Western Animation: King of the Hill aka: Kingof The Hill
"I tell you what…"
King of the Hill (1997-2009, with some leftover episodes that aired in 2010) was a long-running satirical animated show from FOX and Mike Judge (the guy who brought you Beavis And Butthead, and later, the movies Office Space and Idiocracy).In the fictional Texas suburb of Arlen lives Hank Hill, a long-time salesman of propane and propane accessories who's trying his hardest to always do the right thing. A lot of the humor in the series comes from the fact that Hank's a gigantic stick in the mud. His neighborhood friends include down-and-out divorced Army barber Bill Dauterive, cuckolded Conspiracy Theorist and pest exterminator Dale Gribble, and Boomhauer, a womanizing motor-mouth whose job was unknown until a last-second reveal in the series finale.His family includes his wife Peggy (a Small Name, Big Ego if there ever was one — at least in the later episodes. The earlier ones had her a little more sane), his son Bobby (who, according to Hank, is "not right," judging by the fact that Bobby is more interested in comedy and performing arts rather than sports), and his niece Luanne (who grew up in a dysfunctional, trailer-trash family and has moved in with the Hills in order to rise above her violent upbringing note though she pretty much lost sight of that when she married Lucky the redneck during the show's later years). Hank also has plenty of conflicts with his father Cotton, a misogynistic World War II veteran (who had both of his shins blown off by a Japanese soldier during an ambush).One thing that stands out the most about the series is that unlike most other animated sitcoms that feature wacky or outlandish situations (i.e. The Simpsons, Family Guy, and all of their myriad offspring), King of the Hill attempted to retain realism by seeking humor in the otherwise conventional, making it the polar opposite of Beavis And Butthead.It's notable for poking fun at its staid, conservative characters while treating them with respect. Hank's a stick in the mud and Peggy's full of herself, but in the end, they're still decent people trying to live their lives.To many, the show has aged well, dodging a great deal of the tropes commonly associated with with a long-running series that begins to lose steam. However, it did suffer from getting Screwed by the Network by being pre-empted a lot and later episodes changed the personalities of a lot of characters (Peggy Hill, as of the episodes "Peggy's Fan Fair" and "Lupe's Revenge" had Peggy's ego inflated and her comprehension of the Spanish language deflated, "Get Your Freak Off" and "Harlottown" exaggerated Hank's desire for Bobby to have a wholesome childhood in the face of a society that praises sex and sleaze and tries to push it on younger audiences, and Luanne went from trying to run from her trailer-trash, dysfunctional life to embracing it when she married Lucky the redneck).After running for numerous seasons (to the point where people didn't even realize new episodes were still being made until it was too late), the show finally ended its run on September 13, 2009. Four unaired episodes were released on syndication and on [adult swim] in 2010.The entire series is also available on the iTunes Store. The DVDs only have the series up to season six, and were cancelled due to poor sales.The show has a character sheet.
Aborted Arc: Hank and Peggy trying to have another child. It's an important plot line that runs throughout season 3 and is mentioned in the first episode in season 4. Then, it's dropped completely.
Though it should be noted, that this plot line ended with Peggy being paralyzed in a skydiving accident and requiring months of painful rehabilitation.
There is also the story of Luanne going to college after meeting Buckley's angel in season 3. In season 8 she drops out of college and goes back to hairstyling, despite Buckley's Angel telling her she was meant for something better. Technically this is a Retcon but it also aborts the ongoing arc of Luanne getting away from her trailer-trash origins — especially once she hooks up with Lucky, who Peggy points out represents the life from which Luanne was originally trying to escape.
Above the Influence: Boomhauer, when Luanne gets dumped and stays at his house. She thinks he's hitting on her, only for him to put a pillow and blanket on the couch and walk away.
Accidental Pervert: The main plots of "Hank's Dirty Laundry"note where Hank's good credit is messed up when a video store clerk accuses him of not returning a porno movie and "Naked Ambition"note where Bobby accidentally sees Luanne naked during a day camping trip, and Connie thinks Bobby did it on purpose played with this trope.
Actor Allusion: In "Arlen City Bomber", Bobby says that his dream is to eat a corn chip right off the production line. Lucky tells him "I'm gonna help you run down that dream". Lucky's portrayer had a song called "Runnin' Down A Dream".
A Dog Named Dog: The Souphanousinphones' West Highland Terrier is named "Doggy".
Advice Backfire: One episode has a double-backfire version. Hank and his friends sneak into the box seats at a Texas-Nebraska football game, only to discover it belongs to a famous Nebraska player. Late in the game the Nebraska coach calls the box to ask for advice and Hank, pretending to be the player, gives him a terrible suggestion … only for it to improbably work perfectly, costing Texas the game.
All Asians Know Martial Arts: Hank says said fighting Chang Wasanasong must have been difficult for Bobby because must know all kinds of Oriental Martial Arts.
When Khan becomes a hillbilly he shows himself to be quite proficient at a distinctly non-hillbilly fighting style, besting a significantly larger man. This results in him being invited to "stick fights" where Buck assumes he has "real crafty ninja moves".
Most shows, invariably, have this trope in some form or another, usually delivered by Hank.
Aesop Amnesia: Hank has learned to forgive Bobby's lack of athleticism and appreciate his other skills about 37 times, and it never sticks. Maybe it's genetic, as Hank has earned the grudging respect of his father Cotton on several occasions, and that never stuck, either.
This happens quite a bit, with quite a few other characters.
Not to mention that no matter how many times Hank learns to loosen up, this still happens a lot:
Bobby: Hey Dad, guess what! I joined the (insert incredibly effeminate and/or non-traditional activity here)! Hank: BWAAAHHH!!!
Hank also constantly forgets that Bobby is good at some sports, like shooting, football, and wrestling.
Kahn and Minh quite frequently learn to respect their redneck neighbors and then forget.
Quintessential to this trope is Buck Strickland, who fails to learn that his illegal schemes will put his business at risk, and Hank, who worships Strickland, never gets an Aesop that his boss is an immoral jackass and that he'll always get in trouble for trying to clean up after his boss's schemes.
All Germans Are Nazis: Mentioned by Bobby after Cotton tells Bobby's class how he garotted a German soldier with dental floss.
Connie: So did you kill the German corporal?
Bobby: <snort> This was World War II, Connie. He was a Nazi!
Ambiguously Gay: When Peggy joins the PTA, one of the board members acts like a flaming gay stereotype... but is married with children. This becomes a running gag through all of his appearances - notably in Strangeness on a Train, where he seems to be "dating" Bob Jenkins. Also his memorable line:
"Who's gay in the PTA? Spicy!"
Bill's Cousin: Gilbert. In "A Beer Can Named Desire" the three Dauterive widows refer to Bill as being the last Dauterive male that is capable of conceiving children. Gilbert asks the widows to not bother giving too much detail. In the same episode Gilbert claimed to Hank that he had sex with former Dallas Cowboy Golden Richards. ("He was a beautiful man. I knew him... briefly.") In "Blood and Sauce" he asked Buck Strickland to visit him in New Orleans to have sex.
Anachronism Stew: Invoked. In the episode, "Joust Like a Woman" Hank and Peggy visit a Renaissance fair that is stated to imitate England in 1590. The boss is "King Philip." In 1590, England had a queen. Also, the costumes for the working wenches exposed too much skin. King Philip's outfit looks like a medieval outfit.
Art Evolution: Hank got a few less facial wrinkles starting in season 2. Also, Peggy's tank top switched from gray to green starting in season 2. And Bobby's face was altered to be a little less "slow" looking and more cheerful.
Artifact Title: "Hank and the Great Glass Elevator". Only the first act ties into the episode title; the rest is about Bill's relationship with the Texas governor.
Art Imitates Life: One of the more startling examples, two years after "Orange You Glad I Did Say Banana," in which Khan joins a Laotian-American paramilitary group lead by a former general planning an attack on the communist government of Laos, a real-life Laotian American group lead by a former general planned an attack on the communist government of Laos.
Artistic License - History: In "Harlottown" a character incorrectly says that witches were burned at the stake in Salem. Most were hanged, and one was crushed under stones. Could be a deliberate error to highlight the character's ignorance.
Artistic License - Religion: Peggy was wrong to suggest Bobby might be "god to billions of Asians". A lama is more like "reincarnated prophet to millions of Tibetans". Peggy being a Small Name, Big Ego, however, and only saying that to proudly boast, this was pretty in-character for her.
First Arlen Methodist displayed in one episode the trademarked logo of the United Methodist Church. Its disappearance in other episodes afterwards leads one to believe that the show mistakenly believed it was a generic Methodist logo. Due to the UMC's status as the majority organization in its brand of Christianity, Methodist churches in America, moreover, almost always have the word "United" before "Methodist."
As Himself: Chuck Mangione, who was more or less part of the supporting cast he had so many appearances. At first he was just the pitchman for Mega-Lo-Mart. Then he apparently moved to Arlen and could be spotted around town at various places.
Apparently he unofficially moved to Arlen because his contact with Mega-Lo-Mart states he has to be at every store opening they hold, so he started hiding out in the one in Arlen for free as a form of revenge.
As the Good Book Says: In "Hilloween", Junie Harper cites Proverbs 1:32: "The complacency of fools will destroy them." Hank retaliates: "Get out of my house! Exodus!"
Asian Rudeness: The Souphanousinphones can sometimes seem like this, especially Kahn (whose rudeness is justified when it's revealed that he's a manic-depressive and the medication he takes to curb his mood swings make him act like an ass). Averted with Connie though, who's friendly, patient, polite, and typically ashamed of her parents' conduct.
A-Team Firing: Dale and all of his gun club buddies are terrible shots. And apparently the Japanese soldiers who tried to take down Cotton were afflicted as well, as all they were able to do was blow his shins off.
Band of Brothers: Hank thinks this extends to all his old football buddies. At one point, he wants to finally give up on Bill but doesn't because "A good running back never abandons his fullback."
Apparently his former teammates share this sentiment. When Hank is trying to organize a state championship rematch over twenty years later, one player responds "Hank, I live in Phoenix now. You want me to drop everything, fly back to Arlen to play a flag football game against our high school rivals? Of course I will."
The only reason he moved to Phoenix in the first place was to get away from the constant yearly hazings that came afterward from their rivals. When they win the game, he's happy that he can finally move back home and "get the hell out of Phoenix."
Bat Scare: This trope is why Dale's plan to get rich selling guano failed. Dale planned to collect bat guano to sell, so he, Bill and Boomhauer go into a cave. Inevitably, they run out screaming after waking up the bats.
Dale: We've awaken a sleeping, pooping giant!
Beleaguered Assistant: Hank Hill essentially runs Strickland Propane while Buck gets drunk in the office.
Berserk Button: A lot of things. Don't mess with Bobby or Luanne in front of Hank. Don't question Texas (and on a closely related subject, don't speak favorably of California or Oklahoma) in front of Hank. Don't be a jackass in front of Hank. Don't get Arlen confused with Austin.
And most importantly — never denigrate propane or suggest that charcoal is superior for grilling. That just ain't right.
Bobby mentions to his friends that Hank considers butane to be the "bastard gas."
Also, never ever question Peggy's fluency in Spanish, no matter how strong the urge. Or imply her intelligence is anything below genius, or ever bring up the subject of her shoe size.
One example in "Boxing Luanne": you should never classify George Foreman's grills as a "novelty" in front of him. "Fight's on!"
Don't call Cotton a Nazi. Especially when his friends are nearby.
Implying a sexual attraction to Nancy will piss John Redcorn off big time, as Hank learned when he told him he had an erotic dream about her.
Big Applesauce: Hank's true birthplace (specifically, the women's room at Yankee Stadium). He is distraught to learn it.
Big "NO!": Several times over the course of the series, and almost always by Hank. "Bwah!"
Bilingual Bonus: Peggy's crappy Spanish is only really funny if you know the language. Although if you do know Spanish, Peggy's mutilated Spanish could be either funny or ear-sodomy.
Ted Wassanasong's pronunciation of the Lao name "Ngoc" is hilariously wrong if you know Lao pronunciation, and it also drives the point home that he's a complete poser … in an episode in which he's guilting Kahn over not being Lao enough.
Hank: Bills … bills … bills … why do we keep getting Bill's mail?
Billy Elliot Plot: A frequent source of conflict between Bobby and Hank. A variation occurs in the episode where Bobby excels in Home Ec skills; Hank becomes supportive because he enjoys the fruits of Bobby's labor, but Peggy becomes more and more distraught when he consistently outshines her in homemaking.
Bitter Almonds: Cotton claims that Tilly tried to poison him with a chicken laced with cyanide, which Tilly claims was just chicken almondine (chicken with almonds).
Bittersweet Ending: Luanne eventually overcomes her sorrow at the death of Buckley and finds the place in the world she has been so desperately seeking from the start. Unfortunately this comes about through her marriage of Lucky, a three-toothed conman hillbilly who makes a living by suing various businesses. While Lucky is genuinely goodhearted, it doesn't change the fact that he's lazy, shortsighted, and content with barely scraping by. Thanks to her baby and lack of education, there is little doubt that she has trapped herself and her child in the same situation she fought every episode up to Lucky's arrival to escape from and avoid.
Hank, however, has shown that while he does dislike the fact that Luanne was mooching off of him, he's still willing to help her wherever and whenever she needs it. This makes her modest birthday present (a little coupon for a local getaway and some advice from Hank) all the more awesome and heartwarming, since Hank basically told her so and ensured a good future for her child.
Black Comedy Rape: "Return to La Grunta". Hank is raped by a dolphin, though to be fair, Hank was "fondling" him. And apparently, this isn't unheard of in Real Life.
Bland-Name Product: Frozen Cow Creamery, an over-the-top Expy of Coldstone Creamery. Hank and Peggy have a date at the Pasta Garden in "Master of Puppets." Also:
Bobby: My mom's making Pork Pockets!
Blessed with Suck: One episode has Bobby having to take medication to focus in class better. On one hand, the medication ends up giving him Hyper Awareness (bordering on Super Senses), but on the other he ends up acting perpetually stoned out of his mind.
: Bobby: *sniff sniff* There some milk in the fridge that's about to go bad. *sniff sniff* And there it goes …
Blood Knight: The police in the final scenes of Dog Dale Afternoon. They arrive on the scene thinking Dale is a sniper, and even when it's made plainly obvious to them that this is not the case, they refuse to even consider any plan of action that is not "shoot him in the head".
Boomerang Bigot: Frequently Kahn, especially when he wants to a join a country club with only Asian members.
The hipsters in the episode where they move in with Enrique really hate white people, despite being mostly white themselves.
Boot Camp Episode: In one episode, Cotton enrolls Bobby in a boot camp to toughen him up. It doesn't work, but Cotton comes to embrace the fact that, in a strange way, Bobby's laziness and lack of motivation actually make him a really tough nut to crack.
It doesn't work because the camp "went soft" (in Cotton's opinion, which just meant they weren't borderline abusing the kids due to lawsuits about the abuse). Incensed, Cotton took it over and turned it back into what it used to be, but Bobby still hung on.
Bowdlerization + Edited for Syndication: In the original version of "Joust Like a Woman," a teen at the Renaissance Faire calls King Phillip "gay" (in the insulting context meaning "lame or stupid," which has come under fire for being politically incorrect). This scene was edited for a time on [adult swim] around the time that anti-gay bullying (and the resulting suicides) become a big issue. As of February 2012, this scene has been reinstated.
On the episode where Bobby befriends Connie's delinquent cousin Tid Pao (voiced by Lucy Liu), she calls Bobby a "pig fucker" (with "fucker" bleeped out). In all reruns (including the [adult swim] version), the line is changed to "pig farmer."
"Hank's Dirty Laundry" has Hank watching a porno for clues in his defense against renting and not returning a porn movie. He's hunched over while writing notes when his pen runs dry and he starts shaking it for the last bit of ink, which Peggy, watching him from outside at that moment, mistakes for masturbating and yells at Bobby to get out of the house. The part with the pen was changed to Peggy freaking out over Hank being hunched over for TV airings, but the original pen part lives in the animatic version, which appears as a special feature on the season two DVD.
Hank muttering "Jesus Christ!" as he watches Bill down the entire platter of hot dogs on the episode where Bill becomes a competitive eater was muted on [adult swim].
Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Dale seems to have a knack for putting together various words in the series. One of them involves trying to figure out the new persona Bill adopts for his job at a hair salon.
Dale: Pirate! Waiter! Pirate waiter!
Objection! Conjecture! Objecture!!
Potential Pod Person, probable robot. Possible Podbot.
Brick Joke: In "Pregnant Paws," Hank asks Peggy to call up Buck Strickland, saying he's on speed-dial under "Peggy's Mother". Later on, Peggy is mad at Hank and goes to the phone: "Mom? Is it alright if I stay with you for a few days? … Oh, sorry Mr. Strickland."
In "Sleight of Hank", an annoyed Hank asks Bobby if he has to be at school. Bobby replies "No." Hank asks, "What about Sunday school?" Bobby yelps. Later, Hank asks Bobby if he has any homework. Again, Bobby replies "No." Hank asks, "What about Sunday school homework?" Bobby says "Oy," and leaves.
Another brick joke from the same episode: At the beginning, Peggy says the only thing Bobby can see at night is Bill dancing with his mop through his window. Towards the end of the episode, Bill is seen dancing with the mop.
In "Little Horrors of Shop", Peggy attempts to be cool during chemistry class and dips a rose in liquid nitrogen. Her attempts to shatter it end in her accidentally throwing it through the window. Later in the episode, Hank talks about the state of disrepair the school is in and asks "Has anyone noticed that broken window in the chemistry classroom?"
In "The Final Shinsult" Cotton and Dale steal Santa Anna's prosthetic leg. While at the museum where it is displayed Cotton entertains Bobby's class with a story about garroting a German soldier with dental floss, saying that its always important to carry dental floss. Later in the episode Dale betrays Cotton to the police and Cotton tries to strangle him with some dental floss.
In "Lost in MySpace," Peggy brags about posing as Ted Danson and getting friends to open up to her about her problems. She then adds that Kahn is a manic-depressive for seemingly no reason. One of the missing episodes when FOX canceled the show and left four unaired episodes to air in syndication, on Cartoon Network, and on streaming video is "Just Another Manic Kahn-Day," which centers on Hank learning that Kahn needs his medication to curb the mood swings he has from being manic-depressive.
In "Cotton Comes Marching Home," there's a throwaway brick joke where Hank and Peggy are reading the paper at breakfast, and Hank remarks that the city council has voted to remove a yield sign in town. Later, while he's driving.
Hank: You're supposed to yield! Oh, right. Thanks Councilman Everett.
Layaway Ray in "Jumping Crack Bass." First seen burning down his bait shop for insurance money. Later in the episode he's on trial for insurance fraud.
Brother-Sister Incest: In a Season 12 episode, Bill starts dating a single mother and a distrusting Dale does a DNA test on the daughter, the results showing that she has the same father as Joseph. Peggy notices that Joseph and the girl are growing attracted to each other, and sends Bobby to hang out with them and play third wheel in order to keep things from getting Squicky.
The Cassandra: You'd think every word out of Hank's mouth prior to the series was a horrible lie, considering nobody will ever listen to him until after everything's gone to hell (and that's assuming they don't immediately blame him for it).
Cassandra Truth: A very odd twist; in "Yard, She Blows", Bobby damages Peggy's lawn gnome and Hank, who despises it, uses this as pretext to bury it in the woods. Eventually he confesses, but tries to take all the blame. Peggy correctly guesses that Hank's covering for someone, but incorrectly believes that Bobby is entirely to blame and punishes him very harshly. At the end of the episode, Hank buys a replacement gnome and lets Bobby give it to Peggy; again, she gets this right but assumes that Hank was taking pity on Bobby rather than trying to salve his own guilt.
In "Dia-BILL-ic Shock", Bill becomes diabetic and accepts the fact that his life will change for the worse. When he meets a new friend in the park, the said friend gets Bill to take control of his life and have a more active lifestyle, even though the two of them are in wheelchairs. Bill manages to do so for a while and manages to become healthy enough to the point where not only he can walk again, but his diabetes has vanished. When Bill's friends find out about this, they assume he actually lied about having diabetes in the first place and are angry with him. On top of this, Bill is shunned by the same women that loved him when he was in a wheelchair. Bill gets depressed and tries to ingest a bag of sugar to induce a diabetic blood sugar spike since he thinks people liked him better handicapped and would listen to him then. Luckily, Hank manages to stop Bill in time and give him a heart to heart talk.
Not even that. The doctor had warned him he would become diabetic if he didn't do something. He wasn't even diabetic in the first place.
In "Life in the Fast Lane: Bobby's Saga", Hank doesn't believe Bobby's complaints about his boss Jimmy Witchard; he assumes Bobby is just whining. But Hank changes his tune at the end of the episode when Jimmy forces Bobby to cross a busy race track. Hank chases Jimmy down and kicks his ass, literally.
Casting Gag: In season 12, we are introduced to Kate who is revealed to be Joseph Gribble's half-sister. She is voiced by Brittany Murphy, who — in addition to playing Luanne — was also Joseph's original voice (up until the character underwent puberty). When playing Kate, Murphy used the exact same voice she used for Joseph.
Cat Fight: Bill's three Cajun cousins (one by blood, two by marriage), all while wearing lingerie. They were voiced by the Dixie Chicks.
Hank had: "Dang it, Bobby.", "I sell propane and propane accessories.", "Shut Up, Dale.", "Damn it, Dale!" (occasionally said to Bill), "I'm gonna kick your ass!", "That boy ain't right.", "I tell you what.", and "BWAAAHHH!!!"
Dale had: "S'go!", "Sh-sh-sshhaa!", and "Wingo!" He would also say "Gih!" when startled or surprised.
Boomhauer often started sentences with: "Yo man, I tell you what man …" before going on an almost incoherent, fast-talking rant. Lampshaded in Boomhauer's flashback in "A Firefighting We Will Go", in which Boomhauer himself is actually intelligible and the other three are speaking gibberish consisting mostly of their catchphrases.
Cotton had: "I killed fitty men!"
Monsignor Martinez had: "Vaya con Dios."
And of course, Hank, Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer had: "Yep." "Yep." "Yep." "Mm-hmm." (in varying orders)
"Vat are you talking about?"
Caught in a Snare: Hank and Boomhauer get snared, and Bill trips the wire for one but is too fat for the tree to pull him up. He removes the foot-lasso and runs to get help but falls into a pit trap instead.
Characterization Marches On: In the early seasons, Luanne is not nearly the ditz she is by the end of the show. Seeing her grab Cotton by the wrist and snarl at him to never dare touch her again is wildly out of character of her later on. Heck, in early episodes she was such a competent mechanic that Hank allowed her to touch his truck unsupervised.
Peggy goes from a down-home Texas homemaker who understood Spanish and spoke a decent amount of it (in the pilot, she says, Los estudiantes son mis amigos ["The students are my friends"]) to a Small Name, Big Ego who was terrible at speaking Spanish.
Hank and Cotton's relationship changed radically after the first season. Originally Cotton was portrayed as a boisterous, short-tempered and sexist old man and was on good terms with his son, to the extent that he sabotaged his own car so he'd have an excuse to stay at the Hill home longer. Starting with Season 2 Cotton was portrayed as being a verbally abusive parent with zero respect for Hank.
Chekhov's Gun: The cigarette Dale lit off the Olympic torch, coming back into play when the torch was dropped later on in the episode.
Chocolate Baby: Joseph, clearly fathered by John Redcorn during his long-standing affair with Nancy. Of course, Dale never figures this out. Everyone else knows, but won't tell Dale (though John Redcorn admitted to dating "his best friend's wife" during a reality show taping, but Dale thought John Redcorn was talking about Bill's wife).
And then when he does figure out Joseph's not his son, he immediately concludes that Joseph is the result of an alien impregnating Nancy in her sleep. With his own semen.
Christian Rock: Satirized in one episode. As Hank tells the musicians, "You're not making Christianity better, you're making rock and roll worse!"
Christmas Episode: "The Unbearable Blindness of Laying", "Pretty, Pretty Dresses" (probably the darkest, most depressing Christmas episode that's not on The Simpsons or Family Guy), "'Twas the Nut Before Christmas", "The Father, the Son and J.C.", "Livin' on Reds, Vitamin C and Propane" (sort of; it has a subplot about Peggy and Luanne making a new Christmas song), and "Ms. Wakefield" (also a dark Christmas episode, but not nearly as depressing as "Pretty, Pretty Dresses").
Clown School: Bobby attends a clowing class at the local college. He's dissapointed to learn that the class teaches Commedia dell'Arte-type clowning instead of circus clowning, and the teacher takes it very seriously.
Hank's love of propane to the point of him affectionately calling it "Lady Propane" in a few episodes. In "Sug Night" it is almost implied that he has a fetish for it.
He also calls propane his "mistress" and says that he and Peggy have an "understanding" about that.
Cold Open: The pilot episode, "Order of the Straight Arrow," "Three Days of the Khando," "Life in the Fast Lane: Bobby's Saga", "Good Hill Hunting", "To Spank With Love", "The Bluegrass is Always Greener," and "Kidney Boy and Hamster Girl: A Love Story." The list goes on.
Continuity Nod: Buck Strickland talked about a son he may have named Ray Roy, whom he meets seasons later and calls by the same name (despite it not being his name).
Peggy mentions offhand in one of the first seasons that she had never kissed a man until she was 20, and even then he was gay. Many seasons later she reveals that man was also the first person she ever slept with.
In "Who's the Dummy Now", Hank is making a ventriloquist dummy for Bobby modeled after various football players; one of his reference pictures is David Kaliiki-Alii, from the episode "Peggy Makes the Big Leagues".
Mrs. Kaliiki-Alii also appears when Hank has to go to the DMV in "Traffic Jam".
In "Grand Theft Arlen", the Pro-Pain video game has a virtual reproduction of Alabaster Jones from "Ho Yeah".
In "Not In My Back-hoe" Hank and his new friend Hal visit a revolving hardware store in McMaynerberry and Hal mentions it used to be a restaurant. Hank and Peggy ate at that restaurant for their 20th wedding anniversary in "As Old As The Hills."
In "Leanne's Saga" it's mentioned that Luanne's dad is "hiding on an oil rig" and won't come ashore until Hank faxes him Leanne's death certificate. A few seasons later when he makes an appearance, it's explained that the oil rig was a lie and Luanne's father really was in jail (and, if he commits one more crime, he'll be there for life).
Bill orders meat from Larson Pork Products for his barbecue in "Blood and Sauce." That's fairly disturbing if you remember "Pygmalion."
Continuity Porn: The original series finale was initially going to be Luanne's wedding, which explains why the episode's closing scene featured characters from throughout the series who only appeared in one or two episodes attending the wedding. The show was greenlit for more seasons and the actual final episode is the episode where Hank discovers Bobby's talent for identifying flaws in cuts of beef, puts him on the Meat Inspection team at the local community college, and when Bobby wins, the two have a celebratory barbecue in their backyard. The only Continuity Porn we get are the neighbors coming over for a barbecue.
Continuity Snarl: Cotton's Cadillac Car. The body style changes every time it appears. Most times it resembles a Cadillac Eldorado, either an early '70s or an mid '80s model, sometimes it resembles a Fleetwood sedan, and at least twice it was a convertible.
Another one when Connie's attempt to get impressive experiences for her private school application by shadowing Peggy is going poorly:
Connie: Dang it, Mrs. Hill! I've seen the test scores for Arlen High. If I have to go there, my only options will be DeVry or the University of Phoenix. Which one, Mrs. Hill?
Peggy: Well, on the radio they both sound like good institutions, but … [then she notices Connie's glare].
In one episode, Peggy makes a parade float for Veteran's Day consisting of three skeletons raising a Jolly Roger flag in the Iwo Jima Pose, with "THE FUTILITY OF WAR" on the sides of the float. She apparently had no idea that the veterans at said parade would find it incredibly offensive.
Originally her float was a standard Iwo Jima Pose, but she changed it when Cotton refused to lend her his medals (though he did offer to rent them for $400 a day), because authentic medals would apparently add a special element to it... even though such a detail would go unnoticed and the actual men involved weren't wearing medals at the time (the flag was raised in the during combat on the fifth day of the 35 day Battle of Iwo Jima).
Dale eventually realizes that Joseph isn't his real son. When it comes to concluding who the real father is, though, he settles on aliens who used his own seed.
Again in another episode: while Hank, Dale, and Bobby are attempting to make Joseph have a spiritual vision on John Redcorn's advice, Dale ends up having the vision instead. He sees a Native American man wearing a massive Indian headdress making love to Nancy, and then Nancy giving birth to Joseph, who is wearing the same headdress. He immediately comes to the conclusion that it means that HE is a Native American.
Cool, but Inefficient: Dale goes into this on regular occasions. Subverted at one point — his duty on a suicide watch involves threatening to kill whoever's being watched. The shock of it actually works.
Couch Gag: A sound bite from each episode is played over the production company's title card. Often the quotes are taken out of context for added humor, such as the ZZ Top episode, whose quote is Hank saying "It's time to rock".
Credit Card Plot: Done in the episode "Rich Hank, Poor Hank" where Bobby thinks Hank is wealthy and overly thrifty, so he decides to steal his credit card and buy a ton of stuff with it.
Credits Jukebox: Most episodes used the usual ending theme (a slightly different version of the opening), but a few episodes had different music:
"Hank's Dirty Laundry" played the theme in a porn style.
"Hank's Cowboy Movie" played "Go You Dallas Cowboys, Go!"
"Ho Yeah!" played the theme in a 1970s blaxploitation (think Shaft) style.
Critical Research Failure: In-Universe. On the episode "Bystand Me," Peggy accidentally puts an article in the newspaper advising housewives to mix bleach with ammonia, which Hank says is mustard gas. While you do get a dangerous gas when you mix bleach with ammonia (chloramide), it's not the ingredients for mustard gas.
Hank's knowledge of famous people, such as the fact "Weird Al" Yankovic "blew is brains out in The Eighties because no one bought his music" or that Rudy, from Rudy, died of cancer shortly after the big game (he actually spent ten years pitching the movie to studios afterwards).
Hank attempts to invoke this in-universe in order to discredit the Jerkass archaeologist whom Peggy has allowed to dig up their lawn after Hank found an arrowhead there while mowing. He creates a necklace out of twine and fried chicken bones and plants it for the archaeologist to discover. However, his plan fails when Peggy embarrasses herself by declaring it to be authentic, and the archaeologist hands it to his grad students who immediately recognize it as fake.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Dale actually often appears to be one, even though his extreme paranoia and tendency to panic and overreact can normally make him look like The Ditz. He will often manage to devise surprisingly efficient solutions (of course, more often than not, they are solutions to problems which he had caused in the first place), and was occasionally portrayed performing some remarkable feats, including infiltrating a heavily guarded military base, learning fluent Russian with nothing but a correspondence course, and being able to successfully drive an M 1 A 2 Abrams on the first try after only reading its manual.
Bobby also somewhat exemplifies this trope, being a mediocre student but a pop culture whiz, excellent cook, crack shot and expert at grading meat.
Crying Wolf: In one episode, Peggy discovers that Randy Travis recorded a song with lyrics she herself had written and mailed to him. Unfortunately, Peggy is such a Know-Nothing Know-It-All who enjoys taking credit for other people's work that nobody believed it was true. Not even Hank.
Cure Your Gays: In "Luanne Virgin 2.0", Peggy admits that before she met Hank she slept with a gay male friend in an attempt to "fix" him. This is presented more sympathetically than most examples, as the man was the one who asked because (as Peggy puts it), being gay in Texas in the 60s wasn't exactly a lot of fun. When Luanne asks "Did you fix him?", Peggy responds "Oh, he wasn't broken. Just gay."
Curse Cut Short: In "The Order of the Straight Arrow", Bobby and Joseph are camping in the backyard and Bobby says, "Fuh-" That instant, Peggy pulls open the tent and cuts Bobby off.
Bobby: I was going to say "Fuh … get about it."
Peggy: Bobby, Peggy Hill knows half a swear word when she hears one.
In "The Company Man":
Thatherton: M.F. Thatherton.
Hank: The "M.F." stands for …
Thatherton: "My friend".
In another episode, Bobby says "In school they told me that you're not supposed to call them Indians. You're supposed to call them Native Americans. Just like you say 'same-sex partners' instead of …" and is immediately cut off by both parents delivering a First Name Ultimatum
Cut Short: Not the show itself, which is a Long Runner, but the DVD releases ended after season 6 due to low sales (the entire series, however, is available for purchase on iTunes).
Daddy's Little Villain: Minh was the daughter of a general in her native Laos, and enjoyed terrorizing the peasants.
Enrique: "Enrique-cilable Differences" and "Lady and Gentrification."
Death Seeker: One Christmas Episode focused on an elderly woman named Mrs. Wakefield who used to live in the Hill House returning because she wishes to die there. The Hills are aghast by her request and try their hardest to get her to leave, only Hank is treated as the Designated Villain by the neighborhood for supposedly tormenting a harmless old woman. By the end, Hank decides to let her have her way and offers her permission to die... during the Hills' Christmas party. Mrs. Wakefield concedes that it's not an appropriate time, and Hank offers that she can come back again whenever she wants instead of just to die.
Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: "A-Firefighting We Will Go": Hank blames Chet Elderson for inadvertently burning down the firehouse. Dale was really at fault (for plugging in a malfunctioning beer sign).
Luanne: Your hair is so sexy! It reminds me of … Sex.
In "Pregnant Paws", Dale attends a bounty hunter class. The teacher begins by saying: "All right, we don't have much time, so let's get right to it." He then puts in an instructional video tape taught by the same teacher, which begins with him saying, "All right, we don't have much time, so let's get right to it."
Deranged Animation: The show is mostly grounded in reality, but on the occasion that a character has a nightmare/daydream, things can get pretty trippy. This is especially true in "Plastic White Female" and "The Man Who Shot Cane Skretteburg".
Does This Remind You of Anything?: In one episode Peggy and Bobby try out charcoal and do their best to hide it from Hank. When he finds out, the scene is treated like a father finding his child with drugs, complete with Peggy giving the "I was holding it for a friend" excuse.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: Cotton is this to Peggy when he coaches her back through rehabilitation following her skydiving accident. He even tells her that if she can walk up the cemetary hill where his burial plot is located, she can dance with him on his grave. She does make it, and they do.
Hank becomes one in Dale's imaginary version of past events, complete with an immaculate uniform and a Smokey hat.
Cotton again in flashbacks of Hank's childhood.
Hey! Shakey! Close the other eye before I poke it out!
Dumb Blonde: Luanne and Didi. Didi moreso in all of her appearances. With Luanne, it zigzags. Yes, she does come off as a Brainless Beauty, but then, you have episodes like "Boxing Luanne," "Pigmalion," "Shins of the Father," "The Good Buck," and "Lucky See, Monkey Do" where it shows that Luanne has a brain in her head and, with some encouragement, can use it.
Dumb Jock: Deconstructed in "Peggy Makes the Big Leagues" with David Kalaiki-Alii, the high school's star quarterback. David is neither dumb nor a jerk, merely lazy and spoiled. After his mother embarrasses him by telling Hank and Peggy he's learning disabled, David takes his studies seriously and proves to be a good student.
Early-Installment Weirdness: The later seasons were more energetic. The first few episodes are really laid back, with a bit of difference in the characters' speech as the actors "found" their voices. Hank has more of a temper (he spends an early-season Halloween episode urging Bobby to commit minor acts of vandalism and the pilot episode had him accused of beating his son after Bobby comes home with a black eye he got during a baseball game when someone threw the ball at his head), Luanne is viewed as an Idiot Savant when it comes to auto repair, and Peggy is actually sane and has an okay grasp on the Spanish language.
Education Mama: Subverted in that it's Kahn who's hard on Connie, not Minh.
Enter Stage Window: This is how Bobby comes over to Connie's room, because Kahn can't stand him.
Epunymous Title: In both the English and Spanish translations. In the English translation, Hank is "King of the Hill" family. In Spanish, Hank goes by "Hector Reyes" ("Reyes" means "kings" in Spanish) and the show is called Los Reyes de la Colina.
Erotic Dream: Hank has a series of them about Nancy, which squicks him out, until he realizes the dreams were more about him being at peace while he grills burgers and have nothing to do with being sexual.
Eskimos Aren't Real: Dale once used a pirate radio station to ask viewers if they had ever seen any proof that Hawaii was real.
"I think my truck might be too much vehicle for me." — Hank after learning that he wasn't born in Texas.
Excuse Boomerang: Unsuccessfully attempted by Hank in the episode Junkie Business. When the employees of Strickland Propane start claiming to suffer from ridiculous disabilities in order to take advantage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, Hank answers them by claiming to suffer from "Good Worker Syndrome", which requires people around him to give 100%.
Expospeak Gag: Subverted- Hank immediately figures out what the mold expert actually meant, and it's highly mundane.
Rob: Everything from frictional irrigation with a concentrated chlorine solution to forced atmospheric dehydration.
Hank: So, wait, you're gonna rub it with bleach and then blow it dry?
Fat Best Friend: The whole trope is with fat kid Bobby and his satellite friend, Joseph. Joseph is especially awkward around girls as opposed to Bobby. And there's also Bill, who is this trope played straight.
Bill is Hank's fat best friend, even though flashbacks showed that Bill wasn't fat as a teenager. He was more-or-less muscular, as he was a high-school football player.
Flanderization: For the most part, averted, but Bill became more pathetic, Dale became more insane, Luanne is now a Dumb Blonde (instead of somewhat dim, but can show Hidden Depths of being smart and/or able to care for herself), Bobby isn't as much of a troublemaker as he was in the pilot epiosde, and Peggy apparently is suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect, as she prides herself in being able to understand and speak perfect Spanish, even though "Lupe's Revenge" showed that she sucked at it and has no self-awareness of the fact.
The weird thing about the show's Flanderization, is that it is paired with Character Development. This is why it is hard to detect: they evolved while having their personalities exaggerated.
Flashback Cut: "The Texas Skilsaw Massacre" features a brief batch of clips from previous episodes of Hank getting angry.
Lucky, to a paramedic: "I find that 3cc's of Morphine nicely dulls the pain without affecting the admissibility of my testimony."
Full-Name Basis: EVERYONE refers to John Redcorn solely as John Redcorn. EVERYTIME. Kahn and Mihn also tend to refer to everyone in this manner.
Fully-Clothed Nudity: In "Yankee Hankee", despite still being in boxer shorts, Hank says "I've got to hide my nudity!" and runs into the Alamo.
Another instance has Hank, getting an Icy-Hot backrub, freaking out and pulling on his shirt when Bobby walks into the room, despite being fully dressed from the waist down.
In an early episode, Luann walks in on Hank and Peggy getting ready for bed. Hank mentions wanting to get "dressed" and then puts on his glasses. Apparently, this suffices as they continue the conversation.
The Fun in Funeral: In "Death of a Propane Salesman", instead of saying some words about the deceased Buckley, Luanne put up a poster of Bobby in his underwear, claiming it to be of "a starving Irish child", and shouted "Fight the occupation! Fight the occ-u-pa-tion!"
In "A-Firefighting We Will Go", Hank, Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer are pallbearers for Chet Elderson's funeral. However, they lose their balance while carrying the casket and fall into the grave, with Chet Elderson's pants accidentally pulled off in the process.
Funny Background Event: In Shins of the Father when Joseph asks Cotton where his legs are Bill and Hank, knowing how Cotton will react, share a smile.
In "Order of the Straight Arrow," when the ranger is talking to Hank about the missing whooping crane, a hippie chick can be seen crawling out of Boomhauer's tent.
In the ending of "Pretty, Pretty Dresses", after Hank puts on a dress and pretends to be Lenore to give Bill closure (and get him to stop wearing a dress and acting like Lenore) and they both take off the dresses, Dale can be seen walking into the alley wearing a dress and a purse (Hank had said it was "that kind of party"), then runs off when he sees no one else is wearing a dress anymore.
Glad I Thought of It: A variant occurs in "It's Not Easy Being Green" when Hank, Dale, and Bill ponder what to do about Boomhauer's car in the quarry, which is about to be drained:
Hank: I've got a plan. Dale, we're gonna need your scuba gear. Dale: Why? Hank: Because they can't find Boomhauer's car if it's not there. Dale: But it is there. Bill: Maybe we should use Dale's scuba gear to pull the car out. Dale: Now that's a plan, Hank! (Hank groans in annoyance)
Glurge Addict: Hank's mom, who had to collect porcelain figurines, as they kept her sane while she was married to Cotton Hill.
God Guise: Thanks to her self-absorption, Peggy thinks this is happening to her when the Mexican villagers are thanking God for the return of a child she accidentally kidnapped ("Do not worship me, worship my actions"), but she finds out soon enough that this is not exactly the case when she is handcuffed.
God Help Us All: A variant is said by Hank in "Bills Are Made to Be Broken" when nearly everyone in the crowd cheers Ricky Suggs's phony touchdown (which beat Bill's record):
Golden Mean Fallacy: Peggy's therapist in "Cotton's Plot" tells her therapy takes time, using the Grand Canyon as an analogy: "It took over 200 years to make." Peggy counters by saying it was "millions of years." Next time they meet, the therapist tells Peggy "We were both right. It was 200 million years!"
Gone Horribly Wrong: In "Father of the Bribe", Bobby and Connie pretend to break up in order to screw with Khan (who hates their relationship). Connie flunks a test, claiming that the break-up distracted her, and the school catches her passing a note and assumes she's suicidal. Khan panics and sets them back together, but forces them to spend so much time together that they have a fight and really do break up.
In "Patch Boomhauer", Patch hires strippers for his bachelor party and then pins the blame on Boomhauer when his fiancée Katherine walks in. At the reception, Katherine says that she's re-discovered her feelings for Boomhauer because she thinks the strippers were a crazy, desperate act to break up the wedding; when Patch confesses, she calls it "just plain sleazy" and calls off the wedding. Then he tries to blame Hank.
Gossip Evolution: In "Bobby Goes Nuts", Bobby kicking a few students in the testicles is embellished to the point where Connie thinks Bobby was suspended for kicking Principal Moss in the testicles.
Not to mention the pilot where Hank yelling at a Mega-Lo-Mart employee who was too stupid to help him find a tap and dye and some WD-40 while Bobby is nearby turns to Hank beat his son and a Mega-Lo-Mart employee who tried to stop him. Not helped by the fact that Bobby accidentally hits Peggy with a baseball right before a CPS worker arrives.
Go-to Alias: Dale likes to go by Rusty Shackleford, generally whenever he's doing something sneaky, although he also refuses to sign his real name to any document, being a comical Right Wing Militia Fanatic. At one point in the series, the actual Rusty Shackleford shows up—Dale knew him as a kid and had thought Rusty had died—it turns out that Rusty had just moved away and wasn't happy being connected with Dale's various acts of stupidity.
Gratuitous Spanish: All over the place. Hilarious, because Peggy actually isn't very good at it and her pronunciation is horrible.
Also, sometimes she pronounces English words as if Spanish, for example "Monterrey Jack".
Green Around the Gills: In one episode, Bobby Hill's face became green after smoking several packs of cigarettes, which his father Hank had him do to teach him a lesson after learning his son had been smoking.
Gretzky Has the Ball: At one point, Bill rejoins his old High School football team in his forties to reclaim his rushing TD record because he dropped out to join the Army and never graduated. Texas High School football has an age limit, regardless of academic status.
Groin Attack: The natural conclusion of Bobby accidentally taking women's self-defense classes. It does not work on Peggy, though, because "I do NOT have any testicles!" (even though a woman still would feel pain from getting kicked in the crotch. Not as much as a man, but it would still hurt).
Halfway Plot Switch: A few episodes have these. An example is The Father, The Son and J.C which starts out with Hank losing a promotion after accidentally telling his boss he loves him, then switches in mid-stride to a story about Hank and Cotton.
Most two-part episodes do this, feeling less like a single story cut in half and more like two stories with a connecting event in the middle.
Some of the celebrity voices they have you wouldn't know unless you watched the episode a second (third, or fourth) time (cases in point: Owen Wilson as a sexually insecure man who almost marries Luanne on "Luanne Virgin 2.0," Johnny Depp as a yoga instructor on "Hank's Back," and Reese Witherspoon as Debbie Grund on the two-part episode where she's found shot to death in a Dumpster, but it turns out she accidentally killed herself because she was stupid enough not to put the safety on her gun and to take it with her while she got nachos at the Get In-Get Out), while others (like Snoop Dogg as Alabaster Jones on "Ho Yeah!" or Chris Rock as Booda Sack on "Traffic Jam"note not the later episodes where Phil LaMarr replaced Chris Rock) are fairly obvious.
And probably the most blatant of all: Hank and Boomhauer are voiced by the same guy who plays Tom Anderson, Beavis, Butthead, David van Driessen, and Coach Buzzcut. The voice Mike Judge uses for Hank Hill is the same one he uses for Tom Anderson, making a lot of people believe that Hank is what Tom Anderson looked like before he got old and had to deal with Beavis and Butthead.
Hidden Depths: Bill. Despite being a Fat Slob and all-around loser whose wife divorced him and left him a pathetic, suicidal mess, Bill is an excellent Army barber, good at caring for others (even if his brand of caring for others — especially the Hill family — comes off as stalkerish), can play the concertina and can speak fluent Creole (as he has family from Louisiana).
Hitler Ate Sugar: When Luanne begins to set ground rules for her new roommates, one of them complains, "You know who else had anti-smoking laws? Hitler!"
Holding the Floor: In the episode "Flush with Power" Hank filibusters by reading Peggy's old newspaper columns (she carries them around in her purse) at a town hall meeting in order to make the board members use the restrooms in the hall so that they realize the terrors of the lo-flow toilets that were recently installed.
Peggy considers herself this and the occasional odd character (who really likes big feet) will agree.
House Amnesia: Luann was putting a Communist party sign at her yard when someone told her to go home. She simply entered the house.
How's Your British Accent?: Alan Rickman guest stars as the American owner of a Renaissance Faire. He spends most of the episode as the "king" of the fair speaking in his own voice, until the end, where the "king" slips back into a (terrible attempt from Rickman at a) Texan accent.
Hypocrisy Nod: In "The Arrowhead", Hank finds a Native American artifact in his yard and asks John Redcorn what it's worth. Redcorn severely says "Hank, it's wrong to take what belongs to someone else for-" and is interrupted as Nancy says "Come Back to Bed, Honey". Blushing, Redcorn says "Well, food for thought" and beats a hasty retreat.
Hypocritical Humor: The episode "Nancy Boys" takes the traditional "wife discovers cheating" plot and shuffles the players: John Redcorn, Nancy's longterm boyfriend is hurt and upset that she's cheating on him with … her husband Dale. Nancy's desperately trying to retain both relationships, and Dale winds up trying to apologize to Redcornnote He clobbered Redcorn over the head when he climbed into their bedroom at night. and covering for his absences with Nancy by giving Lame Excuses.
In the Souphanousinphones' debut episode, Hank and the others continually misunderstand that their new neighbors are not poor Chinese immigrants. About halfway through, Hank is angry that Kahn called him a redneck, stating "He thinks just 'cause I'm from Texas that means I'm a redneck. Damn Chinese and their stupid stereotypes!"
In "Hank's Dirty Laundry", Bill is the one who rallies against pornography the most, but he was the one to anonymously deliver his own porn tapes to Hank's house so Hank could get enough evidence to clear his name.
A variant occurs in "Now Who's the Dummy?"; Hank finishes a beer and asks for another. Bill asks Hank if he's had enough, but Hank interrupts and reaffirms: "ANOTHER." Bill immediately gives him another beer.
Ice-Cream Koan: Hank's encounter with a monk whose order suspects Bobby of being their reincarnated lama (much to Hank's dismay).
Monk: There is a Buddhist saying: "As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart, the wind cannot overturn a mountain."
Hank: You're talking like a song from The Lion King. Stop it. It makes no sense.
Monk: Or does it make perfect sense?
Hank: What the …? See, that's the type of — I'm gonna kick your ass!
Monk: If my ass is going to be kicked, then it will be kicked.
Hank: (grunts in frustration, then wanders off)
Ignored Epiphany: Spoofed in one episode. Hank has trouble shooting a gun and so sees a sports psychologist. In the middle of their session, Hank starts talking about how when he was a kid, Cotton would scream and curse at him while trying to teach him how to shoot — but the therapist interrupts his would-be breakthrough and says they're wasting valuable session time.
I Need a Freaking Drink: Hank in "Now Who's the Dummy?" after seeing Bobby practicing his "labials" (which is basically repeating "Fluttering Butterflies" over and over) with a ventriloquist dummy. While he doesn't actually say it, the next day in the alley hes pounding a beer back and when he finishes it he demands another.
The one-off character Alabaster the pimp resembles Snoop Dogg if he was a white guy.
Jack the barber also somewhat resembles his voice actor, Brian Doyle-Murray. He originally looked younger and had a mustache (just like Doyle-Murray).
Rumor has it that John Redcorn was modeled on Victor Aaron, his original voice actor, who was later replaced with Jonathan Joss after Aaron's death in 1996.
Insecurity System: Dale's front door is protected by a rather ridiculous security system which included primed crossbows (as befitting his personality). However, John Redcorn comes and goes as he pleases through the unlocked bedroom window.
Insult Backfire: In one episode, Bobby sneaks into Connie's room to talk. She tells him if Khan catches him in there, he'll make her play that song he wrote about Bobby. Bobby responds, excitedly, "'Fat White Lump' is about me?!"
Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted in "I Don't Want to Wait (etc.)". Bobby punches Joseph in the face, and immediately remarks: "If my hand didn't hurt so much, I'd do it again. Oh what the hell. (punches Joseph again)"
Lampshaded by Hank in that very episode. "Isn't that pronounced 'Tib-A-Do'?" "Sometimes, but only by mistake."
Averted in the episode where they meet Bill's relatives in New Orleans—they use the French pronunciations, but nobody says anything about it, despite Hank and Peggy's usual ignorance of other cultures.
Cotton as well, before he got his shins blown off at least.
Iwo Jima Pose: Done three times. First, when Peggy makes a float for the Veterans' Day parade and again when she changes the soldiers to skeletons raising the flag and the caption "The Futility of War." The pose appears again when Hank and the gang put up a flagpole in Bill's yard.
Pretty much most of the cast at some point or another, especially one time characters. The only real exception to this most of the time is Connie.
Buck Strickland might be the worst of them all, possessing little to no redeeming qualities and rarely getting comeuppance for his behavior.
Bill's wife Lenore, who treated him like crap and cheated on him openly before dumping him and ruining his life. Her only actual appearance in the series has her coming back because his relationship with former Texas governor Ann Richards attracted her attention.
The Ace from the episode "You Gotta Believe (In Moderation)", when Hank and the Arlen Zephyrs try to give him a serious softball game.
The Workers Comp people in Hank's Back. They either see that he's lying about his injury (including the agent he consults and the jerk doctor), or try to get him to sue Strickland. And when he recovers, the agent who handled his case took pictures to make it seem like he was faking the entire time. Oh, and she gets no comeuppance.
Jerk Jock: Chang Wassanasong thinks he's the greatest thing the world has ever seen and has the hots for Connie. She can't stand him, but her parents keep trying to set them up together, mainly because they'd love any connection to Ted.
Hank is implied to have been one when he was younger.
More than implied to the above, flat-out stated:
Hank: Hey fatty!
Also confirmed in "The Order of the Straight Arrow" by the gang's treatment of Eustiss. They all call him "Useless" and this is also referenced in flashback.
Interestingly, in Peggy Makes The Big Leagues, it seems at first that Peggy is dealing with one because he won't study. David, for the most part, isn't a jerk, but is just lazy and a little self-absorbed. He wasn't happy when he learned that his mother was willing to pretend that he had a severe learning disorder to get Hank and Peggy to stop inquiring about David's grades, and that Hank and Peggy immediately believed it.
Played straight though with Willie Lane, the boorish, hard-drinking ex-Dallas Cowboy who moves into Rainey Street in "New Cowboy on the Block" and causes trouble for Hank and friends.
Kafka Komedy: Bill's life is tragic enough to fall under this.
Karma Houdini: Peggy Hill gets away with being an asshole to others a little too much. The only times anyone calls her out on either this or on her massive ego are the episodes in which she's portrayed sympathetically, and as such, turns out to have been right all along.
Randy Travis in "Peggy's Fan Fair", mostly because as the one with the microphone, everyone only hears his side of the story, and because Peggy has a reputation for trying to gain credit when she doesn't deserve it.
Nancy basically got away for years with cheating on Dale (which probably damaged his psyche subconsciously) and mothering a child with John Redcorn. Even worse, just about everybody except Dale knows, but nobody says anything to him. Karma did eventually creep up on her when she began to go bald from stress.
Nancy's hair loss wasn't really a karmic punishment. She started losing her hair long after ending her affair with John Redcorn and revitalizing her relationship with Dale. She was actually losing it because she wasn't sleeping with John Redcorn; her hair would have grown back if she had started cheating on Dale again.
John Redcorn even more so. He cheated on Nancy without being caught and he doesn't get called out on it.
Kahn took a big risk showing Hank the top secret project he was working on and specifically told Hank to never tell anyone. Hank immediately told Dale, Bill and Boomhauer and after Bill blabbed about it at work Kahn was fired for treason. The only way he was able to get another job was to take one in Houston, three hours away. Hank blamed it on Kahn being an asshole, despite the fact that he was the one to go back on his word and get Kahn fired in the first place. And the only punisherment Hank got was a What the Hell, Hero? from Peggy and doing some housework for Mihn, which he liked doing anyway.
Not really. Kahn purposefully boasted about his new promotion, lured Hank to his workplace under the pretence that they needed propane, then after showing off everything he did, revealed they actually had no need for propane at all. It wasn't so much as taking a big risk as showing off his success. Kahn deserved to get fired for that!
Which says NOTHING of how many times Buck Strickland has gotten away with his illegal activities. He's bet branches of his company AND EMPLOYEES on poker games! He refused to pay child support for his illegitimate son Ray-Roy, and freely admitted that he would've planted evidence that Hank murdered Debbie Grund IN FRONT OF A TEXAS RANGER and still gets off scot-free! To be fair, the reason Hank works for him in spite of all this is that he believe s somewhere deep down inside him, is the amazing businessman he used to be. The only time karma ever really hit this man is when his Emu;s attacked him in a parking lot since he was trying to have them killed to commit insurance fraud.
Kayfabe: In the episode where Peggy starts working for Sizemore Realty, she learns that Sizemore has his employees do things like pretend to be married in order to improve their sales. Near the end of the episode, Peggy impresses him by having Connie pose as her adopted daughter.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: The DVDs only go up to season six. However, with Netflix and Adult Swim airing all the episodes (including the four that FOX scrapped because they wanted the series to be gone as quick as possible), there's really no need to release the rest of the series.
Kicked Upstairs: Cotton worked as a Greeter but caused a commotion. Since he was hired by the owner the boss could only "promote" him to men's room attendant.
Bill's extended family consists of a colorful assortment of effete New Orleans layabouts. Almost all of them are either dead, institutionalized in a mental hospital, or have been revealed to be not blood-related to the Dauterives between episodes, except Gilbert (who isn't interested in marrying a woman and keeping the Dauterive bloodline alive — and probably can't anyway, since there are heavy hints that he's a homosexual).
Don't forget Cotton's war buddies, between season 3 and 8 more then five of them are mentioned, by name even, to have died. Topsy, the creepy old guy with the balloon-face, was the last to perish before Cotton.
Kissing Cousins: Played with. Hank and Peggy punish Luanne and Bobby by making them think they have to get married since Bobby took Luanne's birth control pills.
Also shown in the episode where Bill travels to New Orleans with the Hills to visit his family and Bill's three cousins — two married in, one blood — fight over him because he is the last straight Dauterive male and they want to continue the family line.
Laser-Guided Karma: Hank believes in this, according to "Torch Song Hillogy" — he states that his ankle breaking before he could win the biggest football game of his life in high school was God punishing him for showboating after a touchdown just minutes before.
Nancy cheated on her husband for over a decade and abused his trust without a single negative consequence. Until she started to go bald …
It was implied that she started to go bald because she stopped cheating on her husband. Her mother had the same thing happen to her. Reverse Laser-Guided Karma?
John Redcorn gets his comeuppance for his affair with Nancy by having to watch his only son be raised by a deranged conspiracy nut (even though Dale actually does show glimmers of being a better father figure, even if the son he has isn't his biologically). At one point he gives Joseph a hunting knife that had been passed down from father to son for generations as a symbol of burgeoning manhood and as a rite of passage, only for Joseph to not care and not understand the significance.
Dr. Weissman tells Bill that he'll lose his legs to diabetes and claims he'll be wheelchair bound for the rest of his life, acting incredibly insensetively and dismissive of Bill throughout. When it turns out he wasn't telling the truth and Bill's legs are in fact perfectly fine, Bill goes to complain over his undue stress, only to be mockingly dismissed once again. Bill then pushes Weissman into his office, closes the door behind him then proceeds to kick his ass.
Last Het Partner: Peggy was this to a close friend who decided that he was definitely gay after sleeping with her.
Law of Inverse Fertility: Hank and Peggy decided to have another child, despite fertility problems, and Cotton and Didi wound up getting pregnant by accident shortly thereafter. Lampshaded by Peggy shortly after G.H. was born, when she was also in a full-body cast:
"I was once one of the finest mothers in all of Texas, and now I can't even wipe a baby. And I have to watch those two, Cotton and Stupid, with their beautiful new baby that they don't even want!"
Leaning on the Fourth Wall / End of Series Awareness: In the final episode, when Bobby expresses an honest interest in a manly hobby, Hank says "I've been waiting thirteen years to hear you say that." 13 is both Bobby's age and the number of seasons the show ran.
Also from the finale: as the episode draws to a close, Hank and Bobby are grilling steaks. Bobby looks at the final steak left to be cooked and says meaningfully "Well, dad, I guess this is the last one."
The finale aired as the second half of a two-parter with the penultimate episode, which began with the foursome in the alley realizing, "Oh no, we're out of projects!"
Let's Have Another Baby: Hank and Peggy get the urge to have another child after dealing the whole episode with Hank attempting to impregnate Ladybird to have puppies. The next episode deals this when Peggy fails a dozen pregnancy tests because of Hank's narrow urethra resulting in a low sperm count, which is why Bobby is their only child. They give up afterwards.
Literal Ass Kicking: Hank has a habit of doing this to people who really piss him off, so much so that "I'M GONNA KICK YOUR ASS!" has become somewhat of a catchphrase. Hank actually DID manage to kick a couple of people's asses in the literal sense during the show's run, too.
Logic Bomb: In one episode, Hank asks Dale how he can support the NRA, an organization based out of Washington, D.C.. After a Beat, Dale responds "That's a thinker."
Long Title: "I Don't Want to Wait for Our Lives to Be Over, I Want to Know Right Now, Will It Be... Sorry. Do Do Doo Do Do, Do Do Doo Do Do, Do Do Doo Do Do, Doo..." (often just abbreviated to "I Don't Want to Wait")
"When Joseph Met Lori, and Made Out with Her in the Janitor's Closet".
"What Happens at the National Propane Gas Convention in Memphis Stays at the National Propane Gas Convention in Memphis"
"Serves Me Right For Giving General George S. Patton The Bathroom Key".
"How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Alamo"
"Jumpin' Crack Bass (It's a Gas, Gas, Gas)."
Lost Him in a Card Game: Buck Strickland once bet — and lost — Hank to Thatherton! in a game of poker. Apparently he usually bets Joe Jack, meaning this must occur quite often.
He also lost his North Branch this way.
Love Triangle: Kind of; Joseph has an unrequited attraction to Connie, but he seems to interpret it as her being interested. In one episode he outright tells her to choose, and she responds that Bobby's her boyfriend; the next day, Bobby asks if he understood that it was just a friend date, and Connie says it doesn't seem that way, looking a bit creeped out.
Magical Native American: Zigzagged; in the early episodes, John Redcorn played it straight. In the later episodes, it was subverted, as Redcorn only plays up being this to get women to sleep with him.
Mean Character, Nice Actor: In-Universe example with Monsignor Martinez, a priest/crime boss on a popular Mexican soap opera. When Peggy meets his actor, Eduardo Filipe, the latter's shown to be a humble, down-to-earth family man.
Mic Drop: In the episode "Manger Baby Einstein" Luann grabs the microphone at the local kid's pizza joint and scolds her former puppet show fans. She ends her rant by dropping the mic.
Military School: Fort Berk, Cotton's old boarding school. Implied to be what turned Cotton into the Jerk Ass he is through constant beatings, psychological torture and solitary confinement, the memories of which made him work up some of his "pain water". Hank wanted to go but Cotton didn't allow it as he didn't think he was good enough for it. Bobby got sent there for a two week bootcamp but to Cotton's dismay the school had been defanged. As Cotton put it, "[They] went and turned my childhood home into a giant sissy factory!"
Mistaken for Gay: Dale thinks John Redcorn is gay, explaining why he was never suspicious about all the time Redcorn spent with his wife Nancy. Though in "Hank Gets Dusted", when Redcorn outright says "I slept with my best friend's wife!", Dale dismissively assumes he's talking about Bill's ex-wife Lenore.
Peggy mistakes her hairdresser for this in "Goodbye Normal Jeans" and finds out that he has a wife and child. See the Camp Straight entry above.
Mistaken for Masturbating: In "Hank's Dirty Laundry" someone has been renting porn using Hank's name and getting fined for not returning one of the videos. At one point the culprit sends him some video tapes to provide clues that he did not rent them so Hank locks himself in the bedroom to watch them. Peggy walks in on him thinking he was masturbating and runs out; he was actually crouched down and taking notes (originally, Hank was supposed to be shaking a pen that had dried up while he was taking notes, but the FOX censors thought this was too raunchy for FOX primetime note Keep in mind, this was before Family Guy exploded on the scene with its brand of humor and asked to have it changed. The original scene can be found on DVD and in some non-FOX broadcasters.
Mistaken for Racist: "Racist Dawg," where Hank's dog attacks a black repairman trying to fix the water heater, prompting everyone to think Hank and his dog are racists. Turns out Hank's dog doesn't like anyone (regardless of race) except for Hank doing repairs around the house.
Mistaken Nationality: Kahn. When Hank first meets him, he asks him, "Are you Chinese or Japanese?" Cotton Hill correctly identifies Kahn as Laotian at first glance (as he fought in World War II, so he would know the difference between a Chinese person, a Japanese person, and a Laotian), surprising even Kahn.
Mooning: In "The Order of the Straight Arrow", Dale repeatedly moons Hank, Bill, and the troop members as Boomhauer passes them in his vehicle.
A plot point in "Hank and the Great Glass Elevator": Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer guilt trip Hank into feeling like he's no fun, so when the trio want to moon the hotel lobby as they ascend an elevator, Hank decides to prove them wrong. But Hank is the only one who pulls down his pants, and he accidentally moons the former governor.
Hank: I'm doin' it! I'm a mooner!
Morality Pet: Even though Peggy is a complete Small Name, Big Ego and generally annoying and incompetent, she genuinely cares about Hank and Bobby and can do some pretty badass stuff to defend them.
Bobby also plays this role for Cotton. Cotton may be a misguided Jerkass, but he does love Bobby.
Bobby also interestingly works as a Sanity Pet for Bill on occasion. With Bobby being the closest thing to a son he has due to his "Closeness" to the Hills, Bill and Bobby often bond over things, reaching a very heartwarming Pet the Dog peak in "Blood And Sauce" where Bill and Bobby bond over the preparation and cooking of barbecue, ending with Bill making Bobby an honorary member of his family.
The Moral Substitute: Subverted; Christian Rock suddenly becomes big in their area, but after hearing it, Hank denounces it: "You're not making Christianity better — you're making rock 'n' roll worse!"
Mrs. Robinson: Miz Liz, Strickland's wife, who is visibly a much older woman, who has an emotional breakdown after mentioning that everyone calls her madame now instead of miss.
Ms. Fanservice: Luanne during most of the show (bikini scenes, close-ups of bouncing breasts, and "hands over boobs" shots, as well as an episode where Bobby accidentally sees Luanne naked and becomes depressed over it, while Joseph wants to see Luanne naked for himself), and Nancy shows up in a tiny string bikini (or nude) at other times.
Mushroom Samba: Hank accidentally inhales too much varnish in "Hillennium", and passes out. What follows is a dream sequence where he imagines he's one of the Whack-a-Moles.
My Car Hates Me: Hank is about to be mowed down by a train in "Chasing Bobby" but desperately tries to start his old truck so he can drive off the train tracks. Eventually he does exit the vehicle but his truck is destroyed.
My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Peggy's Spanish skill amounts to this. Fortunately, it also serves to convince the Mexican court that her kidnapping of a young girl was really a terrible misunderstanding as she had no clue what the girl was saying.
Later episodes hint that Hank knows perfectly well his boss is an total moron and is constantly having to run damage control to mitigate his screw-ups. Hank even states his actual loyalty is more to the company he's dedicated the last 15 years of his life to, than the man who runs it.
Name's the Same: In "Junkie Business", Leon decides that he now wants to be known as "Hank", in order to distance himself from his drug days.
Hank: No! That's going too far. I cannot accommodate that. I won't! Anthony: It's not up to you, Hank! It's up to Hank! This man is not your slave! You don't get to name him!
Nausea Dissonance: In "My Own Private Rodeo", when Dale recounts how he caught his father, Bug, kissing his wife Nancy on their wedding day, his story starts off catching Bill puking in the bathroom, and afterwards, nonchalantly heading straight to the kitchen, where he caught Bug in the act.
Negative Continuity: An episode where Hank's coworker Enrique has a quinceañera for his daughter (15th birthday celebration for a Mexican girl, a rite of passage into womanhood) is contradicted by an earlier episode where Enrique and his wife are having marital problems and he mentions the kids have moved out of the house.
In "Cotton's Plot" Cotton is fighting to be buried in a VA cemetary, but in "Serves Me Right for Giving General George S. Patton the Bathroom Key" it's reaveled he was cremated
Cotton's Cadillac Car was always a different model or bodystyle every time it appeared.
In "Hilloween", Bobby mentions Hank made him eat chopped liver, but just one season later in "Love Hurts and So Does Art", when Bobby gets gout, Hank says they've never fed Bobby chopped liver because they're not "ghouls."
New Media Are Evil: Played with. Hank expresses disappointment when all of the violent video games Bobby plays don't affect him, wondering "What's the point?"
The New Rock & Roll: Referenced in "Father of the Bribe", where the school mistakes a note Connie wrote ("I'm so bored I could kill myself!", which she wrote sarcastically because of how boring class was) for a suicide note, and Principal Moss notes that they want to avoid a double suicide "Dungeons & Dragons thing".
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the episode Pretty, Pretty Dresses, Hank's misguided attempts to keep Bill from killing himself only make the situation worse (he even yells at Bill for being a burden and abandons him). It's almost a checklist of what not to do when dealing with a suicidal person.
Also, Bill's cousin Gilbert is very much a modern-day Tennessee Williams.
In a little overlap with Bland-Name Product, one episode has Bobby finding a pink-and-white stripped bag (the trademark of Victoria's Secret, which Hank hurriedly explains "Your mother only went there to buy athletic socks!"
Buck initially appears modeled on Lyndon Johnson (he even holds staff meetings on the toilet), though the resemblance is downplayed in later seasons.
Bobby: It's not a crutch, Dad. It's something I've come to rely on to help me through life.
No Matter How Much I Beg: In "To Kill a Ladybird", Dale goes underneath the house after the raccoon, instructs Hank to put the grate back on, and tells him that no matter how much he begs, to not remove the grate until he's subdued the raccoon. Within only a few seconds, Dale is begging for Hank to remove the grate so he can get out. In an amusing subversion of this trope, the grate gets loose and the raccoon gets out, fights Ladybird, and runs away. Dale then emerges and says, "I give you one task, and you screw it up!"
Noodle Incident: In "Hank's Bad Hair Day" Hank's old barber, Jack is seen gradually going insane throughout the beginning of the episode. After Hank tells Jack that he will no longer be going to his shop, Bill visits him that night and says: "I heard about Jack, I'm really sorry." Hanks asks how did he hear about Jack and Bill responds with: "It was on TV, didn't you see the high speed chase?"
No Periods, Period: Subverted in the episode "Aisle 8A" when Connie is staying with the Hills while her parents are out of town.
Hank: What's wrong, Connie?
Connie: Um … *hands Hank a note*
Hank: Lessee … *reading* "Mr. Hill, I just got my first period." *beat* BWAAHHH!
Not Allowed to Grow Up: Not allowed to hit puberty in Bobby's case. He does age a year or two over the course of the series, but he never changes, in spite of being older than Joseph and Connie (both of whom have episodes about them growing up). In-series it's due to being a late bloomer, but behind the scenes it might have something to do with requiring a change of voice actors and ruining Bobby's position as a foil to his dad.
Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: According to the opening, anyway. Apparently all four regulars didn't have any work that day, allowing them to hang out in the alley most of the day drinking beer and shooting the breeze. This is lampshaded in one episode, when a reality TV show producer watches footage of Hank and the gang drinking beer in front of their fence, and subsequently exclaims "This is not INTERESTING!"
Not So Different: Realized by Hank and Kahn in "Westie Side Story" when they both punish Bobby and Connie.
In one episode, Hank criticizes Luanne for supporting George W. Bush for entirely shallow reasons (she thinks he's handsome and has a nice smile). But when Hank questions his support of Bush due to a weak handshake, Luanne calls him on the fact that he's being just as shallow.
In "The Bluegrass is Always Greener", we get to see Khan pressuring Connie to be a concert violinist, but she hears Hank and the guys playing bluegrass and gets into it. They form a band, but Hank quickly becomes just as bad as Khan.
In "Cops and Robert," Hank accidentally steals a man's wallet because he mistakenly thinks the man just pick-pocketed him. Throughout the episode, the man is shown, like Hank, to be sick and tired of getting ripped off by slimeballs; in fact, before the wallet incident, Hank sees the man getting ripped off by a pretzel vendor and remarks on it to Peggy.
Not What I Signed On For: Hank during the Alamo reenactment episode, where the director decides to "reinterpret" history and make the Alamo's most famous figures look like incompetent boobs, much to Hank's dismay.
Really, a lot of the projects Hank signs on for turn into this at some point.
Hank does this to Bobby at times, whenever Bobby expresses an interest in something mildly competitive, to which Hank responds too much and ruins the joy. In one episode, Bobby becomes interested in growing roses, which Hank is against until he learned that there are Rose competitions, at which point he completely muscles Bobby out of the picture and takes over.
In "Soldier of Misfortune", despite being a gun club, Mad Dog is the only one who's serious about holding Hank, Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer hostage and torturing them for real.
Earl: Twenty minutes ago, we were talking about ordering a pizza. What happened here?!
Obfuscating Disability: Bill was told by a doctor that he had diabetes that would take his legs away within a year, so in order to prepare, he started making all his movements in a wheelchair and seems to have forgotten he could actually still use his legs until he was drunk in a bar and stood up, shocking and majorly pissing off the wheelchaired basketball players he had befriended.
Inverted in one episode, when Lucky gets talked out of suing Strickland Propane, and obfuscates not having a disability so his Amoral Attorney can't go through with suing them. When it was just about to fail, Hank gets Dale to "injure" Lucky in the office in the same stunt that caused the actual injury, forcing the lawyer to match Lucky's settlement from Costco.
Inverted with Peggy's family, who get along better with Hank when the Hill family visit the ranch.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: Anthony Page. In the pilot, he investigates Hank for child abuse (Bobby got a black eye in baseball) without interviewing the little league coach and gets removed from the case for it, and in "Junkie Business" he lets a clearly incompetent druggie take over Strickland Propane because he went into rehab before he was officially fired, and therefore qualified for the Americans with Disabilities Act (who is only fired when Hank quits and makes the company too small to be covered by the act).
One Steve Limit: There were two separate characters named Donna that worked at Strickland Propane. The first Donna was a black woman around Hank's age who never had any speaking role. The second Donna was a Caucasian woman, also the same age as Hank, with a relatively minor role in some episodes. Apparently Buck has had an affair with a Donna but frankly it's unclear which one. It's possibly the former because she was fired for stealing office supplies.
Cotton's various war buddies include two "Brooklyn"s, three "Fatty"s (there was a fourth, but he died during the events that lead to Cotton losing his shins), and at least five "Stinky"s.
Only Known by Their Nickname: Elroy Kleinschmidt known as "Lucky" which he got his nickname from a lawsuit he filed at Costco for tripping on pee-pee in the restroom.
On Three: In "Peggy Hill: The Decline and Fall", this occurs when Hank, Boomhauer, Bill, Dale, and the doctor try to get Peggy (who's lying on a gurney) into the house. She doesn't fit, so they have to tilt the gurney, on three. There's confusion as to what that means, so Hank sighs and says, "Just lift."
Out of Focus: Connie after breaking up with Bobby, and Luanne at various points in the series.
Out of Order: Several Season Three Episodes. Episodes where Luanne's hair is completely grown back are followed by episodes where it's much shorter than usual.
Out-Gambitted: In "The Substitute Spanish Prisoner", Peggy of all people manages to successfully con a tricky bastard of a Con Man into successfully conning an obviously bad con so that he'd put the money in his room safe … which was actually not a room safe, but a safe Peggy had put there. Ha!
And what's amusing is that if that plan had failed, Peggy was just going to steal his car.
Outside Inside Slur: Kahn's idol, Ted Wassonasong, calls him a banana, after which Kahn tries to get in touch with his Laotian culture.
Pac-Man Fever: Averted; Bobby is shown playing a Tomb Raider-style game in "Get Your Freak Off", plays a Dance Dance Revolution-style game in "Returning Japanese", and Hank gets addicted to a Grand Theft Auto clone (the 3D games, that is) in "Grand Theft Arlen". All feature visuals on par with the rest of the show.
Somewhat played straight in that the show suggests two guys in their early twenties are able to create an entire 3D open world sandbox game with multiplayer, sounds, voice acting, etc. within 24 hours of meeting Hank. Even a mod would take significantly more time than that.
There's an In-Universe example where Bobby pretends to be playing a game (to throw his family off the trail) by mashing buttons randomly … on a GAME OVER screen. Justified, however; one can spot that the D-pad and the buttons were swapped.
Papa Wolf: Hank Hill is usually very good at keeping his temper, but anyone who threatens or abuses Bobby soon learns how dangerous an angry Texan can be. And let's not even consider Peggy, who simply goes overboard with this trope.
Cotton takes the fall for Bobby when he accidentally lights a fire in the bathroom and is blamed for Arson.
At the same time, Cotton also doesn't have much respect for Peggy... however, when she's learning to walk again, for no apparent reason, Cotton helps rehabilitate Peggy in his own way. It seems like an almost Out-of-Character Moment until Hank explains to Peggy that the doctors thought Cotton would never walk, and that Cotton had gone through just what Peggy had.
Picked Last: In one episode, Hank and his friends find a kickball and decide to start playing. When their other family members and neighbors come to join the game, they split into teams. Dale is picked last, even after Connie, a 12-year old girl who wasn't the most athletic person to choose from. Team captain Bill is obviously disappointed at having Dale on his team.
Ping Pong Naïveté: Hank about certain issues, like the concept of being transgendered. In one episode he references "the bank teller who is between genders", in another when informed that Peggy's new friend isn't a woman but man who dresses as one (not really transexual, but a cross dresser), he replies "Now hold on there, that doesn't make any sense!" It made so little sense to Hank, that when he met the transvestite, he forgot about it completely and actually respected the man for being nice.
It wasn't that he forgot about it, it's that he refused to believe in men dressing as women so much that he fell for the obvious lie that Carolyn (Peggy's friend) and Jaime (Carolyn out of drag) were different people. The closest he came to reality was complimenting Jaime on really understanding women.
Hank is frequently shown to be extremely careful with money, yet was for some reason under the impression that the sticker price was the best price possible on a car.
And in that episode he was shocked to see a salesman trick people ("I know [you are a salesman], that's why this doesn't make any sense"), but in the episode where Cotton was buying a time share he was very savvy to various sales tricks.
Plague of Good Fortune: The subplot of "The Peggy Horror Picture Show" involves Bobby and Joseph trying to prank various people around Arlen, only for them to run into good luck as a result.
Planet of Steves: Luanne once unwittingly joined an all-woman Cult masquerading as a sorority where all the members were named Jane.
Police officer: You scratched the bumper sticker from my daughter's school, jackass!
Police Are Useless: Every time the cops show up it's to misunderstand things and blame the good guys for something, leaving it to Hank and his friends to solve the problem of the week. Police in Arlen seem bored, lazy, easy to annoy, and overly committed to doing things with instructions even when they turn out to be useless. On the other hand, one episode had a Texas Ranger show up to investigate a murder case and he turned out to be very competent and attractive, in contrast to the fat local sheriff who was more focused on getting an arrest than actually finding out who the criminal was.
Also, a policeman helps Hank get the picture of his colon taken down from the art museum in "Love Hurts, and So Does Art", as the X-rays are considered defamatory to Texas beef, which is considered an offense.
Political Correctness Gone Mad: In "Tears of an Inflatable Clown", a diversity expert inflicts white guilt (and black guilt, and every other kind of guilt) on Bobby and his classmates, nearly derailing the school fair they were organizing. Thankfully Hank and the others keep the fair going and convince the kids not to beat themselves up over what other people did in the past.
Potty Emergency: In "Beer and Loathing", Hank, Dale, Bill and Boomhauer drink tainted beer and eat bad bananas.
Dale: Step on it, Bill! I don't know which way it's comin' out, but it's comin' out!
The Prankster: All of ZZ Top, but especially Dusty (Hank's cousin) towards Hank in "Hank Gets Dusted". However, after the JerkassReality Show producer goes too far, Dusty tells him to back down by pointing out "You've seen what we do to Hank, and we like him!"
Precision F-Strike: Peggy manages to deliver this in "Death and Texas", without even using an actual f-bomb.
"I forgot to add the meat! How could I be so freaking stupid?!"
Properly Paranoid: In one episode, a theory Dale had was actually right. Of course, it's probably pretty rare to find an example of that.
Dale's conspiracy paranoia (which he gave up for flag-waving patriotism after discovering that the U.S. government could be right about who killed John F. Kennedy) plays into another episode where he helps Hank get his driver's license corrected by threatening a DMV attendant with going to his superiors, which he correctly lists in order of ascending authority.
"I am Your Worst Nightmare! I have a three-line phone and absolutely nothing at all to do with my time!"
Early in Death of a Propane Salesman, the following exchange happens:
Dale: (smugly) "That's what they want you to think."
Arson Investigator: (Matter-of-factly) "Sir, we are 'they'."
Dale jumps back in shock and fear, then runs away.
Punishment Box: Bobby is put into one of these at a military school. It most assuredly does not break him.
I've slept on a mattress. I've slept on cement. I'm a mattress guy.
In the episode "Keeping Up with Our Joneses," Hank Hill made Bobby smoke a whole carton of cigarettes as punishment for catching him smoking. The plan backfired spectacularly; not only did Bobby end up hooked, but Hank and Peggy fell victim to their own past cigarette habits as well.
In their addiction support group, Bobby mentions that he's been an addict since his dad "let" him smoke a whole carton, to horrified reactions. Hank tries to correct him, in that he "made" him smoke them (neglecting to mention it was a punishment for smoking at all), to even more horrified reactions.
While attempting to use the Radish Cure on Bobby, Hank even bothered to correct him on how to hold the cigarette, stating there's a right way to do everything, even wrong things
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Luann leases an apartment with others in an attempt to move out of Hank's house. These unbelievably immature assholes don't lift a finger to help, make up a series of one Lame Excuse after another to avoid paying the rent, and are mind-blowingly rude to everyone. Luanne gets even with them by paying all the utility bills and then closing the accounts, figuring that if they want food or water so badly they can pay for it themselves. Then they meet Cotton and one of his wartime buddies and call them Nazis. These Jerk Ass roomies become Asshole Victims when Cotton and company actually have a CoA when they wade in and beat the up the name caller.
Railroad Tracks of Doom: In the episode "Chasing Bobby," Hank's truck stalls on a railroad track. Hank barely makes it out, but the truck is "killed."
Rant Inducing Slight: After being run ragged from doing all the baby's chores during "Peggy Hill: The Decline and Fall" Bobby snaps when Didi asks him to get her some lottery tickets.
Rashomon Style: How Hank and company burned down the fire house. Bill, Hank, Boomhauer and Dale tell their versions of what went wrong. They also have their own interpretations of the other three.
Dale's version has himself as being tall and muscular with long-flowing hair (and Hank was dressed as a Drill Sergeant Nasty). Bill's version has himself being a good hundred pounds fatter and completely bald. Boomhauer's version has himself speaking normally, while everyone else speaks with his Verbal Tic.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: In "The Incredible Hank", Hank shoots down Dale's theory that he's a clone of a warrior from the future, using four bullet points. Dale gets progressively more meek with each point Hank makes.
Dale gives one to Bill (and the rest of the Harmonaholics) near the end of "It Ain't Over Till The Fat Neighbor Sings".
Refuge in Audacity: A lot of the schemes dreamed up by many characters fall into this territory, like Peggy's scam against an Internet con-artist who made her blow her life savings on a fake Master's Degree.
Real Men Eat Meat: Hank fervently believes this. On "Hank's Unmentionable Problem," it's implied that Hank is so ignorant (or abhorrent) of vegetables that he orders macaroni and cheese to balance out the meat he ordered at a cafeteria.
Real Men Hate Sugar: Comically subverted. Dale's "macho" gun club is fond of desserts, with Dale regularly baking macaroons as part of (or possibly his entire) campaign for presidency. His opposition in one election, Mad Dog, is basically a walking macho stereotype and prepared a wide variety of cakes to one-up Dale.
You're going down, Gribble. And unlike your macaroons, you're staying down!
Repurposed Pop Song: After Big Mountain Fudgecake collapses, John Redcorn repurposes their songs for children and becomes "the Native American Raffi". For example, he rewrites a song about suicide into being about personal hygiene:
"Wake up, I want to … wash myself, clean my wrists, scrub my brains out …"
Peggy's background was rewritten so that she spent most of her early life in Montana, rather than spending her high school years in Arlen. This complicates the episodes where Hank and Peggy are shown as High School Sweethearts. Not only that but Peggy's mother, who was originally an older-looking Peggy who was a bit critical of her into a downright mean and verbally abusive bitch who never forgave Peggy for abandoning the family ranch, even after saving it.
Luanne's father. In the first episode Luanne, then aged 18, is dropped off at the Hill residence after her mother stabs him, and in later episodes he is referenced as working on an oil rig just to stay safely away from Luanne's psycho mother. All this is chucked out the window when he finally makes an appearance. He's introduced as a manipulative drunken bastard and Hank and Peggy decide to cover up the truth about him to his grown daughter. He claims that Luanne was five when he last saw her. He's a felon out of prison, rather than having been working on an oil rig (he used the "oil rig" story to keep Luanne from knowing that her father is a felon). And he looks nothing like his sister Peggy, while in an earlier episode he was described as strongly resembling Peggy but with smaller feet.
Hank and his old Arlen High School football team challenged the team that they lost against during the championships to a rematch that they eventually win. This one is made more glaring by the fact that Hank had come to terms with losing the game in an earlier episode.
Cotton's second starring episode deals with him going senile. Hank notices that Cotton has gone from being his crazy old self to just plain crazy and Cotton is portrayed as such. The only reason Cotton avoids being institutionalized is by having Didi be his caretaker. But in all subsequent episodes Cotton's senility is either toned down or abandoned entirely and Didi eventually divorces him (and is implied to take Good Hank with her, since we don't hear about Good Hank ever again following the divorce).
Dale's understanding of John Redcorn's sexuality. In the episode where Dale and Nancy renew their vows, the closing words are along the lines of "I don't have a problem with gay people, hell, I'm friends with John Redcorn". A later episode has him send John Redcorn after Bill's new girlfriend Charlene, to break them up, and even calls him a "chick magnet".
Comparatively minor but still noteworthy: Dale's dad Bug appears to be an ordinary guy, looking a lot like his son, in his initial appearances. In his focus episode "My Own Private Rodeo," Bug is revealed to be a gay rodeo star with no physical, let alone personality resemblance to Dale.
Cotton's wartime service, though some of it is heavily implied to be lies and senility (like claiming to have been in Münich on April 30 and Okinawa on May 2).
Possibly more Aesop Amnesia than a retcon, but season 11 has John Redcorn trying to rekindle his affair with Nancy, despite them breaking up in season 4 and Redcorn feeling guilty about betraying Dale's trust after the latter helps him file a lawsuit against the government.
The Reveal: The Grand Finale reveals, in a quick shot during the final couple of minutes, what Boomhauer's job is: he's a Texas Ranger.
Rewind, Replay, Repeat: In "The Perils of Polling", Hank repeatedly plays the tape of George W. Bush shaking a random guy's hand:
Right on Queue: One episode is about Lucky and Luanne waiting in line for several days to get the first tickets to see Brownsville Station (of "Smokin in the Boy's Room" fame.) When the box office opens, not a single person has gotten in line behind them. Then Lucky starts waiting at the door.
Lucky: "I want to be sure they don't run out of my shirt size, Women's Medium."
"Risky Business" Dance: Spoofed. Bobby slides in his underwear just as Luanne is watching the scene on TV. Turns out he hasn't seen the movie.
Rousing Speech: Bobby gives one at the end of "Old Glory", which is more meant to be an apology for taking the credit for Peggy's work on a paper, but ends up being more of a Patriotic Fervor speech:
Bobby: What has this school taught us about the flag? I say the Pledge of Allegiance every day, but I don't know what it means. I hear "The Star-Spangled Banner" before very football game, but by "Oh say can you see," I'm looking for the guy with the peanuts. But today, I watched a grown man cry while his flag burned. And when I saw how much it meant to him, I realized how much it should have meant to me. So tomorrow, if you're sitting near me in detention, and one of your spitballs comes anywhere near that flag, you better watch your back. Tom Landry rules! (audience cheers)
In one episode, Connie is desperate to get a summer internship with Peggy because the alternative is spending the summer on a "family fishing boat in Laos" because her father Kahn thinks it will look good on her college applications.
At the end of a later episode, Connie's badgirl cousin from LA, "Tid Pao" (voiced by Lucy Liu) is punished by being sent to work on her Uncle's ranch, who gives her a stern warning upon arrival:
"I'm last Uncle you got. You screw up here, we send you back with Grandma in Laos!"
Series Continuity Error: In "Hilloween" in season two, Bobby mentions Hank once made him eat chopped liver. In "Love Hurts and So Does Art", when Bobby gets gout from eating to much chopped liver, Hank mentions they never feed Bobby foods like chopped liver.
Serious Business: Propane and propane accessories. Hank takes this to absurd levels, due to his job (and how seriously he takes it). For example, he calls butane a "bastard gas", he has a beeper specifically for "propane emergencies", and when Peggy and Bobby eat a burger grilled on a charcoal grill he drags them into the kitchen and makes them pray to God for forgiveness.
In the episode where an artist embarrasses Hank by putting Hank's colonoscopy showing his colon clogged by beef up in a museum, the artist is arrested for "defaming beef", which is apparently serious business in Texas, probably a reference to a famous case involving Oprah Winfrey.
In the final episode, Bobby joins a junior college meat grading team and has a lot of fun … until he sees the darker side of competition and rivalry. Best emphasized when, at dinner, his teammates see an opposing team and say they should blind them by throwing red pepper flakes in their eyes. Bobby laughs, but when the rest of the team shoots a glare his way he asks "Wait, you guys are serious?!"
Having a masculine haircut. After Hank's barber Jack bleaches Hank's hair out of spite Hank is told by Buck Strickland that he can't be paid for the day and has to take the afternoon off to get his hair dyed back to "a boy's color."
Lawn care for Hank. The day Bobby was born Hank bought a whetstone, to be presented to him when he becomes a teenager. The whetstone is for sharpening mower blades, which is what Bobby is to do every Saturday until he has shown himself to be responsible enough to mow the lawn. In other words, a common chore assigned to teenagers is treated as a rite of passing and a privilege that must be earned. Another episode has Hank see Khan using mowing the lawn as a punishment for Connie and being completely bewildered by it.
Beer is worshipped by the guys. Beer is so sacred that it even supercedes the lawn in the Serious Business heirarchy, with Hank saying he wouldn't pour out a beer to extinguish a grass fire. Spitting out beer is to be avoided at all costs, so much so that when someone actually does it its for a serious reason. Even that which contains beer, the cooler, is treated with respect. When Cotton blindly drives his Cadillac Car down the alley and nearly kills Bill Hank's immediate concern is whether or not the cooler was dented.
Bill sees the pastor at their church as this. Though mostly because he's desperate.
And the (perceived) forbidden nature of their relationship is shown to be a necessary part of his interest in her.
Shooting Gallery: In "How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Alamo", Peggy puts a Flat Stanley cutout into one of these for a series of photos to "teach kids lessons", it then gets shot to pieces.
Shout-Out: Boomhauer's "disco" outfit in the episode "Strangeness on a Train" makes him look a lot like Robert Garcia.
Luanne Platter's name is one to the Lu Ann Platter, a combination dish served at a Texas-based restaurant chain called Luby's.
Stuart Dooley is an Expy of Butt-Head while Hank is pretty much Tom Anderson if he were younger, had a son, and sold propane and propane accessories.
In "Little Horrors of Shop", Peggy tries to get the students to vote for her as Substitute Teacher of the Year; three votes go to "Lara Croft, whoever … the heck that is".
The episode where Hank, Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer are under investigation for burning down the firehouse features an amount of slapstick that is excessive by the show's standards, and the show ends with a riff from Three Blind Mice.
In "Yard, She Blows," the neighborhood where Hank goes to buy lawn gnomes was basically traced from photos of Solvang, CA.
Shower Shy: This happens to Bobby Hill in "The Incredible Hank."
Shown Their Work: A lot of Texas references are completely accurate, from Big Tex at the state fair, to a Laotian minority population, football (whether it's the NFL or high school) and beef being a big deal, to a Shout-Out to Luly's cafeteria.
Murray Hoggarth was the long-time president (okay, not commissioner) of the Texas Propane Gas Association. How's that for an esoteric namedrop?
Silent Credits: For the most part, the credits to "Fun With Jane and Jane" are like this; it's just a group of emus standing around like Hank, Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer do, with no music playing during it.
In "Of Mice and Little Green Men", Nancy wonders why God is punishing her. Then she shouts to the sky, "WHY, SUG?!"
Single Issue Psychology: when he is seeing a psychologist to fix his aim, Hank tries to interpret his problem this way and connects it to Cotton yelling at him as a boy, but the actual psychologist cuts him off and has him do visualization techniques.
Slice of Life: A relatively rare Western-animated "adult" example.
Small Name, Big Ego: Peggy, to the point where she could have been the Trope Namer had The Mary Tyler Moore Show never existed. And let's not forget Cotton, though part of this also seems to be dementia brought on by his old age - while he did have to be a legitimate badass to survive the injuries he took during World War II and kill fitty men, he also seems to believe he fought on both the Western and Pacific fronts within days of each other and essentially won the war on his own.
Smarter Than You Look: Lucky has often shown that he's pretty savvy in certain areas, even if he gives off the vibe that he's just … not.
Smoking Hot Sex: Subverted in "Nancy's Boys"; there's a close-up of Dale smoking and saying, "Oh yeah." The camera cuts back to reveal that he and Nancy still have their clothes on and haven't begun yet.
Parodied in another episode, where Dale claims the last time he did this, the bed caught fire.
Spit Take: Done straight when Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer do a synchronized spit-take upon discovering that the beer they've been drinking has been tainted, and subverted in a different episode when Hank almost does a spit-take of his own, and says dead seriously, "You almost made me spit out beer."
The first example is also two examples in one:
Hank: If it wasn't the bananas that made us sick, then what was it? … Oh my God, the BEER!
Hank: Oh my GOD … his handshake … (three note dramatic sting) it was limp!
The Stinger: Nearly every episode featured a sound clip from earlier in the episode over the "Deedle Dee Productions" logo. It's usually a line that is made funnier due to there being no context, though in some episodes ("The Arrowhead", for example) it's a continuation of what was happening before the credits.
The logo was silent during the first season, with the exception of "The Company Man".
Standardized Sitcom Housing: Completely averted. Every house on the show is designed like a real house, which would be a pain to shoot on a live action three camera sitcom.
Stealth Pun: In "Returning Japanese" Hank calls his half brother Junichero a crazy bastard. Considering his parents aren't married, it adds a new layer to Hank's term of endearment.
Stop Being Stereotypical: Inverted in one episode, where Hank was dealing with a client from Boston who expected everything in Texas to be cowboys and country, meaning Hank had to act stereotypical in order to draw the guy's attention. Eventually he gets sick of it and tells the guy off, saying (in effect) "If you want dumbass cowboy antics go with Thatherton, but if you want quality propane stick with Strickland." The guy ends up going with Thatherton.
Strawman Political: A number of the one-off smug Northerners who make appearances in Arlen, usually voiced by David Herman. Like Hank's new boss who fired the truck drivers, or the disability advocate.
Suicide as Comedy: Bill in the Christmas episode "Pretty Pretty Dresses." Even tries to slam his own head in a drawer, kill himself using an electric oven, and is kept from shooting himself by Dale threatening him with a gun.
Willie Nelson: Hey I know you; you're the kid who rakes my yard. Bobby: No, I'm the kid who hit you in the head. Willie: With a rake? Bobby: No, with a golf club. Willie: You've been raking my yard with a golf club? I want my quarter back!
The Tag: Occasionally done, usually with Hank giving the viewer a humorous disclaimer.
Take a Third Option: Connie and Bobby have to wrestle each other for the last spot on the team, but each has too much to lose. So they take Refuge in Audacity and stage a full-on WWE style chair throwing extravaganza so that they'll both be kicked off, but be hailed as heroes by the other students.
Bobby's a pretty inventive kid — after all, when he was thought to be the Lama, he used the third option of "Pick anything you see on this rug" … and he picked Connie, whose reflection he could see in the mirror.
In "Movin' On Up", Luanne moves out of the Hills' den, but ends up with a bunch of lazy Jerk Ass roommates who won't pay their share of the bills and call her a Nazi when she complains. Given the choice between putting up with them or admitting defeat and moving back with the Hills, she closes the house's accounts, meaning the roommates can't sponge off of her for power, heat, water or phone lines anymore, while living in the yard with a hidden stash of food at the bottom of the pool.
That's What She Said: The plot to the title of the same name; a new employee at Strickland Propane (voiced by Ben Stiller) frequently replies to people with this catchphrase. At first, everyone thinks he's hilarious, but soon they begin to feel uncomfortable because every time they open their mouth, they fear he will turn whatever they say into a Double Entendre (particularly bad for a business which sells items to cook meat). As usual, it's up to Hank to set things right.
The Theme Park Version: In an early episode, Hank has to do business with a pushy Bostonian who seems to think Texas is/should be this. In order to keep his business, Hank tries to conform to the man's beliefs, making himself an Extreme Doormat (as Peggy points out). After a heart-to-heart with a stripper, Hank finally tells the man off and says, in effect, "If you want cowboy bullshit, go to Thatherton, but if you want quality propane, you come to me". Of course, the man assumes this means they have to fist-fight, and ends up going with Thatherton when Hank refuses.
Through a Face Full of Fur: In "Death of a Propane Salesman (Part 2)", at the funeral, Dale opens a casket and looks into it as a part of uncovering one of his conspiracy theories involving Mega Lo Mart and insurance fraud. The sight of the corpse causes him to turn pale and he throws up.
Toilet Humor: In one episode, Peggy says, "Hope in one hand, poop in the other, and see which fills up first."
Dale, in "Beer and Loathing", after drinking some tainted beer: "I don't know which way it's coming out, but it's coming out!"
And of course, "Flush With Power" is all about the town council members having to use the john in the last act.
First-season classic "Hank's Unmentionable Problem", about Hank's severe case of constipation. The scene where Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" plays after Hank finally poops is a highlight.
The pilot episode where Hank is mistaken for a child abuser (after Bobby gets a black eye during a baseball game and rumors spread of Hank losing his temper with a Mega-Lo-Mart clerk) had Hank listening to a "Funny Phone Jerks" audio recording, which consists of farting noises (he mistook it for some music Bobby was listening to).
Tonight Someone Dies: The Mega-Lo Mart explosion and the shooting cliffhangers both were advertised as this.
Fox actually spoofed this trope with the Mega-Lo Mart explosion cliffhanger, which left four characters — Hank, Luanne, Buckley, and Chuck Mangione — unaccounted for, one of whom viewers were told would die. Over the summer, Fox ran a series of commercials in which their execs threatened to kill off Hank unless he agreed to let the show be retooled and moved to Los Angeles (where it would be renamed "King of the Hollywood Hills"). Eventually Hank got ahold of some compromising photos of Fox executives and they agreed to let him stay in Texas without killing him off. In the end, Buckley was the one who died.
As for the shooting episode, Hank's co-worker and Buck Strickland's mistress Debbie died (she accidentally killed herself while trying to get her rifle and a basket of nachos into the Dumpster she was hiding in); she was a relatively minor character.
Too Dumb to Live: Bobby, who can be influenced by pretty much anything: his sexist grandfather, a white supremacist website, a group of teenagers pretending to know wizardry … the list goes on. He personifies this trope so much that one of the most frequently-reused episode plots is "Bobby falls in with a bad crowd of some sort and Hank bails him out".
The rest of the cast has their moments of insane stupidity. Many other episodes feature the Dale/Bill/Boomhauer trio or one of the three (usually Dale or Bill) getting into trouble for something stupid until Hank saves the day (including the time they tried frying everything imaginable and started a grease fire, while Dale used bees to cure things, even his own broken arm … and then there's the fact Dale's allergic to bees).
Luanne also has her moments of mind-boggling idiocy (despite being fairly smart in the earlier episodes; she even knew how to fix a car, despite Cotton's misogynistic remarks), including one in which she joined a sorority that was obviously a front for a cult; Peggy's attempts to help her resulted in her getting recruited as well.
In the same episode Luanne indicates that she uses a mnemonic to remember her own name.
Everyone. It's hard to find someone who doesn't repeatedly do something mind-bogglingly stupid over the course of the series.
Worth mentioning that all the young employees at Mega-Lo Mart are clueless in their department, pissing off customers like Hank, and have supervision over older and wiser coworkers. Notably Buckley, who died in a propane explosion after failing to listen to Hank's advice not to drag the propane tank by the nozzle, thus causing a leak.
In "Fun with Jane and Jane", Luanne escapes from a cult, but Peggy takes her right back because she doesn't understand that they're a cult (despite Luanne saying that they deprived her of food and sleep and punished her by locking her in a closet and yelling at her) and takes Luanne right back — and joins the cult herself because they offer to let her vent about her terrible mother.
Interestingly, Kahn, Depending on the Writer. He's a downright Jerk Ass during the earlier seasons, yet sometimes in the later seasons, he seems to genuinely want to help or be friends with everyone else, just is too stubborn (though an episode from season 13 reveals that Kahn's jerkass ways stem from the side effects of the medication he has to take for his bipolar disorder). Minh is a bit better at it than he is, though.
True Companions: Hank, Dale, Bill and Boomhauer for sure. No matter how much of a creepy loser Bill is or how much of an untrustworthy idiot Dale is the four will always be best friends. Even when Hank, Dale and Bill stole Boomhauer's beloved car, accidentally destroyed it after a joyride and lied about it for 20 years Boomhauer was only mad at them for two weeks (Hank was reduced to one week when Bobby told Boomhauer Hank always quotes him).
Twofer Token Minority: When Dale is being opposed for Gun Club President, he states that his opponent has "already got the black vote — Earl — and the gay vote — Earl."
Touched upon in one episode where Nancy comments that she would have married John Redcorn if she wasn't already married to Dale.
Also addressed in several episodes that show Dale as a loving father and loyal husband. In one episode Nancy falls back in love with Dale after noticing his good qualities. She has basically admitted that he is the one too good for her.
Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000: In one episode Hank gets addicted to a Grand Theft Auto clone programmed by local college students and featuring a Badass version of himself as the hero. Somewhat subverted in that the game lets the player be a "good guy", which is how Hank plays it, rather than just being a straight-up criminal.
Un-Cancelled: After spending its last few seasons being constantly victimized by sports preemptions and schedule changes, Season 11 was finally announced as being the last, with Luanne's wedding being the series finale. It was unexpectedly picked up for two additional seasons, however, when Fox decided to revamp its animation lineup in the Fall of 2007, but was later canceled for good at the end of season 13, leaving 4 unaired episodes to debut in syndication.
Underdogs Never Lose: Averted in "How to Fire a Rifle Without Really Trying". The episode concerns Hank overcoming his problems with firing a rifle. However, even when he manages to get it together during the shooting tournament, he still loses on the final shot. However, it's still a happy ending because Bobby's thrilled that he and Hank got second place and wants to compete again next year.
Also averted in "Hank's Back Story", where Hank loses the mower racing competition.
To a lesser extent, Hank glaringly prefers Ladybird to Bobby, though he does love Bobby. For what it's worth, Hank also makes it no secret he views his niece Luanne as a burden.
The Unfair Sex: Not played entirely straight; Nancy cheating on Dale is played for laughs rather than to make Dale look like a bad husband. In fact, he's usually portrayed pretty sympathetically as far as this issue goes.
It gets brought up in the episode where Nancy thinks Dale is flirty with a female exterminator and Nancy is afraid that he will cheat. Dale mentions that he never had any problems with Nancy spending so much time with John Redcorn.
Unishment: In "An Officer and a Gentle Boy", Bobby is able to withstand all of Cotton's punishments, including sitting on a block of ice, eating the mixed-up leftovers of cafeteria food, and having to sit in a tiny cell for days.
Played with in an episode where Boomhauer has a flashback: Hank, Dale, and Bill all talk like him, while he talks normally.
Played with again in an episode where Boomhauer falls asleep in an inner tube and floats all the way to Houston; the locals don't understand him, and he's committed to a mental hospital.
Hank will often say "Boomhauer, I can't understand a word you just said", attributing the lack of intelligibility to interference, like loud music or the echoes of a cave.
Subverted on the episode "The Bluegrass is Always Greener", where Boomhauer's singing voice is actually coherent. And sounds just like Vince Gill!
When Boomhauer makes an impassioned (and barely intelligible) plea to Dale to surrender to the police before they use force against him, Dale responds "Boomhauer, if I ever heard anyone reading from a script, that was it."
In the pilot, after the child services investigator asks Dale (who tells him Hank does not abuse Bobby), he talks to Boomhauer, who complains about Ladybird barking, so the social services investigator slowly backs away.
Unreliable Narrator: Certain elements of Cotton's story regarding his experiences in World War II, as well as his medical history, are rather questionable.
The Unreveal: Boomhauer's first name, Jeff, isn't revealed until near the end of the series, but was mentioned on various websites years prior.
Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: By the second season, everybody takes turns being this. It's hard to feel bad for Hank when his problems are often caused by his own naivete or even flat-out ignorance, or Peggy when her problems are caused by her ego, or the rest of the cast, who apparently juggle Idiot Balls or make JerkAss decisions.
Verbal Tic: I'll tell you what, that dang ol' Boomhauer, man.
Also Joe Jack, honey.
Don't forget Nancy, sug.
"Oh, sugar! I'm out of sugar, sug."
Vice City: What Arlen used to be (Harlot Town -> Harloton -> Arlen).
Vocal Evolution: Dale and Bill both were initially given lower voices but they got higher in subsequent seasons as the voice actors gave them more range. Hank originally had a more forceful voice but it gradually softened a bit.
Vomit Discretion Shot: In "The Buck Stops Here", Bobby has to wait in the alley while Buck gambles inside. A woman begins to vomit from having drunk too much alcohol, though it's not shown in graphic detail.
Man: You all emptied out, Carla? (resumes kissing her)
Bobby: Oh GOD!
Wannabe Diss: Bobby, when getting interested in Tarot reading, joins a group of losers claiming to be genuine wizards or … something. When he sees that these idiots are ineffectual dorks that have likely been emotionally broken due to being picked on and are just throwing together a bunch of crap they likely saw in Dungeons & Dragons, he tells them that even he wants to kick their asses.
"Well Done, Son!" Guy: Oh-so-much with poor Hank. He constantly seeks his father's admiration (or at least his respect), but Cotton is a jaded World War II veteran who has absolutely no respect (and just barely a little love) for Hank, going so far to name his newborn son Good Hank.
I gots mah shins blowed off by a Japan man's machine gun, so don't crying to me about your problems!
Bobby, his own son, also has it rough. But compared to his grandfather, Hank is far easier to please.
"Bobby, if you weren't my son I'd hug you."
Female variation with Peggy and her mom: even saving her family's Montana ranch is not enough to impress her mother, though, so Peggy just gives up on trying.
When Cotton's confronted by Hank after he runs off to Las Vegas to avoid raising G.H., Cotton admits that Hank is a better father than he ever was (in the most insulting manner possible of course).
You made Bobby! All I made was you!
Kahn is another example. He tries to impress his father-in-law, who apparently worked for several dictators in the past, calls Kahn a "descendant of fishermen," and generally has no respect for him.
Minh, for that matter, can't seem to get any respect from Kahn's mother either.
What Could Have Been: The Spanish Soap Opera, Monsignor Martinez, was actually planned to be a live action spin-off, but it got killed mid-production when the crew had trouble finding a network willing to run a show about a Catholic priest who murders people.
According to the DVD commentary for the pilot episode, the show had a lot of titles before King of the Hill was chosen. Some examples include Dale Gribble and the Other Guy, I'm Gonna Kick Your Ass!, Citizen Hank, Propane Man, The Hank Hill Family Hour, and Hank Hill and His Clan.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Not only do Cotton's wife Didi and infant son Good Hank not appear at his deathbed, they aren't even mentioned (though it is implied that Didi divorced Cotton and took Good Hank with her). In the episode 'Daletech', Cotton finishes an argument with Didi with "Fine, call your lawyer!" before Didi speeds off and Cotton informing the Hill family Didi has "gone to visit her folks" and telling the family he doesn't know when she will be back, suggesting Didi divorced him and moved away. Didi does show up, in a new Cadillac (having remarried less than a year after Cotton's death) to give Hank some of Cotton's possessions and will in "Serves Me Right for Giving General Goerge S Patton the Bathroom Key", including a final wish to flush his cremated ashes down the toilet Patton used during WWI, which contradicts his earlier securing of a burial plot in a veteran's cemetary.
This also happens to Kahn's mother, who in one episode is in a relationship with Bill. She is mentioned in the next episode, but never appears again.
This has happened quite a few times: in "Pretty, Pretty Dresses" Bill gets a pet iguana whom he names Lenore, in "Returning Japanese" Luanne buys another bloodhound whom is presumably male after she thinks she's killed Ladybird, and in "I'm With Cupid" Bobby gets a new girlfriend named Debby, but none of these characters are ever seen again.
A very noticeable example: One of John Redcorn's old flings and his newly discovered daughter end up moving into his trailer with him in one episode. They are never seen or mentioned again.
Women Are Wiser: Inverted with Hank and Peggy, though played straight for Kahn & Minh and Dale & Nancy.
The Worst Seat in the House: There's an episode where Hank, his son, and a few of their friends attend a conference title game in Dallas. They buy absurdly expensive seats that turn out to be in the bloodiest of the nosebleed section, but through some good luck they end up in a luxury suite by the end of the game.
Storekeeper: This fella never went to school. He grew up in the hills, but he wrote the book on homemade bait. 'Course it's just a bunch of scribbles 'cause he never went to school.
Yank the Dog's Chain: In "Tankin' it to the Streets", Bill notices that the vast majority of his military medical records are censored. Dale gets ahold of the original documents and spills the secrets: When Bill joined the military in his '20s, he was given an experimental injection that would cause excess hair and fat growth. It was designed to prepare soldiers for being stationed in Alaska. Upon hearing this, Bill is at first dismayed that the military gave him this drug without telling him the side effects (he assumed they were booster shots), gets drunk and steals a tank from the base. Hank, Dale, and Boomhauer convince Bill that at least now he knows that his shortcomings aren't actually his fault. However, later Dale mentions the "name" of the injection: "Placebo". So Bill wasn't really being injected with body-altering substances, and he realizes that his hair growth and excess body fat are his own doing.
Typically Bill is getting his chain yanked whenever anything positive happens to him thanks to Status Quo Is God. Especially if it involves women in any way. Poor man just can't catch a break.
Your Mom: In "Traffic Jam," Buddha Sack launches into a series of these against Hank's mom when Hank tells Buddha Sack that his mother didn't raise him right. Also Hank's urethra.