“King of the Hill” – New Cowboy on the Block (EPISODE REVIEW)
Written by Jambareeqi
Posted 5th November, 2018
With the NFL season getting American sports fans excited right now, I thought that I’d talk about a “King of the Hill” episode on American football, a topic that was a frequent central focus on show, due to Hank and his friends being big fans of the Dallas Cowboys (who will be facing the Tennessee Titans tomorrow).
In this episode, a former Dallas Cowboys back-up lineman called Willie Lane, who is most famous for blocking a kick during the 70’s, moves next door to Hank Hill, and this makes the Cowboys fan very excited. At first, Hank is enamored by the retired athlete, constantly in awe of knowing that he’s now friends with a famous football star, but then, Willie reveals his true self, and turns out to be the worst neighbor ever.
This episode does start off slow, with Hank gushing over Willie to begin with, but I always find Hank adorable when he gets giddy over a hero, because it’s rare that he expresses emotional admiration for others face to face, and it’s cute that even the level headed Hank has his own idols. When Willie starts teaches Bobby a violent football trick, Hank becomes less forgiving of his hero, realising that he let his celebrity worship cloud his judgement, and he has a duty as block captain. The episode livens up from this point on, pitting the drunk rude Dallas Cowboy against Hank & Kahn, and we have no idea what destructive or annoying thing Willie will do next.
“New Cowboy on the Block” satirizes the privilege that comes with being celebrity, with everyone fawning over Willie, never questioning his moral compass, just because he blocked a kick a few decades ago. It’s a part of celebrity culture that’s still relevant, with fans refusing to believe that their favourite stars could be a bad person, because they are so in love with their on camera personas. Behind the glitz and glamour, some famous folk can be real jerks when cameras aren’t pointed at them, and this “King of the Hill” episode exposes that dark side of celebrity worship.
It’s also an episode that many people can relate to, as lots of us have had annoyingly obnoxious neighbors or roommates, myself included, so we totally resonate with Hank’s frustrations, and want him to make his street feel safe again. That’s something I love about Hank in this episode, despite his friends abandoning, even though he is losing his temper with this awful man, he still tries to stick to his block rules and state law when making a change. So, no matter what, Hank can defend himself if he ends up in court, because he cleverly works around the laws, and we can side with him easier as an audience.
There’s something very satisfying about the moments when a character stands up to Willie, whether it’s Hank playing tough ball as block captain, or Kahn breaking down Willie’s ego with honest thoughts on the washed up football star, because we’ve grown to hate Willie so much, and can see our own awful neighbors in his character. We grind our teeth when the police shrug off Hank’s accusations, each cop siding with Willie out of celebrity worship, but that’s what makes the episode’s ending taste so sweet, when Willie punches Hank with his Super Bowl ring, and leaves a mark for assault evidence.
To conclude, “New Cowboy on the Block” is a good episode about fighting for what’s right while staying true, the dangers of cult like admiration for famous people, and how some celebrities can be terrible people when their Hollywood masks are removed. You’ll cheer for Hank when he fights to save his street, boo at Willie’s disgusting habits as a poor neighbor, and yell at the screen every time a cop brushes off Hank’s claims. Check this one out if it sounds like your cup of tea, plus if you want to see more “King of the Hill” episodes about American football, then I suggest watching “A Beer Can Named Desire” and “The Suite Smell of Success”.
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