I told you, look: God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Weave!"
Some people are blessed enough to keep consistent hair growth throughout their lives. It may turn grey but why worry when some people's hair is consistently getting thinner and shorter with age? Some will simply go bald should they get old enough. Or it may fall out due to stress. Or the roots may get permanently damaged in an accident.
Should they count their blessings, simply having lived long enough for this to happen? That their stress and injuries were not more serious? Maybe, but these characters will not. Some may never have any hair deterioration but will angst anyway because their genetics determined it will not grow as long as another person's. It could go down to their knees but not be of the right curliness or texture. Sometimes it simply will not grow in the "correct" direction. Even if a character's hair grows exactly the way they like it, that doesn't mean they're willing to wait for it to do so, either.
In these progressive modern times, ludicrous amounts of money are spent on head surgery, dangerously acidic products, scalp burning and prescription drugs but these old school characters will just get a wig, toupee, weave or extension to disguise their hairy issues. Of course the issue never really goes away. Characters tend to be fiercely protective of their fake hair, constantly deny the that it is not actually growing from their head, or become the frequent butt of jokes to other characters who do not respect their efforts. Any kind of fake hair drama is an example, though.
Contrast Bald of Evil and Mistaken for Fake Hair. See Hairstyle Malfunction and Dodgy Toupee for comedic situations where the fake hair utterly fails to fool anyone. See Baldness Means Sickness when it's revealed their hair is fake because they're hiding an illness.
- Budweiser had a commercial involving a donkey getting extensions so he could look like a Clydesdale, which Budweiser uses in its commercials.
- GTO: The Early Years: After Eikichi is shaved bald, he wears a wig that looks just like his old hair, but it keeps coming off at the worst possible moments (like when he's talking to a cute girl).
- Spy X Family has the opening villain Edgar trying to stir this up, namely by outing that the Ostanian Minister of Foreign Affairs secretly wears a toupee, which Edgar declares means he cannot be trusted as a politician because he's willing to lie about his own hair.
- Tintin: In The Broken Ear, Ramon Bada and Alonso Perez notice a passenger having a wig (see page picture), cluing them in that Tintin followed them on the ship. Except he's not Tintin. The Ellipse-Nelvana Animated Adaptation expands on this scene by having the wind blow away the wig, forcing the passenger to chase after it.
- Dungeon Keeper Ami: When Ami is made bald by a Dark God, she cares what her love interest will think of it, and makes a fake wig with her magic, and when her love interest notices that the wig is deteriorating, she badly lies about it, but he doesn't notice. In the end, she grows her hair back, magically.
- Victor Quartermaine's toupee gets sucked into the Bun-Vac 6000 in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Victor tries to demand its return firmly yet discreetly. Wallace, however, thinks that Victor is offering "to pay" for his services.
- In Despicable Me 2, Shannon notices Gru's wig and is about to rip it off in front of all guests at the restaurant when Lucy, visiting the restaurant herself, renders Shannon unconscious with a Tranquillizer Dart.
- Superhero Movie had Charles Xavier's wife reveal the Invisible Woman's presence by ripping out her weave, which became visible when separated from her head.
- The governor in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a complete non-combatant, until the pirates tried to steal his wig (note that it's a "judge" wig, the kind people in power wear even when they have hair).
- In The Benchwarmers Gus's teasing of Wayne's prematurely receding hairline causes him to wear a hair piece.
- At the climax of Hook, the adult Peter Pan removes Captain Hook's wig with his sword during their sword fight, revealing him to be mostly bald with some gray hair.
- In the movie Almost Heroes, the main villain, Hidalgo, seems to have long flowing locks and brags about their beauty at every opportunity. But during the climactic fight, the main character Leslie Edwards takes Hidalgo's wig off during a sword fight, revealing him to be bald.
- Night Ride: A trans woman on a tram is Forced Out of the Closet when the tram comes to a sudden stop, causing her wig to fly off.
- Zig-Zagged in Discworld:
- Lady Sybil Ramkin breeds dragons, so she lost her hair years ago, but no-one ever comments on her wig.
- Archchancellor Ridcully is in fierce denial of his baldspot, and ends up installing a hamster-powered electrical device hidden by his hat.
- Mr. Groat of the Post Office, whose toupee is somehow alive.
- In G. K. Chesterton's short story The Mirror of the Magistrate, during a murder trial, Father Brown points out that wearing a wig changes the appearance of a man quite remarkably. Later, it is shown that the bald barrister is actually the murderer — and it is his lack of hair that makes him a suspect.
"Well," replied the priest rather absently, "I think the thing that struck me most was how different men look in their wigs. You talk about the prosecuting barrister being so tremendous. But I happened to see him take his wig off for a minute, and he really looks quite a different man. He's quite bald, for one thing."
"I'm afraid that won't prevent his being tremendous," answered Bagshaw. "You don't propose to found the defence on the fact that the prosecuting counsel is bald, do you?"
- Towards the beginning of Jude the Obscure, this is the first clue (both to Jude and the audience) that Jude's new wife Arabella is sleazy and dishonest; as Jude watches her undress before bed one night, he sees her take out hair extensions. She says that there's nothing wrong with wearing them and that all the ladies of high society do it, but it still leaves Jude a little uneasy. If this seems like a very puritan sensibility, keep in mind that the novel was written in 1895.
- In his autobiography Going Solo, Roald Dahl rooms with a man named U.N. Savory (yes, really) while traveling on a ship in Africa. Mr. Savory is so ashamed of his baldness that he wears wigs of varying lengths to give the illusion of hair growth and sprinkles Epsom salt on his shoulders as fake dandruff. When Dahl catches him, Savory explains that he goes through the whole charade in case he ever runs into a Sikh. Savory (mistakenly) believes that Sikhs consider hair sacred and do not respect bald men.
- An episode of ALF deals with this indirectly. Alf runs away to a monastery for being disgraced; he learned his parents were married before he was born and on his home planet, that's shameful. Willy Tanner convinces him to come back by recounting how his own mother wore a wig, but never told him because she did not want Willy to think she was anything less than perfect.
- This happens all the time on America's Next Top Model. Several girls in each cycle hope and pray that their makeover will involve a long flowing weave, and usually at least one white girl will get a big blonde Brigitte Bardot weave and one black girl will get long silky black hair like Naomi Campbell. There are plenty of contestants who have no idea how to take care of their weaves which fall out in clumps everywhere and look ratty and gross, and some poor unfortunate souls who get really poorly done weaves that tear at their scalps. In Cycle 9 Bianca showed up with one of these and needed to get her head shaved.
- In Are You Being Served?, Mr. Tebbs puts on a toupee in hopes of not being made redundant in "Shedding the Load".
- A brief but shocking moment in Cheers involves this trope: Carla is freaking out about having a horrible secret (she had drunken sex with barfly Paul) and so Sam reveals that he's wearing a hairpiece.
- Recurring on The Dick Van Dyke Show due to Alan Brady (Carl Reiner) wearing a toupee and being very unhappy about being bald. In particular, there was one episode where Laura inadvertently said in an interview that Alan was bald, on live television, and he got angry. He actually shows her that he has several hairpieces of varying length so that he can mimic letting it get too long and needing a haircut.
- Judge Mablean Ephraim wore a wig in the sixth season of Divorce Court to cover up some hair loss. After it grew back the Fox network put a stipulation in her contract saying she had to keep wearing the wig if she wanted higher pay. This, among other unnecessary demands, caused her to quit.
- Doctor Who: In "The Time of the Doctor", the Eleventh Doctor has been wearing a wig because he shaved his head out of boredom. But then he gets caught in a truth field. Being unused to its effects, he finds himself, to his embarrassment, loudly announcing in casual conversation "I'm wearing a wig!!"
- In How I Met Your Mother, Marshall gets so nervous before his wedding that he partially shaves his head. His friends then go on a quest to try and find a toupee from one of the guests.
- The Berserk Button of massive barman Doug Martin is his hair.
"You looking at my hair?"
"Er, no." (they weren't)
"It's a toupee."
"You got a problem with that!?"
- And after beating some guys up:
"So you weren't looking at my hair, huh?"
- The Berserk Button of massive barman Doug Martin is his hair.
- Regine from Living Single has used just about every form of fake hair there is and Maxine has teased her for about every one of them.
- Pam is often at the butt of many jokes on Martin because of her weave. Surprisingly few of them come from the titular character though, despite them always dissing each other. Naturally, this also comes up with anything involving Sheneneh's Sho-Nuff Hair Salon.
- Mimpi Metropolitan: Alan's friends find out that Alan wears a wig in episode 34 and 35, causing him to run off in shame, especially since his love interest Pipin briefly makes fun of it, until Pipin apologizes and tells him that she (and everyone else for that matter) is cool with Alan wearing a wig.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus had an insecure toupee salesman sketch set in the department store.
- In Mother Goose Treasury, Gregory Griggs owns 27 wigs and can't seen to choose between any of them given his constant changes throughout the show.
"He wore them East/He Wore them West/But he never could tell which one he loved best!"
- All over the place on RuPaul's Drag Race. High-quality wigs are one of the biggest expenses in a well-rounded drag wardrobe, so if a queen shows up in a subpar or poorly styled wig, the judges and her fellow contestants, many of whom take great pride in their expensive wig wardrobe, will roast her for it.
Alyssa Edwards: That cheap wig you got on? This is human, mama. This is 450$. [Jade Jolie's] is 35! Now girl, that cheap wig, shake and go, you got on your head, and you wanna say my hair is scraggly?! Wrong queen, mama, because I'm not the one!
- A Parody Commercial on Saturday Night Live promotes a hair replacement center where they harvest the hair from your pubic region and implant it on your head. In the Before And After shots it still looks like pubes.
- In Shall We Dance?, Link's wig and insecurity over his baldness play a pivotal role in the big dance scene near the end.
- Played for drama in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Forsaken": Odo is trapped in a malfunctioning turbolift with Lwaxana Troi (who carries a flame for him) as he is nearing the limits of his ability to maintain a physical form before having to regenerate. Odo is ashamed to let anyone see him in his gelatinous state, so Troi assures him he has naught to worry about by taking off her wig for him, explaining that no one had ever seen her without a wig because her natural hair was "ordinary", and she wanted to be more than that.
- In the WKRP in Cincinnati episode "A Date with Jennifer" Les wins an award and asks Jennifer to be his date to the ceremony. He gets self-conscious about his lack of hair and buys a rather ugly toupee from one of the WKRP advertisers, but Jennifer convinces him he looks better just being himself.
- "Give Me Back My Wig" by Hound Dog Taylor is a whole song that makes this older than television.
- "Let Me Clear My Throat" by DJ Kool praises all the present ladies who have real hair.
- "We Luv Deez Hoez by Outkast sarcastically praises the weaves of the aforementioned hoes.
- Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (that Thing)" also criticizes people who wear weaves just because it is "in", among other things.
- Killer Mike took time to berate Bishop Eddie's use of his famous hairpiece during "That's Life Part 2".
- J. Cole takes a more positive stance in Crooked Smile after asking the question, he notes they probably don't care what he has to say about it anyway and therefore shouldn't care for anyone else's opinion either.
- Kurt Angle lost a "hair vs. hair" match. For his next few appearances, he wore a wig (strapped in place with a high-school wrestling ear protector) and insisted his hair had grown back overnight. This went on until Hulk Hogan removed the wig and placed it on his own head, taunting him later by saying "At least I lost my hair to Mother Nature, brother." From then on Kurt Angle was bald.
- Cheerleader Melissa managed to gain a temporary advantage over the hand to hand combat expert Jacqueline by, among other illegal tactics, choking her with her own extensions.
- When Kane officially unmasked and showed his face it was "revealed" that all of his hair was really only connected to his mask and that he was bald. This was, of course, the Three Month Rule at its finest because the reason we never saw Kane's face the previous times he unmasked was because of his hair hiding his face!
- Molly Holly decided to wear a wig after she was shaved bald by Victoria and was very touchy about anyone mentioning it was not actually her hair, much less tampering with the thing even though that was inevitable because Molly wore it during her wrestling matches.
- At a 2004 POW show in Florida, Mark Zout was cross dressing as Trish, to pops. Lexie Fyfe came out, ripped his wig off and choked him with it. Around the same time and location Lexie Fyfe started "SLAMmin Ladies", where hair pulling became so ubiquitous that rather take an active role in combating Jazz actively encouraged wrestlers working there to get extensions or weaves.
- While doing FCW's commentary, Abraham Washington would frequently make jokes about how ridiculously expensive Naomi Knight's hair must have cost and advised her opponents not to touch it.
- Awesome Kong was polite enough to return the hair extensions Jenna Morasca ripped out of Sharmell's head during their infamous match.
- In WWE, tearing out pieces of hair is fairly common. Both for entertainment purposes and on accident. One episode on Smackdown specifically had Alicia Fox deriding Natalya's extensions after ripping them out. Either the three month rule was in effect or Alicia's hair, which Natalya ripped out earlier was "real". Kayfabe is a strange thing.
- Der zerbrochne Krug (The broken jug), a comedy play from Germany by Heinrich von Kleist from 1811. The bald judge Adam has lost his periwig, the replacement is unusable because his cat had her litter in it, and another replacement... let's just say, the circumstances are against him. It's symbolic - at first his baldness becomes visible to everyone, and then the truth comes out: Noone but he is actually the culprit in the very case he's presiding over!
- Don Flamenco from Punch-Out!! has a toupee which you can knock off, to his annoyance.
- Venus Envy: Zoe wears a fall to appear more feminine. She gets outed as a transwoman at least once when the fall gets dislodged.
- In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Ben Franklin has to regularly eat hair or he'll become a headless horseman. (Don't ask.) When he runs out of hair to eat while stuck on a transatlantic flight, Doc McNinja tries to get him some more by cutting off the pilot's long, flowing locks. But the pilot's hair turns out to be a wig, and Ben needs to eat real hair.
- American Dad! episode "Chimdale" has Steve discover that Stan is completely bald and wears a toupée. Stan is very insecure about it, especially after Steve stole it from him.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog: Eustace's mother is bald like her son, but wears a wig. Heck, she's even the Corrupt Corporate Executive of a wig company. There are several times where her wig is knocked off and she'll break down crying about how she's ugly.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In "A Friend in Deed", Pinkie Pie accidentally knocks Cranky's toupee off, then mistakes it for a giant spider and tramples it. She (slightly) patches things up with Cranky by buying him a replacement.
- In "Ponyville Confidential", Fluttershy is driven to tears by the newspaper gossip columnist accusing her of getting tail extensions.
- In World of Winx, Bloom accidentally knocks off host Ace's hairpiece, upsetting him so much he decides to fire Bloom.
- Popeye: "William Won't Tell" ends with the Queen of the region where William Tell (Popeye) resides presenting the King with a new crown for his birthday. When the King's old crown is removed, the wig comes off with it, revealing to everyone's shock he's bald.
Popeye/William Tell: O stately cueball!
Olive: O regal bean!