Top 10 King of the Hill Episodes
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 “King of the Hill” Episodes.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the most hilarious, most emotional, and overall best installments of this Texas-set series.
What are your favorite “King of the Hill” episodes or moments? Let us know in the comments!
#10: “Hanky Panky” & “High Anxiety”
“King of the Hill” might have seemed like a simple premise, but it had a lot of ambition where it came to storytelling. In this noirish two-parter, a gruesome crime scene is discovered after Hank Hill’s boss Buck Strickland separates from his wife. When Peggy discovers the body of Buck's former secretary and lover Debbie Grund, her law-abiding, propane-selling husband becomes a suspect. Hank becomes even more stressed out for a while after he accidentally has his first experience with a certain plant. As the truth unfolds, we’re treated to a deep story and hilarious twists. If Mike Judge ever wants to make a mystery movie, we’re definitely seeing it.
#9: “A Firefighting We Will Go”
Hank and his three best friends, Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer, all have pretty divergent views on the world. So, if you ask them to explain how a firehouse burned down, you’re going to get four very different explanations. Season 3’s “A Firefighting We Will Go” is a hilarious episode that perfectly captures the personalities of each of the four friends and how they relate to each other. And it especially deserves a spot on this list for the scene where the usually incomprehensible Boomhauer sounds clear as a bell while his pals are the marble-mouthed ones.
#8: “Propane Boom” & “Propane Boom II: Death of a Propane Salesman"
The “Propane Boom” saga is also the story that makes up the show’s historic first two-parter. When superstore Mega Lo Mart starts selling propane, Hank's employer, Strickland Propane, shuts down. He ends up working for the enemy. Unfortunately, Hank’s job change results in a literally explosive climax. What makes this two parter especially notable is that the events of the story deeply affect the main character we know and love. We see him develop a severe phobia of his beloved propane and his own mortality. The two parter is also a very touching examination of grief, with characters like Hank, Luanne, Kahn, and Bobby all looking inward in a truly moving fashion.
#7: “Soldier of Misfortune”
While “King of the Hill” was often a very subdued show, it was also capable of going broader and still staying true to itself. In this episode, conspiracy theorist and exterminator Dale Gribble sabotages his chance to remain president of the local gun club. Hank tries to lift his friends’ spirits by pretending to be a recruiter with a secret mission for Dale. Things completely get out of hand and result in a hostage situation. This episode also adds a very committed Gary Busey playing Dale's rival, Mad Dog, and the origin of the classic "pocket sand" meme. All in all, "Soldier of Misfortune'' is a "King of the Hill" episode that’s equal parts tense and side-splitting.
#6: “Escape From Party Island”
Hank Hill wasn’t always in touch with the younger generation. That’s exactly what makes “Escape From Party Island” so perfect. When Hank escorts his mother and her friends to visit a miniatures museum in Port Aransas, they unwittingly end up in the middle of MTV's Spring Break celebration. This episode completely delivers on its fish-out-of-water premise. In one classic moment, Hank is horrified by a wet t-shirt contest. The episode also surprisingly displays a lot of heart as he learns to be more loving towards his mother. And who ever thought we'd hear Phyllis Diller, Betty White, and Pauly Shore all in the same episode?
Many shows take a few episodes or even a whole season to find their footing. That wasn’t the case with “King of the Hill.” The pilot episode does a great job at introducing viewers to Arlen, Texas and to the Hill family. Specifically, it’s an episode about the relationship between Hank and his aspiring prop comic son Bobby. After a Little League accident gives Bobby a black eye, a huge misunderstanding leads to a social worker investigating the household. Comedies typically avoid tackling serious themes so early. But the way the show confidently combined humor and heavy topics in its first episode quickly distinguished it from other comedy shows.
#4: "I Don't Want to Wait..."
Like most animated shows, the characters on “King of the Hill” didn’t really age. However, one crucial development happened in the show’s fifth season. When Bobby’s 13th birthday is coming up, he becomes envious of his best friend who just hit puberty. Meanwhile, Joseph, now voiced by Breckin Meyer, is terrified of the changes to his body and his budding hormones. Puberty is extremely difficult to experience and hard to tackle in a sensitive way. But this episode excels in reminding viewers that the awkward years are not forever and everyone has their own journey to maturity.
#3: “Keeping Up With Our Joneses”
Bobby Hill is a good kid who occasionally makes some very serious errors in judgement. And while his father also means well, he can also be quite shortsighted. When Hank catches Bobby smoking, he employs the questionable tactic of making him smoke until he’s sick. Unfortunately, this backfires when Hank decides to indulge in cigarettes. Eventually, the whole family gets hooked on nicotine. It’s up to Luanne to help the family help themselves. The story shows how hard it is to quit smoking while making a loveable and memorable episode.
#2: “Bobby Goes Nuts”
One of the show’s most iconic lines comes from the show’s sixth season premiere. After Hank encourages Bobby to take boxing lessons, he ends up taking a woman’s self-defense class. Here, he learns the power of the phrase: [“That’s my purse! I don’t know you!”] He also becomes feared in the schoolyard for his strategy of targeting his enemies below the belt. Hank himself eventually suffers the consequences of teaching his son to defend himself. This plot all culminates in an epic clash between Peggy and Bobby. The moral: never underestimate the effectiveness of some good below-the belt based comedy. Also, try not to fight dirty.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
“Hank and the Great Glass Elevator”
Texas Governor Ann Richards Voiced Herself in This Episode
Dale Tackles an Apparent Rodent Problem at Megalo Mart
“And They Call It Bobby Love”
Bobby Deals with Heartbreak by Eating a Giant Steak
"Revenge of the Lutefisk"
A Bad Meal Leads to Accidental Arson
"To Sirloin With Love"
A Strong Series Finale
#1: “Returning Japanese” & “Returning Japanese II”
The best "King of the Hill" episode is yet another two-parter that finds the Hills going overseas. When Hank's crotchety father, World War II veteran Cotton, is haunted by visions of soldiers he took down in combat, he tries to make amends by taking a trip overseas. The tension increases when Hank meets his long-lost half-brother, Junichiro during the journey. This story also finds time to give Bobby a romance plot and let Cotton’s humanity shine through his prejudice. Meanwhile, back in Arlen, shenanigans lead to Dale and Bill pretending to be Hank and Peggy. This episode shows how perfectly “King of the Hill” could mix the poignant with the ridiculous.