Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Weekly Top Tens: The Best King of the Hill Episodes

I did lists for both The Simpsons and South Park, which are both pop culture phenomenons in their own way. And yet, I often feel like the most consistent prime time animated show in history was King of the Hill. It does not have as many classic episodes as either of those two other shows, and yet it does not have anywhere near as many bad episodes either, and right up until the end of its run last season, it was turning out quality programming. There are few shows in history with that type of consistency, and even fewer that looked at life in the South without mocking of self-aggrandizement. King of the Hill deserves to be mentioned along with those other great shows, so I made up a best list of the best episodes for this one as well.

10. Hank’s Bully (Season 10)
The 200th episode of the series was one of its best. In it, the Hills get new neighbors, including a 10 year old boy who likes to torment Hank by calling “Dusty Old Bones”, spilling his garbage and riding his bike across Hank’s beloved lawn. The kid’s parents are the New Age type, who adore their son’s “creative behavior” and says he is just trying to get Hank to like him. When Hank takes the kids bike to teach him a lesson, the police show up and threaten to arrest him. But Hank has a plan of his own. Meanwhile, Peggy and Dale enter a taxidermy contest using all the creatures that Dale kills in his extermination business, and Peggy’s creativity. This subplot is amusing, but is more a distraction for the great major thrust of the plot. King of the Hill was always at its best when it contrasted common sense, in this case Hank’s old fashioned parenting, with new ways that just don’t make much sense. This one is funny, but also quite truthful as well – which is why it’s one of the best episodes.

9. Reborn to Be Wild (Season 8)
Reborn to Be Wild is a great “Bobby” episode, as Hank forces his son to join a youth group at his local church, because he worries that Bobby is falling under a bad influence. The youth group is led by Pastor K, and the praise Jesus through Skateboarding, rock music and tattoos. They are constantly yelling “Praise Him!” every time they do anything. Hank likes that Bobby is taking an interest in religion, but dislikes the way this group treats Christianity as a fad. There is a fine line between being religious and taking things too far and getting a little kooky. This King of the Hill episode walks that line just about perfectly.

8. Talking Shop (Season 8)
In this episode, Bobby is finally able to start taking electives at school, making Hank excited at the possibility of Bobby taking auto shop. Bobby lies and tells Hank that he is taking shop, when in fact; he takes “peer counseling”. As the only boy in the class, Bobby has a face that was born to listen, although he is warned against actually giving out any advice. Meanwhile, Hank goes on a search for a beat up car so that he and Bobby can rebuild it. Bobby gets into trouble, by actually giving advice to his clients – two of whom end up falling for him. As always, Hank has to bail him out. This episode is intelligent and funny – with great vocal support by Laura Prepon, Alyson Hannigan and Lindsay Lohan, and once again rejects the new age touchy feely crap, for Hank’s more down to earth style.

7. An Officer and a Gentle Boy (Season 7)
Hank is concerned that Bobby is going soft, so he decides to send Bobby away to Cotton’s old military school. But lawsuits, and a new age of “self confidence building” has changed the school from Cotton’s days where they punished the students, to a new age of encouragement. Enraged, Cotton gets the headmaster fired, and takes up the reins himself, pushing Bobby harder than any of the other students – even going so far as bringing back the “hole” and putting Bobby in there for three straight days – a day longer than Cotton ever spent there, which almost drove him crazy. But Bobby is tougher than he looks, and he survives it all keeping his sense of humor intact. A funny, rather touching episode, as both Cotton and Hank find a new respect for Bobby. He may be goo, but while that makes it impossible to build him up, it is also impossible to tear him down.

6. The Perils of Polling (Season 5)
The episode gets off to a great start when at a county fair, Bobby dives into a tank of water to save Mitch the Diving Pig from drowning. With the 2000 Presidential election coming up, Luanne is finally going to get to vote, and decides to vote for a Communist because he has a nice tie. Horrified, Hank takes her to a Bush rally to hear the issues, and convince her to vote Republican. But Hank is horrified to discover that W has a limp handshake, and decides against voting at all. He spends Election Day in Mexico with Dale, who is convinced that society is going to crumble that day, but rushes back at the last minute to cast his vote. A fine episode about the importance of voting is also hilarious in many ways.

5. Get Your Freak Off (Season 7)
Bobby takes Hank to the music store, and tries to convince him to buy him a lot of albums, that Hank abruptly dismisses as vulgar crap. That is, until he hears the music of 4Skore, a new boy band that Hank immediately falls in love with. He even takes Bobby, and his new girlfriend Jordan, to a 4Skore concert, but is terrified when the band starts doing suggestive dance moves, and sees Bobby and Jordan imitating them. His reaction draws the ire of Jordan’s parents – who are “progressive” and are letting Jordan having a “coed slumber party”. Once again, Hank is in conflict with a “new” style of parenting, but finds that in the end, his way is better. A hilarious episode, as we see the usually low key Hank get excited, and Bobby dancing among other things.

4. Keeping Up with the Joneses (Season 1)
The best episode from the debut season sees Hank catching Bobby with a cigarette. To punish him, he makes Bobby smoke an entire carton of cigarettes, until he is ill. With one pack remaining, it makes Hank long for the days when he used to smoke, so he takes the habit up again, eventually drawing Peggy back as well. The punishment for Bobby backfires, as he becomes addicted to cigarettes, and so all three Hills are smoking, until Luanne convinces them to quit. There are many great moments here (I particularly love Bobby stubbing out his breakfast sausage), and the long night of the three of them trying to get through without smoking is classic. A great early episode for the series.

3. Aisle 8A (Season 4)
When Kahn and Minh go away for a few days, they leave Connie to stay with the Hills. Excited that he gets to spend time with his girlfriend, Bobby makes a lot of plans for the two of them. But things go horribly wrong when Connie gets her first period. With Peggy not around, Hank has to take her to the supermarket, and ends up going down the dreaded Aisle 8A, which features the feminine hygiene products. Connie becomes irritable and emotional, and drives a confused Bobby away, while Kahn is convinced that Hank did something horrible. A hilarious episode about guys and their hang-ups about female reproduction – which they don’t understand and don’t want to understand – and how women react. A classic.

2. Husky Bobby (Season 2)
Bobby becomes a model for the flyer of a store for “husky boys” and it turns out that he is a natural at it. His first gig leads to more and more, while Hank looks on horrified. Luanne thinks Bobby is lucky to be a model, and Peggy likes it as well, but when Bobby is invited to lead off a fashion show for husky boys, Hank puts his foot down. At first it appears like Hank is simply being closed mind, but when the fashion show turns into a food fight (including a brilliant Natural Born Killers homage), with bullies pelting the models with donuts, Bobby who has been dragged away by Hank, feels grateful. Husky boys, teenagers and donuts is a recipe for disaster indeed.

1. Three Coaches and a Bobby (Season 3)
Poor Bobby will never be able to live up to Hank, who was a great athlete in high school. But Bobby gives it a valiant effort on the football field anyway. Hank is horrified that the coach doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing, so he convinces his old high school football coach to come out of retirement and take over the team. But that coach has gone pretty crazy, and torments the boys to no end. Bobby, along with many others, gets frustrated and ends up joining a soccer team, much to Hank’s horror. The soccer coach is voiced by Will Ferrell and hilarious teaches the boys to “high kick” and to love tying – because that means we are all winners! The best moment of the episode – and in fact in all of the series – is when Bobby convinces his soccer teammates to return to the football team – now coached by Hank – and the two of them share a nice moment at the end where Hank praises Bobby, and says he may make a fine coach one day, and rests his hand of Bobby’s shoulder. Bobby replies “I would be a coach, as long as I still got to wear my uniform. And a cape”, at which point Hank takes his hand off Bobby’s shoulder. A brilliant, subtle moment and the heart of what has always made this show great.


  1. A very good blog regarding King of the hill. this is great show to watch.This is my favorite show. i usually watch king of the hill onlinebecause there i get best DVD quality picture.

  2. Dale to the cheif by far is atleast one of the best episodes.

  3. when bobby takes a woman's self defense class at the Y...best episode...gggggaaawwwwwhhhhh

  4. buckleys angel is my favourite.

  5. and hillenium just for the whackamole scene! one of the best pieces of television ever made!

  6. lmaooooooooooo!
    the funniest episode of king of the hill is Leanne's Saga when her mom gets outta jail and tries to marry Bill. and towards the end, her and peggy starts fighting! lmaoooo

  7. When Hank becomes a pimp accidentally has got to be the greatest episode.

  8. My family and i thonk that the one where they are firefighters is the funnist ones so far. And i also like the pimp one

  9. Mutual of Omabwah is fantastic if you like ridiculous physical comedy as well as subtle references.