I’m pretty sad, I’ll tell you what. After 13 seasons, on Sept. 13 at 8 p.m., Fox’s King of the Hill will air its last two episodes, back to back. Fans will want to check out the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, in which Hank, Peggy, Bobby, Luanne, and Hank’s alley pals — with the help of the KOTH writers — share their parting words of wisdom (Says Bobby, “Football and propane are what make America tick. Oh, really, my dad won’t be reading this? Then, I dance with troll dolls and I love it!”). These pearls are accompanied by an original drawing of the gang’s farewell cookout that you’ll want to hang up on your wall and stare at wistfully the next time you smell propane.
One of my favorite shows, Mike Judge’s KOTH has been on the air for 13 seasons, as comfortably reliable a part of the TV landscape as David Letterman and Doppler radar. (Well, semi-reliable: In its later years, Fox scooted it all over the schedule like it was in the witness relocation program.) It never got old to me, as there was no mythology to burn out, no romances to come and go, just funny, perceptive storylines. The characters never aged (the writers say that the entire run took place over one year in Arlen, Texas), nor did they evolve. And that was kind of the point: They were suburbanites who wanted no surprises, and for their worlds to stay happily familiar. Everything was fine with Hank, as long as his lawn was in good shape, he had enough gas in the tank for the weekend barbecue, Dale Gribble wasn’t setting his house on fire, and everyone around him was patriotic. (Much like Everybody Loves Raymond, another classic sitcom about stagnant suburbanites, KOTH won’t go out with a stunt-filled finale. The last episodes will be characteristically low-key and organic: Bobby becomes an in-demand date for the Homecoming dance, and later bonds with his dad after getting a job inspecting raw meat at the local plant.)
As we approach these final new moments with the Hills (who thankfully will live on in reruns and rerun accessories), let’s reminisce: What were your favorite King of the Hill moments? After 255 episodes, they’re hard to narrow down, but here are some of my top picks: I loved when Hank, Boomhauer, Bill, and Dale become volunteer firefighters and ruin a funeral and burn down the firehouse. (Frankly, anything with lonely sad-sack Bill is great with me.) Then there are the classic Bobby storylines: he forgets to send in the home insurance bill; he becomes obsessed with Dance, Dance Revolution; and after learning self-defense to protect himself from bullies, he becomes addicted to kicking people in the groin. (“I didn’t go looking for trouble. Trouble came a-knockin’ and Bobby Hill’s foot answered the door.”)
What are some of your favorite King of the Hill episodes?