- “See, statements like that are why people think we're gay.”
Carlton "Carl" Carlson, Jr. is a recurring character in The Simpsons and a supporting character in The Simpsons Movie. He is a safety operations supervisor from Sector 7G of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, where he works alongside his childhood friends Lenny Leonard and Homer Simpson.
Carl is a self-restrained organized (although not maniac about it, like Frank Grimes) employee and likes to call himself "an urban Lenny". It is hinted in the series that he and Lenny may be more than just friends.
Carl is an African-American Buddhist who apparently grew up in Iceland (he once nostalgically referred to his "Icelandic boyhood"). He holds a master's degree in nuclear physics and is fond of bowling and drinking at Moe's Tavern.
Lenny, Carl and Homer have apparently been friends for most of their lives. Flashbacks show them as friends during childhood and high school, and they all began working at the nuclear power plant around the same time.
Carl often serves as a taciturn straight man to Homer and company, probably because of his harsh opinions of others. On one occasion, he makes everyone in Moe's Tavern cry and then turns to the camera, explaining: "See, this is why I don't talk much."
Relationship with Lenny Leonard
There is a constant allusion to homo-eroticism in Lenny's and Carl's relationship, although no one seems to care much about it, particularly Carl. Lenny seems to deeply idolize Carl, yet Carl is usually indifferent or oblivious to the attention.
Lenny once dreamily recalled carving "Mount Carlmore", a huge bust of Carl in the side of a sandstone cliff, during "one wonderful summer". When Homer asks Lenny what Carl thought of it, Lenny replies "You know, we've never discussed it."
When various characters looked at the stars to "see into their souls" during a blackout in Springfield, Lenny sees an image of Carl, and Carl sees an image of himself. On another occasion, Lenny and Carl are at the Springfield Baseball Stadium, watching the Kiss Cam, and Lenny says: "Remember when we used to kiss like that, Carl? With our respective girlfriends?" Lenny once said he can't tell apart the remains of his sculpture with Carl's remarking "I don't know where Carl ends and I begin!", An irritated Carl interjects "it's stuff like this that makes everyone think we're gay."
At the same time, there have been many scenes that counter the homoerotic narrative. Carl and Lenny drunkenly suggest to a sober Barney that he will take them to the Playboy Mansion and the Girls College, respectively. Although not seen by the audience, Carl claims to have a girlfriend who is having an affair with one of the VP's at the power plant to feed Carl inside information. While at a football game, he mentioned planning to give his wife a ring for their anniversary. Carl has been seen with a woman when he attends Homer's marriage class and Homer has mentioned that Carl and Lenny have mistresses they spend time with. In addition, he and Lenny were clearly aroused by the female stars of Lemony Lick-It's A Series of Horny Events when they accidentally stumbled upon the filming of the film, and were also shown to be extremely willing to take up Homer's bribe of giving them roles to buy their silence to Marge, their opting to do the sex scenes with the girls and be the foul-mouth boy, respectively. In addition, when Homer was describing a movie he saw that weekend regarding a buxom blonde (implied to be the same movie Mr. Burns held disgust over due to her being "naked as a jaybird" for half the film), Carl, alongside Lenny, acknowledged that it was "their kind of film" in bemusement, while also proceeding to oink (alluding to Mr. Burns' earlier claim of how the unwashed masses will "oink for more" regarding oversize breasts and a happy end.).
At times, Carl gets annoyed at Lenny. When Carl learns that he is paired with Lenny in a team-building exercise on a power plant retreat, his irritated response is, "Aw, nuts. [brief pause of remorse] I mean...aw, nuts." It should also be noted that earlier in that event, Carl and Lenny, shortly after a fire drill at the plant that went south and thus necessitated the team-building exercise in the first place, got into a huge fight.
At one point, when a fire was about to hit the flammable district during Springfield's massive fire, Lenny mentioned that their mother was working there, suggesting they were half-siblings.
Carl and Lenny both have the long-form of their first name as their surnames: Carlson and Leonard.
Carl works in sector 7G along with Homer and Lenny. Carl's job position over the course of the series has generally been that of a supervisor, as mentioned in "Blood Feud" and implied by Mr. Burns' high regard for him in comparison to Homer and Lenny. Carl's position may have changed throughout the course of the show however, as he was again promoted to supervisor after Ted, a previous supervisor, left.
Carl played bass in Homer's band Sadgasm, which later broke up.
Non Canon Appearances
In The Simpsons: Hit & Run, Carl appears in Level one as the boss for the mission, The Fat and the Furious.
In The Simpsons Game, Carl and Lenny are shown arguing while bird-watching, and having forgotten Lisa and Bart's names when they save Lenny and Carl from logging machinery, even though Lenny and Carl have known them in their whole lives. During a conversation in the Springfield Hub, Carl and Bernice Hibbert are hinted to have had a past relationship that Carl wants to rekindle. He also mentions in this game his support for Obama.
In "Future-Drama", Milhouse asks him and Lenny to pull him out between two, but they claim to be ghosts and their spirits in the trees Milhouse or they are alive and jerking him around.
In "Holidays of Future Passed", he and Lenny switched brains because Lenny wanted to back together with his wife, who was sleeping with Carl at the time, but she switched with a monkey on a Japanese game show.
In "The Simpsons/Family Guy" crossover he sits next Cleveland Brown, where they assume that they are the two funny guys in their towns.
Carl is also part of "The Guys", a friend group which consists of him, Lenny, Homer and Moe.
Carl is a Buddhist, although not a very dedicated one like Lisa (Richard Gere described Lenny and Carl's mediation practices as "way off"). He is sometimes seen in the Christian First Church of Springfield.
Behind the Laughter
In the early seasons, Carl was rarely seen with Lenny and did not have a consistent voice, but on some occasions, he can be heard with Lenny's voice and vice versa. In "Principal Charming", Carl's name is spelled "Karl"- like Karl from "Simpson and Delilah".
- In "A Star Is Torn", Carl appears to be Caucasian when he is seen in the audience from behind. This might have been an animation goof.
- In the Italian dub of the show, he speaks with a Venetian accent.
- In "Principal Charming", Carl's name appears to be spelled with a "K" when Homer looks at him in his Terminator mode.
- He has a tattoo of Foghorn Leghorn on his right thigh.
- His last name is a patronymic surname. Carl's adoptive father's first name with a "son" at the end of it, which is a tradition in Iceland (patrilineality is quite rare in Iceland). It should technically be spelled "Carlsson" (with two s's) to show Carl is "Carl's son". (see Icelandic name)
- His IQ is 214, as seen in "Specs and the City".
- Carl has diabetes, which he discovered when eating Grandma Plopwell's Pudding in "They Saved Lisa's Brain".
- In The Simpsons Game, Carl predicts Obama being the U.S. President in 2009 when he and Lenny are trapped under a tree heading for a Convear belt.
- He is right-handed. However, in "The Springfield Files", he holds a baseball bat with his left hand, trying to riot at Mr. Burns mistaken for an alien on his weekly medication treatments.
- In The Devil Wears Nada, it is revealed he is younger than Homer.
- ↑ Pygmoelian
- ↑ Half-Decent Proposal
- ↑ "'Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky"
- ↑ "Ice Cream of Margie (with the Light Blue Hair)"
- ↑ "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson"
- ↑ "Specs and the City"
- ↑ "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday"
- ↑ "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"
- ↑ "Team Homer"
- ↑ "The Bonfire of the Manatees"
- ↑ "Homer Defined"
- ↑ Mountain of Madness
- ↑ "The Devil Wears Nada"
- ↑ She of Little Faith
|Chief Wiggum ● Lou ● Eddie|
|Bobo ● Officer Sniffy ● Laddie ● Scraps|
|Marge Simpson ● Gloria ● SpringShield: (Homer Simpson, Lenny Leonard, Carl Carlson) ● Santa's Little Helper|