ThrowbackThursday : King of the Hill ‘Naked Ambition’

King-of-the-hill-bobby-hill

You know a show is special when, after it’s over, you wonder what ever becomes of the characters.  After re-watching most of King of the Hill, I sometimes wonder if Bobby and Connie make it. If they manage to stay together through the ups and downs of adolescence, the awkward high school years and the demanding college years. I like to think they stay together, but then I’m a romantic and a sucker for a happy ending.  Once more Mr. Judge and Company gives us an episode that solidifies King of the Hill as one of the best animated sitcoms of all time. A  truly endearing episode that once again highlights the perils of growing up in a suburban town and the uncomfortable fumblings of first love and exploration.

I’ll dispense with the B plot- the Alley boys get committed to a mental institution and they need Hank to bail them out. It’s an amusing enough story, but the A plot is what really shines here.

After an afternoon at the lake, Bobby accidentally sees Luanne naked in the shower. Upon hearing this, Joseph, a raging ball of hormones in his own right, wants to see her naked, too.  They are caught by Connie who thinks they are peeping on her. Disgusted, she ignores Bobby for a while and even goes so far as to date a Laotian boy her parents want to set her up with. After the date Connie comes home to find Bobby in her room and the two talk.

Despite their age, the conversation they have is very mature and doesn’t rely on cheap sex gags. Bobby insists he wasn’t trying to see her naked, but delicately implies that one day he would like to because “that’s what boyfriends and girlfriends do”. It’s a touching moment, really.

Connie agrees and Bobby takes his shirt off, the embarrassment on his face is evident.  Bobby isn’t an Adonis and he’ll probably always be chunky, but Connie simply says “you have a pretty body” and all of the awkwardness is gone. She begins to take her shirt off, too, but Khan and Mihn interrupt her. Their reaction is priceless and appropriately timed (I fear if it were rushed, the beauty of the scene would have been wasted,) and all hell breaks loose. Khan builds an 8 foot fence, but love prevails and Hank learns that Bobby likes girls.

God, I still don’t know how Mike Judge managed this.  How he can create a show that, in reruns, is still better than most sitcoms running today. He didn’t rely on cheap jokes and managed to once again show the newness of youth in a way that’s endearing and poignantly funny.  It could have been cheap, it could have been trashy, it could have been any number of things, but King of the Hill is better than that and this episode proves it.

I suppose what I like most about this episode is Connie’s reaction to seeing Bobby with no shirt on in her bedroom. She doesn’t laugh at him or make him feel ashamed in his half nakedness. Bobby knows he isn’t going to win Mr. Universe in his life but Connie doesn’t make fun. She makes him feel comfortable, and in so doing, makes the audience feel comfortable too. As someone who has always struggled with body image issues it’s refreshing to have a character who isn’t superficial and accepts the lovable Bobby Hill with all of his imperfections.

Mr. Judge, you’ve done it again. This is my favorite episode of your show. Kudos.

10 out of 10.

Paulie Von Doom.