9 April 2004 | DarthBill
It's alright to be a redneck
Hank Hill, the hero of "King of the Hill", is the last of a dying breed in many ways. He's reasonably honest, reasonably moral, he works hard, he believes in American craftsmanship, and he loves his dysfunctional family. And he's a conservative. He's a bit repressed emotionally though; annoying him or getting him mad is easy, but expressing those tender emotions like love is hard for him, due mostly to his upbringing by his dysfunctional and tyrannical dad Cotton, an obnoxious old man who lost his shins in WWII and somehow had his feet sewn into his knees. Hank's conservative point of view doesn't always make him easily sympathetic in some cases though.
Hank's wife, Peggy, is a warm, loving and caring person at heart, but she's also a megalomaniac. Peggy is an over confident and under educated substitute Spanish teacher, quite rare in this day and age of "Women power". Peggy always strives to do her best, which isn't bad in and of itself, but her pride tends to exude control over her decisions which leads to Peggy making a fool of herself.
Hank's son Bobby is a dense, effeminate couch potato who's watched too much TV. Full of under developed desires and longings, Bobby is easily impressionable and easily gets caught up in fads when they shove their message in his face hard enough. As Hank puts it, "That boy ain't right." His initial goal is to be a stand up comic, but he later decides to be a magician. His friends are Connie (later a girlfriend) and Joseph.
Hank also has a live in niece, Luanne. She was raised to be trailer trash by her dysfunctional parents (her dad is Peggy's brother) and initially longs to be a Hollywood hair stylist. Like Bobby, Luanne can be easily caught up in fads.
Hanks friends are Dale, Bill and Boomhauer. Boomhauer is a motor mouth Lothario whom no one can really understand. Bill is a faded high school football star turned army barber who's wife has left him and appears to have a thing for Peggy. Dale is an exterminator and conspiracy theorist who's so wrapped up in his conspiracy theories that he would never suspect that his newscaster wife Nancy is having an affair with her Indian therapist John Redcorn and/or that his son Joseph is actually the son of John Redcorn and Nancy. The only other person who doesn't seem to notice this is Joseph himself. Hank's neighbor is an Asian man named Kahn (Connie's dad), the classic feuding neighbor scenario.
Despite the many frustrations Hank endures and the compromises he has to make, he trudges on, clinging to his ideals and doing the best he can.
Part of why this is still better than the Simpsons is that unlike the Simpsons, this show doesn't rely on anyone character to supply all the laughs and it doesn't rely on larger than life animated sight gags for all the laughs either. Hank is also probably the only TV Dad to have the dignity of being right anymore. And unlike Homer, even when Hank's efforts get ridiculous they're never as outlandish and moronic as the former's.