Thank Fox for Not Letting Mike Judge Make ‘King of the Hill’ a ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ Spin-off

Fox’s first rejection of Judge’s pitch paved the way for Greg Daniels to do his thing
Thank Fox for Not Letting Mike Judge Make ‘King of the Hill’ a ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ Spin-off

If Mike Judge had his way, “Dammit Bobby” would have been “Dammit Butt-Head” — and we’d all be worse for it.

When it comes to writing comedy, Judge has a better batting average than just about anyone. Between Beavis and Butt-HeadKing of the HillOffice SpaceIdiocracy and Silicon Valley, Judge has given networks plenty of reasons to let him have a long leash when developing a new project. Perhaps that’s why his most recent series, the claymation NPR parody In the Know, is so very inexplicable in its target audience and design choices, though it’s already garnered critical acclaim. “Let him cook” seems to be the best way to produce a project from Judge. But when he first started developing the beloved animated sitcom King of the Hill in 1995, it’s for the best that Fox told him to step away from the stove.

As the story goes, Judge originally envisioned King of the Hill to be a spin-off of Beavis and Butt-Head, and Hank was supposed to be the son of Beavis and Butt-Head’s embattled neighbor Tom Anderson. That’s probably why Tom and Hank sound exactly the same — besides the fact that they’re both just Judge with a Texan accent.

Beyond the simple reality that the intentionally ugly, gross-out, degenerate tone of Beavis and Butt-Head probably would have ruined the endearingly quaint comedy of King of the Hill, Foxs rejection of Judges first pitch added a massively important element to the shows conception — Greg Daniels. Deciding that the first attempt was worthwhile enough for further development but not quite ready for a time slot, Fox recruited the Simpsons and Saturday Night Live writer to help Judge flesh out his animated sitcom, originally intending for Daniels to earn a “developed by” credit on the project.

However, once Judge started working with his new partner, he realized how much more Daniels had to add to the world of Arlen, Texas. Daniels created the characters of Luanne and Cotton (the latter of whom replaced Hanks aforementioned sound-a-like), and he insisted that the side characters have more distinct personalities than what Judge originally had planned. In the first pitch, Dale, Bill and Boomhauer were merely described as generic snaggle-toothed hillbillies, but thanks to Daniels, the trio gained their signature quirks, such as Dales many conspiracy theories — or, I should say, Rusty Shacklefords enlightened skepticism.

Judge was so grateful for Daniels many contributions to the conception of the series that, when Fox finally greenlit their retooled pilot, he promoted Daniels to co-creator.


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