#TypesTuesday – Hank Hill and Power of Conscience

hank-hill-etbscreenwritingKing of the Hill will have its series finale on September 13 at 8pm. The animated show features the Hills, a small-town Methodist family living in Arlen, Texas. The series grounds its humor in the mundane aspects of everyday life, finding big laughs in small moments and ordinary situations. In 2007 Time magazine named King of the Hill one of the 100 greatest television shows of all time. A one-hour episode will mark the end of the series, a primetime fixture on FOX for 13 seasons.

Animated series offer an interesting view into character development. The best of these kinds of shows use the humor of exaggeration and present clearly articulated examples of character. King of the Hill is no exception. Here’s a look at Hank Hill, family patriarch.

Hank Hill is a Power of Conscience character. He was a conscientious Eagle Scout as a kid. He is a decent, hard-working, traditionally-minded American as an adult. Hank strives to be a good a father and a good husband. He is very conservative and old-fashioned. Hank can’t get his head around new fangled notions like yoga, tofu and meditation.

He played football in high school. He was a good player who had promising prospects until an ankle injury sidelined him during a championship game. In typical Power of Conscience fashion, Hank believed the accident was “punishment” for his passionate over-enthusiasm for the game. He’s been uptight, controlled and rather stiff emotionally ever since.

Hank sells propane and propane accessories at Strickland Propane, a family run business. He believes that success comes through honesty and hard work. Hank sometimes naively believes that everyone shares his innate sense of right and wrong. As a result he can be too trusting. For example, for the past twenty-five years, he has bought cars at sticker price from Tom Hammond’s used cars. It never occurred to him that Tom wouldn’t give him the best price as a good neighbor.

Power of Conscience ETB ScreenwritingIn true Power of Conscience fashion Hank has wrestled with the question “What is the higher duty?” When, for example, it comes to Strickland Propane his personal devotion to his work and boss wins over complete honesty. In one episode, Hank covers up Strickland’s illegal price fixing agreement to prevent his boss going to jail. He considers Strickland to be family and family is where Hank’s highest duty lies.

Despite his bias toward traditional male activities, and his frequent worries about his son, Bobby (“That boy ain’t right”) Hank, wanting to be a good father, pretends to be interested in Bobby’s passions— cooking, dancing and theater. As a result, his son is well-adjusted, confident and happy despite being over-weight and terrible at sports. Hank, in fact, is Bobby’s hero.  He will be missed! RIP Hank Hill!

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