What is an animated sitcom, or really any sitcom, without holiday episodes? More often than not, the Christmas and end-of-year celebration episodes are usually some of the best—and King of the Hill is no exception.
With the soon-to-come revival of King of the Hill on Hulu, let’s take a minute and go over the best King of the Hill Christmas episodes in order from worst to best. Have a different opinion on what the worst and best King of the Hill Christmas episodes are? Let us know in the comments how you would rank them.
The Father, the Son, and J.C.
While this is a great episode that explores the relationship between Hank and his father, Cotton, it’s not a great Christmas episode. This episode could’ve almost revolved around any other holiday or no holiday at all, which is why it’s first on our list of the best King of the Hill Christmas episodes, ranked from worst to best.
As we said, this episode focuses more on Hank and Cotton’s relationship than any sort of Christmas theme. While out shopping for presents, the Hill family runs into Cotton, which reminds them of how strained the relationship between Hank and Cotton is. Peggy and Bobby decide to try and fix it, giving Hank the best possible Christmas gift.
Other than that, the only other Christmasy thing in this episode is a holiday party where Hank finally tells Cotton that he hates him, only for Jimmy Carter to come along and save the day (who Bobby thinks is Jesus due to the fact that Carter is a carpenter, wearing a tag that says “J.C.,” and bringing families together on Christmas.
Livin’ on Reds, Vitamin C and Propane
Less Christmasy than the other episodes, “Livin’ on Reds, Vitamin C and Propane” isn’t a bad choice if you’re looking for the best King of the Hill Christmas episodes, but there are definitely better options on this list. This episode begins with Tilly’s friend in Arlen passing away and leaving her furniture to Tilly. Hank decides to deliver it to Tilly in Arizona and rents an 18-wheeler, taking Bobby on a little road trip but promising to be back by Christmas.
Unbeknownst to them, Dale, Boomhauer, and Bill have taken up refuge in the back of the trailer and wind up shooting the door to get out at a truck stop half-naked once it gets too hot back there. Hank is rightfully upset with them but also upset that all the other truckers don’t see him as a real trucker and make fun of him.
To make up for lost time, Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer take the wheel as Hank sleeps, only to wind up stuck with a dead battery on a snowy mountain road. Hank has to think like a trucker if he wants to finish his delivery and prove to those arrogant truck drivers that he is a real trucker too.
This episode is almost like a time capsule, as it brings us back to when Y2K was a legitimate fear for many Americans and people around the world. It also sports an excellent lesson for Hank and the viewers towards the end.
“Hillennium” begins with Hank preparing for Christmas and overhears residents discussing Y2K and stocking up on supplies. At the same time, Peggy is unhappy with her current computer and is worried it isn’t Y2K compliant. As the episode goes on, Hank suddenly becomes increasingly worried about Y2K, especially after he learns that computers failed to send a shipment of propane to Arlen and there will be a shortage.
As Hank tries to stock up and have a good Christmas for himself and his family, he finds himself dreaming that they’re all in a whack-a-mole game that he saw earlier in the episode. After asking everyone why they’re simply going along with getting whacked, he sees Tom Landry, who tells him that even if a situation looks grim, he can still try to enjoy it. This is another lesson that Hank ends up learning, which is one we could definitely all keep in mind from time to time.
Twas the Nut Before Christmas
This one has a timeline that runs well after Christmas but is definitely Christmas-themed and belongs on this list. Just like in “Pretty, Pretty Dresses” (the next entry on our list of the best King of the Hill Christmas episodes), this one revolves around Bill and his crazy, depressing antics again.
After Bill opens a Christmas village in his yard and dresses up as Santa, he finds himself extending the holiday season after falling in love with the magic of Christmas. He loves it so much that he extends it to Valentine’s Day, causing a potential single-mother love interest to leave him after getting weirded out by everything.
Bill suddenly finds himself getting closer to a young, ne’er-do-well named Wally. Wally abuses his relationship with Bill, and it’s clear that he only talks to Bill to get access to cigarettes, alcohol, and money. Bill is blind to all of this, as he thinks of Wally as a son, which only ends up leading to disaster for both of them.
Pretty, Pretty Dresses
This episode almost made our best King of the Hill episodes list, but we opted to save it for the best Christmas episodes list. We all know that Bill is a tragic character and often the butt of quite a few jokes, but there is no sadder episode that features Bill as a significant part of the plot than “Pretty, Pretty Dresses.”
We all know that Bill still thinks his ex-wife Lenore will eventually come back, but this episode takes it to a whole new level. After getting a pet Iguana, naming it Lenore, and having it eat a bug on the dinner table, Bill is banned from the Hill household and can’t attend their Christmas party.
This results in Bill dressing up as a woman and crashing the Christmas party, claiming that he’s Lenore. Yeah, he’s gone off the deep end in this one. The other reason this episode is great is that we get to see Hank in a dress, too, something he himself would have never thought of doing. It’s a great, dark episode that shows just how vulnerable Bill is and just how far Hank will go to be a good friend.
The Unbearable Blindness of Laying
Early King of the Hill has some of the best episodes, and “The Unbearable Blindness of Laying” from season 2 is definitely the best King of the Hill Christmas episode. Having already met Hank’s dad in the first season, we are finally introduced to Hank’s mom and Cotton’s ex-wife, Tilly. Unfortunately for Hank, he also has to deal with the fact that his mom has a new boyfriend, Gary Kasner.
He’s already uncomfortable with the idea of his mother and her boyfriend sleeping together in the same room in his house, but there’s worse to come for Hank. After Peggy leaves the proper foam finger back at the house, Hank heads home to get it and suddenly finds himself staring at his mother and Gary making love on the kitchen table. Hank is so distraught that he actually goes blind and forgets ever seeing it.
As Hank tries to deal with being blind and his friends making fun of him, he goes on a journey of change and acceptance with Gary, especially after Cotton insults Tilly and Gary stands up for her. Hank is constantly going through changes throughout the show, and this episode is a great example of a holiday feel-good story about a son coming to accept that his mother’s happiness is more important than his own comfort.