Sometimes you see things in pop culture that seem wildly different, yet are exactly the same. Here is one example of many.

In season 1, episode 13 of The Simpsons — “Some Enchanted Evening” — first aired in 1990, Homer and Marge go out on a date. In preparation for their night out, Homer shaves off his ever-present stubble. He rubs his chin approvingly and says “Smooth as a baby’s behind.”

But in the very next instant his stubble is right back, as though he had never shaved. It doesn’t grow back — it just instantly reverts to the way it was. The joke here, of course, is that whatever he does, he is still Homer Simpson. It is his destiny to forever remain the unkempt doofus that he is — in his own way, a kind of magical being.

Cut to 1994, to Neil Jordan’s lushly romantic gothic film version of Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire”. In one of the movie’s best scenes, Kirsten Dunst’s Claudia rebels against being forever trapped in a little girl’s body, part of her fate as an undead immortal.

She shows her rebellion by cutting off her beautiful golden curls. Yet, to her horror, the very next moment her long curly hair is back. It doesn’t just grow back — it just instantly reverts to the way it was.

The tone and intent of the two works could not be more different, yet these moments are exactly the same. They even share a highly specific visual trope — the use of hair to symbolize the immutable identity of a magical being.

I wonder how many other such parallels are out there in popular culture.

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