King of the Hill might not have ever achieved the sort of monumental popularity that The Simpsons, enjoyed, but for 13 seasons, the show chugged away, producing quality episodes and plopping the audience right into the heart of Arlen. Even South Park had to give credit where it was due, showing the King of the Hill staff working tirelessly while Eric Cartman and Bart Simpson duked it out for cartoon superiority.
While it could be considered something of a "red state" show, King of the hill did a great job at skewering all points of view while wearing its Texas-sized heart on its sleeve. This resulted in some hilarious and yet down-to-Earth storylines. While some of them worked beautifully, others just ended up wasting the show's goodwill. These are the 5 best (and 5 worst) episodes of King of the Hill.
10 Best: Jumpin' Crack Bass
Some of the best episodes of King of the Hill start with a simple enough premise. In this case, Hank wants to catch as many fish as Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer, but worms aren't cutting it. When Hank inadvertently purchases crack cocaine and uses it as bait, he can't stop landing fish. There's a great parallel in how Hank becomes even more addicted to fishing after discovering this "miracle bait."
Of course, Hank eventually gets busted, and claims he had no idea he was buying drugs. This episode does a great job in allowing Hank's naive nature to drive the story. He gets himself out of trouble by proving to a judge how effective crack is as bait. The twist, however, is that he cheats by using his last, honest worm to catch a tiny bass.
9 Worst: Goodbye Normal Jeans
Even the biggest fans of King of the Hill will usually admit that there is one major part of the show that they cannot stand: Peggy Hill. While Peggy can be a bit too much to handle at times, her confidence often bordering on complete delusion, she's still a great character, and it's easy to see why Hank loves her so much.
However, one episode takes Peggy way too far, and almost makes her an entirely irredeemable character: "Goodbye Normal Jeans." After Bobby starts taking Home Ec at school and figures out how to do almost everything better than Peggy, she snaps. It results in her stealing bobby's Thanksgiving turkey and driving it to her hairdresser's house. The whole episode is pretty strange, and having Peggy be so jealous of Bobby just wasn't a good look on her.
8 Best: Peggy Hill: The Decline And Fall
Let's take a look at an episode that really highlights the better aspects of Peggy Hill. After a season finale cliffhanger in which Peggy jumped out of a plane and her parachute didn't open, she winds up encased in a full body cast. At the same time, Cotton Hill and his wife Didi are having a hard time dealing with their new baby, GH, for different reasons.
While Peggy does her best to maintain a cheerful attitude, she eventually breaks down, realizing that there is nothing she can do to help out with GH. In one of the series' most heartwarming moments, GH's endless crying is finally stopped when Peggy manages to rock his carrier back and forth using only her toes.
7 Worst: Hank's Bully
King of the Hill has such a great cast of regular characters, that it's such a shame when an entire episode is built around a one-off whose sole purpose is to produce conflict. Unfortunately, that's exactly what we get with the episode "Hank's Bully."
After a new family moves in on Rainy Street, Hank finds himself being tormented by their son, Caleb. Caleb causes all sorts of problems for Hank, even calling him "Dusty Old Bones" for some reason. Caleb is by far one of the most irritating characters ever introduced on the show, followed only by his complacent parents who insist that Caleb is just showing Hank how much he likes him. Even though everything is resolved in the end, it's not worth putting up with Caleb.
6 Best: Patch Boomhauer
King of the Hill might not have achieved the heights of fame that The Simpsons did, but it did manage to do one thing as well as that show: featuring really amazing guest stars. However, unlike later seasons of The Simpsons, King of the Hill actually let its guest stars play distinct characters with interesting personalities.
One of those characters is Patch, Boomhauer's brother who happens to speak exactly like him. Brad Pitt provided Patch's voice and managed to emulate the signature Boomhauer cadence perfectly. On top of the great guest star, "Patch Boomhauer" also features a story that puts the focus on family dynamics, as well as highlighting what makes Boomhauer more than just a fast-talking player.
5 Worst: New Cowboy on the Block
Just like "Hank's Bully," "New Cowboy On The Block" introduces a one-off, one-note character for no other reason than to create conflict for Hank and the guys. After a former Dallas Cowboy who also happens to be a Super Bowl champion moves in on Rainy street, his raucous and obnoxious behavior begins to grate on Hank, Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer.
Having Hank be disappointed by one of his heroes is an interesting concept. However, it doesn't really manage to be anything more than just giving Hank another bully to deal with. Even though the episode features one of the best Dale moments ever ("squirrel tactics!"), it doesn't amount to much in the way of telling a compelling story.
4 Best: Bobby Goes Nuts
There are plenty of phrases from King of the Hill that most people will recognize instantly ("That boy ain't right," "propane and propane accessories," "yep,"), but one that really sticks with people, and remains a fan-favorite to this day has to be "That's my purse! I don't know you!"
This memorable and hilarious line comes from "Bobby Goes Nuts," by far one of the funniest and most thoroughly enjoyable episodes of the series. After Bobby joins a women's self-defense class, he begins kicking all of his opponents in the crotch to win fights. When he does the same to Hank, it sends Bobby on a power trip that is only stopped when the same move doesn't work on Peggy.
3 Worst: Après Hank, le Deluge
We haven't mentioned Bill much on this list, but he's definitely had some great stories that put him front and center. While he's mostly made out to be a sad sack, there is something endearing about him. However, in the episode "Après Hank, le Deluge," all sympathy for Bill is thrown out the window.
When a massive storm causes major flooding in Arlen, the residents of Rainy Street rush to the school for shelter. Even though Hank is the shelter leader, Bill takes on the role in his absence, going way overboard with the small amount of power he has. It's a bad look for Bill, even if we can understand why the popularity of the position goes to his head. What's worse is how badly Hank is treated because he had to make the hard decision to open the floodgates at the local dam.
2 Best: I Don’t Want To Wait For Our Lives To Be Over
Even though Hank, Peggy, and the rest of the grown-ups on Rainy Street are often the center of attention, an episode like "I Don't Want To Wait For Our Lives To Be Over" shows just why the kids on King of the Hill were just as endearing. After Bobby returns from a summer spent with his grandma and her husband, he feels he has reached a new level of maturity.
That all comes crashing down, however, when Joseph arrives back from camp having fully entered puberty. Joseph's lower voice, facial hair, and muscles make Bobby feel inadequate, but in one of the series' most emotional moments, Joseph reveals that he is not dealing with anything very well, and that while he may look older, he doesn't have half the confidence that Bobby does. The episode is a hilarious and touching look at adolescence, and the performances from Pam Adlon, Breckin Meyer, and Lauren Tom are all top-notch.
1 Worst: Pigmalion
Come on, we all knew this episode would make it on the worst list. While there are some people out there who would defend it, "Pigmalion" is by far one of the weirdest, creepiest, and tonally wrong episodes of King of the Hill ever made.
Luanne is courted by Trip Larsen, a major figure in the pork industry. This seems like a blessing, and Hank is happy that Luanne found someone so successful. Over time, though, Trip's severely psychotic ideas start to come out, and it becomes evident that he's not looking for a normal relationship. The episode was so dark that Fox delayed its release, and to this day it stands as one that divides fans. While Michael Keaton gives a great guest performance, the episode is just too dark, and really doesn't feel like the King of the Hill fans know and love.