Every Season Of King Of The Hill Ranked Worst To Best

Ever since "King of the Hill" debuted January 12, 1997 on Fox, fans have delighted at the amusing-yet-relatable antics of Hank, Peggy, and Bobby Hill, as well as their friends and neighbors in the fictional town of Arlen, Texas. One of the best aspects of the show is the writing of its characters, as they are all clearly defined and have their own set of idiosyncrasies, making it all the more hilarious when their quirks collide in otherwise mundane situations. "King of the Hill" has differentiated itself from other animated sitcoms in that it has generally focused on more realistic scenarios and finding humor in everyday life, as opposed to the often absurd comedy found in "The Simpsons" or "Family Guy." While the gags may not be as over-the-top as those typically found in animation, the show's creators still managed to deliver countless laugh-out-loud moments with its more character-driven comedy approach.

While "King of the Hill" has experienced some ups and downs throughout its 13-season run, it will still go down as one of the greatest animated sitcoms in television history, as even its middling seasons have delivered plenty of laughs and memorable moments. Plus, considering original series creators Mike Judge and Greg Daniels are working on a "King of the Hill" revival, fans can expect even more of the classic show. Until then, here's every season of "King of the Hill" ranked, according to IMDB.

13. Season 12

One of the best running jokes on "King of the Hill" is everyone knowing about Nancy's affair with John Redcorn except Dale himself. Heck, they even know that Dale isn't Joseph's real father. "Untitled Blake McCormick Project" had a lot of fun with this joke, as it consisted of Bill getting into a relationship with a woman who had previously been romantically involved with John. Things get even weirder, however, when Joseph develops a crush on the woman's daughter who ⁠— like Joseph ⁠— was sired by John.

One of the primary strengths of "King of the Hill" is its ability to touch on more dramatic themes while maintaining its heart and humor. "Death Picks Cotton" is a great example of this, as it deals with the coming passing of Hank's dad Cotton. Hank has always had a complex relationship with Cotton, so after his dad ends up on his deathbed due to a freak accident at a Japanese restaurant (due to a WWII flashback), Hank experiences a flurry of complicated emotions about the tragedy. Even Hank's attempt to pay tribute to his recently deceased father goes awry.

12. Season 13

While the final season of "King of the Hill" is one of its weakest, its final episode — "To Sirloin with Love" — did a terrific job of wrapping up the series in a way that reminded audiences of how much heart the show had without getting too sappy. In it, Bobby (played by the incomparable Pamela Adlon) finally develops a skill for scrutinizing different cuts of beef, something that Hank has been trying to teach him for most of Bobby's life. Hank, proud of his son for showing interest in something other than video games, encourages Bobby to join a meat-inspecting team at a nearby community college. While Hank and Bobby may never bond over sports or tools, one thing that will always bring them together is their love of BBQ.

Cotton Hill's death was an odd tearjerker, so it was nice to see an episode pay tribute to the beloved character. "Serves Me Right for Giving General George S. Patton the Bathroom Key" sees Hank being tasked to carry out his late father's final wishes, one of which involves a toilet that a certain legendary WWII general used.

11. Season 10

Hank, Bill, Boomhauer, and Dale may have been friends pretty much their entire lives, but that doesn't mean that dumb teenage drama won't erupt between them. Take, for example, the episode, "Hank's on Board," which sees Hank feeling hurt when he finds out that Boomhauer and Dale have been going on a clandestine fishing trip every single summer for years without Hank and Bill. Of course, when the guys get into trouble on their next trip, they'll find themselves lucky for having Hank around.

In "Business Is Picking Up," Bobby's middle school hosts a Career Day, which Hank thinks is the perfect time to get his son interested in his old man's propane business. However, Bobby's friend Joseph ends up taking Bobby's spot shadowing Hank, prompting Bobby to spend time with Peter Sterling (played by Johnny Knoxville) who picks up animal waste for a living. Bobby gets involved in more hijinks in "The Texas Panhandler" when he quits his job and takes to begging strangers for money instead. This episode also features guest appearances from Dax Shepard, Justin Long, and Andrea Bowen.

10. Season 11

It's always a blast when Hank becomes interested in the very thing he was initially against. Case in point: "Grand Theft Arlen." In this episode, Bobby's middle school implements a new program that allows students who are falling behind in gym to play video games, which deeply offends Hank's hard-working ethic. However, Hank falls for the allure of a particular video game called "Pro-Pain!," whose protagonist looks just like him. Meanwhile, Bobby is actually starting to get in shape for a change, which goes completely unnoticed by Hank due to his video game obsession.

Peggy is the center of "The Peggy Horror Picture Show," which sees her feeling ashamed of what she perceives to be a less-than-feminine appearance. However, her spirits are lifted when she meets Carolyn, who believes Peggy has a very womanly look. Peggy finally having another woman in her life to talk to makes Hank happy, but discovering that Carolyn is a drag queen who is only hanging out with Peggy because they think Peggy is a drag queen makes Hank mortified. While that's all going on, Bobby and Joseph are trying to become all-star pranksters, but find that every time they play a prank on someone, they end up benefiting from it.

9. Season 9

While Season 9 doesn't have much going for it (at least compared to previous seasons), there's still plenty to enjoy here. "Dale to the Chief" is a hilarious episode that shines the spotlight on Dale. Usually trusting conspiracy theories over what the government claims, Dale has a change of heart after he reads his son the Warren Commission Report and fails to find any discrepancies, prompting him to instantly fall in love with America. Of course, Dale's newfound patriotism causes some problems when Hank has to deal with a ton of bureaucracy after he sets out to fix his driver's license (which lists him as a female instead of a male). Feeling that his country's interests are in danger, Dale reports Hank to the authorities.

Bill gets some love in "It Ain't Over 'til the Fat Neighbor Sings," which sees him joining an all-male chorus. However, Bill's new vocal friends are only interested in taking advantage of him, which conflicts with Bill's job as an Army barber. In "Bobby on Track," Hank gets disappointed in Bobby when he fails to get past the finish line in his school's Fun Run, and forces him to join the track team, only for the coach to have other plans for Bobby.

8. Season 7

"Megalo Dale" is one of the best episodes to feature Chuck Mangione playing himself. Mega Lo Mart hires Dale's extermination services to take care of some pests plaguing the store. However, it turns out that the "pest" he's actually after is Mega Lo Mart's own representative, Mr. Mangione himself. In addition to Chuck, this episode also features guest appearances from Topher Grace and Danny Masterson.

"The Texas Skilsaw Massacre" has a sort of "Odd Couple" premise, but more extreme: When Dale bores a large tunnel that goes under the Hills' kitchen, rendering their home uninhabitable until the tunnel is filled, Hank and his family are forced to move into the Gribbles' home. However, when Hank accidentally cuts off Dale's finger with a saw, Dale accuses Hank of trying to hurt him, which requires Hank to take an anger management class. While Hank and Dale are lifelong friends, it was still a lot of fun seeing the two men clash while living in the same house. "Maid in Arlen" gives Bill the spotlight when he begins dating Kahn's mother Laoma, who also becomes a housekeeper for the Hills. While Kahn is bothered that his mom works for the Hills, he's even more annoyed that she's getting involved with Bill, so he sets out to disrupt their relationship at every turn.

7. Season 8

As it often happens with even the greatest of television series, the later seasons of "King of the Hill" began to lose their creative spark. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of episodes in Season 8, however. "Livin' on Reds, Vitamin C and Propane" is a high point of the season, due in no small part to the fact that it gives every member of the Hill family a chance to shine. Hank fulfills his dream of driving a big rig when he's tasked with delivering antique furniture to Arizona, where his mom lives. Back at the Hill house in Arlen, Peggy and Luanne (rest in peace, Brittany Murphy) put their heads together in their quest to compose a silly Christmas tune. This episode also features some terrific guest appearances, including Deana Carter, Trace Adkins, Brad Paisley, Travis Tritt, and George Strait.

"Hank's Back" is another great episode that deals with Hank's back. Because doctors seem to be at a loss to help Hank with his back, the typically uptight and close-minded Hank is so desperate for solutions that he resorts to yoga. However, Hank ends up surprised at how well this hippie technique improves his back's condition but now must contend with an insurance company that believes he's exploiting his benefits.

6. Season 2

While "King of the Hill" had an auspicious debut with its strong first season, the series' sophomore season was a bit of a step down in terms of overall quality. Some aspects of the show had been refined and polished, but the writing wasn't quite as fresh as that of the inaugural season. Still, Season 2 had some hits. In "Hank's Dirty Laundry," Hank learns that he has bad credit while he tries to buy a new dryer. It turns out his bad credit is the result of an angry video store clerk who believes Hank once rented a dirty movie and has never returned it. Hank is shocked at having such a raunchy accusation hurled at him, and has to endure the disbelief from everyone around him. Of course, being the pure type, he sets the record straight on his video-renting past.

"Texas City Twister" does a nice job blending thrills and family drama: Hank kicks Luanne out of the Hill house, forcing her to move back to the trailer that she moved out of in the first place when her mom attempted to murder her dad. However, there's a tornado heading straight for the trailer park where Luanne is, and Hank — feeling bad about the way he treated her — must save her before the tornado hits.

5. Season 5

It's always a gas to see the ever-repressed Hank getting caught up in a salacious situation, like in the episode "Ho Yeah!" Strickland Propane hires a prostitute named Tammi (played by Renée Zellweger), who ends up moving in with the Hills. Things are going well for a time, with Tammi teaching Peggy how to add a little excitement to her life, but that doesn't last for long as Tammi's former pimp Alabaster Jones (played by Snoop Dogg) arrives in town, believing Hank is a rival pimp trying to make Tammi work for him.

Dale gets the spotlight in "The Exterminator" when the extreme health risk of his own insecticide pressures him into getting a regular office job, much to his disappointment and our amusement. This episode also features guest appearances from Lisa Kudrow and Stephen Tobolowsky. "Hank's Back Story" sees Hank having to put up with the condition of "diminished gluteal syndrome," which reduces the size of his backside and strains his spine. Because he has his pride to think about, Hank wears a prosthetic posterior to keep up appearances. In "Chasing Bobby," Hank becomes unusually sensitive because of the ending of a relationship with someone close to him (spoiler: that "someone" is his truck).

4. Season 6

A truly classic episode, not just from this season but from the series as a whole, is "Bobby Goes Nuts." In it, Bobby gets bullied by Chane Wassanasong at a slumber party, prompting Hank to encourage Bobby to learn boxing at a YMCA class. However, Bobby instead finds himself learning how to "fight" at a women's self-defense course, where he learns how to stand up for himself by simply kicking his attackers in the crotch. While bullies leave Bobby alone after he demonstrates his new move, Hank is none too happy about how his son fights, especially when his groin experiences the business end of Bobby's foot.

Season 6 had some other great episodes like "Soldier of Misfortune," which features Dale going to great lengths to win re-election as the president of the Arlen Gun Club, and enlisting the help of his friends. Gary Busey even joins in on the fun, playing Mad Dog. We also get some Hill family revelations when Hank learns that he has a half-brother in Japan. When Hank's dad Cotton decides to go to the Land of the Rising Sun to atone to a widow for killing her husband in WWII, it's revealed that he also had an affair with her and sired another son with her named Junichiro (played by David Carradine).

3. Season 3

While the plot structures of most "King of the Hill" episodes tended to be pretty straightforward, every once in a while the writers would introduce a clever narrative trick to spice things up. A great example of this is the episode, "A Firefighting We Will Go," which follows Hank, Bill, Boomhauer, and Dale becoming volunteer firefighters and accidentally burning the firehouse down. What could've been a perfectly serviceable episode with a funny premise is enhanced when Hank and the guys each describe how the firehouse burnt down, giving audiences multiple versions of the same incident, à la "Rashomon."

Another terrific episode from Season 3 is "The Wedding of Bobby Hill," which sees Bobby and Luanne getting into a prank war with one another, which stemmed from a feud over Luanne's boyfriend, Rad Thibodeaux (played by Matthew McConaughey). The war culminates in Bobby replacing Luanne's birth control pills with candy, prompting Hank and Peggy to step in to play a prank on the cousins that involves marriage. "Love Hurts and So Does Art" finds Bobby contracting gout from bad Show Biz Deli meat. He's been going to the deli regularly under the guise of hanging out at nearby "sport fields," making Hank proud of his seemingly normal behavior. Meanwhile, the conservative Hank is put in yet another uncomfortable situation when an X-ray of his colon is hung up in an exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Modern Art.

2. Season 1

The first season for many shows is often a bit weak. The creators haven't quite nailed down the tone of the series, the chemistry of the cast is still developing, and there's some inconsistency in the style that hasn't been worked out yet. The first season of "King of the Hill," however, was surprisingly strong. So many of the elements that would become trademarks of the show were introduced here, and the characterizations of the main cast were already pretty crystalized. Heck, even the pilot still holds up. This inaugural episode of the series follows Hank as he inadvertently develops a reputation of beating up teenagers. First, Bobby's black eye (which he got from an accident during a Little League game) arouses suspicions that he got it from Hank. The rumor continues when word spreads of Hank attacking a teenage employee at Mega Lo Mart, even though he only yelled at him for his ignorance of some products' locations.

Hank and Peggy's puritanism is hilariously tested in "Plastic White Female," where in preparation for a coed party that he was invited to, Bobby plays Spin the Bottle with Luanne's beauty school mannequin head but gets caught kissing it. The episode is a priceless early example of the Hill parents having to deal with Bobby's exploits as a growing teenage boy, which would continue throughout the series.

1. Season 4

Season 4 of "King of the Hill" is so jam-packed with wonderful moments that nearly every episode is a contender for "best episode ever." By this point in the show's history, the kinks had been worked out and the writing team was solidified, pumping out classic plotline after classic plotline. One of the standout episodes of the season was "Aisle 8A": When Kahn and Minh leave town for a bit, they leave their daughter Connie to stay with the Hills while they're gone. This seems like an ideal solution since Connie and Bobby are best friends. However, when Connie gets her first period as a guest at the Hill household, the uptight and prudish Hank is stuck with the task of not only dealing with a hypersensitive teenage girl but also explaining certain biological facts to Bobby.

Another highlight of this season was the two-part storyline, "Hanky Panky" (Part 1) and "High Anxiety" (Part 2). "Hanky Panky" deals with Hank becoming the object of affection for Miz Liz (played by Kathleen Turner), the wife of his boss Buck Strickland from whom he just separated. Buck also broke things off with his secretary, Debbie Grund (played by Reese Witherspoon), who he was in an affair with behind his wife's back. Things get weird when Debbie is found dead, and the squeaky-clean Hank becomes implicated in her murder.