King of the Hill – tape 2409

Mike Judge is an interesting writer. He came to prominence with Beavis and Butthead, two animated idiots making stupid comments on music videos for MTV. I never really liked it, although I have to give him kudos for predicting a large percentage of YouTube personalities.

With King of the Hill he moved into a longer-form show with half-hour comedies. This is the first episode, and they open with a reference to Seinfeld being a show about nothing – perhaps setting out their stall as a show about even less.

So many things get in the way of me enjoying this show. The character design is ugly, the animation is perfunctory, the voice acting is grating, but the main thing I think while watching it is why on earth is this a cartoon? It’s directed like a standard sitcom and if anything, the performances are more stilted than a normal sitcom, mainly due to the pacing of the show. I feel like it’s an affront to an entire medium. Perhaps I’m being unkind. Perhaps it’s just a wasted opportunity, but I guess if they did go more with the strengths of the medium, it would then be closer to The Simpsons. By sticking with the minimalist style.

After the first episode there’s a tantalising glimpse of Davros – I’ve no idea why Channel 4 would be covering Doctor Who – but sadly recording switches before we see too much.

Davros on Four

Before the next episode there’s a bit of Frasier.

The next episode is Square Peg.

Another slice of Frasier before Keeping Up with our Joneses.

More Frasier before the episode Luanne’s Saga.

There’s rather more Frasier than normal before the next episode – ether the recording started a lot earlier or they’re running late. We get the whole second half of Frasier. Then another episode of king of the Hill. It’s Westie Side Story.

One last episode on the tape – Hank’s Unmentionable Problem.

Following this is the start of TFI Friday, featuring Elton John, Kylie Minogue. There’s about 15 minutes of this before the tape stops.


  • BNFL
  • Nissan
  • Budweiser
  • Vic Reeves Big Night Out and Gas – featuring (I think) a young Lee Mack.

  • Pantene
  • KFC – Ryan Stiles and Ulrika Jonsson
  • Blackthorn Gold
  • KissFM
  • Adidas
  • trail: Indian Summer
  • Allied Dunbar
  • Speed 2 in cinemas
  • Swing II
  • McDonalds
  • Boston Beer – Elliot Gould
  • trail: Short Stories – The Flying Scrapman
  • Coca Cola – Neil Morrissey
  • Michelin Energy
  • Pantene
  • Swing II
  • Renault Scenic
  • Teletext
  • Budweiser
  • Lil-lets
  • Walker’s Crisps – Lineker and The Spice Girls
  • trail: Train to Pakistan
  • trail: Films of Fire: The Serpent
  • Renault Scenic
  • BNFL
  • KFC
  • John Smiths – Jack Dee
  • trail: Plane Crazy
  • trail: Pond Life
  • Vauxhall Frontera 4×4
  • Vimto – Purple Ronnie
  • Listerine – Keith Allen playing a fairy
  • The Best Latino Carnival in the World Ever
  • Caffreys
  • Event Horizon – in Cinemas
  • Smint
  • trail: Petrolheads
  • Blackthorn Gold
  • Ronseal Wood Filler
  • Bean – in cinemas
  • Blockbuster
  • McVities Go Ahead
  • Smint
  • trail: TFI Friday
  • trail: Batman (1966)
  • Southern Comfort
  • Aquatonic
  • Bean in cinemas
  • Direct Line
  • Southern Comfort
  • Sony Super Trinitron Wide
  • Budweiser
  • Aquatonic
  • Smint
  • trail: Coen Brothers Season
  • BT – Hugh Laurie

  • Kit Kat
  • Burger King
  • Clearasil
  • trail: TFI Friday
  • Levis
  • Diet Coke
  • Alisha’s attic – Alisha Rules the World
  • Eagle Star Direct
  • McDonalds
  • Vauxhall Sintra
  • BNFL
  • Gap
  • Lloyds & TSB
  • Toyota Corolla
  • BT – Hugh Laurie
  • Bacardi Breezer
  • Specsavers
  • Salon Selectives
  • Air Canada – Mike McShane
  • The Lost World video game
  • The Rock on video
  • Renault Scenic
  • Smint
  • Bacardi Breezer
  • Weetabix
  • Rolo
  • Rennie
  • John Smiths
  • KFC
  • Air Force One in cinemas
  • Audi Quattro
  • Smint
  • trail: Three Programmes about the death of Princess Diana
  • Mourning Diana
  • trail: A Dance to the Music of Time
  • trail: Bill and Ted
  • Bacardi Breezer
  • Burger King
  • General Accident
  • B&Q
  • Vanish
  • Max Factor
  • Renault Scenic
  • Smint
  • trail: The Big Breakfasts
  • trail: Diana aftermath
  • Oliver and Company on video
  • Guinness
  • Moondance the Album
  • My Best Friend’s Wedding – in cinemas
  • Clearasil
  • Thompson’s Roof Seal
  • Pantene
  • Shine 9
  • Terminator 2 on video
  • trail: A Dance to the Music of Time
  • trail: Marc Bolan – Dandy in the Underworld


  1. “the main thing I think while watching it is why on earth is this a cartoon?”

    That’s exactly why I always had a problem with “King Of The Hill” (well, that and my disliking everyone on it) – if you do an animated series, take advantage of it being animated. Otherwise you might as well rotoscope a live action show and be done with it… Hanna-Barbera tried something similar with some of their cartoons of the ’70s like “Devlin” (a family drama about a stunt rider and his siblings) and “These Are The Days” (which was H-B’s answer to “The Waltons.” Yes, because kids of the ’70s really wanted a cartoon set in the ’30s), and… well, you never saw Channel 4 repeat them in the ’90s like they did “Hong Kong Phooey,” did you?

  2. It is indeed Lee Mack presenting Gas. He talks about it in his book, he was extremely new to the circuit and was absolutely amazed when C4 asked him to present it, because he would have been pleased just to do a routine on it. He says he only had about twenty minutes of material at the time so they got Dominic Holland in to help him write the scripts. They gave Holland a tape of Mack’s act and the first thing he said to Mack when they met was “Well, we’ve got a lot of work to do, haven’t we?” Used to watch Gas every week, though, and it was the first place I ever saw Peter Kay.

    This tape dates from August/September 1997 so they delayed King of the Hill would have been from the days before Diana’s funeral, I presume. The TFI would have been the delayed first “proper” episode of the new series, delayed from the previous week. I think Elton John was always scheduled to appear because he was supposed to be on the promotion circuit for his new LP. On 6th September he was billed to appear on the lottery show, but it turns out he was live on BBC1 in another context.

    Never liked King of the Hill.

  3. Mike Judge’s humour can be very bleak (Idiocracy is one of the most depressing comedy movies ever), so at least KotH showed him being a little warmer, though he could still be unforgiving in places. The episode where Hank was caught in a tornado and all his clothes blew off was hilarious. And rest in peace Brittany Murphy.

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