Mike Judge and Greg Daniels’ King of the Hill was such a fully formed, wonderful show right out the gate that it’s easy to forget that, at one point, its creators would have needed to convince a bunch of television executives the series would be worth their investment. Of course, despite Judge’s pull from MTV’s Beavis and Butthead, selling a national TV corporation on the merits of a cartoon ode to small-town, mundane Southern life does sound like a bit of an uphill battle, even today.
It’s perhaps knowing this that Judge crafted a two-minute King of the Hill pencil test for Fox execs introducing them to Arlen’s best and brightest residents back in 1996. While first uploaded to YouTube quite a while back by Don Smith, the bit of archival gold has recently resurfaced thanks to a keen-eyed Redditor, and is now rightfully making the rounds once again.
“I’d say y’all got the makings of a damn good cartoon here,” Hank tells viewers, in what is now an admittedly strange break of the fourth wall. And dangit, Bobby, when Hank’s right, he’s right.
The rudimentary proof of concept shows early ideas for most of King of the Hill’s main players, anchored (of course) by a Mike Judge-voiced Hank Hill alongside both Bobby and Peggy—who, in case you weren’t aware, “habla español.” While a couple characters like Dale and Bill don’t hint at possessing fully realized personalities just yet, Boomhauer appears to have been ready to go from the start, which feels very right.
It’s still anyone’s guess whether that much-rumored King of the Hill reboot will ever actually come to fruition, but just to be safe, we encourage Judge to make another pencil test for a new chapter of the show. It worked so well the first time, after all.
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