Bobby Hill (born 29 September 1985) is a fictional character on the animated television show King of the Hill. Bobby is the only son of Hank and Peggy Hill. He is a short and overweight kid who likes fruit pies, video games, prop comedy, popular culture, music and socialising with friends. He is a sweet-natured, gentle boy, who is not very athletic but is cute and funny and popular with other kids his age.
A reoccurring theme in King of the Hill is the father-son relationship between Bobby and his father, Hank. Hank is a proud Texan and American. He is a deeply conservative and religious man, who is uncomfortable discussing sex and expressing his emotions, and he has very strict values. Hank and Bobby often struggle to find common interests, but despite their differences have a close relationship. A reoccurring joke in the show is Hank uttering the line, 'That boy ain't right' when Bobby does something that makes him uncomfortable.
Bobby Hill was voiced by Pamela Adlon, who received praise for her portrayal of Bobby, and won an Emmy for her performance in Bobby Goes Nuts. Bobby Hill's popularity has seen him compared to Bart Simpson and he has been called one of the greatest cartoon characters of all time. Here are five of his best episodes.
1. Bobby Goes Nuts
Hey, I didn't go looking for trouble. Trouble came-a-knockin' and Bobby Hill's foot answered the door.
Episode Details: Season 6, Episode 1 Written by: Norm Hiscock Directed by: Tricia Garcia Best Quote:
Bobby Hill: That's my purse! I don't know you!
Bobby Hill, Bobby Goes Nuts
Bobby Goes Nuts is one of the most popular episodes of King of the Hill and is considered a classic by many film and TV critics. The episode begins with Connie inviting Bobby over to her house to liven up her boring slumber party.
Her father, Kahn, interrupts the party and kicks Bobby out. Bobby is attacked by a group of bullies who beat him up and make him eat dirt. After Bobby runs home, Hank encourages him to learn how to defend himself by enrolling in a boxing class at the YMCA.
Later, when Bobby arrives at the YMCA, he finds out that there are no spaces left in the boxing class, so he enrolls in a women's self-defence class instead. It is there he learns to shout 'That's my purse! I don't know you!' and to kick men in the groin as a form of self-defence.
Bobby starts using this defence to fight back against bullies at school which gets him in trouble. Hank explains to Bobby that it is wrong to kick boys in the testicles and decides to teach him to box himself. Hank puts on a pair of boxing gloves and starts punching Bobby in the face. Enraged, Bobby kicks his father in the testicles, causing him to collapse in agony.
As a result of hitting his father, Bobby is punished at home. This upsets Bobby, who thinks he is just defending himself, so he starts acting out at home and disrespecting his father. This leads to a confrontation between Bobby and Peggy, where he kicks her in the crotch, but this time his secret weapon doesn't work because she doesn't have testicles.
This is such a great episode. It has some of the best comedic writing in the entire series. Bobby's empowered cry of 'That's my purse! I don't know you!' is his most popular quote among fans and is considered among many to be one of the most memorable lines ever uttered on television.
After Hank is kicked in the testicles, there is a hilarious moment when Bill Dauterive bends over him and says to him, loudly and slowly, with long pauses between each of the words,'YOU. HAVE. BEEN. KICKED. IN. THE. TESTICLES.' Another great moment in the episode happens after Bobby kicks his mother in the crotch. Unflinching, Peggy tells her son that she does not have any testicles. Kahn, their neighbour, leans over the fence and shouts 'She's bluffing. Finish her!'
Episode Details: Seven 7, Episode 6 Written by: Dan Sterling Directed by: Dominic Polcino Best Quote:
Bobby: This one's pretty.
Hank: Not if we go by the book. According to the checklist, this one's perfect.
Bobby: But I like how mine's a little off-center. It's got Wahbi-Sabi.
Hank: You can't win an argument by making up words.
Bobby:Wahbi-Sabi is an Eastern tradition, Dad. It's celebrating the beauty in what's flawed. Like the crack in the Liberty Bell or the mole on Cindy Crawford's face.
Hank: The Liberty Bell is great. But come on, if it was in a competition with a bunch of other bells without cracks, it would lose.
Bobby: But sometimes it's the imperfections that make you love something even more. So what if this rose is a little short, a little wide? It's got more personality than those other ones.
Hank: Uh-huh. But we're out to win.
Bobby and Hank, The Son Also Roses
One of Hank Hill's biggest flaws is how much he pressures Bobby to follow traditional male gender norms and traditions and to follow in his footsteps. What makes Bobby so interesting is how he constantly challenges gender stereotypes and what his father expects of him. In the episode, The Son Also Roses, Hank encourages Bobby to join the football team as towel manager. He would prefer for his son to be a football player, but he knows he is not the sporting type. He just wants his son to be on a team like he was. Bobby joins the team, but ends up hating his position, so he quits and takes up rose gardening instead.
Bobby hides his roses from Hank at first because he fears he will judge him for quitting football to start a rose garden. After Hank finds out about his hobby, he is aghast that his son quit football to sniff flowers, but warms to the idea when Peggy tells him that there are rose growing competitions. Hank decides to let Bobby grow his roses and encourages him to enter into the rose contest. He makes a deal with Bobby that if he wins he will let him plant his roses in the front garden.
Hank later learns that there is a lot of fierce competition to win the rose contest. He starts to treat growing roses very seriously, much more than Bobby, and develops a competitive attitude toward winning. Hank is a firm believer in following rules and being a winner, which causes him to clash with Bobby, who is more carefree and interested in just having a positive experience. The differences between the father and son become apparent when Bobby selects a rose to enter in the contest he thinks has 'Wahbi-Sabi' which is an Eastern tradition which celebrates what is flawed. Hank scoffs at this philosophy and chooses a rose that he thinks fits the checklist's definition of perfect. His arrogance causes Bobby to lose the competition.
Hank is disappointed that they lost the competition but comes away from the experience with a better understanding of his son. He decides to plant Bobby's roses in their front garden, saying that although they lost the competition, he is still proud of Bobby and all of his Wabi-Sabi.
Episode Details: Season 5, Episode 12 Written by: Johnny Hardwick Directed by: Dominic Polcino Best Quote:
Hank Hill: [sighs after finding Bobby with the ventriloquist dummy] My son is playing with dolls, there I said it
Dale Gribble: He's a sissy, there I said that!
Hank Hill to Dale Gribble, Who's The Dummy?
Now Who's the Dummy? Is another great episode that focuses on the relationship between Hank and Bobby. The episode begins with Bobby performing "Froggy went a Courtin" with his class at a nursing home. He attracts the attention of one of the residents who liked his performance and decides to give him his old ventriloquist dummy, Chip Block.
Chip Block is an 'All American' character who knows a lot about sports. Bobby begins studying sport facts so he can put on a good show with Chip. After Hank discovers him with the dummy, he is mortified at first, because he thinks his son is playing with dolls. Over time, he warms to the idea of Chip, after Bobby wins him over with his act and sports knowledge. Hank enjoys Chip's company so much, it disheartens Bobby, who starts to feel like his father likes Chip more than him.
After the original Chip Block is lost in an accident, Hank decides to build a newer, better Chip, that he will call Chip 2. Hank begins work on modelling Chip 2 after various athletes he admires. He doesn't realise it but what he is doing is building a new son, the son he wishes he had, who doesn't reject traditional male gender norms and traditions like Bobby does. He even tells Bobby that he will be at his work bench cobbling together something he can be proud of.
When Peggy points out to Hank that his favouritism of Chip is hurting Bobby's feelings, Hank tries to argue he is making Chip 2 so that 'they' can spend time with Bobby together.
After speaking with Peggy, Hank re-considers his plans for Chip 2. He scraps his original plans and instead creates a new dummy that looks just like Bobby. When he gives it to Bobby, his son is delighted, and immediately gives the new doll the same personality as his own.
I really liked the ending of this episode. Whenever Hank gets involved in any of Bobby's activities, he has a habit of taking over, being too controlling, and wanting to win at everything. Hank has a lot of trouble seeing eye to eye with Bobby and can often get in the way of his son's passion and enthusiasm. Hank's decision to scrap his ideal version of Chip 2 to create a dummy that looks just like his son was a sweet moment where he admits that he was doing the wrong thing and makes an effort to embrace his son for who he is.
Episode Details: Season 5, Episode 7 Written by: Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck Directed by: Cyndi Tang-Loveland Best Quote:
Hank Hill: I needed to use the restroom, but I couldn't face the guys at the trough.
Hank Hill, What Makes Bobby Hill Run
This episode begins with Bobby expressing concern to Connie that there are not enough photos of him in the school year book. Bobby decides he needs to do something to achieve immortality, so he sets his sights on becoming the next Landry Longhorn, the school mascot.
The next day, at the school gymnasium, Bobby delights everyone by putting on a showstopper of a performance as the Landry Longhorn. He wins the role and is happy, until Hank, Dale, Bill and Boomhauer tells him about the McMaynerbury's Whuppin's. Whenever Arlen is winning, it is a tradition for the McManerbury band to charge the Longhorn and beat him. During Bobby's first match as the mascot, when the McMaynerbury band approach him to deliver the whuppin, he gets so scared he runs off the field.
After suffering his humiliation, Bobby is pressured to quit being the Longhorn. But he refuses to give in his horns and decides the best thing he can do is make a new tradition. He breaks into Belton Middle School and steals their school mascot the Belton armadillo. After spending the night in a trashcan to avoid some bullies, Bobby enters the Belton fan section of the stadium and does a taunting dance holding the armadillo above his head. The Arlen fans cheer and Bobby is charged by the Belton team but this time he doesn't run. He closes his eyes, smiles, and takes his whuppin. As he is buried beneath the swarm of bodies, Connie takes a photo, which ends up in the year book.
I love how Bobby tackles his problems in this episode. I don't blame him for being scared of the McMaynerbury's Whuppin's. He's only a thirteen-year-old kid. It's a bit unfair to expect him to take a beating from a bunch of other kids on behalf of his school. I really like how he didn't give up his horns after he got scared and ran off the field to avoid his whuppin. He found the courage to wear the horns again and to prove that he had what it takes to be a good Landry Longhorn and earn his place in the year book.
Episode Details: Season 7, Episode 15 Written by: Dan Sterling Directed by: Gary McCarver Best Quote:
Hank Hill : I've explained responsibility to him a hundred times.
Cotton Hill : Explain? You don't explain responsibility to a child, you pound it into them with steel-toed boots!
Hank Hill to Cotton Hill, An Officer and a Gentle Boy
An Officer and a Gentle Boy explores the relationship between Bobby and his grandfather Cotton. One interesting aspect of Bobby's character is how he doesn't like to take advice about how to live his life and doesn't apologise for that. Bobby has his own voice, his own interests and his own life.
This frustrates Hank who wants Bobby to be more like him. But the more he tries to force him to like his interests, the more Bobby resists. But it's not just Bobby's personality getting in the way of Hank bonding with his son. It's also his age. The older Hank gets, the more he struggles to understand his son, because Bobby is a bit of an odd ball, and Hank has forgotten what it was like to be a teenager.
An Officer and a Gentle Boy begins with Hank trying to bond with Bobby over mowing the lawn, but his son is uninterested. When he tries to punish him by making him rake leaves, Bobby is unfazed by the punishment and has fun in the leaves. Hank worries that nothing he does gets through to Bobby. His father Cotton suggests that he sends Bobby to his old military school Fort Berk. Cotton is a World War Two veteran and a cantankerous old man who is loud, crude, racist and sexist. He has a soft spot for his grandson Bobby, who he calls his Bing-Bing, and Bobby calls him his Ging-GIng.
Hank and Peggy agree to send Bobby to Fort Berk and enroll him as a cadet. Cotton has a lot of fond memories of when he went to Fort Berk as a kid when the teachers there were tough on the kids. But when the family arrives at the school, they find that it has changed a lot and become less brutal. Bobby ends up liking the school and his classes and even makes some friends. This enrages Cotton when he hears about it so he takes over the school as commanding officer and brings back a lot of the harsh punishments that were common when he was a student there.
He comes down hard on Bobby, but now matter how hard he tries to break him he cannot crush his spirit. Finally, he ends up throwing Bobby in 'the hole' which is a cement locked shed in a final effort to break him. Bobby spends three days in the hole, but when he comes out he yawns, stretches, and is completely unfazed by his experience. He has no ill-feelings toward Cotton and even smiles at him. This causes much confusion in Cotton. He tried everything he could to break Bobby, but nothing worked. Cotton realises that his grandson has a strong will power and can't easily be broken, and he respects him for that. A couple of the other cadets ask Bobby how he managed to survive in the hole, and he tells them that he found some inspirational graffiti on the walls, which read that Cotton Hill had lasted two days in there. Bobby added his own inscription under his grandfathers, which read Bobby Hill lasted for three days, and that is what got him through.
Why? Bobby Hill was a fictional character that appeared on the animated TV show King of the Hill. He has been called one of the most interesting, complex and believable child characters to ever appear on television.