‘King of the Hill’ Already Did the Idea Behind HBO’s ‘Succession’ Replacement

The docuseries ‘Ren Faire’ tells the tale of a Texas renaissance fair king’s abdication — rest in peace Alan Rickman
‘King of the Hill’ Already Did the Idea Behind HBO’s ‘Succession’ Replacement

HBO hopes that its new docuseries Ren Faire, which chronicles the intrigue and internal politics of a transition of power at the massive Texas Renaissance Festival, will scratch the itch left unscratched since the conclusion of its smash hit series Succession. Little does David Zaslav know that Peggy Hill toppled a Texan ren faire king long before it was peak TV.

Ren Faire focuses on the real-life proprietor of the largest and most successful renaissance fair in America, the fittingly eccentric 86-year-old entrepreneur George Coulam, and the factional interests at play in his plan to sell off the Texas Renaissance Festival after serving as both its functional and fictional king for 50 years. The docuseries, produced by indie filmmaking mega-stars Josh and Benny Safdie’s Elara Pictures, plays up the entire ren faire community’s commitment to the medieval setting amidst certain power-player employee’s scheming to inherit the throne from the outgoing Coulam, which is why the network considers Ren Faire to be a perfect stopgap between the last season of Succession and the upcoming return of House of the Dragon.

The framing also makes Ren Faire comically reminiscent of the 2002 King of the Hill episode “Joust Like a Woman,” in which Hank’s propane deal with the local renaissance fair puts him at odds with the park’s domineering owner/king, played by the incredible Alan Rickman in a hilarious parody of his own performance as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

“Joust Like a Woman” ends with Rickman’s “King Philip” losing his crown after the women of the park mount multiple lawsuits against him, which, hopefully, isn’t how Coulam’s story will conclude — HBO doesn’t want Mike Judge coming after them for plagiarism.

Of course, there are numerous differences between HBOs documenting of Coulams dynasty and Rickmans petty, power-hungry portrayal of a medieval king complete with a “really, really close” British accent, as Peggy called it. For one, Coulams cult of personality doesnt seem nearly as forced or draconically preserved as King Philips royal persona. Additionally, the Texas Renaissance Festival is so massively profitable that it can afford to keep a year-round staff, while King of the Hills renaissance fair cant afford to treat its employees with the legally required minimum care.

And, most of all, King Philip was overthrown — first from his horse by Peggys lance, then legally by the ladies of the fair — so he wasnt able to pick a successor like Coulam attempts to during Ren Faire. But, if he could, Philip would probably want Dale in charge, seeing as they share a medieval opinion on womens liberation.


Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?