Of Course Soccer Brought Out Hank’s Worst Parenting Moment on ‘King of the Hill’
The world of King of the Hill is, sadly, significantly lacking in effective father figures. Cotton Hill was a caustic patriarch at the best of times. John Redcorn sat on the sidelines while Dale Gribble struggled to raise Joseph. Buck Strickland barely had his illegitimate son Ray Roy in his life for two days before starting two separate father-son fist fights. Compared to the rest of the dads in Arlen, Texas, Hank Hill was the town’s father of the year for 13 seasons and counting — but that doesn’t mean he was perfect.
Like any parent, Hank Hill intentionally and unintentionally dragged his own baggage into his relationship with Bobby (and Luanne, whether he wants to be her father figure or not), and, over in the King of the Hill subreddit, a recent thread ranking Hank’s most significant shortcomings as a child-rearer had a certain soccer-focused exchange listed as his worst ever parenting moment in the show’s history — it wasn’t even a tie.
“Why do you have to hate what you don’t understand?” Bobby asks his father with vulnerable earnestness in the Season Three episode “Three Coaches and a Bobby,” in which he quits his youth football team to join a more inviting and less competitive soccer squad.
Hank replied without a moment’s hesitation, “I don’t hate you, Bobby!”
“I meant soccer,” Bobby soberly responded.
According to the fans, this misunderstanding was unfortunately revealing of Hank’s series-long struggle to accept the many ways in which his son is drastically different from himself. From Bobby’s short-lived soccer phase to his aspiring Carrot Top-esque prop comedy career to every other nontraditional, unmasculine interest the youngest Hill ever picks up with the sole exception of his beef judging pursuits, Hank could never make any sense of Bobby’s peculiar personality — and he barely tried.
Seeing as soccer is the apotheosis of everything anti-Texan and, therefore, anti-Hank, it’s fitting that Bobby’s foray into the sport should spark a moment of accidental honesty about Hank’s almost willing disconnection from his only son. The episode doesn't even end with any kind of parenting epiphany — instead, Bobby abandons his new sport and returns to the football team, only for Hank to favor Joseph in the climactic match anyways.
That boy ain’t right, but that doesn’t erase Hank’s parenting wrongs.