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These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Intellectuals, or rather, people who thinkthey are intellectuals. Usually appearing without any advanced education, working experience in their field, or anything approaching common sense, the closest the series has to a usual "villain" type are people who believe themselves competent activists, authors, philosophers or educators, who show up to denigrate or swindle the Hills. Perhaps lampshaded, as all these "intelligent" and "progressive" people are unable to find employment or acceptances anywhere except Arlen, Texas, and even there everybody knows how ridiculous they are.
Jokes about fictional town Durndle and the people from it are pretty commonplace, as well.
A good example of a recurring acceptable target would be Anthony Page, the activist / social worker who has: attempted a fruitless investigation into Hank's parenting of Bobby in the pilot episode, attempted to implement an ill-thought out Texan workers disability equality program at Strickland Propane that resulted in a druggie have free reign over the place in "Junkie Business", etc.
One episode had Hank get a thrown-out back. He attends Yoga sessions to relieve this, but he dislikes the self-absorbed, skirt chasing Yoga teacher (though softens slightly once he realizes the Yoga is helping). Immediately after he is fully healed, the guy in charge of disability finds out about this, automatically assumes he was taking advantage of worker's comp, and reports Hank to court. Hank's defense is that if he wasn't in agonizing pain, he would have punched the Yoga instructor out. This instantly convinces the judges.
People who actually do have advanced educations like the archeology professor and Bill's doctor are still often portrayed negatively, so the portrayal as self-important but unqualified may just be another aspect of the treatment of intellectuals, rather than unqualified intellectuals being the target itself.
It's worth noting that the doctors in Arlen all seem to be bitter, hostile burnouts who fully expect their patients to have done or are about to do incredibly stupid things and then lie about them. The show often bears them out in this regard. It may be a subtle bit of Lampshade Hanging.
Averted by Hank's proctologist (who, while irritating to Hank is friendly and professional) and the sports psychologist from the rifle episode, who, while wacky, does genuinely help Hank out.
Anyone who owns a pet that isn't a dog is considered a freak no matter how much they love it.
In one episode, Hank seems to get harassed by a female cop, and nobody seems to find anything weird with it at all.
Zigzagged with one episode, which features a new employee who constantly makes sex jokes and slaps other coworkers behinds. They at first find this funny and Hank is portrayed as overreacting, but it grows out of hand and everyone else starts to become annoyed. Hank tries to find legal help, and responds to the comments of "male on male sexual harassment" with "BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH!". Enrique refuses to do anything about it because he's afraid of being made fun of (or not being taken seriously). This is actually startlingly truth in television. Aggressors of male-on-male or female-on-male sexual harassment are much more likely to get away with it than male on female aggressors, simply because most people, when confronted with this issue, respond like Hank and Enrique did.
California is a big one in the show (and to a lesser extent: Oklahoma and New York) especially with Hank. He never misses an opportunity to express his dislike towards those three states, especially the former. Bobby being into show business, however, loves California and New York so it balances out.
Alternative Character Interpretation: In the final episode, we see Dale massaging Nancy and comparing his skills to John Redcorn. Some have debated as to whether or not Dale finally learned about her affair with John Redcorn, but still forgave her, or Nancy realizing that Dale is a good husband and can give a massage that's just as good as John Redcorn's.
Is Hank Hill really what the creators consider the Only Sane Man? It seems that he's almost permanently stuck in the 1950s, when women are at home and everyone was more patriotic and full of morals. Is it just a mental barrier to keep him moral, unlike his immoral "friends" and co-workers and his own family? Or could it be that he's slightly autistic and has more emotional attachment to objects and his pet then to people and has to put up with a crazy-ass father and wife and is preoccupied with things everyone considers "Manly" and is too insane to watch a magician perform because he doesn't like things that can't be explained instantly?
A different interpretation: He isn't stuck in the 1950's but he has a classic mental-block caused by the traumatic memories of his childhood. He became so used to being beaten down by Cotton in his youth for showing the slightest sign of weakness that he in essence built a mental fortress around himself, a sort of shelter. He is afraid of anything "new" or "modern" penetrating this mental fortress out of a subconscience fear of Cotton's retribution.
He could also be autistic and his Jerk Ass father didn't help at all. It's fully possible given the timeframe the show takes place, as well as Hank's age, that he could have been on the spectrum but nobody knew.
Did Cotton really kill fitty men? Ok, probably not, but did he even kill anyone? Or maybe his constant reminding everyone that he killed "fitty men" is just a way to cope with his massive PTSD and the fact that he got his shins blown off.
Also, is Cotton really just the Jerk Ass father who hates his son and only cares about the men he killed, or is he a kind soul who has been broken by seeing all his friends killed horribly, being forced to kill fifty men just as innocent as him, getting permanently crippled, developing a true romantic relationship with a Japanese nurse before being forced from her by the government that he already gave so much to, then being forced to return to a home which had nothing to give him except an impulsive wife who once accidentaly defected to China and the glory of a war which destroyed all he held dear?
Base Breaker: Peggy. Many fans find her hilarious, others can't stand her (whether because she's dull or because her inflated ego made her insufferable), without much middle ground.
When Peggy, Mihn and Nancy are running for a position on the school board, Dale goes to a trailer park to pick up voters for Nancy, only to find out from a man fixing a satellite dish that Peggy abducted them before Dale arrived. The man then says Dale has a nice hat and attacks him, causing Dale to flee in terror.
In "Peggy's Pagaent Fever", after her makeover, the scene switches to Bill washing his car and singing out of tune to Bachmann Turner Overdrive's Takin' Care of Business. Bill stops and stares blankly when Peggy passes by in Buck Strickland's car.
The State Fair episode which depicts the fairground as a grassy field lined with tent around Big Tex, the fair's mascot. In actuality, the area is completely concrete, next to a few museum buildings which weren't depicted in the episode. In fact, even at the time of the episode's airing, all cooking contests were inside said buildings. They never take place outside.
On the episode "Bystand Me," Peggy accidentally puts an article in the newspaper advising housewives to mix bleach with ammonia, which Hank says is mustard gas. While you do get a dangerous gas when you mix bleach with ammonia (chloramide), it's not the ingredients for (nor is it considered real) mustard gas.
Any episode where civilian characters get haircuts (or, in Luanne's case, cut hair) at the Army base. Military barbershops are run by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. Civilians are not allowed in these barbershops.
Designated Hero: A common complaint about the series is that, all too often, while Hank is usually a well-meaning person, his characterisation as a stereotypical middle class Conservative Bible Belter with rather Skewed Priorities is not played for comedy (of the "look at what a dumbass this guy is/can be" variety), but as something to be respected and admired. There are many episodes in which Hank comes off as, frankly, a bigoted self-righteous Jerk Ass and yet viewers are still supposed to be on his side.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Dale and Boomhauer are considered by many to be the funniest characters on the show.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The tragic premature death of Brittany Murphy has turned many of Luanne's moments into this, especially the two-parter where the Megalo-Mart blows up and Luanne is feared to be dead ( she survived, but lost her hair and her boyfriend, Buckley), the final season episodes where Luanne has a child (before her death, Brittany Murphy stated that she wanted to have children in 2010) and the episode where Luanne is visited by the angel of her dead boyfriend, Buckley (not just because of Brittany Murphy's death, but because of the death of her husband five months later).
If you've heard the story about the Columbine survivor writing to Mike Judge about how the episode "Wings of the Dope" helped her come to terms with her grief for a boy she loved who turned out to be one of the shooters, Hank telling Luanne that if she sees Buckley's angel again after he helps her pass her test "it will actually be an evil angel of death" certainly qualifies.
Genius Bonus: In one episode where everyone at Strickland Propane is trying to get in on the Americans with Disabilities Act after a drug addict's addiction is diagnosed as a disease, one employee claims he has priapism and requires a roomier workstation and a view of Debbie. "Priapism" is the medical term for an erection that doesn't go down or soft, even after intercourse or masturbation.
Bobby's clown school persona "Tartuffe the Spry Wonder Dog" takes its name from a Moliere play.
There are also numerous references to the works of Tennessee Williams over the course of the show, most notably Bill's cousin Gilbert (pronounced Zheel-Bear) being a parody of him.
Harsher in Hindsight: In "Dog Dale Afternoon", Dale is mistaken for a sniper while spraying for silverfish at the local college's belltower, so Bill calls the police. People mistaking innocuous actions for something else and calling 911 is unfortunately rather common these days.
Hilarious in Hindsight: On the season one episode, "Hank's Unmentionable Problem" note The one where everyone makes a big deal about Hank's constipation, Peggy has a nightmare where Hank dies from complications of his constipation and his father flushes his son's casket down the toilet-cum-grave. Around thirteen seasons later, Cotton dies (after being burned on a flat-top grill at a Benihana-style Japanese restaurant and eating shrimp, which he's allergic to) and requests that his ashes be flushed in a bar toilet once used by General George S. Patton (even though an early episode revealed that Cotton was supposed to be buried at a veteran's cemetery).
In "Bills Are Made to be Broken" in season four, Hank tells Bill to "Suit Up".
In an episode made during the campaign trail of the 2000 election:
Hank: Governor Bush needs every vote he can get or they won't call it a landslide [win].
Hank puts on a fedora and says "I look like a jackass". Fast forward to the 2010s, when fedoras are often worn by greasy-haired geeks and social outcasts who don't know how bad they look and are considered by normal people to be jackasses.
Hollywood Pudgy: Leanne tends to muffin-top slightly but noticeably when wearing outfits that reveal her midriff.
Jerkass Woobie : The one-shot character Barry Rollins from the episode Cops and Roberts. He is shown as being non-confrontational yet Hank thought he stole his wallet (when really he left it at home), and decides to take it back. Rollins declares that he is tired of being the victim and chases after the group with a baseball bat, viewing himself as a Vigilante Man.
"I sell propane and propane accessories," along with several variations of it. A common joke is replacing "propane" with "cocaine". It has even made its way into becoming parodies of many images, including other memes.
Hank's face after showing Bobby how to inhale a cigarette. Mostly because, even though it's an ordinary tobacco cigarette, he looks stoned out of his mind. Hank's giant smile seen for a split-second in another episode also became a bit of a meme, dubbed "Happy Hank."
"I tell you hwat." And it must be spelled that way.
Discussing and/or describing the show as if it were an anime.
Misaimed Fandom: King of the Hill started as a parody of middle America (even though Texas would be considered Southern, but not Southern in the way that Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, northern Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, and Arkansas are). But because the humor wasn't as scathingly satirical as it is on The Simpsons or even Judge's own Beavis and Butthead, the show quickly became beloved by the very demographic it was mocking. After the first couple of seasons, the show became a straight-up Affectionate Parody, and to this day it's still remembered warmly by conservative middle Americans for being a show that didn't portray them in a negative light.
Nightmare Fuel: The episode "Pigmalion," where Luanne is forced to dress up as a advertising character for a pork products business by an insane man who later dresses up as a pig — and ends up mangled on the sausage assembly line after getting electro-shocked and recovering from his schizophrenia. Bill later orders pork from the same company, meaning they're still in business.
One-Scene Wonder: Plenty of otherwise recurring background characters who'd occasionally get a scene or line every so often most of which were fairly funny. Notable ones include Chuck Mangione, Dooley, and Emily the hall monitor.
Chuck Mangione in at least one episode per season (starting with the episode "Luanne's Saga" as a spokesman for Megalo-Mart). Those that weren't about him as Mega-Lo-Mart's pitchman were guaranteed to be hilarious.
Periphery Demographic: With otaku, of all people. It's not uncommon to find crossover fan-art of this show and popular anime franchises.
Lucky gets a lot of hate, mainly due to his relationship with Luanne (combined with Luanne's Flanderization) turning her into the exact kind of person she didn't want to be in the earlier seasons, his lazy lifestyle, (which Hank, for some reason, mostly seems to roll with despite being established as treating hard work and effort seriously) and this combined with his greater importance in the show's last legs despite contributing very little to the plot other than said relationship with Luanne.
Though there are those that like him for his personality, being played by Tom Petty definitely helps.
Peggy to a lesser extent, especially in the later seasons.
Seasonal Rot: Much like The Simpsons, it's not known exactly when the show went downhill (if it went downhill at all), but season nine is usually the point in which the show's quality started to fade, due to weak/bad episodes (starting with the senseless retconning of Peggy Hill's past in "A Rover Runs Through It"note though considering Peggy's inclination to lie and inflate her self-image, maybe the so-called "retcon" was the writers showing that Peggy was wrong about everything in her life and Luanne falling for Lucky the redneck on "Care-Takin' Care of Business"). However, unlike the Seasonal Rot of The Simpsons and Family Guy, this show was still somewhat enjoyable in its later years, rather than being a waste of time/a shining example of why long-running TV shows aren't always a good thing.
Skewed Priorities: Due to the fact 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 school after Peggy failed him.
Slippery Slope Fallacy: Parodied in the "Trans-Fascism" episode Hank had to struggle between what was legal and what was right when he and his pals started running a lunch truck that sold food banned by the city council. In a Dream Sequence during the episode where he was confronted by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Tom Landry (who all faced Slippery Slope crisis on a much bigger scale... Well, the first two at least) Washington quoted the Trope directly. The joke being that while Hank doesn't have that big of a problem with breaking a law he feels to be unjust, the signs he's starting to jump off the slippery slope are innocuous things like running a red light and his son beginning to chew gum in class.
"Hilloween" features a sound-alike to the Peanuts theme during the flashback scenes.
"The Man Who Shot Cane Skretteburg" features a sound-alike to the theme from The Great Escape.
They Just Didn't Care: Some fans feel this way about the various retcons to be seen in the later seasons, especially since many of them undid what had been good character development (Cotton's returning hatred for the Japanese) or wasting potential plots on stupid ideas (Luanne's dad actually being a convict and not an oil rig worker).
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: "Death Picks Cotton", which seems like the writers tried to cram a far too huge and important two-part storyline into a single episode. As a result, Deedee and GH are absent, Bobby is exiled to a subplot and doesn't even get to say goodbye to Cotton.
Uncanny Valley: Many of the characters look a bit TOO realistic. Moreso in the earlier seasons than later ones.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: It can be pretty hard to feel sorry for Bill considering how creepy he gets with his public fantasizing, and how he's implied to be stalking Peggy on more than one occasion. Especially when he was put in charge of a flood shelter, where most of what he does it abuse his power and actually keeps everyone in after the flood ends until Hank convinces him otherwise. But he made the people feel happy, so that's apparantly the important part and the residents looking up to him is treated as a good thing. The way that the show never really allows him to develop or grow out of this and only makes it last an episode if he does show signs of character development doesn't help, since as a result he'll show a sympathetic side and work his way into something one episode then suddenly go back to being a creep the next.
We're Still Relevant, Dammit: The MySpace-centric episode — in 2008. Justified (sort of) in that most places in the South and Midwest United States (like Arlen, Texas) don't really embrace modern trends until after they've been established as commonplace or after they've run their course and aren't popular anymore. Even when Hank does hear about it, it's clear he's the last.
Buck Strickland: What the hell is MySpace? Hank: I think it's a cult.
Episodes take some time to be completed. This one was probably made around 2007 where MySpace was at its peak; 2008 was where the decline began.
An odder example occurred in the beginning of "Uncool Customer" where Peggy is found to be unaware that shopping can be done on the Internet and that cassettes have been rendered obsolete....about a decade before. In this case it was the point of the episode to show out out-of-touch and untrendy Peggy was.
Although he's usually the designated Butt Monkey, there have been a few times where Bill's misery wasn't portrayed as all that funny. The best/worst example being "Pretty, Pretty Dresses," where he starts dressing up as his ex Lenore because his loneliness during the Christmas season drove him suicidally insane.
Luanne came from a dysfunctional family, failed several times at doing what she loved (cosmetology), her on-again-off-again boyfriend died in a freak accident, her father is in jail for life as a three-strike felon, and to top it all off she isn't very smart.
Kevin, a one-episode character from "Luanne Gets Lucky." He spends most of his screentime getting scared by Peggy/Luanne or threatened by Elvin and Mudobber (Lucky's friends). This reaches its peak when he comes close to being beaten by the latter two (and he's only fifteen) if not for Lucky coming in just in time.
Jerkass Woobie: Hank, at times. Even Peggy, considering how her mom treated her and the times she doesn't feel feminine because she has size 16 1/2 feet and doesn't dress like a lady.