Monday, May 01, 2006

"That's My Purse! I Don't Know You!"

Season 6 of "King of the Hill" comes out on DVD tomorrow.

I have mixed feelings about this season. This is the season where "King of the Hill" got silly -- not "Simpsons" silly, let alone "Family Guy" silly, but definitely sillier than we'd expect from a show noted for its low-key realism. The showrunners for this season were Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger (Harvard Lampoon guys who'd been with the show from the beginning), and they seemed to favour stories that were wackier than usual for KotH:

- Bill, suspecting that the army performed experiments on him that caused him to become fat and bald, steals a tank from the army base and drives it through the neighborhood.
- Peggy pretends to be a nun in order to get a teaching job at a Catholic school.
- Connie, Kahn's child-prodigy daughter, discovers that she prefers playing bluegrass on her violin, so she joins up with Hank to form a bluegrass act and they go to perform in Branson, Missouri.
- The Hills go to Japan and discover that Hank has a long-lost Japanese half-brother.

To show you how much crazier the show got this season, one episode, "Fun With Jane and Jane," had a premise that was very similar to an earlier episode of "Family Guy." When KotH is similar to "Family Guy," it's kind of strayed from its roots.

However, while the show did throw realism out the window this season, it was also pretty dang funny, and in some ways Hank Hill's uptightness is even funnier when he's surrounded by total surreal insanity -- no matter what happens, his reaction is always to look awkward and rub the back of his neck with his hand.

After this season, which reportedly didn't please creator Mike Judge, the show regrouped and adopted a more realistic tone; now almost every episode is based on some real-life thing that the writers have observed (case in point: a recent episode was based on the Cold Stone Creamery ice cream shops that try to create an incessantly "fun" atmosphere). I respect that, and the job the new showrunners have done, but I sometimes miss the somewhat nuttier humour of the first six seasons, when the show was run by New Yorkers and Harvard Lampoon guys: it was a nice mix of inside-baseball Harvard humour and observational Texas humour.

One strike against season 6 is that it was the season when my favourite supporting character on the show, Luanne (Brittany Murphy) basically became a non-presence on the show, absent from most episodes. She's increased her presence on the show a little bit since then, but not enough for my taste -- to my mind that character has the same kind of loopy quality of Pamela Tiffin in Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three, the sense that she's not so much dumb as very strange.

Oh, and the subject quote comes from the most famous episode from this season (actually a holdover from season 5), "Bobby Goes Nuts," where Bobby (Pamela Adlon) takes a woman's self-defence course and learns to defend himself against bullies by kicking them in the testicles.

Other random lines from season 6 of "King of the Hill":


DALE: I should have known it was too good to be true. Fourteen years I've been running that ad, and not one call. Then, suddenly -- one call.

HANK: How about I buy you an ornament?
COTTON: "Peace?" You would like that, you draft-dodger! Sure you can't find one with a flag-burning on it?
HANK: It's Jesus peace, not hippie peace.

BILL: I want to hear "Puff the Magic Dragon." Play that song, I like it, play it. "Puff the magic dragon..."
HANK: Bill, do you have any idea what that song is about? It's about a dragon! We're grown men.

NANCY: Why is God punishing me? (to God) Why, sug?

LUANNE: She's not coming back, honey.
BOBBY: 'Course she is. She's Mr. Boomhauer's girlfriend.
LUANNE: Let's see, how can I explain this...? You know how you can be happy eating vanilla ice cream day after day after day? Well, Mr. Boomhauer isn't just like that. See, he likes to try different flavors.
BOBBY: But he can have a new flavor every day! He's dating the ice cream lady!
LUANNE: Mr. Boomhauer had grown-up sex with the ice cream lady, and now he's dumped her. You're never gonna have ice cream again, Bobby.


6 comments:

Mr. Semaj said...

To show you how much crazier the show got this season, one episode, "Fun With Jane and Jane," had a premise that was very similar to an earlier episode of "Family Guy." When KotH is similar to "Family Guy," it's kind of strayed from its roots.


(LOL) That was the first thing I observed when I first saw that episode!

Season 6 did have a lot of wacky stories, some more successful than others. To name a few:

-"Bobby Goes Nuts" wasn't so much a bad episode, for me, but rather overrated, because by this time, the writers had established Bobby as an oppressively effeminate character.

-"I'm with Cupid" did the VERY LAST thing that should've been done following Bobby and Connie's mutual break-up; Bobby regressing into Bill.

-"The Bluegrass is Always Greener" would've worked much better as a two-part adventure tale; I would've loved to see Bobby and Connie actually make it to the mountains. :p The episode was coincidentally shown around the same time The Simpsons visited Branson too.

-"Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret Hill" was another outlandish Peggy story, but they were actually able to moderate Peggy's personality so that she doesn't come off as a COMPLETE lunatic, which had become a rarity at this point.

-"Of Mice and Little Green Men" was where they began creating a lot of outrageous excuses to prolong the secret affair of John Redcorn. Kinda makes one wonder if Dale is in denial.

-"Returning Japanese" was the closest we got to getting a King of the Hill "movie".

That said, Season 6 indeed wasn't the best of times in Arlen, but neither was it the worst; I'd say Season 7 was the worst of times.

SamuraiFrog said...

I agree with Mr. Semaj; season 7 was the most over-the-top, and sometimes in merely a bizarre way rather than an interesting way (I'm thinking of "Pigmalion" here.

My two single favorite moments from season 6.

-The very end of "Joust Like a Woman," when Dale pretends to beam into the future and Bill calls out: "Take me with you! I hate it here..." I also love Dale's insitence that he get a discount for wearing period costume: "I am from the future, and the future is a period."

-The moment in "The Father, the Son, and J.C." when former President Carter knocks on the door and asks to be let in. Cotton immediately responds to the voice, sight unseen: "Jimmy Carter?"

Jaime J. Weinman said...

"Pigmalion" was actually produced in season 5. (It was a Halloween episode that was bumped from the schedule because Fox refused to start the seasons until after Halloween; finally they gave up and showed it in January 2003.)

Mr. Semaj said...

"Pigmalion" was actually produced in season 5. (It was a Halloween episode that was bumped from the schedule because Fox refused to start the seasons until after Halloween; finally they gave up and showed it in January 2003.)

So they never thought about airing a post-Halloween special (like they keep doing with The Simpsons)?

Devona said...

There are some great
Branson shows if you ever head that way.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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