The Michigan Daily discovered in November 2004 that several articles written by arts editor Alex Wolsky did not meet the newspaper’s standard of ethical journalism. Parts of these stories had been plagiarized from other news sources. Although the article below has not been found to contain plagiarism, the Daily no longer stands by its content. For details, see the Daily’s editorial.
In a move that brought us “Futurama” and “Family Guy,” FOX unleashed a series of animated sitcoms hoping to find the obvious heir apparent to the throne of “The Simpsons.” One of those fighting for recognition was “King of the Hill,” the story of a slow-talking, southern patriarch attempting to guide his family towards his own distorted perception of normality, which returns to DVD with the complete second season.
Based on the lives of a modern Texas family, “King of the Hill” maintained “The Simpsons” stylized writing and sound characterization with an equal balance of comedy and drama. The strongest aspect of “King of the Hill,” however, comes from the almost reclusive style of humor placed within the show. Based on a model similar to “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons” before it, “King of the Hill” maintains comedic presence through the personalities of its characters.
In season two, creators Greg Daniels and Mike Judge extended the show’s range by drawing on an extensive list of influences, including farce (“Jumpin’ Crack Bass”), political lampoon (“Junkie Business”) and tragedy (“Leanne’s Saga”). Daniels and Judge developed their characters beyond the typical redneck stereotype making Hank, Peggy, Bobby, Luanne and Bill multi-dimensional.
The DVD set includes four discs with 23 episodes containing classic “King of the Hill” episodes “The Man Who Shot Cane Skretteburg,” “Meet the Manger Babies” and “Husky Bobby” where Hank’s son finds love modeling plus-sized clothing. The DVD captures all of the episodes in their original full-frame form with a re-sampled Dolby Surround sound in both English and Spanish.
The 23 episodes are complimented with various storyboards, in-character commentaries, special never-before-seen director introductions, featurettes on the animation of the show, excerpts from the now out-of-print book authored by Daniels and Judge “The Boy Ain’t Right” and a selection of recordings and music videos inspired by the show. The most impressive feature is the 197 deleted scenes. Containing multiple takes on certain punch lines and various additional scenes that build upon the humor of the show, they allow the viewer to see a side of “King of the Hill” only hinted at during the aired episodes.
Overall, the second season brought new light to an emerging animated sitcom. While not quite to the standards of “The Simpsons” in its prime, Daniels and Judge brought a new sense of in-depth characterization to “King of the Hill.” And while the deep characterization took hold on one hand and the writing improved on the other. Season two would show just how strong of a contender FOX had bred with “King of the Hill.”
Show: 4 stars.
Picture/Sound: 3 1/2 stars.
Features: 4 stars.