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King of the Hill

Season 2 Episode 1

How to Fire a Rifle Without Really Trying

Aired Sunday 8:30 AM Sep 21, 1997 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
67 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


While at a State Fair, Hank discovers Bobby has a talent for target shooting and thinks this could be his chance to bond with his son. The only problem is that Hank can't shoot. Ashamed to admit that he can't use a gun properly, he tries everything he can to not join the upcoming Father/Son Fun Shoot, he promised Bobby he'd attend. When he realizes it is what he must do, he decides to visit a psychologist.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Shoot

    The first half was pretty boring, and my bias towards not liking guns doesn't help in this episode. Once they get over that hump and focus on the relationship part, I am fine with the episode. The psychologist really made this episode. Probably would have been way worse without his character. Best part has to be when Hank shoots off the thumb and the thumbless guy gets upset. I liked seeing Hank struggle to admit his fears as it is a very masculine thing to do, sadly. Overall it was a nice episode, but not very funny, and at times boring.moreless
  • good

    bobby discovers a talent for shooting targets and hank couldn't be happier. however hank soon learns he himself can't fire real well and he decides to not spend anymore time doing it with bobby. will they rekindle their father/son bonding?

    good opener to the second season and an overall good episode. it is a little boring in parts but not too boring or anything. not really that funny but i did like the plot, even though some of it was rather boring, so i guess my overall grade for this episode would have to be somewhere in the "B" rangemoreless
  • A solid piece of work.

    This was more of an episode of the sentimental ilk. I enjoyed watching Bobby and Hank actually try to find something in common rather than to stink eye each other. I have to admit that this was an episode that was more story solid than funny. It had a few funny moments but the writing is what made this episode really worth watching. Bobby was the star of the show, but Hank was a good supporting actor in this one. I didn't think Bobby had a talent for anything, but I guess he's good at shooting targets. Overall, it made for a great episode. Thank you.moreless
  • The title reminds me of a guidebook but also demonstrates the strength of family.

    I remember first watching this episode back when I was learning much about guns and firing guns. I actually learned some of the vital imformation from what Bobby reviewed. This was a great episode that truly dived into the estranged relationship between Bobby Hill and his father Hank with the one thing that could heal their bond: guns and the father-son shooting contest. Priceless quote form the episode: When Bobby asks if he can put a gun rack on his bike, Hank responds, "Do you know how long I've been waiting for you to ask me that?"

    I also couldn't help but feel sorry for Hank seeing as how he had to put up with the aggresive hate coming from his father Cotton (though Cotton is sometimes one of the funniest characters on the show) and how he was, in a sense, saved by his son. That was good.moreless
  • Hank and Bobby really have nothing in common and this episode brings this to light more than ever. Hank loves his son, even though he never says it, and he wants to find something they can do together.moreless

    This episode starts out at the Texas State Fair and the Hill Family is out for fun. We watch as Bobby makes his way through all the games of chance until he finds one that really suites his natural talent; he's a really good shot with a rifle.


    Hank has a secret; it's one of those childhood horror stories about being raised by evil old Cotton Hill. Cotton is shown in a flashback, heckling and verbally assaulting an abviously Pre-K Hank as he tries learn to shoot a rifle. Cotton says he'll NEVER be a war hero if he continues this bad performance; Hank has never gotten over the trauma of being yelled at and not being able to hold the gun steady. Another flashback shows Cotton singling Hank out in front of his boyscout troop at another youthful rifle shoot. Later in the episode, a sports psychologist first watches then approaches Hank about his obvious problem on the shooting range, and none too soon; Bobby has signed them up for a Father-Son Fun Shooting competition. When Hand confesses this weakness to Peggy, she seems really devastated by this revelation; she based her relationship with Hank partly on the basis that he's a gun enthusiast. Tune in for a laugh-a-thon.moreless
Mike Judge

Mike Judge

Voice of Hank Hill, Boomhauer

Kathy Najimy

Kathy Najimy

Voice of Peggy Hill

Pamela Adlon

Pamela Adlon

Voice of Bobby Hill

Brittany Murphy

Brittany Murphy

Voice of Joseph Gribble, Luanne Platter

Johnny Hardwick

Johnny Hardwick

Voice of Dale Gribble

Stephen Root

Stephen Root

Voice of Bill Dauterive (Uncredited)

Angela Kinsey

Angela Kinsey


Guest Star

Wallace Shawn

Wallace Shawn

Philip Ny

Special Guest Star

Toby Huss

Toby Huss

Cotton Hill

Recurring Role

David Herman

David Herman

Eustis Miller

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Hank: I never get to bond with Bobby on account of he's not good at much

    • Hank: The boy shows a real talent for shooting, Peggy. This could be his sport! We should get him a rifle-
      Peggy: He's too young
      Hank: He's 12. He hasn't been too young for 5 years!

    • Bobby: Can I keep my new gun in my room?
      Hank: Sure.
      Bobby: Can I keep the bullets in my pocket?
      Hank: If you want.
      Bobby: Can I put a gun rack on my bike.
      (Hank stops, looks at Bobby and pauses)
      Hank: Do you know how long I've been waiting for you to ask me that?

    • Cotton: (to Hank and other boys in flashback) Someday soon, all of you will be drafted in a war. Some of you, like Hank, will be killed. Others can shoot and they become war heroes. Now, commence to firing!

    • Cotton: Sorry I'm late. I had to stop by the wax museum again and give the finger to FDR.

    • Hank: Look at that, we're in second place.
      Luanne: Good news! The McKays just came out of The Gauntlet, and the younger one blew away an entire picnicking family!

    • (Announcer at shooting tournament)
      Announcer: The format for today is the same as last year: Start with the tandem shoot, then the quick draw, followed by the pretend-to-be-sleeping-grab-the-loaded-gun-under-the-bed-and-shoot-a-figure-in-the-shadows...

    • Sports Psychologist: Imagine the dart flying from your gun to the target. Don't pull the trigger until you can see it.
      Hank: (while aiming, has flashback of a menacing Cotton) (Shaking) Huh, whenever I start to shoot -- even aim -- I, I remember me as a boy, My Dad behind me yelling, and I always let him down. I was so scared of...
      Sports Psychologist: Hank please, you're wasting valuable session time.

    • Hank: Some times people choke, Bobby. We just gotta be proud that God took the time to give us a fault.

    • Bobby: Then why doesn't he want to shoot with me in the tournament? Is he afraid I'm gonna embarrass him?
      Peggy: Well... it must be, because he loves guns.

    • Boomhauer: I tell you what man, that dang ole NRA's our rights man. The, the insurance together with dismemberment mie like that. You get like 20-thousand dollars just for beh, your arm blows off, man.

    • Dale: Let me ask you this: A guy breaks into your house, but you don't have a gun. How are you going to shoot him?

    • Dale: Guns don't kill people, the government does.

    • Hank: The NRA is a Washington, D.C. based organization. Are you telling me you support Washington D.C.?
      (Everyone looks at Dale)
      Dale: That's a thinker.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Hank and Peggy's room's wall changes. It was a beige/orangey type colour with dots on it, and from now on it is green with little flowers on it.

    • Starting in season 2, supervising director Wes Archer created new model sheets for most of the main characters. Hank in particular had his design simplified and streamlined, as did Peggy.

    • Beginning with the second season, almost every episode's credits end with a brief audio clip from the episode (the "tagline") played over the production-company logo.


    • The episode title alludes to the book and musical play How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Bobby Hill finds that he's a great success at rifle shooting much to his father's surprise and initial pleasure.

    • Bobby: (with ping pong balls in his mouth) Look Dad! I'm the Commish!

      Bobby is imitating Michael Chiklis who starred as Tony Scali on The Commish which ran from 1991-1995.