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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that King of the Hill is long-running animated series about a family living in a lower-middle class Texas community where men drink beer, gossip, and watch TV. The humor satirizes and glorifies life in Texas and is geared toward adults. Hank does try to teach a moral lesson to Bobby whenever something goes awry, which could provide topics for discussion -- but there are better programs for kids to learn from. Teens with mature humor will enjoy and "get it."
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What's the story?
Set in the small town of Arlen, Texas, KING OF THE HILL centers around propane salesman Hank Hill (voiced by Mike Judge) and his family – wife Peggy (Kathy Najimy), son Bobby (Pamela Adlon), and daughter Luanne (Brittany Murphy). Although the Hills are constantly bombarded with the realities of contemporary life -- trouble with the law, drug-addled hippies ruining a camping trip, discovering the lies behind enculturation, traffic school, money issues, and so on -- they nonetheless attempt to keep their home free of bad influences. Try as they might, the Hills just can't keep the big bad world from infecting their little Texas town, but it's their old-fashioned values creaking along that make for the laughs -- and the heart -- of this series.
Is it any good?
Not everyone will "get" this show because it straddles the fence between good clean livin' and hedonism in a very interesting way. Troubles are hashed out by the community in a comic manner, though it's sometimes difficult to discern whether the moralistic views are real "American values" or a parody of them. This is where the conflict arises and the comedy comes through.
Keep in mind, however, that some mature topics might offend sensitive viewers. Others might not appreciate the way these topics are clumsily handled, since King of the Hill can hit pretty close to home. Parents will want to decide for themselves before giving their young teens unlimited access to the show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the notion of using sarcasm and humor to make a point in King of the Hill. Do teens and adults find humor in the same elements of the program?
What are the underlying themes of the series? Is the subtext clear despite what the characters might say or do?
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Find more TV shows that help kids build character.
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