in Shocktober

King of the Hill – “Hilloween”

Season 2, Episode 4
Original Air Date:
October 26, 1997

I now associate King of the Hill strongly with John, so it figures that I’d be posting this review after a very John-centric day. I woke up a little early this morning to catch a screening of Stakeout, the latest feature from the Otteni Brothers, as part of the HorrOrigins festival. It was a lot of fun and you should check it out when it hits streaming. Later, I got Arby’s for the first time in a real, real long time. I think it was the first time my dad didn’t pay for me. My favorite part were the curly fries, for which they gave me horsey sauce (which was good) and Arby’s sauce (which was weird and bad). And now I’m writing about an episode of one of John’s favorite shows. Let me tell you about it.

“Hilloween” begins with Hank and the boys hard at work on props and sets for a haunted house they’re building for Bobby’s school. Hank wants to make the most of this Halloween, since Bobby will be a teenager next year and too old for a good ol’ fashioned Halloween, like he remembers. Meanwhile, Luanne is introduced to a prodigious complainer at her bible study group named Junie Harper (a character played by Sally Field by very Annie Wilkes-looking). Harper convinces Luanne that Halloween is a holiday for Satanists, which Luanne repeats to Peggy and Bobby, much to Hank’s annoyance.

Luanne visits Harper, who finds out about Hank’s haunted house and subsequently threatens the principal with a lawsuit unless he cancels the event. An upset Hank convinces Bobby to sneak out with him and throw eggs and TP at Harper’s house, but she spots Bobby before they can escape. To retaliate, Harper goes to the city council and gets a curfew put in place, cancelling Halloween for the whole town. On Halloween night, Bobby decides to go to Harper’s “Hallelujah House” to join her church. A fed up Peggy tells Luanne to leave parenting to her and Hank, causing Luanne to feel guilty. In one last act of defiance, Hank puts on his old devil costume and marches down the street, inspiring the townspeople to follow him. When they get to the Hallelujah House, Hank convinces Bobby to abandon salvation in favor of candy. Bobby says he just wants to spend time with his dad, then later admits he actually does really want candy. The end.

First of all, as a relative newcomer, what’s the deal with Hank and Luanne’s relationship? Hank is super mean to a woman I thought was his adopted daughter? Like, all he does this entire episode is call her dumb. And then Peggy’s arc is also her just going from “let Luanne be dumb” to being mad at Luanne for being dumb and threatening to kick her out of the Hill house. Maybe it’s just jarring that nowadays most shows try to endear dumb people to the audience and here it’s just like she’s a sucker who should be mocked. How big a part of the show is Hank being a bad dad?

I did find it amusing how the show cast someone as wholesome as Hank Hill a rebellious heathen by Arlen standards. On the other hand, Harper is pretty insufferable, she’s kind of like a lighter take on the Dolores Umbridge type and so obnoxious it’s hard to laugh at her. I was also surprised how focused the episode was on its main plot, we didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Peggy or Hank’s friends and we didn’t even see Bobby’s friends. I guess that since I was feeling their absence, that probably means I need to watch more King of the Hill. But overall a perfectly solid episode.

  1. This is a top ten KotH for me. I watched it this weekend. Warms my heart. My favorite exchange is still:

    Junie Harper: I’m starting to feel like the whole idea of a house of horrors is wrong.

    Bill: Oh, we could make it a house of pancakes!

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