Hank's Back Story is the one hundred-third episode of King of the Hill. It was first aired on May 6, 2001. The episode was written by Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland, and directed by Cyndi Tang-Loveland.
Hank, Bill and Boomhauer are drinking in the alley and Bill mentions that the mail came a little early yesterday, and at 3:30, and Hank said Peggy was telling him. Then, Dale drives in with a lawnmower and says that Hank, Bill and Boomhauer are looking at the next winner of the First Annual Durndle County Mower Races. Hank questioned him and then said good for Durndle. Dale talked about the mower races and stated that it would be 20 laps around the track at speeds approaching 12 miles per hour and said that he chose Hank, Bill and Boomhauer to be his pit crew. Hank expressed dislike immediately after Dale stated that, and decided to enter himself along with Bill and Boomhauer. Dale then fired them from his pit crew and told them that if they wanted to buy a Mason 5000 between "now and race day", and not having them anonymously vandalized to plan on losing. Hank then tells Dale that it's the man and not the machine that wins the race.
Later, the guys practice for the race in their own yards, and while practicing Hank runs into Dale while on the mower and asks him if he wants to back out now. Dale answers with two questions: if he wants to back out of the race or back out of his position, and he says he can do both but will only do one. Looking over his shoulder, Dale accelerates toward Hank's yard and rides his mower into the bushes separating Hank's house from Dale's house. He says there's more where that came from, and later backs out and goes toward his own yard.
Inside the Hill residence, Hank is still sleeping and wakes up to an alarm clock. Upon sitting up, he feels pain, and then stands up and hopes it's not his back going out again. While at the table, Hank is standing while Bobby and Peggy are both sitting down. While doing this, Hank is unable to fully eat his breakfast (specifically cereal in milk) without spilling it; it spills every time he tries to eat. Bobby asks Peggy why Hank gets to stand at the breakfast table and he never gets to wear his cape. Peggy says because Hank is afraid of doctors and tells Hank that it was the fifth or eighth time that his back has gone out that year, and asks him to make an appointment; Hank denies Peggy's request and says that his back is just stiff from training for the mower race. He also states if he can beat Boomhauer off the line that he'll fall apart mentally. Peggy asks "what is it with you mower racers and your stubborn code of honor?" Peggy says she sees a doctor whenever she's incapacitated and that it doesn't make her any less of a man. Hank picks up his bowl of cereal, says that he's not incapacitated and then drops his bowl of cereal due to pain in the back.
Hank is seen making burgers and putting them on the grill, and while doing so, he put one hand on his back and the other on a spatula, while Peggy is gardening. Then, Bill comes around on his mower and dumps a box full of junk food on Hank's driveway. Peggy asks if the rats are back in his house, and Bill says he doesn't know and also says he's trying to lose weight so he has a better chance in the mower race. Hank tells Bill he could lose 100 pounds and he still wouldn't be able to take a corner like him. Bill argues that he could never lose 100 pounds and Hank hasn't been practicing. Bill then tells Hank his lawn is shaggy. Hank, angered, throws his spatula down and hits Bill with a pile of raw meat, causing him to later ride away on his mower.
Hank and Peggy prepare to go to see a doctor; Peggy gets in just fine while Hank is in but has trouble closing the door. He later successfully closes the door.
At the Arlen Medical Plaza, Hank and Peggy are in a doctor's office with Hank wearing different clothes; a woman comes in carrying pictures from a scan, and gives them to the doctor (specifically, his name is Dr Tate). The doctor says Hank has a compression of the discs in his lower back. Hank asks if he gets a lot of that in patients who race mowers, and Dr Tate says a lawnmower didn't cause it and that it's genetic. Peggy asks if it's genetic as in fatal. Dr Tate says no to Peggy. He says to Hank that he was born with no muscle mass in his butt (no cushioning), and says Hank has been sitting on his spine for years and that he suffers from a disease called "diminished gluteal syndrome". Peggy gasps in awe, and Hank says he doesn't understand and asks Dr Tate what that means. Dr Tate says to him "Mr Hill, you have no ass ", and uncovers his butt. Hank went back to the chair glumly, tried to sit down only to feel the pain he's been feeling.
Hank then talks to Dr Tate and asks how it could have happened to him, and Dr Tate shows him something. What he shows is a man with a healthy gluteus maximus, and a man with the same body type as Hank's (small buttocks, protruding stomach, often caused by pronounced consumption of beer). Dr Tate then prescribes Hank a prosthetic posterior to help alleviate the pressure on his spine. Hank is adverse to the idea.
At the medical supply store, Hank and Peggy pick up Hank's gluteal orthotic (prosthetic posterior/fake hiney), and puts in bags filled with saleen in there. Hank then puts it on, and then accidentally knocks things in the store over with his butt. He meets a guy who asks him if he is a patient of Dr Tate. Hank says he's not a patient, but Peggy interrupts and says that he is, and then the guy says he is a patient of Dr Tate as well. He introduces himself as Dave Ulster, and Hank introduces himself. Dave gives Hank his business card if he wants to talk, but Hank declines and Peggy takes his business card.
Back at the Hill residence, Hank is in the garage, and later closes the garage door. He then gets on his mower to see how it feels to sit on there with his new orthotic.
A day later Hank is practicing with Bobby and takes small sips of liquid. Hank says he's mowing like he's back in high school.
Hank comes out of the bathroom with a towel covering the lower part of his body, and asks Peggy if she's seen his orthotic. He says he needs it for dinner and that his dad will be at the house in 10 minutes. Peggy said she was doing a load of support garments so she threw it in and hung it on a clothes line to dry. Hank said that it is dry only on a flat surface. Hank then goes outside and notices that the orthotic is not on the clothes line, like Peggy said. When he looked, Dale said "over here Hank, behind you" and noticed that Dale took and started playing with his orthotic. Hank told Dale to give it back or he'd kick his ass, and Bill corrected him by saying "don't you mean, before you kick your ass" in reference to Dale wearing the orthotic. Hank starts chasing after Dale and says it's a medical device prescribed by an orthopedic physician. Cotton, Didi and G.H. arrive, Hank tells Cotton to go into the house, and then Dale tells Cotton that Hank has been wearing saleen implants/prosthetic posterior on his butt. Dale takes it off and throws it to Cotton. Cotton tells Hank he's wearing butt boobies, and Hank says it's for his back. Hank then asks for it back, and then Cotton throws it back to Dale. Kahn then comes and tells the people in Hank's backyard to quiet down, and Cotton tells him that they're having a game of keepaway. Dale then throws the orthotic and the orthotic gets stuck on a power line. Hank gets mad, gets a stick to get the orthotic off the power line, and while doing so, the towel covering his lower body comes off, revealing his butt and making him completely naked and causing everyone including Didi and Kahn to laugh; Hank then puts the towel back on and goes inside.
Dale, while on his lawnmower, looks at Hank's orthotic, which is still on the power line. While doing so, Octavio approaches him and tells him that Bill is losing weight and that he's only eating oranges and ham sandwiches. Dale told Octavio that we'll still win and that they must train twice as hard. He then tells Octavio to release the chicken, which he does, and which he chases around on the lawnmower. Inside, Hank is watching Dale chase the chicken, and Peggy tells him to not watch Dale and to get his orthotic down from the line and to get himself back in the race. Then Hank says that he's done with mower racing and that he's gonna rip up the grass and put in wood chips. Hank, while getting the mail from his mailbox, picked it up, drops it, and tries to pick it up but encounters pain yet again in his back. Peggy then said that Mr Strickland called and that there is a propane emergency in McMaynerbury. Peggy tells Hank to hop in and that she'll drive, but he lays down in the bed of his truck.
When they arrive, they are at a TV and VCR repair place. Thinking there is a real propane emergency, Hank brings in his toolbox and says to not light any matches only to be told that they're "back here" as in another room. He goes in the room to be greeted by Dave Ulster and three other guys. Hank says that Peggy said there was a propane emergency, and when he goes outside to talk to Peggy, she drives away and out of the parking lot. He then realized he was taken and referred to a support group. Dave then says it's not a support group and that they are hobbyists who share a common interest that meet twice a month to talk about it. Dave told Hank that Peggy shared with him the "awful incident" with his orthotic (reference to when Dale threw it onto a power line) and that he shared it with the group. Hank said he doesn't know what they're talking about and that he's not confirming that he has a wife. Wayne, a part of the support group, said it's one thing when they call us names, but to play hot potato with Hank's unit, and then says it's a medical device. Hank says that's what he kept saying. Another group member told Hank none of what's said leaves the group. The group then talked about little league baseball.
That evening, Hank got a fishing rod and successfully retrieved his orthotic (prosthetic posterior).
The next morning, Hank gets coffee, and tells Peggy he has something to show her. He then sits down on a chair, and has no pain from it. He told her he owes it all to that hobbyist group...and the one person who put him in touch with them...Dave Ulster. He told her he was kidding around and told her that he got his sense of humor back. Hank then told Peggy not to report a false propane emergency again. She considered it, and said she wasn't gonna rest until he was back in the mower race. Hank said he was done with that and that he would be wearing the orthotic at home and at his desk at work but he won't give his so-called friends and family an opportunity to ridicule him in public.
That evening, Bobby is watching a program telling him to squeeze his butt and release his butt several times, and Hank catches him doing that, says it's a ladies tape and turns it off. Bobby says he's firming his buttocks in 30 days so he won't end up like Hank and he knows how much he likes to sit. Hank told Bobby not to worry and that he probably won't get DGS and that even if he does he can wear a gluteal orthotic so he can sit anywhere he wants. Bobby said sooner or later someone would find out, and they'd laugh and he wants people laughing at him cause he's shoving broccoli up his nose and not because there's something wrong with him. Bobby later turns the program back on.
Back at the hobbyist group, they notice Hank sitting. Hank says that he is and that he'd like to stand up for he'd like to say. He thanks the group for giving him the courage to wear his orthotic with pride. He says he's not just doing it for himself and that he's doing it for Bobby, because chances are he may have passed the condition onto him through his genetics. Hank later said one thing to help Bobby lead a happy, shameless life is to win the Durndle County Lawnmower Race. The rest of the group cheers him on. Hank invites the hobbyist group to be his pit crew, and names the team the "Diminished Glutes" and that they'll wear it on their hats, and on their hats, and that he'd paint it on his mower right on top of the factory code. One of the members said that if he did that he'd throw a brick through his window. Hank, astonished by the group's reaction, said that he thought the group was an unbeatable team. Another group member told him that they're a secret society and not a group of look-at-me stanleys. Hank then decides to do it on his own.
Later that day, Hank and Bobby spraypaint "DIMINISHED GLUTES" on the left and right sides of his lawnmower. Peggy comes out and says that painting "DIMINISHED GLUTES" on his mower may ask for trouble, and she asks about her suggestion about painting "THE MOW THE MERRIER". Hank says he suffers from a genetic condition called DGS. Peggy then says she doesn't know what it's like, cause she's got it going on "back there". Hank says that in 20 years if Bobby gets it he doesn't want him to feel like a freak, and that he's fighting now so he doesn't have to. Bobby says "race for the cure".
At the Durndle County Speedway, a person is talking on the loudspeaker, welcoming people while they are entering the speedway. Then, two mowers are next to each other in a drag race, and it starts and it happens that parachutes come out of the rear of both mowers. Meanwhile Bobby is cleaning Hank's mower, and looking at Dale looking all smug on his mower. Hank tells Dale that Dale will eat Hank's exhaust fumes. Dale tells Hank to keep talking, and then calls him "bubble butt", while Bill is cleaning his mower. Bill, overhearing the conversation, says he wasn't saying anything, and Dale tells him he was talking to Hank. Dale then says he's gonna mow laps around both Hank and Bill. As the race begins, the person on the loudspeaker announces the race will begin in one minute. Dale tells Octavio to hook up nitrous oxide to his mower now that his inspection was complete. Octavio asks if it's illegal. Dale says yes, but it'll give a boost of speed. All the racers then start their engines, and the person on the loudspeaker indicates the race is about to begin, and a girl holding a green flag comes out and waves the flag. As the racers accelerate, Bill's mower flips over, and he said he did better than he thought he would. Hank then accelerates past different racers and he passes a person who is taking the speed of all the mowers. The girl who was holding a flag, is now holding a card indicating the 10th lap. Shortly after Hank begins his 10th lap, his left cheek in his orthotic blows out, and as he steers to the left, he holds it to the right. Later on, Dale approaches Hank, takes out a pocket knife, opens the blade and punctures Hank's right cheek. He then pulls over to the side and tells Peggy and Bobby that both his cheeks blew out and that he's riding on his tailbone. The hobbyist group was noticed, cheering him on (chanting "We're Here..No Rear..Get Used To It"). A member of the group throws his cheeks across the track to Hank, and Hank inserts them into his orthotic and continues racing. The race is almost done, and the person on the loudspeaker is preparing to announce who the winner is, and Boomhauer crosses the line first. Back to Dale, he called his mower a worthless piece of junk, and turned on the nitrous oxide connected to his engine only to blow out the engine in his mower. While his engine is smoking and Hank is gaining up on him, Dale finishes in sixth place and Hank finishes seventh.
Hank climbs down from the bed of his truck after putting his mower in there, and apologizes to the group for letting them down by not winning the race, but they tell them he automatically qualifies for next year's race because he won seventh place. Hank said he appreciated what they did out there, and that took a lot of guts. He told them he'd see them the next week. When Hank checks on his mower, he sees another guy checking it out. He asks Hank what kind of engine his mower has, and he tells the guy. He asks Hank about his orthotic, and tells him he could use something like that. Hank gives him his business card and tells him to give that to his friend. The episode ends with Hank crawling in the bed of his truck, laying down and telling Peggy to take him to the medical supply store.
Right before the end of the lawn mower race Dale arms the nitrous oxide to his mower. On the bottle, the formula was incorrectly labeled as NO2. This is the chemical formula for Nitrite, the correct chemical formula for nitrous oxide is N2O.