Bobby Rae is the two hundred-fifteenth episode of King of the Hill. It was first aired on September 30, 2007. The episode was written by Tim Croston and Chip Hall, and directed by Ken Wong. The title is a reference to the film "Norma Rae" (1979)
One day at school, after Connie breaks off their lunch date to study with Russ, a jealous Bobby purchases a soda from one of the many new vending machines across campus as Principal Carl Moss collects the change from the machines and tries to get Emily to lift it for him, but she is not able to.
Carl brings the sack of money into the staff room where it is revealed that the teachers are being forced to pay for their own educational-conferance in Cancun, Mexico. In the alley, Dale hoping to remember the memorable things said by the group, starts a quote notebook.
Bobby, again depressed that he doesn't haven't a girlfriend while everyone else does, finds out that Joseph is dating a classmate. At lunch the next day, Bobby purchases a soda from the machine and sits in the first empty spot he sees. At this time--while drinking a soda--Bobby expresses his problem to the surrounding students. The students tell Bobby to not blame himself for not being able to get a girlfriend, but to blame the unhealthy soda that he drinks. Convinced by their argument, Bobby instantly becomes enraged.
In the hallway, Carl and a school board represetative, Stu, are talking to each other about the upcoming conference and notice Bobby causing a scene near one of the soda machines. Bobby tells Carl and Stu that the machines are ruining the kids and requests that they be taken out, he then alerts Stu that there a very large amount of them on campus and whenever one breaks down, two new ones are brought in. Unable to deny he witnessed Bobby's outcry, Stu tells Carl that the machines have to go, immediately endangering the teacher's conference plans. Back at the alley, Dale is struggling to get a memorable quote in his book.
At school, Bobby is praised by his fellow students about getting the machines removed. Olivia, a journalist for the school newspaper then confronts Bobby and wants to write an article on him and others who care, causing Bobby to become infatuated with her. Back at the Hill residence, Bobby tells his parents that he got interviewed for the school paper for getting the soda machines taken out of the school. Hank at first likes the news, believing Bobby wrote a letter requesting their removal, only for his mood to sour after Bobby reveals he accomplished it through protesting.
Back at school, the staff are frantic about not being able to raising enough funds for their conference without the soda machines. Carl brings in an electronic news ticker that displays advertisements for a new energy bar. Olivia and Bobby soon notice the ticker and Olivia is outraged, viewing the tickers as the same tactic as the soda. Bobby asks her if she can accompany him to a movie if he can get rid of the ticker, she accepts, under the condition the movie is a documentary. Bobby barges into the staff room and demands that the tickers be removed as Olivia watches on. Carl notices Olivia at the door behind Bobby and tells him he knows what's actually going on. He tells Bobby that he went through the same troubles as a child, and says that he should romance Olivia with a school dance. Outside of the staff room, Olivia asks Bobby how it went and is disgusted when Bobby tells her the truth. Desperate, Bobby returns to the staff and says if they do not remove the tickers he and the rest of the student body will walk-out.
As the students walk-out, they begin to march into town to send a message. Quickly, everyone in the walk-out except for Bobby and Olivia begin to wreak havoc on Arlen; jumping on cars, looting, kicking over trash cans, and running after a store-clerk who was cheering them on. Realizing the chaos he has caused, Bobby tells the group their activities won't accomplish anything, causing Olivia to suggest they all burn down city hall to get their message across. As a Strickland Propane bobtail truck passes by Bobby gets an idea and tells the group to follow the truck.
At Strickland, the kids have begun to vandalize the property, and a panicked Bobby explains the story to Hank. Approaching them under the pretense of being an ally, Hank warns the gathering of kids about jail and the dangers ahead if they choose to continue, which quickly dispels the group's motivation as they disperse.
Bobby picks up trash left at his father's workplace after the mob disperses. When Olivia arrives suggests putting the school's principal in the hospital, Bobby tells her that he doesn't think things will work out, and that she's crazy. Olivia implies Bobby lacks passion, causing Ramon Alejandro to exclaim he has some, and they leave together.
As Bobby continues picking up garbage, Shelly arrives, smiling at Bobby, and asks if he needs help. After Bobby says yes. Shelly kneels on the pavement and begins to pick up trash with him. Olivia volunteers that she actually liked the energy bars that Olivia protested, doubting she could've marched the last two miles without eating one, but admits they could still be unhealthy. Bobby suggests writing a letter to ban them, and Shelly suggests a petition. Bobby then suggests they could forget about it and go to the movies, and Shelly says she likes movies. Bobby smiles, and they continue to pick up trash together.
Later, the staff successfully raise the funds and hold their conference, enjoying themselves in Cancun. The principal is shown hand-gliding.
- Hank Hill
- Peggy Hill
- Bobby Hill
- Dale Gribble
- Bill Dauterive
- Jeff Boomhauer
- Carl Moss
- Joseph Gribble
- Connie Souphanousinphone
- Chane Wassanasong
- Ramon Alejandro
- Clark Peters
- Stuart Dooley
- Debbie (teacher)
- Russ (mentioned)
- Joe Jack (non-speaking)
- Hank: "Do you wanna end up like George Clooney?"
- Bobby: "Hello girls, I noticed you order the pizza. Are you...interested in pizza?"
- A sign in the teacher's lounge says "Gym equipment for sale." This might be a reference to the gym equipment Bill bought from Moss in the Season 11 episode Bill, Bulk and the Body Buddies. In that episode, Carl was selling equipment that belonged to the school for his own personal gain.
- The summary in TV guides reads "Bobby raises a protest over a soda machine at school to impress a girl." This is inaccurate: although Bobby does raise a protest to impress Olivia, it was not about the soda machine (he raised that protest prior to meeting her) but rather about the "energy bars" they subsequently advertised.
- Bobby asks Principal Moss for a "dignified" soda that has either "Mr." or "Dr." in it. However Moss hands him a grape soda.