That dang ol' Judge Brendan Babish, man, he just done watch all them 22 episodes of that there King of the Hill: The Complete Sixth Season, man, that's some funny stuff there I tell you what.
Dale: Why would a confirmed bachelor such as yourself work at the gay rodeo?
Man, I tell you what, this dang ol' thing here is King of the Hill: The Complete Sixth Season, man.
Facts of the Case
King of the Hill has long been the less flashy, more reliable tortoise to Fox TV's flashier hare, The Simpsons. Like The Simpsons, King of the Hill documents the travails of a traditional American family. Unlike The Simpsons, King of the Hill is grounded in reality and employs a dry humor more in line with its conservational, Southern setting.
Hank Hill, the patriarch of the family, a mild-mannered, God-fearing propane salesman. Peggy, his sassy but tradition-minded wife, is a substitute Spanish teacher at the local middle school. Their rotund son, Bobby, is not as aggressively masculine as Hank would like, but he does have a flair for prop comedy that impresses his female classmates. The Hills live in the Arlen, a nondescript Texas suburb where good old-fashioned American values haven't yet gone out of style.
King of the Hill: The Complete Sixth Season contains the following 22 episodes spread out over 3 discs double-sided DVDs:
• "Bobby Goes Nuts"
As a testimony to the show's influence, I submit the continued political success of Mike Easley. Easley is the current, two-term governor of North Carolina. Though the state is solidly red (it elected Jesse Helms to the Senate five times), Easley is a Democrat, and a popular one. When his first term was up in 2004, he cruised to re-election by a 13-point margin. So how does a Democrat retain statewide office in the neoconservative South of the 21st century? One of the open secrets to Easley's success is his assiduous studying of King of the Hill. Easley is on record as being "obsessed" with the program. The show has such a strong bearing on his policies he has his pollster's separate the state's voters into those who watch King of the Hill and those who don't.
While this might surprise any non-fans of the show (politicians are using cartoons to help shade public policy!), regular King of the Hill viewers certainly recognize Easley's political acumen. Part of the genius of King of the Hill is how it so adeptly uses the Southern lifestyle as a backdrop for its dry humor without ever condescending or mocking Southern values. While Arlen may be populated by a slew of eccentric characters, none resemble The Simpsons' resident redneck, Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel.
But most of you are already know this. Anyone contemplating a purchase of Season Six has most likely long ago hopped onto the King of the Hill bandwagon (for anyone interested, there's still plenty of room). Still, let me quickly address those few who are considering delving into King of the Hill for the first time: you should really start at the beginning, with the King of the Hill: The Complete First Season. Unlike most every other long-running show on television, King of the Hill's introductory episodes are nearly as strong as anything in its subsequent seasons. So the question is: does Season Six maintain this high level of quality King of the Hill has maintained over its previous five seasons? The answer: "Yep."
At best, most long-running shows only seem to be able to maintain consistent brilliance only over two or three, possibly four or five, seasons. Even The Simpsons, which used its first season to find its moorings, finally began producing the occasional misfire in Season Seven. Yet somehow King of the Hill has retained its high quality over its initial ten seasons. This is a feat perhaps only matched by Cheers, though that show needed several cast changes to maintain its freshness. Still, the bottom line is, if you've collected the previous King of the Hill DVD sets, or currently watch the show on Fox or in syndication, you will enjoy this collection. Many series classics can be found here:
• "Bobby Goes Nuts," in which Bobby, after attending a woman's self-defense class, goes on a nut-kicking spree at his middle school. Of course, your enjoyment of this episode is slightly dependent on how amusing you find crotch shots. While I find them tedious in America's Funniest Home Videos, they are employed here nearly as brilliantly as in Hans Moleman's short film "Man Getting Hit By Football."
• "Unfortunate Son," in which a group of Vietnam veterans attempt to join Cotton Hill's World War II veteran-dominated VFW. I screened this episode for a foreign friend of mine to explain the dichotomy between our country's relations with WWII and Vietnam vets. See, this show can be educational, too.
• "My Own Private Rodeo," in which Dale is reunited with his estranged father, who has, unbeknownst to Dale, spent the intervening years working in a gay rodeo. Though this mines much of the same territory of The Birdcage, I think no other episode on the set made me laugh out loud as often.
• "Dang Ol' Love," in which Boomhauer, the neighborhood lothario, falls in love with a comely jogger, and then has his own heart broken. It is almost inexplicable how after ten years Boomhauer's mumble continues to be as funny as when it was first introduced.
While these were the highlights for me, every episode is worth viewing. Again, unlike most every other show on television, King of the Hill seems to never disappoint. That said, I tend to prefer the episodes that revolve around one of Hank's inner circle—Dale, Bill and Boomhauer. These are the pillars of the show, and the three make for one of the strongest supporting casts in television history. While the weaker episodes tend to focus on Peggy or Luane (these are like the Marge or Lisa episodes in The Simpsons) there are always enough appearances by the show's strong peripheral characters to salvage any uninteresting plot.
As the quality of the DVD package, well, Fox has let us down again. While they've done a commendable job with packaging, picture, and sound on these DVD sets, there is (again) nary an extra to be found (unless you count trivia questions on the DVD cases). A lack of extras is inexcusable on any modern show, but especially on King of the Hill DVDs, when its contemporary, The Simpsons, manages to consistently produce some of the most comprehensive DVD packages of any TV show. It's almost as if King of the Hill producers have realized they can't top The Simpsons, so they don't even bother. What a shame.
Despite a lack of extras, King of the Hill is required viewing for cartoon lovers and those looking to better understand the politics of the Southern suburban voter. This collection is highly recommended.
Not guilty. "Mmm-hmm."
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