Watch With Wade: Happy trails, “King of the Hill”


King of the Hill

We say goodbye to another classic comedy tonight. “King of the Hill” rides off after 13 seasons, making it the second longest animated series in TV history, after “The Simpsons.”

Yes, I’ve watched it since the beginning. Yes, that’s 255 episodes, or 127.5 hours, or 5.3 days of my life (not counting reruns). Yes, it’s that awesome.

The Emmy-winning series faced death once before, in 2005: The producers had even disbanded the offices and staff. But then Fox, being Fox, pulled it back in for another few seasons.

It ends on a slightly odd note. Tonight’s final two episodes do serve as a coda to the series: The writers had prepared for the possibility this time of cancellation. However, four episodes remain unaired, destined for DVDs and also syndication (possibly first on Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” block, where “King of the Hill” has also been popping up).

For those just joining us, the show from Mike Judge (“Office Space,” “Beavis and Butt-head”) focuses on the daily life of Hank Hill, his family and friends in Arlen, Texas. You know all the sitcoms where the dad is a know-nothing goofball and the mom knows best? Yeah, here it’s old-fashioned conservative Hank who’s usually in the right.

It’s good natured, down to earth, sweet and smart. Here’s my tribute to the comedy that “told you whut.”

Favorite episodes

In order of airdate …

  • “Peggy the Boggle Champ” (season 1): Peggy takes on the high-stakes world of Boggle competition, with or without Hank.
  • “Keeping Up with Our Joneses” (season 1): When you catch your son smoking, don’t make him smoke the entire carton. Seriously.
  • “How to Fire a Rifle Without Really Trying” (season 2): Hank hires a sports psychologist when childhood trauma messes with his shooting ability for a father-son rifle competition.
  • “Hilloween” (season 2): Probably the funniest of the bunch. A pious neighbor tries to ban Halloween and runs the craziest hell house you’ve ever seen.
  • “The Man Who Shot Cane Skretteberg (season 2): “I thought we agreed to never discuss the horrors we saw on the killing fields of the Family Fun Center.” — Dale. It’s paintball war when Hank and the gang face off against teen punks (voiced by Green Day!).
  • “Bobby Slam” (season 2): Bobby learns the difference between TV wrestling and competitive wrestling when he joins the school team, but first he has to beat Connie in an unforgettable match.
  • “Nine Pretty Darn Angry Men” (season 3): If “12 Angry Men” were a lawnmower focus group, you’d have this. And it’d be much funnier.
  • “Three Coaches and a Bobby” (season 3): It’s soccer vs. football as Bobby must choose.
  • “The Wedding of Bobby Hill” (season 3): Luanne and Bobby’s prank war goes too far, and somehow, they end up married.
  • “Love Hurts and So Does Art” (season 3): Bobby’s anxiety over taking Connie to the dance leads to … the gout. Romance, middle school style.
  • “Hank’s Cowboy Movie” (season 3): Can Hank lure the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp to Arlen? And can he keep Bobby from moving away someday?
  • “As Old as the Hills” / “Peggy Hill: The Decline and Fall” / “Cotton’s Plit” (season 3-4): A two-part cliffhanger, followed by another ep, in which Peggy and Hank go skydiving, only for Peggy’s chute to malfunction. Who turns out to be her salvation? Father-in-law Cotton Hill.
  • “A Beer Can Named Desire” (season 4): Meet Bill’s Cajun family in Louisiana.
  • “Won’t You Pimai Neighbor?” (season 4): Could Bobby be a reincarnated Buddhist lama?
  • “Meet the Propaniacs” (season 4): Every sitcom has a let’s-make-a-band episode. This is that episode.
  • “Bobby Goes Nuts” (season 6): “Hey, I didn’t go looking for trouble. Trouble came-a-knockin’ and Bobby Hill’s foot answered the door.” Bobby takes a women’s self-defense course and ends up defending himself with kicks to the groin.
  • “The Substitute Spanish Prisoner” (season 6): When Peggy is scammed, can she outscam the scammer?
  • “Dances With Dogs” (season 7): Hank and Bobby compete to see who can dance with a dog better. Yes, a dog.
  • “Reborn to Be Wild” (season 8): Bobby hooks up with a holy skateboarding club, much to Hank’s dismay.
  • “The Petriot Act” (season 9): The Hills take in a soldier’s pet … a mean cat named Duke.
  • “Hank’s Bully” (season 10): Hank is bullied … by a new neighbor boy.

A clip

Video: 1996 pencil test, series pitch


Were you a “King of the Hill” fan? What episode did I leave out? Leave a comment below.


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