name to a crummy product" is an ironic one; a likely reference to the Butterfinger commercials Bart has starred in.
When Kent Brockman comments that he has reported on Afghanistan and Iraq, he was referring to the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the 1991 U.S. invasion of Iraq (the first Gulf War), not the current conflicts, where the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 (though thanks to those two invasions, the joke isn't dated).
According to the DVD commentary, Frank Sinatra did not sing the song "South of the Border" during the closing credits. A sound-alike sang the song.
The episode was inspired by a staff member who worked as a teenager as a counselor in a summer camp and saw exposed live wires and other hazards. The producers said this episode was meant to relate to those who went to summer camps or took jobs in one.
The summer holiday countdown is similar to the two new millennium countdowns in the pilot episode of Matt Groening's other show, Futurama, although obviously this episode first aired years before Futurama was even in the planning stages.
This episode was originally the plot to a feature-length film version of The Simpsons, but was canned because the writers couldn't stretch the story to fit 90 minutes to 2 hours. "Cape Feare" from season five and "Bonfire of the Manatees" from season 17 were also considered for the plot of The Simpsons Movie, but were scrapped for having thin plots.
This episode reveals that Lisa has nervous breakdowns when she gets a grade that isn't an A.
The plotline of the video game Bart Simpson's Escape from Camp Deadly is similar to the plotline of Kamp Krusty, including their being tricked into participating in a summer camp that proved to be a nightmare and eventually getting fed up with the camp and stopped the owner of the camp and shut it down. The game was released almost a year before the episode aired.
Lisa is left-handed in this episode, but in other episodes, she is right-handed.
Ralph isn't at the Fat Camp, unlike the other fat kids.
Ralph appears to be larger than usual, sounds a bit different and is not wearing his usual blue collared shirt when he receives his change of underwear.
During Bart's dream of everyone trashing the school, Bart is shown in mercenary/Rambo style with bandoliers across his chest and a high-powered machine gun. After the scene of the kids burning their permanent records, Bart is shown in his normal clothes, working a wrecking ball machine. This is a dream sequence so rapid, unrealistic changes of clothes are not unthinkable.
The Krusty doll Bart clutches while muttering, "Krusty is coming, Krusty is coming, Krusty is coming..." has a black nose instead of a red one.