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“I Am Not Down with That”: King of the Hill and Sitcom Satire

“I Am Not Down with That”: King of the Hill and Sitcom Satire ethan thompson when fox sent out screening copies of King of the Hill prior to its debut in early 1997, included were a couple of curious freebies for critics: a bag of pork rinds and a Weber barbeque grill. In retrospect, this gesture signaled an ambiguous relationship between viewers and the program's characters and community. Clearly the pork rinds and barbeque grill were considered to be emblematic of the world of the program's characters and indicative of what might distinguish the show from other animated sitcoms. Still, pork rinds are available at most any convenience store, even in Hollywood, and barbeque grills populate backyards all across America. Together, however, these items signified a culture assumed as "other" to that of the TV tastemakers--adjunct members of Hollywood such as they are. But what about the "normal" folk beyond who would constitute the program's mass audience? What was the relationship being signaled between audiences and the Texan, suburban, working-class characters of King of the Hill? Was one meant to mock the pork rinds or to open a bag and light up the grill? In its first review, industry stalwart Variety proposed the program was satire on that pork rind­eating, barbequing http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Film and Video University of Illinois Press

“I Am Not Down with That”: King of the Hill and Sitcom Satire

Journal of Film and Video , Volume 61 (2) – May 16, 2009

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Illinois Press
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1934-6018
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Abstract

ethan thompson when fox sent out screening copies of King of the Hill prior to its debut in early 1997, included were a couple of curious freebies for critics: a bag of pork rinds and a Weber barbeque grill. In retrospect, this gesture signaled an ambiguous relationship between viewers and the program's characters and community. Clearly the pork rinds and barbeque grill were considered to be emblematic of the world of the program's characters and indicative of what might distinguish the show from other animated sitcoms. Still, pork rinds are available at most any convenience store, even in Hollywood, and barbeque grills populate backyards all across America. Together, however, these items signified a culture assumed as "other" to that of the TV tastemakers--adjunct members of Hollywood such as they are. But what about the "normal" folk beyond who would constitute the program's mass audience? What was the relationship being signaled between audiences and the Texan, suburban, working-class characters of King of the Hill? Was one meant to mock the pork rinds or to open a bag and light up the grill? In its first review, industry stalwart Variety proposed the program was satire on that pork rind­eating, barbequing

Journal

Journal of Film and VideoUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: May 16, 2009

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