A.V. Club Most Read

News Newswire Great Job, Internet!
TV Club All Reviews What's On Tonight
Video All Video A.V. Undercover A.V. Cocktail Club Film Club
Reviews All Reviews Film TV Music Books
Features All Features Newswire Random Roles
Sections Film Tv Music Food Comedy Books Games Aux
Our Company About Us Contact Advertise Privacy Policy Careers RSS
Onion Inc. Sites The Onion The A.V. Club ClickHole Onion Studios

"Behind Closed Doors"

King Of The Hill has a tendency toward being formulaic, evidenced by this season in particular, which has rehashed the Hank-vs.-jackasses conflict to varying effects nearly every week. However, tonight's episode proves that the show is still capable of fresh permutations on the same-ol-same-ol.

I think the key to tonight's episode was how Hill-specific it was. There were no exploding car dealerships, no school carnival, just small-scale family drama, leaving room for plenty of subtle hilarity ("Sarcasm, huh? Well, two can play at that game… cute baby,") and a nice chunk of pathos as well. Egged on by a book-pimping family "guru" who shames her at a school meeting, Peggy tries to bring her family closer as only she can: through a series of increasingly smothering changes (a family-tracking dry-erase board, an underwear-outside-the-bedroom policy, removing all the doors in the house) that eventually drive Hank and Bobby to actively avoid her. It's a completely believable real-world set-up executed in a completely absurd manner, thanks mostly to Peggy's ability to be both soul-crushingly mundane and bat-shit insane at the same time.

Peggy's high opinion of herself can be grating, and when she faces her inevitable humbling, it can be either schadenfreude-tastic or just awkward. But when she discovers Hank and Bobby missed the family Christmas portrait because they were hiding from her affection, I actually felt a little sad for Peggy, who, while often hilarious, does not normally inspire feelings of sympathy. The final act, though, managed to wrap it all up in a touching yet not-contrived manner, with all three be-guilted family members independently convening at the mall (Hank to kick the guru's ass for messing with Peggy's head, Bobby to beg the photographer for a reschedule, and Peggy to eat pretzels and mope), where they plot to steal the Dooley family's undeserved portrait session. The resulting closing shot, of a mustard-stained Peggy and a mid-sneeze Bobby, was sufficiently endearing while avoiding schmaltziness, a nice wrap-up to a sweet yet somewhat twisted family story (twisted even further by a final reminder of Bill's obsessive weirdness).

Grade: A-

Stray observations

--The alley B-story (if it can even be called that–it was more just a segue device) was typical Dale shenanigans, yet I never really get sick of those: "Now my beer tastes like my back pocket!"

--More Peggy's diary please: "Dear diary, Bobby's eyebrows have still not grown in; it is disturbing."

--Anyone else dying to know what was in that mysterious bag Strickland gave hank for that emergency "propane run"?

--Apologies for the lateness of this posting; due to a mind-numbingly long commute back from SXSW I was unable to watch/comprehend any television until this morning.