|King of the Hill character|
|Last appearance||"To Sirloin with Love" [n 1]|
|Created by||Mike Judge|
|Portrayed by||Mike Judge|
|Full name||Henry Rutherford Hill|
|Nickname(s)||Hank (by everyone)
Ol' Top (by Mr. Strickland)
B.H. (by Cotton Hill)
|Occupation||Asst. Manager at Strickland
Propane; former tractor
at Mega lo Mart, and
Jeans West salesman
|Family||Cotton Hill (deceased father)
Tilly Hill (mother)
Didi Hill (stepmother)
Chuck Garrison (stepfather)
Hank Hill (GH or "Good Hank") (half-brother)
Dusty Hill (cousin)
Luanne Platter (niece)
Joseph Gribble (Godchild)
Hank Rutherford Hill  is a fictional character and the main protagonist on the animated television series King of the Hill. Hank lives in Arlen, Texas (fictional city), works as the assistant manager of Strickland Propane, and likes to drink beer in the alley behind his house with his friends. His voice is provided by series creator Mike Judge. The Economist named Hank Hill as one of the wisest people on television.
Development of the character
When Mike Judge submitted the pilot script and drawings for King of the Hill to the Fox network, network executives advised him that Hank Hill should be younger than 49 years old, as Judge had described the character. Judge received a phone message from a network executive who told him that Hank's age should be 32, the same age as the network's average viewer. Judge later said, "I got all angry, and then I was like, 'Well, wait. It's just a drawing.' So I just went back with the same drawing and said, 'Okay, he's 34.'"
Hank has been compared to Tom Anderson, the "disapproving old man" who is a neighbor of the title characters on Judge's earlier series Beavis and Butt-head. Television columnist Frank Wooten of The Post and Courier has written, "Hank still looks and sounds like a young Mr. Anderson (beleaguered, baffled Korean War veteran of 'Beavis and Butt-head'). But he's more in touch with contemporary reality (sort of) -- and funnier." In a 2006 interview, Judge said, "[O]riginally I was going to have Hank be his [Mr. Anderson's] son. I was kind of thinking we'd tie it into "Beavis and Butt-Head" as a sort of spinoff or something, but Fox said no." Greg Daniels, another creator of the program, has said that Hank Hill is "based on a lot of neighbors I've had… He's upset about how America is changing, and he doesn't know what to do about it." 
Early life and family
Hank Hill was born at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, New York (at 3:07 am, measuring 19.5 in and weighing 7.5 lbs). According to the episode "Yankee Hankie," Hank proudly believed he was born in Texas to Tillie Mae Hill and Cotton Lyndal Hill but finds (to his disgust) that he was actually born in New York City. His mother told him she gave birth to Hank in the women's restroom at Yankee Stadium during Cotton's failed attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro during a rare American visit. After referring to himself as a native Texan for forty years, he was sad to learn he was born in New York, but over time, accepted his heritage when he realized that many of the Alamo heroes were not from Texas, either. Hank, who previously thought he was an only child, finds out he has a Japanese half brother named Junichiro in the episode "Returning Japanese". This is due to an affair Cotton Hill had with his Japanese nurse while recovering from leg injuries in post-World War II Japan. Also, in the episode "Hank Gets Dusted", Hank is shown to be the cousin of ZZ Top bassist and vocalist Dusty Hill. Cotton was also revealed to have slept with many women before and after that (273 as Cotton once stated), meaning Hank likely has several other illegitimate brothers and sisters, although none of these other relatives have been confirmed throughout the series.
Hank is an Eagle Scout. Hank is naive, closed-minded and afraid of taking risks, but generally a good person. Although he is traditionally conservative in his attitude, in how he dislikes change and novel situations, he can adapt to them quite well, quickly mastering unfamiliar social milieus. He can be pushed too far on occasion, usually by neighbors Bill and Dale.
In most openings of King of the Hill, it starts with Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer all agreeing to something before the action kicks in, drinking from Alamo branded beer cans. A running joke throughout the series is an angry Hank yelling "I'm gonna kick your ass!" This is just a threat; he rarely, if ever, harms anyone. Hank's honesty and naivety often get him in unpredictable and troublesome situations. Ultimately, Hank cares for the people around him, particularly his family and friends and is always out to do what is right. One characteristic that Hank shows is when he lies to someone, he turns his head or looks around the room.
Hank is a known workaholic who "sells propane and propane accessories" as an assistant manager at the fictional Strickland Propane, a local propane dealership. Much to the discomfort of his boss, Buck Strickland, he refuses to miss a day for anything; including sickness and injury, as shown in the episode called "Hank's Back", where he refused to go on Worker's Compensation after injuring his back on the job, despite repeated attempts at suggesting too much work will make him sloppy. He even went into work when his hero Tom Landry died (though he thought it was Dusty Hill making it up). When he gets a phone call in the middle of the night, he often immediately starts with the Strickland slogan, "Strickland Propane, taste the meat, not the heat", showing his dedication to his work.
He was briefly promoted to manager when Buck's wife/ex-wife (affectionately referred to as "Mis Liz") temporarily took over Strickland Propane. Hank was also briefly promoted to manager by Buck Strickland while helping Buck rebuild a house for Habitat for Humanity as part of Buck's community service after a drunk driving conviction, before being demoted again after he blurted out "I love you" to Buck. Unlike Buck and his business enemy, M. F. Thatherton, Hank believes that selling propane through honesty and hard work is what life is all about. Hank won the Propane Salesman of the Year Award for three years, as well as the prestigious Blue Flame of Valor Award.
Hank idolizes Buck, who calls Hank "Ol' Top," and keeps a somewhat idyllic picture of him, even though he recognizes his boss's many shortcomings (excessive gambling, alcoholism, womanizing, and a general lack of principles). Hank must frequently clean up his boss's unsavory "situations": bailing him out of jail, facilitating his vices, and performing suspicious errands. In one episode he went as far as covering up Strickland's illegal price fixing agreement with the other local propane providers to keep him from being arrested. Hank also seems to think that being a propane salesman is the best job there is (and wants his son, Bobby Hill, to follow his footsteps and start a propane business of his own). Hank loves his job very much, but throughout the series always makes a big deal out of it when his closest friends and even family find his occupation boring and somewhat useless. In the episode "A Fire Fighting We Will Go", Bobby questions Hank about his new job as a volunteer fireman, in which Bobby says he is surprised because Hank always seems to exaggerate and make a big deal about being a propane salesman. Although Hank is often confused and irritated by Bobby's eccentricities, he clearly loves his son, even though he's uncomfortable in saying it to his face. He even feigns an interest in Bobby's passions such as comedy and theatre. Hank is relieved when his Laotian-American neighbor Kahn tells him that he caught Bobby and Connie taking their clothes off since, up until that time, Hank was uncertain of Bobby's interest in girls. From his eccentricities, Hank often says of Bobby, "That boy ain't right".
In the first episode of the series, his wife Peggy Hill prompts Hank to tell his son that he loves him — after he finally manages to do so, Bobby says that he thought of himself as a "big disappointment," which Hank immediately rejects, earnestly (if, to the viewer, implausibly) declaring that Bobby is the one thing in town that's never disappointed him.
Hank suffers from a fictional genetic disorder called Diminished Gluteal Syndrome (DGS). His essentially non-existent buttocks fail to provide him enough cushioning when seated, causing stress on his spine and forcing him to wear an "ortho- gluteal" prosthesis. A running joke throughout the series is that Hank and Peggy would have more kids if it weren't for Hank's "narrow urethra", a topic Hank is sensitive about and often becomes annoyed about if brought up to people outside the immediate family.
Hank was on the high school football team (as were Bill, Boomhauer, and team towel manager, Dale). He was a running back and led the league in rushing (his record remains unbroken). He had a promising career until he snapped his ankle in the state championship (although this cost Arlen the game, he is still celebrated for "taking them to State"). This incident exacerbated Hank's already-restrained emotionalism, as he saw it as punishment from God for doing a celebratory dance after scoring a touchdown earlier during the game. After graduating from high school, he went on to work as a salesman at Jeans West, a clothing retailer, until Buck found that he was a good salesman and hired him at Strickland Propane, where he taught Hank everything about propane and propane accessories. According to his neighbor Dale, he also had a brief stint as a tractor salesman.
Despite the fact that his career in propane is later shown to have started with a chance meeting with Buck Strickland, in episode "Order of the Straight Arrow", a flashback to 1966 shows younger Hank, Dale, Bill and Boomhauer on a scouting trip, talking about what they're going to do when they grow up. Hank says, "I'm going to sell propane and propane accessories... if my grades are good enough," which is confusing since he met Buck at Jeans West, although it can be explained if Hank mistakenly puts in his adult passion for propane into memories from his childhood. This same episode reveals that boys entering the Order are 12 years old, which would give Hank a birth date of sometime in 1954. In the second season episode, "Hank's Dirty Laundry," Hank himself states his birth year as 1953, though he is probably referring to the alias Rusty Shackleford - which Dale had suggested earlier in the episode.
Hank drives a red Ford Super Duty, which replaced his original truck, a red Ford Ranger after it was destroyed by a train, despite trying to make it last as long as mechanically possible. He gives great love and affection to his lawn and his Bloodhound, Ladybird. In one episode, Peggy is bitter for throwing a special birthday party for Ladybird but not for herself, where it is implied in some episodes she believes Hank spends more time with Ladybird and being house proud than he does with her, as suggested in another episode where he mourns over his sub-par lawn compared to his neighbors, remarking. "I put so much work into this, my sweat, blood, tears, all the tender feelings I've kept from my family."
Hank's idol is Outlaw Country singer Willie Nelson (despite multiple differences between the personalities and lifestyles of the two), and he also plays a 1963 Guild Solid Top acoustic guitar named Betsy in his Bluegrass band. Hank is a fan of Country and Bluegrass music. Occasionally, he will listen to Southern Rock music and in one episode, remarks that he likes this "Zamfir fellow," a joke towards Gheorghe Zamfir (even believing his music was better than The Beatles). Another episode shows that Hank and his friends seem to like the song Teddy Bear by Red Sovine. In another, he had also shown approval towards Doo-wop. He also appears to have a soft spot for Foreigner, as on Luanne's 21st birthday he put I Want to Know What Love Is on the jukebox six times in a row.
Unusual for an animated show, much of the humor of the show relies on Hank being a reserved, relatively introverted man, who struggles to show emotion, or to cope with advances in the modern world. He is uncomfortable with intimacy and sexuality (as demonstrated by the running joke throughout the series, in which Hank is extremely averse and overreacts to physical contact (usually with his well known scream, "BWAH!") or anything involving sexuality regarding his niece, Luanne), but he has a healthy relationship with his wife, as well as the rest of his family. He believes passionately in hard work, honesty, and tradition (he refuses to leave work early, even so much as 10 minutes early on a Friday); and is a proud Texan and American, to the point of occasionally struggling to suppress mild xenophobia, though always trying his best to see others, regardless of culture, for their personal character. He is, however, a highly respected authority among his friends and family, who often seek his help and advice, knowing that he will always advocate doing the right thing in the right way.
Hank is against charcoal, butane (which he refers to as a "bastard gas") and the use of propane alternatives (such as electric water-heaters, heaters, stoves and ovens.) Hank believes that propane is the best source of fuel and is known to try to “convert” people to propane use. When niece Luanne Platter uses charcoal on burgers at a barbecue (Peggy and Bobby find them delicious and eat them all), Peggy and Bobby are horrified to learn that they enjoy charcoal grilling. Hank's love for propane is sometimes shown in an ironic juxtaposition with his love of all things Texas, for example being introduced to mesquite, a traditional Texan barbecue wood, by his immigrant neighbor Kahn.
While more of a stereotypical Southern redneck in earlier episodes, for example idolizing outlaw singer Willie Nelson, Hank becomes more of a small town, middle class conservative who is extremely law-abiding. Everybody looks to Hank when they have any seemingly useless or dull work that needs to be done. When his dog Ladybird attacked a black repairman (voiced by Bernie Mac) working on their heating system, he was accused of being racist, and it was later proven that he is not. He refuses to let mechanics touch his truck, feeling that he can accomplish anything without help. Hank has briefly worked at Mega-Lo Mart as a propane salesman trainee after Mega-Lo Mart drove Strickland Propane out of business. Hank's reserved nature probably resulted from years of verbal abuse from his father Cotton Hill. However, if sufficiently provoked, Hank has proven not to be a pushover, often ending disputes with his self-popularized quote "I'm gonna kick your ass!" (though he rarely follows through on this threat). He is also staunchly pro-Texas. In the episode "Texas City Twister," in which a tornado has torn off all his clothes, he is given the choice of covering himself with the Texas flag or a potted cactus. With barely a thought, he chooses the cactus, thereby sparing the flag.
He is for the most part an outspoken conservative (he once said dreamily that he missed voting for Ronald Reagan.) He was initially a huge fan of George W. Bush, but had second thoughts about voting for him because of his weak handshake, and when asked if he would vote for "the other guy," presumably Al Gore, he responded "I don't know." Hank is a registered Republican, but has respect for some old-school Democrats such as fellow Texan Lyndon B. Johnson. His purebred Georgia bloodhound Ladybird is named after Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of President Johnson, and Hank has made mention that the bloodhound's mom helped track down James Earl Ray, assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after an attempted prison escape. However, Hank also shows deference to Jimmy Carter when they meet (though he later refers to him as a "one-termer") and greatly respects former Democratic Texas Governor Ann Richards (although he displays great respect for, and deference to, all authority figures, but the respect was most likely the result of Hank's great liking of Texas culture and history as mentioned throughout the show).
In nearly every episode, Hank and his friends Dale, Bill and Boomhauer will stand about in the alley behind Hank's house, drinking Alamo beer and discussing the events of the day. When consensus is reached and at breaks in the conversation, they will give short words of agreement, such as "yup" or "mm-hmm." He considers his wife his best friend and feels that physically punishing children is wrong; he is verbally strict, but not directly abusive. In the episode "Sleight of Hank," it was revealed that Hank has a huge dislike for magicians after seeing David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty disappear. He has shown to have chiroptophobia, the fear of bats.
Political parties aside, he is very conservative and old-fashioned, being largely ignorant of new trends; several episodes involve him dealing with things like yoga, boy bands, etc. Hank is portrayed as having traditional family values and he is shown to be uncomfortable with hiring a woman to work at Strickland because she was believed to be too attractive, even though she was overqualified; instead, he hired a man for shallowly expressing a fondness for the Dallas Cowboys and a blatantly fraudulent adoration for propane. The man was later revealed to be a completely unreliable drug addict. His old-fashioned ways extend to a suspicion of new technology. He does however, eventually get a cellphone and briefly becomes addicted to a computer game whose main character is modeled on him. In the episode Jumpin' Crack Bass, Hank made the comment, "Not my president! I voted for Dole!", referencing the 1996 election.
Still, he does share a few progressive values. One of them is his discovery of organic meat in the episode "Raise the Steaks". He even goes as far as to defend hippies, something he seemed somewhat ashamed to do; nevertheless, he agreed with them on natural and organic food. He has also been shown to have fairly tolerant views on other religions (except perhaps Buddhism). Hank has some environmental leanings (though he distances himself from the movement at large), once lamenting about air pollution in Houston, opposing the building of McMansions, and running for city council on a platform of removing low-flow toilets because they waste more water than they save. Similarly, he seems to believe in global warming, as when Dale commented on how warmer temperatures could lead to a citrus industry in Alaska, Hank responded "We live in Texas. It's already 110 in the summer, and if it gets one degree hotter I'm gonna kick your ass!" Despite his apparent naivety to general things, he has been shown to be very clever in various scenarios. These include tricking a crooked lawyer attempting to sue Strickland into making it appear as though he is the one who injured his plaintiff and forcing a veterinarian who was shaking him down on costly and unnecessary treatments for a soldier's cat to approve the cat's file (Hank told the vet's customers about a completely inefficient imaging machine the vet couldn't afford). Hank also got the see-no-evil parents of a youngster who was bullying him to exert discipline by having Bobby behave exactly like their son toward them.
Hank can be gullible, as for 25 years he bought vehicles at sticker price from Tom Hammond's dealership, thinking they were a great deal. He has also been tricked because of his relative ignorance concerning drugs or subcultures. Hence he once mistakenly bought vials of crack cocaine believing they were fishing bait and in a time of stress took a hit of marijuana because he thought it was a cigarette. He once introduced a woman named Tammy Duvall (voiced by Renée Zellweger), who later turned out to be a prostitute, to several business associates. This led her former pimp, Alabaster Jones (voiced by Snoop Dogg), to believe he was her new pimp, a role he was forced to act out to rid her of him.
In "Be True to Your Fool", a flashback reveals that shortly after Hank graduated from high school with his three best friends, Dale Gribble, Bill Dauterive, and Jeff Boomhauer, Bill enlisted in the United States Army—a night of celebratory drinking led them to a punk bar, where the then-formidable Bill saved a drunken Hank from a beating. In gratitude, Hank stumbled off to a tattoo parlor and paid to have Bill's name inked onto his chest before passing out. Only Boomhauer was with Hank, and, unable to persuade the proprietor to ignore Hank's purchase, convinced him to put the tattoo in a less conspicuous place, the back of Hank's head; Hank had completely forgotten that night, but was reminded of it while undergoing treatment for head lice in the present (an affliction caused by Bill trying to meet the school district's head lice lady). He had the name removed out of disgust, but eventually had a jailhouse tattoo of it put on to show Bill that the two were still friends.
Hank thinks very highly of Texas. He thinks that Texas is superior to all other states in the U.S or at least Hollywood. This is sort of satirical on the stereotype or at least exaggeration of Texan's state pride. In the episode "Returning Japanese Part 1", Hank says "Peggy, I've already chosen the country for our summer vacation, America. And the state, Texas. And the town, Denton. I don't care what their police did to that cyclist. It's still a great town." That was his response to Peggy's ideas for their summer vacation. Later in the episode, he also says to his father Cotton, "Dad, there is no other place I'd rather be," after Cotton said, "Hank, you work at a gas station; fuel this thing up and fly me back to Texas!". A recurring gag throughout the series is Hank's contempt for big cities and urban areas, once comparing a youth oriented shopping center to "Hell, or Dallas", and, regarding San Antonio, asking "Why would anyone want to live there?" as he and Bobby watched a weather girl screw up on camera.
Describing Hank physically, Jo Johnson has written, "In keeping with [Mike] Judge's tradition of subtlety, the character of Hank Hill is only slightly overweight, not to satisfy the stereotype of the boorish husband, but because he eats a lot of meat and drinks a lot of beer."
Hank's attitudes and statements have been criticized by feminist writers, such as Valerie Palmer-Mehta, who calls him "a representative of traditional, hegemonic masculinity." and Rebecca Feasey, who notes Hank's disappointment with his son's ability to produce an "appropriate display of masculinity."
Palmer-Mehta notes that Hank's "fervor for selling propane and propane accessories is nearly apostolic."
Ethan Thompson writes that although Hank Hill is similar to other sitcom father figures, such as Archie Bunker from All in the Family, he is different due to his "ability to acknowledge that the values and beliefs he grew up with are no longer sufficient to guide him in his roles as father, husband, friend, and employee."
New York Times contributor Matt Bai discussed Hank's political perspective in 2005, writing, "[L]ike a lot of the basically conservative voters you meet in rural America ... Hank never professes an explicit party loyalty, and he and his buddies who sip beer in the alley don't talk like their fellow Texan Tom DeLay. If Hank votes Republican, it's because, as a voter who cares about religious and rural values, he probably doesn't see much choice. But Hank and his neighbors resemble many independent voters, open to proposals that challenge their assumptions about the world, as long as those ideas don't come from someone who seems to disrespect what they believe."
Besides King of the Hill, Hank has appeared in many other shows including:
|The Simpsons||"Bart Star"|||
|"Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays"|||
|"The Ten-Per-Cent Solution"|||
|The Cleveland Show||"Cleveland Live!"|||
|"Das Shrimp Boot"|||
- Hank Hill made his official final appearance in the King of the Hill series finale "To Sirloin with Love", however, the last five episodes aired out of order making the second last episode "Just Another Manic Kahn-Day" the last episode to air on television. Following the official series finale the character has made various cameos in other series, most recently the Family Guy episode "Bigfat".
- Season Five, Episode Ten: Yankee Hankie (at time 04:42 of 22:30)
- "King of the Hill/Hank Hill character bio". Fox Broadcasting. Retrieved 2008-10-30.[dead link]
- "King of the Hill". IMDb. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
- "Help not wanted". The Economist. 2008-04-10. Retrieved 11 March 2013. "One of the most unjustly neglected films of the past few years is Mike Judge's “Idiocracy”. Mr Judge is the genius behind Beavis and Butt-Head, two of the most disgusting creatures on television, and Hank Hill, one of the wisest."
- Macor, Alison (2010). Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids: 30 Years of Filmmaking in Austin, Texas. Austin: University of Texas Press. p. 258. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- Forsmark, David (2009-02-23). "Over the Hill?". National Review Online. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- Wooten, Frank (1997-04-27). "Yadda, yadda, yadda: 'Seinfeld' bounces back". The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.). pp. 1–D. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- Rahner, Mark (2006-01-24). "Catching up with Mike Judge, the mind behind "Beavis," "Office Space"". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- Strauss, Neil (12 January 1997). "New Stop on the Map of Animated America". New York Times. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
- Johnson, Jo (2012). ""Won't Somebody Think of the Children?": The Nineties Subversion of the Animated Mother". In Elizabeth Podnieks. Mediating Moms: Mothers in Popular Culture. McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 63. ISBN 9780773539792.
- Palmer-Mehta, Valerie (2006). "The Wisdom of Folly: Disrupting Masculinity in King of the Hill". Text and Performance Quarterly 26 (2). doi:10.1080/10462930500517899. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- Feasey, Rebecca (2008). Masculinity and Popular Television. Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press. p. 38. ISBN 9780748627981.
- Thompson, Ethan (2009). "“I Am Not Down with That”: King of the Hill and Sitcom Satire". Journal of Film and Video 61 (2). doi:10.1353/jfv.0.0029. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- Bai, Matt (2005-06-26). "'King of the Hill' Democrats?". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Bart Star". The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company.
- "Missionary: Impossible". The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company.
- "Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays". The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company.
- "The Ten-Per-Cent Solution". The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company.
- "Petergeist". Family Guy. Fox Broadcasting Company.
- "Cleveland Live!". The Cleveland Show. Fox Broadcasting Company.
- "Das Shrimp Boot". The Cleveland Show. Fox Broadcasting Company.