|The Redneck on Rainey Street|
|Season 8, Episode 21|
|Air date||May 16, 2004|
|Written by||Jim Dauterive|
|Directed by||Gary McCarver|
Hank's Back (The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hank)
As Hank and his friends drink beer in the common alley, a realtor named Abbie Holiday introduces herself. She tells the guys that the neighborhood they live in is red hot, and goes out of her way to compliment Hank on his house. Hank is thrilled. Meanwhile, Connie applies for the Rice University summer program. The admissions officer, Ruth Brown, is impressed with Connie’s grades. But later, Kahn howls like a wounded animal when he finds out Connie was turned down. Kahn pays Ruth Brown a visit to find out why his daughter received a rejection letter. Brown says Connie is just another bright Asian girl, and had she been Latino, African-American or even white, she would have been accepted immediately. Kahn can’t believe his daughter has fallen victim to discrimination. He speaks with Ted Wassanasong, whose son, Chane, got into Rice’s summer program. Ted says it helped that he made a very large donation to the school.
Kahn and Minh tally their books and realize they cannot afford to match Ted's large donation, commenting they have failed as parents. Later, when Kahn pulls into a gas station to fill up his car, he accidentally smashes his side view mirror, then gets a call on his cell from his demanding boss. A beefy passerby named Elvin Mackeltston introduces himself. He says a buddy of his can hook up Kahn with a new mirror. When Kahn thanks him, Elvin asks why he looks so glum. Kahn tells of his recent problems to Elvin, feeling that America is not like he envisioned it when he emigrated from Laos, instead finding it a lot of drugery with little reward. Elvin tells Kahn the American Dream is a sham meant to get people to slave away for success that will never happen, and that idea is reinforced by the call Kahn just got from his boss asking for a ridiculous order. Elvin recommends Kahn become his own boss and live a life like his, making his own rules. Kahn, agreeing that Elvin is making sense, acquires a Chevrolet El Camino.
When Kahn returns home, he tells Minh that the life of a redneck is preferable to being dragged down by a ball and chain at work. Minh begins to warm up to the idea of having no aspirations or dreams. Feeling liberated, she tells Kahn she’s more than happy to be his redneck bride. Kahn starts growing his hair long and dressing like a slob, and Minh does the same by wearing more revealing attire such as tube tops. Meanwhile, Hank and Peggy conclude that Kahn has lost his mind. Later, Kahn goes “catfisting” with Elvin and his friends Mud Dobber, Lucky, and Elvin’s wife, Sherilynn. Kahn reaches into the water and pulls out a big catfish. He and Elvin swordfight with the fish they’ve caught. As time passes, Kahn fills his yard with junk, until his house looks like something out of hillbilly heaven. Abbie informs Peggy that Kahn’s new lifestyle is dragging down the value of the entire neighborhood. Hank reacts with horror when he hears the news. Hank makes his way next door to have a word with Kahn, but Elvin intervenes, telling Hank to get lost. A short time later, Kahn and Mihn leave for some street racing. Hank assures Peggy that Kahn and Minh will come to their senses soon enough, as they are too materialistic to accept the squalid lifestyle of the rednecks. Hank and Peggy look alarmed when they see Abbie Holiday touting the Souphanisiphone residence to a prospective couple, and say that house is already occupied by Kahn and Minh, but Miss Holliday says they house is on the cusp of repossession; even though the Souphanisiphones have only missed one payment and have great credit and payment record, the bank refuses to cut them any slack due to them letting their home fall into ruin.
Kahn, Elvin and Mud Dobber head for a local record store to pick up the latest Trace Adkins album. When they discover the store is closed, Elvin talks Kahn into throwing a brick through a store window so they can run inside and steal a copy. Minh talks Kahn out of throwing the brick, saying she cannot support him in committing a crime. Elvin gets impatient, grabs the brick from Kahn and hurls it through a window. Elvin enters the store, grabs some CDs and takes off. Later, Elvin ridicules Kahn for letting Minh tell him what to do. This angers Kahn into challenging Elvin to a fight, and Elvin throws punches, to which Kahn strikes back with martial arts moves. Now impressed instead of incensed, Elvin calms down and says he will sponsor Kahn in “stickin", which is an underground bloodsport where contestants attack each other with lumber. When Minh returns home, she is appalled to see her house now lacks electricity (due to the power being shut off for nonpayment) and wonders what happened to Connie. Hank tells her Connie has been staying with Peggy and him, and also informs her she is about to have the house repossessed, causing Minh to admit she can no longer take it anymore. Hank assures Minh he’ll find Kahn and set him straight, and tells her to start cutting checks to her creditors in order to save the house.
A short time later, Hank receives a phone call from Buck Strickland, who wants to know if Kahn is worth betting on the stick fights behind the lumberyard. Strickland tells Hank that Kahn is facing off against a gorilla of a man. Hank races to the lumberyard, where he tries to talk Kahn out of fighting. Kahn’s giant opponent repeatedly swings a two by four, narrowly missing Hank. And Kahn also takes a few swings at Hank, to the delight of the crowd. Kahn goes into a rank that he has faced nothing but disappointment since he was born, first by being part of the oppressed peasants in his native Laos, and then he comes to America and dealt with menial jobs and overbearing bosses, nothing like how America portrays its success to the world. While Hank admits that hard work can sometimes go unrewarded, he believes Kahn would do better to follow Connie's example. Hank states that while Kahn and Minh have given up, Connie has continued to work hard despite her parents' erratic behavior. Inspired by his daughter's resolve, Kahn regains his senses and stops fighting. The crowd starts to riot, and Hank and Kahn beat a hasty retreat.
Later, Kahn, still driving his El Camino and wearing his shabby redneck clothes, has taken Connie to Stanford University to see about their summer program. The admissions officer listens to how Connie's family had their power shut off and was on the cusp of foreclosure, and after seeing Kahn's slovenly appearance, accepts Connie into the program, convinced she is the ideal "redneck success story".
- This episode aired on May 16, 2004. Elvin Mackleston (Adkins) talks about the release of the new Trace Adkins CD with the song "Hot Mama" which is off of his "Comin' on Strong" which was released on December 02, 2003.
- The Souphanousinphones live at 86 Rainey Street, according to a letter from Southwest Mortgage. However, in the seventh season episode "The Witches of East Arlen," the Gribbles are shown to live at that address.
- Tom Petty's character, Lucky, and Trace Adkins' character, Elvin, become recurring characters in season 9.
- Tagline: "Are you rockin' in the free world? Are you?" - Elvin
- This episode includes a new recording of Tom Petty's "Rebels," specially recorded for the show by the group Drive-By Truckers.
- The moves Kahn uses during the fistfight come from Pencak Silat, a martial art originating in Indonesia.
(Peggy and Hank are discussing Minh and Kahn's descent into trashiness)
Hank: "Don't worry - Kahn and Minh will sober up and snap out of it soon. They're too arrogant to live like this for long."
Luanne: (about Kahn) "He's got the coolest car-truck, and he's got a laundry machine in his yard for stray dogs to have puppies in!"
Stuart Dooley: (to Connie) "You're dad's white trash."
Ted Wassanasong: "We're Episcopalian now. It's just good business."
(Kahn goes roaring by in his El Camino, whooping out the window)
Hank: "Go figure - he's been pushing Connie all these years and he's the one that broke."
Bobby: "Let that be a lesson to you, dad."
Kahn: "What do you say, Minh, will you be my redneck bride?"
Minh: "Oh...yes, Kahn, I will - now take me in the back of the El Camino!"
Minh: "I ate a squirrel quesadilla, but this is where I draw the line!"
- Elvin: "Are you rockin' in the free world?"
"Rockin' In The Free World" is a song by folk rocker Neil Young. Although the chorus consists of the repeated line "Keep on rockin' in the free world," the verses describe societal problems like homelessness and drug abuse. However, as the episode unfolds, it is appropriate, as Elvin is a slovenly man who lacks discipline and lives in a filthy, lower class neighborhood. An ironic scene to the song is also made when Kahn invites Elvin and a friend to one place, but they refuse, pointing out they are both wearing ankle bracelets which will activate should they follow Kahn. This shows that Elvin has run afoul of the law and is on the verge of incarceration.
- Reverse Affirmative Action: The opening scene in which Connie is rejected from a prestigious summer program because she is "just another over-achieving Asian" is a reflection on an unfortunate situation in contemporary education. Many schools are tacitly holding qualified Asian students to higher standards, especially the California state universities.
- Kahn: " . . . TPS reports".
- TPS reports were made famous in Mike Judge's movie Office Space, which also starred Stephen Root, the voice of Bill and Buck Strickland.