Simpson and Delilah
Tar is not a plaything
Couch gag: The family do a little jig before sitting.
Director: Rich Moore
Guest voice: Harvey Fierstein as Karl, Homer’s assistant
Synopsis: Homer uses a new product to cure baldness, and ends up with a head full of luscious hair. He is noticed by Mr Burns, who promotes him immediately. Homer is now an executive at the nuclear plant, with an assistant named Karl who boosts Homer’s self-confidence. Smithers sees that Homer has purchased the hair booster through the company’s health insurance scheme and attempts to fire him, but Karl takes full responsibility and repays the money. Meanwhile, Bart, trying to grow a beard, accidentally spills Homer’s hair product and Homer is demoted back to his regular position at the plant.
Discussion: Harvey Fierstein’s distinctive voice is hard to miss, and lends a richness to the episode just as Homer’s hair adds a richness to his life. This episode is somewhat satirical on the American preoccupation with looks. Even though Mr Burns himself is mostly bald, he has little sympathy for those, like Homer, who share a similar fate. Considering baldness is linked to testosterone levels, perhaps subconsciously Mr Burns avoids bald men as he is afraid of their masculinity? This theory explains why the effeminate Smithers is his right hand man…
It’s disappointing Karl hasn’t returned to The Simpsons. I understand he was set to return in season 14 but Harvey Fierstein wasn’t happy with the script and declined to reprise the role. I also suppose that having two recurring characters named Carl/Karl could be a tad confusing for some, despite Carl Carlsson being of African-American descent and Karl being Caucasian.
Personally, I really like this episode. It’s a glimpse into an alternate reality where Homer has hair, confidence and is a better provider for his family. And the “awwww!” moment at the end where Marge sings ‘You Are So Beautiful’ to Homer is actually pretty sweet. Even though Homer is not the most attractive person, she loves him for who he is.