Saturday, February 18, 2017

Simpson and Delilah

Episode Number 7F02 (#215)
Created by Matt Groening; Developed by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon
Written by Jon Vitti
Directed by Rich Moore
Executive Producers James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon
Starring Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, and Harry Shearer
Special Guest Voice Harvey Fierstein
Also starring Hank Azaria, Pamela Hayden

While watching TV with the family, Homer sees a commercial for Dimoxinil, a hair growth formula that is guaranteed to grow hair. Homer goes to see his closest Dimoxinil rep who says that the formula costs $1,000. Homer can't afford that so he leaves in tears. At work, Lenny and Carl convince Homer to try to charge the Dimoxinil to the company's insurance. Homer goes back and the Dimoxinil rep agrees and Homer happily goes to bed with Dimoxinil on his head. The next morning, a miracle happens.

Homer begins embracing his new hair by going through all the styles that he missed out on between the 1970s and 1990s. What also happens is that Burns, thinking Homer is a vigorous, young, go-getter, promotes Homer to an executive despite Smithers' misgivings. Along with the promotion, Homer gets to hire an assistant. Homer ends up hiring Karl, an amazing gruff-voiced man who quickly becomes Homer's best friend. Karl even helps Homer when he forgets his anniversary, hiring a guy to sing to Marge and give her flowers and chocolates.
Yeah, he knows what they did later.
As Homer's star starts rising, Smithers becomes increasingly suspicious and begins to look into why Homer suddenly has hair and learns that he is committing insurance fraud. Burns has tasked Homer to give a big speech to the nuclear plant muckety-mucks when Smithers comes in to fire Homer. Karl takes the blame causing Smithers to fire Karl instead. His life starting to fall apart, Homer worries about giving the speech and his worry is made worse when he discovers that Bart has spilled his Dimoxinil. Homer goes bald overnight and even though Karl wrote Homer's speech for him, because he's bald, the muckety-mucks refuse to listen to him. Burns demotes Homer and his life goes back to normal.

Random Observations

  • The family is watching TV, game show host: "The capital of North Dakota is named after this German ruler."
    Homer: "Hitler!"
    Marge: "Hitler, North Dakota?"
  • The company that makes Dimoxinil is located in Hair City, Utah. It is not a real city.
  • Dimoxinil is a take on the real-life hair growth drug, minoxidil, which was approved by the FDA as a hair growth drug for men in 1988. Minoxidil is a genericized name and the most popular and well-known of the trade names is Rogaine.
  • The alternative that the Dimoxinil retailer tries to sell Homer is Hair In a Drum which costs $19.95 and any hair growth is purely coincidental.
  • The secret to Homer's rise at the Power Plant is his stance on tartar sauce. At the start of the episode, Homer is upset that they only give a small portion of tartar sauce and all the guys run out when it's fish stick day. When Homer is promoted, he is asked how to increase morale at the Plant and he tells Mr. Burns about the tartar sauce. Since an extra portion would only cost an additional ten cents, Burns agrees to it.
  • When Homer is complaining about not getting the Dimoxinil, Lenny tells him to just bill it to the company's insurance. Homer is initially hesitant because it's $1,000. Lenny tells him it's no big deal because $1,000 just means Burns won't be able to buy an ivory back scratcher. Later, when Burns learns of the $1,000, he complains that now he can't afford that ivory back scratcher.
  • It's clear that Karl is gay but the show doesn't come right out and say it. A great joke, which is very subtle, is when Homer is interviewing potential assistants and they are all women. Homer calls Marge and tells her that all the applicants just want to sleep with him. When Karl walks in and she hears his voice she says "He sounds good, hire him."
  • Burns: "I was watching the DuMont last night..." DuMont stopped being a television network back in 1956. It only lasted ten years.
  • Homer: "What does my little girl want?"
    Lisa: "An absence of mood swings and some stability in my life."
    Homer: "How about a pony?"
    Lisa: "Okay."
  • Karl takes the fall for Homer's insurance fraud and is promptly fired by Smithers.
    Smithers: "What do you care if this guy's bald?"
    Karl: "My reasons are my own."
  • This episode has the distinction of being the first televised kiss between two men on network TV. There is some controversy to that though. Some people argue that since these men aren't in a relationship and that the kiss was made in a jokey, off-handed remark, it doesn't count. In 1999, the animated TV show Mission Hill showed a gay couple kissing. A few months later, in 2000, the WB drama Dawson's Creek aired an episode that had two guys kissing. Will we ever definitively decide which kiss was the first? And where does Sammy Davis, Jr. kissing Archie Bunker stand in all this?
  • When Burns is lamenting about being bald, he mentions that his age is 81. Burns' age would later be increased all the way to 104 in later seasons.
  • Is baldness really as polarizing as it's made out to be here? A lot of successful people I see are bald or has that just changed over the years since this episode aired?