Fun With Pop Culture

13 Years of Propane and Propane Accessories

This Sunday, FOX will air the final episode of King of the Hill. At 255 episodes, it’s the third longest-running scripted primetime series on TV right now, outlasted only by the original Law & Order and King’s long-time lead-in, The Simpsons. And while the ratings have been consisted for most of its run, you never really hear anything about it. I’ve been writing about TV for more than three years now, and despite the fact that it’s been one of my favorite shows since the beginning, I rarely mention it. With Hank and the gang taking their final bows, it’s time to give them their dues.
(For those of you paying attention, this is not the first time that King of the Hill has been cancelled. It is, in fact, the third time. However, it looks like this is going to be the time that sticks. In both previous cases, FOX relented before using up the supply of fresh episodes. This time, once the two remaining episodes air, that’s going to be it.)
From the beginning, King of the Hill didn’t quite fit in on FOX. Series creator Mike Judge put himself on the map with Beavis and Butthead, and I imagine the network anticipated something more like that hit. Instead, they got a sharply observed series about the American family, crafted with more than a little affection. FOX tried its best to make King seem hip (Anybody remember the ill-fated “Da Boom” campaign?), but that just wasn’t in the Hill DNA. Even a network-imposed second season cliffhanger ended up hinging largely on whether or not easy listening flugelhorn player Chuck Mangione survived a propane explosion. (Not only did he survive, he came back for dozens of appearances over the years.) For the last few seasons, it seemed even more out of place, as it was immediately followed by Family Guy. So while King of the Hill would do an episode about being uncomfortable at a restaurant with communal seating, a half hour later viewers would be assaulted with rape jokes. (On the plus side, at least Guy’s rape jokes take screen time away from its anti-Semitism.)

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