mycaps:koth

  • What she says: I'm fine.
  • What she means: In many ways King of the Hill had exceptional continuity for an animated series. Nancy gradually grew to fall back in love with her husband and stop cheating on him, Connie and Bobby go from being friends to in a romantic relationship to just friends again, Luanne's hair takes several episodes to grow back after it was burned off in the supermarket explosion, and there are frequent callbacks to earlier episodes. However, one glaring inconsistency is with the Souphanousinphones. They are introduced in episode seven of season one when Bobby has been established as being 12 years old, but in later episodes there is more than one remark about them living in the neighborhood for seven years, even though Bobby only ever ages to 13.
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Of all the overused tropes that I hate, probably my least favorite is the Totally Avoidable Misunderstanding trope. Miscommunication is common enough in real life, so why do writers have such a hard time showing it in a realistic way? The most infuriating variant is the one that relies on the main characters being uncharacteristic dicks the whole time. Take yesterday’s episode of “King of the Hill” for example. Boomhauer finds out his brother Patch is getting married to Boomhauer’s old flame. While he is understandably saddened by this, he resolves to be supportive of his brother and agrees to be his best man. That is until he realizes his brother is still a philanderer who is very unlikely to be faithful to his new wife. He confronts his brother on this and that leads to a fight culminating in Boomhauer refusing to be the best man, and Patch asking Hank instead. Now here’s the first issue: Boomhauer was initially supportive of his brother in the wedding despite his personal feelings. Yet never once do any of his closest friends stop to wonder why he is now refusing to participate, and if he might have a good reason. They never even bother asking him why, they just assume it’s because he was overcome with jealousy.

Later, Patch’s fiancé tries to mend things with Boomhauer, asking him to please attend the bachelor party and be there for his brother. He agrees, but at this point he has continued to see his brother’s completely inappropriate and flirtatious behavior with other women, and he tries very kindly to warn her that he might not be trustworthy. But he’s interrupted by Hank, who once again assumes he is only trying to talk her out of marrying Patch out of jealousy and berates him for his behavior. Even despite once again being mistrusted and treated like a criminal by his closest friend, Boomhauer still decides to be the bigger person and go to the bachelor party. And it turns out he was right: Patch hired strippers for the party. Boomhauer tries to pay the women to leave just as the fiancé comes in. Not wanting to get in trouble, Patch accuses Boomhauer of hiring the strippers to make him look bad and EVERYONE BELIEVES HIM. No one doubts it. Everyone is so ready to believe that he did such a horrible thing without any evidence that he would have. Again he’s done everything right. He’s been respectful of his brother’s relationship, he’s been supportive of the wedding until he had a good reason not to be, and he’s tried to spare the fiancé’s feelings. But no one gives him a chance to explain himself and they just write him off for being a jealous creep. This is pretty much completely out of character, at least for Hank who generally is the most levelheaded of his friend group. I might excuse this behavior from Dale or Bill because they’re idiots, but it’s actually Dale who points out that Hank never actually asked Boomhauer directly for his side of the story. Then of course he does and finally everyone realizes Patch is a jerk and things are wrapped up in a neat bow. But the whole thing could’ve been resolved much faster if anybody had paid attention or trusted their friend or even stopped to consider that there might be another aspect that they’re missing. The same thing happened in the first half of “A Canterlot Wedding” in MLP:FIM, when even freaking Celestia is willing to write Twilight, her most trusted and loyal student, off as a jealous nutcase for trying to point out that her brother was about to marry a changeling.

There’s nothing wrong with a realistic misunderstanding, but if the only reason the misunderstanding is happening is because everyone suddenly decides to treat their closest friends and family like liars and idiots for no reason, it makes for a pretty poorly written story.