"The Unbearable Blindness of Laying" is the twenty-third episode of King of the Hill. It was first aired on December 21, 1997. The episode was written by Paul Lieberstein, and directed by Cyndi Tang-Loveland. Carl Reiner guest-stars as Gary Kasner.
As Christmas approaches, Hank and Peggy travel to the airport to pick up Hank's mother, Tilly, and her new boyfriend, a Jewish man named Gary Kasner. When the group returns home, Hank cannot hide his discomfort with the idea of his mother sleeping with another man inside his home. He arranges for his mother to sleep in the den with Luanne, while Gary is confined to Bobby's room. That night, a sleepless Hank walks into the living room, where he finds Gary eating a plate of food. When Gary broaches the subject of his feelings for Tilly, Hank suddenly grabs the remote and turns on the television, explaining that a late-night televangelist show is his favorite. The next morning, Hank, Peggy, Luanne and Bobby pile into the car and head off for a basketball game. Hank turns the car around when he realizes that Peggy brought the incorrect Styrofoam finger for the game. When Hank enters the house, he inadvertently catches a glimpse of his mother and Gary making love on the kitchen table. The psychological shock causes Hank to go blind.
Peggy takes her husband to an ophthalmologist where he analyzes Hank's condition through query as a temporary case of hysterical blindness and the psychological solution being to confront the eventful latter. During the ride home, Hank grudgingly tells Peggy what he saw and Peggy cannot fathom her husband's reaction...until he mentions they were doing it on the kitchen table. On Christmas morning, Peggy tells Hank he will never get his sight back if he doesn't confront the trauma that triggered the blindness. Instead, Hank asks Peggy to drive him to his father's house.
As the ride gets under way, Hank suddenly realizes Gary is at the wheel. He asks Gary to turn the truck around and take him home. Instead, Gary takes him to Cotton's house. During the short visit, Cotton talks despairingly about his ex-wife. Offended, Gary tells off Cotton, leaves the house and waits for Hank outside. Hank leaves the house shortly thereafter... and now sports a far friendlier attitude towards Gary. Unexpectedly, Gary drives Hank to the cathedral where the televangelist holds his services. As the sermon gets underway, Hank thanks Gary for the gesture. Gary tells him his attitude stems from his love of Tilly. Shortly thereafter, Hank "miraculously" regains his sight and retaliates against Bill, Dale and Boomhauer (for teasing his blindness mid-event). Later, during dinner, Hank declares the day has been the best Christmas ever.
- Hank Hill
- Peggy Hill
- Bobby Hill
- Luanne Platter
- Dale Gribble
- Jeff Boomhauer
- Bill Dauterive
- Stuart Dooley
- Gary Kasner
- Cotton Hill
- Tilly Garrison
- Chuck Mangione (cameo)
- Opthamologist (debut and only appearance)
- Televangelist (debut and only appearance)
- This episode was nominated for the 1998 Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing - Television Animated Specials.
- Also, the second time Hank is unable to see but this time within his own physical health ( 1st was in "Pilot" where he couldn't see without a flash light).
- Gary's tattoo, which we see close up during his love-fest with Tilly, is of the submarine "SS Trout II." Many Balayo Class diesel/electric submarines of WWII vintage like the one Gary Kasner served aboard were named for different species of fish.
- When Hank walks in on Tilly and Gary having sex in the kitchen, he enters through a door in the living room. This door is never seen in the series again.
- Hysterical blindness is an out-dated term for what's now referred to as conversion disorder.
- Hank's mother talks in a different voice when she is introduced in "The Unbearable Blindless Of Laying" than in all subsequent appearances.
- Tilly and Gary's standing position in the front yard rotates 90 degrees clockwise after Hank states "I've got a magazine you ought to read - the ten commandments!"