Volume 90, Issue 64

Friday, January 17, 1997

double talk


Death of Royalty

King of the Hill
Sundays, 8:30 p.m.

Is it fair to expect good things from those who've done well in the past?

It was even money that King of the Hill would be the newest funny, prime time cartoon. Instead, Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butt-head, and Greg Daniels, a producer of The Simpsons, teamed up to bring the world 22 minutes of lame redneck jokes.

Their dry approach can't touch the holy-shit-that's-us message of Beavis and Butt-head or the satirical onslaught of The Simpsons. King of the Hill is a drab, poorly-animated and thoroughly unfunny program.

The main character is Anderson, a Beetle Bailey cum Al Bundy with Marmaduke for a son. The family trio is set in its home in White Trash Central, U.S.A. and it is their home which is the focus of the same backwoods gags that have been stereotyped into our brains in recent years. Anderson's buddies drink beer – always. His skimpily-dressed niece lives in his home because her parents are breaking things in their house. The neighbours' southern drawls are so thick you can't understand a word they're saying.

These situations are no different than those on Beavis and Butt-head, except there's no Beavis or Butt-head to make us laugh.

In last week's premiere there was precisely one laughable action. Anderson's buddy was sitting on his recliner when his wife was picked up by a native American "healer." His son walks down the stairs and his features are identical to those of the man in the car, making it obvious an affair is going on. OK, this is some comedy to work with.

But this is where Beavis and The Simpsons cannot work together. Whereas Springfield, U.S.A. is conducive to an extended plotline, Beavis and Butt-head's world must be interrupted by mind-numbing music videos. A Beavis story can be funny when presenting in bite-size format but 20 minutes straight can cause internal hemorrhaging. With an uninterrupted story, King of the Hill doesn't have a chance. There isn't a moment of good fortune for Anderson. Even Fred Flintstone had things go his way now and again.

Sometimes in cartoonland you want to go where not everybody knows your name. King of the Hill is an example. Judge and Daniels probably regret the decision to go ahead with their latest show. There won't be any giant Andersons strolling around amusement parks in the foreseeable future.

It's too bad because the teaming of two great cartoons could have been worth its weight in gold. Instead, it doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

–Dan Gladman

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca