pour some sugar on kahn

I’ve been watching an episode or two of King of the Hill prettymuch every day for the past couple of weeks, so it’s been on my mind a lot.

King of the Hill was a show that always prioritized character development over satire. We could laugh at the cast’s flaws and boneheaded decisions, but we could always relate to them on one level or another. We weren’t always meant to agree with the characters, but we were still meant to sympathize, and most of the time, the series pulled it off wonderfully.

And sometimes they just dropped the ball outright. Sometimes the message was just too deplorable to laugh at. Sometimes the characters tipped the delicate balance between “flawed” and “sympathetic”, resulting in them become assholes - and more than that, the episode would often take their side, refusing to allow them to learn their lesson.

So, for my own convenience and that of whoever might feel like marathonning the show, I present Casey’s Top 13 King of the Hill episodes to skip. I’ll offer brief explanations, in case you want something a little more substantial than “take my word for it.”

  1. - Luanne Virgin 2.0: Not as awful as the others here, but Hank getting on Peggy’s case because she had premarital sex when she was a teenager, long before she’d even met Hank was just weak. Him deciding to forgive her because he sees her in a clingy, water-soaked robe and gets horny was just an unsatisfying resolution to an unsatisfying conflict.
  2. - Pour some sugar on Kahn: You know how Hank’s father is a deplorable human being, but he’s so over-the-top and miserable that he’s still kind of funny? Well, Mihn’s father is just deplorable, without a shred of humor or irony, and who gets off at the end without anything resembling comeuppance. Fortunately, this is his only appearance in the series, so I can imagine he had a heart attack on the way home.
  3. - Hank and the Great Glass Elevator: Hank and Peggy find that they prefer burgers charcoal-grilled. This is wrong and immoral, and they have to put this aside and pretend to prefer propane-grilled in order to keep Hank from having a meltdown.
  4. - Husky Bobby: Hank “rescues” Bobby from being a plus-sized model just in time to avoid an egging, which is portrayed as being just and inevitable, because these boys committed the crime of being plus-sized models.
  5. - Reborn to be wild: If you don’t worship Jesus in the most formal, rigid, traditional manner, then you’re doing it wrong. Hank at least tries to justify his behavior at the end of this one, but it’s an incredibly weak one.
  6. - Three Coaches and Bobby: Football is the greatest sport and soccer is for sissies. If you’re into soccer, then you’re a limp-wristed loser. Another episode where Hank’s 1950’s worldview is validated rather than challenged.
  7. - Bobby get your Freak off: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before; Bobby gets a new Hobby. Hank talks him out of it with gaslighting, emotional abuse and controlling behavior, which Bobby rebels against until he sees that the person who inspired his new hobby is a miserabl caricature.
  8. - Business is picking up: Yet another instance of Hank being a controlling, narrow-minded asshole to Bobby. Bobby gets a job that pays well, that he enjoys, that he could see going somewhere in life, and Hank sabotages it because he just won’t rest until Bobby’s an emotionally dead tank-wipe at Strictland Propane.
  9. - The Passion of Dautrieve: Bill is just not allowed to do anything that makes him happy. He is THE fuck-up, and any respite from that identity is fleeting.
  10. - Uh Oh Canada: America is great and canadians are assholes… that’s literally the episode’s entire thesis. You can’t even argue that the douchey canadian neighbors are an intentional subversion of the “polite canadian” stereotype because the episode continually frames them as “the canadians”, rather than individual characters. The series was usually pretty good about avoiding racism, but this was just agressively and unapologetically jingoistic.
  11. - Serpunt: Don’t even fucking get me started. If you have ANY affection at all for snakes, just… skip it.
  12. - The Petriot act: The only pet to have is a dog. All other pets are abominable. This one isn’t AS bad as Serpunt, but it’s bad for most of the same reasons - and this is coming from a dog person!
  13. - What makes Bobby Run: If you don’t submit to brutal hazing, you’re a disgrace, and deserve the ire of not only your peers but your teachers and family. If you skip ONE episode in the entire series, this is the one I would suggest, as it is fucking inexcusible.

Hopefully, this doesn’t turn anyone away from the show. King of the Hill was and still is an amazing series, with a lot to offer. It has great writing, great characters, and a strong sense of a community sticking together through the trials of life. It’s a very optimistic series, and though it can show the worst in humanity, it does so with an optimistic tone. The worst in humanity are still human beings, with motivations and desires.

Sadly though, when it dropped the ball, it dropped it HARD.

Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge’s King of the Hill is a satire show about a bunch of white conservative rednecks and their life in the small Texas town of Arlen. 

In the show we watch Hank Hill, a well meaning conservative man who is kind, but is honestly unable to face and accept the various changes of the world. We also meet his neighbors and former high school chums: Dale Gribble(the president of the NRA and conspiracy theorist who suspects everything), Bill Dauterive(a depressed and lonely divorcee and ex-pretty boy who lives in his own filth), and Jeff Boomhauer(a motormouth playboy who loves his cars). This is their, and their families, story.

season 1
Pilot || Square Peg || The Order of the Straight Arrow || Luanne’s Saga || Hank’s Got the Willies || Westie Side Story || Hank’s Unmentionable Problem || Shins of the Father || Peggy the Boggle Champ || Keeping Up With Our Joneses || Plastic White Female || The Company Man || King of the Ant Hill

season 2
How to Fire a Rifle Without Really Trying || Texas City Twister || The Arrow Head || Hilloween || Jumpin’ Crack Bass (It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas) || Husky Bobby || The Man Who Shot Cane Skretteberg || The Son That Got Away || Bobby Slam || The Unbearable Blindness of Laying || Meet the Manger Babies || Snow Job || I Remember Mono || Three Days of the Kahndo || Traffic Jam || Hank’s Dirty Laundry || The Final Shinsult || Leanne’s Saga || Junkie Business || Life in the Fast Lane, Bobby’s Saga || Peggy’s Turtle Song || Propane Boom - Part 1

season 3
Death of a Propane Salesman || And They Call It Bobby Love || Peggy’s Headache || Pregnant Paws || Next of Shin || Peggy’s Pageant Fever || Nine Pretty Darn Angry Men || Good Hill Hunting || Pretty, Pretty Dresses || A Firefighting We Will Go || To Spank, with Love || Three Coaches and a Bobby || De-Kahnstructing Henry || The Wedding of Bobby Hill || Sleight of Hank || Jon Vitti Presents: ‘Return to La Grunta’ || Escape from Party Island || Love Hurts and So Does Art || Hank’s Cowboy Movie || Dog Dale Afternoon || Revenge of the Lutefisk || Death and Texas || Wings of the Dope || Take Me Out of the Ball Game || As Old As the Hills

season 4
Peggy Hill: The Decline and Fall || Cotton’s Plot || Bills Are Made to Be Broken || Little Horrors of Shop || Aisle 8A || A Beer Can Named Desire || Happy Hank’s Giving AKA The Hank’s Giving Episode || Not in My Back-hoe || To Kill a Ladybird || Hillennium || Old Glory || Rodeo Days || Hanky Panky || High Anxiety || Naked Ambition || Movin’ On Up || Bill of Sales || Won’t You Pimai Neighbor? || Hank’s Bad Hair Day || Meet the Propaniacs || Nancy’s Boys || Flush with Power || Transnational Amusements Presents: Peggy’s Magic Sex Feet || Peggy’s Fan Fair

season 5
The Perils of Polling || The Buck Stops Here || I Don’t Want to Wait for Our Lives to Be Over… || Spin the Choice || Peggy Makes the Big Leagues || When Cotton Comes Marching Home || What Makes Bobby Run? || Twas the Nut Before Christmas || Chasing Bobby || Yankee Hankee || Hank and the Great Glass Elevator || Now Who’s the Dummy? || Ho Yeah! || The Exterminator || Luanne Virgin 2.0 || Hank’s Choice || It’s Not Easy Being Green || The Trouble with Gribbles || Hank’s Back Story || Kidney Boy and Hamster Girl: A Love Story

season 6
Bobby Goes Nuts || Soldier of Misfortune || Lupe’s Revenge || The Father, the Son, and J.C. || Father of the Bribe || I’m With Cupid || Torch Song Hillogy || Joust Like a Woman || The Bluegrass Is Always Greener || The Substitute Spanish Prisoner || Unfortunate Son || Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret Hill || Tankin’ It to the Streets || Of Mice and Little Green Men || A Man Without a Country Club || Beer and Loathing || Fun with Jane and Jane || My Own Private Rodeo || Sug Night || Dang Ol’ Love || Returning Japanese

season 7
Get Your Freak Off || The Fat and the Furious || Bad Girls, Bad Girls, Whatcha Gonna Do || Goodbye Normal Jeans || Dances with Dogs || The Son Also Roses || The Texas Skillsaw Massacre || Pigmalion || Megalo Dale || Boxing Luanne || Vision Quest || Queasy Rider || Board Games || An Officer and a Gentle Boy || The Miseducation of Bobby Hill || The Good Buck || I Never Promised You an Organic Garden || Be True To Your Fool || Racist Dawg || Night and Deity || Maid in Arlen || The Witches of East Arlen

season 8
Patch Boomhauer || Reborn to Be Wild || New Cowboy on the Block || The Incredible Hank || Flirting with the Master || After the Mold Rush || Livin’ on Reds, Vitamin C and Propane || Rich Hank, Poor Hank || Ceci N'Est Pas Une King of the Hill || That’s What She Said || My Hair Lady || Phish and Wild Life || Cheer Factor || Dale Be Not Proud || Après Hank, le Deluge || DaleTech || How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Alamo || Girl, You’ll Be a Giant Soon || Stressed for Success || Hank’s Back || The Redneck on Rainey Street || Talking Shop

season 9
A Rover Runs Through It || Ms. Wakefield || Death Buys a Timeshare || Yard, She Blows! || Dale to the Chief || The Petriot Act || Enrique-cilable Differences || Mutual of Omabwah || Care-Takin’ Care of Business || Arlen City Bomber || Redcorn Gambles with His Future || Smoking and the Bandit || Gone with the Windstorm || Bobby on Track || It Ain’t Over 'til the Fat Neighbor Sings

season 10
Hank’s on Board || Bystand Me || Bill’s House || Harlottown || Portrait of the Artist as a Young Clown || Orange You Sad I Did Say Banana? || You Gotta Believe (In Moderation) || Business Is Picking Up || The Year of Washing Dangerously || Hank Fixes Everything || Church Hopping || 24 Hour Propane People || The Texas Panhandler || Hank’s Bully || Edu-macating Lucky

season 11
The Peggy Horror Picture Show || serPUNt || Blood and Sauce || Luanne Gets Lucky || Hank Gets Dusted || Glen Peggy Glen Ross || The Passion of Dauterive || Grand Theft Arlen || Peggy’s Gone to Pots || Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow || Bill, Bulk and the Body Buddies || Lucky’s Wedding Suit

season 12
Suite Smells of Excess || Bobby Rae || The Powder Puff Boys || Four Wave Intersection || Raise the Steaks || Tears of an Inflatable Clown || The Minh Who Knew Too Much || Dream Weaver || Doggone Crazy || Trans-Fascism || Three Men and a Bastard || The Accidental Terrorist || Lady and Gentrification || Behind Closed Doors || Pour Some Sugar on Kahn || Six Characters in Search of a House || The Courtship of Joseph’s Father || Strangeness On a Train || Cops and Robert || It Came From the Garage || Life: A Loser’s Manual

season 13
Dia-BILL-ic Shock || Earthly Girls are Easy || Square-Footed Monster || Lost in MySpace || No Bobby Left Behind || A Bill Full of Dollars || Straight as an Arrow || Lucky See, Monkey Do || What Happens at the National Propane Gas Convention in Memphis, Stays at the National Propane Gas Convention in Memphis || Master of Puppets || Bwah My Nose || Uncool Customer || Nancy Does Dallas || Born Again on the Fourth of July || Serves Me Right for Giving General George S. Patton the Bathroom Key || Bad News Bill || Manger Baby Einstein || Uh-oh, Canada || The Boy Can’t Help It || The Honeymooners || Bill Gathers Moss || When Joseph Met Lori, and Made Out with Her in the Janitor’s Closet || Just Another Manic Kahn-Day || To Sirloin with Love