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King of the Hill (The Simpsons)

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"King of the Hill"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 9
Episode 23
Directed bySteven Dean Moore
Written byJohn Swartzwelder
Production code5F16
Original air dateMay 3, 1998 (1998-05-03)
Guest appearance(s)

Brendan Fraser as Brad
Steven Weber as Neil

Episode features
Couch gagThe Simpsons sit on the couch and the camera zooms out to reveal that they are inside a snow globe. Two hands then shake the globe.[1]
CommentaryMike Scully
Richard Appel
Steven Dean Moore
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Trash of the Titans"
Next →
"Lost Our Lisa"
The Simpsons (season 9)
List of The Simpsons episodes

"King of the Hill" is the twenty-third episode in the ninth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 3, 1998.[2] It was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Steven Dean Moore, and guest stars Brendan Fraser and Steven Weber.[2] The episode sees Homer trying to climb a large mountain to impress Bart after he humiliates him at a church picnic with his lack of fitness.


After his obesity embarrasses Bart at a church picnic, Homer attempts to lose weight, and begins going on midnight jogs around town. He soon discovers Power Sauce, an energy bar made out of apples which he starts to eat regularly.

At a gym, Homer meets Rainier Wolfcastle who becomes his fitness coach. In two months, Homer is healthier, more muscular, and reveals what he has been doing to his family. At the gym, two Power Sauce representatives ask Rainier to climb to the top of Springfield's tallest mountain, "The Murderhorn", as a publicity stunt. When he refuses, Bart insists Homer do it.

Despite Grampa telling him about how he was betrayed by a friend, C. W. McAllister, during their climb on the Murderhorn, Homer accepts and is aided by two Sherpas, but fires them after waking up one night to find them secretly dragging him up. Once the Power Sauce representatives get wind of the situation, they unsuccessfully attempt to warn Homer not to continue with the dangerous stunt, revealling that the bar is actually made up of apple cores and Chinese newspapers.

The mountain proves too treacherous and high for Homer, who takes shelter in a cave. In it, he finds McAllister's frozen body and evidence proving it was Grampa who betrayed him. Too tired and ashamed to continue, Homer sticks his flag pole on the ledge, ripping off the Power Sauce flag and tying his own make-shift white flag to the pole. The ensuing crack collapses the rest of the mountain, making where he is on now the peak. Proud, he uses McAllister's body to sled down, where he is greeted by the crowd. When he goes to show the family, they find out that the flag has disappeared from the pole. Nevetheless, Bart is proud of his father for making it to the top of the mountain.[2][3]


The episode was pitched and written by John Swartzwelder. The writing staff had to find a new angle for Homer's weight problems, as the idea had been used several times before. This was emphasized in this episode when Marge does not seem to care that Homer is going to try to lose weight again.[4]

In the scenes where the Sherpas were speaking, the show staff went to great lengths to find translations. Originally, the producers of the film adaption of the book Into Thin Air were contacted to help. The film producers were shocked at the trouble the Simpsons staff were going to, and replied that they had simply made up translations in the film. The staff then had to consult various experts by telephone.[4]

The idea of the upper part of the mountain collapsing so Homer would be at the peak came from Mike Scully's brother Brian, after the staff "desperately needed a way out".[4]

Cultural references[edit]

The mountain Homer must climb, the Murderhorn, is a reference to the mountain Matterhorn, which is located in the Swiss Alps.[1] The name of the episode is a reference to the Fox series King of The Hill.


In its original broadcast, "King of the Hill" finished 23rd in ratings for the week of April 27–May 4, 1998, with a Nielsen rating of 9.4, equivalent to approximately 9.2 million viewing households. It was the fourth highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files, King of the Hill, and Ally McBeal.[5]

The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, thought well of the episode, stating: "A quite charming little adventure in which, in an effort to impress Bart, Homer undertakes a dangerous adventure and comes through successfully. It's nice because just for once, to all intents and purposes, Homer actually succeeds in something."[1]


  1. ^ a b c Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "This Little Wiggy". Retrieved 2007-11-01.
  2. ^ a b c Gimple, Scott (1999). The Simpsons Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued. Harper Collins Publishers. p. 40. ISBN 0-06-098763-4.
  3. ^ "King of the Hill" The Retrieved on November 1, 2007
  4. ^ a b c Scully, Mike (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "King of the Hill" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  5. ^ Associated Press (May 7, 1998). "'Merlin' magic works again for NBC". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E.

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