I'm a huge King of the Hill fan and I have been since I was a kid. In our Junior High cafeteria, my friends and I would quote last night's episode as they'd debut. Riotous laughter would ensue.
I knew King of the Hill was special, but I didn't know why. That was until I recently re-watched the show.
So you can understand why I was so excited by (and wary of) the announcement of a new King of the Hill reboot coming to Hulu later this year.
I have given way too much thought to what I'd like to see from the show... and it's to the point where I just need to get it out of my system.
That's why I want to go through the main characters and describe what I'd like to see from them, where they are now as aged-up characters, and what new and topical storylines the series could touch on.
Luanne & Lucky
Why am I starting with Luanne & Lucky? Because I believe they should be the impetus of the new series.
Luanne was played by Brittany Murphy who passed away in 2009. It's a similar story with Lucky's voice actor: Tom Petty who passed away in 2017.
Instead of re-casting them, I feel it would pay homage to their characters if the untimely death of Luanne and her husband were the start of the new series.
Towards the end of King of the Hill's first run, Luanne and Lucky have a daughter, Gracie. In my version of this new series, the show begins after their passing, leaving their daughter Gracie in the hands of Hank and Peggy.
Gracie should be about 13-years-old at this point. That puts her at around the same age that Bobby was in the original series. Gracie should be much like her parents. A bit naïve, easily influenced by others, but perhaps with more of an independent streak. She should be interested in things that neither Hank nor Bobby understand. Given Luanne's mechanical aptitude with cars, perhaps Gracie is into computers–something neither Hank nor Bobby were into.
Whatever her personality, she should stand as a foil to both Hank and Bobby; a place for father and son to find common ground. But it's important that she is her own character who can explore her humanity in her own way.
I believe Bobby must be the main character of the show. It was often through his eyes that his father, Hank, was able to understand the complex and changing world around him. Bobby tempered Hank's prejudice and fear of the unknown. And that's a critical component of the show.
What I'd like to see is a 25-year-old Bobby return home to Arlen from New York City or Los Angeles. This after a promising career in comedy which comes to an abrupt halt for one reason or a nother. Perhaps Bobby gets "cancelled" for an joke that goes viral on social media without context. Perhaps he has simply grown tired of the empty Hollywood lifestyle.
No matter his reasons, he should return to Arlen for the funeral of Luanne & Lucky. Bobby and Hank should have a moment where Hank's behavior reminds Bobby of Cotton. It's in this moment that Bobby realizes his family needs him.
It would be interesting, too, if Bobby feels the need to care for Gracie and she challenges his preconceptions in ways he once challenged his fathers.
I believe that in Bobby's absence, Hank has grown close-minded. Hank started started listening to Dale's constant onslaught of conspiracies after being sucked down a Q-anon-like rabbit hole. He's become more like Cotton than he ever thought possible.
Why would I ever want something like this? It's simple...
Everybody expects that Dale would have fallen for Q-anon lies... but Hank? Surely not. Except that we all know someone (or several someones) who we would have never believed to have been black-pilled. People we once loved and respected; much like Hank.
And what we need right now as a culture is the idea of redemption. If Hank Hill can be taken to a dark place (and, importantly, brought back), our loved ones might have a chance, too.
But I can hear you ask... HOW could such a Boy Scout character like Hank Hill be brought to such a place in the first place? Loss.
Shortly after Bobby moved out, Buck Strickland sells Strickland Propane to Mega-lo-mart (or some nameless, corporate conglomerate). But it's not just Strickland Propane, Thatherton and every other independent propane outfit in the area gets consolidated into this new Mega-lo-fuel.
When Hank pushes back about cold corporate decisions that hurt customers, he's unceremoniously fired. Consequently, he goes several years without being able to find a good job.
Furthermore, Bobby's departure from the Hill family home would leave Hank's prejudices unchallenged and left to fester. Consequently, Hank becomes bitter, searching for meaning, and turning inwards; the exact target for the predatorial cult of Q-anon and identity politics MAGAism.
But with the return of Bobby to Arlen and the introduction of Gracie into their household, Hank would begin a journey back to reality and redemption.
If anyone could pull off this kind of story arc, it would be master of satire Mike Judge. And it's definitely a story that needs to be told today.
Connie should be somewhat successful as a violinist who hasn't strayed too far from Arlen. Perhaps she's a member of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra or is performing in a similar capacity elsewhere. She is unhappy with her career, though; feeling as though her parents pushed her into it. She'd be much more fulfilled as a data analyst or in some other STEM field.
When she hears of Luanne's death, she returns to Arlen for the funeral where she and Bobby rekindle their friendship and, perhaps, their romance. Connie could help Bobby relate to Gracie's technical pursuits and this could be something that strengthens their relationship.
I'm not going to sugar-coat this... Peggy Hill is one character that I love to hate. When thinking about the direction the show could head in, my question has always been "what should be done about Peggy?"
Part of me was thinking that as Hank lost his job at Strickland, so much stress would be placed on their relationship that they split up. Maybe not divorced, though.
However, I simply can't get behind that.
Instead, I think Peggy might be pursuing a career in politics. Her incompetent confidence, dishonest nature, and her Dunning-Kruger style of teaching lends itself well for satire on the order of Idiocracy. Governor of Texas, maybe?
Other characters would be more or less in a similar place when we left them. It would be interesting if Dale has become even more extreme. GH (Good Hank, Hank's half-brother) would be a 13 or 14-year-old as well and may be a regular cast member, filling a similar role that Bobby once played.
Perhaps Bill has actually fallen in love and gotten married. Maybe he has come out of the closet and is happily living his truth. That would be a very interesting foil for Hank's prejudice.
There's so much that could be done with these characters and I can't wait to see where they are 13 years on from the end of the original run. King of the Hill is one of the best satirical sitcoms of the last century and an aged up cast of characters dealing with contemporary issues is exactly what I think we need right now.