Do you suppose that barber is one of those occupations that kids grow up dreaming of entering or that pretty much 90% of those who lift the buzzing razor just fall into? Oh, sure, there is certainly something to be said for barbering as one of those “family businesses” like undertake, pizza joint owner and mob killer, but what about those barbers unconnected to a family strain? It’s a question we may never get an answer to. At least, not in real life. But there are enough barbers in TV history to perhaps give us a clue. And if not, well, who cares? TV barbers are more entertaining than real barbers anyway.
The Andy Griffith Show
The very first Floyd the Barber was a fat old guy with gray hair. Thankfully, he was jettisoned after that one appearance and the Floyd the Barber we all know and love was installed for the run of the series. If there is one iconic barber in TV history, it would have to be Floyd. He is also a wonderful example of the seeming lack of any importance attached to continuity. At various times Floyd the barber was married, single and a widower. Sometimes he had a son, sometime he had a daughter. As with just about every character except the Taylors, Floyd was a Beasley at one time. He was utterly unique and idiosyncratic and only became more so as he aged. A barber for the ages; he is television’s equivalent of that hair-cutter from Seville.
King of the Hill
One thing you have to give TV barbers: they take their occupation very seriously. Both Floyd the Barber and Bill Dauterive take their barber training extremely seriously. Where these two part ways is that Bill Dauterive was trained by the Army and remains there to do his job. Such is Bill’s talent as a barber that he even impressed his best friend Hank Hill. Of course, Hank was far less impressed by the $900 price tag, but keep in mind that this is the same agency willingly to pay hundreds for a screwdriver and billions for missiles that don’t hit their target, so, well, you know. Of course, it is a testament to the barber training program of the US Army that Bill could even make quite a go of it at a snooty women’s hair salon once he decided to pass himself off as gay.
Ever get a haircut you think was the work of Satan himself? Of course you have, if you have ever been a barber. No barber is perfect. I myself went to a barber of sorts–I don’t really want to get into semantics–for a haircut before my wedding and when I came out I looked like one of the older Brady kids in the late era of the show when they had those horrible perms. Revenge against a barber? Oh yeah. “Dan Vs.” is the perfect show for anyone who ever considered revenge against dinner theaters, dentists, the state of New Mexico, the sport of baseball or, yes, barbers. The fact that Dan’s horrific, life-altering bad haircut was the result of the barber’s disapproval of the fact that the girl Dan was getting all gussied up to go out on a date with happened to be his daughter is no excuse. No excuse at all.
The Big Bang Theory
Sheldon Cooper is a creature of habit. He is also, for a physicist with an IQ nearly as astronomical as his chosen field of study, surprisingly naive. Sheldon actually believes that his habitual barber, Mr. D’Onofrio, has in his possession Sheldon’s “haircut records” from his childhood days. Haircut records. I guess this is what is really meant by the eccentricity of geniuses. A bad week for Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory” is one in which his barber slips into a coma. Sheldon actually goes to the man’s hospital bed to try to convince him to snap out of it so he can get his hair properly cut, return order to his world and, by association, keep order at bay in the world at large. Penny, from across the hall, winds up becoming a temporary amateur barber and commits the ultimate act of chaos on the back of Sheldon’s head.