Salute Your Shorts does its first homage to classic cinema in the third episode, which takes its title directly from the 1948 movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre with one slight tweak: instead of the Sierra Madre it’s a long deceased dance counselor named Sara Madre.
According to Sponge, Sara do-si-doed herself right off a cliff one day when she took her dance class for a hike up Mount Hoople. Sara’s photo is displayed above the fire place in the lodge, but when Budnick throws a soccer ball at Sponge it knocks the picture over and Budnick discovers a treasure map in the back of the broken frame. Legend has it Sara buried her money every time she got paid.
To take advantage of his position as the owner of the map, Budnick decides to create the Budnick Mining and Fortune Company and exchanges two typed copies of the map for boomboxes. Of course, both parties think they are the only ones with the map and they set off to find the buried treasure with directions that involve doing cha cha steps around the camp.
Michael and Sponge and Z.Z., Telly and Dina discover they’ve been had when they both arrive at the spot and discover after digging multiple holes that they’ve been digging in an old dump.
Back in the bunk, Budnick and Donkey Lips rock out to their five boomboxes – Metallica on one, Whitesnake on another and Nuclear Winter on boxes three, four and five.
Though they don’t discover much by way of a treasure, the two groups who get hosed by Bunick do team up to get even with him by tricking him into thinking the treasure might actually be real. In the end, Budnick and Donkey Lips dig all night only to find nothing but a water main that Budnick breaks with his pick axe. The water main, it turns out, is in the middle of the field Ug has worked so tirelessly to get ready for a photographer coming to take new photos for the camp brochure.
- The name Mount Hoople seems to be a reference to Mott the Hoople, a 1970s era English rock band known for the David Bowie-penned hit song “All the Young Dudes.”
- Budnick and Donkey Lips favorite band, Nuclear Winter, is fictional.
- Six years after this episode aired The Flaming Lips released an album, Zaireeka, that required listeners to play four different CDs simultaneously.
- Donkey Lips asks Sponge how much money he would need to buy a Captain Pluck’s Chicken Hacienda franchise. Captain Pluck’s is of course a fictional name for a franchise.
- Michael references the most popular line of dialogue from the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: “Badges! We don’t need no stinking badges” when Z.Z. finds a Junior Park Ranger’s badge.