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Propane Boom is the thirty-fifth episode of King of the Hill. It was first aired on May 17, 1998. The episode was written by Norm Hiscock, and directed by Gary McCarver.



While watching television, Hank sees a commercial featuring Mega Lo Mart spokesman Chuck Mangione as he announces that the store is now selling propane. Hank can hardly contain his anger. The next morning, Mr. Strickland tells his employees that, although the company cannot compete with Mega Lo Mart's prices, they can deliver a personal touch, a program dubbed "Service With a Hug." But the stunt does little to keep Strickland's customers from straying. The following day, Mr. Strickland tells Hank he is closing the local branch in a desperate effort to save the entire company.

Furious at Mega Lo Mart for costing him his job, Hank begins discarding everything and anything purchased at the store. Desperate for work, Hank begins perusing the "help wanted" classified ads. Answering one such ad, he finds himself inside the conference room of a roadside motel. But when he realizes that the job is selling steak knives, he rejects the offer. When a weary and tired Hank returns home, he notices Luanne studying a book about propane. Luanne explains that she has decided to apply for a job selling propane at Mega Lo Mart (Buckley, a store employee, promised her the job) so she can pay for her education. Hank disapproves of the idea and storms off. But the pressure on Hank proves too much to bear, and when Luanne walks into the Mega Lo Mart to take the propane test, she discovers that Buckley hired Hank for the job.

Hank tries to apologize to Luanne for taking the job. But Luanne vents her rage using some of the Manger Baby puppets. Back at the Mega Lo Mart, Hank discovers that two of his coworkers, Mark McJimsey and Ray, were also forced out of their old jobs due to competition from the discount store; Mark was forced out of his Auto-parts store "Just Brake Drums" and Ray from his fish bait shop. A bond forms between the men, especially when they come under attack from much younger employees who hold positions of authority and force them to wear trainee badges despite the men all having years of experience.

Later, Hank spots Buckley dragging a propane tank across the floor by the valve. He warns Buckley that doing so could trigger a gas leak. Buckley ignores Hank and changes the subject, telling Hank he was supposed to set up Chuck Mangione's dressing room for a performance in the store's parking lot. A short time later, Hank talks Ray, Mark and another worker into disrupting the concert by blowing kazoos. During the night before the concert, Luanne reconciles with Hank for taking the Mega Lo Mart job, and asks him for a ride there to break up with Buckley.

When Mangione takes the stage, Hank enters the store's break room to retrieve something more powerful than a kazoo--an air horn. But while walking towards the store's exit, Hank stops and sniffs the air. His eyes widen in horror as he realizes that a propane tank is leaking.

Suddenly, a huge explosion rips through the store with Hank, Luanne and Buckley still inside, engulfing Mangione with the stage in a fireball, much to Peggy's horror. As debris rains down from the heavens, Boomhauer dials 911 for help. Expectedly, the operator can't understand him. The episode ends on a cliffhanger as Boomhauer slowly tries to explain what happened, while Peggy looks on in horror. 


Stinger Quote

  • Shut up. (chuckles) - Two Mega-Lo-Mart Employees


  • Some stations air this & Death of a Propane Salesman together as an hour long special entitled: Propane Boom: Parts 1 & 2.
  • Ray, who owned a bait shop called Layaway Ray's Bait N' Tackle, was previously revealed to have been put out of business by the Mega Lo Mart in the earlier season 2 episode Jumping Crack Bass (It's a Gas, Gas, Gas).
  • FOX ran a series of promos focusing on this episode where their execs threatened to kill off Hank unless he agreed to let the show be retooled and moved to Los Angeles (where it would be renamed "King of the Hollywood Hills"). Eventually, Hank forced them not to do it and they agreed to let him stay in Texas without killing him off and one of the other 3 victims would die.
  • The tissue box Bobby has had the Mega-lo mart logo on it when he said it wasn't from Mega-lo mart.
  • Zamfir, who Hank recommends as a potential Strickland Propane spokesperson, was not made up for the show - he is a real-life musician. He is perhaps best known for playing the pan flute on the score for The Karate Kid (1984).
  • This episode and Death of a Propane Salesman were temporarily pulled due from re runs on September 11, 2001 due to the terror attacks on U,S, soil and the explosion of the Mega Lo Mart and the aftermath being too similar to the terror attacks. These episodes returned in syndication later in October 2001.
  • Ray compares the Mega Lo Mart mutiny to "Queer Nation," an LGBTQ rights activist group founded in 1990. The group is at times known for being using militant protest styles, such as protest banners, to combat homophobia and promote LGBTQ visibility. Though Mark preferred to compare it to The Boston Tea Party, three of the mutineers would ambush the Chuck Magione concert with not only kazoo humming, but by also unveiling a surprise banner on the top of the concert stage which read "Megalo Mart Destroys Small Business."
  • Bobby said that the tissue box didn't come from Mega Lo Mart but was touching something that was, even though the tissue box clearly says "Mega Lo" on it (though he may have just been testing his father's patience.)
  • At the beginning of the episode, Hank is looking for batteries at Mega Lo Mart and is having difficulties getting any of the employees to help him. As one of the teenage employees says "Right through that door, sir" (thus pulling a prank on Hank by sending him outside), the sign above the shelf reads "Save Big at MegaNO!"
  • After Hank loses his job due to Strickland Propane being unable to compete with Mega Lo Mart which had just begun selling propane, Hank is seen depressed, in his robe while watching Monsignor Martinez. After a brief discussion with Peggy, a Spanish Mega Lo Mart commercial can be heard advertising the sale of propane, adding insult to injury.
  • We learn in this episode Strickland Propane’s address is 135 Los Gatos Road.
  • In all likelihood, Mego Lo Mart's decision to sell propane would not put Strickland Propane out of business. While Strickland does sell propane tanks to individuals, their largest sales volume comes from businesses and organizations needing propane for heating and cooking.
  • Realistically, propane tanks do not typically explode when leaking. Although propane is in fact flammable, explosions from propane tanks are very rare. BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expansion Vapor Explosion) occurs when the amount of pressure in a propane tank far exceeds the amount of pressure propane can safely vent. For example, a propane tank is bound to explode if the tank is under constant high heat for several minutes, causing propane molecules to expand and eventually breaking out of the tank. One possible explanation for the explosion is that there was an open flame or ignition, and there was enough propane to accumulate inside the store to cause an actual inferno.
  • Mark McJimsey from Just Brake Drums, is named after the producer of the show, Mark McJimsey. His name can easily be seen in the opening credits of many KOTH episodes

Season 1 Season 2 Season 3

How to Fire a Rifle Without Really Trying · Texas City Twister · The Arrowhead · Hilloween · Jumpin' Crack Bass (It's a Gas, Gas, Gas) · Husky Bobby · The Man Who Shot Cane Skretteburg · The Son That Got Away · The Company Man · Bobby Slam · The Unbearable Blindness of Laying · Meet the Manger Babies · Snow Job · I Remember Mono · Three Days of the Kahndo · Traffic Jam · Hank's Dirty Laundry · The Final Shinsult · Leanne's Saga · Junkie Business · Life in the Fast Lane, Bobby's Saga · Peggy's Turtle Song · Propane Boom