I remember coming home after school during my middle school days and around 4 PM every afternoon, King Of The Hill would come on Fox. It was just my routine to watch it as I would play a video game on my second TV. Yes, go ahead and assume how lazy I am, or spoiled or point out the fact that two televisions destroyed any hope of me going outside on a nice sunny day to “play”. But whatever you want to call it, that was my set up and that was my routine. Because of this routine, I was able to catch a lot of King Of The Hill. I probably watched close to 85 percent of the 259 episodes that aired from 1997-2010.
So when decided to watch every episode of the series, it was almost like reliving my earlier awkward teen years. It took me only about two months to cruise through the episodes and no I didn’t have two televisions playing different episodes at the same time, but after letting the entire series sink in, I look back fondly on the cartoon for adults. The show was created by Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butt-head. While I didn’t see many episodes of Beavis and Butt-head I did catch one where they have a neighbor who resembles Hank Hill, main character of King Of The Hill. Clearly, inspiration from Judge’s earlier work played a role in creating Hank Hill.
So, who is Hank Hill? Hank, is the perfect citizen for the United States, a resident of Arlen, Texas, Hank does no wrong. If Hank wrote out the things most important to him, his list in order would go 1. God 2. The United States of America 3. Propane 4. The Dallas Cowboys. He hopes for jury duty every year, volunteers to help anyone and anything he can because it’s his job as a citizen, and follows every law and rule to a T. For instance, in an episode, Hank is chasing his son’s principal through the school after learning the school is putting dumb students (including his son) into special ed classes to raise the school’s SAT scores. The principal runs through an “Emergency Exit” door and outside. Hank reads the sign and refuses to go through the door, letting the principal escape. That’s just his personality which leads to hilarious laugh out loud moments in his life because of his innocence and trusty in people that they are always doing the right thing. One episode Hank, unknowing puts ecstasy on his bait and starts catching fish in hoards. Later he is busted by the police in a drug sting for buying the ecstasy from a dealer who he thought was a bait salesman. This is a common theme throughout the show, and it never gets old with Hank.
Hank is married to Peggy Hill. Peggy is the know-it-all who thinks she is right about everything and capable of doing anything when in reality 90 percent of the time her ideas blow up in her face and Hank has to come to the rescue and clean her mess up. For instance Peggy is a substitute Spanish teacher for the middle school but she accidentally abducts a Mexican minor on a field trip to Mexico. In order to prove she had no idea that she did, Hank has Peggy speak in front of the judge in “her Spanish words” to prove she had no idea. Peggy speaks to the judge in Spanish and fails miserable in putting together a sentence that makes any sense. The judge gets the point that Peggy accidentally took the student due to her stupidity. There are a lot of instances like this throughout the show, and Peggy has a few careers throughout the series going from substitute teacher, cheerleading coach, grocery store bagger, local newspaper reporter to a realtor. She has little success in each career, but it keeps her busy and makes Peggy think she is important and keeps her out of Hank’s hair.
Their son Bobby, is the opposite of Hank. Very lazy, unmotivated and un-athletic, Bobby, is Hank’s worst nightmare as a son. Hank desperately wants Bobby to be interested in sports, cars and do it yourself projects but Bobby is focused on video games, food and a career in stand up comedy. Bobby is less than average when it comes to academics too, which leads to even more trouble for Hank to deal with. When I said Bobby is lazy, I meant it. For example, Bobby can’t find the remote for the TV so he throws objects at it to change the channel, once out of objects, he is stuck watching a Chinese documentary so he just stays on the couch and watches it. Other times, instead of getting a step ladder to reach the top of the fridge for cereal, he tries to throw a loaf of bread to knock down the box. (He isn’t successful at it) Bobby never gets down on himself though for all of his mediocrity, in one quote from an episode it sums up Bobby perfectly. “Bobby is like mud, you can’t build him up, but you can’t knock him down either.”
Hank has a few neighbors that really bring attitude to the show. Dale and Nancy Gribble who are opposites. Dale is a government theorist, who is a bug exterminator while Nancy is an attractive weather anchor for the local channel. In the first four seasons, Nancy cheats on Dale with John Redcorn, a native american healer who “heals” her headaches for the past 12 years. The led to Nancy giving birth to Joseph, a spitting image of John Redcorn, but no worries, Dale thinks aliens impregnated his wife and has no suspicion of Nancy cheating.
There is Bill Dauterive, who is the fat, smelly, shell of a man who was left by his wife six years ago as the show premiers. Bill, will do anything to fit in, and will do anything for anyone that shows any compassion for him. He is in love with Peggy throughout the series but would never make a move on her as Hank is his best friend from high school. Bill throughout the show joins numerous groups to make himself feel better about himself including a church group, a singing choir of men, a halfway house, a mental hospital, and a little league management group. Bill has a big heart, but gets pushed around too easily. He once had his life together as he joined the army and became the army “barber” who cuts hair, ironic because Bill is bald. Bill is often emotionally needy, and puts himself in situations where he is abused by others, but in the end, that’s how he likes it.
Other characters include Boomhaurer, Hank’s other high school friend who speaks very fast you can’t understand him half the time, similar to the role that Kenny plays on South Park as the fourth member of the group. Hank also has a niece named Luanne, who is in and out of his house as her parents are both dead beats who are in prison. Luanne is 21 in the show and mingles with beauty school, college and dating men, few of them that Hank approves. There are the Souphanousinphones (go ahead and try to pronounce that in your head) who are from Lao. They are the opposite of what a “good” Texan should be. Connie is Bobby’s age and they date on and off throughout the show, she is also the opposite of Bobby as she is skilled in everything she does and plans to attend Stanford when she grows up.
King of the Hill really came up with a clever and different cartoon. It’s not outrageous like South Park and The Simpsons, and it wasn’t a kids show. There isn’t anything crazy about the show, like aliens (to Dale’s dismay) or crazy unrealistic trips to space or around the world. All in all, King of the Hill is based on reality. Story plots like cheating neighbors, disappointment in your family members, work problems or teen issues generate the episodes throughout the show. There isn’t a main story arc throughout the series, although for the most part, if something happens in the series, it sticks with it throughout the series. I.E. couples breaking up, people dying, people changing jobs.
My one complaint, is that the show doesn’t have a proper ending. The show ended abruptly in 2010. I have my theories on why, the show was declining in popularity and thanks to Seth MacFarlene whoring up Fox with three different shows, King Of the Hill suffered. My best guess however is the death of Brittany Murphy. Murphy voiced Luanne, and she died in 2009 at the age of 32 due to Pneumonia. A few months later, the show ended, my guess is that they couldn’t do a series finale without Luanne and with no Brittany Murphy there was no Luanne.
It’s rare for me to have LOL moments when I watch shows, but King Of The Hill gave me a few during it’s time. I enjoyed Hank’s personality and the chaos the ensued around him while he tried to maintain his composure. King Of The Hill dared to be different when shows like The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy when for toilet humor. It worked. King Of The Hill gets a 9.0/10 in my book. Great series.