Screenshot Saturday: King of the Hill- Grand Theft Arlen

The gamer in me can’t help but love this episode of King of the Hill, although it takes many (hilarious) digs at us. The episode follows Hank as he gets addicted to a video game, of all things, and Bobby’s own struggles with PE. It is a pretty hilarious episode, although I will forever be sad that the fake GTA rip-off in the show was never turned into a game.

The episode opens with Bobby playing video games at breakfast. Hank gets mad at him, and Bobby explains that students are allowed to skip out on PE for a video game class. Hank, of course, steps in to right this wrong, as he sees it, and goes with Bobby to school. Hank first forces Bobby back into normal PE to prepare for the Presidential Fitness test and then confronts the principal as to why he is allowing this. The principal gives the excuse of wanting more technology in school, and Hank doesn’t like this answer. He then meets and is confronted by two of the student teachers who design games and are enamored with Hank.

They show up at Hank’s work to mess around with things and love his hot temper and attitude. Hank kicks them out, and we get to see Hank trying to train Bobby for the fitness challenge. Joseph interrupts them to ask Bobby for help with his video game homework, then informs them it is all about propane. – spelled Pro-Pain, which Hank is already mad about – Hank is shocked and angered to discover that the likeness of Strickland and himself are in the game. Strickland asks Hank to play the game and copy down every time they use something he owns so he can sue them. Thus begins Hank’s spiral.

The game is a Grand Theft Auto rip-off, and Hank is shocked and appalled by it. Then starts to realize he can play it “as a good guy” and can play in manager mode, and he gets really into it.

Meanwhile, Bobby is still attempting to get fit for PE, now with Joseph stepping in to motivate him, which goes… poorly. Hank dives further and further into the game, discovering online mode, buying a new controller, and starting to master it. At this point, Strickland finds out the game is online for free, so the developers aren’t making money on it, and there is no more reason for Hank to play. He keeps going, though.

Peggy is upset because she sees Hank becoming further addicted and ignoring Bobby, who is actually improving but clearly needs Hank’s help. Hank steps away from the game once but goes right back to his gaming addiction.

It gets desperate enough that Peggy has to go to the game developers and ask them to help her. They claim boredom will set in and handle it, to which Peggy says that it won’t work for Hank; he’ll stick to anything. Then they agree to help. While Hank is playing online, another character comes in and wrecks him. It turns out that Peggy had the developers make her an invincible character with the ability to destroy the game. She beats Hank and then does so. It takes Hank a moment, but then the fog of gaming starts to lift, and normal Hank comes back.

The episode ends with Peggy and Hank cheering Bobby on as he takes the fitness test. He manages to do one pull-up, something he was struggling with while Hank was ignoring him, but is unable to do the subsequent two to pass the test. Bobby fails and goes over to his parents, defeated. Hank, however, steps up to help Bobby, as he failed to do for most of the episode and shows him that Bobby actually managed to do better than most of the kids in class and that he is proud of him for trying. It is a sweet ending to an otherwise hilarious episode.

I really love this one. The game is funny, and as I mentioned, I would love to have actually played it. Peggy absolutely rips into Hank in a way that even though I am a gamer, I can enjoy. The line “I married a man, not a gamer” is especially hilarious.

Joseph and Bobby are also in top form. Joseph’s attempts to motivate Bobby are funny, as is Bobby, as he struggles with things. Yet we still get a few solid moments of Bobby and Hank’s characters. Bobby begins to get better after all the practicing, and while he’s a bit funny about it, it’s nice to see him start to charge headfirst into things. Bobby’s enthusiasm, even if lacking the skill to back it up, is one of his better traits.

I also really love the ending. Hank can be… a rough father figure. He is never as bad as Cotton, and the episodes where he starts to head in that direction usually have Hank pulling it back. In this episode, he has the exact opposite problem, ignoring his son in favor of the game. However, he still comes around in the end. He is not mad or disappointed that Bobby didn’t pass, but truly proud of him and promises to be there to help him with the challenge next year.

Bottom line? One of the funnier episodes. Less sweet and meaningful, other than the ending, but solidly hilarious. Hank, as a gamer, is well done while still bringing humor that the very group it is making fun of can enjoy. I highly recommend this episode go on everybody’s to-watch list.

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