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The Real-Life Inspiration That Led To King Of The Hill

Fox's animated sitcom "King of the Hill," which was created by Mike Judge of "Beavis and Butt-Head" fame, ran for an impressive 13 seasons. While the show takes aim at skewering just as many quintessentially American character types and tropes as "Beavis and Butt-Head," "King of the Hill" offers a decidedly more subdued approach to its satire.

Following the Hill family and their various friends and neighbors, the series pokes fun at each of its characters liberally. While man's man Hank Hill (Mike Judge) routinely gets ribbed by the writers of the show, much of the humor comes from his interactions with his much more sensitive son, Bobby Hill (Pamela Adlon). Other characters like conspiracy nut Dale Gribble (Johnny Hardwick) and sweet Luanne Platter (Brittany Murphy) are fodder for humor, even as they ingratiate themselves into the hearts of viewers. However, despite how absurdly far things sometimes go on "King of the Hill," this irreverent sitcom is more inspired by real-life than fans might have guessed.

Judge was inspired by the types of people he grew up around

According to creator Mike Judge, the genesis for "King of the Hill" goes all the way back to his college days. "A good friend of mine and I used to sort of do a bit of like two bubbas sitting around drinking beer and talking about what's in the news or whatever," Judge recalled during an interview with IGN. "I had a paper route that was sort of in a blue-collar neighborhood with lots of Texas transplants, so early on, I had these kinds of characters around me."

Naturally, many creators are inspired by childhood memories when it comes to bringing some of their ideas for TV shows and movies to life, and it seems that Judge isn't afraid to mine his own. He went on to explain that "King of the Hill" started as a simple drawing. "I just had this image of just four guys with beers standing out in front of the fence," Judge explained, "kind of like I used to see when I'd look out my kitchen window, and I just drew them all saying, 'Yep, yep, yep.'" He then compared that initial drawing to the iconic image of Hank (Judge), Bill (Stephen Root), Boomhauer (also Judge), and Dale hanging out in the alley that is seen in the show's opening credits.

It is a testament to Judge's creativity that he managed to turn a simple idea into a vibrant and hilarious world.