Mike Judge’s King of the Hill doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves, but it’s a cornerstone of animated television that ran for 13 seasons and produced over 250 episodes. King of the Hill is a program that holds up incredibly well and it remains consistent throughout its run, which is not the case for some of the other long-running mature cartoons on FOX.
King of the Hill is able to remain relevant because its comedy is rooted in its characters and authentic slices of life, as opposed to extravagant storytelling. It’s one of the few adult animated series that could just as easily work as live-action. These realistic characters get the opportunity to grow and change quite a bit by the end of King of the Hill’s run.
10 Boomhauer Begins To Want to Settle Down
Boomhauer is introduced as one of the more basic of Hank’s friends and the bulk of his character comes down to his lothario nature. Boomhauer is a satisfying supporting player, but he does slowly get more depth and grow up in his own way.
The appearance of Boomhauer’s brother, Patch, triggers a lot of emotions in him and towards the end of the series he does form greater attachments in his relationship and thinks about settling down. If the series were to go on for longer it wouldn’t be hard to picture Boomhauer in a long term relationship.
9 Kahn Finds A Greater Balance In His Life
Initially it seems like Kahn, the neighbor of the Hills, is just a judgmental obstacle for characters like Hank and Bobby. There’s a lot of entertaining conflict that stems from Kahn and Hank’s perceptions of each other, but Kahn’s edges soften over time.
In the final season it’s revealed that Kahn has manic depression and becomes better at the management of his medication for a greater consistency in his life. He also just generally becomes more accepting of the Hills— even Bobby— and the Arlen way of life. Kahn’s observant brilliance is allowed to come out.
8 Joseph Gribble Grows Into A Progressively Awkward Teenager
Some characters in King of the Hill exhibit more subtle shifts in character, but Joseph Gribble is someone that goes through quite the obvious transformation. Joseph and Bobby begin as relatively similar characters, but Joseph hits puberty much earlier and it brings out many awkward and unbecoming traits in him.
In a way, this makes Joseph feel even more like Dale and it’s able to help the two bond in a way. At the same time, John Redcorn opens up Joseph to his roots, even if he’s not receptive towards it.
7 Cotton’s Final Moments Find A Connection With Peggy
King of the Hill isn’t afraid to put its characters through serious change and towards the end of the series, Cotton, Hank’s father, actually passes away. Hank’s relationship with his father has always been fraught, but it’s curiously Peggy who makes the biggest impact on Cotton during his final moments.
Cotton and Peggy have also had a fascinating relationship through the series and he’s slowly grown to respect her, perhaps more than his own son, after the hardships that she’s endured. This gets crystalized before Cotton’s passing and it becomes a moment that’s arguably more powerful for Peggy than it is for Hank.
6 Luanne Cuts Out Her Unhealthy Past & Builds Her Own Family
King of the Hill begins with Luanne in a very vulnerable place and that her acceptance into the Hill family is almost under duress in some of the earliest episodes. The Hills repeatedly prove that Luanne is an official member of their family, but she puts down her own roots over time.
Luanne is no longer dependent on her unhealthy mother and she finds a husband in Lucky. The two have a daughter, Gracie, and while Luanne still has her share of airheaded moments she still grows into a loving, responsible mother and wife.
5 Bobby Loves Himself & Breaks Through With His Father
King of the Hill’s ongoing mantra is that “the boy ain’t right” in reference to Bobby Hill’s attitude, which clashes with Hank’s. Bobby’s free spirit and his passion for comedy never fades and he only learns how to refine these skills and use them to get closer with his parents.
However, early seasons also have Bobby defined by his relationship with Connie. Over time, the two learn how to have a healthy friendship and he builds a strong love and confidence for himself. It’s especially touching that the series concludes with Bobby’s grilling skills finally meeting Hank’s standards.
4 Dale Allows More Normalcy Into His Paranoid Existence
Dale Gribble is a constant source of entertainment thanks to the character’s paranoid conspiracy theories and iconoclastic schemes, many of which oddly seem less crazy in 2021. Dale’s belief system never wavers, but there are occasions where he takes a corporate office job and has to shed his typical veneer in a way that would have previously broken him.
Dale also finds greater peace with his son Joseph and it’s implied that on some level he may know the truth about his parentage. Dale even drops his Rusty Shackleford alias after he’s forced to reckon with his actions.
3 Hank Learns To Understand Bobby & Be Content With That
King of the Hill creates humor when Hank’s stringent traditional values get invaded. It’s endlessly entertaining to see Hank bristle against simple things, but as the series progresses he does become more open minded. A major area where this applies is that there are more activities that Hank and Bobby tackle together and a larger understanding forms between them, even if they approach projects from different angles.
Earlier seasons involve Hank’s insecurity over his narrow urethra and how it hinders his ability to conceive another child, but he learns to be happy with what he has and move on.
2 Bill Dauterive Buries His Past & Finds Love
Bill is certainly King of the Hill’s saddest character and the series often leans into how Bill’s best days are past him and that he lives an incredibly lonely existence. Bill has a very hard time getting over his ex-wife, Lenore, and it sticks with his character for a while.
It’s fulfilling to truly see Bill get over her and also begin several healthy relationships that last for extended periods. He’s still a lonely character, but he’s reconnected with his extended family and feels more confident in romantic endeavors. A happy ending no longer seems impossible for Bill Dauterive.
1 Nancy Learns To Value What She Has & Not Hide In Escapism
Nancy Hicks-Gribble is an important member of The King of the Hill cast and one of Peggy’s best friends. When the series begins, Nancy is largely generalized as the cheating spouse and she typically garners laughs through Dale’s obliviousness and her obvious nature around John Redcorn.
King of the Hill explores some mature territory with Nancy’s affair and why she acts out in this way. She ultimately stops this behavior and becomes more committed to Dale than ever. It’s a very satisfying turn and piece of development for her character.
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