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Characters / King of the Hill - Hank Hill

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Henry Rutherford "Hank" Hill
"I sell propane and propane accessories."
Voiced by: Mike Judge (English), Naoki Tatsuta (Japanese)

"I tell you hwat..."

The protagonist of the show, Hank is a propane salesman who loves his job nearly as much as he loves his family. He's pretty introverted and can't cope with emotion very well, but he's clearly the most level-headed of the cast.

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  • Abusive Parents: Downplayed. Hank is rather emotionally controlling with Bobby and doesn't always have a good read on what his son's emotional needs are, to the point of being rather negligent. Hank continually tries to shape Bobby into being like himself, and is skeptical of allowing his son to indulge in anything he disapproves of (fantasy books, rap music, clouds on his wall, video games, and any other things that could make people see Bobby as a nerd). In the Grand Finale, Hank finally accepts his son and shows joy in what he's doing... because he's doing something Hank's been pressuring him to get into probably since he got into propane. In short, Hank is trying to do right by Bobby, but Hank's view of "right" is slightly myopic.
    • Alluded to in the pilot episode, where, after witnessing angry outbursts from Hank, and seeing Bobby sporting a black eye (obtained in a softball game), a social worker jumps to the conclusion that Hank abuses Bobby and calls Social Services on him.
  • The Ace: Hank is this not just to propane and propane accessories, but to the propane industry. He knows anything and everything there is to know about the propane business, keeping Strickland Propane going in a very competitive market.
    • Additionally, he's also quite well-spoken on various topics, such as history (especially Texas history), politics, the law, general home and auto repairs, cuisine, woodworking, sports, and music. Hank might be dismissed by Kahn as a dumb redneck, but in real life he'd be nothing short of brilliant.
  • Acrofatic: Hank is shown to be more physically fit than most beer-bellied good-ol'-boys you see.
  • Action Dad: He doesn’t show it often due to the show being a realistic sitcom, but he is ass kicker of both the figurative and literal varieties and more physically fit than many of the other characters in the show; he once survived a tornado by grabbing onto a freaking telephone pole.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Half the episodes in the entire show couldn't happen if Hank didn't forget the many, many times he learned to accept Bobby for who he is, or realized that his father was a selfish jackass.
  • Afraid of Doctors: Owing to his overall tense nature, Hank often tries to solve any medical problem by himself. His wife Peggy will usually have to drag him to one, much to his own chagrin.
  • All-Loving Hero: He has his limits, and will kick someone's ass if he, his family, or his friends are threatened, but he generally assumes the best of most people until proven otherwise and is accepting of others.
  • Alliterative Name: Except for the "R." in the middle of his name.
  • Animal Motifs: Buck Strickland considers Hank his "golden goose", and with good reason. Hank is arguably the de facto head of Strickland Propane, keeping the place running while Buck indulges his vices.
  • Baby Don't Got Back: There's been jokes thrown Hank's way all through the series about his lack of ass, and at least one entire episode about it where he's diagnosed with "diminished gluteal syndrome" (which seems inspired by an actual condition). Outside the show, his small butt has been the subject of Memetic Mutation for years.
  • Big Applesauce: Hank was born in the ladies' room at Yankee Stadium. He is not pleased to learn about it, since he always thought that he was a native Texan.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Disrespecting propane in any way. He doesn't mind jokes about it though (as long as they are light-hearted jokes), in fact he finds propane-related comedy (that disses other forms of grilling fuel) hilarious. As seen in "Meet the Propaniacs."
      • On that note, never compare propane to charcoal, and never EVER bring it onto his property, much less into his house.
    • Don't do anything to his lawn. Dale learned that the hard way. Bill also learned insulting his lawn is also a big no-no:
    • He won’t admit it but he considers Dale his best friend and, thus, has saintly patience for his nonsense. But should Dale insult Peggy’s honor, Hank will not hesitate to punch him with enough force to send him home whimpering.
    • Professional repairmen, on a subconscious level, to the point that Ladybird reacts to his feelings by becoming dangerously aggressive towards them.
    • Putting Bobby in any danger will get him to literally kick your ass.
  • Best Friend: To Dale and vice versa. As much as Dale annoys Hank, Hank will always try and set him on the right path. He also interacts with Dale far more than he does Bill or Boomhauer.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: If you mess with his son like Jimmy Wichard did, he actually kicks your ass. Wichard learned it the hard way.
  • Boring, but Practical: To the fullest possible extent. Hank actually prefers the boring, mundane parts of whatever he's involved in and would be happier if the "fun" or "exciting" parts could be downplayed or removed entirely. He is almost right all the time due to how said fun parts tend to be exaggeratedly portrayed to get his point across.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: He often wonders when people stopped believing in hard work, honesty, decency, modesty, and plain old common sense. Of course, Hank's definition of decency, modesty, and common sense are all rather skewed.
  • Boyfriend-Blocking Dad: Averted, at least in the case of Luaanne. While Hank probably would be like this to his own birth daughter, he doesn't interfere with Luanne’s dating whoever she wants. When Dale actually asks Hank why he lets Luanne go out with her "hairball" of a boyfriend (Buckley), Hank explains that since she isn't his actual daughter, he doesn't think it's his decision. That said, if Hank suspects that Luanne is being mistreated or may come to harm in some way, he will rush to the rescue.
  • The Bully: He was a bully, as shown in "Husky Bobby" when Hank made fun of a fat student. When Bobby asked him how he dealt with bullies when he was younger, Hank responded with chuckling and wondering why bullies would ever bully him. Flashbacks of his days with his friends support that he used to be rather rash and reckless as a jock. He does later get a bully in an obnoxious kid living across the street in "Hank's Bully."
  • By-the-Book Cop: He's a strict follower of the rules (by and large), in his every day life and at Strickland Propane. Hank would never even think of running a red (or even yellow) light (and is utterly confounded when others do so). He even pulls over a police officer to let him know his brake light was out in "The Buck Stops Here".
  • Calling the Old Woman Out:
    • Does this to his mother several times, from cheating on boyfriends to wondering what she saw in Cotton. Oddly, he's very slow in doing this to the much worse Cotton, mainly out of fear.
    • In one of the first episodes, he told him to his face that he hated the old man. The problem is, it impressed Cotton.
    • Hank's fear is not wholly unjustified: In a later episode, he again told Cotton he hated him. This time, Cotton didn't take it too well and went on the rampage in a house they were building. It took the peacemaking efforts of former US president Jimmy Carter to talk him down and reconcile him with Hank.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: He has a really hard telling anyone that he loves them, including his own son. Combine this with his other uptight behavior regarding expressing emotion and you get why Bobby sometimes thinks Hank doesn't love him.
    • After an episode of not standing up for her, Hank tells Cotton that if he ever insults his mother or lawnmower again, he'll no longer be welcome in their house.
  • Catchphrase: He has a few.
    • "I tell you what."
    • "BWAAAAAH!"
    • "God-dang it!"
    • "I'm gonna kick your ass!"
    • "Dang it/Damn it, Dale/Bill!"
    • "That boy ain't right."
    • "I sell propane and propane accessories."
  • Characterization Marches On: In "Westie Side Story", Hank eats Kahn's mesquite-grilled burger and declares it "the best damn burger". This was long before Hank's obsession with propane and outright hate for any other form of cooking became a defining trait of his. Admittedly, he probably just ate it and complemented Kahn to make peace with his neighbor, but this is still a far cry from the man whose wife and son would later have to hide their own charcoal-grilling like a drug habit, knowing that Hank would consider this an unforgivable act of betrayal.
  • Chaste Hero:
    • Hank is one, despite being married and in his forties (since "chaste" does not mean the same thing as "celibate"). He has the same obliviousness to female attention, whether from his wife or any other woman. He is quite embarrassed by any display or mention of sexuality (male or female), and runs out screaming when he accidentally enters the porn section of a video store; in what is perhaps the best illustration of this side of his character, when he meets two young female nudists, he pays no attention to their naked bodies and instead gives them a sales pitch on the benefits of propane heating for their summer home.
    • He was traumatized by an attractive Stalker with a Crush female cop who pulled him over on a trumped-up charge just so she could grope him. He wound up singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" under his breath the whole time to get himself through it.note 
    • Lampshaded in one episode where Buck says, "Oh, don't worry Hank, I know you don't have sex." A clearly annoyed Hank says, "Well, that's not quite…" before deciding to leave well enough alone.
    • Hank does display some more "standard" male traits now and then; in "Luanne Virgin 2.0", when he sees Peggy in a wet baptismal gown, underwear visible, he takes her back to their truck to (symbolically) deflower her again.
    • There's also the instance in "Strangers on a Train", where he and Peggy have sex in the bathroom of a moving train.
  • Chick Magnet: Hank occasionally attracts women who aren't his wife, much to his chagrin.
  • The Comically Serious: A lot of the humor in the series comes from Hank trying to keep his diginity at the sheer quirkiness (and sometimes insanity) of those around him.
  • Commonality Connection: He's a proud conservative but finds that he agrees with liberals on several things. For instance, after a bit of reluctance, he comes to appreciate how much better organic farm-to-table meat and produce from a co-op is compared to the commercialized food sold at his local Mega Lo Mart. He also has a good few things in common with his son. Separate episodes have dealt with their commonalities of cooking (BBQ in Hank's case, more in Bobby's), shooting (though Hank is insecure about not being as good as his son), and dealing with their idiotic manchildren friends. This is also the case in the series finale "To Sirloin With Love", through Bobby's gift to judge the quality of beef.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes, when confronted by the lunacy of his friends and family. He, at one point, quips that a Dale that's overstressed is like "putting stress on a building that isn't up to code in the first place."
  • Death Glare: Hank's glare is the one warning people get before the kicking of ass begins. It's scary enough to make any sane man back down.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Hank undergoes subtle Character Development throughout the series that sees him become a little more flexible in his convictions, open to compromise (though still by no means easily malleable), and more receptive to affection from friends and family than he was when the show began.
  • The Determinator: When Hank started to develop back problems in "Hank's Back", he refuses to take a day off work or even consult a physician, as he sees such behavior suited to that of "druggies" or "slackers looking to sponge off of worker's comp". Hank is doubled over and unable to stand up straight at all when his boss Buck Strickland is compelling him to look into his disablement.
  • Discriminate and Switch: When Ladybird attacks a black repairman come to fix the Hills' water heater, Hank gets Mistaken for Racist as everyone assumes Ladybird subconsciously picked up on his hatred and acted accordingly. This turns out to have been exactly the case... except Hank doesn't hate black people, he hates repairmen (Ladybird had the exact same reaction towards a white repairman). He takes such pride in his own skills as a handyman that having to pay someone else to fix something he couldn't is an utterly devastating blow to his ego.
  • Do Wrong, Right: When he punishes Bobby for smoking by making him smoke a whole carton, he criticizes the way Bobby holds his cigarettes and teaches him how to do it properly, saying "There's a right way to do everything, even wrong things."
  • Dope Slap: Occasionally hands them out to Bill or Dale, usually in the form of arm punches. He also once threw a sandwich at Luanne during one of her loonier moments.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Has one on the back of his head that has Bill's name on it. He originally got it as thanks to the latter for bailing him out during a farewell party for Bill during their younger days (though Hank got the tattoo while he was drunk and couldn't remember why when he found out it existed). He gets it removed halfway through the episode... only to get it restored, far more crudely.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: Or a lack of common sense. Mentions this specifically in an episode where he had to take anger management classes in order to lift a restraining order Dale had placed on him, saying that he didn't have an anger problem but an "idiot problem".
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • While he's not above pushing his ideas of right and wrong on others, he makes it clear that he does not condone prejudice and only judges people by their personal character.
    • Hank is very strict when it comes to parenting Bobby, but he doesn't agree with corporal punishment.
  • Evil Laugh: Prone to delivering these when featured in Peggy's nightmare sequences, such as in "Peggy Hill: The Decline and Fall" and "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret Hill".
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Played with. While Hank does love his son, he does often forbid Bobby doing or participating something that he considers "un-American" or "feminine". In fairness, though, he isn't restrictive to an extreme - he tolerates Bobby playing with Trolls (for example) and generally tolerating Bobby pursuing a comedy career when he grows up.
  • Flanderization: In the early seasons, though Hank was still very straitlaced, he did have some more "normal" moments such as his being an avid guitar player and a fan of classic rock. These interests vanished as the series progressed, leaving him with little other than being uptight. For example, in a later episode, he puts on safety goggles just to move a hammer from one position to another on a pegboard. Before this, he had never worn goggles for actual woodworking.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The realist, both in his household and in the alley.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Melancholic, both in his household and in the alley.
  • Freak Out: During early seasons, he screams his head off when an antique researcher digs a hole in his yard to find more old relics. Then there's another one when he discovers charcoal in his home.
  • Freudian Excuse: Some of Hank's unwillingness to show emotion stems from him breaking his ankle during the state championship football game when he was a teenager. He believes that it was punishment from God for the way he showed off and bragged about the touchdowns he made before the accident, and thus refuses to show any other emotion out of fear that something similar will happen. Having an Abusive Parent didn't help either. Whenever Hank showed any emotion, his father would come down hard on him for it, calling it a sign of weakness. Cotton even called Hank a sissy for telling him he loved him while he was on his deathbed.
  • Friend to All Children: He's actually quite good with babies, kids, and teenagers that he can find common ground with, even moreso than Peggy. In "Little Horrors of Shop," Hank actually becomes a very good substitute teacher when he's able to show the kids how to make things for their moms. He and Connie get along surprisingly swimmingly, he managed to turn an entire teen party's attempt from having a risque time to a fun party for everyone, and even more surprisingly befriended Enrique's daughter, despite how awkward it was. The only exceptions seem to be Bobby when the situation calls for it and new neighbor boy Caleb (though the boy was a Spoiled Brat due to his overly permissive parents).
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: In "Suite Smell of Excess," he latches on to Bobby liking football that he takes him to an official match between the Texas Longhorns and Nebraska Huskers, but things take several turns (from buying horrible ticket seats from a scalper to Bobby accidentally wandering into a suite for a retired Nebraska player) in order to ensure Bobby remains interested in the sport. This ends up with Hank giving horrible football advice to the head Husker coach to make them lose against the Longhorns, but the play turns out to be so stupidly unpredictable that it costs Texas the game. From there, Hank does everything he can to avoid the fury of his fellow Texans from finding out about his intervention by making up as many lies (alleged traditions when the Longhorns lose) as possible so that the oblivious Bobby is none the wiser while they all escape the stadium. They nearly get assaulted by angry Longhorn fans, until they are forced to take Husker buses from happy Husker fans back to Nebraska just to save themselves. At least Bobby does keep an interest in football by the end of it all.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil:
  • Good Ol' Boy: Of the sympathetic, generally positive variety. Notably, about half the episodes have Hank learning a lesson that makes his views on an issue a little more flexible, while the other half have Hank's Good Ol' Boy values in the right and imparting the lesson to someone else. More often to be on the receiving end of this with Bobby's interests, and more often to use these values effectively if the main plot is driven by Bill, Dale's crazy schemes, or Buck Strickland messing up Strickland Propane operations again.
  • Good Old Ways:
    • If something is not traditional, Hank considers it wrong, and he doesn't have to think any further about it. This is often Played for Laughs.
    • This culminates when a "Hip Christian Group" leader points out to Hank that Jesus had long hair, only for Hank to say only because he wasn't his father. That's right, Hank knows better than the father of Jesus, God.
    • This goes so far that when Peggy tells Hank that her new friend "Caroline" is a man in drag, he simply doesn't understand the concept of a man wanting to dress like a woman. Not only this, Hank goes on thinking Caroline is actually a woman, despite the explanation, because it's the only circumstance he can realistically fathom.
  • Good Parents: He doesn't understand why Bobby has unmanly hobbies, and isn't very good at showing him affection, but he does love his son. While Bobby is a Cloud Cuckoolander, he's also otherwise well-adjusted and has a strong moral compass. Hank also does love Luanne as a surrogate daughter; it just takes way more coaxing to bring that feeling out from him. His discipline toward Bobby is that he doesn't want him to be mocked or unprepared at the world when he grows up.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Mostly in the earlier seasons; the very first episode was kickstarted by Hank's bad temper. This started to fade away as the series went on, as Hank considerably mellowed out. That said, insulting Hank's wife or son is a good way to get him genuinely mad. Even Dale, Hank's best friend, didn't get away without a punch to the face when Hank felt that Dale insulted Peggy.
  • Happily Married: Even if he can be somewhat exasperated by Peggy's oddities, he's consistently devoted and loving to her.
  • Hates Being Touched: Anything more intimate than a handshake is bound to make him squirm, to the point that his niece Luanne went to hug him and he reflexively steered her toward Peggy instead. At one point when he was proud of Bobby he said he'd hug him if he weren't his son. He does warm up a little as the series goes on.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • Hank adamantly refuses to see a doctor whenever he isn't feeling well because he thinks it's either a sign of weakness or makes him lazy, because if he admits that he's sick, then that means he won't be able to go to work. In the first season, he refuses to see a doctor about his constipation, or discuss it with anyone else, because he's too squeamish to discuss bathroom problems. This is despite the fact that he hadn't had a bowel movement in days.
    • In another episode, he throws his back out and still refuses to see a doctor, attempting to simply go about his normal routine, even though his back hurts so much can't even stand up straight and spends all day hunched over at a near-right angle. When he does finally get goaded into seeing a doctor, the only two options presented him are to get workman's compensation and bed rest or to take painkillers for the pain so he can go on working. Hank rejects the idea of workman's comp since he views it only for pregnant women or lazy government leeches who can't be bothered to do their jobs. He is also is offended at the idea of painkillers, which he sees as little better than taking crack cocaine (even angrily accusing his doctor of being "Dr. Feelgood" for attempting to prescribe them).
    • In the episode "Ho Yeah", Hank believes that an angry pimp chasing him in a car case would obey a red traffic light, with Hank going through the light when it was yellow and just about to turn red. When the pimp just runs the red light to continue the chase, Hank is genuinely shocked.
    • When the doctor first diagnosed his narrow urethra, he lays out a whole host of options meant to help Hank and Peggy conceive. Hank quickly shoots down the idea of boxer shorts, alternative sexual techniques, and dismisses in vitro fertilization as "science run amok." Thus, the fact that Hank and Peggy will never able to realize the bigger family they want is entirely Hank's fault. Over a decade later, when he and Peggy are very much ready for more children, he does relent and make attempts to increase his sperm count, but eventually gives up for a wide variety of reasons (embarrassment over what he has to do, Bobby becoming visibly upset at the idea of a sibling, and Cotton impregnating a women at the age of 70).
      Hank: (To Peggy) If you wanna keep trying, you can keep trying by yourself.
    • In "Bobby Goes Nuts", as Bobby is repeatedly being harassed by bullies, Hank tells Bobby he needs to take up boxing rather than have a stern talk with the parents of said bullies, despite the injuries Bobby suffered. When he finds out Bobby is kicking his bullies in the testicles, Hank isn't concerned with Bobby making himself a danger to other students, but that he's using "women's self-defense", as well as genuinely thinking Bobby needs to fight fair despite that none of the bullies cared for fairness.
    • In "Boxing Luanne", when his niece picks a fight with Freeda Foreman, Hank tries to stop the fight by talking with her father, George Foreman. It all seems okay until George asks Hank if his company is willing to sell his grills. The more logical move is to claim to agree just to make George happy or reply that it isn't up to him but Hank will at least put a good word. There's also the fact that George Foreman, though retired, is a two-time boxing champion. Instead, Hank flat out declines because they don't sell "novelty grills" and mocks that they are sold in "Housewares". This pisses George off, saying the fight is back on.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Hank is the only reason that Strickland Propane and Buck Strickland haven't gone bankrupt. He doesn't just know propane and propane accessories, he also knows the business backward and forward.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Chided Dale about having Joseph enrolled in a private school by saying he was doing it more for himself, but then Dale turned it around and asked if Hank was more worried about Joseph, or that the middle school football team was losing its star player. Still, at least Hank didn't deny it and still said it should be Joseph's choice.
    • Hank is often dismissive of his mother's judgment, with one of the main arguments being her marriage to Cotton, yet Hank is just as often cowed by Cotton's emotional abuse. A lot of episodes have focused on Hank's unwillingness to call Cotton out on his behavior and his desire to get Cotton to show any kind of approval. His mother, by contrast, recognized what an abusive and dangerous person Cotton was, and had the guts to stand up to his behavior and cut him out of her life.

  • I Was Quite a Looker: Not ugly by any means, but when he was young, he was very trim and had a smooth face with wider eyes.
  • Innocent Bigot: Hank generally hates open bigotry, preferring to judge people only by the content of their character and nothing else. That said, Hank does show his own blind spots and ignorant sides a few times.
    • Comes across as this to Kahn the moment they first met, particularly in a "are you Chinese or Japanese" segment. In Hank's defense, during the time the show aired, immigration from Laos to America was so rare as to be basically unheard of. Even currently, it's so rare, the census form only lists "Asian/Other."
    • Hank also lets this shine when interviewing employees for Strickland Propane. He passes over a highly-qualified applicant because she's a woman, but is portrayed as simply being uncomfortable with having a woman around the workplace and not being sure how to interact with a woman in that setting. There's also the implication he didn't hire her for even more shallow reasons; namely that she wasn't a fan of sports. There's also the implication that he didn't hire her because he thought Peggy would get mad if he hired a woman, and accuse him of only doing so because he wanted to have sex with her. Peggy got mad anyway, saying that not hiring her obviously means that he wanted to have sex with her so bad he didn't think he'd be able to resist the temptation if he had to see her every day.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Pretty much Hank's defining character trait. He's a good husband and a well-meaning father (even if he is still a major Bumbling Dad), but a lot of the comedy in the show deals with his stubbornness to think beyond his traditional Good Ol' Boy value system and how insecure it often makes Bobby and how upset it makes his wife. To be fair, he usually mellows on issues by the end of each episode, and is a lot more level-headed than your average Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin.
  • Jerkass Ball: While Hank is usually a well-meaning person, he very much lapses into Jerkass territory whenever trying to force his lifestyle and values onto Bobby.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While many are put off by his catchphrase, "that boy just ain't right" in regards to Bobby, he is correct that something is off about Bobby, particularly in early episodes. To wit, Bobby responds to the pheromones from a fire-ant queen like a fire ant would. Bobby once spent an entire episode baiting squirrels and other animals so he could shine a flashlight up their rectums (admittedly, with future aspirations of being a proctologist.) And Bobby's just plain... odd. Also, he has tried, on numerous occasions to get Bobby to learn self-defense, since he knows bullies target weakness, and he can't always be protecting the boy.
    • Hank's uptight and Honor Before Reason behavior can chafe his friends and family, sometimes pretty fiercely, but he also tends to have legitimate points. For example, in "Torch Song Hillogy" Peggy removes the name on one of Hank's trophies to give to Bobby as a self-esteem booster only for Hank to take it back on the grounds that you don't give an award like that to someone unless they earn it. While a bit harsh and undercutting Peggy's good intentions he winds up justified as Bobby is upset about the trophy being Hank's in the first place rather than something he genuinely earned.
  • Jock Dad, Nerd Son: Hank was a football star in high school and still has a love for the sport. To his dismay, Bobby has no interest in sports and would rather be a comedian or playing video games. When Bobby asks if boxing kept bullies away, Hank laughs it off before lying that it did, since he himself was never bullied.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: When Hank is angered, his standard threat is to "kick your ass". On the rare occasions he actually goes through with it, he proves that he meant it literally by kicking the other person in the butt.
  • Men Are Uncultured: Played with in that he's clearly pretty intelligent; he just thinks of "high culture" as snobby, effeminate, moronically redundant, and needlessly extravagant.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: In "Hank's Dirty Laundry," Hank is reviewing an adult film and taking notes at the same time. His pen suddenly stops inking and he decides to shake it over his crotch while making sure he doesn't miss any detail of the film. Cue Peggy opening the door behind him and mistaking him for masturbating from her point of view.
  • Mistaken for Racist:
    • When Ladybird acts aggressive towards a black repairman, the whole town assumes Hank is racist against black people and Ladybird (according to an animal psychologist) subconsciously picked up on it, resulting in prolonged humiliation as everyone scolds him, his wife tries to "redeem" him in humiliating ways, and his own church starts standing outside of his house and singing hymns to try and pray away the racism. All the while Hank insists he is not a racist and has no idea why Ladybird would attack that man. It's only cleared up when Ladybird acts exactly the same towards a white repairman, at which point Hank realizes that there is a group of people he hates: repairmen.
    • Invoked in an early episode; when Hank doesn't want to go to his new Laotian neighbor Kahn's barbecue, because Kahn had been nothing but rude and insulting to Hank (calling him a "stupid redneck" and so on), Peggy demands that Hank go, otherwise they'll look like racists. Hank is, understandably, quite frustrated by this logic.
      Hank: I hate the man because he's rude and nasty, not because of what his people did to us in WWII.
      Peggy: Well Hank, I know that. But everyone else? They'll say "Hank Hill is a racist."
      Hank: What the hell kind of country is this where I can only hate a man if he's white?
  • Moral Pragmatist: In spite of his honest-to-a-fault nature, Hank has occasionally shown a willingness to resort to dishonesty, blackmail and even violence in order to achieve what he considers to be a noble goal.
    • When Arlen thinks the world was about to come to an end (due to Y2K), a huge line of customers queues up outside Strickland Propane. Going out to the dwindling supply of propane, Hank muttered "Lord, forgive me for what I'm about to do", and stole all of it for his family's use.
    • In yet another example, Lucky tries to sue Dale's Dead-Bug because he got hurt on the job, and Lucky's lawyer uses some legal shenanigans to also sue Strickland Propane (because Strickland actually has money, unlike Dale) by arguing that Hank was acting in an official capacity as an employee when he referred Lucky to Dale, knowing that Dale ran an unsafe operation. Lucky, realizing that this has gone too far, tries to stop the lawsuit, but the lawyer won't allow it. Hank, in this situation, is willing to not only forge evidence and lie, but even blackmail the lawyer to get Lucky some settlement money.
    • After being bullied and pushed around by a young kid, Hank tells Bobby to forget all the things Hank taught him about being a good person and start bullying the kid's parents.
    • In another episode, a former NFL player moves to Rainey Street and becomes such an obnoxious neighbor that Hank eventually resorts to blackmailing him with an assault charge in order to get him to leave the neighborhood.
    • In most of the above instances, Hank only resorted to less that noble (or legal) methods after all efforts to resolve the issue peacefully and/or reasonably had been rebuffed or proven ineffective.
  • Never Gets Drunk: A partial example; he drinks so much Alamo Beer it has no effect on him anymore. But on the rare occasion he's seen drinking something stronger, he gets hammered pretty quick.
  • Nice Guy: For all of Hank's shortcomings, he's generally shown to be a polite, principled, and well-meaning man who tries to do right by other people. Even though he's sometimes confused and exasperated by his son's odd behavior, Hank still genuinely loves Bobby (even if he has trouble expressing it).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bill's nervous breakdown in "Pretty, Pretty Dresses" was somewhat instigated by Hank. The first few times he tries to talk to Bill about Lenore never coming back, he abruptly stops when Bill looks like he's about to cry. This was less because he didn't want to hurt Bill's feelings, but more because Hank doesn't deal with emotions. After destroying the gifts and tree Bill had gotten for Lenore, he's more than happy to finally go home after Bill tells him (with absolutely no emotion) that "he (Bill) didn't feel anything". It's extremely obvious that Bill was far from okay, yet Hank takes it as a sign that everything's fine and leaves. The next day, Bill starts acting like he's Lenore himself. But to his credit, Hank realizes what he has done and, later in the episode, impersonates Lenore to make it right.
    • "The Father, the Son, and J.C." sees Hank take on Buck Strickland's court-imposed responsibility to build a "Habitat For Humanity" home for immigrants (Hank of course sees it as a privilege). At the groundbreaking ceremony, Buck finally decides to formally and publicly acknowledge not only this latest instance of Hank pulling Buck's fat out of the fire, but how much of a crucial and essential asset he's been to both him personally and his business in general for the last 20 years by promoting him to manager of Strickland Propane. Hank, overwhelmed and shocked, responds by telling Buck, in full view and earshot of all his friends and family (including his father Cotton), that he LOVES him. Buck (and everyone else) are aghast, and the promotion is immediately rescinded.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • Becomes addicted to a video game based on propane ("Pro-PAIN") because it allows him to ascend to ranks such as "manager", even though he was aware that his time playing the game should've been spent helping Bobby prepare for the Presidential Fitness Test. Hank only snaps out of it thanks to Peggy collaborating with the game's designers to destroy it.
    • An earlier example is when he and Bobby get swept up in Y2K fever in "Hillennium". He even stoops to abandoning his customers so that he can hoard the last few tanks of propane for himself and his family. Peggy briefly becomes frazzled as well, but this is because she realizes her current computer is a piece of junk and none of her musings are on hard copy.
    • He finds Bobby's propane and fuel based comedy to be absolutely hilarious in "Meet The Propaniacs". When Bobby makes a fart joke Hank laughs his head off until Peggy tells him that it is a fart joke he's laughing at. Hank stops laughing in shock... for a brief moment then goes right back to it. It certainly helped that Bobby's jokes weren't mean spirited, which likely helped Hank appreciate the humor more.

  • Oblivious to Hints: When Peggy tells him to get over Bobby being asked out by a girl rather than the other way around, she points out they would've started dating earlier if it was acceptable for women to make the first move. A flashback shows Hank talking about something he's going to do with a truck on Friday night and Peggy flirtatiously states she isn't doing anything - he's not quick on the draw there.
  • Odd Friendship: Arguably, all of his friendships, including the one that he shares with his wife, could be considered one of these. He's an introverted, conservative guy who nonetheless lives his life surrounded by eccentrics with big personalities. Even Boomhauer, his most low-key and intelligent friend, is nearly his complete opposite in terms of lifestyle and beliefs.
  • Only Friend: To Bill. Boomhauer merely tolerates Bill and Dale flat out hates him, leaving Hank as the only person that seems to be Bill's genuine friend. And even then, Hank has his limits when it comes to Bill.
  • Only Sane Employee: Hank's job at Strickland Propane. Hank pretty much runs the place, even though Buck Strickland is in charge. It's Hank's near-blind loyalty to Buck that has kept the place in business for as long as it has. Deconstructed, in that Buck is well-aware that Hank is his "golden goose", and can't get rid of him. Buck has come close to firing Hank several times for various reasons, but never does, if only because he knows losing Hank will be the end of his business.
  • Only Sane Man: Sometimes. His hyper-mundane personality makes him eccentric in his own right; amongst most people he is, paradoxically, too normal to be normal. But when he's next to Bill, Boomhauer, and especially Dale, he looks normal by comparison, and he is typically the one who has to fix everything when their bizarre antics get out of hand.
  • Out-Gambitted: Something of a Running Gag. Hank’s go-to threat is “to kick your ass,” which he is more than capable of fulfilling. However, if the other person is demonstrates no fear or even interest, Hank will always back down, flustered.
  • Papa Wolf: A good way to make the typically straight-laced Hank lose his temper would be to threaten Bobby or his niece Luanne.
  • Parental Substitute: To Luanne, albeit begrudgingly at first. He ends up as her father figure and gives her a couple of life lessons she ends up following. It says a lot that Hank willingly and happily walks her down the aisle when she gets married to Lucky.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Peggy says he even looks angry in his sleep.
  • Precision F-Strike: In "Plastic White Female", to make up for accidentally destroying Luanne's styrofoam "practice head", Hank lets her cut his hair for Luanne's beauty school exam. The instructor is extremely harsh in her criticism of Luanne's work, causing Luanne to cry, and compelling the usually unflappable Hank to comment "What a bitch".
  • Progressively Prettier: Not exactly "prettier" (he would beat the tar out of anyone who had the temerity to use that word), but in the first season, Hank's face had more lines as if he was either older or just really depressed most of the time, and when he got angry, he could look thuggish. As the art style evolved over the seasons, Hank actually began to look younger and his visual anger was a lot more restrained.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: Hank loves meat so much that he considers macaroni and cheese a vegetable: probably just because there's no meat in it. This is Truth in Television; most barbecue restaurants in Texas consider all side dishes as “vegetables,” including macaroni and cheese.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Unless it involves his dog, his lawn, or his truck. Tellingly, these are all things that can't emote back, or in Ladybird's case, can't emote back in a way that would make Hank uncomfortable. Hank doesn't mind expressing affection as long as he doesn't have to deal with a human response.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: While no zealot, Hank is a devout Methodist. For example, when Buck Strickland's life was falling apart, Hank's first instinct was to help Buck get his life back together by taking him to church.
  • Reformed Bully: He was a Jerk Jock in his high school days who made fun of people below him in the social ladder (which was most of the school). His Career-Ending Injury made him have a Heel Realization and he grew into a humble family man who generally treats most people with respect and kindness.
  • The Reliable One: The real reason Buck values Hank so highly. Even Kahn recognizes that if he's in serious trouble, he should call his "stupid redneck neighbor".
  • Serious Business: Has too many to list, though the ones that stand out are:
    • Propane and propane accessories. He falls very easily for lies about these, even.
    • Meat. Medium-rare meat is the best, but well-done meat is asking him to tell people who like well-done to leave. Also, vegetarians are crazy people.
    • His lawn. Punishing him with not letting him mow it is too much for him to bear.
    • Football. If Bobby ever expresses interest in it, Hank tries to go all the way.
    • Handshakes. You trying to become a president but you got a limp hand? He believes all world leaders will not let you live it down. Hell, he fondly remembers how he gave Peggy a handshake rather than a kiss during their wedding.
    • Though he ostensibly tries to keep Bobby from ever falling into feminine activities, Hank doesn't mind when a general tradition involving male students dressing in drag and acting like stereotypical girls for the school's football games includes Bobby and several others in it.
  • Single-Issue Wonk: In most respects Hank epitomizes normalcy; the one thing that can push him into being the crazy person in the scene, however, is his obsession with propane. It's to the point that when Peggy found out she preferred the taste of burgers grilled on charcoal rather than propane, she had to hide it from him because in his mind that was practically tantamount to cheating on him.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: The only person Hank has ever had sexual attraction for is Peggy. One reason he didn't hire a woman at his job was because when he tried a hypothetical scenario with Peggy it led to them having sex, making Hank think he wouldn't be able to handle it.
  • Spin-Offspring: Was originally conceived as Tom Anderson's son but the studio couldn't get access to Beavis and Butt-Head characters.
  • Spit Take: Hank consciously avoids these.
    Hank: You almost made me spit out beer!
  • The Spock: Prefers to keep things as they are and act rationally.
  • Sports Dad: He tries to push Bobby into sports, despite him not being good at it. Hank later accepts this.
  • Stay in the Kitchen:
    • Hank had the unfortunate tendency to display a belief in this during the earlier seasons. "Peggy's Turtle Song" was all about him being ecstatic over Peggy deciding to become a full time housewife and mother when Bobby was (mistakenly) diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Hank professed that "family values" were back in the Hill house. This was until he realized how much Peggy loved being a teacher and that she was stagnating.
    • In the much maligned Thanksgiving Episode, where he began praising Bobby's cooking, Hank had earlier said to Peggy that Bobby would have no desire to find a wife if he learned to cook and clean for himself. Hank had pretty much instigated Peggy's paranoia over Bobby "replacing" her by implying he only married her just so he would have someone to cook and clean for him (which, of course, says loads about Peggy's self-esteem), though like the above episode, Hank realized he made a mistake by implying this.
    • In "Junkie Business", he refuses to hire Maria Montalvo, a highly-qualified grill associate, because she's an attractive woman. Instead, he hires a drug addict, which backfires spectacularly. On top of that, Ms. Montalvo had no idea who Troy Aikman is, giving Hank yet another reason not to hire her, however unjustified. It's also implied that he was afraid Peggy would get mad if he hired an attractive woman and accuse him of only hiring her so he could sleep with her. She instead got mad that he didn't hire her, accusing him of wanting to sleep with her so badly that he would not be able to resist the urge if he had to see her every day.
  • Stereotype Flip: A minor example, but most grilling enthusiasts embrace charcoal and have nothing but contempt for gas grills. Hank is the exact opposite.
  • The Stoic: Hank keeps his emotions very guarded most of the time, maintaining a level temper. A quick way to rouse him to anger is to do idiotic things around him, screw with his truck or lawn, or, above all of those, threaten Peggy, Bobby, Luanne, or Ladybird. This is also his greatest flaw, as he overdoes it a bit and comes off as unusually wound up relative to everyone else.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Although he resembled his dad a good bit when he was a kid, Hank's facial structure is very similar to his mother Tilly's as an adult. Strangely enough, his Japanese half-brother Junichiro has the same facial structure (favoring Hank's mom), but it is unexplained he got that without having the same matriarchal relationship as Hank.
  • Team Dad: He is the undisputed leader of his buddies, doing his best to keep them from falling into chaos. Unusually for the trope he doesn't assume the position due to being older (as he, Dale, Bill and Boomhauer are all the same age), he's just by far the most sensible and responsible friend they've got and they all respect and admire him enough to let him steer the ship. When things do go wrong for them it's usually because they didn't involve Hank and the solution to their problems is usually calling Hank.
  • Teen Hater: In the episode "The Man Who Shot Cane Skretteburg", Hank, Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer are outmatched by a group of cruel teenage boys in a game of paintball, the boys previously having ambushed Bobby and Joseph. The boys capture and "execute" Hank and the guys, leading him to have nightmares of being shot. During his rematch with the boys, Hank and the guys begin taking observational notes on teenagers. In the aftermath, Hank agrees with Bill's previous statement that "teenagers are cruel".
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Loves Alamo Beer to the point that he's rarely seen drinking anything else. To go with it, usually steak, medium-rare only.
  • Undying Loyalty: Since hiring him, Buck Strickland has been the man that Hank followed without question. Although this is Deconstructed, as Hank is so hooked on the honest, hardworking man Strickland was that he fails to see him as he is now: a lazy, perverted, greedy and dishonest man who cheats on his wife, takes advantage of his employees and has no passion for propane whatsoever (his house doesn't use a propane grill, but an electric one). Even when Buck does some pretty awful things, like once framing Hank for a murder, Hank never quits or turns on him.
    • This does have limits though, as Buck learned after endangering Hank's family. As the two are making their escape from an angry mob, Hank lets off the gas long enough for Buck to take a beating before driving off.
  • The Un-Favorite: Cotton tries to name his second child "Hank", even going so far as to tell Hank it's not his name anymore. When Hank protests that you can't just take a grown man's name away from him, Cotton admits he has a point, and therefore names his new son "Good Hank".
  • Vocal Evolution: His voice was a lot gruffer in season 1, before mellowing out later on.
  • Weirdness Censor: Hank sometimes refuses to believe things that are so unusual or exotic as to not make sense to him. In the case of Peggy's drag queen friend Caroline, Hank continues to believe Caroline is a woman even after the explanation (then again, his dad was known to make mustard gas for V-J Day).
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: He really does want his father to show him some hint of approval. His totally unwarranted loyalty and admiration for Buck seems to stem from the need for some kind of father figure who's at least slightly less of a jerkass than Cotton as well.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Peggy does this to Hank multiple times. Such as:
    • When he punished Bobby for cigarette smoking by making him smoke a whole carton (which led to all of the Hills becoming addicted to tobacco). This might be a case of in-universe Values Dissonance, since in the '50s this was a popular punishment to make children hate smoking. Hank is so old-fashioned that he just didn't know this was out of practice and frowned upon until Peggy told him. Even then, it wasn't until the peer support meeting that the Hills attended that Hank really learned that it was wrong and was called a monster.
    • When he was pretty much making a ventriloquist dummy to function as the son that Bobby isn't.
    • His willingness to exploit Kahn's manic depression by withholding his medication in order to get him to construct a state of the art grill for Strickland Propane.
    • Setting up Luanne with a guy he picked out just so he wouldn't have to deal with her being overly emotional after Buckley broke up with her, and so he could get his den back.
    • When interviewing perspective job applicants at Strickland Propane, Peggy chastises Hank for some of the (illegal) questions he's going to ask the applicants, such as whether or not they are Christian. She also gets on his case about his refusal to hire a qualified female applicant. And for good reason as the man he hired turns out to be a drug addict.
    • For being gung-ho about Strickland Propane getting a company softball team and wanting her on it, despite the fact that she was already on a team (an all female team) and he never once went to one of her games.
    • A non-Peggy example came from a Little League coach who chastised Hank for not supporting Bobby enough, specifically stating "I haven't given up on Bobby the way you have." Hank actually admits that he did give up on Bobby being a baseball player because he was so bad, but not supporting him simply made it worse.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: "It Came from the Garage" reveals that Hank has a phobia of bats. Naturally, he has to sail underneath a bridge where hundreds of them live in order to save Bobby in the same episode.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Hank absolutely hates lying and liars, and always tries to be truthful. This is especially the case with customers, as he always is completely up front and honest with them.
  • With Friends Like These...: Multiple times, Hank gets exasperated by the idiotic antics of his friends. However, when push comes to shove, Hank proves that he really cares about them when they get into really bad trouble.
  • Workaholic: Hank abhors the idea of taking a day off from his job.
    • In "Little Horrors of Shop", Hank reveals that the last time he took a day off of work is the day that his son Bobby was born. And even then, Hank felt so guilty about it that he came in the following Saturday.
    • In another episode, he throws his back out and gets goaded into seeing a doctor. Hank rejects the idea of workman's comp and bedrest, since he views it's only for pregnant women or lazy government leeches who can't be bothered to do their jobs.
    • In "Hank and the Great Glass Elevator", Dale, Bill and Boomhauer show up to Strickland Propane at 4:50 to take Hank out to celebrate Bill's birthday. Hank tells them he has to wait until five o'clock before he can leave. Hank had literally nothing else to do but sit at his desk and fiddle around (everyone else had left by this point), but he would rather do that than leave ten minutes early.

Video Example(s):


Hank Hill: I'll Kick Your Ass

Hank Hill saying his signature threat, along with a timestamp of what seasons and episodes he said it in.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (36 votes)

Example of:

Main / CatchPhrase

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