Reviews: King Of The Hill
What made it special was it pushed no boundries.
After having been raised on animated shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, and a milllion animated kids shows, King of the Hill was special for one great reason: It never pushed the boundries of realism. It was different, in that it was normal. It was almost like the Badass Normal trope made into an animated comedy. It was fantastic, and it's a shame that other reviewers have been too conditioned to wanting shows to emulate the Simpsons (Love it) Family Guy (So-so) South Park (Love it) formula and are flabbergasted that a show might try something different: Being about normality. Of course Hank won't support everything Bobby does. What parent would support 100% of the things that his or her kids tried to do? Of course the show had its flaws, but even at its worst, it was never as ham-fisted as Family Guy or South Park (again, both shows that I love). Who hasn't known a Dale, a Peggy, or a Kahn? It's really tragic that the show was cancelled to let Seth Mac Farlene make another formulatic comedy when true subtley, satire, and intellegence were thrown into the fire.
King of the Hill.
Words can not properly describe how dull this show is. Bobby is by FAR more interesting than Hank and Peggy, and he's about as interesting as a sack of particularly dull rocks. Hank is a jackass, completely unsupportive of his son unless Bobby wants to do something he agrees with. He should be fired out of a cannon. Into a wall of spikes. Spikes that are coated with salt. And on fire. The inane antics of Dale Gribble and the hilariously old fashioned views of Cotton Hill, on the other hand, are the highlight of the show, proving that not everything is complete garbage. If nothing else, watch the show for them. Avoid any of the other episodes, as they are retarded enough that you may well gouge your own eyes out.
Flanderization Killed The King
You've heard this accusation before; heck it occupies 90% of the YMMV section of the article, but it rings true to me, so much so that it cannot be said enough; somewhere along King of the Hill's 13 season run, the fine balance between characterization and comedy was disrupted for worse. When KOTH first started out, it excelled in playing Texas stereotypes against realistic behaviors. As the series progressed, the stereotypes were dialed up slowly but surely but were always counterbalanced by a episode dedicated to bringing back the relatability. This could be in an number of ways, be it by a new face to flesh out others, having mostly right heroes be dead wrong and vice versa, and most importantly, FOR ALL OF IT TO BE RECOGNIZED IN UNIVERSE. Somewhere along the lines the writers caught whatever the Simpsons writers had that made them lose that respect for whomever wasn't the Creator's Pet (looking at you Lisa) and let the exaggerations seep in more. Episodes stopped being subtly complex stories told in a humorous way to obvious good vs evil idiot plots. Or rather, Hank Hill vs Whomever he didn't like that week. Now, this really has nothing to do with behaviors and beliefs present within the Texas community, but rather that each and every dissenter was an axe-crazy strawman that would stop at nothing to bring down the community of Arlen, leaving the infallible Hank Hill to step in and set things right. But this craziness didn't come and go with the one-shot characters and the small number of returning antagonists, no sir; even family members and friends would be swept up in it, turning once multilayered characters meant to represent different types of people into nutjob pinheads defined by nothing but their wacky hijinks. After all, Hank needs some kind of conflict to be the designated hero, and lord knows he can't be wrong when it really matters. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise that KOTH died before any further damage could be done. After all, when your series finale ends the shaky father-son dynamic by having Hank finally accepting his son NOT as who he is, but by Bobby becoming what he wished him to be (through some contrived bullshit), then you know your series is just that. Dead.
Like Good Wine, An Acquired Taste
Observing some of the negative reviews on here, I can sympathize with them, simply because the show doesn't make it easy to figure out like its competitors do. While it has done humor of the absurd (while still staying realistic), and done it well, its core humor is more mundane and character-based. Yes, Hank Hill is someone I would hate if I met him in real life, but the show does a good job of establishing his character, and the cast around him. Having watched the series again and again and again in its nightly syndication on Adult Swim, the struggles of the characters and the subtleties not immediately perceptible become apparent. Its humor often runs ambiguously, where you can't tell whether it's making fun of liberals or conservatives, whether it's pro or anti religion, and in that respect it can show the humor in all perspectives quite well. It's not a show for everyone in its structure, and it also suffers more conventional flaws at times. The Flanderization of Luanne in latter seasons grates the most, because hers had been the real struggle of a girl from a (literal) broken home to try to be something more than White Trash who grows to become the wife of White Trash incarnate (a man whose hobbies include "Cat fisting," "sticking," and "stumping," and who listed his income as "pee pee money") as they derailed her character, but most characters avoid this, and on the whole, the show is worth the time investment it takes to appreciate it.
This is one of the most subtle, longtime-viewer-rewarding shows ever. Seriously, half the episodes nowadays are probably not even funny to people who haven't been watching for years and know all the standards and archetypes this show's set up over time. But crap... the characters alone. Pretty much everything Dale says is funny. Hank has the best line-delivery of almost any character in television history thanks to Mike Judge. And Bill is the funniest character on the show by far. WHAT OTHER SHOW could make jokes about someone wanting to die that funny and in no way sad, until you REALLY thought about it? The time he repeatedly tried to kill himself, and went for his gun, but Dale forced him not to do it BY THREATENING TO SHOOT HIM. But even Bill gets his moments. Who else has the balls to freely mock Asian society the way this show does, with Khan being a relentless status-chasing gloryhound who pressures his daughter into violin playing and being a Grade-A student? And the way it mocks both the right AND the left wings is great. Other great stuff: -Joseph going from a normal kid to a hilarious stereotype of angsty teenagers, all horny and awkward, even trying to make out with Minh. -Dale blowing a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Manitoba cigarettes, just to win his wife's love back by admitting he really did find her beautiful after all (he was pretending she was ugly from the smoke to sue them). Beautifully sweet, but hilariously funny as he was interrogating himself ("Mr. Gribble, ARE YOU A HOMOSEXUAL?!?" Dale runs back to the chair "AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!"). -Bill sleeping with Kahn's mom, and when the Arlenites get pissy at Kahn for trying to break them up, he just gets indignant and shouts "You'd all do the same if Dauterive was nailing your mothers!" And they all just look at each other, shrug, and silently admit it. -Hank rebuilding Bobby's wrecked Dummy into his idea of a perfect son, with Bobby & Peggy's great reactions, before finally scrapping him and making a Bobby lookalike. -Hank speeding on the highway to go vote, and a cop pulls him over. On discovering the reason, the cop goes "You haven't VOTED YET?" Cut the police car screaming down the highway with sirens blaring, leading Hank to the polling station. -Hell, EVERYTHING with Cotton in it. Especially the episode where he gets Peggy to walk again.
The most boring thing in existence?
This show suffers from one huge flaw - its not funny. It is not realism that it acheives, it simply comes across as a very dull show. I am unsure if any attempt was ever made to actually try and turn this show into something humourous, but from what I have seen of the last few elusive seasons it seems the whole series was as stuck up and unable to change as its protagonist. And boy, what a hero he is. Some argue that Peter Griffin of Family Guy is a poor father and monstrous husband. This is true, but this is made totally clear in the show that he is a total bastard whose views are moronic and not condoned by the writers. Similar complaints hace been made against Homer Simpson, however again we find that Homer's bad qualities are satire and that the moments where he is shown to be a kind and thoughtful man are closer to his dim but pleasant character. Stan of American Dad is a complete monster, yet this is funny as his character is a parody of the right-wing in general. Hank Hill is worse than both of the above. He is neglectful, abusive, racist, rude and hugely unpleasant. He disrepects the opinions of all others and has no problem pompously telling people to lead their lives like he leads his own. He is right wing, fat and balding with delusions of greatness. Surely this must be some more clever humour, No. Just No. The writers of King Of The Hill fully support Hank Hill and portray everything he does as "the right thing to do." Every single episode ends with Hank forcing his view upon someone and learning nothing himself. Then everyone appluads him for "enlightening" them. What a bastard. Occasionally the show will make a small joke poking fun at Hanks character, but thats it. The supporting characters are extremely boring and the plotlines and almost too dull to pay attention to. Even the animation is drab and poor quality. I failed to find anything in this entire series funny. It lacks the surreal hilarity of Family Guy, the wit of The Simpsons non-recent episodes, the intelligence of Futurama, the relevance of South Park or any actual humour. Am I supposed to laugh at Peggy believing she can speak another language? Hahaha, how HILARIOUS. She cant speak Spanish at all!!! Oh lord the laughs never stop coming, do they? Avoid King Of The Hill, it is a boring, objectionable little show.
It's funny. Yup.
King Of The Hill is a rare bird. It's rare in that its most prominent feature is the fact that there's nothing particularly prominent about it; whereas Family Guy has its flashbacks and The Simpsons has its citizenry of veritable sociopaths, this is just A Show About A Guy, and that's what makes it stand out so much among its animated brethren. Don't get me wrong, though, this is a good thing; if anything KOTH shows us that subtlety is not a dead art, and that people don't have to act unrealistically in order to be so bizarre, it's funny.