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'King of the Hill,' the longtime North Texas-inspired sitcom, first aired 25 years ago this week

"King of the Hill" lasted 259 episodes across 13 seasons, its run ending in September 2009.
Credit: King of the Hill -- YouTube screenshot

DALLAS — Has it really been 25 years since King of the Hill first aired?



On Jan. 12, 1997, the camera panned over the animated town of Arlen, Texas, and followed a mosquito to the neck of Hank Hill, who was wearing his standard white T-shirt and blue jeans get-up as he inspected the engine of his truck.

There were his buddies, Dale Gribble and Boomhauer (no first name needed), to his left and right, and on the end was Bill Dauterive, who took a swallow of beer and made a common observation among the group.

"Yep," Bill said, to nothing and no one in particular.

And that's more or less how each episode of King of the Hill started, with Hank and his pals in the alley drinking beer and watching the world go by.

Not a bad formula, if we're being honest.

As Texas Monthly observed last month, King of the Hill was mostly a "show about nothin," similar to Seinfeld.

Nothin' was apparently worth something: King of the Hill lasted 259 episodes across 13 seasons, its run ending in September 2009, more than 12 years after it began. 

Set in the fictional town of Arlen, which sure sounds like an amalgam of North Texas communities Arlington and Garland, show creator Mike Judge confirmed in 2009 that the setting was inspired by the Dallas suburb Richardson, where he once lived.

But Arlen was clearly a combination of suburbs and small towns, and a Reddit investigation -- because those are air tight -- pinpointed Waco as the proper location for Arlen, based on location references made throughout the show.

Waco can have Arlen if they want it, if the geography fits. But anyone who's watched King of the Hill knows it's a pretty decent representation of life in and around the North Texas suburbs, besides that whole "Pigmalion" thing (we hope).

A quarter-century later, there's still the occasional buzz about a King of the Hill reboot.

Judge and co-creator Greg Daniels told ComicBook.com in 2020 that they came up with an idea for a reboot but that Fox wasn't interested at the time. 

For the time being, Judge is plenty busy with other projects, including bringing his also-beloved Beavis and Butt-head franchise back to life. 

A King of the Hill reboot does make the mind wander, though. 

Does Hank still drive the same red pickup truck? Did Bobby finally graduate Tom Landry Middle School? Did Dale become all-consumed by the latest conspiracy theory

We do know one plotline that could stand the test of time, though -- at least for the next few weeks, anyway.

Hank would still be waiting for another Cowboys Super Bowl.