Thursday, December 6, 2012

KING OF THE HILL: A MODERN CLASSIC

In the short history of adult cartoons, there have been many trend setters. The Simpsons expanded the genre that was started by The Flinstones decades earlier. Then South Park and Family Guy came along to shock, appall, and capture the attention of audiences. Nestled in the middle of The Simpsons and Family Guy was a charming little cartoon by the name of King Of The Hill.

King of the Hill was created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels that ran from January 12, 1997, to May 6, 2010, on the Fox network. It centered on the Hills, a middle-class Methodist family in the fictional small suburban town of Arlen, Texas. It attempted to retain a naturalistic approach, seeking humor in the conventional and mundane aspects of everyday life while dealing with issues comically.

Judge and Daniels conceived the series after a run with Judge's Beavis and Butt-head on MTV, and the series debuted on the Fox network as a midseason replacement on January 12, 1997, quickly becoming a hit. The series's popularity led to syndication around the world, and episodes run every night on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

In early 1995, after the successful run of Beavis and Butt-head on MTV, Mike Judge co-created the show King of the Hill with former Simpsons writer Greg Daniels. Judge was a former resident of Garland, Texas, upon which the fictional community of Arlen was loosely based; however, the show was based more specifically on Richardson, Texas, a Dallas suburb, as Judge stated in a later interview. Mike Judge conceived the idea for the show, drew the main characters, and wrote a pilot script.


FOX teamed the cartoonist with Greg Daniels, an experienced prime-time TV writer. Greg Daniels rewrote the pilot script and created several important characters that did not appear in Judge's first draft (including Luanne and Cotton), as well as some characterization ideas (e.g., making Dale Gribble a conspiracy theorist). While Judge's writing tended to emphasize political humor, specifically the clash of Hank Hill's social conservatism and interlopers' liberalism, Daniels focused on character development to provide an emotional context for the series' numerous culture clashes. Judge was ultimately so pleased with Daniels' contributions that he chose to credit him as a co-creator, rather than give him the "developer" credit usually reserved for individuals brought on to a pilot written by someone else.

The show became one of Fox's longest-running series, and at the time of its cancellation the second longest-running American animated series. In 2007 it was named by Time magazine as one of the top 100 greatest television shows of all time.

King of the Hill aired its series finale on September 13, 2009, with four episodes from season 13 unaired. The remaining four episodes aired in syndication on local stations from May 3 to 6, 2010, and on Adult Swim from May 17 to 20, 2010.

I know that grown adults probably should not be watching cartoons, but King Of The Hill is one of those shows that I can not stop watching. The show does not gross out or shock audiences, but it was a charming story about an average family doing average things. It could easily have been a live action comedy, and was much more funny than most of the sitcoms on television today. King of The Hill has been off the air for over two years now, but the show will always be king of the cartoons for me...

1 comment:

  1. King Of The Hill is one of my favorite cartoons of all time. I can't understand why they cancelled it. I refuse to believe it was because of The Cleveland Show. The Cleveland Show isn't even close to being as good as King Of The Hill! There's another reason to them cancelling the show, there has to be. Someone tell me the real reason.

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