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The Hills (and relations)
Henry Rutherford "Hank" Hill
"I tell you what..."The protagonist of the show, Hank is a propane salesman who loves his job nearly as much as he loves his family. He's pretty introverted and can't cope with emotion very well, but he's clearly the most level-headed of the cast. Voiced by series creator Mike Judge.
- Aesop Amnesia: Half the episodes in the entire show couldn't happen if Hank didn't forget the many, many times he learned to accept Bobby for who he is, or realized that his father was a selfish jackass.
- Alliterative Name: Except for the "R." in the middle of his name.
- Badass: Frequent ass kicker of both the figurative and literal varieties? Check. More physically fit than just about any other character in the show? Check. Survived a tornado by grabbing onto a freaking telephone pole? Check.
- Big Applesauce: Hank was born in the ladies' room at Yankee Stadium. He is not pleased to learn about it.
- Big "NO!": "BWAAAAAH!"
- Berserk Button:
- You do not want to threaten his wife, son, or niece. It won't end well at all.
- Also disrespecting propane in any way. He doesn't mind jokes about it though, in fact he finds propane-related comedy (that disses other forms of grilling fuel) hilarious. As seen in "Meet the Propaniacs."
- Don't do anything to his lawn.
- Boring but Practical: To the fullest possible extent. Hank actually prefers the boring, mundane parts of whatever he's involved in and would be happier if the "fun" or "exciting" parts could be downplayed or removed entirely. He is almost right all the time due to how said fun parts tend to be exaggeratedly portrayed to get his point across.
- Born in the Wrong Century: Wonders when people stopped believing in hard work, honesty, decency, modesty, and plain old common sense. Of course, Hank's definition of decency, modesty, and common sense are all rather skewed.
- Calling the Old Lady Out:
- Does this to his mother several times, from cheating on boyfriends to wondering what she saw in Cotton. Oddly, he's very slow in doing this to the much worse Cotton, mainly out of fear.
- In one of the first episodes, he told him to his face that he hated the old man. The problem is, it impressed Cotton.
- Catch Phrase: He has a few.
- "I tell you what."
- "God-dang it!"
- "I'm gonna kick your ass!"
- "Damn it, Dale/Bill!"
- "That boy ain't right."
- "I sell propane and propane accessories."
- Chaste Hero:
- Hank is one despite being married and in his forties (since "chaste" does not mean the same thing as "celibate"). He has the same obliviousness to female attention, whether from his wife or any other woman. He is quite embarrassed by any display or mention of sexuality (male or female), and runs out screaming when he accidentally enters the porn section of a video store; in what is perhaps the best illustration of this side of his character, when he meets two young female nudists, he winds up giving them a sales pitch on the benefits of propane heating for their summer home.
- He was traumatized by an attractive Stalker with a Crush female cop who pulled him over on a trumped-up charge just so she could grope him. He wound up singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" under his breath the whole time to get himself through it.note
- Lampshaded in one episode where Buck says, "Oh, don't worry Hank, I know you don't have sex." A clearly annoyed Hank says, "Well, that's not quite…" before deciding to leave well enough alone.
- Hank does display some more "standard" male traits now and then; in "Luanne Virgin 2.0", when he sees Peggy in a wet baptismal gown, underwear visible, he takes her back to their truck to (symbolically) deflower her again.
- Chick Magnet: Hank is occasionally this, much to his chagrin.
- The Comically Serious: A lot of the humor in the series comes from Hank trying to keep his diginity at the sheer quirkiness (and sometimes insanity) of those around him.
- Death Glare: This, and a well placed threat, is his favorite tools when dealing with abrasive jackasses.
- Dope Slap: Occasionally hands them out to Bill or Dale, usually in the form of arm punches.
- Embarrassing Tattoo: Has one on the back of his head that has Bill's name on it as thanks to the latter for bailing him out during a farewell party during their younger days (though Hank got the tattoo while he was drunk and couldn't remember why when he found out), though he gets it removed at the end of the episode. Only to get it tattooed again, far more crudely.
- Enraged by Idiocy: Or a lack of common sense. Mentions this specifically in an episode where he had to take anger management classes in order to lift a restraining order Dale had placed on him, saying that he didn't have an anger problem but an "idiot problem".
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Melancholic.
- Flanderization: In the early seasons, though Hank was still very straitlaced, he did have some more "normal" moments such as his being an avid guitar player and a fan of classic rock. These interests vanished as the series progressed, leaving him with little other than being uptight. For example, in a later episode, he puts on safety goggles just to move a hammer from position to another on a pegboard. Before this, he had never worn goggles for actual woodworking.
- Freudian Excuse: Some of Hank's unwillingness to show emotion stems from him breaking his ankle during the state championship football game when he was a teenager. He believes that it was punishment from God for the way he showed off and bragged about the touchdowns he made before the accident, and thus refuses to show any other emotion out of fear that something similar will happen. Having an Abusive Parent didn't help either. Whenever Hank showed any emotion, his father would come down hard on him for it, calling it a sign of weakness. Cotton even called Hank a sissy for telling him he loved him while he was on his deathbed.
- Good Ol' Boy: Of the sympathetic, generally positive variety.
- Good Old Ways:
- If something is not traditional, Hank considers it wrong, and he doesn't have to think any further about it. This is often Played for Laughs.
- This culminates when a "Hip Christian Group" leader points out to Hank that Jesus had long hair, only for Hank to say only because he wasn't his father. That's right, Hank knows better than the father of Jesus, God.
- This goes so far that when Peggy tells Hank that her new friend "Caroline" is a man in drag, he simply doesn't understand the concept of a man wanting to dress like a woman. Not only this, Hank goes on thinking Caroline is a actually a woman despite the explanation, because it's the only circumstance he can realistically fathom.
- Good Parents: He doesn't understand why Bobby has unmanly hobbies, and isn't very good at showing him affection, but he does love his son. He also does love Luanne as a surrogate daughter; it just takes way more coaxing to bring that feeling out from him.
- Honor Before Reason:
- Hank adamantly refuses to see a doctor whenever he isn't feeling well because he thinks it's a either a sign of weakness or makes him lazy, because if he admits that he's sick, then that means he won't be able to go to work. In the first season, he refused to see a doctor about his constipation, or discuss it with anyone else, because he's too squeamish to discuss bathroom problems. This was despite the fact that he hadn't had a bowel movement in days.
- In another episode, he throws his back out and still refuses to see a doctor and attempts to simply go about his normal routine, even though his back hurts so much can't even stand up straight and spends all day hunched over at a near-right angle. When he does finally get goaded into seeing a doctor, the only two options he suggests are to get workman's compensation and bedrest or to take painkillers for the nerve pain so he can go on working. Hank rejects the idea of workman's comp since he views it's only for pregnant women or lazy government leeches who can't be bothered to do their jobs. He is also is offended at the idea of painkillers, which he sees as little better than taking crack cocaine (even angrily accusing his doctor of being "Dr. Feelgood" for attempting to prescribe them).
- Chided Dale about having Joseph enrolled in a private school by saying he was doing it more for himself, but then Dale turned it around and asked if Hank was more worried about Joseph, or that the middle school football team was losing its star player. Still, at least Hank didn't deny it and still said it should be Joseph's choice.
- Hank is often dismissive of his mother's judgment, with one of the main arguments being her marriage to Cotton, yet Hank is just as often cowed by Cotton's emotional abuse. A lot of episodes have focused on Hank's unwillingness to call Cotton out on his behavior and his desire to get Cotton to show any kind of approval.
- Innocent Bigot: Comes across as this to Khan the moment they first met. In the infamous "are you Chinese or Japanese" segment, Hank presumes "Laotian" is a slurred Asian dialect for "the ocean" which, sadly, is quite the Truth in Television. In Hank's defense, at the time the show aired, immigration from Laos was so rare as to be basically unheard of. Even currently, it's so rare, the census form only lists "Asian/Other."
- Jerkass Has a Point: While many are put off by his catchphrase, "that boy just ain't right" in regards to Bobby, he is correct that something is off about Bobby. To wit, Bobby responds to the pheromones from a fire-ant queen like a fire ant would. Bobby once spent an entire episode baiting squirrels and other animals so he could shine a flashlight up their rectums. And Bobby's just plain... odd. Also, he has tried, on numerous occasions to get Bobby to learn self-defense, since he knows bullies target weakness, and he can't always be protecting the boy.
- Literal Ass Kicking:
- When Jimmy Wichard puts Bobby's life in danger, he almost exclusively assaults Jimmy in the posterior with his foot.
- In another episode, where Hank was constipated and Peggy recommended that he try acupuncture. Hank said that if anyone tried to do that on him, he would kick the guy's ass. Later, he reluctantly tries the procedure. He quickly becomes dissatisfied and goes to kick the acupuncturist's ass with the needles still in him.
- Men Are Uncultured: Played with in that he's clearly pretty intelligent; he just thinks of "high culture" as snobby, effeminate, moronically redundant, and needlessly extravagant.
- Never Gets Drunk: A partial example; he drinks so much Alamo Beer it has no effect on him anymore...but on the rare occasion he's seen drinking something stronger, he gets hammered pretty quick.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bill's nervous breakdown in "Pretty, Pretty Dresses" was somewhat instigated by Hank. The first few times he tried to talk to Bill about Lenore never coming back, he stopped when Bill was about to cry. This wasn't because he didn't want to hurt Bill's feelings, but because Hank doesn't deal with emotions. After destroying the gifts and tree Bill had gotten for Lenore, he was more then happy to finally go home after Bill told him he didn't feel anything with absolutely no emotion. It's extremely obvious that Bill was far from okay, yet Hank took it as a sign that everything was okay and left. The next day, Bill started acting like he was Lenore himself.
- Not So Above It All:
- Became addicted to a video game based on propane because it allowed him to ascend to ranks such as "manager", even though he was aware that his time playing the game should've been spent helping Bobby prepare for the Presidential Fitness Test. Hank only snapped out of it thanks to Peggy collaborating with the game's designers to destroy it.
- An earlier example is when he and Bobby get swept up in Y2K fever in "Hillennium". Peggy briefly becomes frazzled as well, but that was because she realized her current computer was a piece of junk and none of her musings were on hard copy.
- Not So Different: Hank and his Japanese half-brother, Junichiro.
- Oblivious to Hints: Is very much so. When Peggy tells him to get over Bobby being asked out by a girl rather than the other way around, she points out they would've started dating earlier if it was acceptable for women to make the first move. A flashback shows Hank talking about something he's going to do with a truck on Friday night and Peggy flirtatiously states she isn't doing anything - he's not quick on the draw there.
- Only Sane Man: By comparison, and enough so that he has a reputation in his circle of friends as the guy to talk to when you've got a problem.
- Only Sane Employee: Hank's job at Strickland Propane. Pretty much runs the place, thanks to this.
- Papa Wolf: A good way to make the typically straight-laced Hank lose his temper would be to threaten Bobby or Luanne.
- Parental Substitute: To Luanne, albeit begrudgingly.
- Perpetual Frowner
- Progressively Prettier: Not exactly "prettier" (he would beat the tar out of anyone who had the temerity to use that word), but in the first season, Hank's face had more lines as if he was either older or just really depressed most of the time, and when he got angry, he could look thuggish. As the art style evolved over the seasons, Hank actually began to look younger and his visual anger was a lot more restrained.
- Real Men Hate Affection: Unless it involves his dog, Ladybird, his lawn, or his truck. Tellingly, these are all things that can't emote back, or in Ladybird's case, can't emote back in a way that would make Hank uncomfortable. Hank doesn't mind expressing affection as long as he doesn't have to deal with a human response.
- The Reliable One: The real reason Buck values Hank so highly. Even Kahn recognizes that if he's in serious trouble, he should call his "stupid redneck neighbor".
- Spit Take: Hank consciously avoids these.
- The Spock: Prefers to keep things as they are and act rationally.
- Stay in the Kitchen:
- Hank had the unfortunate tendency to display a belief in this during the earlier seasons. "Peggy's Turtle Song" was all about him being ecstatic over Peggy deciding to become a full time housewife and mother when Bobby was (mistakenly) diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Hank professed that "family values" were back in the Hill house. This was until he realized how much Peggy loved being a teacher and that she was stagnating.
- In the much maligned Thanksgiving Episode, where he began praising Bobby's cooking, Hank had earlier said to Peggy that Bobby would have no desire to find a wife if he learned to cook and clean for himself. Hank had pretty much instigated Peggy's paranoia over Bobby "replacing" her by implying he only married her just so he would have someone to cook and clean for him (which, of course, says loads about Peggy's self-esteem), though like the above episode, Hank realized he made a mistake by implying this.
- In "Junkie Business", he refuses to hire Maria Montalvo, a highly-qualified grill associate, because she's an attractive woman. Instead, he hires a drug addict, which backfires spectacularly. That and the fact that she had no idea who Troy Aikman is.
- The Stoic: Hank keeps his emotions very guarded most of the time, maintaining a level temper. A quick way to rouse him to anger is to do idiotic things around him, screw with his truck or lawn, or, above all of those, threaten Peggy, Bobby, Luanne, or Ladybird. This is also his greatest flaw, as he overdoes it a bit and comes off as unusually wound up relative to everyone else.
- Team Dad: He is the undisputed leader of his buddies, doing his best to keep them from falling into chaos. Unusually for the trope he doesn't assume the position due to being older (as he, Dale, Bill and Boomhauer are all the same age), he's just by far the most sensible and responsible friend they've got and they all respect and admire him enough to let him steer the ship. When things do go wrong for them it's usually because they didn't involve Hank and the solution to their problems is usually calling Hank.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Loves Alamo Beer to the point that he's rarely seen drinking anything else. To go with it, usually steak.
- Weirdness Censor: Hank sometimes refuses to believe things that are so unusual or exotic as to not make sense to him. In the case of Peggy's drag queen friend Caroline, Hank continues to believe Caroline is a woman even after the explanation (then again, his dad was known to make mustard gas for V-J Day).
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He really does want his father to show him some hint of approval. His totally unwarranted loyalty and admiration for Buck seems to stem from the need for some kind of father figure who's at least slightly less of a jerkass than Cotton as well.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Peggy does this to Hank multiple times. Such as:
- When he punished Bobby for cigarette smoking by making him smoke a whole carton (which led to all of the Hills becoming addicted to tobacco). This might be a case of in-universe Values Dissonance, since in the '50s this was a popular punishment to make children hate smoking. Hank is so old-fashioned that he just didn't know this was out of practice and frowned upon until Peggy told him. Even then, it wasn't until the peer support meeting that the Hills attended that Hank really learned that it was wrong and was called a monster.
- When he was pretty much making a ventriloquist dummy to function as the son that Bobby isn't.
- His willingness to exploit Kahn's manic depression by withholding his medication in order to get him to construct a state of the art grill for Strickland Propane.
- Setting up Luanne with a guy he picked out just so he wouldn't have to deal with her being overly emotional after Buckley broke up with her, and so he could get his den back.
- When interviewing perspective job applicants at Strickland Propane, Peggy chastizes Hank for some of the (illegal) questions he's going to ask the applicants, such as whether or not they are Christian. She also gets on his case about his refusal to hire a qualified female applicant. And for good reason as the man he hired turns out to be a drug addict.
- For being gung-ho about Strickland Propane getting a company softball team and wanting her on it, despite the fact that she was already on a team (an all female team) and he never once went to one of her games.
- A non-Peggy example came from a Little League coach who chastised Hank for not supporting Bobby enough, specifically stating "I haven't given up on Bobby the way you have." Hank actually admits that he did give up on Bobby being a baseball player because he was so bad, but not supporting him simply made it worse.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: "It Came from the Garage" reveals that Hank has a phobia of bats. Naturally, he has to sail underneath a bridge where hundreds of them live in order to save Bobby in the same episode.
- With Friends Like These...: Multiple times, Hank gets exasperated by the idiotic antics of his friends. However, when push comes to shove, Hank proves that he really cares about them when they get into really bad trouble.
Margaret "Peggy" Hill (née Platter)
"In my opinion..."Peggy is Hank's wife, to whom he is Happily Married. Impulsive and ditzy, she causes trouble for the family with hare-brained ideas. She and Hank stay loyal to each other no matter what though. Voiced by Kathy Najimy.
- Alliterative Name: Her maiden name was Peggy Platter.
- Something she's demonstrated numerous times when it comes to defending Hank, Bobby, or Luanne. Sometimes she has to defend one from the other. To the point that she handed Leanne Platter a humiliating beat down, to successfully conning a smug con man, to shaming the Alamo Beer Company into apologizing for tainted beer, to threatening three grown men with a wooden spoon. Buck is actually afraid of her.
- We've seen her defend Luanne from Hank, Hank from Bobby, Bobby from Hank, and Hank from Luanne. She generally will not let any member of her family be disrespected, even if it's by each other.
- Brainy Brunette: Somewhat (though not as much as she thinks).
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: She's mediocre at just about everything, but she's really good at Boggle, and has a surprising affinity for selling real estate.
- Can't Take Criticism: Criticism is something she never considers or contemplates in later seasons, being too much of a Know-Nothing Know-It-All to even consider her faults. If anything it just make her more determined to prove her arguments are right.
- Catch Phrase "Hoo Yeah!"
- Calling the Father-in-Law Out: With Cotton on his deathbed and tormenting Hank, she gives him a ruthless talking to.
- Cloudcuckoolander: She can rival Luanne in this regard depending on the episode.
- Crying Wolf: In "Peggy's Fan Fair", no one would believe her when she realized Randy Travis stole her song lyrics, and in "Pigmalion", no one would believe her about Trip Larson being bad news.
- Determinator: Partially deconstructed. Her belief that she can do anything through sheer willpower proves to be entirely wrong a lot of the time and gets her into a great deal of trouble. On the other hand, there are occasions where Peggy justifies this mentality, most notably in "Peggy Makes the Big Leagues." Also, clinging to that belief is probably the only thing that allowed her to come out of her childhood as relatively mentally healthy as she did. See Freudian Excuse below.
- Distressed Damsel: Subverted in some episodes, played perfectly straight in others.
- Her ego, originally a mild quirk, eventually became her defining character trait, so much so that her backstory had to be rewritten to explain her narcissistic tendencies (see Freudian Excuse below).
- Remember when her Spanish was initially considered to be pretty good? Hard to believe that later in the series, her Spanish "abilities" would end up with her accidentally kidnapping a Mexican girl while taking her class on a field trip. She is only able to prove her innocence when Hank convinces her attorney to let her plead her case in her own Spanish words to the judge.note
- Freudian Excuse: Peggy grew up with a cold, unpleasable, overly critical mother who constantly told her everything she did was wrong. In her adult years, Peggy believes she is the absolute best at everything she does. She has to believe this, because it's the only way she can convince herself that her mother was wrong and she's not completely worthless.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: It's been noted on more than one occasion that Hank's friends generally only associate with her because she's Hank's wife; Dale flat-out admitted on at least one occasion that he can't stand her.
- Genius Ditz: Peggy believes herself to have a high IQ. She actually does seem to be pretty smart in some ways, but her total inability to ever consider the possibility that she might be wrong about anything means she ends up acting on a lot of really stupid ideas.
- Hidden Depths: She might seem like an egotistical jerk who just suffers from unwarranted self-importance. Well, she kind of is. But her constant insistence that she's a genius in the face of all evidence makes a lot more sense, and even becomes slightly sympathetic, once you find out how her mother always treated her.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Much to Bobby's surprise.
- It's All About Me: Peggy's worst moments spring from this.
- In "Little Horrors of Shop", she isn't happy that Hank is a successful shop teacher because it's ruining her chance for a third Substitute Teacher of the Year award. She ends up piggybacking off of Hank's popularity to win the award.
- In "Goodbye Normal Jeans", Bobby starts helping around the house thanks to Home Ec. Hank is happy, but Peggy gets jealous because he's a better homemaker than her. She goes so far as to steal the Thanksgiving turkey Bobby made.
- In "Maid in Arlen", Bill falls for Kahn's mother, but they get broken up by Kahn and Bill gets depressed again. Peggy's too busy bitching about how Laoma personally betrayed her by planning to move into a retirement home to care about anything else.
- The Kirk: Much, much more impulsive than Hank, but still more buttoned down than Bobby.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: To a ridiculous degree, especially when it comes to her Spanish speaking ability. She thinks she's "very fluent." She barely knows enough to teach a middle school Spanish class.
- Mama Bear: To both Bobby, Luanne, and Ladybird.
- My Beloved Smother: Can be this to Bobby and Luanne (babying them and making decisions).
- New Job Episode: Rivals Homer Simpson in this regard. Though Peggy works as a substitute teacher, journalist, and real estate saleswoman for some time, she also dabbles in grocery bagging, sculpture, rollerblading and restaurant owning.
- Parental Substitute: To Luanne, to the point that some first time viewers assume that Luanne is Bobby's sister.
- Plucky Girl: Nothing gets Peggy down for long.
- Progressively Prettier: In the beginning of the series, Peggy had eyes that almost looked like dots and was drawn rather lackluster. Later seasons had her with a more bright-eyed look and with more vivid coloring with a touch of raspberry-colored lipstick.
- Retcon: Peggy went from being born in Montana and raised in Arlen to being born and raised in Montana. This complicates episodes that have Hank and Peggy as High School Sweethearts.
- Small Name, Big Ego: She seems to think she's some kind of giant in the teaching world, despite being a small town substitute who won an inconsequential local award twice in a row.
- Smarter Than You Look: There is evidence that suggests that she's pretty clever, it's just that her ego is so big that it hardly ever shines through.
- Too Dumb to Live: In "Fun with Jane and Jane", Luanne manages to escape a cult posing as a sorority. Peggy, who's currently hung up on the fact that she has no friends, drags Luanne back and even joins them herself, not knowing or caring that they plan on sending the girls off to a farm to make preserves.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: She started off smarter and more sensible than Hank. Post-Flandarization, she's a clueless Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In Seasons 1 and 2, Peggy was a genuinely nice, if quirky, housewife. In Season 3, she started to show a little ego, but was otherwise the same. From Season 4 onward, she's a huge Know-Nothing Know-It-All, and often an inconsiderate jerkass.
- Well Done Daughter Girl: After Peggy's mom was retconned from being an overbearing perfectionist housewife to a coldhearted rancher. Her mother apparently never forgave Peggy for abandoning their ranch, even after Peggy singlehandedly saved the ranch to prove herself.
- With Wives Like Her:
- Tends to fall into this at times when the situation benefits her ("Little Horrors of Shop" and "Racist Dawg" are two prime examples).
- Much earlier in the show, Peggy used to associate with a group of unnamed housewives, but chances are she stopped doing so because their 1950s mentality when it came to talking about sex and the fact that they had nothing better to do but talk about clipping coupons didn't really click with her.
- Woman Child : Will sometimes act like a spoiled teenager. Even once mimicking Bobby when both were mad at Hank."Hang on Ladybird, Momma's comin'!"
- Women Are Wiser:
- A notable aversion. Although she occasionally does have to let Hank know when he's being a jerkass, for the most part he's nicer, more competent and more practical than she is, and regularly has to rescue her from the results of her own zany schemes. However, there have been times where Peggy is able to function in a situation a lot easier than Hank does, either due to his willing inability to deal with emotions or because it's some cultural event that clashes with Hank's "old days" mind set.
- The best example of this played straight is when Peggy learns that Hank has paid sticker price for every car he's bought for the past twenty-five years. For years, Hank was led to believe he was being offered "special deals" on the cars until Peggy got involved in buying a new car and watched Hank pay full price on a car she was going to pay $2,500 less on.
Robert Jeffrey "Bobby" Hill
"Hey Dad! I'm Sophia Loren!"Bobby is Peggy and Hank's 13-year-old son, who wants to break into the entertainment business. Since he's kind of effeminate and has some strange interests (by his family's standards), Hank fears for the boy's future. He'll be all right, though. Voiced by Pamela Adlon.
- Ambiguously Gay: To Hank, who doesn't understand why his son doesn't like sports or anything considered "manly" (though the last episode "To Sirloin with Love" does reveal one manly thing he can do that doesn't embarrass Hank: grill beef). Various episodes have shown that Hank does actually believe that his son is gay, and he's noticeably relieved when Bobby shows interest in Connie.
- Big Eater:
- His appetite is as bizarre as it is large. Cotton, in charge of a boot camp, once attempted to punish Bobby for his appetite by making him eat a stack of leftovers and run-off. Bobby didn't mind in the slightest.
- In another episode, where Bobby started eating at a New York Style deli, he wound up getting gout from the food. Even when his gout got so bad he couldn't walk and needed a scooter to get around, he still kept going back for more.
- He once ate a 72-ounce steak in under an hour to spite his vegetarian girlfriend he broke up with. He did get sick after eating it, though.
- Getting sick after eating something ridiculous seems to be a pattern with Bobby: he once devoured an entire platter of lutefisk, and as a result befouled the church bathroom so strongly that it led to the whole church burning down. Cotton is of course blamed for the arson. "Look for the man with the terrible smell!"
- Book Dumb: His grades tend to hover around the C and D range, and a few episodes focus on his failing a class or exam. His intelligence clearly lies more in creative than academic pursuits.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: His dad and neighbors don't think much of him because he's a dull-witted, vaguely effeminate chubby kid with a strange sense of humor. But Bobby has shown a broad range of talents over the years.
- He's a crack shot with a gun. He's so good that he carries Hank though a shooting competition, scoring a perfect shot everytime while Hank struggles to hit the target.
- As well as a professional level golfer, making a hole in one on his first attempt.
- And capable of violence when pushed, as when he caught Joseph kissing Connie. Bobby furiously punched his bigger, more muscular friend in the jaw. Twice!
- Camp Straight: Oh yes.
- Characterization Marches On: Bobby was initially a slow, confused kid who didn't have much in the way of personality. His effeminate characteristics and odd charisma quickly became his defining traits.
- Cheerful Child: In one episode, Hank remarks that every time a bully starts after Bobby, he does some prop comedy, like sticking French fries up his nose, and makes friends with the bully. Of course, Hank considers this to be disappointing.
- Chick Magnet: Oddly enough. Mostly attributable to his confidence and charisma.
- The Chosen One: Bobby may or may not be the reincarnated spirit of the Lama Sanglug.
- Cloudcuckoolander: He's in a world all his own most of the time.
- Crossdressing Voices: His voice actor is Pamela Segall Adlon, who has done voicework for a lot of boy characters (and a few girl characters, like Spinelli and Margaret Rose "Moose" Pearson).
- Extraverted Nerd: Despite his geekyness and unpopularity, he is very talkative and engages in a lot of social activities and school functions, has attended and hosted parties, and has gone out with several girls.
- Flanderization: He became a lot more immature in the later episodes.
- Geeky Turn-On: In "Rodeo Days", after seeing a rodeo clown do an acrobatic stunt:"Wow, I don't think even Kerri Strug could do that while wearing cowboy boots. Mmm … Kerri Strug in cowboy boots …"
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Best shot in the family.
- Kiddie Kid: Although it kind of depends on the writer.
- Made of Iron: Or as Hank puts it, mush. Cotton repeatedly tries to break Bobby's spirit in a boot camp by overfeeding him with leftover food mixed with one another, have him sit on an ice cube with just underwear on, and imprison him inside a small concrete cell for days. Despite all this, Bobby brushes them all off with ease, all in an effort to build him up into a man. Hank explains that he's like mush- You can't build it up, but it's all give and you can't break it down either.
- Morality Pet: For Cotton.
- The McCoy: Pretty much completely driven by impulse.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bobby's actions in "Born Again on the Fourth of July" are directly responsible for the residents of Rainey Street and Milton Street to escalate their rivalry to a full-blown war. In his defense, he does try to fix things once he sees the results of his actions.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: The only time his full name is shown was on a shelf. Apparently, his other nickname is "Butch", though that's never been used elsewhere, either.
- Strong Family Resemblance: In his flashbacks, Cotton looks like an older, taller, fitter Bobby.
- Too Dumb to Live: Sometimes, he does get involved in a lot of things that he knows are bad, but goes along with it as he's trying to find a hobby/interest that won't disappoint his father. He's also shown really poor judgment when it comes to animals, such as playing with a colony of fire ants or trying to befriend a raccoon.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Fruit pies, though he'll eat pretty much anything.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Bobby sometimes tries to make his father proud of him when it appears that Hank doesn't love him enough. He became terrified of the idea of having a baby sibling because he thought the only reason Hank and Peggy were proud of him was because he didn't have any siblings to be compared to (as Hank has a narrow urethra and a low sperm count, making it impossible for them to have another child). The very first episode actually stated that Bobby was afraid Hank doesn't love him all the time.
"Class was cancelled today and the library was closed. I love college!"This is Peggy's niece; the Hills took her in early on in the show, partially to get her away from her horrible mother. Luanne isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer (at least in the later episodes. Earlier ones showed that she had a lot of technical skill when it came to fixing cars and some episodes show that she can think for herself in a crisis). Voiced by Brittany Murphy.
- Acquired Situational Narcissism: In "My Hair Lady" and "Manger Baby Einstein."
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- Despite her lack of intelligence and sometimes childish behavior, Luanne's proven to be a force to be reckoned with. Her highlights include how she handled the Hills' collective cigarette addiction, threatening Cotton for sexually harassing her, tackling an irate woman from harming Peggy, her competency at kickboxing, deciding to have her baby her way rather than listen to what others want her to do, and forcing everyone to give her the wedding gifts she never received.
- "Peggy's Pageant Fever" is a prime example of Luanne being mean on purpose. When Peggy dumps her for a professional stylist, Luanne starts nonchalantly doing things to screw with Peggy's daily routine. Although by the end credits, they've made up and Peggy lets Luanne use her hair to prepare for her beauty school classes, even though Peggy now has hair like a troll doll. The moment Luanne's out of the room, she starts evilly snickering to herself with clasped hands because she did it on purpose.
- Bald Women: She lost her hair in the Mega-Lo Mart explosion at the end of Season 2. Very notable in that, while other cartoons would have Luann's hair fully grown by the next episode, King of the Hill actually showed her hair slowly growing back over the course of several episodes.
- Brainless Beauty and Cloudcuckoolander: In the later seasons.
- Dumb Blonde: In later episodes. In the early episodes, she had some smarts (i.e., she knew how to fix a car and she was good at styling hair), but she wasn't like Lisa Simpson when it came to brains.
- Flanderization: Particularly grating because of her initial character development as a young woman who desperately wanted to avoid becoming a redneck.
- Freudian Excuse: The way Peggy sort of began to dominate her life by making nearly all her decisions, as well as Luanne's gradually growing stupidity, could be seen as instigated by the way her birth mother walked out of her life for good after she acted like a complete whore and tried to kill Peggy. With Leanne's permanent absence, Luanne latched onto Peggy as a permanent substitute for a mother figure and started regressing to a more childlike intellect. This stopped (granted she's still dense) after she became a mother herself, and decided that she needed to stop relying on Peggy for everything in order to raise her child with Lucky and give her the childhood she'd been denied.
- Gag Boobs and Gainaxing:
- When she jumps up and down, which makes Hank uneasy.
- This was parodied in a short made for the Emmy Awards where she got a wardrobe malfunction because of this.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Young, sweet, innocent (how much is innocence and how much is just plain stupidity is admittedly an exercise for the reader), blonde.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl:
- In one episode, she starts a Bible study class at a swimming pool. She thinks that she's reaching out to people; in reality, they just want to see her in a bikini and enjoy the hugs she gave out as rewards.
- Same thing when she got into boxing. She didn't learn until too late that the only reason guys came to see her was because they had a fetish for seeing a hot, under-dressed woman box.
- May-December Romance: Luanne is around 20 and married Lucky who is 35.
- Ms. Fanservice: Invoked in-universe in "The Trouble with Gribbles", when she temporarily replaces Nancy as the TV weather girl.
- Odd Friendship: Bonds with Bill over their barber skills in "My Hair Lady." She even gets fired trying to stand up for him to their boss. This actually extends as far back as Season 1's "Plastic White Female," though it's never really foregrounded.
- Punny Name: Luanne shares her full name with a dish at Southern cafeteria chain Luby's: The "Lu Ann" Platter.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: By the time Season 2 aired, she had done some serious level grinding, and it got worse from there.
- Wrench Wench: Part of her initial characterisation. In the pilot, after Hank spends most of the episode trying to find out why his truck won't start, she offhandedly mentions she borrowed it, noticed the fuel filter was clogged and blew it clear. When Hank's truck is seized as evidence and taken apart after a junkie tries to steal it, she puts it back together.
"I killed fitty men!"Hank's father, a crotchety old man who doesn't seem to approve of anything Hank does. This war vet can never stop talking about how he killed "fitty" (50) men while in service. When it comes to impulsiveness, he's even got Peggy beat. Heaven help Hank. His last appearance in the series sees him die of natural causes. Voiced by Toby Huss.
- Abusive Parents: Emotionally, to Hank.
- Accidental Misnaming: Cotton never refers to Peggy by name, only by "Hank's Wife." This even extends to when he's trying to be nice to her though, so it's possible he doesn't know her name (and doesn't care enough to ask).
- Ax-Crazy: It's a pretty fitting description for a man who thinks a loaded shotgun is the perfect birthday gift for a child.
- Backhanded Compliment: He may well have meant it to be sincere, but when he talks about how Hank is a better dad than he is, he says "At least you made Bobby. All I made was you."
- Badass Grandpa: He's in his mid 70s, but he's still a fully capable ass kicker.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: He's one of the strangest looking characters in the series, and definitely one of the nastiest.
- Berserk Button:
- Never call him a Nazi.note
- He seems to view most anything Japanese, with the exception of Michiko, the Japanese nurse who cared for him after the war, with disdain, as in "Unfortunate Son" he refuses to sell a canoe which - so he claims, anyway - belonged to Hitler after discovering the potential buyer is driving a Mitsubishi.
- Black Bead Eyes: His younger self did not have these. Whether he acquired them through age or shell shock is unknown.
- Character Death: Dies from a combination of burns, internal injuries, and an allergic reaction to shrimp in "Death Picks Cotton".
- Colonel Badass: Even if half his stories never happened he still qualifies several times over, especially if he really did beat an entire island of Japanese soldiers to death with a dismembered leg of his friend, Fatty, after getting his shins blown off (even though he achieved the rank of colonel after the war as a National Guardsman).
- Colonel Kilgore: Loved killing Tojos and gutting Nazzies, though was technically not a colonel at the time.
- Demoted to Extra: In the first few seasons, Cotton appears in semi-frequently in cameos and flashbacks, with there usually being one or two Cotton-centric episodes per season. In the latter half of the series, Cotton shows up sporadically and his divorce happens off screen despite him moving from Houston to Arlen.
- Determinator: The man lost his shins and then taught himself how to walk again after the doctors sewed his feet to his knees. As Hank himself remarks, that's pretty damn heroic.
- Domestic Abuser: Cotton doesn't abuse women physically (when Cotton saw Peggy in a body cast, he chastised Hank for allegedly beating her), but does sexually harass them by smacking them on the butt, thinks women are little more than housewives and sex objects, and tried to keep Hank's mom down by verbally abusing her and making her do demeaning things. In a flashback to when he was married to Tilly, he was shown one time using her as a foot stool. Another episode had Cotton smashing a sink full of dishes with a chair while screaming at Tilly.
- Dying Alone: One by one, Cotton's geriatric war buddies kick the bucket over the course of the series. At the start of the show, he's in the company of several, but they soon succumb to poor health, such as Fatty's titular obesity, until Topsy is the last one to go, leading to Cotton fulfilling his bizarre dying wishes. Then Cotton himself dies, after screaming at his son and driving him from the room, with only his much-hated daughter-in-law for company.
- Everyone Has Standards: Cotton is an abusive father and husband. One time, he was even seen using Tilly as a footstool, and holds Peggy in ill regard. However, when he sees Peggy in her body cast following her near-fatal skydiving accident, Cotton immediately assumes it's Hank's fault and is disgusted with him."What'd you do to your wife? I didn't teach you that!"
- Evil Old Folks: On his worse days.
- Famous Last Words: During Cotton's last appearance in the series (apart from a few flashback cameos), when Peggy says she hopes Cotton lives forever so he can stay in the hell he's created himself on Earth, Cotton replies, "Do ya now?" and dies just to spite her.
- Fat Bastard: Not as fat as most examples, but he's pretty rotund. And a huge bastard.
- Final Speech: Delivers one to Peggy, presumably to get as much hate as possible out before he goes:Cotton: "This was supposed to happen to you! You're worthless! You're not even good enough to be married to my worthless, nothing of a loser SON!"
- Glory Days: Cotton would like you to know that he killed fitty men during World War II. And he would have kept at it if the Japanese hadn't shot off his shins.
- Gonk: Including a medical history, that's simply not credible.
- Groin Attack: Uses his shortness to his advantage and delivers these via headbutt.
- Grumpy Old Man: Oh, yeah. But you'd be grumpy too if you had to walk around with your feet sewed to you knees.
- Handicapped Badass: Had his shins blown off by Japanese soldiers in World War II, but still kicked ass and reached the rank of Colonel in the Texas Militia.
- Heroic Resolve: As Hank lampshades in one episode, Cotton may be a lying jackass, but it's an indisputable fact that the man survived having his shins blown off, an act which required an unfathomable amount of willpower.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Cotton is a five-star jerkass all his life, which eventually culminates when he revolts against a proposed dinner of leftover lasagna given to him by Peggy, which he finds completely inadequate. He and Bobby hightail it to the nice restaurant they shafted the two of them from going to so they can have a private date. But then Cotton has a PSTD freakout against an innocent sushi chef at the sight of him juggling knifes for show, bellowing that he's a Tojo threatening to kill him. The chef, unaware that Cotton's allergic to shrimp, flicks one into his mouth thinking it will calm him down. This causes him to go in to shock, and Cotton then is convinced the chef's out for blood. He pounces at the man with intent to put him in a death grip, but happens to leap on the boiling hot surface of the chef's grill, immediately melting the soles of his shoes. This causes Cotton to slip and collapse on top of it, which wreaks havoc on his delicate elderly frame. The resulting burns, allergic reaction, and internal injuries do irrecoverable damage to him and Cotton's condition slowly worsens, until he at last dies.
- Home Guard: Joined the Texas State Militia after the war, eventually reaching the rank of colonel.
- Identical Grandson: Looks like a much older version of Bobby.
- Jerkass: And that's putting it mildly.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Usually related to Bobby.
- Kavorka Man:
- Despite being a gonk, and having a less than appealing personality (and his shins "… blown off by a Japan man's machine gun"), he's been with three women that we know of: Hank's mother, a Japanese woman during WWII, and his current wife, Didi, who is a childhood friend of Hank's.
- He's admitted to bedding 273 women in the episode Junichiro was introduced. It's heavily implied in previous episodes that he's visited prostitutes a lot, which probably explains a good number of those women.
- Large Ham: And how!
- May-December Romance: Between Cotton and Didi. Didi and Hank even went to kindergarten together.
- Pants-Free: In "Returning Japanese" he is shown in his uniform shirt and hat but without pants.
- Papa Wolf: Much like Hank, a very good way to have a very pissed off Cotton on your hands is to threaten or insult Bobby.
- Parental Neglect: When he's not being abusive to women, he shows affection with a criminal disregard for his son's safety. When G.H. was less than a year old, he let him play with his loaded service pistol to learn to shoot,note and he gave Bobby a loaded shotgun for his twelfth birthday (and used the gun to shoot a piñata).
- Perpetual Frowner: He usually only smiles when he's recounting his war stories, or tormenting people.
- Pet the Dog:
- Most of his scenes with Bobby amount to these. For all his faults, he genuinely loves and respects his grandson (though the first episode featuring Cotton is kind of debatable, as Cotton was teaching his grandson to treat women like sex objects by slapping their butts and making sexist remarks).
- When he helped Peggy get her job back, and the time where he helped her in her rehab after the parachute incident.
- When he politely asked Peggy for a photo of Hank and Bobby to show to Michiko during their trip to Japan. He even thanked her.
- Doubled as a Pet the Dog moment for both of them, as Peggy actually defended Cotton's actions to Hank, rationalizing that no one would cheat on their 40 year old wife with an 80 year old ex-girlfriend.
- At the end of the Japan two-parter, when he notices Bobby seems depressed because he's leaving behind the girl he met, he immediately tells the cab driver to stop so Bobby can say goodbye to her.
- A small one. In a flashback, Hank and his friends were taken on a camping trip by their dads. Cotton led the Snipe Hunt with enthusiasm ("Not gonna sugar coat it: Some of you ain't comin' back"). Despite that, he kicked Eustice out of the group for talking during the Test of Silence and ordering the boy to get him a beer, seeing Cotton be involved in Hank's upbringing to any extent note is rare and touching.
- "Next of Shin" also. He actually feels sorry for Hank being unable to get Peggy pregnant, to the point where he's willing to let Hank and Peggy raise Didi's child (though that part's certainly unfair to Didi). He also has a rare heart-to-heart talk with his son towards the end of the episode.
- Politically Incorrect War Hero: He's an unbridled sexist. And damn proud of it.
- Punny Name: Named for the town of Cotton Hill, West Virginia.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: There's no love lost between him and Peggy.
- Racist Grandpa:
- Subverted. He's certainly not nice to anyone, but he does not antagonize people from countries America has not gone to war with as much, and does not use shallow stereotypes. He can tell at first sight that Kahn is Laotian, and does not make the same "Chinese or Japanese" assumption everyone else does. However, Cotton does think that Kahn is Hank's servant and orders him to make him a mai tai and get his luggage.
- He doesn't seem to have anything against Jewish people either. The first thing he said to Gary Kasner after their introductions was "Happy Hannukah" and mentions he served with a Jew in the Pacific Theater.
- On the other hand, he does seem to be less than fond of the Japanese until he discovers he has a half-Japanese son. When being examined by doctors to tell if he has senility and needs to be institutionalized, he attacks a Japanese doctor and takes his stethoscope for a war trophy.
- Rank Up: Apparently started as private in the U.S. Army, was promoted to some sort of leadership position in the Pacific and ended his career a colonel with the Texas National Guard.
- Real Award, Fictional Character: Throughout his appearances, Cotton's decorations are slowly revealed. In "Returning Japanese", his uniform includes the Medal of Honor and American Campaign Medal. In "Cotton Comes Marching Home", his Silver Star is shown in a display case in the Arlen VFW. In Season 12, he shown wearing the third class, Commandeur, of the French Legion of Honour, the highest decoration in France and only awarded to a handful of Americans during the war.
- Real Men Hate Affection: In his words, "Love's for sissies!"
- Retired Badass: He's not in the army anymore, but even Hank is hesitant to give him a fight. At least part of that is childhood trauma, but mostly it's a recognition that Cotton can still kick his ass.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Though he didn't appear very polite in his younger days either.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran:
- Dale and cops tend to view him as this, usually encouraging them to help him in his more ridiculous schemes without thinking.
- A fit of PTSD when he sees a Hibachi chef juggling knives makes him jump on the grill table and fall onto it back-first, giving him a mortal wound.
- Shirtless Scene: In John Redcorn's sweat lodge in "Returning Japanese".
- Smug Smiler: When he does smile, it's a rather unnerving self-satisfied smirk.
- Straw Misogynist
- Strong Family Resemblance: Looks exactly like an old version of Bobby.
- They Really Do Love Each Other:
- Cotton and Didi get a few spread out through the series. When Cotton is awarded a grave in the Texas State Cemetery, Didi comments it's a beautiful grave and that he deserves it. And when Cotton leaves a pregnant Didi, he goes into a homicidal rage when Hank tells him she's found a new man. Hank even points out that he really loves her.
- Cotton and Hank have some as well, such as in "Returning Japanese" when Cotton admits to Hank that he's a good son.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: With Didi.
- Unreliable Narrator: Certain recountings of Cotton's past are rather questionable.
- Use Your Head: A favourite tactic of his and quite effective due to him missing his shins, since this places his head right at crotch level for most people.
- Younger Than They Look: Cotton was around thirty when Hank was born. In flashbacks seen in "Yankee Hankie" (set on the day Hank was born in 1959), he looks the exact same as he does in the present day only with brown hair. However, in scenes set only 15 years prior, he looks more like an extremely fit and slightly older version of Bobby.
Matilda Mae "Tilly" Hill
Hank's biological mother.
- A Day in the Limelight: "The Unbearable Blindness of Laying", "Escape From Party Island", and "The Honeymooners".
- The Ditz: Hank says that he worries about her because she is an idiot for making stupid decisions such as marrying Cotton, dating another man before she broke up with her boyfriend and selling her gold to someone on TV.
- Freudian Excuse: Being married to an emotionally, verbally, and sometimes physically abusive man for years, (Cotton once used her as an actual footstool), and only being able to seek comfort in glass figurines, may be the reason why in her later years Tilly makes spontaneous and often stupid choices. Now that she's free from Cotton, and no longer taking care of Hank, Tilly is free to live her life how she wants and is expressing out decades of repressed emotions, which channel into some questionable antics.
- Hidden Depths:
- As the series goes on, it shows she has terrible choice in men, and is constantly making spur of the moment extreme decisions without thinking of the consequences.
- Earlier in the show's history, though, Tilly admitted that she took several odd jobs during Hank's childhood, including a job as a taxi driver, in order to get out of the house. Hank simply believed that she was happily fulfilled in being a stay-at-home mom, and was quite shocked to learn this (when Tilly mentioned the taxi, Hank says that all he remembers is her owning a yellow car).
- Glurge Addict: When trapped in a severely abusive marriage with Cotton, she became obsessed with unicorn figurines. Hank deeply loathes them until he realizes those figurines were the only thing that kept her going.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Not ugly (despite Cotton's claims) but a flashback of Hank's birth has shown her to be a really pretty young woman with dark hair.
- Long Bus Trip: She disappears from the series after one appearance in Season 5, and doesn't return until one of the unaired episodes almost 10 years later.
- Love Martyr: She really goes out of her way for the love of something, whether its her figurine obsession or a whirlwind romance for a guy she's known for a few weeks.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: According to Hank's birth certificate in "Yankee Hankee", her name is Matilda Mae Hill.
- Out of Focus: She appears far less than Cotton and is not introduced until well after he is. Although she made a handful of appearances in the first few years after her introduction, her absences became longer and longer as time went on to the point that it was easy to forget she existed.
Cotton's 40 year old second wife.
- Abusive Parents: She seems to mean well, but her absent-mindedness and general stupidity results in her often neglecting G.H., including leaving him home alone because she simply forgot about him.
- Broken Bird: Just look at her!
- Characterization Marches On: Following G.H.'s birth, she had moments where she was more assertive with Cotton.
- The Ditz: Most of the time it's not clear if she's even aware of what's going on around her. Strangely, it makes her perfectly suited for Cotton, who's free to be as obnoxious as he wants.
- Extreme Doormat: Most of her scenes make her look more like Cotton's servant than his wife.
- Gag Boobs: Cotton paid for her boob job. He got a good price because they're both lefties.
- Gold Digger: Mentions she is marrying a wealthy profession wrestler so it is possible she is this.
- Longest Pregnancy Ever: Averted. There were about six months between the air dates of the episode where Didi was revealed to be pregnant and the episode where she gave birth. Given that the only visible holidays between those episodes were Thanksgiving and Christmas, and how pregnant she was when it was revealed (at least a few months gone), the duration was quite realistic both in-universe and out of it.
- May-December Romance: She's around the same age as Hank (Hank mentions that he went to kindergarten with Didi, and Didi asks Hank if he still likes finger-painting), yet was married to his father.
- Put on a Bus: In the Season 8 episode "Daletech", Cotton is seen screaming at her to call her lawyer as she drives away before explaining that she and G.H. have gone to her parents' house for a few months. Cotton's obituary claims her to be his ex-wife, confirming a divorce. She isn't seen again until a very brief appearance in the final season where the divorce never seemed to have happened, though it could be that they've got back together before his death or he died before the divorce was finalized.
- Robo Speak: Speaks in a very montone voice that makes it sound as though she's rehearsed her speech.
- Took a Level in Badass: Not much but she started getting more assertive with Cotton like demanding he take care of G.H. for her "me-time" to launder and pleasantly asking him to eat a certain way in front of the television.
- What Does She See in Him?: After Cotton's death, she finally seems to acknowledge the fact that he was an awful man and has actually admitted that, since marrying her new husband, she barely even remembers anything about him.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife
Luanne's ex-con mother. Was sent to jail for stabbing her father with a fork. Voiced by Pamela Adlon.
- The Alcoholic: She's able to down an entire fridge of Alamo beer in just a couple of nights. And that's after rehab.
- All Abusers Are Male: Averted.
- Ax-Crazy: Once she goes back to drinking, she loses it.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Claims that she's changed. She hasn't.
- Cool Big Sis: What Leanne wants Luanne to see and refer to her as.
- Domestic Abuser: Abused Hoyt throughout the marriage, which eventually resulted in him getting stabbed with a fork (which lead to her arrest). She starts abusing Bill once she starts drinking again.
- Evil Counterpart: To Peggy, in terms of a mother figure towards Luanne.
- Gold Digger: Downplayed; while she does spend all of Bill's money, it's mostly because he's too meek to say no and she's too clueless to realize that nice things cost money. However, she does seem to have this attitude towards Luanne and Hoyt.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: When she drinks. Poor, poor Bill...
- Hoist by His Own Petard: If she hadn't spent Bill's money so freely, he could have afforded his medication and his toe fungus wouldn't have driven her back to drink.
- Jerkass: And the worst one in the entire series.
- Knight of Cerebus: Her one appearance marks one of the darker episodes in the series, taking all of the comedy out of Luanne's shattered home life and showcasing one of the rare examples of female-on-male abuse taken seriously on TV.
- Lady Drunk: She thinks she's a Hard-Drinking Party Girl, but she's too old, too violent, and has a serious drinking problem.
- Man Child: It is quite clear she doesn't want to be seen as a mother. She even yells at Luanne that she is no longer her "sister" before leaving.
- Off the Wagon: And it gets worse from there. She was already a jerk to Luanne. When she's drunk, she gets violent.
- Parental Neglect: She's rather emotionally abusive towards Luanne. She was even okay with her daughter dropping out of college to get a job to support the two of them. This is mainly because she doesn't want to be a mother, as seen in the episode where she comes back and tries (emphasis on "tries") to be Luanne's Cool Big Sis.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Basically looks like a middle-aged Luanne, only with badly dyed hair.
Luanne's biological father (even though earlier episodes revealed that Hoyt was a wussier, male version of Peggy). Was once thought to have escaped to an oil rig to get away from his abusive wife (and wouldn't come back until he got her death certificate in a fax), but a later episode revealed that Hoyt was in jail and, if he screws up again, he'll be there for life. Voiced by Johnny Knoxville.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When he came back, he gave his sister Peggy two lottery tickets that were already scratched (and weren't even winning tickets). Things got worse from there until he was arrested again.
- Chronic Villainy: Seems incapable of passing up the opportunity to commit a crime.
- Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: He's stinking in jail forever, Luanne.
- The Ghost: Was this for most of the show's lengthy run, only being mentioned in a few episodes that concerned Luanne.
- Manipulative Bastard: He uses his daughter's happiness of seeing him back to get away as an excuse for any stupidities he pulls on the Hills and her husband. In the end, karma gets him good and Luanne is led to believe he got a better position at the oil rig.
- Retcon: A jarring example. Originally Hoyt was a male version of Peggy who ran away and joined an oil rig to get away from Leanne and wouldn't return until her death certificate was faxed to him. When he finally made his appearance, he was shown to be a convict on his last strike and that the "oil rig" story was a lie, and he'd been gone for most of Luanne's life (originally, she was an adult still acknowledging just having seen him). He was such a manipulative bastard he would've even thrown his own daughter under a bus if it meant him avoiding jail.
Elroy "Lucky" Kleinschmidt
A 35 year old hillbilly introduced later in the series whose personal income consists primarily of nothing but personal injury suit victories. Becomes involved with Luanne, then later marries and has a child with her. Voiced by Tom Petty.
- Ascended Extra: His most noteworthy scene in that episode was when he told the story of why he was called "Lucky" (he slipped on a spill while running for the bathroom in a department store and was paid off to avoid a lawsuit). His friends Elvin and Mud Dauber, more prominently featured in that episode, are conversely Demoted to Extra.
- Character Development: For all his faults he has a personal code of honor, sincerely loves Luanne (and later their daughter Gracie) and does try to improve himself with Hank and Peggy's help.
- The Ditz: He's definitely not all there. Hell, Luanne looks like a genius compared to him.
- Early-Bird Cameo: First appeared on "The Redneck on Rainey Street" as one of Kahn's new trailer trash friends.
- Frivolous Lawsuit: His primary source of income.
- Hidden Depths: Despite his slovenly appearance and attitude, Lucky occasionally displays surprising wisdom and insight.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: He's referred to exactly once by his given name.
- The Scrappy: In-universe and frequently lampshaded by Hank and Peggy (although some King of the Hill fans also view him as this, and not in a fun, comedic way; more like the "he's the reason this show sucks now" way). Lucky is clearly an example of the writers having fun with this, all the while making it work for good comedic effect.
- The Stoic: Incredibly laid-back most of the time.
- Straw Loser: He's a walking redneck stereotype with no job, no education, and no common sense who survives mostly on settlement checks. His original appearance was meant to demonstrate how far Kahn had fallen by hanging out with him. Then he and Luanne get involved...
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Once he and Luanne are married.
William "Bill" Dauterive
Bill, one of Hank's closest friends, was a promising high school football player who later joined the Army with big hopes and dreams. He married someone he thought was the perfect woman, but that relationship soon went south and never looked back, and Bill found a new companion in the throes of laziness, regressed to a washed up and rotund balding man. Now middle aged, broke, and divorced, Bill's constantly depressed and full of self-loathing. The guys try to put up with him as best they can. Voiced by Stephen Root.
- Acquired Situational Narcissism: Occasionally when things actually go well for him.
- Alone Among the Couples: Happens to Bill several times. Several of the episodes that revolve around him focus on his misery at being alone while Hank and Dale are married and Boomhauer always has a new girl.
- Animals Hate Him: Dale acquired a falcon in one episode, and every time he took its hood off, it would start attacking Bill for no apparent reason. Then, after Dale states he set the falcon free in the woods, Bill starts a conversation about sausages and the falcon appears out of nowhere and starts attacking him again. He's also been attacked by emus and a rottweiler. It should be noted the rottweiler was just mean in general, as he's been shown to be friendly with other dogs. It's just birds that hate him.
- Attention Whore: Almost anytime Bill finds himself successful or liked for doing something, he'll continue to put all of his time and effort into whatever it is he is doing until it eventually ruins him. Notable examples include when he dressed as Santa and entertained children, continuing this until well into February, or after finding out Peggy, Dale and Minh were secretly using him as an everyman to base their stock purchases on, he wastes away all of his money and ownings just to get their attention again.
- Awesome Mccoolname: His full name is Guillaume Fontaine de la Tour D'Haute-Rive which is French for "Strong-Willed Warrior Fountain of the Tower of the Upper Bank."
- Badass Decay: In-universe example. He was exceptionally strong in his youth, able to hold off three big angry punks at a bar without getting a scratch. Depression ruined him but flashes of the old Bill do emerge from time to time.
- Big Eater:
- Once entered a Competitive Eating Contest and was a marked favorite to win. In the same episode, he ate an entire platter of hot dogs Hank had cooked for the whole neighborhood. This is met with disgust by those in attendance, although Hank is awed at Bill's ability to do such a thing.
- It bites him in ass in "Dia-BILL-ic Shock'', when he finds that his eating habits have given him diabetes.
- Bunny Ears Barber: The man is a mess in practically every aspect of life. But he's a damn good barber.
- Butt Monkey: Always.
- Calling the Ex-Wife Out: In "Pretty, Pretty Dresses", when Hank forces him to admit that she won't come back, he snaps and starts dressing as and pretending to be Lenore. Hank resolves the situation by doing the same, telling Bill "I'm the real Lenore, and I don't love you", which finally gives him the chance to get closure by venting at "Lenore" and telling "her" off the way he was never brave enough to do in the past.
- Character Development: Possibly the show's shining example. Bill starts the show obsessed with his ex-wife Lenore (and Peggy to an extent), self-loathing and suicidally depressed. While retaining many of his flaws throughout the series, Bill does shed most of these traits, gains healthier relations with his friends and certainly recoups most of his self-esteem.
- The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: A couple of episodes show him to be a skilled chef when he's cooking for other people. When eating alone, it's usually a frozen dinner or eating straight out of a can. His low self-esteem and desire to please other people might have an hand in it.
- Chekhov's Skill: His "Billdozer" abilities still come in handy sometimes.
- Crossdresser: During his insane spell at Christmas time, he dresses like a woman and pretends to be Lenore.
- Drunk with Power: Anytime Bill gets put into a position of authority, expect it to go straight to his head.
- Eloquent In Their Native Tongue: He sounds much less oafish when he speaks Creole.
- Extreme Omnivore: Eats garbage on a semi-regular basis, not to mention his fondness for dog-hormone biscuits.
- Fat Best Friend: Noticeably heavier than Hank, who's not exactly trim and fit himself.
- Fat Idiot: His issues blind his better judgement at times.
- Fat Slob: He's a testament to bad hygiene.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Sanguine.
- Freudian Excuse: It's strongly implied that he had an abusive relationship with his father. In perhaps unintentional foreshadowing for "Pretty, Pretty Dresses," it's mentioned in a Season 2 episode that Bill's dad made him dress up in girl's clothing to humiliate him. There is also his ex-wife leaving him.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: While Dale and Peggy are the most openly contemptuous of him, pretty much everyone casually insults him on a regular basis. It's often implied that he's kept around because Hank feels obligated to.
- Groin Attack: Would constantly receive one to the point where it became a Running Gag.
- Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Had hair akin to Roger Daltrey when he was younger. Then he got it buzzed in the Army. Then he went bald.
- Heroic BSOD:
- A particularly sad case. After his wife, Lenore, leaves him, Bill spends a long time convincing himself that she'll be back. This mentality eventually cultivate in him breaking down into depression and suicidal impulses during a Christmas Episode. He gets over it in the same episode.
- Another example is when he finds out that he's been unknowingly used as a guinea pig to test a super soldier formula that would give him attributes of a walrus, which explains his current appearance. This is even worse when you see flashbacks of him where he was physically fit and a borderline example of The Ace, leaving him in depression which leads to him stealing a tank. It's later revealed that he only received a placebo, meaning everything wrong with his life really is his fault.
- Hidden Depths:
- Hidden behind his failures, Bill is shown to be an excellent barber and professional caregiver.
- He also speaks French (Creole, not European) and can play a zydeco-style accordion.
- I Was Quite a Looker: In his youth, he was in excellent shape and was a star football player for Arlen High, and he had "hair like Roger Daltrey".
- Jerkass Ball: Has his moments, like in "Après Hank, le Deluge", where he has Hank locked up in a cage after the town blames the latter for negligence.
- The Juggernaut: On the football field, where fans dubbed him "The Billdozer".
- Kavorka Man: For all his unattractiveness, he has dated Reverend Stroup, Charlene, Ann Richards, and Kahn's mother.
- Oblivious to Love: In "It Ain't Over 'Til the Fat Neighbor Sings", Bill fails to pick up on the not so subtle hints that Reverend Stroup gave him.
- The Pig Pen: He's not visibly dirty, but his awful breath and body odor are often commented on.
- Self-Deprecation: During his story in the "Rashomon"-Style episode, he is fatter and balder than he usually is. However, since the episode was a Shout-Out of sorts to The Three Stooges, he might have been seeing himself as Curly.
- Stalker with a Crush:
- He is obsessed with Peggy. In "The Texas Skilsaw Massacre", he tells Hank "I once made a vest out of your wife's underpants". In another episode, he steals Peggy's used body cast from the garbage, takes it to his house, puts a picture of Peggy where the head would be and plays Boggle with it.
- He's also uncomfortably fond of Hank, hanging on every word he says and being freakishly attached to their friendship, to the point of idolizing him.
- His stalker tendencies are referred to by Peggy in "The Nut Before Christmas" where upon hearing that Bill has a date, Peggy is happy to hear that Bill "will be spending time with a woman who knows he's there."
- In "Escape from Party Island", he tries to unsuccessfully win Peggy over while Hank is watching over his mom and her friends. This episode dialed Bill's stalker tendencies Up to Eleven from the way he told Bobby "you know how your mother and I worry about you" to revealing he held on to a spare key the Hills gave him when they went on vacation. Six years ago. This leads to a moment of Fridge Horror when you stop to consider Bill could've gone into their house whenever he wanted and they probably never knew.
- Status Quo Is God: The plot of most Bill-focused episodes is as follows: Bill finds something he's really good at, or someone who actually likes him, and starts turning his life around; something turns out to be wrong with the situation, so his friends convince him to give up his new activity; Bill returns to being a sad sack and no one even suggests that he just try finding a new way to pursue his passion. While his reconciliation with his ex-wife was dropped in the same episode, his dating Kahn's mom was referenced vaguely the following episode, with it implied that Bobby accidentally jinxed the relationship with a tarot card reading.
- Tuckerization: He shares a last name with the co-producer.
- Throw the Dog a Bone:
- In "A Beer Can Named Desire", he visits family in New Orleans and gets the attention of three attractive cousins (one by blood, two by marriage). While the Hills are at the Cowboys-Saints game, Bill finds out which cousin is blood-related and sleeps with the two who aren't.
- There is also his relationship with Ann Richards, and finally getting back at his ex-wife.
- With Friends Like These...: "Après Hank, le Deluge" is a triumphant example.
- Worth It: Claims to have made most of his life decisions at a Foghat concert. He stands by them.
A very fast-talking ladies man and one of Hank's childhood friends. His dialect can be hard to keep up with, but none of his friends seem to have any trouble talking to him. His full name is Jeffrey Dexter Boomhauer. Voiced by Mike Judge.
- The Ace: Initially portrayed as this, but his flaws become clearer later on.
- Black Bead Eyes
- The Casanova: For the first six seasons. See Characterization Marches On.
- Characterization Marches On: Boomhauer's womanizing was considerably toned down after getting his heart broken in season 6 ("Dang Ol' Love"). It's implied that he learned from that experience and he's even seen in an apparently serious relationship in "Uh-Oh Canada".
- Cool Car: His classic Dodge Charger.
- Dark-Skinned Blonde: Justified, in that he spends a lot of time outdoors and has a tanning bed in his house.
- Foil: To Bill. Where Bill is a fat, slovenly, self-hating cuckold, Boomhauer is a lean, relaxed, introspective ladies man.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Phlegmatic.
- Generation Xerox: Apparently, Boomhauer's unintelligible way of speaking was passed down from his mother, who also talks like that.
- Hidden Depths:
- Boomhauer is possibly the most philosophical and intellectual character on the show. Just listen to him explain the meaning of life.
- In "Four Wave Intersection", we learn he was a talented surfer in his youth.
- At the end of "To Sirloin with Love," it's revealed that he somehow has a job with the Texas Rangers.
- He seems well-versed in governmental legalese, in "The Arrowhead".note
- Intelligible Unintelligible: To the people that know him well.
- Kavorka Man: He's not bad-looking, but he is damn near incomprehensible to anyone he isn't friends with.
- Ladykiller in Love: In one episode, which showed his Hidden Depths.
- Last Name Basis: Though his first name was revealed to be Jeff.
- Motor Mouth: YeahmanyaknowdatdangolBoomhauermantalksofastcantunnerstandawordhesdangolsayinman.
- Multiple-Choice Past: His job/source of income on the show was given multiple explanations: one was that he was a former electric lineman on worker's comp, another was that he doesn't work because he lives off the money he won in a lottery, and a third explanation was that Boomhauer came from a moderately wealthy family and lived off a trust fund set up for him. The last episode "To Sirloin with Love" reveals that Boomhauer actually does have a job: he's a member of the Texas Rangers.
- The One That Got Away: His ex-girlfriend Catherine, for whom he has unresolved feelings. Boomhauer's none too happy when Catherine gets engaged to his brother Patch.
- Only Sane Man: Will usually play this role if Hank is absent, or if Hank has been unable to get Dale and/or Bill to stop acting like idiots. Notably, he's the only one of Hank's friends that he appears to have any respect for, and even occasionally turns to him for advice.
- Out of Focus: The number of episodes focusing on him can be counted on one hand. Now, compare that to the amount that focus on Hank, Dale, and Bill.
- The Reveal: On the last episode, the one where Hank finds out that Bobby knows how to find flaws in cuts of meat, not the fauxnale where Luanne gets married, it's revealed that Boomhauer does have a job, as a member of the Texas Rangers. Of course, this creates continuity problems in terms of how Boomhauer could avoid everyone knowing this about him, let alone how he could keep his job without being fired for some of the run-ins he had with Hank and the gang.
- Skintone Sclerae
- The Unintelligible: Except in The Rashomon episode, where everyone else is unintelligible when he tells his side of the story.
- Verbal Tic: Intelligible parts of his speech tend to include "yeah man" and "dang ol'."
Dale Alvin Gribble
Dale rounds out Hank's circle of friends. Dale, an exterminator by trade, is a paranoid conspiracy theorist who has prepared for just about any unlikely situation you can think of. And yet, he can't seem to figure out that his lovely wife Nancy is having an affair right under his nose. Voiced by Johnny Hardwick.
- Afraid of Needles: To the point where he has a fit over getting his blood type test.
- Agent Mulder:
- Dale exemplifies this. Amusingly, the most obvious deception in his life is right in front of him, the fact that Joseph isn't biologically his, and he brushes it off as having a Jamaican grandmother whose dark skin and features skipped him and ended up with his alleged son.
- In one episode, it is revealed that he has a hugely convoluted conspiracy theory to explain this, which acts in many ways as the foundation for his other conspiracy theories.
- An Arm and a Leg: Hank accidentally severs his good index finger (namely, the one that holds his cigarette butts) with a circular saw when Dale sits it down right in the path of the blades in "The Texas Skillsaw Massacre". Dale takes a second to register what happened, then appropriately freaks out. Luckily, he's rushed to the hospital with the digit on ice and has it surgically reattached.
- Bad Liar: In "Junkie Business", Dale applies for a job at Strickland Propane claiming to have owned and operated "Gribble & Sons Propane" out of Yuma, Arizona since 1984. He's being interviewed by Hank, who has known Dale since they were in first grade. He denies it.
- Basement-Dweller: Probably one of the few examples in which the character isn't a stereotypical video game/anime/role-playing game/comic book-obsessed nerd and actually is married with a child. He pretty much lived down there before Nancy stops cheating on him.
- Berserk Button: Dale loathes the idea of his privacy being invaded or being fooled. Case in point: when he thinks his lawnmower is stolen, it pushes him into a full-blown psychotic break.
- Big Eater: It was revealed that Dale can actually put away more food than Bill or Bobby, in spite of his pencil-thin build. He keeps this a secret because he thinks it makes him a freak.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Surprisingly good at his job as an exterminator (and his temporary job as an office worker in charge of terminating workers); in fact, it may be the only thing he's good at.
- Catch Phrase: Has been known to say "Wingo!" and "Sh-sh-sha!"
- Comedic Sociopathy: He gets a lot of pleasure out of watching Peggy suffer, particularly on her birthday (and if he can lend a hand in ruining it, all the better). In "Strangeness on a Train," he finally starts to experience some degree of remorse over this.
- Calling Your Attacks: "Pocket sand!" and "ELECTRIC TOASTER!"
- Cloudcuckoolander: Dale lives in a world of his own creation; to call him delusional is a gross understatement. The episode 'Naked Ambition' implies that many of his stranger quirks are a result of a mental illness (See The Schizophrenia Conspiracy below), and they noticeably wane after he is put on medication.
- Comically Missing the Point: Dale thinks the fact that Joseph doesn't look like him is either from (a) a Jamaican grandmother whose dark features skipped a generation, or (b) an extraterrestrial who impregnated Nancy.
- Conspiracy Theorist: He really has only one theory, but it is a convoluted web involving the JFK assassination, time travel, aliens, UN global domination, and a worldwide computer information network conspiracy called "The Beast".
- Crazy Survivalist: Parodied in episode where he imitates Survivor Guy and lives in the backyard.
- Depending on the Writer: In some episodes, Dale's an excellent exterminator. In others, he appears completely incompetent. Dale's general level of intelligence also seems to fluctuate between episodes. In some episodes, he's erudite enough to quote Langston Hughes or discuss the Observer Effect; other times, he thinks F-I-A-T spells Ford or that digging tunnels under the alley is a good idea. Mostly governed by Rule of Funny.
- Dirty Coward: And he knows it. He's rather proud of it too.
- Double Think: Many of his conspiracy theories contradict each other.
- Drunk with Power: Dale becomes this in "The Exterminator" when he becomes the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources of Stik-Tek. The position allowed him to fire people anytime he wanted.
- Egomaniac Hunter: He likes to think of himself as a badass bounty hunter, but is too cowardly to really do the job. It's probable that he became an exterminator because this allows him to hunt and kill creatures he needn't fear (though even then, he occasionally gets scared of them).
- Expy: His appearance is modeled after Hunter S. Thompson. According to Mike Judge, his personality is "William S. Burroughs if he was played by Jack Nicholson."
- Foil: To Hank, who is his complete opposite. Hank is handy, athletic, incredibly straight-laced, reliable, and extremely competent at his job, but is emotionally stunted and naive. Dale is paranoid, libertarian, scrawny, and incompetent at just about anything that doesn't have to do with killing bugs, conspiracy theories, or government loopholes, but is a loving family man with a broader perspective on life.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Choleric.
- Genius Ditz: He's a delusional idiot, no question about it, but he also shows rare flashes of genuine cunning.
- Dale seems to have genuine skill in foreign languages, as he's seen speaking Russian, Spanish and Tagalog on various occasions.
- His conspiracy theories have given him enough understanding of the government that, with no formal legal training, he is able to get John Redcorn a FOIA request processed quickly (such requests often take months, if they are answered at all) and also has the government return 12 acres of land stolen from the latter's tribe (but is still unable to comprehend that John Redcorn was sleeping with his wife.)
- "Dale to the Chief" shows that he has an intimate knowledge of government officials and their relations, and uses that to force an Obstructive Bureaucrat to fix an error in Hank's license.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: As much as he dislikes Peggy, they join forces a number of times: "A Bill Full of Dollars," "Peggy's Gone to Pots" (though that was because they both realized that the trouble they were in is so great that it would take a murder-suicide to make it go away, and since they hate each other, they do legitimately consider it) and "Full Metal Dust Jacket" come to mind.
- Gun Nut: Goes hand in hand with being a Crazy Survivalist, and he is also quite the Miles Gloriosus about his exploits.
- Hypocritical Humor: When it comes to an episode that in some way deals with Nancy's affair with John Redcorn and their child that came from it, just about all of Dale's dialogue will be heavily laced with hypocritical statements. Not because he knows about the affair, but solely for Rule of Funny.
- Jerk Ass: Pesters Hank on multiple occasions, and is even likely to get away with it.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Yes, he's shallow, selfish, tactless, cowardly, unethical and quick to blame everybody and anybody else for whatever problem he caused. However, to say he loves his wife and son is a huge understatement. He dotes on his son Joseph, even though he isn't even Dale's biological son, putting him before everything else in the universe and defending him with his life despite his cowardly nature. He worships the ground his wife walks on and treats her like royalty, which she does not even deserve, having cheated on him for fourteen years (and when another woman comes on to him, his only reaction is confusion; he can't understand why she's even trying, because he's married and that's all there is to it). Also, on numerous occasions, he risks his life and/or sacrifices himself for Hank. For example, secretly switching Hank's low-running oxygen tank for his own full one before going to put out a fire. He was also willing to help John Redcorn get his tribe's land back from the federal government to make up for accidentally hitting him over the head with a lamp.
- Kavorka Man: He's not really ugly, but he's pasty, pencil-thin, and rapidly going bald. He still managed to attract Nancy and a beautiful female exterminator (voiced by Jennifer Coolidge).
- The Load: Attempt depending on Dale in any way at your own risk.
- Nice Hat: His standard orange Mack hat.
- Obstructive Zealot: Dale's fanatical anti-government views cause Hank no end of grief. When his beliefs are inverted into blind patriotism, he gets even worse.
- Odd Friendship: With Minh.
- Papa Wolf: In "Dale to the Chief," when he hears Joseph suddenly cry out in his room (because he's having a bad dream), Dale bursts in there with a loaded gun in each hand ready to kick the ass of whoever is bothering Joseph. For someone as cowardly as Dale, that's pretty ballsy.
- Pet the Dog: On very rare occasions, he actually does manage to be a really good friend.
- An example of this is when he kept trying to convince Bill that people really viewed him as a freak when he started participating in hot dog eating contests. Dale wasn't doing it to be malicious, but because he had a similar experience when he was a kid.Dale: Remember, Bill. Just because you have their attention, doesn't mean you have their respect.
- Also he was perfectly fine with his dad turning out to be gay. However, he was ready to disown him when he thought his dad was a federal agent.
- At the end of "King of the Ant Hill," he risks his life saving Bobby from a swarm of fire ants. (That he had intentionally infested Hank's yard with himself in the first place, but still...)
- An example of this is when he kept trying to convince Bill that people really viewed him as a freak when he started participating in hot dog eating contests. Dale wasn't doing it to be malicious, but because he had a similar experience when he was a kid.
- Properly Paranoid:
- In "Untitled Black McCormick Project", Dale had some suspicions about the daughter of Bill's new girlfriend and despite Hank telling him not to ruin it for Bill, Dale managed to get a hair sample from the girl to run a DNA test. As it turned out, the girl was Joseph's half sister. There's also Operation Infinite Walrus. In that instance, even Dale seems surprised that his theory is correct. Subverted, when it turns out Bill was just given a placebo.
- In "Megalo-Dale," Dale becomes convinced that Chuck Mangione is living inside the Megalo-Mart judging by the excrement left by the supposed rat infestation and by examining the bite marks seen around the store. He was right on all accounts. Chuck was living in the store to hide out from the contract he got sucked into by the Megalo-Mart corporation.
- Psychopathic Manchild
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: A relatively harmless and comedic example; Dale has all of the ideological requirements, but is a lousy shot and a feeble coward to boot. He's mostly content to avoid the government rather than oppose it outright.
- Sitcom Archnemesis: He really hates Peggy, often being the only person In-Universe to call her out for stupid behavior. Though some episodes take this Up to Eleven, like Dale gloating over Peggy's disastrous birthday party.
- Sunglasses at Night: More like, "Sunglasses 24/7/365."
- The Schizophrenia Conspiracy: In one episode, he gets sent to a mental institution because he lectures a clinic administrator on why more people are getting allergic to peanuts, because apparently they are tired of being eaten and have begun emitting a poison as a defense; when Hank sorts everything out and explains that Dale was never admitted to the hospital, he mentions the psychiatrist wants Dale to continue taking his medication. After this episode, Dale seems to become more aware of his own odder tendencies, and is, along with Bill, eager to convince Hank that Kahn, a manic-depressive, needs his medication to function.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: On the rare occasions he doesn't wear his sunglasses.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Though he isn't so much ugly as he is average.
- With Friends Like These...: Dale has suggested killing (or attempted to kill) his friends on many occasions. A main reason Hank puts up with him is that he's too incompetent to really pull it off.
Dale's wife is a reporter for a local Arlen TV station. Smarter and more responsible than Dale, she nonetheless has a 14 year affair with John Redcorn which Dale never learns about. She eventually breaks it off, but not before she gives birth to a child whom Dale is convinced is his own flesh and blood. Voiced by Ashley Gardner.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: A less extreme example than most, but she is one of the most beautiful female characters on the show, has a charming personality, and a great public image. But even once you get past the decade plus affair, she can come off as the most vindictive and two-faced person on the block. In episodes like "Gone with the Windstorm" and "Nancy Does Dallas", she makes no bones about her willingness to destroy her coworkers' careers for personal advancement.
- Hoist by His Own Petard:
- She cheated on Dale with John Redcorn, and John Redcorn cheated on her with some "isolated incidents."
- This is acknowledged when she realized Dale was being hit on by a very attractive female exterminator shortly after she broke off her affair. Nancy feels too guilty to tell him not to see her, so she has to watch them grow ever closer. Dale never has an affair, though.
- Hot Scoop: When she shifts careers from weather-girl to investigative reporter.
- Hypocritical Humor: The earlier seasons would have a lot of gags of her passing serious judgment on the other characters, blind to the fact that she was an adulteress. One quick scene had her shake her head disapprovingly when she saw Hank walk (horrified) out of the porno section of a video store, ignoring that she was walking through that same store with her lover.
- In the Blood: Nancy cheated on Dale, just like her mother cheated on her father, and is now going bald after breaking off the affair.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- She cheated on her husband for fourteen years, and had her son Joseph by John Redcorn. The only two people who aren't aware of Nancy's affair are Dale and Joseph. She also only slept with Dale on Christmas and his birthdays until she broke it off with John Redcorn. It seemed that Nancy managed to get away with her fourteen years of unfaithfulness, until her hair started to fall out as a result of breaking it off with John Redcorn, according to her mother.
- She gets it earlier when we learn that John Redcorn had actually been seeing other women while he was seeing her, and there's the highly probable chance that he conceived his daughter Kate on the same day he conceived Joseph.
- This was once averted when she sees clearly that an attractive exterminator has a crush on Dale, and sees the potential for Dale to start doing to her what she did to him for years. Fortunately for her, Dale is a devoted husband who would never cheat on her and stopped hanging out with the other exterminator when he found out.
- Morality Pet: To Dale. With most people, Dale is paranoid, suspicious, and really pretty selfish. However, he's an incredibly loving and devoted husband and father (even though his son is not biologically his). Despite all his craziness, he's actually a better family man than Hank in some ways: unlike Hank, Dale has no problem showing affection toward his family or saying "I love you."
- Noodle Incident: "Do you ever wonder what happened to the weather caster before me?"
- Stacy's Mom: Bobby admitted to Peggy that he considers Nancy to be a very beautiful woman.
- Sympathetic Adulterer: She's never given a really sympathetic reason for cheating on Dale (Dale is legitimately hard to live with, but that doesn't actually seem to be her motivation). However, she becomes fairly sympathetic once she realizes how badly she abused his trust and makes a painful decision to break off her relationship with John Redcorn.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Blonde, pouty lipped, in shape woman. Married to a bald, unhinged, skinny nutjob.
- Verbal Tic: She calls everyone "Shug" — even God.Nancy: Why is God ruining my special day?! (Skyward) Why, Shug?!
- What Does She See in Him?: Deconstructed: it's implied that Nancy fell for Dale, largely because he legitimately loved her and that she didn't start sleeping around on him until they were already married for two years. Furthermore, it's implied that Nancy was driven to John Redcorn, originally for legitimate headache treatment, due to Dale's antics, which ironically keeps Nancy's bitchiness in check since she is too busy cleaning up Dale's messes to scheme anymore.
Joseph John Gribble
Nancy and John Redcorn's son. Joseph is an awkward, dim, and horny young man who spends most of his time hanging out with Bobby. Like Dale, he has no idea that John Redcorn is his biological father. Brittany Murphy voiced him from 1997-2000; from 2000 to the show's end in 2009, Joseph was voiced by Breckin Meyer.
- Brainless Beauty: When he hits puberty, he becomes more taller and muscular which mistakes him for someone older and is very attractive enough to intimidate the older and fatter Buck Strickland. But he doesn't have much in the way of brain power and common sense.
- Chocolate Baby: Is half Caucasian and Native American, being raised by his (both) Caucasian parents Nancy and Dale.
- Cloudcuckoolander: He was a tad off to start with, but he becomes a crackpot akin to his dad when he hits puberty.
- Cool Loser: Actually a completely justified example. He's tall, athletic and quite attractive, but he's just so awkward that he tends to act like a complete creep when talking to pretty much anyone. Compared to Bobby, who is short, fat and pretty ugly looking but manages to be quite popular through sheer charisma.
- Crossdressing Voices: Until his growth spurt, Joseph was voiced by a woman (Brittany Murphy).
- The Ditz: When he hit puberty, though some of it might be from having Dale for a father.
- Dumb Jock: His growth spurt seemed to simultaneously make him athletically stronger and intellectually dumber. He eventually joins the football team in high school.
- Flanderization: He was always mildly awkward and a bit dim, but it really got ratcheted up in the later seasons. Somewhat justified, as he's going through puberty, which is an awkward time for a lot of kids and it does screw with their behavior.note Then there's the fact that a conspiracy nut like Dale mostly raised him and John Redcorn didn't...
- In the Blood: Seems to have inherited John Redcorn's libido and some of Dale's delusional tendencies. This is also an example of Nature Versus Nurture. John Redcorn's genes make Joseph tall and athletic but he is awkward and has poor social skills thanks to Dale's influence.
- Jerk Jock: Averted. Despite being a star football player in the later seasons, he's more a Dumb Jock than a jerk and he's still friends with Bobby (who would normally get bullied by jerk jocks).
- Meaningful Name: His middle name is John.
- Morality Pet: To Dale. With most people, Dale is paranoid, suspicious, and really pretty selfish. However, he's an incredibly loving and devoted husband and father (even though his son is not biologically his). Despite all his craziness, he's actually a better family man than Hank in some ways: unlike Hank, Dale has no problem showing affection toward his family or saying "I love you."
- Perma Stubble: His permanent peach fuzz mustache.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: It seems as if some of his brain cells apparently died off when he hit puberty.
- Visual Development: When he starts puberty. Not only does he get taller and grow a crappy moustache, his clothing changes to reflect his shift in personality from confident jock to awkward ditz. When he was younger he wore a green shirt and white shorts, the same colors as John Redcorn's clothes, while after puberty he switched to blue and brown clothes, the same colors Dale wears.
- Younger Than He Looks: At 13, he resembles more a high schooler or even a young 20 something man. He was even offered the wine menu by a waitress.
This irritable Laotian businessman moved onto Rainey Street with his wife and daughter in series's first season. In a twist on the time-tested Positive Discrimination trope, Kahn is regularly rude towards his neighbors and dismisses them as dumb rednecks. Nobody really listens to him, however, especially not his daughter, Connie. Voiced by Toby Huss.
- Annoying Laugh: Can be describes as a combination of The Penguin and that annoying purple surfing fish from Sponge Bob Squarepants.
- Ambiguous Disorder: For a while, but in "Just Another Manic Kahn-Day," it's revealed he has manic depressive mood swings and needs to take medication for it (and the medication does make him act like a jerk sometimes, but it's better that than having boundless energy one day and being utterly depressed and listless the next).
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: A parental version. After the children are lost in the caves and he and Hank get lost looking for her, they all get rescued and rather than be stern with her, he's so relieved that he takes her out for ice cream. And tetanus shots. This is the case in the finale when Kahn tells Connie to take a night off from studying.
- Boomerang Bigot: He has even less respect for Laotian culture than Hank, his friends, and even Cotton.
- Education Mama: A male example. Drills Connie to be uber smart and successful.
- Foil: Acts as one of the many towards Hank. Their names are even anagrams of each others to reinforce this idea.
- Freudian Excuse: In "Nine Pretty Darn Angry Men", he admits to having "father issues." His jerk father-in-law probably doesn't help either.
- Funny Foreigner: Averted; most of the humor comes from Kahn trying to be as non-foreign as possible.
- Hidden Depths:
- He seems like a pretty stereotypical depiction of an Asian-American at first, but you eventually find out his tightly wound personality has nothing to do with his ethnicity or culture, and everything to do with his family life and brain chemistry.
- His manic depression revealed that he's very good at robotics, even though his official job is systems analyst.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: A Running Gag. It was even made the subject of an episode where Kahn sings karaoke. Made doubly annoying/funny by Kahn's affection for '80s pop music.Hank: Pretty good job, Kahn. I never heard that song with only one note before.
Kahn: Yeah, it all about rhythm.
- Hot Blooded Sideburns: Grows a pair in "The Redneck of Rainey Street", and becomes more short-tempered along with it.
- Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Averted, with several episodes focusing on Kahn and Minh's Laotian background. It takes Hank and company awhile to catch on, though.Hank: So, are you Chinese or Japanese?
Kahn: I live in California last twenty year, but uh, first come from Laos.
Kahn: Laos. We Laotian.
Bill: The ocean? What ocean?
Kahn: We are Laotian, from Laos, stupid! It's a landlocked country in southeast Asia, it's between Vietnam and Thailand! Population 4.7 million!
Hank: (after a moment of pondering) ...So, are you Chinese or Japanese?
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a pretty terrible person most of the time, but he does genuinely love Connie and Minh, and if pressed, really, really pressed, he'll even admit that he considers Hank a friend.
- Not So Different: With Hank, to the point where they become Vitriolic Best Buds in later seasons. This is the explicit moral of his early episodes, though he tends to forget it.
- Odd Friendship: With Buckley. Though he implies he liked Buckley mainly because he annoyed Hank.
- Pet the Dog:
- Saving Hank from the border guards in "Three Days of the Kahn-Do." Singing "Blue Moon Over Kentucky" with Bobby and Connie in "The Bluegrass Is Always Greener" for another.
- His last scene in "To Sirloin with Love." He tells Connie that she can stop studying (she's three grades ahead anyway) and come to the barbecue next door. Also in the last aired episode "Just Another Manic Kahn-Day," he and Hank have a burger from the high-tech grill and realize that they're not so different (their names are even anagrams of each others').
- In the episode where the kids get lost in the caves, Kahn tells Hank he's afraid Joseph might try something with Connie, but says "Bobby's a good kid" so he knows Bobby would never do anything like that.
- Poirot Speak: Does this to a degree but Minh is worse.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: When it comes to Ted Wassonasong, to the point of Ho Yay, but even he's got limits.
- Significant Anagram: "Khan" is an anagram of "Hank".
Kahn's wife. Just as materialistic and spiteful as him, but a smidgen more down to earth. Voiced by Lauren Tom.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: She chose Kahn, a rebel from a working-class background, over the boring "corporate boy" her father pushed on her.
- Boomerang Bigot: Not quite as much as Kahn, but she's definitely close.
- Deadpan Snarker: At least, her insults are usually more clever and better thought-out than Kahn's.
- Good Parents: Really loving and protective of Connie.
- Full-Name Basis: Calls Peggy, Hank and other characters by their full name.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Like Kahn, you really gotta dig deep to see it. But it's there. Unlike her husband, who is often deliberately hostile and condescending to his neighbors, Minh seems to honestly be nice, but often thoughtlessly says arrogant or dismissive things.
- Odd Friendship: With Dale in "The Minh Who Knew Too Much". There's also "Bill Full of Dollars" when she joins Dale and Peggy in their stock investment schemes.
- Poirot Speak: Out of all the Souphanousinphones, she speaks the least fluent with English.
- Stacy's Mom: Joseph developed a short-lived crush on her. This was mainly due to him having just hit puberty and experiencing the onslaught of confusion and distress that comes with it. Bobby is also attracted of her as he admitted to Peggy that he considers Minh to be a very beautiful woman.
- Women Are Wiser: Mostly averted; she's greedy, ambitious and kind of a jerkass just like her husband, although she is slightly more willing to interact with her neighbors than Kahn is. She's much more accepting of Bobby and Connie's relationship than Khan, though; in "Father of the Bribe", when it looks like they might break up, Minh tells Connie how she and Khan met and that, despite their differences, she knew he was right for her, and that the only person who knows if Bobby is right for Connie is Connie herself.
Kahn "Connie" Souphanousinphone, Jr.
The overachieving daughter of Kahn and Mihn. Voiced by Lauren Tom.
- Asian and Nerdy: Subverted in that while she's very smart, she would prefer to be herself instead of pursue what her father wants.
- But Not Too Foreign: Unlike her parents, she does not speak broken English and has an American accent.
- Childhood Friend Romance: To Bobby.
- Chubby Chaser: She's genuinely physically attracted to Bobby, though she does show affection for slimmer guys on a few occasions.
- Demoted to Extra: She becomes less important after she and Bobby break up, but they still remain friends.
- Gender-Blender Name: Justified as Kahn wanted a son.
- Girl Next Door: She fills this role to Bobby, and fits the profile perfectly.
- Only Sane Man: Arguably the truest one in the whole series, as she lacks any of the character flaws prominent in most of the other characters, such as Hank's unwillingness to show emotion.
- Out of Focus: See Demoted to Extra above.
- Plucky Girl: In "The Redneck on Rainey Street", Hank mentions to Kahn how hard Connie has been working while her parents gave up. In his words, "you couldn't bring that girl down with you if you tried."
Hank's selfish, slacking, and borderline abusive boss at Strickland Propane. Voiced by Stephen Root.
- The Alcoholic: One of his many, many vices.
- Bad Boss: Any time he takes an active hand in his own business, he starts running it into the ground, needing Hank to bail him out. For example, putting Vickers in charge when he's in the hospital, and making Hank feed his hounds.
- Blind Obedience: From Hank, see Broken Pedestal.
- Broken Pedestal: Averted, as no matter what he does (especially if it would get him arrested), Hank continues to idolize him. That's not to say that he's oblivious to his boss' shortcomings; in one episode, Hank tells Bobby that he's put out his first "Strickland fire", adding, "A couple hundred more and you'll have caught up with me." There's also the episode where Hank slows down his truck enough to allow a member of a gang of toughs to a swing at Buck.
- Hank's devotion to Buck seems to spring from a few specific factors. A large one is that Buck "saved" him from a job he hated (selling blue jeans) by offering him a job in a field about which he's extremely passionate; a few episodes like "The Good Buck" also imply that he used to be a good, relatively honest businessman until his vices caught up with him. This seems to be the reason Hank maintains a positive image of Buck and has yet to quit Strickland Propane in spite of everything that's happened between them.
- More than one viewer has speculated that Hank's desperate desire for a father-figure less transparently-jerkish than Cotton leads him to overlook Buck's somewhat less-obvious unsavory traits.
- Corrupt Hick: A gambling good ol' boy who engages in all sorts of shady business practices and has more addictions than he has fingers. According to Hank, he wasn't always like this, but he's gotten worse with age.
- Cyborg: A realistic example. Large sections of his heart have been replaced with artificial parts due to his many heart attacks. He also has two pig valves, but that's neither here nor there.
- Dirty Old Man: He's slept with all of his secretaries and an uncountable number of hookers.
- Easily Forgiven: to the point that he can frame Hank for murder and Hank lets it go immediately.
- Expy: Of Lyndon Johnson, 36th President of the United States.
- Fat Bastard: He's got a rich man's gut, which he earned through years of binge drinking.
- Good Ol' Boy: A classic example, even more so than Hank.
- Genius Ditz: During his few moments of sobriety, Buck's demonstrated the business savvy that got his business up and running. He's at least smart enough to know that Hank is a once-in-a-lifetime find and lets him run his propane business for him so he can rake in the money.
- The Hedonist: Spends his fortune on women, booze, food, cheap thrills, and extravagance. Often takes money out of the cash register or safe of his business to blow at a stripper club or horse race.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: Prone to having these.
- Idiot Houdini: Most of the time.
- Inherently Funny Words: "Infarction."
- Karma Houdini: The worst offender of this was when he tried to pin Debbie's murder on Hank by planting fake evidence against the latter when he wasn't looking only to diverge the attention on his wife. However, when it's found out Hank nor Buck's wife murdered anybody, Hank doesn't call him out on it.
- Kavorka Man: He's old, bald, fat, and a general scumbag. But he pulls in an astounding amount of tail. Though as Buck himself explains: "I'm not much to look at, but I've got a lot of money!"
- Like Father, Like Son: His son Jody (or Ray-Roy) inherited his daddies appetite for booze and women. Along with his business acumen.
- Pet the Dog: After he and his long-lost son drives Hank to drink himself stupid (and ruining his induction), not only does he sets up the committee to blackmail them in order to save Hank's career, but also gets Hank inducted into the "Hall of Flame."
- The Rival: M.F. Thatherton, who used to work for him before branching out on his own.
- Stupid Boss: Hank is pretty much the only reason why his company is still running. Buck is thoroughly aware of this, however, and more than a few episodes involve him pushing Hank to edge with his antics only to realize he is about to kill his "Golden Goose" (as he referred to Hank in one episode) and immediately start taking steps to get back in Hank's favor. The fact that Buck makes an effort to get Hank to forgive him is probably why Hank idolizes him despite having many similarities with Cotton.
A coworker of Hank's, the driver of one of Strickland's propane delivery trucks, known as a "Bobtail".
- The Alcoholic: He's got a bit of a drinking problem, usually when he gets stressed.
- Catch Phrase: Calling anyone he talks to "Honey" regardless of gender or their relationship with him. Could also be a Verbal Tic.
- Disproportionate Retribution: In one episode, Buck makes the Strickland employees stay at the office overnight as a team-building exercise. While no one's exactly thrilled with the idea, Joe Jack suggests murdering Buck in all evident seriousness.
- Noodle Incident: Was kicked off the Zephyr softball team for doing something unspeakable at the Taco Bueno.
- Two First Names: Both his first and last name can be used for the given name of a man.
- Vocal Evolution: His voice was a lot higher when he first appeared.
Hank's Mexican-American coworker. Usually a background character, but gets a few focus episodes in later seasons. Voiced by Eloy Casados and Danny Trejo.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Not as bad as Bill, but he likes Hank a lot more than vice versa.
- Annoying Laugh: That sounds halfway between a laugh and a cough.
- Ascended Extra: Started off as a random bobtail driver. Eventually, he became a regularly appearing employee.
- Fun Personified: He lives for the good times, spending most of his cash on parties (and funerals).
- Negative Continuity: In "Enrique-cilable Differences", Enrique has a rocky marriage, and his children are implied to have grown up and moved out. In "Lady and Gentrification," he has a loving wife and a 15 year old daughter (unless that's a second wife and a stepdaughter he treats like a real daughter, but that doesn't seem likely).
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: "Enrique-cilable Differences."
- True Companions: It's mostly one sided, but Enrique considers Hank to be his best friend and he asks him to speak at his daughter's quinceanera. Hank would prefer a professional relationship with him, and is reluctant to speak at the quinceanera. Eventually, Hank grows to be good friends with Enrique and his daughter, and even saves him from being forced to move, due to Peggy's selling homes in Enrique's neighborhood to hipsters forcing the rents sky-high.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Lampshaded in that he's always told his wife how beautiful she is yet he never gets this feedback.
One of the employees at Strickland and Buck's mistress up until Season 4 when she attempted to kill Buck for calling off their affair and ended up dying instead. Voiced by Reese Witherspoon.
- Abhorrent Admirer: To Hank, although it ping pongs back and forth between her being genuinely attracted to him and her just trying to get on his good side for pragmatic reasons.
- Character Death: Accidentally shoots herself while trying to climb into a dumpster.
- Character Exaggeration: In her first appearance, she was merely a somewhat lazy employee that Buck, and at least one other employee, liked to ogle; there was no indication that she was intentionally trying to seduce anyone. From Season 3 onward, it was established that she had a sexual relationship with Buck.
- The Mistress: It's pretty much her entire character until her last appearance.
- Self-Disposing Villain: Accidentally shot herself, which simultaneously solved the problems she was causing Hank and Buck.
- Suddenly Voiced: Season 4. She did speak once in Season 3, but was not actually present in the scene.
- Thanatos Gambit: Invoked completely by accident. Her unintentionally shooting herself created problems for all three of her personal enemies, Hank, Buck, and Miz Liz, due to them becoming the prime suspects.
- Too Dumb to Live: She accidentally killed herself by putting Buck's loaded shotgun, which didn't have the safety on, in the dumpster first and stepping on the trigger. This was all because she didn't think to set down her nachos first.
Donna (from accounting)
A curvaceous, slight spacy woman who works as Strickland Propane's accountant. Voiced by Pamela Adlon.
- Anything That Moves: She's apparently slept with every one of her male co-workers except Hank, and it's implied she's slept with at least one woman.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Lazy and self-absorbed, but very good at web design and social networking.
- A Day in the Limelight: She gets her own episode where she basically signs up Strickland Propane for a very lewd MySpace account which she then goes crazy with it.
- The Ditz
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Her main motivation in "Lost in MySpace": she just wants Hank and Buck to recognize her talents rather than make her do work she's not qualified for. That she goes way overboard kind of negates her point.
- Hartman Hips: She's got these and then some.
Roger "Booda" Sack
A standup comedian who ends up working at Strickland Propane. Voiced by Chris Rock in his first appearance ("Traffic Jam") and by Phil LaMarr for the rest of the series.
- Adam Westing: Chris Rock as a provocative, motormouthed comedian?
- The Alcoholic: Implied in "Lost in MySpace.""I was 30 days sober!"
- Berserk Button: Do not insult his mother.
- Black and Nerdy: He's the most tech-savvy Strickland employee, as evidenced in "Grand Theft Arlen" and "Lost in MySpace."
- Demoted to Extra: After his first appearance, he's lucky to get a line or two.
- Noodle Incident: Wound up in Arlen after "getting risqué on Moesha." It's implied he's teaching traffic school for community service.
- Recurring Extra: At first he's just a vehicle for Chris Rock's guest appearance. He appears in some later episodes as well.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Becomes this with Hank by the end of "Traffic Jam."
- Your Mom: His favorite mode of insult.
John Redcorn III
A Native American masseuse, one time rock musician, and biological father of Joseph. Voiced by Victor Aaron, and Jonathan Joss.
- Aesop Amnesia: In Season 4, the affair ends when Nancy starts falling back in love with Dale and when John Redcorn feels guilty about betraying Dale's trust when he's only ever been a good friend (and helped John Redcorn get documents that would eventually help him reclaim his peoples' land). In Season 11, he seems to have forgotten about all this and is eager to rekindle things with Nancy.
- Berserk Button: Do not imply a sexual attraction to Nancy in front of him.
- Character Development: John Redcorn started out as a double-barreled running gag: one about his affair with Nancy, the other about his mystical Indian side. As the show went along (especially after "Nancy's Boys") he became a fairly well-rounded character, with interests and hobbies (Indian rights, his musical career) outside of womanizing. Some of his later appearances don't even reference Nancy or Joseph.
- Dreadful Musician: When he tries to do hard rock with his band Big Mountain Fudgecake. However, in its focus episode, John Redcorn becomes a popular childrens' entertainer by playing acoustic and rewriting his lyrics.
- Everyone Has Standards: John Redcorn may be a womanizer but he won't sleep with the wives or relatives of his friends. He tells Hank as much in "Peggy's Headache." Also, after Dale proves his friendship by helping him with a lawsuit, John Redcorn decides to break up with Nancy.
- Full-Name Basis: He is never referred to as just John. It is always John Redcorn.
- Heel Realization: Early in the series he thinks Dale is an annoying idiot and shamelessly sleeps with his wife, but once he discovers their shared hatred of the government they quickly become friends and he realizes his affair with Nancy is wrong.
- Hypocrite: In "Arrow Head", he tells Hank that it's wrong to take something that isn't yours from someone else (referring to a Native American artifact Hank found in his lawn). Nancy then calls him back in to continue their affair. John Redcorn embarrassingly returns the artifact to Hank and tells him "just food for thought" and goes back into his house.
- Ink-Suit Actor: It's rumored that he was modeled after Victor Aaron (the original voice actor who died before he can record any later episodes).
- Laser-Guided Karma: John Redcorn is paying for the fourteen years he slept with Nancy by watching his biological son be raised by Dale. He makes mention about loathing having to watch his son raised by an idiot, although Dale is actually an incredibly loving father even if he's a conspiracy freak. By the time the affair with Nancy ended though, it's pretty clear that even though John Redcorn is the biological father, Joseph is Dale's son regardless, and saying anything now would just destroy both Joseph and Dale.
- Magical Native American: In the first season, every time he spoke, a gust of wind would dramatically blow through his hair. Even when indoors. Later, it's shown that he's mostly taking advantage of this to pick up women.
- Mr. Fanservice: Both in and out of universe. He's one of the only attractive adult male characters.
- Mistaken for Gay: Dale thinks he's gay, which is why he never suspected that John Redcorn slept with Nancy (that, and the fact that Dale is a conspiracy nut who cares more about the U.S. government's alleged shady dealings than his own wife and son).
- Odd Friendship: With Dale. After "Nancy's Boys" they're on good terms, though Redcorn's still annoyed by Dale's weirder actions.
- Pet the Dog:
- While largely portrayed as unsympathetic during the first three seasons, he is one of the first people to try and stop Leanne from assaulting Peggy in Season 2.
- While still having an (unrepentant) affair with another man's wife for over a decade, John Redcorn still tries to be something of a father to Joseph, and ultimately accepts it's better not to tell him the truth, since Dale (for all his flaws) is a better father.
- In "The Witches of East Arlen," he learns of Bobby's "warlock" friends making him drink dog blood for a ceremony. His first instinct is to drive over to Hank's place and help him find Bobby.
- Really Gets Around: Admits as much to Hank in Season 3. Nancy finds out about this in Season 12 and, even though their affair has long been over, doesn't take it well.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Defied. After Dale offers to help him get some of his tribe's land returned to him, he ends his affair with Nancy realizing that it would be awful way to repay a man he considers to be a friend.
Former Strickland Propane employee, now Buck's business opponent and mortal enemy. Voiced by Burt Reynolds, and then Toby Huss.
- Badass Mustache: A classic horseshoe-style moustache to really tie the whole cowboy theme together.
- Corrupt Hick: Maybe even more than Buck.
- Evil Counterpart: He is Strickland's according to Hank, in reality they're Not So Different. His business, Thatherton Fuels, is a better example being an evil counterpart to Strickland Propane as they rely heavily cutting corners and gimmicky marketing tactics towards gaining sales compared to Strickland Propane's focus on quality customer service.
- Meaningful Name: In "The Company Man", Hank assumes that M.F. stands for "Mother Fucker", when Thatherton interrupts Hank and tells his potential client that it stands for "My Friend." Word of God says that it actually stands for Milton Farnsworth.
- Nice Hat: Never seen without his cowboy hat.
- Not So Different: With his rival and former employer, Buck.
- The Rival: With Buck and, to a lesser extent, Hank.
- Say My Name: Hank will utter "Thatherton!" when he appears, narrowing his eyes at him angrily.
Wealthy Laotian businessman, and object of Kahn's borderline worship. Voiced by Mike Judge.
- The Ace: He's a rich, successful business owner.
- Affably Evil: He's polite and charming, but he's always the main antagonist in his appearances. He might not be so bad if he wasn't such a greedy, self-centered jerk.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Although this could apply to his whole family.
- Catch Phrase "Super nice!"
- Even Evil Has Standards: His and Cindy's dealings with Cozy Kitchen, which managed to track them down when they tried to hide on their private villa on an island.
- Evil Counterpart:
- His family seems to exist as one for Kahn, Minh, and Connie. The three of them are obviously more Americanized by contrasting their accents, and they're much more successful then Khan's family. Yet they seem to lack any actual morals. Chane is an egotistical spoiled wannabe whereas Connie is an intelligent Plucky Girl who wants to be a regular kid.
- Ted is also even more judgemental, snobby, and self-absorbed as Kahn, but hides it under an overly-polite facade whereas Khan is openly a jerk.
- Hypocrite: Once guilt-tripped Kahn into thinking he's betrayed his heritage, yet converted from Buddhism to Protestant Christianity because it's "good for business." Also in "Trans-fascism", he gets trans-fats banned from Arlen and then gladly patronizes the illegal food truck operated by Buck. When Hank asks about this, Ted smugly says that he has the discipline to handle it.
- Karma Houdini: Ted usually gets out of any punishment any time he does something wrong, save for a moment in "Trans-fascism", when both he and Kahn are beaten up by Rooster's crew for going to the Sugarfoot's lunch truck.
- Rail Enthusiast: Has a room with a model train layout in his house.
- Straw Hypocrite: He does not live up to any of the standards he holds everybody else in the world to. He rarely gets called on it, but when he does, he always has an excuse ready.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Balding, skinny and not terribly attractive. Cindy, on the other hand, is definitely pretty.
Ted and Cindy's teenaged son, an overachieving, insufferable jerkass who enjoys tormenting Bobby and pursuing the decidedly uninterested Connie. Voiced by Pamela Adlon.
- Abhorrent Admirer: To Connie, who considers him "a boring know-at-all who talks about himself and cheats at miniature golf." Not helped by Kahn and Minh constantly pushing Chane on her.
- The Bully: To Bobby.
- The Casanova: He's very popular with the girls at school except for the one that he likes.
- Insufferable Genius: He's actually a pretty smart guy, though he tends to overrate his intellectual abilities. Connie enjoys needling him about it.
- It's All About Me: He's even more self-centered than his father, probably because Ted and Kahn are around to enable his bad behavior.
- Jerk Jock: He's on the track team, at least.
- Karma Houdini: Like his dad, Chane generally gets away with his obnoxious behavior. "Bobby Goes Nuts" being a noteworthy exception.
- Not Good with Rejection: His typical response to Connie's rejection is mocking (or, in a few episodes, physically attacking) Bobby.
- The Rival: To Bobby.
- Token Minority Couple: Seeks to be this with Connie. Parodied in that a big factor in pushing this are Connie's parents, who are unashamedly racist and Chane is one of the only Laotians in Arlen that's Connie's age.
Principal Carl Moss
The world-weary principal of Tom Landry Middle School. Voiced by Dennis Burkley.
- The Alcoholic: A functional alcoholic, but an alcoholic nonetheless.
- Apathetic Teacher: The Principal version. He's mostly trying to get by doing as little work as possible while swiping whatever bonus he could. He couldn't care less about the students' performance if he tried, unless it involves him nearly losing his job.
- Corrupt Hick: Downplayed; he's in the principal game for himself and avoids conflict at any cost, but he's more shady than immoral.
- Deadpan Snarker: Years in the education system will do that to you.
- Dirty Coward: Once fakes a heart attack to avoid casting the deciding vote at a PTA meeting.
- Evil Counterpart: Not evil per se, but a closer look shows him to be an inversion of Hank. Unlike him, Carl has a leading position for a job, is afraid to handle confrontations, and generally favors any sort of personal gain over ethic.
- Fat Slob: When your personal habits gross out Bill...
- Honest John's Dealership: Many of Carl's ideas to raise money for the schools
- Jaded Washout: He was once as confident and competent as Hank, but years of compromising and getting kicked around by the school board and the PTA have really gotten to him.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After years of cutting corners and doing the bare minimum, he gets suspended after pretending his low scoring students are learning disabled to get the schools test scores up.
- Noodle Incident: Whenever confronted by Hank over something school related, he'll mention one. Like the time he wore a Coonskin Cap through all of seventh grade, or nearly got fired by the school board for growing a ponytail.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: At first, Carl's just a hapless, beaten-down bureaucrat. Later on, he becomes more frequently associated with morally shady activities. Like placing students with middling grades in a remedial class to boost test scores ("No Bobby Left Behind"), or helping run a counterfeit clothing ring and selling the merchandise at school ("Bill Gathers Moss").
A fat bully with a weird haircut, and seemingly perpetual stuffy nose. Voiced by Pamela Adlon.
- The Bully: Constantly picks on Bobby.
- Creepy Child: Implied. As his teacher remarked, "The Clark Peters I know likes to burn things."
- Evil Counterpart: Clark is pretty much a fatter, meaner version of Bobby.
- Fat Bastard: He's an overweight bully.
- Those Two Bad Guys: With Dooley.
- Verbal Tic: Has a weird, unattractive habit of deeply inhaling just before speaking.
The monosyllabic bad kid at Tom Landry Middle School. Voiced by Mike Judge.
- The Bully: The most consistent one, right next to Clark.
- Captain Obvious: His entire speech pattern consists of this.
- Creepy Monotone: He also has a very deep voice for a kid in middle school.
- Expy: Of Butt-head, at least vocally.
- Last Name Basis: Most people call him by his last name, including his teachers.
- The Quiet One: He never says more than one or two words at a time. When he's feeling particularly wordy, he'll offer the odd 4-word sentence.
- Those Two Bad Guys: With Clark.
A local whackjob. According to Dale, he fried his brain while staring at the sun once. Voiced by David Herman.
- Bad Boss: Puts Bobby's life in danger by trying to make him cross a racetrack during a car race to bring him a soda.
- The Bully: Whoever has the misfortune of working for him better be prepared to deal with scut jobs and verbal abuse.
- Catch Phrase: "I Da Boss!"
- The Ditz: Even before the alleged sun incident. As Dale notes, he probably wasn't very smart to do that in the first place.
- Evil Gloating: When an enraged Hank comes after him, Jimmy mocks him from behind the fence. Cue Hank kicking it open, and giving Jimmy a Literal Ass Kicking.
- Fat Idiot: In the literal sense of the word "idiot" (an adult with the mental faculties of a child).
- Hair-Trigger Temper: The man will explode at damn near anything.
- Jerk Ass: The man has not a single redeeming quality about him.
- Mad Artist: He makes beer can art.
- Man Child: He talks and acts just like an infant. It's implied that he actually is mentally retarded.
- No Indoor Voice: The man's indoor voice was apparently fried with his brains.
- Tempting Fate: "Nyaa, you can't get me, you can't get me." Followed quickly by an Oh Crap! when Hank kicks the fence down.
- Perpetual Frowner: The rare times he does smile are...not pleasant.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: The kids working under him at the racetrack despise him. And with good reason.
- Recurring Extra: Usually appears once or twice a season, but rarely gets much screen time.
- Too Dumb to Live: He baked his brain staring at the sun, and made the serious error of putting Bobby in danger in front of his dad.
Peggy's boss at Sizemore Realty. Voiced by Chris Elliot.
- Affably Evil: He rarely drops that smarmy smile, but he's definitely not a nice man.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: On the surface he's a generous and respectable businessman. In reality he's a narcissistic, petty, vindictive old cheat.
- It's All About Me: Makes it very clear to Peggy that he's more important than any of his employees.
- Manipulative Bastard: His first episode involves getting Peggy fired from the Arlen Bystander, apparently so that he can hire her as a real estate agent. This is one of many examples.
Dale's friend, a vaguely criminal character who helps Dale with some of his shadier activities. Voiced first by Danny Trejo, then by Mike Judge, though modeled after Danny Trejo.
- Battle Butler: For Dale, though he's really more of a freelancer that Dale hires exclusively.
- Cool Old Guy: Has a large tattoo of Rob Zombie on his chest (as opposed to Danny Trejo's tattoo of a beautiful senorita).
- Ink-Suit Actor: For Danny Trejo.
- Villainy-Free Villain: Deliberately invoked. He looks and acts like a tough criminal, but never does anything more serious than minor fraud (like making Hank smash his fender with a crowbar). In "Redcorn Gambles With His Future," he even seems shocked when he thinks Dale wants him to kill a magician so John Redcorn can perform in his place.
Spokesman for the Mega-Lo-Mart, frequently seen around Heimlich Country. Voiced by Chuck Mangione.
- Adam Westing: He evidently has anger management problems. He whacked the teacher upside the head with his fugelhorn just for spelling his name wrong.
- As Himself: Started out as Mega-Lo-Mart's spokesman, before apparently relocating to Arlen permanently.
- Badass Beard: Much like the real thing, he's some pretty impressive facial hair.
- Berserk Button: Either spelling his name wrong or calling him a chick. Possibly the reason why he was in an anger management class.
- Nice Hat: His black fedora.
Luanne's boyfriend and, much to Hank's displeasure, Hank's superior as department manager at Mega-Lo-Mart. Voiced by David Herman.
- The Artifact: Remains in the opening credits long after he dies.
- The Atoner: His spirit visits Luanne and helps her deal with her grief and get into community college to make up for being such a jerk to her in life.
- Bastard Boyfriend: Was certainly emotionally abusive. He treated Luanne like crap through most of the relationship. His idea of a gift were CDs he didn't want anymore. When Luanne needed money, he was holding on to what he had so he could buy a trampoline. Another trampoline. Made even worse was because he had $100 more than what she was asking for.
- Catchphrase: "Hey."
- Character Death: The sole causality of the Mega-Lo-Mart explosion.
- The Ditz: It's vaguely implied that it's because he's getting high all of the time, but he's probably just an idiot.
- Jerkass: He treats Luanne like a nuisance and is crass and rude to everyone else.
- Karmic Death: Killed in an explosion after he refuses to listen to Hank's warnings about propane safety.
- Lazy Bum: He somehow became the assistant manager of Mega-Lo-Mart's propane department despite spending all of his time goofing off. When he actually does do some work, he botches it horribly and causes the whole Mega-Lo-Mart to explode.
A One Scene Wonder who appeared in later episodes of the show including "Uncool Customer," "Strangeness on a Train" and "Powder Puff Boys".
- Ambiguously Gay: His daughter is clearly an adopted Asian and it is implied in "Strangeness on a Train" that he and Peggy's coworker are on a date. However, he also says "We decided to leave the wives at home tonight" and (jokingly?) makes passes at Peggy in "The Powderpuff Boys", rubbing her shoulders and making a joke about someone bringing a sleeping bag for multiple people at an activity. However when Peggy called out that a person should be gay openly, he seems genuinely interested to find out who this person is and unaware Peggy is referring to him.
- Camp Gay/Camp Straight: His sexual orientation is a mystery, but his level of camp is anything but subtle.
A government employee originally from Los Angeles who has appeared as both a social worker and a legal advisor for civil rights cases. He has attempted to get Bobby taken away from Hank, falsely believing Hank to be an abusive father, and also enforce an ill-advised policy that would force Strickland Propane to accept drug addiction as a disability. He is probably the closest thing King of the Hill has to a recurring villain. Voiced by David Herman.
- Knight Templar: He genuinely wants to help people (well, some people), but doesn't realize that his charges don't want or need it, or that his efforts hurt more than help. For instance, when Bobby gets a black eye from softball, he assumes Hank did it and never bothered to check with Bobby's coach.
- Nerd: He fits the stereotype, being a pale, twiggy, bespectacled bookworm.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: He pretty much exists to make Hank's life difficult. The worst part is that he's not even good at his job(s); he just seems to like being a nuisance.
- Smug Snake: Anthony's condescending and invasive attitude has caused Hank to lose his temper with him on multiple occasions.
One of Peggy's coworkers at the Arlen Bystander, a crusty, one-eyed veteran reporter with a sarcastic sense of humor. He appears a few times after Peggy leaves the Bystander. Voiced by Henry Gibson.
- The Alcoholic
- Bi the Way: In his first appearance, he mentions frequenting prostitutes and seems to be a womanizer. In "Strangers on a Train" though, it's hinted that he's dating Camp Gay PJ Finster.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sardonic comments are like a second language for him.
- Eyepatch of Power: He got it from brain tumor surgery.
- Gallows Humor: Jokes about losing his eye when the editor threw a story back in his face.
- Intrepid Reporter: A subversion, as it's implied he steals most of his stories from coworkers.
- The Rival: To Peggy in a few episodes, namely "Smoking and the Bandit."
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: He has a vocabulary Peggy can only dream of. Probably comes from years of inventing headlines.
Reverend Karen Stroup
The pastor of Arlen First Methodist Church, who is originally from St. Paul, Minnesota. Initially voiced by Mary Tyler Moore, then voiced by Ashley Gardner for the rest of the series.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Has a long-standing crush on Bill. They eventually date in "Passion of the Dautrieve," but it doesn't work out.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Judging from her breakup with Bill:Peggy: "I always pictured her as a crier, not a screamer."
- Comically Missing the Point: Has a tendency towards this.
- A Day in the Limelight: "Revenge of the Lutefisk" and "Passion of the Dautrieve" save her from Recurring Extra status.
- Death Glare: Gives one to Bill after their breakup.
- Fiery Redhead: Has curly, auburn hair and is a screamer.
- Glurge Addict: Loves snow babies, which irritates Bill.
- Grand Romantic Gesture: Gives up her job to date Bill, which backfires spectacularly.
- It's All About Me: Her sermons tend to vocalize problems she's having in her personal life.
- Moral Guardians: A subversion. She openly discusses sexuality and relationships ("Luanne Virgin 2.0"), and even encourages Bobby's flirtation with Buddhism ("Won't You Pimai Neighbor?"). In other episodes, she adamantly denounces sexism ("Revenge of the Lutefisk") and Hank for his alleged racism ("Racist Dawg").
- Sexy Priest: To Bill, at least.
- Totally Radical: On a few occasions. See her cringe-worthy attempts to seem "with it" in "Reborn to Be Wild."
A recurring character in later seasons, an Arlen police officer noted for his laziness and corruption. Voiced by Fred Willard.
- Dirty Cop: He openly takes bribes from Buck in "Trans-Fascism" and is mentioned as tampering with evidence is one episode.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Looks like Fred Willard.
- Jaded Washout: Says Principal Moss: "Officer Brown may be a disgraced cop who tampered with evidence, but this here used to be a man." Officer Brown doesn't disagree.
- Knight Templar: He's eager to see "action," even when there's none to be had (like an episode where he tries to shoot Ladybird during a thunderstorm, after she's been reported as a dangerous dog).
- Police Are Useless: When he's not corrupt he's this, responding lackadaisically to serious threats. "New Cowboy on the Block" takes this Up to Eleven, as he's too impressed with Willie Lane's Super Bowl ring to stop him from harassing Hank and Co.Hank: Why would I tip a car over on my own lawn!?!Officer Brown: I don't know... it puzzles me.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: In one episode he's demoted to policing Tom Landry Middle School.