King of the Hill (The Simpsons)
"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. It was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Steven Dean Moore, and guest stars Brendan Fraser and Steven Weber. 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.
At a gym, Homer meets Rainier Wolfcastle who becomes his fitness coach. In two months, Homer is healthier and reveals what he has been doing to his family. At the gym, Rainier is being asked by two Power Sauce representatives to climb the tallest mountain in Springfield, "The Murderhorn", as a publicity stunt. When Rainier refuses, Homer takes on the challenge.
He is aided by two Sherpas as guides, who were instructed to drag Homer up the mountain as he sleeps. During one of these nights, Homer wakes up to discover that he is being secretly dragged, and fires the two Sherpas. Homer soon makes it to the summit and plants a flagpole. Rejoining the crowd, Bart is proud of Homer.
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.
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.
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.
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."
- Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "This Little Wiggy". BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
- Gimple, Scott (1999). The Simpsons Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued. Harper Collins Publishers. p. 40. ISBN 0-06-098763-4.
- "King of the Hill" The Simpsons.com. Retrieved on November 1, 2007
- Scully, Mike (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "King of the Hill" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Associated Press (May 7, 1998). "'Merlin' magic works again for NBC". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E.
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