Carl Howell is Emma's dentist and ex-husband. She had been dating him since her and Will's break up in Season One.

They get married in the episode Special Education, but end up getting their marriage annulled in A Night of Neglect. He was trying to help Emma with her obsessive-compulsive disorder, and was willing to do all he could to help her in the things that she needs to do on a day-to-day basis around the school. He is talented in the arts but often jokes that Will is more so.

He is portrayed by John Stamos.
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Carl is briefly mentioned by Emma while she talks to Will saying she's dating her dentist.


Carl makes his first appearance, when he visits Emma while Will is in her office. Feeling threatened by Carl and wanting to get a better idea about what he is like, Will suggests visiting New Directions to talk to students about dental hygiene. While doing a quick test for cavities, he discovers that Rachel, Artie, and Brittany all have terrible teeth. He then offers to fix and clean their teeth for free. During their dental appointments, the nitrous oxide he gives them (and Santana, whose teeth are perfectly fine but who insists on undergoing anesthesia with Brittany) results in each of them having Britney Spears-related fantasies, including Baby One More Time, Stronger, I'm a Slave 4 U, and Me Against the Music respectively. Emma tells Will that she has been going out with Carl every night since he asked her out at her last appointment, after showing her the equipment used to sterilize dental tools. Despite Emma's assurances that her feelings for Carl are genuine, Will refuses to accept defeat and states that he will win back Emma. Carl attempts to ask Will to back off on trying to steal Emma from him, and while Will agrees to do as Carl asks, he instead continues to make further desperate attempts to get Emma's attention.

The Rocky Horror Glee Show

Emma reveals to Will that Carl took her to
her favorite show, Rocky Horror Picture Show. His influence has allowed for Emma to go into a packed, sticky and germ riddled theater without issue, due to the fact she had so much fun. Realizing that Carl was fixing Emma of her issues, Will opts to have the Glee group perform Rocky, in the hopes that it will draw her close to him and away from Carl. However when Mike Chang is unable to play the role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, due to his parents not wanting him to be a transvestite, Emma suggests that Carl, who knows the show inside and out, take the part. Carl is excited at the idea of and performs Hot Patootie. While his performance is amazing, Sue Sylvester and Will both explain that they don't need an Eddie (as Sue had written him out in her edits), but rather a Frank-N-Furter. Carl however argues this, saying he'd rather perform Eddie. At this point Mercedes Jones offers to play the Frank-N-Furter role, allowing Carl to play Eddie. Carl however demonstrates a complete lack of respect for Will as Director, entering the show four scenes earlier than he's supposed to, stating that's what he felt like doing. Later when Will takes over the role of Rocky from Sam, Will and Emma rehearse the song Touch a Touch a Touch a Touch Me, they get a bit out of hand, and almost kiss. Emma tells this to Carl who confronts Will before the entire glee club, claiming that Will decided to do this show only to get Emma.

Special Education

It is revealed that he and Emma got married in Las Vegas while New Directions were at Sectionals. They are later seen kissing in Emma's office.


We learn that Emma and Carl still haven't had sex after four months of being married. Carl asks Holly Holliday to be their marriage counselor. Holly cuts to the chase asking Emma if she still has feelings for Will Schuester. Emma replies that she is very confused about her feelings, and Carl says that he is moving into a hotel.

A Night of Neglect

Emma reveals that Carl has filed a divorce and completely moved out of their condo, leaving Emma single once more.

Asian F

He was mentioned by Rusty Pillsbury when Rose mentioned that Will has some red hair in his genetics and not like that Carl.

The Role You Were Born to Play

Emma briefly mentions Carl when she's trying out new recipes at home, stressing out about the idea of leaving to Washington with Will. She tells Will that she came across some cookbooks that her mom gave to her when she and Carl got married.


Carl is an attractive and charismatic man, who is able to draw attention with his good looks and his playfully flirtatious manner. He seems aware of his good looks but does not appear to be vain about them. He initially seemed to have a calming effect on Emma's OCD due to his ability to draw her attention away from her issues, and instead fixate on having fun.

Though he is attractive and may come across as self-centered about it, Carl is a very nice and caring man, making moves to be friends with Will.

Carl seems to want to be friends with Will, who he seems to think is not much of a competition for Emma's affections. However, when he discovers that Will is actively trying to steal Emma back, Carl first asks him nicely to back off, and then furiously confronts Will he when he discovers he didn't do as Carl asked.

Carl seems to be an enthusiast of theater and music, having a great performance ability and also knows The Rocky Horror Picture Show backwards and forwards.

He seems to have a good sense of character, such as being able to see that Will had feelings for Emma off the bat.


Emma Pillsbury

Main article: Carl-Emma Relationship


Solos (In a Group Number)
Song Episode Solos with
Afternoon Delight Sexy EmmaPuck, Quinn, and Rachel
Back-up singing
Song Episode Sung by Back-up with
Touch a Touch a Touch a Touch Me The Rocky Horror Glee Show Emma Brittany, Finn, Kurt, Santana, and Will


  • Carl's career as a dentist and love of black comedy rock musical-turned-movie "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" could be a reference to Orin Scrivello, DDS from black comedy rock musical-turned-movie "Little Shop of Horrors." His role as motorcycle-riding bad boy Eddie in The Rocky Horror Glee Show could be a reference to this as well.
  • In Acafellas, Emma mentions John Stamos when talking to Will about certainty and talent.



Santana: Can I just say you are the hottest dentist I've ever seen?
Carl: I get that all the time.
Santana: No, but seriously, you can drill me any ti-.
Emma: Santana!

Santana, Emma and Carl, Britney/Brittany

I love that look of instant panic each time I try to change your routine.

—Carl to Emma, Britney/Brittany

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