Lately my boyfriend and I have been obsessed with maybe one of the most underrated series of all time: King of the Hill. I know what you’re thinking: 1.) Holy s**t, you have a boyfriend? How did you pull that off? and 2.) “Are you serious? King of the Hill? The show about hicks? The show from the creator of Beavis and Butthead? The cartoon? What?”
Surprisingly, a lot of my girliest of gal pals love this show about four men who swig beer in an alley and share their love of football and America. And here’s why: it’s a well-written show, got dang, to quote Hank Hill. And yes, I meant “got.” That’s how he says it. The thing about this show is at first glance, it’s easy to miss the satire. It’s so real that at times you wonder, why is this even a cartoon? There’s nothing cartoonish about it. But then when you actually watch and listen, you realize that even though this show pokes fun about cliched hardcore Texans, it does so in a dignified way that doesn’t insult the characters and actually reveals a glimpse into the human condition. I’m serious. So here are the top ten things I learned from this show that isn’t as simple and, well, stupid as people think.
10.) It’s important to remain true to yourself, no matter how many times your father sighs and says, “That boy ain’t right.” By “that boy” I am referring to Bobby Hill, who is ironically voiced by the very talented Pamela Aldon who plays the utterly foul mouthed Marcy on Californication.
Bobby, despite being a cartoon, is the truest depiction of a young boy growing out of his teens in the most awkward way possible, resulting in embarrassing his parents and often himself, but with the sweetest, most giving, harmless intentions. “Bobby, I can’t have you disco dancing in the alley,” Hank says, while watching Bobby dance to boy band music. “People will think we didn’t teach you shame, and I know we did.”
And as hard as Bobby tries to please his dad, he never compromises who he is. Although Hank wishes Bobby were a tough football player to follow in his footsteps, Bobby is instead a soft cuddly practical joker. And he’s wonderful not in spite of it, but because of it.
9.) People smoke because they don’t know what to do with their hands.
At least, according to Dale Gribble. But I believe this.
8.) People just want to be loved and feel wanted. The greatest example of this is the character of Bill Dauterive, Hank’s hapless neighbor and best friend. Bill, once a great football star in high school, turned into an overweight, sad, desperate man. But he didn’t care that he lost his former glory. He cared most about losing his wife when she divorced him. He didn’t care that she took all his money. He just wanted her love.
He’s not the only one. Often the most annoying characters on this show, like Hank’s neighbor Kahn, search for the same thing. Which is why the show is so good. They’re not caricatures. They’re fully developed characters.
7.) It’s the simple things that make our lives better.
Luanne, voiced by the late and talented Brittany Murphy, get excited over what would seem to many of us like minor things. Her boyfriend, Lucky (voiced by the amazing Tom Petty) has a giant truck that in Luanne’s eyes looks like a Ferrari. Or whatever cool cars the kids like these days. I don’t know. Smart cars? Anyway. Like Bobby, Luanne also has a sense of childlike wonder. She’s so naive, she looks to Bobby as a leader. But she’s so kind and sweet that you always root for her. Like the time she accidentally joined a cult, thinking it was just a super exclusive sorority. And she was so excited about it! Start to focus on the little things in your life that make you happy. I like Starbucks and kitties.
6.) Hank Hill hates Adam Sandler.
5.) Your parents do they best they know how. Hank is old fashioned when it comes to parenting. So old fashioned that when Bobby’s Christian Youth Group showed Bobby how to skateboard and their sweet Jesus tattoos, Hank freaked out and pulled Bobby out. And this was a group all about loving Jesus. Oh, Hank!
Peggy’s problem is that she interferes too much. She loves her kid and her niece so much that she tries too hard to be a part of their lives.
When Hank says things like, “Bobby, would you do me a favor and stand up? I just want to see if you can” and “6 AM and already the boy ain’t right” and also, “Bobby, if you weren’t my son, I’d hug you”, what he’s really saying is, “I love you and I want the best for you.”
He just doesn’t get it, that’s all.
HANK: What is this *smut* you’re listening to?
BOBBY: It’s not smut, dad, it’s Radio Disney.
4.) Some people are just really, really oblivious. Throughout a good chunk of the series, friend and neighbor to Hank, Dale Gribble, has a wife Nancy who cheated on him with her massage therapist, John Redcorn. But Dale ever caught on. He never came close, even when he was outside and saw Redcorn leaving their house through their bedroom window. And it’s not that he only sees what he wants to see, he’s just that oblivious. Even his kid is clearly not his own, but he thinks it’s because his real father is an alien. Dale is really into conspiracy theories.
Some people are just going to believe whatever they want to believe, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. Unless they’re hurting themselves or others, don’t interfere. Some things they need to figure out on their own.
3.) Arlen is not a real place.
2.) When we do things that we don’t want to do, we grow. There are so many episodes where Hank or Peggy force Bobby to play a certain sport, or attend an after school class, or do something outdoors.He complains but he always learns something in the end. And I know that’s because it’s a half hour show and they have to wrap it up, but it’s also true in life. We can all learn something from new experiences.
1.) Good friends stick by you no matter what. Even though Hank regularly refers to his friends as, “Jackasses” due to their antics, he’s always there to bail them out, and likewise. If something’s got Hank down, they stick with him. Except Dale sometimes, he’s kind of fickle.
So when it comes to our friends, we could all be a little more like Hank: loyal, honest, and caring.