Saturday, September 12, 2009

Adios to "King of the Hill"

The artistic staff departed months ago. Come tomorrow night, the last new series episodes make their final goodbyes:

The double episode that ends the show's 13-year run just calmly serves up another slice of life in Arlen, Tex. Even the acknowledgement of its own departure is handled matter-of-factly, with Hank Hill figuratively passing the family torch to his son, Bobby.

"King of the Hill" has always been funny because it never tried to be funny. The casual viewer often might have thought not much was happening, period.

But just when you decided that Hank, his wife, Peggy, and their pals were all white-bread Middle American clueless, they'd say something that showed there was genuine perception and insight bubbling around in there. Kind of like in America itself ...

The crew that made the show had a quiet, "can do" spirit, and happily worked on the series for years. It's a shame the party has ended, and a shame that all the folks that kept King of the Hill humming are scattered to other jobs. ... "Good ain't forever and bad ain't for good ..."

(Entertainment Weekly catalogues its fifteen favorite KOTH episodes.)


Anonymous said...

I was never a fan, but apparently also in the minority judging by the length of the run. To everyone who worked on the show, good job.

Anonymous said...

"The crew that made the show had a quiet, "can do" spirit, and happily worked on the series for years. It's a shame the party has ended..."

One wonders what show you are talking about. "Can do" spirit-what does that mean? Did the artists have to walk uphill to get to their desks? Did they have to work in the dark, without pencils or paychecks? As opposed to what, the defeatist attitude at, say, Nickelodeon?

Wasn't this the show that was non-union for most of its run? Wasn't this the show that helped establish the practice of admission tests by insisting on handing out some of the lengthiest and most difficult tests in the business? Isn't this the show that fired half of its storyboard staff two seasons ago, where some nervous directors run around firing artists at will? Some party.

The show was a success because of an original, solid concept and strong characters created by Mike Judge and consistent micromanaging creative supervision by Wes Archer. I'm sure the staff was as talented, competent and professional as any in the field, but lets not get carried away. We are not talking Golden Age Disney, here. It was just a TV show. The ratings are down. The show is canceled. Life goes on.

"..scattered to other jobs."

They are all employed, now? You know that for a fact? Or is the "scattered" part the point? Some magic group chemistry is now tragically lost to the world- Please!

Anonymous said...

The abiding bitterness of some in our industry never fails to amaze. Do you really feel better now?

There is a contingent in animation for whom schadenfreude is a life philosophy. You can usually spot them and avoid them, though fortunately they spend most of their time unemployed.

Anonymous said...

What schadenfreude? I didn't say I was happy the show was canceled. I'm neither happy nor unhappy about it. The long run of the show is more than sufficient testimony to its quality. I'm not bitter that a quality show had a long run. That's the way it's supposed be.

I was reacting to the sentimental, wistful tone of Steve's last paragraph. It seemed a bit fan-boyish for a professional blog. For some reason, it makes me feel uncomfortable to hear my business rep talk like a coffee-table book.

We are all professionals. We all do the best we can when we are involved in a production. We all enjoy the communal aspects of our profession. We all take pride in our work, especially when we are involved in a production of quality like KOTH.

I was just contributing some perspective and reality to the dialog. Of all the reasons the show was successful, and even came back after being canceled, (which was remarkable and unusual), the beatific attitude of the crew was the least of them. If you had a transcendental experience there, I'm happy for you. Some of us didn't.

Consider that our "bitterness" might be the result, not the cause of our professional experience, but thanks for the curse, just the same.

Now, I feel better.

Anonymous said...

The show may have been non-union for most of its run, but it was the King of the Hill crew that got the fire going to finally unionize Film Roman. For that I say thanks King of the Hill!

Steve Hulett said...

Inside Film Roman, the KOTH crew was certainly pushing for unionization.

If it had been up to them, the show would have been under a TAG contract long before it was.

Anonymous said...

"Scattered to other jobs?" I'm a former KOTH/FR employee and not employed yet.

Anonymous said...

A lot of the old King of the Hill crew seems to be working on Cleveland.

Anonymous said...

Re: the KOTH crew at Cleveland--
Yeah, the Directors and A.D.'s..
That's about it..

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