King of the Hill
(S11E05) In this episode, we learn that Hank's cousin is none other than Dusty Hill, bass player for ZZ Top. If any other show had attempted to do this kind of celebrity crossover, it would have seemed trite, but this episode wasn't so much about Dusty's celebrity status as it was about Hank wanting to keep his family as far away from the glitz and shallowness of the rock and roll lifestyle (Bobby especially).
Since the reality TV genre began, the term "reality" has been given an extra meaning. The truth is, if "reality" shows were actually "real" they'd be some of the most uninteresting shows on television: entire episodes would consist of nothing but people sitting around doing absolutely nothing, people would wonder in and out of frame, and sometimes conversations would be completely inaudible, because in reality, nobody feels the need to project for an invisible audience. I also imagine there would be a lot more nose picking and butt scratching.
Lucky: I'm not sayin' stumpin' isn't risky. When you're out there with nothing but chains, beer and a winch you could rip your arm off and there ain't no one out there to sue.
Hank wasn't featured much in this episode, and that's rare. It seems that even when the plot doesn't revolve around Hank, he still serves as the lone voice of reason that helps maintain some semblance of sanity and common sense among his friends and family. Ultimately, he's the one that helps guide the story to its conclusion. This episode, however, focused on Luanne and Lucky, two people who pretty much live by their own code, which doesn't leave much room for Hank or anyone else. It also left us viewers with a nice little story about the compromises and sacrifices one has to make when they decide to spend their lives with someone.
(S11E03) Since I write these little reviews for both The Simpsons and King of the Hill, it's almost impossible for me not to compare them, at least in my head. I don't consider one series better than the other, but what sets King of the Hill apart from its animated brethren on Sunday nights is that it adheres to a much stricter reality than shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy, where the world can be skewed and aspects of a character's personality can be altered or amplified if the story calls for it.
On King of the Hill, much like in real life, people don't change, so the humor is derived from how each person deals with whatever life throws at them. In this episode where Bill worries about the Dautrive name dying with him, we already know Bill is a lonely guy who can't seem to get his life back together after his wife left him all those years ago, so right from the start we're emotionally invested in his character. An episode like this wouldn't have worked as well in an earlier season, but ten years down the road we know these characters, and we actually care what happens to them.
Dale [in the sewer]: It's kinda spooky down here. Do you think poop has ghosts?
This episode actually reminded me a little bit of Tom Goes to the Mayor with its focus on a city council being taken for suckers by two guys who really don't have the city's best interest in mind. Mostly, I just found it interesting how different shows can tackle the same issues in wildly different ways.
(S11E01) What's this? A new season of King of the Hill has begun and they're actually going to air the episodes in a decent timeslot? It's not going to be buried early in the evening where it will be easy to forget about? What hath we done to appease the Gods of TV that they have favored us with this gift? I don't know, but I'm glad to see this series get the timeslot it deserves.
I often watch King of the Hill reruns on FX in the evenings as I'm making dinner, but I forgot that it's actually still on. When it resumes next month, it will be season 11 for the animated series.
The move from 7:30 to 8:30 bumps War at Home to Thursdays with unfunny 'Til Death. American Dad slides into possible oblivion at 9:30 pm.
Great news, King of the Hill fans: after a long wait FOX has finally announced that the eleventh season of the animated series will kick off on January 21 at 7:30 pm. The tenth season finale ended with Lucky and Luanne getting engaged and Luanne becoming pregnant, but according to the press release the eleventh season opener will focus mainly on Animal Control trying to rescue Bobby's pet snake from the toilet and causing a city-wide panic in the process. King of the Hill, despite always being stuck in a timeslot where even fans like myself can sometimes forget about it, is still consistently smart and funny even after being on the air for over a decade. I would love to see it bumped ahead into the primetime lineup with The Simpsons and the rest of FOX's animated shows, but I can deal with the lousy timeslot as long as FOX keeps bringing it back.
Ever since getting a Tivo a little over a year ago, I no longer watch TV shows when they actually air. When I'm not catching up with what's on my recorder, I'm either reading, listening to podcasts, or pounding out a blog post about what I'm watching on television. The big deletion from my Tivo Season Pass this year is House. I still admire the show, but for me the magic is gone. The season opener sat on my Tivo for quite a few days, unwatched. When I finally sat down to view it I realized, about fifteen minutes into it, that I had completely lost interest in it. I didn't even finish the episode, and took it off my Tivo for good. Perhaps my attitude will change in the coming weeks, but who knows? Anyway, some of these shows are winding down their current seasons, some have yet to air. All times are Central because I live in Minnesota.
Returning: 24, American Dad, American Idol, America's Most Wanted: America Strikes Back, Bones, Cops, Family Guy, House, King of the Hill, The Loop, MADtv, Nanny 911, The O.C., Prison Break, The Simpsons, Trading Spouses: Meet your new Mommy, The War at Home.
Out: Arrested Development, The Bernie Mac Show, Free Ride, Killer Instinct, Kitchen Confidential, Malcolm in the Middle, Reunion, Skating with Celebrities, Stacked, That '70s Show, Unan1mous
New: Vanished, Standoff, Justice, 'Til Death, Happy Hour, Talk Show with Spike Feresten, Duets, The Wedding Album, The Winner, On the Lot.
Descriptions of new shows below.
(S10E15) Since this season ended with Luanne getting pregnant, I assume we'll be seeing a new addition to the cast of King of the Hill come next season.
Other than Luanne's announcement that she's pregnant with Lucky's (played by Tom Petty) child, the rest of the episode was rather low key. Peggy, always a tad naive, believes Luann could realize her true potential and really make something of her life if she just applied herself and didn't keep falling for dumb rednecks like Lucky. Hank isn't especially fond of Lucky at first, either, but eventually he realizes that despite his exterior, Lucky does actually have a sense of right and wrong, even if his morals are wrapped up in an odd "code of honor" which makes him return shaving cream he borrowed from Hank in a baggy. Also, Lucky feels he can't marry Luanne without his GED. Unfortunately, Peggy sabotages his chance by teaching him the wrong stuff.
(S10E14) When you're young, there's usually only one way to deal with a bully, and that's to give them a taste of their own medicine. It gets a bit more complicated, however, when you're a grown adult and your bully is a ten year old kid. In last night's episode, new neighbors move into the neighborhood whose unruly child, Caleb, begins harassing Hank by calling him "dusty old bones, full of green dust," trashing his work space, and, the most unforgivable crime of all, riding his bike on Hank's lawn.
If beating your own kids is frowned upon, beating other's children is probably more so. Hank thinks he has a solution when he takes Caleb's bike until Caleb learns to behave better. Unfortunately, Caleb's parents don't see their son as a troublemaker, but rather a feisty young sprite with a "precocious sense of adventure." When Hank swipes Caleb's bike to teach him a lesson, they don't make Caleb apologize, they call the cops. Hank finally realizes that the trouble lies with the parents, so he sicks Bobby on them to taunt and harass them as Caleb did. It's not until the parents actually start being parents that Caleb starts to behave. Anyone who has ever had to deal with the children of inattentive parents knows how frustrating it can be. I used to babysit for extended family whose children were so unruly the only thing I could do was try and keep as many sharp objects away from them as possible while they ran amok.
I hate to admit it, but if I weren't writing weekly reflections on King of the Hill I don't think I would be watching it. Don't get me wrong, I love King of the Hill, but the show has always been in the most forgettable timeslot imaginable. Despite being essentially tossed aside while shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy are hyped out the wazoo, King of the Hill has remained consistently clever and funny, and May 14 will mark both the end of the season and the show's 200th episode. Thankfully, though, it won't be the end of the series. When this season opened their were rumors it might be the last, but apparently FOX had a change of heart and King of the Hill will be sticking around after all. Executive producer John Altschuler had this to say: "To be blunt, there's not too much that's good on TV. So if you're working on something good, you want to do more." I would say it's that approach that has kept what USA Today calls King of the Hill's "dedicated if small audience" coming back every week. You know, when the show isn't constantly being bumped for NASCAR events.
(S10E13) I've never quite understood the allure of buying clothing that has been made to look faded, torn, and worn out before you even have the chance to wear them out naturally. Keeping my T-shirts from cracking and fading used to frustrate the heck out of me, and now they're selling them that way. I guess the lesson is never underestimate the American consumer's ignorance and desire to conform, especially if they happen to be in high school.
In last night's episode, Bobby and Joseph want desperately to be invited to a popular girl's party. They think if they could just get an awesome pair of pre-faded jeans they'll be cool enough to get an invite. Hank refuses to buy the jeans for Bobby, since he, like myself, thinks they're asinine. He tells Bobby that if he had a job and earned his own money, he would be his own man and able to purchase whatever he wanted. Bobby gets a job holding arrows on a street corner for available apartments, and demonstrates his new skills at the breakfast table: 'Where's the kitchen? Why, it's over there.'
(S10E12) Being a heterosexual male with the ability to use my eyes, I can certainly understand the desire to kick back at the occasional strip club now and again, but I've never understood men who go to these places all the time. They're fun once in a while, but I would think frequenting them every day would cause the novelty to wear off pretty quickly. That doesn't seem to be the case for Mr. Strickland, who has spent every morning of his life kicking back at his favorite strip joint and enjoying the free buffet. In the beginning of last night's episode, after fuming over the lack of free food, he's banned from the strip club indefinitely.
The episode could have easily been turned into one about a dirty old man upset about not being able to ogle chicks before work every morning, but it was really more about Strickland's endless struggle to remain young and vibrant, at least in his own mind. He has no desire to be the real "boss" of Strickland Propane, he delegates that responsibility to Hank. What he does want is to be the crazy guy who swipes money from the cash register to use at the strip club each morning. Since he can't even do that anymore, he decides to make Strickland Propane more "fun," turning it into "Strickland Propanerie" and having his workers dress in Hawaiian shirts and bunny ears. Unfortunately, this means no work ever gets done and they end up having to work overtime. Hank eventually smooths things over with the owner of the strip club, and Mr. Strickland is allowed back, as long as both parties understand the other one isn't apologizing.
(S10E11) Just because a place is big doesn't mean it's bad. The Pentagon's good. --Hank Hill
I wouldn't have though I could ever become nostalgic for those days when I was forced to wake up early, don uncomfortable garments and too-tight shoes, get shuttled off to church, and then try to stay awake through some boring sermon. I don't recall ever actually enjoying church, but it was part of our routine, and last night's episode managed to touch on all the ups and downs of attending church in a small town.