The Good Buck is the one hundred-forty-third episode of King of the Hill. It was first aired on March 30, 2003. The episode was written by Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, and directed by Allan Jacobsen.
Buck Strickland comes in disheveled and hungover. He has lost a lot of money, his shoes, and the deed to Strickland North in a card game with Lane Pratley. He reveals that his wife has become so fed up with his drinking, gambling, and adultery (happening all at once, and on her birthday) she has once again kicked him out. As a result his bad habits begin to affect his business to the point Buck is scaring away customers by being drunk at work and throwing up in the grills. Meanwhile, Luanne is complaining the pastor chose someone else to teach Sunday school instead of her. In an effort to bring Buck to his senses, Hank takes Buck to church to give him some alone time. Later, Buck comes to Strickland Propane sober and says that a female parishioner helped him see the light. Peggy believes Buck is incorrigible, and is horrified to learn who introduced Buck to Christianity: Luanne!
Peggy is convinced Buck is up to no good, especially after Buck is having a Bible class with Luanne in the pool and Luanne is wearing her bikini. Hank joins Luanne's Bible class to keep tabs on them both but soon becomes convinced Buck is in control of himself. By this time, the class has grown to include Joseph, Lane Pratley, Principal Moss and Octavio as the class atmosphere starts to veer away from the spiritual. Buck later asks Luanne to marry him, but she says no, saying that she wants a young man with hair. This sends Buck off to places unknown. Luanne figures Buck is a changed man, but Hank warns when Buck is under pressure or depression, he dives into his addictions as a crutch.
The next day Buck crushes his car and comes into work drinking, drunk, and wanted to gamble with company money, but Hank lays down the law, saying there will be no more drunken behavior during work hours or on Strickland Propane property. Hank also changed the safe combination to prevent him from taken any money. Buck tries to protest but he is too drunk and passes out on the floor. When Buck sobers up, he sees Hank wiping tanks and joins in, realizing the Strickland Propane can provide stability.
In the subplot, Bobby is made to run cross country at the behest of a gruff gym teacher. When he runs by Hotel Arlen and sees high society enjoying themselves at tea time, he thinks he can fit in, but is denied entry on account of a dress code. Bobby solves this problem by storing his good clothes in a fanny pack then changing in an alley. Bobby does indeed fit in and makes friends with two old ladies, who are impressed with seeing a boy who appreciates high society and refined manners, and help to protect him from the gruff instructor, who senses what is going on one day when he runs by the window. His first attempt to capture Bobby fails due to the concierge denying the gym teacher entry to Hotel Arlen on account of his attire. Bobby gets caught when the coach enters the Hotel Arlen restaurant wearing a coat and tie.
- Lyndon Johnson, the inspiration for Buck Strickland, was, like Buck, a non-practicing Christian. However, unlike Buck, he felt comfort with influential American pastor Billy Graham rather than a poolside sermon like Luanne's. Johnson had known Graham since the 1950s, when he was still the Junior U.S. Senator from Texas and a pivotal moment in their friendship did involve Johnson inviting Graham and his assistant Grady Wilson to take a swim with him in the White House swimming pool soon after Johnson took office in 1963, though their encounter was very professional and helped Graham earn Johnson's trust more.https://www.texasmonthly.com/news-politics/billy-and-lyndon/ It was even under Johnson that Graham, who was even a close personal friend of Johnson, became the de facto White House Pastor rather than just a limited visitor like he was during the Eisenhower and Kennedy years. Johnson even became a major attendee, though not a speaker, at Graham's 1965 crusade which was held in Houston's Astrodome.https://texasarchive.org/2016_05888 Graham would even preside over Johnson's burial service.
- The title is a pun on "The Good Book", often used to describe the Christian Holy Bible.
- Buck mentions his birthday which hadn't before been established.
- "You've eaten your last ... whatever..." They're petit fours, individual cake squares though the name also applies to small savory appetizers.
- The song playing when Buck and Hank meet for the first time is "You Make My Dreams (Come True)" by Hall & Oates.