The innovative story telling style shown in this episode was also used in an episode of Malcolm in the Middle. The seventh episode of the seventh season ("Blackout") involved the same series of events being seen from several different view points. The character of Thelonius is voiced by Frankie Muniz, who played the titular Malcolm.
The 2003 Patrick Swayze movie 11:14 is another example of this type of story-telling.
The 1999 film Go is another example of this type of story-telling with three separate stories all leading to the same conclusion, and elements from this film were even used in this episode such as when Rainier Wolfcastle smashed Marge's car with golf clubs due to their ramming into his car by accident, which was based on when Jack Nicholson's character performs a very similar action, to what Rainier Wolfcastle did.
It is clear that this episode referenced Run Lola Run, though that film had the same person doing the same day three times, each with different outcomes. However, the music while Lisa is running to school is the music from Run Lola Run.
Ned reads a modified book of Harry Potter, where Harry and his friends go to Hell for practising witchcraft. This is in reference to many fundamentalist Christian groups, who protest the book series for promoting Satanism.
The title is a parody of Trilogy of Terror or the phrase 'Trial and Error' (The Process of Elimination).
In Homer's drunk talk he mentions The Blue Men group and The Smurfs.
Chief Wiggum's exclamation "Great Grucci's Ghost!" upon discovering the fireworks refers to both Commissioner Gordon's frequent use of "Great Caesar's Ghost!" on the Batman TV Series and "America's First Family of Fireworks", the Gruccis.
When Lisa is looking at the bus, one can see Milhouse sitting on it, even though he is with Bart.
Time during Bart's segment seems to move even faster: When Fat Tony and his gang found out that Bart was wearing a wire it was noon, and when Bart gets hit by the truck Marge and Lisa stole from Cletus it's almost 3pm.
In Bart's segment, Bart counts two of his keys as the same one (The key to Milhouse's house and Lisa's bike).
In Lisa's segment, Homer gets drunk as soon as Lisa leaves the tavern, showing time goes very quickly (though Homer's quick drunkenness could be the result of him drinking while losing blood from his thumb injury).
In Homer's segment, Rod and Todd Flanders are at home, while the rest of the children are at school. It is unknown if Ned Flanders is homeschooling them (which, given their sheltered outlook on life, especially in light of Maude Flanders' death, and the fact that no other past episodes has ever depicted the Flanders children going to school with Bart and Lisa), is probably most likely, or if they are home for the day. The pair don't even attend Springfield Christian School, which was last seen in "Whacking Day". However, in earlier episodes, the pair were seen attending Springfield Elementary.