"Pilot" is the first episode of Season 1. It originally aired on January 12, 1997. It marked the premiere of King of the Hill and the debut of its main cast.
When Bobby gets hit in the eye by the other boy with a baseball at one of his little league games, rumors of his father Hank abusing him start to spread. This episode guest stars Gailard Sartain as a case manager.
Hank Hill, his wife, Peggy, and son, Bobby, drive to a Little League baseball game. Along the way, Hank gives his son a pep talk, emphasizing the importance of winning. As the game gets under way, Bobby, who shows little athletic prowess, manages to get on first base, but he becomes distracted when his father offers coaching advice from the bleachers. A ball roars down the first base line and strikes Bobby in the face, leaving him with a black eye. After the game, Bobby accompanies Hank to the Mega Lo Mart. Two older women spot the pair from an aisle, as Hank throws a temper tantrum when he is unable to be directed to the hardware department, and the elderly women erroneously pass on that Bobby is being abused. Word spreads throughout the community, and eventually, a social worker named Anthony Page is dispatched to investigate the incident.
Page arrives at the Hill home just as Hank throws a temper tantrum (after banging his head on the hood of his car). Before Page interviews Hank, Peggy assures Page that her husband is as gentle as a lamb and Hank tells the social worker during the interview that his son received the black eye during a baseball game. He also emphatically denies ever hitting his son, and forces Page to leave. Meanwhile, Page remains unconvinced and begins interviewing neighbors and friends of the family, hoping to uncover the "truth."
Back at the Child Protective Services Office, the social worker discusses his findings with the case manager. Through this, Page comments his personal opinion of how that it is "redneck city." However, his boss then asks how he enjoyed his conversation with the baseball coach, revealing that Page never did talk to him about the black eye, which would have cleared up everything instead of jumping to the conclusion he did, which nearly got Bobby removed from his family. He is later removed from the investigation and fired. The boy then intercepts a phone call from the Protective Services Office, in which Page's boss apologizes for the misunderstanding. Bobby lies and tells Hank that if he continues to lose his temper, the government will take him away. Unaware that he is no longer under investigation, Hank heeds Bobby's warning and attempts to control his temper, no matter how much his son misbehaves. Eventually, Peggy learns from the case manager that the investigation was halted a week earlier and that Bobby deliberately neglected to tell anyone the truth a week later. When she confronts Bobby, he admits that he is doing it because he doesn't believe Hank loves him. Peggy tells Hank about the misunderstanding, which upsets him. Peggy tells Hank why Bobby lied and to let him know that he loves him, but Hank has trouble saying that because of his upbringing with his father. Later, Hank tells Bobby in his own unique way, how much he loves him, and they start to play fight. Anthony Page sees this from a bus, and tries to tell the man sitting next to him, but the man rebuffs him.
Hank Hill: "I'll tell you what my truck needs: Leadership. Detroit hasn't felt any real pride since George Bush went to Japan and vomited on their auto executives."
Hank Hill: (Shouting to Bobby after he destroys the fence) "Please respect my fence's right to be a fence. Now!"
Dale: "I know what's wrong with it. It's a Ford. You know what Ford stands for, don't you? It stands for "Fix It Again, Tony."
Hank: "You're thinking of a Fiat, Dale."
Dale: "Fix... it... again."
Anthony Page: Mrs. Hill, would you say that your husband has a bad temper?
Peggy Hill: Who, Hank? No, Hank is as gentle as a lamb.
Hank Hill: (Storms in the house, and catches Bobby's baseball. Shouts.) NO - MORE - BOUNCIN' - THAT - BALL! (Throws the baseball, which breaks a window.)
Peggy Hill: (Softly) Hank, we've got a visitor.
Anthony Page: "Mr. Hill, I feel that you're coming from an anger mindset, and if you're projecting your anger onto me, it gives me grave concerns as to how you facilitate your son's growth in private."
Hank Hill: "Mr., I have not begun to project my anger onto you!.
Anthony Page: "Please, Mr. Hill, loud is not allowed."
Hank Hill: "What the- loud is not allowed? Now, you listen to me, Mr.! I work for a livin'! And, I mean real work, not writin' down gobblety gook! I provide the people of this community, with propane, and propane accessories! Ho, and when I think of my hard-earned tax dollars, going to pay a bunch of little twig boy bureaucrats like you, it just makes me wanna... (Hank starts to lose composure.)"
Peggy Hill: "Honey?"
Hank Hill: (Calmly, to Peggy) "Honey, bring me my bc headache powder, and a glass of water."
Peggy Hill: (Calmly) "All right, Hank."
Hank Hill: (To Anthony Page) "Now, you listen here. You see that boy? (Motions to Bobby) That's my boy! And, if you ever try to take him away, so help me, God, I'll tear you a new one bigger than the Grand Canyon! Now, I want you to get out of my house! You're not welcome here! I mean now, before I give you a black eye! Get!"
Bobby Hill: "And, then, some weirdo came over, and started askin' a bunch of questions."
Joseph Gribble: "Yeah! He asked me if your dad ever whooped you. He hasn't, right?"
Bobby Hill: "No! Of course, not! You know my dad, he's all bark! Boy, that guy sure got him mad, though. My dad was like, (Starts imitating Hank) Get out of my house, my boy ain't much, but he's all I got!"
Joseph Gribble: (Laughs) "You do a great impression! Let me try! (Imitates Hank) I'm gonna tear you a new one! When I get my hands on you, you little peabrain! I'll bust your butt into little pieces!"
Anthony Page: (After overhearing Joseph's Hank Hill impression) "Ohhhh, I knew it!"
Anthony Page: (After he is convinced Hank is threatening Bobby, he rings the doorbell) "Bobby? Bobby, are you all right? Come on out!"
Hank Hill: (To Anthony Page) "I thought I told you to get lost!"
Anthony Page: (Ignoring Hank) "Come on, Bobby. I can put you in with a nice foster family in North Arlen, where you can develop healthy life adaptations! And, they've got a pool!"
Hank Hill: (To Peggy) "Honey, let's give him Luanne!"
Hank Hill: (To Anthony Page) "Hey, I've got a girl in here you can take right now!"
Anthony Page: (Still ignoring Hank, and keeps talking to Bobby) "Don't you want to live in a house with a pool?"
Bobby Hill: "No."
Hank Hill: (To Anthony Page as he starts chasing him off the property) "See, twig boy? Now, get your skinny butt off of my property!"
Anthony Page: (To Bobby) "Bobby, I know you can't talk in front of him! (Hank)"
Hank Hill: (To Anthony Page as he chases the man to his car) "I said, get! Get! Get outta here!"
Anthony Page: (To Hank from inside his own car) "You are out of control!" (Starts his car and leaves)
Hank Hill: (To Anthony Page) "You are outta control, Twiggie!" (Hits Anthony's car as he finishes talking.)
Hank Hill: (fast) I love you no matter what you do. Phew, let’s go get something to eat!
Bobby Hill: I’m not... just a big disappointment to you?
Hank Hill: Disappointment? No, you make me proud! I’ve been disappointed by just about everything else in this town, but you? Not once. Dammit you’re ma’ boy! You should know better than that!
(Hank playfight’s with Bobby as they both laugh)
Anthony Page: (After witnessing Hank playfighting with Bobby) "He punched him! I knew it! I told him! Did-did you see that?"
Passenger on bus: "See what, twig boy?"
Anthony Page: (Scoffs) "Never mind."
- Hank Hill
- Peggy Hill
- Bobby Hill
- Luanne Platter
- Dale Gribble
- Nancy Gribble
- Joseph Gribble
- Jeff Boomhauer
- Bill Dauterive
- John Redcorn (cameo)
- Cotton Hill
- Anthony Page
- Hoyt Platter (mentioned)
- Leanne Platter (mentioned)
- Anthony the caseworker, or someone who looks and acts like him, is later featured as an "American with Disabilities Act" advisor in the King of the Hill episode "Junkie Business". He is also seen buying organic, vegetarian snacks for a Super Bowl party in one episode, and then later attending Luanne's wedding in "Lucky's Wedding Suit".
- This episode is also known as "Bobby The Baseball Phenom."
- According to the DVD commentary, many names were considered to be the name of the show before King of the Hill was chosen including: Dale Gribble and the Other Guy, I'm Gonna Kick Your Ass!, Citizen Hank, Propane Man, The Hank Hill Family Hour, and Hank Hill and His Clan.
- According to Greg Daniels, the original script for the pilot written by Mike Judge had Hank as a more short tempered & ornery character much like Mr. Tom Anderson from Beavis & Butt-Head whom he was based on. Fox executives thought Hank was unlikable & during the rewrite, Greg Daniels made Hank Hill a more good-natured & easy going character.
- Bill has the first line of the show.
- Boomhauer's fast talking originated from an angry phone message Mike Judge received about Beavis and Butthead (which the caller referred to as "Porky's Bunghole") and its controversial content.
- The original pilot included a storyline about a Laotian family moving to Arlen, but that was rejected and later became its own episode called "Westie Side Story". The original pilot also didn't have Luanne and Cotton Hill, nor did it portray Dale Gribble as a conspiracy theorist.
- In the Spanish dub, instead of Hank, Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer talking about "Seinfeld", they talk about "Beavis and Butt-head".
- In Texas, there is a chain of cafeteria-style restaurants known as Luby's. When dining there, one can purchase what amounts to a combo meal, which consists of the main dish, two sides, and a roll. The name of this combo is the Luanne Platter, one of the characters in the show.
- During the episode, Peggy walks into Bobby's room and he is making noises for humor. These noises sound like what Beavis and Butt-head usually make (especially the boing-oing-oing-oing-oing that Bobby makes).
- Right before Hank Hill tells Bobby that he loves him no matter what he does, in the background of Hank's house, there is a picture of younger Cotton Hill.
- Luanne is depicted as having automotive knowledge here, something that would all but be forgotten in later seasons where she was rewritten as a stereotypical dumb blonde.
- Compared to later seasons, the animation quality is considerably more crude. In fact, the animation quality of the earlier episodes is not very different from that of Mike Judge's previous television series, Beavis and Butt-Head.
- Luanne claims the incident between her parents is going to be on Real Stories of the Highway Patrol. This television series actually exists.
- Phunny Phone Jerks is most likely a homage to the Jerky Boys.
- The ballpark Bobby plays at doesn't have an outfield fence.
- Hank makes reference to an international incident in which President George HW Bush vomited during a diplomatic visit to Japan. However, Bush actually vomited on Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa rather than any auto executive. It is also worth noting that this episode was released two-and-a-half years before his similarly named son announced his participation in the Republic presidential primaries for the 2000 election, and the reference to "George Bush" would have been far less ambiguous to most of the episode's original audience.
- Inconsistencies are made in this episode:
- Luanne says Hoyt was arguing with Leanne, meaning he was there, but in later episodes, he is in jail (the oil rig) and he has not seen Luanne since they were young kids.
- At one point where Bobby and Joseph pass Hank fixing the garage door, Joseph's shirt is yellow. But when they enter the garage, Joseph's shirt turns back to green.
- Bobby is wearing a helmet when he's at-bat. However, when he's on base, he's wearing a baseball cap.
See more: Credits
- Mike Judge as Hank Hill, Cotton Hill
- Kathy Najimy as Peggy Hill
- Pamela Adlon as Bobby Hill
- Brittany Murphy as Luanne
- Supervising producers: Jonathan Collier, Cheryl Holliday; David Zuckerman
- Producers: Joe Boucher; Richard Raynis
- Executive producers: Howard Klein, Michael Rotenberg
- Written by: Mike Judge, Greg Daniels
- Directed by: Wes Archer
- Starring: Mike Judge, Kathy Najimy, Pamela Segall, Brittany Murphy, Johnny Hardwick
- Also starring: Ashley Gardner, David Herman, Toby Huss, Garland Sartain
- Associate producer: Mark McJimsey
- Executive story editors: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Joe Stillman
- Story editors: Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, Paul Lieberstein
- Staff writer: Jim Dauterive, Johnny Hardwick
- Animation executive producer: Phil Roman
- Animation produced by: Film Roman, Inc.
- Animation producers: Lolee Aires, Bill Schultz, Mike Wolf
- Main theme by: The Refreshments
- Underscore composed by: John O'Connor
- Casting by: Julie Mossberg
- Editors: Don Barrozo, Lee Harting, Mark McJimsey, Leo Papin
- Co-producer: Daniel Rappaport
- Dialogue Editors: Bobby Mackston, Mark McJimsey, Norm Macleod
- Production coordinator: Chuck Austen
- Animation production coordinator: Melanie Middien
- Script supervisor: Louise Jaffe
- Assistant to Greg Daniels: Gina Fattore
- Assistant to Mike Judge: Jessica Jarrett
- Assistants to the producers: Jill Anthony, Daniel Bolan, Erica Clare, James Fino, Sabrina Francis, Robert Gaston, Kenny Micka, Jill Parker
- Music editor: Bobby Mackston
- Sound effects editor: Greg King
- Production mixer: Ronny Cox
- Re-recording mixers: Bob Manahan, Peter S. Carlstedt
- Post-production facility: Laser Pacific Media Corp.
- Post production audio facility: Sony Pictures Studios
- Overseas animation director: Glenn Kirkpatrick
- Overseas production by: Rough Draft Studio
- Assistant director: Martin Archer
- Storyboard: Martin Archer, John Rice, Jeff "Swampy" Marsh
- Character design: Wes Archer, Klay Hall, John Rice, Paul Scarlata
- Background design supervisor: Phil Hayes
- Background design: John Magness, Lance Wilder
- Timers: Dave Brain, Vonnie Batson, Kyunghee Lim, Boowhan Lim
- Prop design: Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, Caesar Magsambol
- Character layout artists: Chris Fria, Lynne M. Healy, Neil Ishimine, Boowhan Lim, Kyunghee Lim, David Preston
- Background layout artists: Allan Jacobsen, Sam Kirson
- Animation checker: Vonnie Batson
- Background key supervisor: Adriana Galvez
- Background Keys: Jill Daniels, Barbara Schade
- Color design: Paul Felter, Chris Naylor
- Ink & paint supervisor: Phyllis Craig
- Painters: Shigero Doyle, Mary Dykstra, Debbie Mark, Ronnie Prince, Cookie Tricarico
- Animatic supervisor: Anne Osborne
- Animatic staff: Dustin Foster, Erik Petraitis, Stephanie Tuck, Carmen Woods, Patrick Buchanan, Robert Ingram
- Film Roman production managers: Stephanie Elliot, Lisa Womble
- Film Roman production coordinators: Christine Bourgeois, Derek Higgs, Miken Wong
- Film Roman accountant: Sandra Contreras
- Film Roman production assistants: Acacia Caputo, P.T. Henderson, Jorden Levine
- Film Roman post production supervisor: Malisa Caroselli
- Film Roman post production coordinator: Celeste Pustilnick
- Film Roman assistant film editor: Louis Russell
- Film Roman lip sync: Kent Holaday
- Film Roman track reader: GLenwood Editorial, Inc.
- Film Roman negative cutter: D and A Film Cutting, Tim Heyen
- Film Roman telecine: Matchframe Video
- Film Roman camera staff: Patrick Buchanan, Robert Ingram