Margaret J. "Peggy" Hill (née Platter) (born February 6, 1954), the deuteragonist of King of the Hill, is the wife of Hank Hill and the mother of Bobby Hill. She is also the paternal aunt of Luanne Platter. She has a two year teaching degree and was hired for numerous part time and temporary teaching jobs, mostly at Tom Landry Middle School. She is a freelance writer, mostly for the local newspaper, the Arlen Bystander. She is a notary public and sculptor. She also had tried other jobs in many episodes. She is a real estate agent in the show's later seasons. Peggy drives a Light Sandstone colored 1981 Buick Century Limited and later a Black 2001-2006 Chrysler Sebring Convertible.
She has been said to be beautiful (mostly by herself and Bill) despite being considered frumpy due to her granny-beehive and glasses, not to mention her tendency to wear culottes. Peggy wears square, rimless glasses and is generally seen wearing cut-off blouses and culottes. She is an average framed woman standing at about 5'7" who wears a disproportionate size 16½ shoe on her left foot, and size 16 on her right--which has been a constant source of her misery.
Peggy's primary characteristics are her helpful gregariousness and her highly inflated sense of self-worth: she always has a proactive, can-do attitude, but she rarely recognizes when she is wrong or ignorant and will often become bitter or stubborn and refuse to admit it until the last minute. The often-humorous conflict between what Peggy thinks she knows and what she actually knows is a common source of plot drama in the series, and the trouble caused by a negative aspect of her personality is often repaired in the end by a positive aspect of her personality.
When her authority is challenged in the slightest, Peggy often takes her anger out in petty, childish ways, suggesting she actually has a poor self-esteem and relies heavily on her family and community's perceptions of her as a good wife and mother. In "Hank's Bad Hair Day," after learning that Bobby wants to use Hank's barber instead of having Peggy cutting his hair, she throws out Bobby's untouched glass of chocolate milk, spitefully saying, "You're much too old for chocolate milk."
Like her husband, she has an impressive work ethic coupled with mediocre intelligence and minimal ambition: the greatest achievement of her career as an educator was to win Tom Landry Middle School's "Substitute Teacher of the Year Award" three sequential years, despite the award being a meaningless vote-based self-promotion (created by Peggy herself) that nobody else really cared about. She was also adamant about impressing her new boss, Chris Sizemore, when she worked at Chris Sizemore Realty, which (despite a few hiccups) eventually allowed her to use her cleverness to succeed.
Her personality appears to be ironic, considering her rough relationship with her abusive mother, who never thought she was good at anything. This may explain her overachiever status and egomania (Narcissistic personality disorder) and her tendency to react spitefully out of fear when her power roles (good mother, good citizen, good teacher) are challenged by events.
Peggy is a fan of Billy Crystal and Rob Reiner. She also responded affirmatively when Hank asked if she was reading her "rabbi mysteries", a probable reference to the novels of Harry Kemelman. Peggy also uses a catch phrase "Ho yeah!" when she feels accomplished.
Born in Montana to cattle ranchers, she moved to Texas for high school. Her family includes Doc Platter (father), Maddy Platter (mother), Leanne Platter (ex sister in-law), Luanne Platter (niece), Hoyt Platter (twin brother), Laverne (aunt), and Boppo (uncle).
Peggy's mother was extremely critical, and her father was aloof and spoke in obtuse, nature-based metaphors that were the foundation of Hank's admiration towards Doc. These portrayals of her parents, from the episode "A Rover Runs Through It", are actually a retconned version differing quite noticeably from the homemaker mother – and presumably equally suburban father – displayed in flashbacks in earlier episodes, "I Remember Mono" and "Transnational Amusements Presents: Peggy's Magic Sex Feet". In early episodes, Mrs. Platter is seen visiting in the Hills' home, implying that she lives in or near Arlen, Texas, and is on speaking terms with her daughter (although the episode "Happy Hank's Giving," in which she appears in her original incarnation, implies that her mother either still lives in Montana or moved back). These appearances are discarded by "A Rover Runs Through It". In fact, the suggestion in the later episode is that Peggy left her parents behind when she went to Texas, which is a significant alteration. In both versions her mother tends to be critical of her, albeit for different reasons.
Peggy's twin brother, Hoyt, is Luanne's father. A petty criminal, Hoyt was unseen and serving a second jail term. The family told Luanne that he was working on an oil rig to spare her feelings. When Hoyt returned to Arlen, Peggy tried to help him out and gave him money, but eventually realized Hoyt was an incorrigible criminal and would destroy the entire family.
Peggy's inflated ego and irrepressible intellectual confidence leads her to believe she is vastly more intelligent than she actually is. In "The Substitute Spanish Prisoner", it's stated that she estimates her IQ at 170, which would make her both a super-genius and the intellectual equal of the philosopher Confucius. She claims to be fluent in Spanish, and indeed teaches it to children as her primary area of expertise, when in reality she speaks it extremely poorly, with a terrible grasp of both grammar and vocabulary and a totally nonexistent accent. In "Lupe's Revenge," her poor Spanish led her to face a Mexican judge on kidnapping charges after she accidentally kidnapped a child due to her inability to recognize that she couldn't speak even basic Spanish.
This is not to say, however, that Peggy is unintelligent, as her natural curiosity and high motivation often lead her to resolve a plot crisis with sheer effort; for example, her knowledge of legal proceedings allowed Hank to filibuster an unpopular law from passing. Her extensive Boggle playing has given her a good vocabulary, allowing her to win the aforementioned state Boggle tournament with a 16-letter word, "acquaintanceship." A clever act of sabotage led the Alamo Beer Company to admit to knowingly selling tainted beer.
She has been a professional writer for a long time, writing for newspapers and hippie folk music. She writes musings and often speaks like a muser. Always speaking in a formal, lyrical and stilted sort of cleverness. Like a philosophy major or perhaps a fortune-cookie.
In one of the few examples of Peggy's theories being proved correct, she once claimed her song lyrics were stolen by country singer Randy Travis, though Mr. Travis claimed to have written them independently. It is later revealed that the lyrics (and the story which Peggy tells Mr. Travis inspired her to write it) were, in fact, Peggy's, but her reputation for self-promotion makes even Hank think she is crying "wolf". Travis also steals an anecdote about her large feet and tells it to his audience during a performance. It isn't until Travis tells an audience that he saved Hank from drowning when, in reality, Hank was the one who saved him after Bill sent his RV into a lake, not knowing Mr. Travis was inside. Hank decided he was going to kick his ass before Peggy told him it wouldn't make a difference.
Relationship with family
After not having seen her parents for years, Peggy went to Montana at the request of her mother to see her childhood home one last time. To save the ranch from Henry Winkler, and in an attempt to win her mother's favor, Peggy was able to locate an old law that allowed them to transfer their cattle through the main street of town. Afterwards, Winkler allows them to cut through his land for their cattle drive. In what appears to be a moment between mother and daughter, Peggy expects a warm thank you from her mother but is instead blamed for the whole thing; her mother says it would have never happened had she stayed on the farm. Peggy leaves, accepting the fact that her relationship with her mother is over and that she should focus on her relationship with Bobby.
Perhaps as a result of her relationship with her own parents, Peggy has a tendency to overreact to any indication that something is not right with Bobby, for example believing he was infected by mold because he couldn't remember her birthday (though he didn't know it in the first place), believing he has ADD even though he just ate too much sugar that morning, believing that he was a special-needs child when he was just lazy, and when she caught Bobby making out with a plastic head to train himself how to act around a girl, believing this to be a lie and he really had a fetish for inanimate objects.
She frequently aggrandizes her own accomplishments, such as her continual recognition as the substitute teacher of the year, although she won the first award because she created it. This ego of hers was seen as a running gag in a few episodes where in some cases she will point out how she was a major part of something in an effort to hog the glory. For example, when she thinks Bobby has been chosen to run with the Olympic torch (although it was, moments later, proven to be Hank, not Bobby, who won the contest), Peggy is only willing to concede, "Well, to be fair I wrote the essay, but let this be Bobby's moment." Her belief that someone can do anything if they put their mind to it often leads her into trouble when she takes the philosophy too literally; she often believes she can do many things for which she has no skill or background (such as walking into a crime scene and expecting to become part of the investigation).
It is perhaps not the fact that Peggy thinks so highly of herself, but in her assumption (and expectation) that everyone else thinks equally highly of her, which leads her into a variety of predicaments. In one episode, Peggy assumes that an actor, Eduardo Felipe, star of TV's Monsignor Martinez is madly in love with her and wants to have an affair with her. This idea is based somewhat on a cultural misunderstanding, over wine he tells her his wife is "with the ancestors" and acts in a way her friend Nancy agrees is "flirting", but largely on her presumption that she is irresistible. This happens multiple times throughout the series-- in one episode, Peggy believes she can win a beauty contest, hands-down, without modifying her appearance at all, since she is naturally just that beautiful; Hank has to awkwardly try to talk her out of competing against much younger, prettier women without hurting her feelings. In another, Hank has a nude dream about Nancy Gribble and then later ignores her to talk to some young nudist women; despite her total conviction at this point that Hank is no longer attracted to her and their marriage is ruined, she is still unwilling to concede that she might not be "equally pretty" to every gorgeous woman on the planet.
Another episode sees her self-consciously comparing herself to Bobby's 14-year-old girlfriend, bragging that they are similarly beautiful, despite the comically vast difference in their ages and appearances.
"Believe me, I prayed on it, Hank. And God told me "Don't do it." But you know what? I knew better!"
Peggy's most negative, but humorous trait is her extremely inflated ego. She has the habit of using the phrase "in my opinion" when stating well known facts, such as, "In my opinion, the day after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest shopping days of the year," and "As I like to say/call it," when using common expressions, or, for example, calls a basic boiled pasta and canned sauce spaghetti recipe "SpaPeggy and meatballs." Hank calls her out on this in the Randy Travis episode, saying "That's not your opinion, that's just fact." She also occasionally makes claims that seem to have no basis in reality at all, such as "Swiss cheese is not Mexican, it's American". She does this to try and piggyback on intelligent people's observations to make herself look smarter.
When she is particularly pleased with her own cleverness, she coyly raises her hand to her chest and chuckles, "Oh, Peggy!" In an interesting spin on Peggy's self-confidence, she reluctantly recruited Bill Dauterive, whom she usually avoids because of his obvious and unwelcome crush on her, to a pyramid sales scheme, only to be surprised as Bill proved to be a much better salesperson than she was.
Peggy once ran for the school board, along with Minh and Nancy, but lost. In a frequent theme, Peggy, Minh, and Nancy began to turn on each other to win. In a classic example of her self-aggrandizing nature, Peggy treats her run for local school board as though she were a candidate for national office, using a backgammon set as a fake briefcase and answering her cellphone with "War Room". In the end, they all lost to a fundamentalist Christian, who planned to get rid of biology, geometry, the after-school program, and all "offensive" encyclopedias. Perhaps this was an attempt to tip the scales in her favor.
While her ego tends to get her in trouble, it is also what gives her an incredibly admirable level of confidence and bravery that empowers her to stand up for herself and those around her.
Because she is so enthusiastic about her own abilities, she is always gullible enough to fall for scams. Cindy Wasanasong tricked her into taking over her Cozy Kitchen "business," which turned out to be an inescapable pyramid scheme. (Ironically, she gave away her first sale set as free samples, something she berated Luanne for doing in an earlier episode). An archaeology professor tricked her into signing off her property as a legalized dig. A scam artist tricked her into paying $999 for a fake Ph.D. degree after she tested as a "genius" in an online IQ test. She and Luanne were even lured into a cult. Peggy is also slow to pick up on social cues; she was the last on the block to realize that Nancy Gribble was having a long-term affair with John Redcorn, and realizes this only when Hank practically hands her the answer. ("Look at Joseph!")
Her gullibility was even proved in the episode "Death and Texas", when a convict, Wes Archer, wrote to her from prison, claiming to be a former student. Eventually her naivety gets the better of her when she unknowingly smuggles cocaine into the prison, and Wes finally admits that he never had her as a teacher, stating he and her are almost the same age and calling her out for being stupid.
Her unfounded ideas can also lead to big problems, such as getting the Hill family deep into debt by taking out a cash advance on their credit card to buy a share in a roller derby team, accidentally telling readers to make Mustard Gas in her household tips columnor almost getting Nancy, Dale and herself almost killed by convincing Nancy to report on the county's wildfire up close. Minh told Peggy she wondered what she is kept around for, seeing as she is unable to do simple household tasks such as remove stains from clothing.
Peggy's ego is a defense mechanism for her many insecurities, which typically appear when other people seem to be better than her at things she prides herself on. Peggy is prone to jealousy and spite, sometimes to the point of severe neurosis and unnecessary family strife, and she sometimes becomes extremely vindictive about seemingly mundane things:
- An entire B-Plot was dedicated to her after she failed to guess the weight of her ice cream, in which she trained herself throughout the episode to calculate things she held and even took her son out of school to help her train. When she finally got the weight right at the end of the episode, she shamelessly showboated to the cashier, despite his obvious and total lack of interest.
- Bobby takes Home Economics and becomes better than her at cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry drives her to get a new and ridiculous hairdo (which Hank can't stand because of the smell of her hairspray) in an attempt to bring Hank's attention back to her and distract him from Bobby's domestic accomplishments. When that doesn't work, she purposely sabotages the Thanksgiving dinner Bobby has been meticulously preparing by stealing both his buttermilk turkey and his bike and fleeing down the street with it so Hank doesn't think she's a "bad wife".
- When Hank's friends nominated him to run with the Olympic torch, she continually blamed him for the act despite Hank not wanting to run with it in the first place
- When he wouldn't hire a female employee, Peggy assumed it was because the woman was attractive and continuously accused him of being sexually attracted to her.
- During the wedding of Boomhauer's brother Patch, Patch tries to frame Hank for the presence of hookers at his bachelor party; despite the fact that Patch had already admitted to hiring them himself, Peggy glares at Hank as though he is indeed at fault.
- In a particularly low moment, she purposely sabotages Lucky's GED test by "tutoring" him and teaching him all the wrong information because she doesn't personally approve of his marriage to Luanne.
- She grew jealous of Ladybird because she believed Hank loved the dog more than her, despite Hank jumping through hoops to get her pregnant.
- She also becomes jealous of Hank's prized guitar "Old Betsy" because she believed he loved the guitar more than her.
- She became jealous of Hank when he was shown to be a better and more popular substitute teacher, although this had much to do with the competition he presented for her third straight "Substitute Teacher of the Year" Trophy. It is implied that Peggy's actions led to Hank being removed from teaching, after which she withdrew from the running and then reapplied for the award as "Mrs. Hank Hill".
- She has also been jealous of Minh for improving upon her family recipes and jealousy towards Nancy for her beauty.
Peggy's Musings (Oh Peggy...!)
- Napkin rings, those useful things.
- Autumn - love it or leaf it.
- Did you know Emily's husband is having an affair with root beer? Don't worry, she's not jealous.
- Although there is no "L" is Christmas, there is "NOEL" in Christmas.
- In early seasons, Peggy wore white socks, but later in the series those socks disappeared.
- It was told by Hank that in Season 4 Episode 23 Transnational Amusements Presents: Peggy's Magic Sex Feet, Boomhauer has known Peggy longer than Hank has.
- She is something of a mentor for her niece Luanne as her own mother wasn't there for her. She has tutored Luanne in many things, including baseball, family, and life in general.
- Bill Dauterive has been infatuated with Peggy for quite some time in contrast to her absolute disgust for him on every possible level.
- Peggy holds a "threepeat" (three times/repeat) Substitute Teacher of the Year at Tom Landry Middle School.
- In "The Peggy Horror Picture Show", because of her body physique, not being feminine and having big feet, she was once mistaken for a drag queen. It's been revealed that Peggy's feet are even bigger than Hank's.
- In "Luanne: Virgin 2.0", it is revealed that Peggy had premarital sex with a man that was not Hank and revealed that she was the one saying they should wait until their marriage for sex.
- Peggy's brown vehicle was revealed to be a Buick in "The Son That Got Away".
- She appears not to be very computer savvy, seeing as she asked if her Kaypro computer (a 1980s computer) was Y2K compliant. She was told by a former HP employee that "[her] watch had more memory than that."
- Peggy has a 2-year college degree, revealed in "Board Games".
- Peggy owns a "Pong" system that is shown in "It Ain't Over Till The Fat Neighbor Sings".
- Her catchphrase is "Ho Yeah"! whenever she was encouraged or is excited.
- While Hank has always been an athlete, Peggy is a scholar as well as an athlete. She seems especially talented at all sports.
- In "Sleight of Hank", Hank stated that Peggy does not have a twin, however, he didn't meet Hoyt until "Life: a Loser's Manual".
- In virtually every episode, Peggy recites her full name to herself - or to a person or group of people - in a context outside of introduction. She also refers to herself by various self-affixed "titles", e.g "Coach Peggy Hill", "Sales Manager Peggy Hill", and so forth. One time, she even makes her full name into a verb: when asked by Bobby how she comes up with her (questionably) clever musings, her reply is that she'd take an idea "...and Peggy Hill the heck out of it." This behavior is ironic when one realizes her actual name is not Peggy at all but Margaret.