These room the last 2 episodes of the an initial season (there was one various other episode developed in the first 13 episode order, “The company Man,” however it was organized over for the second season when its ending was fully re-worked). I’ll hopefully gain to the second season soon, however I might do an additional show in between, or I can find a slightly various format for these articles — probably one episode at a time instead of two.
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“King the the Ant Hill”
This instalment is created by Paul “Not however Toby” Lieberstein and also Johnny “Already the Voice that Dale” Hardwick. It’s the first episode to emphasis on Dale (and to really create his job as an exterminator), together he i do not care upset once Hank won’t let him spray his lawn, and also when Hank — the alpha male of the group — gets much more respect native Bill and Boomhauer, even on things that Dale actually knows much more about. Dale retaliates by utilizing fire ants to sabotage Hank’s new, store-bought grass.
This is no an episode that lends itself to considerable commentary. It’s no a bad episode, though it is a bit an ext predictable than most, particularly in the method it solves everything by having actually Dale conserve Bobby’s life. When a sitcom puts characters’ resides in peril in the 3rd act, it’s frequently a authorize that the plot isn’t really working that well. Including the risk of death to an episode, unless it’s a setting where the risk of fatality is common, is a little bit of a cheat. A half-hour comedy normally tries to uncover an emotional reason for one personality to pardon the other; here the only means for Hank to pardon Dale is if he nearly dies.
Of course, that’s a have fun of how far Dale walk in this episode, and also that’s the most amazing thing around it, because future episodes will develop on this and establish him as the go-to male for things that would certainly be too awful or ridiculous (or both) for any kind of other personality to do. This story takes that from gift the wacky conspiracy theorist to being a full-blown psychopath that is ready to go property damage as revenge for being fired. He’s also a coward, who runs and screams as soon as Hank is after ~ him, and also an idiot, that puts his evil setup right the end in the open and is surprised as soon as Peggy finds it. There’s yes, really nothing conventionally likable about him in ~ all, and the just thing that redeems that — till his designated redemptive moment — is that his bad qualities every cancel each other out: he’s also stupid and cowardly to it is in dangerous to anything other than a lawn.
Speaking that lawns, the most important character trait this episode introduces because that Hank is his obsessive pride in his lawn. We’ve watched him ~ above a mower before, but this episode shows us that his lawn is virtually the most crucial thing in his life. It’s implied that it’s a way for Hank come channel the emotions the he represses in other locations of life; depressed that his lawn isn’t as great as Kahn’s, that laments that he’s provided it “the soft feelings I’ve held earlier from mine family.” however it’s likewise a very culturally-specific idea, something that renders sense in the context of whereby Hank lives. In suburban Texas, where maintaining a lawn fresh and green isn’t easy, a an excellent lawn is a allude of pride and a poor lawn is a sign that the homeowner isn’t going the extra mile to do his house better. Hank, a male who believes deeply in rituals and seemingly meaningless titles, is the type of guy who would decide the it’s his civic duty to have a perfect lawn, or that his standing as Block Captain way that he has a unique duty to store his home in perfect shape.
And when you accept that, it renders perfect feeling that Hank would certainly be branded a cheater because that buying grass rather of growing it self (to the allude that Kahn even argues the devastation of his lawn is karmic punishment). The whole idea the the illustration is that people take lawns really, yes, really seriously, choose a sport, through its own rules and also its own ethical code. Once I experienced the episode for the first time, that was the point that intrigued me most: I grew up in the suburbs, yet the lawn was no the main allude of interest in prior yards — it to be the kind of automobile in the driveway, or the flowers being grown close to the lawn, that civilization focused on.
The lawn stuff, which KotH would certainly pick up on and also spin right into several various other episodes, is a little method of implying that this is a an extremely specific culture and people that we’re in. Even if we don’t know about this area or this culture, it feels particular enough that it might be based (loosely) on other real, and also that provides it intriguing. And also I think that’s one means of explaining why King that the Hill took off where various other animated comedies didn’t. The movie critic was collection in new York, however it was kind of a fantasy brand-new York, based on brand-new Yorker cartoons and also jokes around what brand-new York is like; by the moment it was on Fox, its new York seemed hardly distinguishable native The Simpsons‘ Springfield, and also that was an additional strike versus it in trying come prove it can offer miscellaneous The Simpsons didn’t. King that the Hill is not only collection in Texas, yet it’s constantly providing us the impression the this is a unique society with its own rules, and that Arlen is not like Springfield. Jokes around lawn care or high school football or propane are cultural signifiers that ward off any kind of accusation the Simpsons wannabe-ism; that show’s people is generic, and also this is something but.
I haven’t stated much about the subplot the Bobby being hypnotized by the Queen Ant and also forced to do her bidding, due to the fact that it’s just so damned weird ns don’t recognize what to say about it. It’s a sign, ns guess, the the show is tho figuring the end what should and shouldn’t happen in this world. The idea the a human being regulated by an ant, and actually behaving favor an ant, is miscellaneous that simply doesn’t rather belong on this show. It may be a take-off on something genuine (that happens through ants, not v people) but the method it plays out it’s much more of a Simpsons kind of joke. The is arguably important to set up the final plot twist wherein Bobby is almost killed by the ants, though.
“Plastic White Female”
This was produced prior to “King of the Ant Hill” but selected together the season finale, and for an excellent reason: it’s the ideal episode native the an initial batch the 13, and the most unique twist top top a familiar story. Every present deals in straightforward situations the we’ve seen prior to — over there are only so numerous plots available. I periodically think the you have the right to tell a good show not by even if it is it provides us a story we haven’t seen before, yet whether the takes the story in a direction us haven’t seen; that’s a authorize that the personalities are unique. And also unique is the word for what writer David Zuckerman (who go on to construct Family Guy) does v a seemingly an easy premise: Bobby is invite to his first boy-girl party, and he needs to number out just how to be less shy around girls. This typical set-up leader to a 2nd act break where he’s captured kissing a plastic head. That’s one us haven’t rather seen before.
The good thing about the illustration is that it gets from the normal set-up to the crazy advance with seemingly inexorable logic; there’s never a suggest where it seems choose this is getting too weird come believe. It helps the the visibility of the dummy is tied right into the “B” story, a good example of just how a present can use two plots while tho feeling favor an necessary whole. Part “B” story seem like they might fit into any kind of episode, yet the story the Luanne encountering her huge test at beauty school (where she teacher appears to be the end to obtain her) is in reality what moves the key story forward, due to the fact that Luanne brings house that plastic head to practice for her test.
What happens then is sort of a plot-based play on the an interpretation of the word “practice.” The head is there for hairstylists to practice on, however Bobby sees it and also realizes he, too, can practice for his huge test (the party) by treating the dummy as if it were a real girl and acting out the points that boys are claimed to do approximately girls. That’s component of what renders the story so strangely logical, because it ties right into something real: we recognize that human being practice hairstyling ~ above a dummy, for this reason if Luanne have the right to practice to be a better beautician, why shouldn’t Bobby practice his social an abilities in the very same way? that implied comparison offers a type of realistic foundation to the scenes v Bobby and the dummy, also the one v the musical montage set to the beach Boys. (’90s shows might have surprisingly generous music budgets sometimes; that can’t be basic to clean an original Beach guys recording choose this.) It’s crazy, yet it’s not completely implausible. And also so Bobby come off not as a freak however as a creative kid recognize his own special way of installation in.
And we check out that the technique is actually working for him, making him much more confident approximately girls, albeit in a monster way: the starts to take it on a kind of Hugh Hefner persona with clothes and also speech fads to match. And that leader to the end of action 2, where Peggy walks in ~ above Bobby’s own idea that what a spin-the-bottle game is walking to it is in like.
I should add here the all the voice gibbs really action up their game in this episode. Hank’s voice is more inflected, because that example, Luanne it s okay a large laugh v her shipment of the words “Don’t touch it!!,” and also Pamela Adlon sells whatever Bobby does, which isn’t easy as soon as you’re a woman play a twelve year-old-boy romancing a plastic head.
Though it’s not as strict a pattern as it would become in some later episodes, the sample that’s emerging here is one the the show would use a lot: Bobby can’t do something the Hank expects him to do, Bobby put his own an imaginative twist on that that renders him like it (but appalls Hank and also Peggy) and also then Bobby bring away it too far and also Hank has to pull him back from the brink. For this reason by the moment Bobby is act that totality Hefner act, us become conscious that he’s overcome the line right into freakishness, actually preferring the firm of the head — i beg your pardon poses no danger — to real people. The episode doesn’t autumn into the trap of just making Hank right and also Bobby wrong, though. Partially that’s due to the fact that Hank was depicted as realistically insensitive come Bobby’s problems, so the Bobby nearly had no choice but to find some weird method of handling them. And also partly it’s due to the fact that Hank actually causes an ext trouble once he destroys the dummy, due to the fact that he pipeline Luanne without any kind of hair to reduced for her huge test. Apart from making Hank less than perfect, the ties the A and B stories together perfectly: the come of the head to be what collection Bobby’s story in motion, and the damage of the head leader to the resolution of Luanne’s story, where Hank has to take the ar of the dummy because that the purposes of her test.
Finally, the “mislead” technique that Greg Daniels loves to usage on all his reflects — whereby we think the episode is structure up to one thing, and then it transforms out the real concern is something different — is in full force here. The communication of the plot is Joseph’s “boy-girl” party, however when Bobby lastly gets come the party (in the last scene) anyone is together nervous as he is, and the kissing game is a finish disaster. Rather the illustration resolves itself before Bobby it s okay to the party. An initial his mom admits that she’s been also controlling and too concerned to baby him, and also that if he’s afraid of girl it’s partly because she urged him come be. And also then Bobby experience his actual rite of i without also acknowledging the that’s what happening: he and also Connie “practice kiss” so he’ll be ready for his real first kiss. There’s a theme and also even a lesson here, however unlike some of today’s comedies, nobody feel a have to spell it out (“It’s much better to practice on real world than on inanimate objects” or “the just real way to come to be a more social pet is come find civilization you like to socialize with”). The display invites united state to make the thematic link that the characters don’t spell the end or even totally realize.
Neither of castle realize, or at least admit, that this is an essential moment for them and also a possible turning point in their connection — yet we do. And also we see, because that the very first time, a prime-time animated character make some progress that might not be reversed in the following episode. Bobby will still it is in a weird small kid ~ this show, yet he’ll be a little more confident, a tiny less introverted, and his partnership with Connie will be a much more important component of his character for several years.
In terms of adding to what us know about the characters, this is the an initial episode to establish Hank together a Ronald Reagan fan, something the demonstrates a welcome sense of specificity: it’s totally realistic that a conservative middle-aged Texan would certainly be a Republican, but most mirrors don’t bother (or room afraid to) get details about a character’s politics.
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And finally, because that a glimpse at how a showrunner’s “touch” have the right to sometimes it is in glimpsed in a show, the episode starts with Bobby and Joseph spitting in ~ cars indigenous an overpass — i beg your pardon is what Bart and Milhouse were doing in the opening scene the The Simpsons’ “22 brief Films around Springfield” episode, who wraparounds were oversaw by Greg Daniels. The contents of the two scenes were fully different, the course, yet you have to assume that this is a visual idea Daniels favored or at the very least approved of.