This is a weird episode guys. I do have hair, so maybe it’s just not something I can understand, but man, hair apparently makes the world go round. Poor Homer and his insecurity. Growing up I always associated myself with the kids, for obvious reasons, but on this go through I’ve been trying to relate more with Homer and Marge. I don’t have kids yet, so I obviously don’t get a lot of what they go through, but it’s super depressing to think about how insecure Homer is in this episode. But that’s not to say that this is an overall depressing episode, it’s pretty fun, case in point the first joke of the episode.
Hitler, North Dakota! I laughed way too much at that joke. It’s also pretty sad that they made a joke about Homer being bad at a show called Grade School Challenge, and in the current day there’s a show called Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, where more often than not, the answer to that question is no. Anyway, Homer sees a commercial for a new miracle hair growth formula called Demoxonil. Hair growth treatments are weird to me. Like, they don’t work right? I’ve never heard of any of them actually doing anything, but they’re everywhere. But Homer isn’t a smart man, so he heads to a store in the mall that sells Demoxonil and after learning of it’s price, he starts crying. Although the next day he tells the story a little more triumphantly with Lenny and Carl, and get’s the wonderful idea to charge hair growth tonic to the work insurance. The guy at the store is a little sketched out, but he goes for it, so Homer gets his magic serum, that honestly works. And it works super quickly, because the next morning Homer wakes up with a whole lot of hair, which was in a completely different style each scene, and of course goes running through the town to celebrate. Everyone else in town is pretty stoked as well. He even runs into some other dude who has used the drug, and they have a little happy dance.
Everyone likes Homer more with hair, even Patty and Selma, but the real plot of the episode gets going when Mr. Burns sees the newly haired Homer, and decides to give him a token promotion. Homer gets a new office, and starts interviewing for secretaries, even though all he’s getting apparently are slutty ladies that are trying to make passes at him, until Karl shows up. Karl is such a cool character. I definitely never thought of him as gay when I was a kid, and it’s actually pretty subtle, especially for a show in the early 90’s. They pretty much just make Karl the most competent and nice guy in the world. Why he’s wasting his time on Homer is another question, but whatever. Karl gets right to work by instilling Homer with some much needed confidence, and getting him a new wardrobe. There’s an amazing joke of Homer getting measured for a suit and letting his gut fall out while Karl tells the tailor to conceal it. It’s no fun getting measured for a suit when you’re a fat guy. I’ve never been more self conscious of my weight than when a professional had to wrap a measuring tape around my gut to find clothes big enough to handle it.
But Karl’s plan works, and Homer starts to get more and more popular around the plant, even having a halfway decent idea at a meeting, giving the employees more tartar sauce the keep them happy. I also love that the Plant’s internal newspaper is apparently called “Current Events.” That’s a good pun. Homer’s success is paid off when Burns decides to give him the key to the executive washroom, which is glorious. There’s also this great shot of Mr. Smithers walking through a checkerboard patterned floor after getting snubbed by Mr. Burns that I really love. I assume it’s a reference to a film, but I couldn’t remember what it is. Maybe Citizen Kane. I’m not sure. But whatever it was, it was beautiful.
But, Homer’s success earns the jealousy of Mr Smithers, who makes it his mission to figuring out Homer’s secret. Which he does pretty much immediately by finding the form Homer filled out to charge the hair tonic to the company. Smithers tries to fire Homer for the insurance fraud, but Karl jumps on the grenade, taking full responsibility fr the fraud even though it leads to him getting fired. We then get a touching scene of Karl giving Homer his umbrella as he walks off into the rain.
Homer begins freaking out, knowing that without Karl he’ll become a laughing-stock again. Things are made worse when, back at home, Bart is planning on using the Demoxonil himself, because apparenlty he wants to be a stereotypical 50’s beatnik. But when Homer catches him with the bottle, Bart panics and drops it, spilling the contents out onto the floor. Homer then gives Bart three things that will haunt him for the rest of his life: “you ruined your family, you crippled your father, and baldness is hereditary.” He then rubs his head on the floor, because that got a little too heavy. Now clearly there’s something sketchy going on with Demoxonil, because without his daily application, Homer loses all of his hair the next morning. Terrified of a big speech he has to make, Homer heads to work to face the music, when he finds that Karl has written his speech for him, and is also creepily standing behind him reading a note aloud. Homer tries to weasel out of the speech because he has no confidence and he’s a afraid of being a fool, but Karl explains that it was never the hair that gave him confidence, it was himself, and then delivers the fantastic line “my mother taught me to never kiss a fool!” before planting a huge kiss on Homer.
Now, Karl had some great ideas, but because Homer’s bald no one takes him seriously, and his speech is a bust. Because apparently hair matters after all. Homer has to go talk to Mr. Burns, who decides not to fire Homer for the insurance fraud, because they’re both bald and Mr. Burns understands the embarrassment of a lack of hair. He’s also apparently 81. Kind of a random age, and way too old to run a business like that, in my opinion. So Homer’s sent back to his old job, returning things to the status quo, and we get a super sweet scene of Homer and Marge cuddling in bed as Marge tells Homer he’ll always be handsome to her, even without hair. Marge then sings “You Are So Beautiful” to Homer, and I got legit choked up. That’s so sweet. I love their marriage.
This was a weird episode. I suppose it relies around something that I don’t relate to, but really at it’s core it’s about insecurity, something everybody can relate to. Insecurity, and the ridiculous extremes that people will go to to cover up that insecurity. That’s why plastic surgery exists. It’s a pretty heavy topic, and one I feel like I never truly got from the episode before. I suppose back when I watched it as a kid, I didn’t really have that many insecurities, and when I watched it as a teenager I was riddled with them, but assumed that when I would be an adult they’d go away. But not I’m pretty much a grown-ass man, and it can be hard to realize that those insecurites aren’t going anywhere.
Take Away: Confidence doesn’t come from your appearance, it comes from within. Don’t let your insecurities ruin your life. And find a partner who sees you as beautiful no matter what. Damn. Good messages this episode guys.
“Simpson and Delilah” was written by Jon Vitti and directed by Rich Moore
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons