"A Fire Fighting We Will Go" is the 45th episode of King of the Hill. It was first aired on January 12, 1999. The episode was written by Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland, and directed by Cyndi Tang-Loveland.
Hank, Boomhauer, Dale and Bill are in an interrogation room with Arlen's fire chief and it is implied that something major has happened. Hank's glasses have been broken and taped back together, Boomhauer's ear is bandaged, and Bill's face is burned. In an extended flashback, it is revealed that the story begins when, due to a strike by the regular firefighters, Bill joins the Arlen Fire Department as a volunteer under Heck Dorland. Excited at the opportunity, Hank, Dale, and Boomhauer decide to sign up and despite some mishaps during training, the four men become part of the department. Hank takes the opportunity with professionalism as the rest of the guys fool around the fire station. As part of the force, the men meet Chet Elderson, the oldest member of the squad. He remembers Hank as "the idiot that blew up the Mega Lo Mart" and insists on having his electric Alamo Beer sign plugged in at all times, despite the fact that the sign is malfunctioning.
However, it quickly becomes apparent that the four friends cannot stop fighting as Hank is the only one taking things seriously; this leads to trouble such as the destruction of a fire hydrant while trying to impress the kids: Hank accidentally turns the water on prematurely causing Bill to be slammed against the fire truck by a powerful stream of water, and in trying to shut the water off, Dale strips the restraining bolt and Boomhauer makes the situation worse by trying to fix it with the Jaws of Life. Later on, back at the station, Hank reasons with the guys this is a once in a lifetime chance and shouldn't mess it up further. He tries to convince them to do drills but Dale, upset at Hank for pushing him aside during the hydrant incident, refuses. Chet asks Dale to plug in the Alamo sign, but Hank prevents Dale from doing so and the two start to fight over it. At the same time, Bill discovers a tub of beef jerky in the kitchen and decides to use its lid as a Frisbee, but hits Boomhauer in the side of the head, resulting in his ear injury to start. Boomhauer reacts by throwing the lid back at Bill, which ends up breaking a window, just as Dorland walks in and demands an explanation. Hank starts ordering the others, but Dale interrupts. The two start bickering once more before Dorland breaks them up, threatening the four that if they don't start behaving, he'll have them replaced.
As time passes, the men's behavior at the firehouse turns more and more juvenile. Things begin to come to a head the same night of the hydrant incident when a frustrated Hank struggles to relax while Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer fool around downstairs. It begins when Dale and Bill refuse to stop playing ping pong so Hank can sleep, so he destroys the ball with his foot. Bill retaliates by taking Hank's glasses and breaking them with his foot, and in the ensuing fracas, Dale throws a hot Frito pie at Hank, but hits Bill instead, causing the burns on his face. Bill attempts to throw the pie back at Dale, but Dale uses his fire helmet's face mask to protect himself. Bill then runs from a furious Hank and ends up getting stuck rear-end first in the fire pole hole trying to escape him. Finally, after Hank comes downstairs again because Dale and Boomhauer refuse to stop horsing around with the destroyed ping pong ball, the men receive word of Chet Elderson's death due to natural causes.
At Chet's funeral, the four serve as the pallbearers, but the four continue to argue over the prior night's events. Even worse, Dale refuses to touch the casket, believing it to be bad luck, and due to the subsequent lack of balance, they all end up tripping over each other and falling into the open grave, and Elderson's corpse loses its pants as a result. At the station, Dale tries to apologize to Hank, but he holds Dale responsible for ruining the funeral and refuses to speak to him. This does not stop the two from fighting over Chet's Alamo Beer sign, which Dale wants to plug in in his honor but Hank refuses to, citing its electrical problems. As this goes on, the alarm goes off, dispatching the men to Goobersmooches' restaurant. The four excitedly gear up and roll out for their first fire; however, no sooner do they arrive that they find that they are not needed as the small dumpster fire has been put out by Dorland. While still at the restaurant, another call goes out, this time, for all units. Hank reads the call and discovers, to his horror, that the call is for the firehouse as it has burned to the ground; this being the reason why the four are being interrogated.
The fire chief makes them each go through each moment that happened before they rushed out of the station for the first fire. Each of the friends re-creates the scene, putting more emphasis on themselves. Dale's story depicts Hank as a drill sergeant, while Dale is buff, with long, flowing hair. Boomhauer's story has everyone talking in his own usual unintelligible style, while Boomhauer himself is talking slowly and coherently. Bill's story depicts him as completely bald and fatter than normal, with a weakness for French bread pizza. Bill mentions he saw Dale switching his oxygen tank with Hank's. When asked why, Dale admits that Hank was the only competent firefighter while the rest had no idea what they were doing. Dale had switched the tanks on account that his had more oxygen compared to Hank's and figured that Hank would need all the oxygen possible to save them from disaster. Although the stories are different, they all list potential causes for the fire: Dale dropped a lit cigarette on the floor, Boomhauer knocked over the tanning lamp he was using at the time onto some newspapers, and Bill left one of the stove burners on while using it to roast a marshmallow.
Finally, Hank reveals that none of those things had caused the fire. Just before he got his gear on, he noticed everything the others had done and cleaned up after them: he turned off the stove, doused the cigarette, and set back up and shut off the tanning lamp. He also noticed Dale fiddling with the oxygen tanks in the back of the fire truck. Then as Hank recalls pulling out of the firehouse, he remembers noticing a glow in the driver's side mirror through a window and determines that the malfunctioning Alamo sign had to be what was glowing. and that it was the cause of the fire.
Although Dale was the one who had plugged the sign in again, having done so just before the alarm sounded, Hank decides not to incriminate his best friend and repays him for his good deed with the tank and places the blame for the fire on the recently deceased Chet Elderson. Everyone (except Boomhauer) goes along with the story and the chief is satisfied, because he himself had told Chet not to plug his sign in many times prior. However, he does not want to soil the old man's name due to his years of service. After Hank says the fire could just be ruled accidental, the chief agrees and promptly releases the four. As that start to leave Bill mentions a job opening for four plumbers which Hank immediately refuses. But the mention of all you can drink beer sways Hank and the rest to try their hand and plumbing service.
In a side plot, Peggy pulls her groin muscle trying to lift Bobby up in a fireman carry, but after working out (mainly during the end credits), is eventually able to accomplish it, finally being able to lift Bobby over her head and throws him down on the ground.
- Hank Hill
- Peggy Hill
- Bobby Hill
- Luanne Platter
- Dale Gribble
- Jeff Boomhauer
- Bill Dauterive
- Miss Kremzer
- Heck Dorland (cameo)
- Chet Elderson (cameo)
- Fire Chief (cameo)
- When Dale, Bill and Boomhauer start fighting, Hank falls on top of them, but in the next shot, he's underneath them.
- This episode draws many parallels to The Three Stooges:
- The scene where Dale is "swinging the alphabet" comes from the episode "Violence is the word for Curly" in the Three Stooges.
- The title is based on that of The Three Stooges episode "A Plumbing We Will Go".
- At one point, Hank uses the word "knucklehead" which is often used by Moe in The Three Stooges.
- Boomhauer bonks Dale and Bills heads together the way Moe often does in The Three Stooges.
- The Three Stooges theme plays at the very end of the episode
- The Three Stooges episode "False Alarms" features a similar plot where the characters work as incompetent firefighters.
- This was Buddy Ebsen's last role before his death.
- Hank's glasses fall off when carrying Chet Elderson's casket, but are back on him after falling into the grave.
- Given the weight of a full casket, a funeral usually has 6 to 8 pallbearers. The fact that there are only four (Hank and his friends) foreshadows the disaster at the funeral, especially when Dale literally refuses to carry his share of the weight.
- The entire episode is based on the plot of the Japanese film Rashomon, where several characters give differing accounts to a murder they all witnessed. This plot device was subsequently used to coin the pop psychology term the "Rashomon effect", where a single event is witnessed by multiple individuals who each give differing but plausible accounts based on their own perspective.
- Dale singing "Hank's a lumberjack and he's okay" is a reference to the comedic "Lumberjack Song" by Monty Python.
- During Boomhauer's version of how they left the fire station, everybody talks like Boomhauer except Boomhauer who speaks normally.
- During Bill's version of the story, Bill was even more fat and bald than he was in real life.
- During Dale's version of the story, Dale was shown with incredibly long hair when Hank was seen '' giving orders for a change''.
- Chet Elderson mentioned the explosion of the Mega Lo Mart incident in the season 2 finale "Propane Boom", and asked Hank if he was "The idiot who blew up the Mega Lo Mart". The "idiot who blew up the Mega Lo Mart" was really Buckley, who caused a Propane gas leak, by dragging a Propane tank by the valve, which Hank told him not to, for obvious reasons.
- This point goes to show how everyone continues to think Hank was the one who blew up the Mega-Lo Mart. Yet he still hasn't been questioned by the police regarding his involvement.
- Peggy's insistence throughout the episode to prove she can lift up Bobby does not disprove Hank's point that a woman couldn't lift a large man. Bobby is 12 and weighs significantly less than a full grown man. And there's also a big difference between being able to lift someone and being able to carry them out of a burning building.
- During the retelling of the events at the Arlen Fire Department by Boomhauer, Bill uses the phrase "Pretty, pretty Pizza." This is referencing the statement "Pretty, pretty dresses" which has been used previously in a few episodes, specifically the episode "Pretty, Pretty Dresses".
- At the end of the episode, it's mentioned that the four guys were offered a plumbing job by Mrs. Throckmorton, an elderly woman who appeared in two episodes, her debut being in the episode "Snow Job".
- Dale: Bickie-bie-be-oh-bo-bickie-bie-bo!
- Dale: Hank's a lumberjack and he's OK! (After the Deluge DVD Release)
- At one point Hank Hill offers to sharpen the fire axes, however, sharpening fire axes is contrary to accepted firefighting practices. A sharp edge presents an additional safety risk on the fire scene. Additionally, a blunter edge makes performing some firefighting tasks much easier.
- Hank's explanation for the fire at the end of the episode ultimately makes no sense. The fire department burnt down several days after Chet's last surviving day so even if Chet was the last person to plug in the sign, the fire chief simply could have asked why didn't anybody unplug it if they knew it sparked?