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15 Texas-Sized Facts About King of the Hill

King of the Hill was known to some in the 2000s as either "the Mike Judge cartoon that wasn’t Beavis and Butt-Head," "the cartoon with the dry sense of humor that didn’t seem to know it was a cartoon," "the cartoon that came on after football" (when NFL games didn’t preempt episodes entirely), and/or "that show that seems to find Chuck Mangione amusing." But when it made its debut in 1997, it was a genuine hit.

After being in the spotlight for its first few seasons, King of the Hill managed to settle into the TV background and become a Sunday night staple, maintaining a large enough loyal audience to stay on the air for an impressive 13 seasons and 259 episodes. The show starring a propane salesman became one of the longest running animated series of all time not titled The Simpsons. Ten seasons into its run, Time proclaimed it one of the 100 greatest television shows ever. Here’s some knowledge about the Hills and the rest of the Arlen, Texas folk.

1. THE THEME SONG IS TITLED "YAHOOS AND TRIANGLES."

The manager for the Arizona band The Refreshments encouraged the group to submit some music to Mike Judge, who was looking for a theme song for his new show in 1997. Their decision to hand in an instrumental track they performed during their soundchecks paid off for the band.

2. FOX WANTED MIKE JUDGE TO SPECIFICALLY MAKE AN ANIMATED COMPANION SHOW FOR THE SIMPSONS.

Because Judge's overall production deal with the network meant that he would get paid whether Fox liked his show idea or not, he decided to come up with a pilot script that he would “actually want to watch.” In the show’s second season, King of the Hill actually had more viewers than its lead-in: The Simpsons.

3. ARLEN, TEXAS IS BASED ON AN ACTUAL TEXAS TOWN.

Specifically, it's based on the Dallas suburb of Richardson. Judge grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but was familiar with the neighboring state. He currently lives and works in Austin, Texas.

4. THE CO-CREATOR OF PARKS AND RECREATION CAME UP WITH THE LUANNE AND COTTON CHARACTERS.

Fox hired Greg Daniels—who at that point had written for Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, and Seinfeld's classic “The Parking Space” episode—to rewrite the King of the Hill pilot. After Judge gave him a tour of the kinds of Texas neighborhoods he thought Hank might live in (as well as some propane shops), Daniels added Hank’s father Cotton, niece Luanne, and Bobby's best friend Joseph, and made neighbor Dale (Joseph's father) a conspiracy nut.

5. HANK HILL HIMSELF PITCHED THE SHOW TO THE PRESIDENT OF FOX.

Instead of taking nine months to animate the pilot script, or just animate a scene from it, Judge and Daniels had their protagonist pitch his family to the network in a pencil test. It worked.

6. THE KEY TO HANK WAS A BOOK WRITTEN BY A GEORGETOWN LAW PROFESSOR.

In order to best understand Hank Hill, Greg Daniels had the writers of the show read 1995’s The Death of Common Sense, a bestselling book in which Philip K. Howard argues that law and bureaucracy are making individuals abandon their common sense and live and communicate with each other in fear.

7. THE GROWN-UP VOICE OF KEVIN ARNOLD WAS ORIGINALLY OFFERED THE PART OF DALE GRIBBLE.

Because Daniel Stern wanted too much money, producers went with Texas-born comedian Johnny Hardwick instead. Hardwick was able to channel Dale after listening to a recording of William S. Burroughs.

8. MINH SOUPHANOUSINPHONE AND HER DAUGHTER, CONNIE, WERE VOICED BY THE SAME WOMAN.

Lauren Tom, who was the voice of Amy on Futurama and played Julie on Friends, even managed to switch back and forth between her two characters when necessary, which was a talent she shares with Judge (the voice of Hank and Boomhauer among others). Stephen Root (who voiced Bill Dauterive and Buck Strickland) was not as lucky.

9. LUANNE PLATTER WAS NAMED AFTER AN ACTUAL COMBO PLATTER.

At Luby’s, a Texas-based chain of cafeterias, one can enjoy a “Lu Ann Platter”—an entree, a roll, and a side. The Luby’s stand-in on King of the Hill was “Luly’s”.

10. A LIVE-ACTION SPINOFF ABOUT MONSIGNOR MARTINEZ DIRECTED BY JUDGE WAS FILMED, BUT IT NEVER SAW THE LIGHT OF DAY.

In 2001, Fox ordered a spinoff about the main character of the Mexican soap opera within the King of the Hill universe. Because the network suddenly decided that they didn’t want to air a show in which a priest shoots people (according to an actor who was in the pilot), it wasn’t picked up. An amazing official description of the show proclaimed that it was about “a macho, renegade priest who joins forces with a young stock broker and ex-nun to destroy the drug dealer that murdered his favorite altar boy.”

11. IN 1998, FOX TRICKED FANS INTO BELIEVING THAT THE SHOW WAS MOVING FROM ARLEN TO LOS ANGELES.

After the season two finale “Propane Boom,” Fox launched a promo campaign that promised to see the Hills move to Hollywood, and even released a press statement saying they were in “discussions” with Judge and Daniels to change the setting of the series. The network claimed that they received “hundreds and hundreds” of emails and phone calls from “concerned” fans falling for the ruse. In fact, it was all Fox’s way of promoting the show’s move from Sunday to Tuesday night, which lasted one season before the big ratings decline necessitated a permanent return to its original “home” on the calendar.

12. LUCKY WAS WRITTEN TO LOOK LIKE “TOM PETTY WITHOUT THE SUCCESS” BEFORE TOM PETTY WAS CAST.

Once John Altschuler wrote Lucky and described him in that kind-of-flattering way, the producers decided that they had to at least try and get Petty to audition. Fortunately for them, King of the Hill was one of the musician's favorite shows. Petty once described Lucky as a “philosophical idiot.”

13. AN INCOMPREHENSIBLE VOICEMAIL INSPIRED THE VOICE OF BOOMHAUER.

A man upset about Beavis and Butt-Head left Judge a voice message that he had to replay multiple times in order to understand what was being said.

14. BOOMHAUER WAS A TEXAS RANGER.

This wasn’t revealed until the series finale, “To Sirloin With Love.” His first name was Jeff.

15. THERE WERE TWO SERIES FINALES.

Fox had effectively canceled the show during its tenth season, and “Lucky’s Wedding Suit” was written and produced as a proper series finale, concluding with Lucky and Luanne’s wedding. After the staff moved out of their offices, the network changed their minds, giving King of the Hill another three seasons.

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Every New Movie, TV Series, and Special Coming to Netflix in May
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Netflix is making way for loads of laughs in its library in May, with a handful of original comedy specials (Steve Martin, Martin Short, Carol Burnett, Tig Notaro, and John Mulvaney will all be there), plus the long-awaited return of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Here’s every new movie, TV series, and special making its way to Netflix in May.

MAY 1

27: Gone Too Soon

A Life of Its Own: The Truth About Medical Marijuana

Amelie

Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Season 1

Beautiful Girls

Darc

God's Own Country

Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous Live at Radio City

Mr. Woodcock

My Perfect Romance

Pocoyo & Cars

Pocoyo & The Space Circus

Queens of Comedy: Season 1

Reasonable Doubt

Red Dragon

Scream 2

Shrek

Simon: Season 1

Sliding Doors

Sometimes

The Bourne Ultimatum

The Carter Effect

The Clapper

The Reaping

The Strange Name Movie

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V: Season 2

MAY 2

Jailbreak

MAY 4

A Little Help with Carol Burnett

Anon

Busted!: Season 1

Dear White People: Volume 2

End Game

Forgive Us Our Debts

Kong: King of the Apes: Season 2

Manhunt

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Tina Fey

No Estoy Loca

The Rain: Season 1

MAY 5

Faces Places

MAY 6

The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale

MAY 8

Desolation

Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives

MAY 9

Dirty Girl

MAY 11

Bill Nye Saves the World: Season 3

Evil Genius: the True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist

Spirit Riding Free: Season 5

The Kissing Booth

The Who Was? Show: Season 1

MAY 13

Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife

MAY 14

The Phantom of the Opera

MAY 15

Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce: Season 4

Grand Designs: Seasons 13 - 14

Only God Forgives

The Game 365: Seasons 15 - 16

MAY 16

89

Mamma Mia!

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

The Kingdom

Wanted

MAY 18

Cargo

Catching Feelings

Inspector Gadget: Season 4

MAY 19

Bridge to Terabithia

Disney’s Scandal: Season 7

Small Town Crime

MAY 20

Some Kind of Beautiful

MAY 21

Señora Acero: Season 4

MAY 22

Mob Psycho 100: Season 1

Shooter: Season 2

Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 2

Tig Notaro Happy To Be Here

MAY 23

Explained

MAY 24

Fauda: Season 2

Survivors Guide to Prison

MAY 25

Ibiza

Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life

The Toys That Made Us: Season 2

Trollhunters: Part 3

MAY 26

Sara's Notebook

MAY 27

The Break with Michelle Wolf

MAY 29

Disney·Pixar's Coco

MAY 30

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4

MAY 31

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Howard Stern

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20 Best Docuseries You Can Stream Right Now
A scene from Wild Wild Country (2018)
A scene from Wild Wild Country (2018)
Netflix

If your main interests are true crime and cooking, you’re in the middle of a Renaissance Age. The Michelangelos of nonfiction are consistently bringing stellar storytelling to twisty tales of murder and mayhem as well as luxurious shots of food prepared by the most creative culinary minds.

But these aren’t the only genres that documentary series are tackling. There’s a host of history, arts, travel, and more at your streaming fingertips. When you want to take a break from puzzling out who’s been wrongfully imprisoned, that is.

Here are the 20 best docuseries to watch right now, so start streaming.

1. WILD WILD COUNTRY (2018)

What happens when an Indian guru with thousands of American followers sets up shop near a small town in Oregon with the intent to create a commune? Incredibly sourced, this documentary that touches on every major civic issue—from religious liberty to voting rights—should be your new obsession. When you choose a side, be prepared to switch. Multiple times.

Where to watch it: Netflix

2. FLINT TOWN (2018)

If your heart is broken by what’s going on in Flint, Michigan, be prepared to have that pain magnified and complicated. The filmmakers behind this provocative series were embedded with police in Flint to offer us a glimpse at the area’s local struggles and national attention from November 2015 through early 2017.

Where to watch it: Netflix

3. MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA (2013)

Narrated by Meryl Streep, this three-part series covers a half-century of American experience from the earliest days of second-wave feminism through Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court nomination in the 1990s. Ellen DeGeneres, Condoleezza Rice, Sally Ride, Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and more are featured, and the series got six more episodes in a second season.

Where to watch it: Makers.com

4. THE JINX (2015)

After the massive success of Serial in 2014, a one-two punch of true crime docuseries landed the following year. One was the immensely captivating study of power, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, which chronicled the bizarre, tangled web of the real estate mogul who was suspected of several murders. The show, which could be measured in jaw-drops per hour, both registered real life and uniquely affected it.

Where to watch it: HBO

5. MAKING A MURDERER (2015)

The second major true crime phenom of 2015 was 10 years in the making. Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos uncovered the unthinkable story of Steven Avery, a man wrongfully convicted of sexual assault who was later convicted of murdering a different woman, Teresa Halbach. Not just a magnifying glass on the justice system and a potential small town conspiracy, it’s also a display of how stories can successfully get our blood boiling.

Where to watch it: Netflix

6. WORMWOOD (2017)

Speaking of good conspiracies: documentary titan Errol Morris turns his keen eye to a CIA project that’s as famous as it is unknown—MKUltra. A Cold War-era mind control experiment. LSD and hypnosis. The mysterious death of a scientist. His son’s 60-year search for answers. Morris brings his incisive eye to the hunt.

Where to watch it: Netflix

7. FIVE CAME BACK (2017)

Based on Mark Harris’s superlative book, this historical doc features filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and Guillermo del Toro discussing the WWII-era work of predecessors John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens. Also narrated by Meryl Streep, it looks at how the war shaped the directors and how they shaped the war. As a bonus, Netflix has the war-time documentaries featured in the film available to stream.

Where to watch it: Netflix

8. THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY (2011)

If you can’t afford film school, and your local college won’t let you audit any more courses, Mark Cousins’s 915-minute history is the next best thing. Unrivaled in its scope, watching it is like having a charming encyclopedia discuss its favorite movies. Yes, at 15-episodes it’s sprawling, so, yes, you should watch it all in one go. Carve out a weekend and be ready to take notes on all the movies you want to watch afterward.

Where to watch it: Sundance Now

9. UGLY DELICIOUS (2018)

David Chang, the host of the first season of The Mind of a Chef, has returned with a cultural mash-up disguised as a foodie show. What does it mean for pizza to be “authentic”? What do Korea and the American South have in common? With his casual charm in tow, Chang and a variety of special guests explore people through the food we love to eat as an artifact that brings us all together.

Where to watch it: Netflix

10. JAZZ (2000)

A legend of nonfiction, Ken Burns has more than a few docuseries available to stream, including long-form explorations of the Civil War and baseball. His 10-episode series on jazz exhaustively tracks nearly a century of the formation and evolution of the musical style across the United States. You’ll wanna mark off a big section of the calendar and crank up the volume.

Where to watch it: Amazon

11. THE STAIRCASE (2004)

In 2001, author Michael Peterson reported to police that his wife had died after falling down a set of stairs, but police didn’t buy the story and charged him with her murder. Before the current true crime boom, before Serial and all the rest, there was Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s Peabody Award-winning docuseries following Peterson’s winding court case. The mystery at the heart of the trial and the unparalleled access Lestrade had to Peterson’s defense make this a must-see. (Netflix just announced that it will be releasing three new episodes of the series this summer.)

Where to watch it: Sundance Now

12. PLANET EARTH II (2016)

The sequel to the 2006 original is a real stunner. Narrated (naturally) by Sir David Attenborough, featuring music from Hans Zimmer, and boasting gorgeous photography of our immeasurably fascinating planet, this follow-up takes us through different terrains to see the life contained within. There are snow leopards in the mountains, a swimming sloth in the islands, and even langurs in our own urban jungle. Open your eyes wide to learn a lot or put it on in the background to zen out.

Where to watch it: Netflix

13. THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA (2009)

The cheapest way to visit Yosemite, Yellowstone, Muir Woods, and more. This Emmy-winning, six-part series is both a travelogue and a history lesson in conservation that takes up the argument of why these beautiful places should be preserved: to quote President Roosevelt, “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”

Where to watch it: Amazon

14. CONFLICT (2015)

Experience the too-often-untold stories of conflict zones through the lenses of world class photographers like Nicole Tung, Donna Ferraro, and João Silva. This heart-testing, bias-obliterating series is unique in its views into dark places and eye toward hope.

Where to watch it: Netflix

15. LAST CHANCE U (2016)

Far more than a sports documentary, the story of the players at East Mississippi Community College will have you rooting for personal victories as much as the points on the scoreboard. Many of the outstanding players on the squad lost spots at Division I schools because of disciplinary infractions or failing academics, so they’re seeking redemption in a program that wants them to return to the big-name schools. There are two full seasons to binge and a third on the way.

Where to watch it: Netflix

16. VICE (2013)

Currently in its sixth season, the series is known for asking tough questions that need immediate answers and giving viewers a street-level view of everything from killing cancer to juvenile justice reform. Its confrontational style of gonzo provocation won’t be everyone’s cup of spiked tea, but it’s filling an important gap that used to be filled by major network investigative journalists. When they let their subjects—from child soldiers suffering PTSD after fighting for ISIS to coal miners in Appalachia—tell their stories, nonfiction magic happens.

Where to watch it: HBO

17. CHEF’S TABLE (2015)

From David Gelb, the documentarian behind Jiro Dreams of Sushi, this doc series is a backstage pass to the kitchens of the world’s most elite chefs. The teams at Osteria Francescana, Blue Hill, Alinea, Pujol, and more open their doors to share their process, culinary creativity, and, of course, dozens of delicious courses. No shame in licking your screen.

Where to watch it: Netflix

18. NOBU’S JAPAN (2014)

For those looking to learn more about culture while chowing down, world-renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa guides guest chefs to different regions of Japan to ingest the sights, sounds, and spirits of the area before crafting a dish inspired by the journey. History is the main course, with a healthy dash of culinary invention that honors tradition.

Where to watch it: Sundance Now

19. THE SYSTEM (2014)

Should a jury decide if a child is sentenced to life in jail without parole? How can you go to jail for 20 years for shooting your gun inside your own home to deter thieves? These are just two of the questions examined by this knockout series about the conflicts, outdated methods, and biases lurking in America’s criminal justice system. Insightful and infuriating, it makes a strong companion to Ava DuVernay’s 13th.

Where to watch it: Al Jazeera and Sundance Now

20. BOBBY KENNEDY FOR PRESIDENT (2018)

It won’t be available until April 27 (so close!), but it’s well worth adding to your queue. This four-part series utilizes a wealth of footage, including unseen personal videos, to share the tragic story of Robert F. Kennedy’s run for president in the context of an era riven by racial strife. Watching this socio-political memorial told by many who were there (including Marian Wright and Congressman John Lewis), it will be impossible not to draw connections to the current day and wonder: What if?

Where to watch it: Netflix

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