Western Animation / King of the Hill


"I tell you what..."

King of the Hill is a long running animated sitcom that aired from 1997-2010. It was created by Mike Judge (the same guy who brought you Beavis And Butthead, and later, the movies Office Space and Idiocracy) and Greg Daniels (a former writer of The Simpsons).

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 friends, who are also his neighbors, include down-and-out divorced Army barber Bill Dauterive, cuckolded Conspiracy Theorist and pest exterminator Dale Gribble, and Boomhauer, a womanizing motormouth 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 being 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 Platter (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  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 Butt-head. However, the show's attempts at being a more down-to-earth cartoon (that aired on mainstream network television, no less) is also the reason why some people don't like this show and have accused Judge of being a "sell out."

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 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, as of the episodes "Peggy's Fan Fair" and "Lupe's Revenge", had her 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 FOX on September 13, 2009. Four unaired episodes were released in syndication and on [adult swim] in 2010.

The entire series is also available on DVD and the iTunes Store. Cartoon Network has been airing reruns ever since the show's final years, so it's very easy to tune in and find a favorite episode or an episode you've never seen before (though, as of 2015, [adult swim] does not air the episodes of King of the Hill from seasons one and two, except for the Season 2 episode "Hilloween", whenever the holiday comes around. The episodes that currently air are from three to 13, plus the four unaired-on-FOX episodes). Netflix streaming in America used to have every episode of the show (including the four unaired ones) until they were pulled in 2013.

The show has a character sheet.

King of the Hill sells tropes and trope accessories of:

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    Tropes A-C 
  • 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.
    • 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. This is especially the case once she hooks up with Lucky, who Peggy points out represents the life from which Luanne was originally trying to escape (though, technically, Luanne isn't trailer trash. She doesn't live in a trailer... anymore, isn't a drug addict or alcoholic, has a husband who loves her [even if he doesn't have a job and relies more on frivolous lawsuits in order to provide for his family], and has a child she cares for. The only reason people think she's become trailer trash is because Lucky is a redneck).
  • 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 Misnaming: In "Hank's Got the Willies":
    Willie Nelson: Bobby wants to play your guitar, ride your mower and swing your golf club. Seems to me that boy does have a hero, and his name is Hank Hall.
  • Accidental Pervert: The main plots of "Hank's Dirty Laundry"note  and "Naked Ambition"note  played with this.
  • Action Girl: Luanne in "Boxing Luanne".
  • Adam Westing:
  • Adult Fear: The series as a whole offers a lot of everyday concerns parents and adults have. What if I have nothing in common with my kid? What if my kid gets bullied for being different? What if my spouse cheats on me? What if my spouse leaves me? All of the main characters face very real problems.
  • Advice Backfire: "Suite Smells of Excess" 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 constantly forgets that Bobby is good at some sports, like shooting, football, and wrestling.
    • Hank doesn’t seem to understand that his mother's marriage to his father wasn’t the happiest period in her life and is honestly baffled every time he’s told this. Good examples of this are when he learned that she repeatedly took odd jobs to get out of the house and that her miniature collection was literally her Sanity Ball.
    • Kahn and Minh quite frequently learn to respect their redneck neighbors only to forget it.
    • Quintessential to this 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.
    • "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow" has John Redcorn attempting to rekindle his affair with Nancy, even though in "Nancy Boys", John Redcorn was the one who ended the affair because he felt guilty about betraying Dale's trust after the latter helped him file a lawsuit against the government.
  • A Handful for an Eye: One of Dale's attacks, "Pocket sand!"
  • Airport Novel: In "Ho, Yeah!", Peggy, in her efforts to educate Tammy, gives her Congo. Tammy exclaims, "This is the kind of book people read in airports!" with a certain amount of awe.
    • In "I Remember Mono", Peggy tells a romantic story about Hank to her friends, one of them says she could write that story into a book, put Fabio on the cover, and sell it at airports.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts:
    • Hank says fighting Chang Wasanasong must have been difficult for Bobby, because Chane must know all kinds of Oriental martial arts.
    • When Kahn 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". Careful observers will note that Kahn is using Pencak Silat.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Mentioned by Bobby after Cotton tells Bobby's class how he garroted 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!
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: In a hilariously lame version of this, Peggy seems to get turned on when Hank starts driving a secret lunch truck after Arlen bans transfat in "Trans-Fascism".
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Hank forcing Bobby to smoke an entire carton of cigarettes in "Keeping Up With Our Joneses" after catching the latter smoke one cigarette sounds like a ridiculous punishment, right? In actuality, this was disturbingly real punishment for years.
  • An Aesop:
    • Lampshaded in "The Year of Washing Dangerously":
    Hank: So is the moral going to be "slow and steady wins the race" or "hard work is its own reward"? Because they're both equally valid.
    • The moral, incidentally, is "don't kill the golden goose" — explained in-episode by, of all people, Buck Strickland.
    • "Rich Hank, Poor Hank" ends with Hank and Bobby discussing using a credit card wisely.
    • Most episodes, invariably, have this in some form or another, usually delivered by Hank.
  • 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!"
  • 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, and King Philip's outfit looks more like a medieval outfit. Not to mention there was never a King Philip of England. Peggy attempts to correct some of the inaccuracies, and that is the start of Philip disliking her.
  • Annoying Laugh:
    • Kahn has an annoying, condescending one.
    • Cissy Cobb in "Peggy the Boggle Champ".
  • Anything That Moves: Donna is revealed to be this in "Lost in MySpace".
  • Appeal to Audacity: In "Hank's Back", Hank is accused of worker's compensation fraud. He can't sway the oversight board into believing him. He then bring the yoga instructor who helped him as a witness. When the instructor acts obnoxious, Hank points out that he would never spend time with a guy like this unless he absolutely had to. This is enough to convince the board that Hank is telling the truth.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: When Luanne stays over at Boomhauer's for a few nights, she assumes it is a pretext for sex and tries (unconvincingly) to let Boomhauer down gently, and is then bewildered when he puts a blanket and pillow on the couch and goes to his bedroom.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    Dale: I have dedicated my professional career to the study and control of arthropods. I have personally taste-tested each and every household insecticide. I have read a book.
  • Art Evolution:
    • During Season 1, there's a small but noticeable improvement after the pilot episode.
    • Hank got a few less facial wrinkles starting in Season 2, and his glasses shrunk down. Also, Peggy's tank top switched from gray to green starting in Season 2, along with no longer wearing tall socks. And Bobby's face was altered to be more cheerful and not look like he's sullen and/or mentally retarded. The colors also became brighter and less washed out. Later, when Joseph's voice actor was recast, he was made to go through a growth spurt, complete with facial hair, a deeper voice, and new clothes.
    • Later seasons switched from ink animation to digital animation and some occasional CGI mixed with 2D (as seen on Futurama, Family Guy, and The Simpsons). The typeface of signs suffered from this switch, as they no longer looked blended in with the animation.
  • Artifact Title: "Hank and the Great Glass Elevator". Only the first act ties into the episode title (as it centers on Hank getting in trouble for mooning while in a glass elevator); the rest is about Bill's relationship with the former governor of Texas, Ann Richards.
  • Artistic License – Geography: "Uh Oh Canada" depicts Boomhauer and his newfound girlfriend kayaking with mountains in the background, in a scene supposedly taking place in Ontario. In reality, Ontario lacks mountains. On a related note, the idea that Boomhauer would hook up with a French-speaker in Guelph, Ontario, while obviously not a logical impossibility any more than meeting one in Arlen, is extremely improbable given the demographics, and seems more the product of the writers thinking that all of Canada is bilingual when really, it's just New Brunswick and a select number of Quebec cities (Montréal and Gatineau are functionally — but not officially — bilingual).
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Invoked in "How to Fire a Rifle Without Really Trying". The safety instructor for Bobby's class explains that he lost an eye and a thumb by excitedly running downrange to show off his target (presumably he got the job for being a walking example of how not to act on a range). He later repeats this when he sees Bobby's target, while Bobby is more concerned with PROVEing his rifle safe.
  • Artistic License – History: In "Harlottown", Vance Gilbert incorrectly says that witches were burned at the stake in Salem, Massachusetts. Most were hanged, and one was crushed under stones. Could be a deliberate error to highlight the character's ignorance, as most people in real life do believe that women accused of witchcraft were burned during the Salem Witch Trials.
  • 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," though this is pretty in-character for her, given that she's a Small Name, Big Ego and the Hills are the kind of family that wouldn't know anything about other religions, except the Christian-based ones that are prevalent in the Southern and Midwestern United States, like Methodist, Baptist, and Episcopalian.
    • 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."
    • In "Luanne Virgin 2.0," Luanne participates in a church ceremony to become a "born again virgin" and agrees to join a Christian abstinence outreach program. While Methodists do believe premarital sex is a sin, "born again virginity" and a heavy focus on "purity" are more characteristic of Evangelical and Baptist demoninations.
    • Junie Harper, the antagonist-of-the-day in "Hilloween", tells Luanne that Halloween was created by druids, and later gets the holiday banned in Arlen by claiming separation of church and state. She does have a point for the latter, but not for the reason she thinks (Halloween was actually invented by Christians co-opting two pagan holidays, kind of like how Christmas came to be). This is the source of most of the episode's humor, of course - for instance, Harper's lack of acknowledgement that she herself is forcing her "everything I disagree with is Satanic" religious beliefs on the city.
  • As Himself: Chuck Mangione, who was more or less part of the supporting cast as he had so many appearances. At first, he was just the pitchman for Mega Lo Mart (and cardboard cutouts based on the album art for Feels So Good are a common sight in the store). Then he apparently moved to Arlen and could be spotted around town at various places. Unofficially this was due to the fact that his contract 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 (which starts to bleed into Adam Westing).
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The Souphanousinphones are often portrayed as shouting angrily in Lao, but it's really just gibberish. Also, Souphanousinphone isn't a real Laotian surname. It's not even a real surname period. It is, however, an oblique reference to Prince Souphanouvong.
  • 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.
  • Asshole Victim: In "Après Hank, le Deluge", the refugees at the Tom Landry Middle School endlessly try to blame Hank for them supposedly thinking he destroyed their homes in south Arlen by opening the flood gates (to lessen the potential chaos of the dam breaking through a growing crack). Bill gets on this by being too much of an Innocently Insensitive person holding the Jerkass Ball.
  • A-Team Firing:
    • Dale and all of his gun club buddies are terrible shots.
    • Apparently, the Japanese soldiers who tried to take down Cotton were afflicted with this, as all they were able to do was blow his shins off, when they really should have turned him into Swiss cheese.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Hank threatens and often invokes this literally to keep people in line.
  • Badass Native: John Redcorn, when he serves as frontman for a heavy metal band. Subverted in the same episode when he decides instead to play children's music.
  • Badass Preacher: Frequently show up on the Spanish Soap Opera program Los Dias y Las Noches de Monsignor Martinez.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Buck, of course.
    • The concession manager at the Arlen Speedway (Jimmy Wichard), who abuses Bobby (and illegal drugs, possibly), even ordering him to run across the track during a race to get him a drink. Hank sees this, and cue Literal Ass Kicking.
  • Bad Habits: She's not evil, but in "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret Hill", Peggy, who is desperate for a full-time teaching job, dresses and tries to pass herself off as a nun to get a teaching job at a Catholic School.
  • Bad to the Bone: "Iron Man" in "Bills are Made to be Broken."
  • 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." 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."
  • Batman Gambit: Hank cooks one up with Peggy's Mexican lawyer when she is charged with kidnapping while on a field trip across the border. By letting Peggy passionately address the court, thereby showing her poor command of Spanish (which she absolutely won't admit to as a defense), the judge is convinced that she did not understand what was happening around her.
  • Bat Scare: This 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 essentially runs Strickland Propane while Buck gets drunk in the office.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Hank has a lot, which includes:
      • Don't mess with Bobby or Luanne in front of him.
      • Don't question Texas (and on a closely related subject, don't speak favorably of California or Oklahoma) in front of him.
      • Don't be a jackass in front of him.
      • Don't get Arlen confused with Austin.
      • Most importantly, never denigrate propane or suggest that charcoal is superior for grilling. That just ain't right. This is lampshaded in "Hank Gets Dusted" where the Jerkass Reality Show producer suggests making fun of propane to get a rise out of Hank, and Dusty, who had been trolling Hank for a long time prior to this, tells him that there are just some lines you don't cross. Bobby also mentions to his friends that Hank considers butane to be the "bastard gas."
    • For Peggy:
      • Never question her fluency in Spanish, no matter how strong the urge.
      • Don't imply that her intelligence is anything below genius.
      • Don't 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 Dale and Peggy off big time, as Hank learned in "Sug Night" when John Redcorn told Dale that Hank had an erotic dream about her and Dale told Peggy while trying to kill Hank because of it. John Redcorn also wasn't happy about this.
  • Big Applesauce: Hank's true birthplace.note  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. Her mutilated Spanish can either be funny or painful.
    • 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. Ironically, this is done in the episode "Orange You Sad I Did Say Banana?" where he's criticizes Kahn for not being Lao enough.
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: Parodied in "Plastic White Female" as Hank is going through the bills:
    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 "Goodbye Normal Jeans" 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. This isn't unheard of in Real Life.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • Mega Lo Mart is Walmart.
    • 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."
    • This line from Bobby:
      Bobby: My mom's making Pork Pockets!
    • Luly's Cafeteria for the real life Texas-based restaurant chain Luby's Cafeteria.
    • Subverted with Whataburger and Dairy Queen which often appeared unmodified throughout the series.
  • Blessed with Suck: "Peggy's Turtle Song" 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). On the other hand, 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".
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper: "The Trouble with Gribbles" centers around Dale attempting to sue the Manitoba Tobacco Company for "ruining Nancy's skin" with their cigarette smoke, so he can use the money to get her some plastic surgery. They send him a singing placard fish that's bugged, in order to get proof against Dale's claim. Being the paranoid nut he is, Dale almost immediately recognizes the bug, and decides to counter-bluff them. Unfortunately, he does this in some of the saddest and most painful scenes in the series by acting as a total Jerkass towards Nancy.
  • Bookends:
    • The pilot begins with a shot of Arlen from above, with the water tower visible. "To Sirloin with Love," the intended Grand Finale, ends with a similar shot.
    • The first line in the series is the now-famous "Yep, yep, mm hmm, yep." The last line in the original finale ("Lucky's Wedding Suit"), not counting the Deedle-Dee tag, is this as well. The show tried at this again in the actual finale, with the last in-show lines being Bobby and Hank's "yeps." This time, the tag is simply the guys saying it, instead of a quote from the episode.
  • Book Safe: Of course, this one involves Peggy.
  • Boomerang Bigot:
    • Frequently Kahn, especially when he wants to a join a country club with only Asian members.
    • In "Lady and Gentrification", the hipsters that moves into Enrique's neighborhood really hate white people, despite most of them being white themselves.
  • Boot Camp Episode: In "An Officer and a Gentle Boy", 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.
  • Booze Flamethrower: Monsignor Martinez does this with communion wine. This should not be a strong enough alcohol to produce the effect, but oh, well. The same character has been mentioned to use communion wafers as ninja throwing stars.
    • Cotton is seen doing this with sake to Japanese soldiers during a World War II flashback, however Cotton has a tendency to stretch the truth with his war stories.
  • Boring, but Practical: Hank embodies this most of the time.
  • Bowdlerization + Edited for Syndication:
    • "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 remains in the DVD version.
    • In the original version of "Joust Like a Woman," a teen at the Renaissance Faire calls King Phillip "gay" (in the insulting context meaning "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 in fall 2010. This scene has since been reinstated.
    • In the episode "Bad Girls, Bad Girls, Whatcha Gonna Do", 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 muttering "Jesus Christ!" as he watches Bill down the entire platter of hot dogs in "The Fat and the Furious" was muted on Adult Swim.
  • The Boxing Episode: "Boxing Luanne".
  • 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."
    • Two in "Sleight of Hank":
      • At one point, 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.
      • 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 impress her students during chemistry class by dipping a rose in liquid nitrogen and shattering it, only to accidentally throw 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 cancelled 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." He is first seen burning down his bait shop for the insurance money. Later in the episode he's on trial for insurance fraud.
    • In "Hank's Bad Hair Day", Hank flashes back to getting haircuts from his father — done with a straight razor and a Pickelhaube helmet, with little Hank saying "I think you cut off part of my ear!" Later, when Bill is describing all the unique quirks he's noticed about Hank's head over the years, he mentions that Hank's ear looks like it's missing a tiny piece; "I'm sure there's a story there."
    • In "Hank Gets Dusted", Hank advises Bobby to never ask Cousin Dusty what time it is, because he'll just respond "It's time to rock!" Later on, Dusty asks Hank if he has the time; Hank starts to check his watch, but then catches himself and refuses to answer.
    • In "Full Metal Dust Jacket", Peggy buys the lease to a bookstore. When she gets invited to a book club by the former owner, they are reading a book called A Dinner of Onions. The episode features several other characters reading it as well and trying to figure it out. Several seasons later, random characters can be seen reading the same book. It also got a film adaption in "Stressed for Success" where Bobby is watching it with DVD Commentary.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Dale in "Tankin' it to the Streets" when they find out they're stuck in an Army firing range during target practice:
    "Gentlemen, the crap has literally been scared out of me."
  • Broken Aesops: Often intentionally invoked for the sake of comedy.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: In the episode "Untitled Blake McCormick Project", Bill starts dating a single mother and a distrusting Dale does a DNA test on her daughter. The results reveal 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.
  • Buffyspeak: Joseph after he hit puberty:
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
    • Despite his numerous flaws, Bill is one hell of a barber.
    • Depending on the writer, Dale can be a pretty good exterminator despite being... well, Dale.
  • Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie:
    • Cotton's final wishes is to have his ashes flushed down a toilet once used by General Patton before Pershing's expedition into Mexico to pursue Pancho Villa. This causes a slight continuity issue, since Cotton arranged to be buried at the Texas State Cemetery in a previous episode.
    • Cotton's other wish was for his head to be sawn off and delivered to the Emperor of Japan. Hank is distraught but hesitant to refuse his father's final wishes. Peggy lies to him, claiming Cotton rescinded that wish on his deathbed.
  • But I Read a Book About It: Dale.
    Dale: I have dedicated my professional career to the study and control of arthropods. I have personally taste-tested each and every household insecticide. I have read a book.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Junichiro, Cotton's illegitimate half-Japanese son.
  • Butterfly Effect: Referenced/spoofed in "Joust Like a Woman" after Peggy bests King Philip at a joust:
    Dale: (in sci-fi costume) The prime directive has been breached! Women's liberation has happened too soon! I must warn the future!
    Billl: Take me with you! I hate it here.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Everybody casually insults and makes fun of Bill.
    • "Strangeness on a Train" shows that every single one of Peggy's birthdays goes horribly, horribly wrong. Her party getting robbed one year is the least of it.
  • Call Back:
    • In "Grand Theft Arlen", Hank can be seen beating up a pimp who looks exactly like Alabaster from "Ho Yeah!", an episode aired two seasons before.
    • Season 3's "Pretty, Pretty Dresses" is named after an offhand remark Bill made in Season 2 that his father would make him wear dresses to punish him. He then says, "Pretty, pretty dresses".
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
  • Calling Your Attacks:
  • Camp Gay:
    • Dale's dad. He explains that he plays this up at his day job in the gay rodeo, but he's still pretty campy in his day-to-day life too.
    • When Bill decided to become a stylist, he pretended to be a stereotypically camp gay hairdresser. His customers were disgusted when they found out that wasn't the case.
  • Camp Straight:
    • Peggy's hairdresser.
    • Bill when pretending to be Camp Gay, as mentioned above.
  • Canada, Eh?: Inverted nearly into Freaky Thursday as Canadian neighbors act as Flavor 2 Eagle Land for the sake of conflict and let Hank remain Flavor 1.
  • Captain Obvious: Stuart Dooley, an Expy of Butt-head.
  • 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, 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 does 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. The doctor told him he'd just end up in a wheelchair and that he's a lost cause, he could always walk, but the diabetes were real, he had two diabetic shocks in a short amount of time.
    • 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.
  • Cat Fight: Bill's three Cajun cousins (one by blood, two by marriage), all while wearing lingerie. They were voiced by the Dixie Chicks.
  • Cats Are Mean: In "The Petriot Act", Hank gets very excited about housing a dog from an army soldier after watching Bill and his guest dog having a great time. As fate has it, he gets a cat named Duke that...
    • ...arrives a little earlier, preventing the Hills from going on a planned vacation.
    • ...is extremely violent and has it out for anybody (''especially' Hank)' that isn't a pet doctor.
    • ...is very messy and territorial.
    • ...has no fear of dogs, so that keeps Hank from convincing the soldiers from taking it away.
    • ...drives Hank to pay for expensive medical bills from lousy doctors trying to give him the very best methods to calm him down, which happen to be expensive and he doesn't know any better.
    • ...eventually, makes the Hills cancel their vacation once they finally get rid of him for good.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Hank has:
      • "Dang it, Bobby."
      • "I sell propane and propane accessories."
      • "I tell you what..."
      • "Shut up, Dale."
      • "Damn it, Dale!"note 
      • "I'm gonna kick your ass!"
      • "That boy ain't right."
      • "BWAAAHHH!!!"
    • Dale has:
      • "S'go!"
      • "Sh-sh-sshhaa!"
      • "Wingo!"
      • "Gih!"note 
    • Peggy has:
    • 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, normally The Unintelligible, is actually intelligible and the other three are speaking gibberish consisting mostly of their catchphrases.
    • Cotton has "I killed fitty men!"
    • Monsignor Martinez has: "Vaya con Dios."
    • Hank, Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer have: "Yep." "Yep." "Yep." "Mm-hmm."note 
  • 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.
  • Central Theme: One such theme is Hank's struggle to bond with Bobby; this is resolved at the very end, when Bobby demonstrates the ability to judge and grill cuts of beef well.
  • Character Death:
    • A few supporting characters were killed off. The first to go was Buckleynote , followed by Buck Strickland's mistress Debbie Grund note , and finally Cotton Hillnote .
    • 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).
    • Cotton's war buddies. Topsy, the creepy old guy with the balloon-face, was the last to perish before Cotton.
    • Though he was only featured in one episode: Big Jim, who befriends Hank when they meet at an anger management class. At one point he gets so angry that he ends up dying of a heart attack.
    • Trip Larson's death involved him being utterly messed up in the head while trying to shape Luanne into his wife's image as seen in the products. While wearing a pig outfit and riding on an active conveyor belt (he was chasing after Luanne), he gets shocked in the head (which makes him snap out of his mental state), but he gets skewered alive and turned into human pork.
  • 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 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 who 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 who had zero respect for Hank, though it could be chalked up to the fact that Hank chose his wife over his father during the climax of "Shins of the Father," and Cotton being Cotton, probably hasn't forgiven him for it. If he can't let go of the fact that Japanese soldiers shot his legs off, then he probably can't let go of the fact that his own son betrayed him.
  • 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.
    • In "The Buck Stops Here", Buck briefly mentions having a son in another state "named...Ray, or Roy or something." It's not until several seasons later that we actually meet his illegitimate son, Ray Roy.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Connie and Bobby until they broke up.
  • 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). When he does figure out that he couldn't possibly have been there on the night Joseph was conceived, he immediately concludes that Joseph is the result of an alien impregnating Nancy in her sleep. Then he and Joseph convince themselves the aliens must have used Dale's own semen.
  • Christian Rock: Satirized in "Reborn to Be Wild". 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 clowning class at the local college. He's disappointed to learn that the class teaches Commedia dell'Arte-type clowning instead of circus clowning, and the teacher takes it very seriously.
  • 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." Definitely more common in earlier episodes.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Dale's former status as a cuckold and Bill being a creepy stalker type even after dating several lovely woman and girls.
    • When Connie's attempts 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 notices Connie's glare].
    • In "Unfortunate Son", Peggy makes a parade float for Veterans 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 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. 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.
  • Comic-Book Time: Notable here because nobody ever gets any older yet at one point Hank explicitly says that Luanne had been in school for two years by that point, giving a definite amount of time that has passed. Bobby is a rather weird example, in that he does age a bit over the first two episodes, but then that growth is suddenly paused, allowing for both Connie and Joseph, both younger than him, to go through puberty long before him.
  • Companion Cube:
    • Hank and his truck. Especially in "Chasing Bobby".
    • 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.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Buck 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 "Now Who's the Dummy?", Hank is making a ventriloquist dummy for Bobby modeled after various football players; one of his reference pictures is David Kalaiki-Alii, from the episode "Peggy Makes the Big Leagues".
      • Mrs. Kalaiki-Alii also appears as the Hill's insurance adjuster when Hank has deal with his accident with Kahn 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 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.
    • Hank's truck was the same way, in some episodes it resembled a 1980's Ford Ranger and other times it resembled a late-90s Ford F-150. It would also have an automatic transmission in some episodes and a manual in others.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In "Jumpin' Crack Bass", a judge with a preference towards "creative" punishment presides over a car thief's trial. He sentences the thief to 90 days in the cab of pickup since he liked trucks so much and reasons if he went to prison, he would just learn how to be a better car thief. For added measure, he orders the truck be a foreign make.
  • 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 soundbite 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 "Hank Gets Dusted", whose quote is Hank saying "It's time to rock".note 
  • Couldn't Find a Lighter: Dale lit a cigarette:
    • On the Olympic torch.
    • An engine fire.
    • A fake volcano in Las Vegas.
    • He claims to have used two rocks while camping.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Dale.
  • Crazy Survivalist: Again, Dale.
  • 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.
    • "Livin' on Reds, Vitamin C and Propane" has a parody of the song "Convoy" by CW McCall.
  • Cringe Comedy: Any post-Season 2 scene or episode centring around Peggy will take this Up to Eleven, given that she is Small Name, Big Ego incarnate, but really, you could say quite a bit of the show involves either characters getting embarrassed or, if they're slow on the uptake, the audience getting embarrassed for them.
  • Critical Research Failure: 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 finds it instead. She then embarrasses herself by declaring it to be authentic. When the archaeologist hands it to his grad students, they immediately recognize it as a 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 M1A2 Abrams on the first try after only reading its manual.
    • Bobby somewhat exemplifies this, being a mediocre student but a pop culture whiz, excellent cook, crack shot and expert at grading meat.
  • Crying Wolf: In "Peggy's Fan Fair", 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.
  • Cultural Posturing: Usually Kahn and Minh complaining about the "dumb hillbillies" they have as neighbors, while ignoring how much they neglect their own culture.
  • 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). However, in 2014, the DVD releases resumed under a new company and beginning with Season 7.

  • Daddy's Little Villain: Minh was the daughter of a general in her native Laos, and enjoyed terrorizing the peasants.
  • A Day in the Spotlight: Most of the supporting cast get a few episodes focusing on them:
    • Boomhauer: "Dang Ol' Love," "Patch Boomhauer," and "Four Wave Intersection."
    • Kahn, Buck, and Cotton have enough focus episodes that they could almost count as main characters.
    • Nancy has "Nancy Boys," "Spin the Choi:ce," "Gone With the Windstorm", and "Hair Today, Gone Today" among others.
    • Minh: "Board Games" and "The Minh Who Knew Too Much."
    • John Redcorn: "Spin the Choice," "Vision Quest," and "Redcorn Gambles with His Future."
    • Reverend Stroup: "Revenge of the Lutefisk" and "Passion of the Dauterieve."
    • Principal Moss: "Bill Gathers Moss."
    • Monsignor Martinez (or the actor who plays him): "Flirting With the Master."
    • Debbie: "Hanky Panky."
    • Donna: "Lost in MySpace."
    • Enrique: "Enrique-cilable Differences" and "Lady and Gentrification."
  • Death Seeker: One Christmas Episode focuses on an elderly woman named Ms. 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. However, 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. Ms. Wakefield concedes that it's not an appropriate time, and Hank offers that she can come back again whenever she wants instead.
  • 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).
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • Luanne trying to flirt with customers for tips in "My Hair Lady":
      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 videotape 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."
    • Bobby showing his modelling shots to Hank in "Husky Bobby":
      Bobby: That's the one that's gonna be in tomorrow's paper tomorrow.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • Dale as an exterminator. Sometimes he's a bunny ears exterminator, while other times he's incredibly incompetent to the point where it's life-threatening.
    • The relationship between Hank and Khan always flip-flops between being friends, enemies, or in-between.
    • Bobby's maturity. Sometimes he tries his best to act like a young-adult, while other times he's a full on Kiddie Kid.
    • Dale's gun club regarding gun safety. In one episode, they elected their president with "all those in favor, fire once into the ground!". However, in another episode, Dale was shunned by the gun club after him recklessly playing with a gun resulted in an accidental discharge.
    • The circumstances of Bill's divorce. It's either his fault because he's a fat lazy slob or he turned into a fat lazy slob because his marriage was terrible and was doomed from the start. The writers really couldn't decide and it's jarring even after Lenore turned out to be a manipulative shrew who forced her way into Bill's life because he was prom king with someone else.
    • Arlen alternates between having Shady Pines and Shiny Pines as a trailer park.
  • 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".
  • Did You Die?: In "Nancy Boys", Dale helps out John Redcorn, but has to lie to Nancy and tells her he was at the gun club playing Russian Roulette:
    Nancy: Did you win?
    Dale: You're not really familiar with the game, are you?
  • Disproportionate Retribution: This is the main plot of "Cops and Robert" when Hank accidentally steals a man's wallet because Hank thought he just pickpocketed him. The man, Barry Rollins, is a timid pushover who lets people walk all over him, and when Hank takes his wallet, Barry decides he's tired of being a victim and chases Hank across town with a baseball bat when he comes to Barry's house and tries to give the wallet back.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: From "Plastic White Female":
    Hank: You're just using this head as a crutch.
    Bobby: It's not a crutch, Dad. It's something I've come to rely on to help me through life.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Hank catches Bobby smoking and punishes him by making him smoke the whole carton until he pukes. But during the punishment, he also feels compelled to correct Bobby's smoking technique: "Whatever you do you should do right, even if it's something wrong."
  • Does Not Like Shoes: In "Movin' On Up", Tanya, Luanne's roommate, is always shown barefoot, being a lazy deadbeat who will shuck shoes anytime she's holed away indoors.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In "Hank and the Great Glass Elevator", 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. Peggy out and out says "I thought it was drugs!"
  • A Dog Named "Dog": The Souphanousinphones' West Highland Terrier is named "Doggy".
  • Don't Explain the Joke: In "Take Me Out of the Ball Game":
    Coach: Like I tell my gym class, girls can't play sports.
    Thatherton: At least I've found one who can get it over the plate, if you know what I mean. (coach stares blankly) I'm having sex with her. (coach and Thatherton laugh)
  • Double Entendre: In "Happy Hank's Giving", Nancy tells Dale that maybe she should see John Redcorn to the gate and make sure he gets off OK.
  • Double Standard: Hank gives this as his answer when Bobby asked why it's considered okay for guys to have sex, but not girls:
    It's called the 'double standard' son, and don't knock it. We got the long end of the stick on that one.
  • 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 cemetery 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-Bird Cameo: Cotton makes four minor appearances in flashbacks and dreams before his proper introduction in "Shins of the Father."
    • Lucky first appears as one of Khan's redneck friends in season eight's "The Redneck on Rainey Street" before becoming a reoccurring character in the middle of season nine.
  • 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 he got hit by a line drive while standing on first base), 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: Gender Flipped in that it's Kahn who's hard on Connie, not Minh.
  • Election Day Episode:
    • Hank was unsatisfied with some laws passed by the Arlen city council and thus decided to run for a seat on the council. However, when he went to file for his campaign, he was informed that there had been a vacancy and thus won by default.
    • "The Perils of Polling" centered around the 2000 presidential election. Hank faces a crisis of conscience after finding out that his hero, George W. Bush, has a weak handshake.
  • 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.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • In "The Perils of Polling", Hank loses faith in George W. Bush just because he has a weak handshake. Even Dale thinks he's crazy.
    • Dale stands up to Peggy when she gains a reputation as "Paddlin' Peggy". Her spur of the moment spanking of Dooley gains her a reputation as a fearsome disciplinarian, which goes to her head and causes her to almost hit Dale's son, Joseph, for stealing her paddle. Dale intervenes and says he took it, because "Somebody had to stop you! You're crazy!"
    • There are plenty of people who have earned Dale's scorn or fear, like Jimmy Wichard, or Bill, when he tried competitive eating.
    • John Redcorn who, although a womanizer, will not sleep with the wives or relatives of his friends. He tells Hank this in the Season 3 episode "Peggy's Headache," and this plays a role in his and Nancy's breakup.
    • When Peggy is injured in a skydiving accident and is put in a full body cast, the first thing Cotton says on seeing her is "What did you do to your wife?! I didn't teach you that!"
  • Everyone Owns A Mac: Hank and Peggy's computer is an iMac.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas:
    • "Big Tex".
    • "I think my truck might be too much vehicle for me." — Hank after learning that he wasn't born in Texas.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: At the end of "To Kill a Ladybird", Dale was telling Bobby to shoot Ladybird because he thought she was rabid while Hank begged him not to. Bobby fires and Hank with relief thought he missed but he actually was aiming at (and killed) a raccoon that was about to bite Hank from behind.
  • 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%. However, the lawyer accuses him of trying to abuse the system:
    Hank: You see, I recently came to realize that I, too, suffer from a disability: Good Worker Syndrome. I get sick to my stomach unless every one around me is giving 110 percent. The symptoms include pride, responsibility, and a feverish enthusiasm. It used to be a common condition among Americans.
  • 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?
    Rob: [smug] Well, in layman's terms, yes.
    • In "Junkie Business", one of Hank's co-workers takes advantage of the Americans with Disabilities Act to claim that he has a medical condition called a "priapism" and needs a roomier desk with a view of Debbie in order to be able to work properly. Priapism is the medical term for an erection that doesn't go away naturally, meaning this doubles as an example of Getting Crap Past the Radar.
  • Expy:
    • Hank is significantly based on Mr. Anderson from Judge's Beavis and Butt-head.
    • There is a recurring character (a classmate of Bobby's named Stuart Dooley) who talks and behaves like Butt-head.
    • The Texas Ranger brought in during the investigation of Debbie Grund's murder is a lot like Sidney Poitier's Virgil "They Call Me Mister" Tibbs. Particularly being more competent compared to Arlen's investigator.
  • Fag Hag: Bill pretends to be gay in order to work at a hip salon, and all the women fawn over him. When it's revealed that he isn't gay:
    Boss: When you were gay, you were intriguing, with an artistic bent. Now you're just a sleazy barber.
  • False Friend: The plot to "New Cowboy on the Block". Hank initially hits it off with Willie Lane, an ex-NFL player, but after Willie harasses Kahn and repeatedly breaks the block rules, Hank sees Willie for what he is. This is only exacerbated when Willie slugs Hank in the face.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • For some reason Dale, not the even-less-attractive Bill, is the Butt Monkey with this. In "The Exterminator," he wears a hospital gown in the alley after being hospitalized and bends over in a gratuitous Butt Shot,then later stripteases attempting to be sexy for Nancy before standing on her bed and wiggling side to side. Even Nancy is repelled by this.
    • In "The Trouble with Gribbles" he is shown naked and crying in a bathtub in fetal position, and in "Get Your Freak Off," the camera zooms in on a thong being swallowed by his buttcrack as he mows.
    • Seeing Kahn shirtless in "De-Kahnstucting Henry" is pretty gross since you'd expect him to have a decent physique, instead he looks like a saggy old man.
    • The shots of Hank's butt, or lack thereof, in "Hank's Unmentionable Problem" and "Hank's Back Story."
    • Bobby's bare butt in assless chaps in "Rodeo Days".
    • "After the Mold Rush" lampshades this, when Hank is rushed out of the house in a hospital gown:
      Dale: {disgusted} Leave it to you to make a hospital gown unsexy, Hank.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Hank to Bobby.
  • Fast-Forward Gag: The opening is in sped-up-film style. As Hank and his friends stand in the alley and drink beer, an entire day passes.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Discussed in "Unfortunate Son" by a Vietnam veteran.
  • Fat Best Friend:
    • Bill, who is this played straight as an adult. Flashbacks showed that Bill wasn't fat as a teenager. He was more-or-less muscular, as he was a high school football player who went on to join the Army.
    • Bobby and his satellite friend, Joseph. Joseph is especially awkward around girls as opposed to Bobby.
  • Fat Slob: Bill.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: "Is life as a Banana better than Death, or is it worse?"
  • Fictional Counterpart: The Mega Lo Mart.
  • Fingore: In "The Texas Skillsaw Massacre", Hank accidentally saws off one of Dale's fingers while distracted by the man's criticisms of his woodwork (complete with a shot of the severed finger on the wood, still curled around Dale's cigarette). This kicks the anger management plot into motion, as well as briefly causes a rift between the two.
  • 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 episode, 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.
  • Floorboard Failure: Hank falls through his kitchen floor to find that the guys have dug a Secret Underground Passage underneath his house.
  • Flying Under the Gaydar: Inverted. Bill has to pretend to be gay in order to work at Hottyz, a trendy salon that does not believe straight men have what it takes to cut hair.
  • A Fool for a Client: Dale represents himself at a lawsuit in "The Trouble With Gribbles," with predictable results. The judge tries talking Dale out of it and is visibly annoyed throughout Dale's "examination."
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Of course... Dale (choleric), Hank (melancholic), Boomhauer (leuquine), and Bill (sanguine).
    • For the Hill Family: Peggy (choleric), Hank (melancholic), Bobby (leuquine), and Luanne (sanguine).
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Depending on the Writer with Hank's group, most of the time it's either Dale or Bill. However, on a rare occasion it's Hank.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: Lucky sustains himself on these:
    Lucky, to a paramedic: "I find that 3cc's of Morphine nicely dulls the pain without affecting the admissibility of my testimony."
    • Dale tries to do this to a tobacco company, figuring they wouldn't bother refuting a suit in Small Claims Court for "a measly five large". Not only do they contest the suit, they countersue him for $1.5 million.
  • Full-Name Basis: Everybody refers to John Redcorn solely as John Redcorn. Every time. Kahn and Mihn, particularly 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.
    • 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, Luanne 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'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.
    • In "Yard She Blows" Joseph is frequently seen driving recklessly on his motor scooter. Near the end of the episode we see him walking down the sidewalk with a crutch and a cast on one of his legs.
  • Funny Foreigner: The Souphanousinphones.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • John Redcorn's rock band is named Big Mountain Fudgecake.
    • In "The Company Man", M.F. Thatherton stands for either "motherfucker" (according to Hank) or "my friend" (according to M.F.).
    • In the pilot, Dale claims to know what's wrong with Hank's truck:
      Dale: It's a Ford. You know what they say Ford stands for, dontcha? It stands for Fix It Again, Tony.
      Hank: You're thinking of a Fiat, Dale.
      Dale: Fix It Again...
  • Gainaxing: Luanne has many sequences of this. This includes an "outtake" where she tries to excitedly inform Hank about something when her breasts pop out:
    Hank: {disturbed} C'mon, Luanne. You already got the job!
  • Game Show Appearance: In Season 7's "Vision Quest", Bobby dreams of himself appearing on the Whoopi Goldberg version of The Hollywood Squares ....as a panda.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Kahn named his daughter Kahn Jr. (because he wanted a son) but she is referred to as Connie the majority of the time.
  • Genre Savvy: Peggy in "Gone With the Windstorm," when she, Dale, and Nancy were surrounded by a wildfire with a live TV camera, said:
    Peggy: They'd never let us die. We're on TV, how would they show that?
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Joseph's reaction to seeing a bunch of girls (in line to pick an elective):
  • 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)
    • Peggy also does this a lot.
    Peggy: Bobby! I just took your horrible idea and made it a great one!
  • Glurge Addict: Hank's mom, who had to collect porcelain figurines, as they kept her sane while she was married to Cotton.
  • 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):
    Hank: (angrily) May God have mercy on you all.
  • Going by the Matchbook: In "Revenge of the Lutefisk", a matchbook is found at the church after it burned down. Due to his prior altercation with Reverend Stroup, it is believed that Cotton committed arson. It turns out that Bobby did it when he accidentally started the fire in the bathroom. He was trying to use the matches as an incense in order to get rid of the smell of his own lutefisk induced odors.
  • 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.
  • Good Ol' Boy: Hank is the poster child for this, but is portrayed as a decent-hearted man.
  • Gossip Evolution:
    • In the pilot, Hank yelling at a Mega Lo Mart employee who was too stupid to help him find a tap and die and some WD-40 while Bobby is nearby turns into "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.
    • 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.
  • 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 almost any document, being a comical Right-Wing Militia Fanatic.note  At one point in the series, the actual Rusty Shackleford shows up.note  It turns out that Rusty had just moved away and wasn't happy being connected with Dale's various acts of stupidity.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Peggy actually isn't very good at it and her pronunciation is horrible. In addition, she occasionally pronounces some words as if they were Spanish. Good examples are "Monterrey Jack" and "Iwo Hima".
  • Green Around the Gills: In "Keeping Up with Our Joneses", Bobby'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.
    • In universe example: In "Husky Bobby", Bobby is in a photo shoot for a children's clothing magazine. In one shoot Bobby is dressed as a football player and the photographer shouts at him "go for the fifty yard line, go for the sixty yard line! This is your Olympic dream come true!" Hank cringes at the photographer's lack of football knowledge.
  • 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!"note 
  • Gun Nut: Take a guess. Of course, he likes all weapons, not just guns.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: In "Dog Dale Afternoon", when Dale claims to have killed Rusty Shackleford, a police officer with what appears to be an M14 pumps the forestock like a shotgun (though there actually are pump action shotguns that use detachable magazines).

  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow:
    • Dale and (especially) Bill.
    • This is the actual name of the episode where Nancy loses her hair. It's Laser-Guided Karma for her cheating on Dale for years with John Redcorn.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Big Jim in "The Texas Skilsaw Massacre". Heck, he dies of anger.
  • Hartman Hips: Donna of Strickland Propane.
  • Halfway Plot Switch:
    • A few episodes have these. For example, "The Father, The Son and J.C" starts out with Hank losing a promotion after accidentally telling Mr. Strickland that he loves him. It 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.
  • Hand or Object Underwear: After a tornado blows off his clothes, Hank is left between using either the Texas state flag or a cactus to preserve his modesty as he makes his way to shelter. He chooses the cactus.
  • A Handful for an Eye: "Pocket sand!"
  • Happy Harlequin Hat: Bobby sports one in "Joust Like a Woman", though it's hard to tell whether or not there are any bells.
  • Has Two Mommies: Referenced in the cold open for "To Spank With Love":
    Joseph: Your mom's as cool as most people's dads.
    Bobby: It's like that book they took out of the library: "I've Got Two Dads".
    Hank: No, you don't.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": Bobby does this with Hank in "The Little Horrors of Shop". Of course it goes over Hank's head:
    Hank: Make sure you clamp your butt joint.
    Bobby: *laughs* ... I'm sorry, Dad.
    Hank: No, no, it's my fault. You should use a miter joint, that would look better.
    Bobby: Than a...?
    Hank: Butt joint.
    Bobby: *laughs even harder*
    Hank: Okay Son, now you're just rubbing it in.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Hank idolizes Willie Nelson.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite being a Fat Slob and all-around loser whose wife divorced him and left him a pathetic, suicidal mess, Bill has the following talents:
    • He's an excellent Army barber.
    • He good at caring for others (even if his brand of caring for others — especially the Hill family — comes off as stalkerish).
    • He can play the concertina and can speak fluent Creole (as he has family from Louisiana).
    • He's a very good cook.
    • He's good at singing.
    • He has either the training or the pure skill to drive a tank.
    • He's still powerful enough to play high school football.
  • Hidden Wire: In "Death of a Propane Salesman", Buck tries to record Hank saying he blew up the Mega Lo Mart. He tries to get him to say it by asking if Hank has a guilty conscience; when Hank asks why he would have a guilty conscience and denies blowing up the Mega Lo Mart, Buck replies, "I'm glad you said that, Hank. I'm wearing a wire for an unrelated matter."
  • 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.
  • Hollywood Law: In "Junkie Business", various employees abuse the Americans with Disabilities Act to bring Hank's workplace to a virtual standstill with frivolous requests for accommodations. The ADA does not work that way! For one thing, you cannot get an accommodation from an essential job function. One of the ways to determine whether a job function is essential is if that function applies to all employees similarly situated. For instance, if a disabled employee wants his employer to relax a production quota, which is universally applied to all employees similarly situated, then that employee may well be out of luck. However, if the employer has a policy or practice of relaxing the production standard for any reason, then he must relax it (within reason) to accommodate the disabled employee. Even then, an accommodation cannot be overly burdensome on the employer, as the string of frivolous accommodations obviously were in the episode in question.
  • Homage: The Out-Gambitted entry below begins when Peggy recreates the con from The Sting.
  • House Amnesia: Luanne 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.
  • Hypocrite: Hank repeatedly emphasizes how honest he is and always pushes to be honest during the course of the series. Yet it does not stop him from lying (or having people lie) to dissuade Bobby from aspirations that differ from what he wants Bobby to be/do. It also doesn't stop him from committing all sorts of illegal and underhanded acts for Buck Strickland.
  • Hypocrisy Nod:
    • In "The Arrowhead", Hank finds a Native American artifact in his yard and asks John Redcorn what it's worth. John 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, John Redcorn says "Well, food for thought" before making a hasty retreat.
    • Dale's quote, from a time when a restraining order stated that Hank had to be more than a hundred feet from him, sums it up nicely:
      "Hank Rutherford Hill, you are within one hundred feet of me. And as much as I like to scoff at the law, I also like to arbitrarily enforce it!"
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • The episode "Nancy Boys" takes the traditional "wife discovers cheating" plot and shuffles the players: John Redcorn, Nancy's long term 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 John Redcornnote  and covering for his absences with Nancy by giving Lame Excuses.
    • In the Souphanousinphones' debut episode, "Westie Side Story", 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.
    • In "Junkie Business", when Hank's had enough of the rest of Strickland Propane blatantly taking advantage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, he makes up his own disability that he claims requires everyone else around him giving 100%. Anthony Page (the unqualified social worker who let a drug addict in rehab basically take control of the company in the first place) guilt-trips him over this, claiming that people like him make it harder for people with real disabilities - as he shows his "disability" is a sprained wrist, in a cast that was not present fifteen seconds prior.
    • In "Keeping Up With Out Joneses", Boomhauer complains about secondhand smoke when Hank lights a cigarette, even though Dale is standing next to him, smoking a cigarette.
  • I Call It "Vera": Hank named his prized acoustic guitar Betsy. Peggy makes fun of Hank's use of this in "Hanks Got the Willies" by naming her brush Carlos saying "You name your things, I name mine." Hank also lampshades this in "To Kill a Ladybird" in response to Bobby naming a wild Raccoon he met: "You name a pet, you name a guitar, you do not name a wild animal!"
  • I'll Tell You When I've Had Enough!!:
    • Said by Bobby in "Love Hurts, And So Does Art" when he's asked if he's had enough liver at the deli.
    • 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 "How to Fire a Rifle Without Really Trying". 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 he's pounding a beer back and when he finishes it he demands another.
  • Ink-Suit Actor:
    • Octavio is basically an animated version of Danny Trejo.
    • The one-off character Alabaster the pimp resembles Snoop Dogg if he were 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.
  • Insane No More: While on a trip to the lake, Boomhauer falls asleep in an inner tube and floats downstream to a bridge in a city center. His speech pattern and his bathing suit get him involuntarily committed to a hospital for a psych evaluation. Too embarrassed to call Hank, he calls Dale to help him out. Dale bribes a patient to get in... and can't get out, so he calls Bill, who voluntarily commits himself after reading a pamphlet. They try to escape and fail, so they call Hank. Hank talks to the doctor and the latter reveals the following: Boomhauer was only committed for 72 hours and had been deemed not a danger to himself or others, so he was free to go; Dale was never officially admitted to the hospital, so legally, he was free to go (but the doctor felt he should keep taking his medication); and Bill voluntarily committed himself, so he could have left at any time, and his medical insurance wouldn't pay for his stay.
  • 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.
  • Insistent Terminology: "I sell propane and propane accessories."
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: Played by The Refreshments.
  • Insult Backfire:
    • In "Father of the Bribe", Bobby sneaks into Connie's room to talk. She tells him if Kahn catches him in there, he'll make her play that song he wrote about Bobby. Bobby responds, excitedly, "'Fat White Lump' is about me?!"
    • Another has a little in-universe Values Dissonance, when the friend of an overly-permissive dad refers to him as "Ronald Reagan" in a pejorative sense:
    McB: "Oh, don't call me that!"
    Hank: "Yeah, don't call him that."
  • Insurance Fraud: The episode "Jumpin' Crack Bass" features Layaway Ray burning down his bait shop. His next scene features him being taken to court for insurance fraud.
  • 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)"
    • Played straight in "I Remember Mono". Peggy is dismayed to find out that the story of hers and Hank's blossoming love is based on a lie. Hank told her that he threw out his back playing football when in reality he had mono. Peggy realizes the real possibility that Hank cheated on her since she never had mono. After some snooping, she finds the woman who gave it to him. She tells Peggy that she forced a kiss onto Hank. Peggy's response: she punches a side of beef hard enough to break several of its ribs, wipes her hands on the woman's apron and walks away.
  • Irony: From "Nancy's Boys":
    Dale: All John Redcorn did was make your head feel better, and all I did was make his head feel worse. It's almost ironic.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro PAY:
    • Rad Thibodeaux pronounces his last name as "Thib-A-Day-Ox". This is lampshaded by Hank:
    Hank: "Isn't that pronounced 'Tib-A-Doh'?"
    Rad: "Well, you know, sometimes, by mistake."
    • Averted in "A Beer Can Named Desire" where the Hills, Luanne, Dale, and Boomhauer 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.
    • In "Ho Yeah!": "Congo, by Michael Krichton."
  • It's All About Me: Peggy in "Little Horrors of Shop."
  • I Was Quite a Looker:
    • Bill. This is lampshaded a few times.
    • Cotton before he got his shins blown off.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass: Pretty much most of the cast at some point or another, especially one time characters. The only real exception to most of the time is Connie. Notable examples includes:
    • Cotton. He's angry, selfish, foulmouthed, and hostile to nearly everyone. He's emotionally abusive to Hank, completely dismissive towards Peggy, and generally picks fights with everyone he meets. The only people he seems to get along with are Bobby, Kahn/Minh, to a limited degree, and his fellow veterans.
    • Dale, to an extent; while he's not normally a jerkass, he can be very quick to throw his family and friends under the bus to save his own skin, can hold some very petty grudges, and some of his more harebrained schemes can be shockingly inconsiderate or outright dangerous to his friends with little concern on his part. To his credit, at least, he usually either gets his comeuppance or else realizes his mistakes and apologizes for them.
    • Kahn: he's an unrepentant racist and can be very selfish, likes to antagonize the Hills or his other neighbors for his own amusement, he goes out of his way to brown-nose Ted Wassanasong at his or his family's expense, and while he genuinely means the best for Connie, his aggressive parenting puts her under a lot of pressure that she admits she can't always cope with. Minh shares a lot of these traits, but not to the same extent as Kahn.
    • Peggy can fall into this at times, usually when her ego gets the better of her. She can also be prone to bad cases of Never My Fault. Again though, she usually either gets hit with Laser-Guided Karma or else realizes My God, What Have I Done?.
    • Peggy's mom. She emotionally abused and dominated Peggy for most of her life, trying to control her and never showing any love or appreciation. Peggy tries to reconcile with her emotionally as an adult, but she hasn't changed one bit, essentially blaming Peggy for their struggling farm, despite the commercialization and urbanization of the local town being the biggest problem. Even when Peggy busts her ass to save it, she still refuses to show appreciation, eventually causing Peggy to give up on her entirely. She's even hostile to Hank, claiming Peggy wasted her life and ruined their farm by marrying him instead of another local farmer.
    • Buck possesses little to no redeeming qualities and rarely getting comeuppance for his behavior. He's sleazy and selfish to an extreme, and worst of all is that the morally-upright Hank is not only blindly loyal to him but also idolizes him.
    • Bill's wife, Lenore, who treated him like crap and openly cheated on him 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.
    • Luanne's mother, Leanne. She's a raging, alcoholic psychopath who terrorized Luanne's father. In her spotlight episode, she returns, hooks up with Bill, and proceeds to terrorize him. By the end of the episode, she's flashed the Hills in front of Bill and Luanne, tried to seduce Buckley, who was Luanne's boyfriend at the time, and violently tries to attack him and the rest of the group after he rejects her advances. Her last appearance is her marching off in a drunken, angrily-sobbing heap, blaming Luanne for all her problems.
    • Luanne's father, Hoyt. He's a crooked slimeball and two-bit criminal. He spent time in prison.note  In his spotlight episode, he robs a diner, manipulates Lucky into taking the heat, and shows absolutely no remorse after the fact. Once the Hills trick him into getting arrested anyway, his first reaction is to try and throw Luanne under the bus for his arrest. At the very least though, Hoyt gets a bit of redemption in the end, as he finally owns up to his mistakes and accepts life in prison in exchange for Luanne not finding out about his criminal record.
    • The Ace from the episode "You Gotta Believe (In Moderation)"; his entire schtick is hosting celebrity softball games against local teams, where he and his team humiliate their opponents through wild stunts and upon winning, gives the money to charity. Hank didn't get the joke and convinced his team to play a very boring bunt game, causing a very distraught Ace to declare Let's Get Dangerous! and absolutely destroy Hank's team; this time, on winning, he keeps the money for himself rather than give it to charity, and blames it on Hank. Later on, when Hank and the others confront him, Ace reveals he only gives away the charity money because he makes so much from endorsements and lands attractive dates because of his celebrity status, and Hank's performance put that in jeopardy. After forcing Hank to humiliate himself in exchange for donating the money, Ace reneges on his word and refuses to donate anyway.
    • The Workers Comp people in "Hank's Back". They either see that he's lying about his injury, 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.
    • Lucky's lawyer, Edward Johnson. He's the driving force behind the frivolous lawsuits that Lucky uses to stay afloat, but after an accident renders Dale the target of his latest one, the lawyer realizes Dale has nothing worth suing over, and uses Insane Troll Logic to blame Strickland Propane for it. Lucky realizes that the lawsuit would sink his and Hank's shaky friendship and likely sink Strickland Propane, so he tries to call it off. The lawyer refuses since he wouldn't be able to make a profit that way. It's only through some shenanigans on Lucky, Hank, and Dale's part that they're able to get him to back down.
    • Bobby's meat team. They're willing to throw pepper in their opponents' eyes, and even the organizer who sought Bobby agrees with the mentality, and they all practically crucify Bobby when he makes a minor mistake during training. Their opponents are no better. They commit a busjacking, leaving Bobby and all of his teammates stranded in the desert, not caring if they die, all to cheat and win at a meat judging competiton.
    • The Archaeologist in "The Arrowhead." He lies to the Hills about the value of an arrowhead they found, mocking Peggy in the process, then tricks Peggy into signing a document turning their property into a protected dig site, allowing him to destroy it with the protection of the law. While he's doing this, he starts seducing Peggy with his knowledge, even giving her a traditional romantic Indian bracelet in the process. After a jealous Hank concocts a scheme to humiliate him with a fake artifact, the professor ends up using it to humilate Peggy instead, and when Peggy realizes that it was Hank who did it to try to discredit the professor out of jealousy, he snidely jokes that he could have "scored" with her for the price of a cheap bracelet. The ending of the episode is one of the series' best combinations of funny moments and Laser-Guided Karma.
    • Everyone besides Hank in "The Accidental Terrorist." Hank finds out his dealer has been manipulating him into overpaying for his cars for years, and in retribution tries to organize a peaceful protest. He enlists the aid of some teenagers, and for his part places flyers on all the dealership's cars...while the teenagers, later on and without Hank's knowledge, firebomb them. Everyone in the episode is utterly convinced Hank did it, from the dealer to the police to the lawyers to even his own friends and family. At no point does Hank successfully convince anyone he was innocent; the only reason the plot is resolved is because the prosecution decides Hank could drag the case out longer than it's worth and lets him off the hook.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In one episode, Hank butts heads with a man who has a less-than-flattering interpretation of the Alamo (namely, that the Texans involved were a bunch of drunken cowards). The other man points out the logic behind his views, such as citing Sam Houston's troubled life and documented alcoholism and pointing out that the only people who know exactly what happened at the Alamo are long dead so all they have to go off of is historical records. In the end, Hank is dissuaded from smashing up the stage when he realizes that it's wrong to censor someone else just because you don't like their message, but he insists on giving a speech to relate the bare facts of the battle before the play begins.
  • 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 was one when he was younger:
    Hank: Hey fatty!
    • The gang's treatment of Eustice in "The Order of the Straight Arrow". They all call him "Useless" and this is also referenced in flashback.
    • In "Peggy Makes the Big Leagues", it seems at first that Peggy is dealing with one in David Kalaiki-Alii 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 his grades, which they immediately believed it.
    • Played straight 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 his friends.
  • Jump Scare:
    • In-verse, one episode, "Gone with the Windstorm" has a subplot of Bobby being terrorized by a classmate that just loves to give these.
    • Another in-verse example occurs when Hank, Bobby, and Bill are startled by the HDTV Peggy bought (and no one knows how to operate) when it gets out of Sleep Mode.
  • Kafka Komedy: Bill's life is tragic enough to fall under this.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Peggy gets away with being an asshole to others a little too much. The only time 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 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 when she after ended the affair.
    • John Redcorn. He cheated on Nancy without being caught and he doesn't get called out on it. He would eventually receive a karmic punishment in being repeatedly denied a role in Joseph's life and having to watch an idiot raise his son.
    • 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 went back on his word and got Kahn fired in the first place. The only punishment Hank got was a What the Hell, Hero? from Peggy and doing some housework for Mihn, which he liked anyway. In Kahn's case, he did it purposefully to brag about his new promotion by luring Hank to his workplace under the pretense that they needed propane, then after showing off everything he did, revealed they actually had no need for propane at all.
    • Buck has gotten away with illegal activities several times. 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! The reason Hank works for him in spite of all this is that he believes 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 emus attacked him in a parking lot since he was trying to have them killed to commit insurance fraud.
    • In "Junkie Business", instead of hiring the incredibly well-qualified and knowledgeable Maria Montalvo for the new Accessories Associate position at Strickland Propane, Hank hires the Leon Petard, who later turns out to be a drug addict. While Anthony Page later giving Leon free run can be seen as Laser-Guided Karma, Hank committed two various obvious forms of discrimination as not only did he refuse to hire a woman but he asked her about her religious belief despite knowing it was illegal. Given the fact that Strickland could have been sued because of Hank’s actions, Leon seems like a mild inconvenience.
    • In "Get Your Freak Off", Hank is flanderized to a level that would make the Amish look modern. Basically, Hank punishes Bobby for seeing him and his girlfriend do suggestive dance moves at a concert by literally stripping his room clean of everything except his bed, and when he leaves he says something along the lines of: "Okay have fun!". Not to mention the fact that he forces Bobby to cut off all ties he has with his friends. Nobody bothers to call Hank out on his overreaction, not even Peggy says anything, and this episode had her portrayed as smarter than she normally was Post-Flanderization.
    • The hijackers from the Grand Finale were never caught. Though Bobby's team acted like general jackasses, the opposite team went a little too far.
    • The three terrorists in "The Accidental Terrorist" never got caught after bombing the car dealership and leaving Hank to take the blame.
  • 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.
  • 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 (on the episode "When Cotton Comes Marching Home Again").
  • Kissing Cousins:
    • Played with. Hank and Peggy punish Luanne and Bobby by making them think they have to get married since Bobby messed Luanne's birth control pills, telling him that he caused her to get pregnant. Of course, Kahn isn't surprised by the "hillbilly cousin wedding".
    • In "A Beer Can Named Desire", 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.
  • Kissing Warm-Up: Bobby practices kissing on Luanne's hairdresser dummy.
  • Kitsch Collection: Hank's mother and her porcelain miniatures. Played for Drama in that her kitsch collection was the only thing keeping her sane when she was married to Cotton.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Plenty of villains, none morso then Trip Larson and Luanne's parents.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Peggy, especially in later seasons.
  • Large Ham: Bobby.
  • 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 is implied that she started to go bald because she stopped cheating on her husband. Her mother had the same thing happen to her.
    • 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 insensetive 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:
    Hank: My friend is erm, er…
    Nurse: I don't hear anything.
  • Last Het Romance: Peggy was in this with 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." Finally, 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!"
  • Left Hanging:
    • At the end of the show, Dale never learns that Nancy cheated and had an illegitimate son with John Redcorn due to every attempt to explain it to him being muddled by his neurotic mind spinning wild conspiracy theories. And let's face it- in real life, every neighborhood has skeletons in the closet and is entitled to keep secrets if it could tear relationships apart.
    • Bill remains hopelessly single, with any chance of getting a new woman in the future very unlikely due to his unattractive mannerisms.
    • While Bobby and Connie didn't get back together, they never truly stopped having feelings for one another.
    • The vigilante who tried to shoot Dale in "Dog Dale Afternoon" was never identified, but it's possible he was arrested off-screen.
  • 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.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: An electric shock to the head cures the Ax-Crazy Trip Larsen of his insanity... just in time for him to realize that his crazy self was in the middle of gleefully committing suicide-by-pig-grinder.
  • 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 thinking about it, Dale responds "That's a thinker."
  • Long-Lost Uncle Aesop: Luanne's dad, who was already retconned into a felon for the episode.
  • Long Title:
  • Lost Him in a Card Game: Buck Strickland may as well be the poster child for this:
    • Apparently he usually bets Joe Jack, meaning this must occur quite often. But Joe Jack's not the only one this has happened to;
    • He once bet — and lost — Hank to Thatherton! in a game of poker.
    • 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, complete with an unexplained breeze blowing his hair whenever he spoke, even indoors. In the later episodes, it was subverted, as John 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.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Kahn" is an anagram of "Hank". Lampshaded in "Just Another Manic Kahn-Day", where Kahn points out the anagram and says it's proof that he and Hank were destined to be friends.
    • Combined with Bilingual Bonus in the "Returning Japanese" two-parter. "Junichiro" translates to "genuine first son".
  • Men Are Uncultured: Hank may as well be the Trope Namer; see the "Billy Elliot" Plot listing above.
  • Mic Drop: In the episode "Manger Baby Einstein", Luanne 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 Jerkass 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!"
  • Misleading Package Size: Luanne gives Hank a shoebox gift. However, it turns out that it only contain a tiny gift box containing a pass to swim with the resort's dolphin.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: In-universe with Luanne's "Manger Babies" characters. The premise of her show being about the animals who witnessed the Nativity of Jesus. The donkey is the only one that makes sense. The other animals are a cat, an octopus, and a British penguin with a bow tie, top hat, and monocle.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • Dale thinks John Redcorn is gay, explaining why he was never suspicious about all the time the latter spent with his wife Nancy. Though in "Hank Gets Dusted", when John 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.
    • The police and medical personnel briefly think that the conflict between Hank and Dale over the former sawing off the latter's finger by accident in "The Texas Skillsaw Massacre" is an abuse case between domestic partners. Hank and Dale's arguments over the tunnel the latter built under their houses don't help matters.
    • Hank was mistaken for gay in "Be True to Your Fool" after he sees a doctor to get his "BILL" tattoo removed. The doctor warns Hank that tattoo removal is a long and painful procedure and asks if it would be easier to just "work things out with this Bill."
    • Dooley mistakes Joseph for being gay for Bobby in "I'm With Cupid". Their school has a Valentine's event where girls buy carnations for boys they like, Bobby already has two while Joseph has none. Bobby helps Joseph talk to a girl by lending him his carnations. After Joseph succeeds in asking the girl out, he happily returns the carnations to Bobby and thanks him. Dooley walks in on Joseph pinning the second carnation on his shirt. Dooley tells Joseph, "That took courage."
  • 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.note  The original scene can be found on DVD and in some non-FOX broadcasters.
  • Mistaken for Profound: Hank does this to his father-in-law.
  • Mistaken for Racist: In "Racist Dawg," Ladybird attacks a black repairman trying to fix the water heater, prompting everyone to think that Hank and Ladybird are racists. Turns out Ladybird 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 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:
    Hank: So are you Chinese or Japanese?
    Khan: We're Laotian.
    Bill: The ocean? What ocean?
    Khan: From Laos, stupid! It's a small landlocked country in southeast Asia.
    Hank: Uh-huh. *beat* So are you Chinese or Japanese?
  • Monster Clown: A gag from "Lucky See, Lucky Do" has Peggy digging up Bobby's old things from when he was a baby. One of them is a clown doll with a creepy stare and grin:
    Bobby: {eyes narrowed} We meet again, Mr. Giggles.
    Suddenly jump to an extreme closeup of Mr. Giggles' face, complete with Scare Chord. Bobby gasps and immediately backs off.
  • 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 former governor of Texas, Ann Richards:
    Hank: I'm doin' it! I'm a mooner!
  • Moon-Landing Hoax: In "Meet the Manger Babies", Dale suggests that the Super Bowl is pre-selected and is filmed in an unidentifiable location where they filmed the fake Moon landing, months before the game ever began. In "Dale to the Chief", Dale discovers that the government report on the Kennedy assassination actually made sense and said, "If the government was right about this then maybe we really did go to the moon."
  • 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 plays this role for Cotton. Cotton may be a misguided Jerkass, but he does love Bobby.
    • Bobby 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!"
  • Motor Mouth: Boomhauer.
  • 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.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: From Bobby's point of view, at least. When Hank gets his head shaved to get rid of his headlice problem, Bobby acts like it's the coolest thing ever.
  • 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.
    • In the pilot, Hank tries to unbolt the alternator, but Dale move the light and the wrench slips off. The hood then collapses on him for no apparent reason.
  • 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:
    Judge: No es culpaldo (Not guilty).
    Peggy: Oh god, I'm going to jail!!!
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Hank is willing to overlook a lot of Buck Strickland's faults, but even he has his limits. 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-Universe 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.
  • The Neidermeyer: Cotton.
  • 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 fights to get a burial plot at the Texas State Cemetery and ultimately succeeds. However, in "Serves Me Right for Giving General George S. Patton the Bathroom Key", his ashes are flushed down a toilet, and not just any toilet, but one General Patton used back in World War I.
    • 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. 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."
    • The episode "A Rover Runs Through It" portrays Peggy's mother with a completely different appearance, personality, and life to her previous appearances. The episode also claims that Peggy has not spoken with her mother in twenty years. The other "version" of the character appeared in the episode "I Remember Mono", a subplot in a Valentine's Day episode as Bobby's secret admirer, and the plot of the Thanksgiving episode revolved around the Hill's trying to get to Peggy's parents' house for Thanksgiving dinner. "Pregnant Paws" also reveals that Hank and Peggy have her on speed-dial.
  • 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 Guy: Irv the Meteorologist.
  • 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.
  • Nightmare Sequence: "The Man Who Shot Cane Skretteburg" features one.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Bill's jerkass doctor in "Dia-Bill-ic Shock" is an obvious Expy of Dr. House.
    • 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.
  • 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, 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!"
  • No Name Given: Boomhauer lacks a first name for most of the series, until it's revealed online and in the episode "Uh-Oh, Canada" to be Jeff.
  • Non-Standard Prescription: During marriage counselling, the councilor prescribes Hank and Peggy a motorcycle, because they had been planning on buying a pair of motorcycles and riding around the country together.
  • 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 during a haircut, Jack walks outside, clotheslines a bicyclist and steals his bike. Bill visits Hank that night and says: "I heard about Jack, I'm really sorry." Hank 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!
  • No Sympathy: Hank tends to have this as a character trait.
    • This is one of the major snags between Hank and Bobby; not that Hank is trying to be a Jerk Ass, it's just that the two have such differing personalities, Hank can never understand why he should be sympathetic to Bobby. When Bobby gets a job as a towel manager he's miserable since he's constantly yelled at and insulted by the coach and team, and left doing thankless, ugly gruntwork nobody appreciates, but Hank is just happy Bobby's part of a team and is assured he'll come out of this as a better person. When Bobby inevitably quits, Hank reacts with anger and confusion. In another episode where Bobby is stressed over being part of a Quizbowl team to the point of having a panic attack, Hank is baffled that he could be stressed over something so silly, complaining to his friends that Bobby's life is laughably easy.
    • While Hank isn't unsympathetic to Bill's depression, he tends to regard it as a nuisance rather than a serious issue. When Bill becomes suicidal, Hank waits for him to "snap out of it," and eventually blows up in anger at him.
  • 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-universe, 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:
    Hank: You know, Kahn, we may deny our kids completely different desserts, but they both go to bed hungry, and that's what really matters.
    • In "The Perils of Polling", 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.
    • Despite appearances Hank and his father have a lot in common mainly in how they treat their son and how that affects them (see Aesop Amnesia). Hank's character is so uptight because Cotton would scream at Hank any time he ever showed the slightest hint of emotion. It has been hinted numerous times that Bobby’s Too Dumb to Live is mainly due to the fact that Hank refuses to appreciate other skills. For example in “The Witches of East Arlen” after Bobby loses his part in the play Oklahoma to Ken Hayashi, another actor, and begins to doubt what he is good at. He always thought that acting was his "thing." At the behest of Peggy, Hank takes him to the flea market to find something new, preferably something Hank would approve of. And anyone who saw the sheer loof of determination in Bobby’s eyes in “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Clown” after Hank told him that he didn’t find him funny will know that he went on that stage to prove Hank wrong.
  • Not What I Signed On For:
    • Hank in the episode "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Alamo", where the director decides to "reinterpret" history and make the Alamo's most famous figures look like incompetent boobs, much to Hank's dismay.
    • 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?!
  • Not What It Looks Like: Many instances, but "Dog Dale Afternoon" really stands out. When Hank, Bill and Boomhauer secretly steal Dale's lawnmower as a prank, Dale becomes increasingly paranoid, but forgets about it when he finds out he has an appointment to spray for silverfish at the community college. Bill sees Dale spraying the bell tower and thinks he has a gun and intends to shoot people (similar to Charles Wittman), and calls the police, then calls Hank and Peggy.

  • 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.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws:
    • Cotton. He almost always treats Peggy with contempt.
    • Minh's Laotian military General father.
    • 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. 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).
  • Obstructive Zealot: Dale, very often.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Trip Larsen's reaction when he was zapped while on the pig grinder and became sane just in time to see where the conveyor belt was taking him.
    • Hank's reaction when Dale tells him how much of an idiot Jimmy Witchard (who Bobby was working for) is and he realizes that Bobby was right about him being an abusive sociopath.
    • Hank's reaction in "Propane Boom" when he smells a propane leak just before Mega Lo Mart explodes as a result.
  • Once an Episode: Though, not always in this order:
    Hank: Yep.
    Bill: Yep.
    Boomhauer: Mm-hmm.
    Dale: Yep.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Comes up often when Nancy's affair with John Redcorn is involved, as his act of "healing" her "headaches" is used as a euphemism for their relationship which only Dale is oblivious to.
  • 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 a 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.
    • Most of Cotton's war buddies are only known by their nicknames, primarily because the only people who refer to them is Cotton (who likely gave them the nicknames) and Hank (who doesn't know a whole lot about them to begin with).
  • Only Sane Employee: Hank at Stickland Propane.
  • Only Sane Man: Boomhauer, although Hank sees himself as this.
  • 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 3 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. 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.
  • Panty Shot: Luann in "Luann Virgin 2.0."
  • 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.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: What Laos is (correctly) portrayed as. At one point, Kahn is almost tricked into joining La Résistance against the regime, but wisely decides to back out while he still can.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word:
    Dale: Objection: conjecture. Objecture!
  • Pervy Patdown: In "Lupe's Revenge", a female officer Hank unintentionally seduced pulls him over and doesn't let him go until she can frisk him. Which she uses an an opportunity to grab his butt.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Cotton, despite his cantankerous nature, does have a heart of gold, which he demonstrates on a couple of occasions:
      • Cotton takes the fall for Bobby when the latter accidentally set the church on fire in the church's bathroom by claiming that he was one who did it.
      • Cotton 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 Cotton had been in the same situation that she was in when the doctors thought that he would never walk again.
    • Bobby's clown professor is really hard on and sarcastic to Bobby, but when he notices that he actually hurt Bobby's feelings, he tries to encourage him (albeit in the wrong way). That said, he still remains the antagonist for the rest of his episode.
  • Phrase Catcher: … Thatherton!
  • Picked Last: In "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Clown", 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 transgender. In one episode, he references "the bank teller who is between genders". However, in the episode where he's informed that Peggy's new friend is a crossdresser, he replies, "Now hold on there, that doesn't make any sense!"
    • 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 in "The Accidental Terrorist." In the same 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"). However, in "Death Buys a Timeshare", the episode where Cotton was buying a timeshare, he is very savvy to various sales tricks.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything:
    • Bill, an Army barber and sergeant, seems to spend relatively little time on base.
    • Even though he is supposed to be a Texas Ranger, Boomhauer is never shown doing his job, what with all the standing around in the alley with the guys and his excessive canoodling.
  • 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.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Hank to Luanne when she's coming out of the shower:
    Hank: Bwaaah! Put some pants on, Luanne!
    Luanne: (lifts her shirt up to reveal a pair of Daisy Dukes) I'm wearing shorts, Uncle Hank.
  • Plot Allergy: Bobby becomes allergic to Ladybird in "Hank's Choice". Lampshaded by the doctor who makes the diagnosis, who tells Hank that "allergies come and go."
  • Poke the Poodle: In "Be True to Your Fool", Bill wants to get stuck in jail because the prisoners treat him better than Dale, Hank, and Boomhauer do. Hank tries to get arrested so he can go apologize. His first two attempts are using a crosswalk when the "Don't Walk" sign is lit, and taking off his shirt in a store; both times he's in full view of policemen, both times they just kind of shrug and don't care. Then he just barely taps a patrol car's rear bumper and gets arrested immediately.
    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, "High Anxiety" has 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.
    • Averted in "Love Hurts, and So Does Art" when a policeman helps Hank get the picture of his colon taken down from the art museum, 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.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Cotton, who is a war hero.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In "Cops and Robert", Hank accidentally steals a man's wallet because he mistakenly thought the man had picked his pocket. When Hank realizes his error, he calls the man up to say that he wants to return the wallet and apologize...only he words it in such a way that it sounds like he's coming to assault and/or kill the guy. The man is waiting for Hank with a baseball bat, and at that point is beyond any further attempts at reasoning.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure:
    • Hank's knowledge of famous people, such as the fact "Weird Al" Yankovic "blew his brains out in The '80s because no one bought his music" (Yankovic is still alive and still making music parodies) or that Rudy, from Rudy, died of cancer shortly after the big game (he actually spent ten years pitching the movie to studios afterwards).
    • In "The Peggy Horror Picture Show", Peggy tells a Diana Ross impersonator: "If she wasn't dead I would swear you were the real thing." Like the Weird Al Yankovic example, Diana Ross is still alive, though, unlike Weird Al, she's not in the spotlight much.
  • Positive Discrimination: Averted; Token Minority Kahn Souphanousinphone is the biggest jerkass of the regular cast and a rather overt bigot.
  • 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 Jerkass Reality 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!"
  • Pre-Groin Kicking One Liner: ''That's my purse! I don't know you!"
  • 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?!"
  • Pretty in Mink:
    • In the episode "Snow Job," Luanne is shown standing outside in her normal skimpy outfit and a white fur muff, which probably doesn't do much considering it's cold enough that it has snowed in Texas.
    • In "The Hank's Giving Episode," Luanne wears a white fur jacket.
  • 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.
  • Quote-to-Quote Combat: "Hilloween" parodies this when this conversation happens between Hank and an overzealous priest:
    Judy Harper: "The complacency of fools will destroy them." Proverbs.
    Hank: "Get out of my house!" Exodus.
  • Radish Cure: In the episode "Keeping Up with Our Joneses," Hank makes Bobby smoke a whole carton of cigarettes as punishment for catching him smoking. The plan backfired spectacularly; not only does Bobby end up hooked, but Hank and Peggy fell victim to their own past cigarette habits as well.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Luanne leases a house 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 finally 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 one of the roommates meets Cotton and one of his wartime buddies, Topsy, and call them Nazis. This particular roommate become an Asshole Victim when Cotton and Topsy actually have an awesome moment when they wade in and beat him up.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: In "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.
    Bobby: Gah! I am a twelve year old boy! I am the child's nephew! I cannot do this. I. CANNOT. DO. THIS! (Hands her the baby) If someone makes some food, I'll eat. But that's it! ALL I'LL DO IS EAT!
  • "Rashomon"-Style: How Hank and company burned down the firehouse. 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.
  • Real Award, Fictional Character: Cotton is a heavily decorated World War II vet, with his decorations are slowly revealed throughout his appearances. In "Returning Japanese", his uniform includes the Medal of Honor and American Campaign Medal. In "Cotton Comes Marching Home", his Silver Star is shown in a display case in the Arlen VFW. In season twelve, he shown wearing the third class, Commandeur, of the French Legion of Honour, the highest decoration in France and only awarded to a handful of Americans during the war.
  • Real Fake Wedding: A prank war erupts between Bobby (who's twelve) and Luanne (his older cousin). After he replaces her birth control pills with candy, she convinces him that women have to take a birth control pill every day or they get pregnant. Hank and Peggy actually get in on the joke and put on a fake Shotgun Wedding, to Bobby's horror. Then, to teach Luanne a lesson too, they claim that the celebrant, Bill, is actually an ordained minister and their marriage is valid. Also, you supposedly can't get divorced in Texas for at least a year.
  • Reality Ensues: The end of "Cops and Roberts" has Hank finally get Barry Rollins to calm down so he can explain that he mistakenly took the guy's wallet and the whole thing was just a simple misunderstanding, which he apologizes for. Of course, that doesn't mean Hank is cool with he and his friends being chased down and attacked with a baseball bat:
    Officer Brown: "Sir, will you be pressing charges?"
    Hank: "Well, hell yeah!"
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: The point of the hunting trip in "The Order of the Straight Arrow".
  • 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!
  • "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".
    • Kahn receives an absolutely brutal one from his father-in-law in "Pour Some Sugar on Kahn," but instead of getting upset, he concedes it.
  • 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.
  • 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 …"
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Seems to be the viewpoint of the both the characters and the writers, if the unfortunate fate of the snake in "Ser PU Nt" is any indication.
  • Retcon: This series has had a number of 'em:
    • 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 went from being older-looking version of 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. It also contradicts the episode "I Remember Mono" where she sends Bobby a gift and is all-but stated to be on good terms with Peggy.
    • Luanne's father. In the first episode, Luanne, then aged 18, is dropped off at the Hill residence after her mother stabs him. In later episodes, it is revealed that he is working on an oil rig just to stay safely away from Luanne's psycho mother, refusing to come back until Hank faxes him her death certificate and even visiting his and Peggy's family for Thanksgiving. 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 he is a felon). And he looks nothing like his sister Peggy. In an earlier episode, he was described as strongly resembling Peggy but with smaller feet.
    • Hank and his old Arlen High School football teammates challenged the team that they lost against in the state championship 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. However, 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 "My Own Private Rodeo", the episode where Dale and Nancy renew their vows, Nancy asks Dale if he is truly OK with his dad being gay. Dale replies, "Why would have a problem with it? John Redcorn's gay and I've been friends with him for years". A later episode, "Untitled Blake McCormick Project", has him send John Redcorn after Bill's new girlfriend Charlene, to break them up, and even calls him a "chick magnet".
    • In his initial appearances, Dale's dad, Bug, appears to be an ordinary guy, looking a lot like his son. 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).
    • It was originally established that Dale's alias, Rusty Shackleford, came from the birth certificate of a child that died in 1953. However, in "Peggy Goes to Pots", it is revealed that the alias actually came from a third grade classmate whom Dale thought had died.note 
    • Cotton's funeral. In "Cotton's Plot", he earns a plot in the Texas State Cemetery in recognition of his service and he is later stated to have been buried there. However, in "Serves Me Right for Giving General George S. Patton the Bathroom Key", it's revealed he was cremated with a final request to be flushed down a toilet once used by General Patton. It is also revealed Topsy and the rest of Cotton's platoon were flushed down the same toilet, yet Cotton states he scattered Topsy's ashes over a prostitute (it also raises the question of who left his urn in a bus station locker).
  • 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:
    Hank: Look, look: Surprise, then disappointment. Surprise, disappointment. Surprise, disappointment. (etc.)
  • Right on Queue: In "Hank Fixes Everything", Lucky, Luanne, and Bobby waiting 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."
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: Dale is a comedic, mostly harmless version. The one-shot character Mad Dog provides a straighter example.
  • "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.
  • Road Trip Plot: Several: "Three Days of the Kahn-Do," "Escape from Party Island," "Shins of the Father," "A Beer Can Named Desire," "The Bluegrass Is Always Greener," "Queasy Rider," "Living on Reds, Propane and Vitamin C," and "The Honeymooners."
  • 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 every 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)
  • Rule of Drama: Lampshaded in one episode:
    Peggy's friend: "HURRY!"
    Peggy: "Why?"
    Peggy's friend: "It's simply more dramatic!"
  • Rule of Animation Conservation: The show's very, very decidedly low-key nature has often begged the question "Why is it even animated to begin with?" While the show is rarely has outlandishly "cartoony" situations, some plots do require situations that would either be too dangerous for live actors or involve children and would be inappropriate for them to participate in. Ability over Appearance also factors into it (Mike Judge doesn't look very much like Hank), as well as comic timing that'd be awkward in live-action, and a large variety of locations and settings that would seriously stretch the budget of a live-action show.
  • Rule of Three: In "What Makes Bobby Run":
    Hank: Look, Peggy, Bobby's got Mr. Crackers! Bobby's got Mr. Crackers! Bobby's got Mr. Crackers!
  • The Runaway: Bobby is briefly one in "Death of a Propane Salesman" due to overhearing (and misinterpreting) Bill and Dale competing over who would get him after Hank dies.
  • Running Gag:
    • Every time Chuck Mangione starts to play a tune on his flugelhorn, he ends up shifting into "Feels So Good" after a few bars.
    • Hank usually introducing himself as the assistant manager of Strickland Propane, even if it's irrelevant to the discussion.
  • Saw "Star Wars" 27 Times:
    • Hank's seen The Great Santini dozens of times.
    • Bobby claims to know a ton about golfing due to having seen Happy Gilmore fifty times.
  • Scenery Censor:
    • Crops up often in "Sug Night." In Hank's erotic dreams, Nancy's breasts are covered with either a burger or a plate of them and she's holding a bag of buns over her rear (nevermind that showing the men's butts are fair game). Not a case of Hand or Object Underwear since this is not deliberate covering on anyone's part. Later in the same episode, Hank and Peggy are covered by various objects as part of their grilling, and two nudists are always behind waist-high bushes. One of them has Godiva Hair, the other is perpetually covering herself by holding a volleyball.
    • Near the beginning of "Naked Ambition," Bobby accidentally catches Luanne naked in the shower. When shown from Bobby's side, his head blocks the viewers from seeing anything.
  • Scout Out: The Order of the Straight Arrow. Much to Hank's dismay, the more scout-like survival lessons have been gutted in favor of "safer" activities like "camp-ins" with toy knives and indoor campfires with streamers for flames.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl:
    • Inverted; Hank has a very manly scream, which sounds so ridiculous that it became a Running Gag. "D-WOOOAAAGH!"
    • Played semi-straight with Bobby:
    Hank: "I have a surprise for you, but you have to promise not to squeal like a girl. I've decided to let you grow your roses." (cue Bobby squealing like a girl)
    • Hank says as much about Dale: "I don't hear any girlish screams so either Dale's not here yet or he's dead."
    • As if he wasn't enough of a Butt Monkey already, we also find out Bill has a very high-pitched, unmanly scream.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!:
    • Cotton, although he was probably always like that regardless of his age.
    • Tilly's friends in "Escape From Party Island" fall under this are this, the opposite of Nice to the Waiter, and The Load.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Subverted, when Hank enters a shooting competition with Bobby, and the boy is glad they did so well in an actual competition.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: In an in-universe example, Bobby attempted to try to figure out what was so funny about Ray Jay Johnson, a comedian all the adults on the show loved.
  • Sent Off to Work for Relatives:
    • 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 bad girl 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", Bobby mentions how Hank once made him eat chopped liver. In "Love Hurts and So Does Art", when Bobby gets gout from eating too much chopped liver, Hank mentions they never feed Bobby foods like that.
  • Serious Business:
    • Propane and propane accessories. Not in the "be careful around it, it's flammable" way, but in a "insult it or disrespect it in any way and I will kick your ass" way. 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 the latter's colonoscopy that shows his colon clogged by beef up in a museum, the artist is arrested for "defaming beef", which is apparently serious business in Texas. This is probably a reference to a famous case involving Oprah Winfrey.
    • In another episode, Hank describes medium rare as the perfect way to grill a steak; Bobby asks what they do if someone wants their steak cooked another way, and Hank responds "We politely but firmly ask them to leave."
    • Football at any level is serious business. This is very much Truth in Television in Texas.
    • 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 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."
    • Hair is always serious business to Bill; despite all his quirks, he's one hell of a barber. In "Hank's Bad Hair Day", Bill offers to cut Hank's hair after his regular barber is forced to retire due to going senile, but Hank declines. Later on Bill tells Hank that the refusal feels like a massive insult ("It's like you're callin me an IDIOT!!") and actively dismisses Peggy's remarks on the matter — which, considering his massive stalker-crush on her, is pretty shocking.
    • 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 supersedes the lawn in the Serious Business hierarchy, 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.
    • That's Pong, kiddo.
    • Boris is taking this class for the ninth time, and he is almost a clown.
    • Boggle.
  • Sexy Priest:
    • Monsignor Martinez from Los Dias y Las Noches de Monsignor Martinez.
    • Bill sees Reverend Stroup as this. 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. Which has a Bland-Name Product Shout-Out in the form of Luly's.
    • Bill's obsessive longing for his ex-wife Lenore can't possibly be anything else except this for Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.
    • In the basket-weaving episode, Dale tries to kill Hank with a forklift. Hank even utters the line, "He tried to kill me with a forklift."
    • In one episode, Bobby is reading an issue of Unvincible. Aside from the one letter difference, Mark doesn't look any different.
    • Bobby has a doll of Bart Simpson in his room.
    • In "Dog Dale Afternoon", Dale, having been finally driven around the bend by a prank played by his friends, takes refuge at the top of a local clock tower and is mistaken for a sniper.
    • In "The Passion of Dauterive", Bill begins contemplating the meaning of life after the roof collapses on his bed. Boomhauer responds by talking about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
    • Hank's flashback to his childhood Halloween fun has obvious elements of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, such as the music and Boomhauer's ghost costume.
    • 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.
    • In "Death and Texas", Peggy receives a letter from "Wesley Martin Archer", a reference to director Wes Archer.
    • In "Peggy Makes the Big Leagues", David Kalaiki Ali'i has a poster in his room of Seven of Nine from [1]
    • In "Joust Like a Woman", Dale cites the Prime Directive when telling Hank that he can't help Hank win the joust against King Phillip Motzinger.
  • 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. Hoggarth's business, Action Propane, is the inspiration for Strickland Propane; it's still owned by Hoggarth's wife Wanda.
    • A number of Dale's conspiracy theories (such as his rant about the gold fringe on a US flag indicating an Admiralty Court, and that he's not subject to its jurisdiction) are based on actual, recognized conspiracies. And yes, they are just as nonsensical and untrue in real life.
  • Show Within a Show: Los Dias y Las Noches de Monsignor Martinez. Now with its own page.
  • 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.
  • Skewed Priorities: Due to the fact that football is Serious Business in Texas, Hank and the waffle board are willing to ruin a football player's future by letting him coast through high school after Peggy failed him. Hank changes his stance when he realize that Peggy made the right decision.
  • Skintone Sclerae: A few characters, most notably Boomhauer and Cotton.
  • Skyward Scream:
    • In "Of Mice and Little Green Men", Nancy wonders why God is punishing her. Then she shouts to the sky, "WHY, SUG?!"
    • In "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret Hill," Peggy gives one of these when she dreams that her lack of knowledge about the Catholic faith has damned her students to Hell forever. "I JUST WANTED A FULL-TIME JOB!"
  • 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.
  • Skewed Priorities: See that Long List of things that are considered Serious Business? Any one of them can lead a character to making stupid, painful decisions. A particular example was when the Booster Club attempted to keep a star Football player out of getting a proper education and coming down on Peggy for actually trying to make sure he studied, just because doing so might limit his chances to play Football.
    Hank: Peggy, a hundred years from now, nobody'll know what a hexagon is, but if we go to state? That winds up on the water tower.
  • Slice of Life: A relatively rare Western-animated "adult" example.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: Mostly Level 3, with earlier seasons leaning further towards Level 4 and later seasons leaning back to Level 2. Major changes to the status quo in the first five seasons include Buckley's death, Luanne quitting beauty school, Didi giving birth to G.H., Luanne moving out of the Hill house, Nancy breaking up with John Redcorn and Joseph going through puberty.
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic: As close to "Mundane" as animation could be.
  • Slow Clap: Occurs in "Plastic White Female".
  • 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.
  • Smug Snake: Peggy in the later episodes
  • Snipe Hunt: "Order of the Straight Arrow".
  • Soap Box Sadie: Averted with Bobby. He's often just as obnoxious as a straight example, but thankfully never portrayed as being in the right.
  • Soap Punishment: In "That's What She Said", Hank washes out the foul mouth of a new employee with soap. Said employee manages to make one last filthy joke before Oh, Crap! sets in.
  • Soccer-Hating Americans: Hank disapproves of Bobby's switch from football to soccer, and eventually convinces him to switch back, because real Americans play football.
  • Spin the Bottle: Played in "Plastic White Female".
  • Spit Take:
    • Hank play it straight in "Square Peg" when he spits beer when he hears Peggy yelling "VAGINA!"
    • Two examples in one when Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer do a synchronized spit-take upon discovering that the beer they've been drinking has been tainted:
    Hank: If it wasn't the bananas that made us sick, then what was it? … Oh my God, the BEER!
    (Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer spit out their beer.)
    Hank: And Peggy knew!
    (Bill does another spit take, apparently having taken another drink of beer he just learned was tainted.)
    • Subverted in "Hilloween" when Peggy tells Hank that Bobby has gone off to Junie Harper's anti-Halloween party, he comes about as close as possible to a spit take before swallowing hard:
      Hank: I came very close to spitting out beer!
      Peggy: I knew you'd be upset.
  • Springtime for Hitler: See Advice Backfire.
  • 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 Junichiro a crazy bastard. Considering his parents aren't married, it adds a new layer to Hank's term of endearment.
    • Hank Rutherford Hill. HRH. His Royal Highness. KING of the Hill.
  • Sting: From "The Perils of Polling":
    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".
  • The show itself, considering after the series finale, there were still four unaired episodes.
  • 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.
  • Straw Misogynist: Cotton, most definitely. Coach Kleethammer, with his constant claims that girls can't play sports.
  • 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.
  • Stripping the Scarecrow: In "Yankee Hankee," Hank gets left nearly naked in the courtyard of the Alamo. He ends up having to take clothes off a Davy Crockett mannequin, before wondering why he bothered putting on the raccoon hat.
  • "Stuck at the Airport" Plot: One episode, "Happy Hank's Giving" has this happening to the Hills, the Gribbles, the Souphaniousinphones along with Bill and Boomhauer over Thanksgiving (which involves the destruction of Hank's propane-smoked turkey when a bomb-sniffing dog barks at his luggage). After everyone misses their flights, the families eventually settle with eating dinner at the airport with whatever they can scrape together.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: The Baaah! song, which consists of variations of Hank's Baah!
  • Suddenly Voiced: Debbie Grund, who previously appeared on the show but was not given any lines, has some dialog in "Hanky Panky".
  • Sunglasses at Night: Dale.
  • 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.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Hank.
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: From "Hank's Got the Willies":
    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 WWF style chair throwing extravaganza so that they'll both be kicked off, but be hailed as heroes by the other students.
    • When Bobby 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 jerkass roommates who won't pay their share of the bills and call her a Nazi whenever she tries to exert any authority. 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.
    • In "Lupe's Revenge", Peggy's poor grasp of the Spanish language results in her accidentally kidnapping a young girl during a field trip to Mexico. Hank knows they can prove her innocence, but is worried about crushing Peggy's feelings by outright telling her that her Spanish sucks. The solution he finds: have Peggy testify herself, in Spanish; the judge realizes that she didn't know what she was doing and declares her innocent, while Peggy remains convinced that her impassioned plea won him over.
  • Tan Lines: Hank, Dale, and Bill in hot weather.
  • Temporary Blindness: Hank, after witnessing his mother and her boyfriend having sex, temporarily goes blind in "The Unbearable Blindness of Laying".
  • Tempting Fate: In "Bobby Goes Nuts," when the guys hear about Bobby kicking Hank in the groin:
    Bill: I wish I had a son to kick me in the groin.
    (Dale obliges him)
    Dale: (sips his beer) Be Careful What You Wish For.
  • That Came Out Wrong: 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.
  • That's What I Call "X"!: "Traffic Jam" has: "BAM! Now THAT'S what I call general haberdashery!"
  • 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.
  • That Was Objectionable: When Dale has a restraining order put on Hank after he accidentally saws off Dale's finger:
    Dale: Objection: conjecture. Objecture!
  • The Theme Park Version: In "The Company Man", 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, but he goes to Thatherton Fuels to get what he wants. However, in the deleted scene from the DVD version, his wife, who was kept by Peggy's company, is the actual owner of the business and decides to go with Strickland Propane.
  • Thinly Veiled Dub Country Change: The Québécois dub did this to this one of all series, changing the setting from Texas to small-town Quebec (Ste-Irène)... despite the fact that the setting is almost always referenced as being warm, the times snow actually does pop up (which often tends to be a light coating at most), it's treated as a major crisis in universe, and the plots and setting being very steeped in Texan culture (the characters are all obsessed with football and barbecues).
  • 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.
  • Throwing Out the Script: Played with:
    Bobby: (rehearsing) I rehearsed a speech on the way over here, but I'm throwing it out, because nothing says I'm sorry like "I'm sorry."
  • Title Please
  • Toilet Humor:
    • 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).
    • "Hank's Unmentionable Problem", which is about Hank's severe case of constipation. The final scene where Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" plays after Hank finally poops is a highlight.
    • 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!"
    • "Flush With Power" is all about the town council members having to use the john in the last act.
  • Token Minority: An interesting In-Universe variation, in which Hank is invited to join a country club because Ted Wassonasong is concerned that its all-Asian membership looks bad.
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: When it starts snowing in King of the Hill, Peggy says "Nobody lick any flagpoles!"
  • Tonight, Someone Dies:
    • The Mega Lo Mart explosion and the shooting cliffhangers both were advertised as this. Fox actually spoofed this 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.
    • 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:
    • Anthony Page, the social worker in the pilot who puts the family under investigation after Bobby gets a black eye at baseball, but doesn't bother questioning the coach.
    • 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 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).
    • All the young employees at Mega Lo Mart are clueless about their own respective departments, pissing off customers like Hank, and have supervision over older and wiser coworkers. Most notably, Buckley died in a propane explosion after he failed to listen to Hank's advice about not dragging the propane tank by the nozzle, thus causing a leak.
    • In "Fun with Jane and Jane", Luanne joins a sorority that is obviously a front for a cult. After she escapes, Peggy takes her right back to the cult because she doesn't understand (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 writing off their dangerous behavior as "hazing" to a new member saying that "all sororities do hazing, the harder it is the stronger the friendship; why do you think POW's are always having reunions?"— and joins the cult herself because they offer to let her vent about her terrible mother.
  • Took A Level In Jerk Ass: Everyone in the cast does something genuinely selfish or rude throughout the series:
    • Depending on the Writer, Kahn. He's a downright jerkass 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.
    • Dale invoked this in-verse in "The Trouble with Gribbles" where he was attempting to sue the company that makes his smokes on the premise that they ruined his wife's skin. When they try to bug him to expose him, Dale counter-bluffs them...by acting as an emotionally abusive husband to Nancy. It doesn't end well, and nearly costs him his marriage.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Bobby sure loves his fruit pies.
    • Hank is quite fond of burgers and steak.
    • Played with whenever it comes to grilling; no matter what kind of food it is, if it's made on a charcoal grill, Hank will not only refuse to eat it, but lecture whoever is within the vicinity about how it's essentially toxic waste. Of course, Hank doesn't like any method of cooking food that doesn't use propane (he felt extremely betrayed upon finding an electric stove in Buck's house), but he seems to hold a special hatred of charcoal. An entire episode centred around Peggy and Bobby trying charcoal-grilled food for the first time and finding it so delicious they're addicted to it, sneak out of the house every night to secretly grill with charcoal, and have to hide evidence of their activities from Hank.
  • 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 told Bobby he'd only be mad at them for two weeks, maybe three. Hank was then reduced to one week after Bobby told Boomhauer that Hank always quotes him.
  • Twofer Token Minority:
    • When Dale is being opposed for Gun Club President, he laments that his opponent has "already got the black vote — Earl — and the gay vote — Earl."
    • Buck is told that he isn't allowed to fire a drug-addicted employee because he is in rehab, which makes his addiction legally classified as a disability, and it's illegal for a business of his size to fire an employee based on their race, sexual orientation, disability, weight, etc. Buck then utters this line in his frustration:
      Buck: Hell, I'd kill for a big, fat, black, blind, deaf, gay guy if he would just get some damn work done around here!
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife:
    • Cotton and Didi.
    • Lucky and Luanne.
    • Dale and Nancy. Dale isn't particularly ugly and is more average looking.
  • Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000: In "Grand Theft Arlen", 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 cancelled 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.
    • Averted in "Hank's Back Story", where Hank loses the mower racing competition.
  • Under the Mistletoe: Brought up during one episode:
    Hank: Now I don't want to name names, but due to last years unfortunate "Kissing Incident", Mistletoe is banned from this years Christmas party.
    Glares at Bill.
    Bill: Peppermint Schnapps makes me sloppy.
  • The Unfavorite:
    • Hank was this to Cotton even before G.H. was born.
    • 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.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Hank uses the American way to get his temporary obnoxious Canadian neighbor out of jail by sacrificing his "kegerator" to pay the defense attorney to get him out. What does the guy do after reuniting with his family whom acted more civil and apologized to the Hills? Boast that Canada is better than America. Despite this, Hank feels he did the right thing.
    • The entire HCJC meat team and their manager is this. After being hijacked by their rivals for having sprayed pepper on their eyes the previous night, Bobby is the only one to show up and do every event flawlessly without their help. Once they come to the event, they all kick Bobby aside without thanking him for holding them on and they were fated to lose in their examination, hadn't Bobby stepped in when they ignored a fatal flaw on the meaty carcass.
  • 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.
  • The Unintelligible: Boomhauer. This is lampshaded several times. For example:
    • 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.
    • 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 "Propane Boom", the episode where the Mega Lo Mart explodes, Boomhauer gets on the horn to 911 to report it in and the operator tells him she can't understand what he's saying, urging him to speak more slowly, which he does and it's just as unintelligible as whenever he speaks normally.
  • 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.
  • Vanity License Plate: Boomhauer had one, "MSSALLY", for his 1965 Mustang, after the Wilson Pickett song.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • I'll tell you what, that dang ol' Boomhauer, man.
    • Joe Jack saying "Honey".
    • Nancy saying "Sug":
    "Oh, sugar! I'm out of sugar, sug."
  • Very Special Episode:
    • "Death of a Propane Salesman" deals with the effects the Mega Lo Mart explosion had on Hank and Luanne. Hank is afraid of propane and in denial of the problem, while Luanne's grief over Buckley's death and the loss of her hair has manifested itself in the form of anger at the general injustice of the world.
    • "Return to La Grunta," about sexual harassment and assault. Bonus points because Hank, a male, goes through it too.
    • "That's What She Said" deals with the stigma against men reporting sexual harassment, although the harassment in that episode comes from incessant unwelcome sexual jokes.
    • "Keeping Up With Our Joneses," complete with a funny PSA at the end with Boomhauer holding up a clean white air filter for his car engine next to a greasy black one and compares them to "your lungs on air" and "your lungs on smoke," respectively. Even with his garbled speech he manages to make the dangers clear: "Dang ol' ear hair, mang, low sperm count."
    • "My Own Private Rodeo" was nominated for a Gay And Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Media Award for its portrayal of Dale coming to terms with his dad being gay. It aired in 2001 - two years before Lawrence v. Texas made it legal to be gay in the state and across the country.
    • "Aisle 8A" and "I Don't Want to Wait..." deal with concerns about puberty - respectively, Connie's first period and Bobby struggling with being a late bloomer (and being treated like a child) while Joseph laments being an early bloomer.
  • Vice City: What Arlen used to be (Harlot Town -> Harloton -> Arlen).
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: In-universe example with Gale, Debbie's roommate. When he is charged Debbie's murder and his arrest is shown on TV, Luanne believes that he is a woman because of his name and appearance. Even after Hank corrects her, she still thinks that Gale's a woman.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Trip Larson from "Pigmalion".
  • 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.
  • Warrior Poet: Minh's father General Gum considers himself one. When we actually hear his poetry, though...
    "We must not forget, yet we cannot remember/Death be not proud?/Then who?"
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
    • 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. The difference between Kahn and Minh is that Minh doesn't care if Laohma respects her, she just doesn't want to deal with her. Laohma's insistence to show Minh how to do housework "the right way" comes more from her being a professional homemaker than wanting to show Minh up. Kahn is constantly trying to prove himself to Minh's dad, whereas Minh and Laohma are more than happy to stay out of each other's way. For that matter, Kahn does nothing to stop his mom from criticizing Minh, nor does he seem to care, whereas Minh is very bothered by how her dad treats Kahn and tries to make him stop.
  • 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 ashes down the toilet Patton used during WWI, which contradicts his earlier securing of a burial plot in a veteran's cemetery.
    • This happens to Kahn's mother, who in "Maid in Arlen" 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.
    • One of John Redcorn's old flings and his newly discovered daughter end up moving into his trailer with him in "Untitled Blake McCormick Project". They are never seen or mentioned again.
  • The Whitest Black Guy: Khan is accused of being the whitest Asian guy in the episode "Orange You Sad I Did Say Banana?" when Ted calls him a banana.note  So, he tries to avert this by restyling his entire life to get more in touch with his ancestry. After finding he doesn't enjoy his new lifestyle, he comes to terms with himself and accepts he should just be happy with who he is, and enjoy what he likes:
    Khan: "If you want someone to play round of golf, give me call! If you want someone to feel guilty about the way they choose to live, call someone else."
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Subverted. It's established that Arlen is in Texas. Where in Texas varies from episode to episode. Some episodes have it close to the Mexican border (which would make sense, given that Arlen has a sizeable Mexican population and it is implied in "Lupe's Revenge" and "Three Days of the Khan-Do" that heading to Mexico from Arlen doesn't take that long), while others have it in central Texas, and a couple have it somewhere near Dallas or Houston.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Peggy, scoffing at Steinbeck during a performance of Of Mice and Men.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Bobby, as viewed by Hank:
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Discussed. When Bobby is planning on stealing a rival school's mascot (an armadillo), he asks Dale if he could pump poison into the school to render the mascot's guards unconscious. Dale points out that the amount of poison needed would kill an armadillo. Plus the kids probably wouldn't wake up.
  • Women Are Wiser: Inverted with Hank and Peggy, though played straight for Kahn & Minh and Dale & Nancy.
  • Word Salad: Hank actually accuses Dale of this at the beginning of "Dale to the Chief" after one of his characteristic conspiracy-theorist ramblings.
    Hank: Did you mean for all those words to come out together or did they just fall out randomly?
  • 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.
  • Wrote the Book: Crossed with Metaphorgotten:
    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.
  • Xanatos Gambit: By Peggy, of all people. After getting conned, she hatches up a scheme with all the other victims to get their money back. They trick the conman into bringing the money to a motel where they've set up a phony gambling hall. If he keeps betting, it's rigged so that he'll lose it all. If he tries to leave with the money, they have several other ways of stealing it back from him.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Poor, poor Bill...
    • 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," Roger "Booda" 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.

Alternative Title(s): King Of The Hill