- The magazines in Stan's trunk (e.g., Fully Clothed Women) are a reference to adult magazines such as Playboy.
- In Stan's contraband box is a Tamagotchi and a Street Sharks doll.
- Two songs on Mabel's karaoke machine ("We Built This Township on Rock and Roll" and "Danger Lane to Highway Town") are references to "We Built this City" by Starship and "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins.
- MC Rapper is a parody of rapper MC Hammer.
- Agent Powers' claim to have no sense of humor is allusion to Men in Black wherein Agent K makes a very similar claim.
- When the Shape Shifter reveals itself, it extends its neck and climbs a wall in the same fashion as the monster in the 1982 film The Thing.
- Using the symbol substitution cipher, one of the journal's pages says "ICE" "ICE" "BABY", which is a reference to a famous hip hop song from 1990, "Ice Ice Baby" by rapper Vanilla Ice.
- The episode resembles Stephen King's It, which also featured a close-knit group battling a shape shifting evil in a subterranean setting. The Shape Shifter in the episode assumes a giant spider form multiple times-- like Its final form-- and appears to take similar pleasure in psychological torment of its nemeses.
- Smez is a spoof of Pez candy.
- Just before the Shape Shifter reveals itself, its eyes are shown blinking sideways. This is in reference to the unlicensed cephalopoid from Men in Black (1997) blinking its gills because it was out of breath.
- The title "The Golf War" is a play on words referencing the Gulf War from 1990-91.
- "Wieners" is a reference to lewd graffitis made by thugs.
- One of the obstacles at Gravity Falls Royal Discount Putt Hutt is a large shoe house, a reference to the nursery rhyme There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.
- The Lilliputtians are a reference to the Lilliputians, a society of tiny people who inhabit the island of Lilliput (which represents the Kingdom of Great Britain) in Jonathan Swift's satirical novel Gulliver's Travels. Also, the way they tied up Pacifica was done in a similar manner to how Gulliver is tied up by the Lilliputians.
- Big Henry may be either or both: a reference to the character from American folklore known as John Henry, who was a miner who died while constructing a railroad tunnel, or Big Bad John, a song originally performed in 1961 by Jimmy Dean regarding a man who gives his life to save his fellow miners following a tunnel collapse.
- The title is an allusion to Soap Operas (and possibly rock operas).
- The title is a parody of the film Lars and the Real Girl.
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