The title refers to the phrase "Shot heard 'round the world," used to refer to a number of significant historical events.
The man who calls Peter a “phony” and later levels the charge at Neil is referred to by the staff and fans as “Holden Caulfield”, the protagonist of the 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, who often accused others of being “phonies”.
The toy store where the Griffins shop is called “Toys R Overpriced,” a parody of Toys ‘R’ Us.
Brian lifts up a copy of the game Stratego to find actor Abe Vigoda, who tells him that Steve Guttenberg is hiding behind the Chinese checkers. Both actors have had few high-profile roles in their later careers.
While pretending to play the keyboard, Peter says “I’m Yanni sans the attitude,” referring to the new age star who is often criticized as pretentious.
Neil passes Meg a note reading “I Want You” and points at her while dressed as Uncle Sam. This is a reference to World War I and World War II military recruitment posters.
Tom Tucker tells the high school students “I pity the fool who does drugs,” a reference to the catch phrase of 1980s icon Mr. T.
The scene in which Meg fantasizes about Tom Tucker emerging from a swimming pool and removing his shirt with the Cars song “Moving in Stereo” playing in the background mirrors the pool scene of Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
When Meg screams, “Oh my God, I’m missing the news!” Peter replies “We all miss the news, but Huey Lewis needs time to create and we all have to learn to be patient,” referring to the rock band Huey Lewis and the News. While this episode was in production, the band had not released an album in six years. However, they released Plan B four months before it aired.
Tom Tucker’s “interview” with Dustin Hoffman consists of sliced-together clips from his films The Graduate, Rain Man, and Hook.
The scene where Peter and Brian travel back in time to 1492 parodies the segment Peabody’s Improbable History on the popular cartoon show The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.
Peter videotapes a bag blowing in the wind and makes a speech about beauty and the serenity of life, parodying the 1999 film American Beauty.
Neil asks a hologram named Al, “Why haven’t I leaped?,” a reference to the science fiction show Quantum Leap, in which a character travels through time and cannot leave a certain period until he sets events “right.”
When Lois finds Stewie’s bully tied up, he says, “We’re playing house.” Lois asks why the boy is tied up, and Stewie says “Roman Polanski’s house,” a reference to the director being accused of child rape.
When Stewie asks the bully how old he is and the bully replies, "seven", Stewie says, "My, you're practically a lady." This is a reference to The Sound of Music, when Maria is introduced to the children.
The plot of the episode is similar to the 1982 teen sex comedy The Joy of Sex. This film has a sub-plot about a virginal female high-school student with a crush on an anchorman. She invites the anchorman to a motel room to seduce him, but at the last moment, realizes the anchorman is not a nice person and decides not to have sex with him.