"The Company Man" is the twenty-first episode of King of the Hill. It was first aired on December 7, 1997. The episode was written by Jim Dauterive, and directed by Klay Hall. Guest Stars: Burt Reynolds, Billy West and Stockard Channing.
Hank meets with his boss, Buck Strickland, inside the men's restroom at work. Buck explains that Holloway Hollows, a new development, is in need of a propane supplier. He gives Hank a one hundred dollar bill and the keys to a rented Cadillac El Dorado convertible, instructing him to show the owner and his wife, Mr. Holloway and Mrs. Holloway, a good time. Buck warns, however, that their competitor (and Hank's old nemesis), M. F. Thatherton, is very eager to land the same client. When Hank returns home, he tells his wife a cup of coffee, a slice of pie and a handshake are all he needs to cement a deal. But Hank is not quite prepared for Mr. Holloway, an obnoxious Bostonian who pictures Texans as stereotypical cowboys wearing ten-gallon hats and spurs. As Hank attends to Holloway, Peggy strikes up an easy friendship with his wife. When Hank takes Mr. Holloway to a coffee shop for pie, Thatherton strides up to their table and introduces himself. Holloway is impressed with Thatherton, referring to him as a "real Texan."
Holloway notices that Hank isn't wearing cowboy boots. Taking the plunge, Hank concocts a story about how he gave up his boots to his uncle after he was killed by a Texas-sized twister. But Holloway still yearns to see his host in a pair of boots. Hank takes Holloway and Bobby to a Western Wear Store Rhinestein's Cowboy, where he purchases a pair of tight-fitting boots and a large cowboy hat. Later, Hank asks Peggy to don a Kilgore Rangerette-type outfit for their dinner engagement with the Holloways. Though greatly displeased, Peggy honors her husband's request. Mrs. Holloway bows out of dinner at the last moment. At The Panhandler Steakhouse, Mr. Holloway orders the 72 ounce steak challange which he quit after one bite, then tells Hank that he and Thatherton are headed out to a strip club. But Hank intercedes, insisting that if anyone is taking Holloway to a "gentleman's club," it will be him.
Hank takes his guest to a strip club called Jugstore Cowboys. There, he sells his heart out, waxing philosophic about all things propane. But Mr. Holloway is more interested in getting a good mint julep. Hank, at the end of his rope, says that he has had enough of Holloway's immature behavior, and mint juleps are not even stereotyped to Texas. When Hank returns with the drink, Holloway takes one sip and spits it out. Fed up, Hank tells his guest that he is in the business of "selling propane and propane accessories with honor and dignity." Holloway throws a punch, which Hank casually catches in his fist. He declines the fight, saying that Holloway can go with Thatherton Fuels as that is an appropriate place for him anyway, but not to complain when Holloway Hollows suffers from problems due to impure propane thanks to Thatherton's cutting corners. Thatherton steps in and hits Holloway in the nose. Holloway happily retaliates, and an all-out bar fight ensues. The following Sunday, Bobby tells his Sunday school class about how he admires Hank, but adds some of Hank's tall tales, much to his dismay.
Afterward, Hank learns that it is Mrs. Holloway who owns the business. Completely comfortable with Hank and his family, she awards Strickland Propane the account.
- Hank Hill
- Peggy Hill
- Bobby Hill
- Luanne Platter
- Dale Gribble
- Nancy Gribble
- Jeff Boomhauer
- Bill Dauterive
- Kahn Souphanousinphone
- Buck Strickland (debut)
- M. F. Thatherton (debut)
- Mr. Holloway (cameo)
- Mrs. Holloway (cameo)
- Chiffon (debut and only appearance)
- Leanne Platter (mentioned)
- This episode is included on the King of the Hill complete first season DVD set due to its production code.
- This episode was produced during Season One and was slated to air as part of the season, but ended up airing as part as Season Two.
- Mr. and Mrs. Holloway's voices and much of their physical appearances bear resemblance to the late Kennedy family patriarch Joe Kennedy and his wife Rose.
- The 72 Oz Steak featured at the restaurant Hank takes Holloway to, is most likely a reference to the very popular 72 Oz Steak Meal Deal, available at The Big Texan Steakhouse in Amarillo, Texas. Much like the show, if you finish the Steak Meal, you eat it for free. However, they require the customer to pay upfront. If the customer finishes the gigantic steak, the money is refunded.
- The outfit that Peggy wears to dinner is very similar to a uniform worn by the Kilgore College Rangerettes, a dance team that usually performs during Dallas Cowboy games and the Cotton Bowl.
- The drink Holloway actually wanted was a Bloody Mary.
- It is revealed in this episode that the Hill family has a propane-powered Hotpoint range.
- The episode ends on a peaceful note, despite the fact that Hank and Mr. Holloway get into a huge fight and Hank would presumably lose the propane account. However, a scene cut from the episode reveals that Mrs. Holloway is the one who is actually the owner of the account, and she awards it to Strickland. This scene is NOT in any TV airing of the episode, but does appear as a Deleted Scene on the DVD.
- First appearance of Buck Strickland.
- First appearance of M. F. Thatherton.
- First appearance of Jugstore Cowboys.
- The director Klay Hall reveals in the DVD commentary for this episode that the airport where Hank and Peggy pick up the Holloways is modeled and drawn after the Hollywood Burbank Airport in Los Angeles County, California.
- When Hank flashes back in time, he is in the bathroom with Thaterton who says he is starting his own business, Thatherton Fuels. Before the flashback, Hank looks out the window to see Thaterton's store, which is labeled "Thatherton Propane", not "Thatherton Fuels".
- After Bobby tells the waitress to get him 3 scoops of ice cream, Bobby's lower body becomes transparent for a few frames.
- After Hank orders a mint julep the bartender grabs a bottle of vodka. A julep does not contain vodka. Additionally when Hank returns with the drink the garnish is a lemon when it is traditionally a sprig of mint.
- Near the end of the episode before the huge fight, Hank stands up and grabs his hat, but his hat instead goes through his own beer.
- Holloway's mouth isn't moving when he's complaining about Hank's attire even though you can hear his voice (when his head is turned to the side).
See all the gallery: The Company Man/Gallery