Saturday, September 12, 2009
Bidding adieu to "King of the Hill"
Maybe there are funnier shows than Fox's animated comedy "King of the Hill." And there are certainly better shows. But it's hard for me to think of many shows that are more likable.
The show is airing its final episodes on Sunday, after 13 years on the air. And, actually, I'm fairly sorry to see it go.
Unlike its fellow Fox animated series "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy," "KOTH" is not interested in satire. At least not primarily. Instead, it functions more like a traditional sitcom, about red-blooded Texan Hank Hill, a grill salesman, husband and father who just longs for a simple, old-fashioned life. Unfortunately, everyone around him is far less interested in the old ways, including his wife Peggy and his aggressively goofy son Bobby.
The show is extremely funny but, this Sunday, after "King" airs its final two episodes, what I'll really miss is its values. Here's a show that celebrated things like decency and self-respect. You just don't see that much on TV these days.
Wisely, the show's final two episodes focus on the show's strongest facet, the relationship between Hank and Bobby. In the first episode, "The Boy Can't Help It," Hank is dismayed when he realizes that a group of girls is using Bobby as their plaything -- and Bobby doesn't care. In the second, and much stronger, episode, "To Sirloin with Love," Hank and Bobby finally realize that they have a passion in common -- they both love meat. And Bobby, much to Hank's joy, joins a junior college team that judges meat competitively. Yes, it's a silly subject, but "KOTH" uses it to make points about the generation gap, about fathers and sons and, yes, about the importance of a flawless cut of meat.
And that's what I'll miss. "King of the Hill" wasn't groundbreaking, but it was almost always a pleasure to watch. And that's rare.
The last two episodes of "King of the Hill" air from 8 to 9 p.m. Sunday on Fox.