The New York Times finally gets it right. Finally.
The show gently pokes fun at liberal and conservative stereotypes, but the real point is not to eviscerate so much as to watch Hank struggle mightily to adapt to a world of political correctness and moral ambiguity. When Peggy tells him he'll look like a racist for snubbing his Laotian neighbor, Hank replies, ''What the hell kind of country is this where I can only hate a man if he's white?'' And yet, like a lot of the basically conservative voters you meet in rural America -- and here's where Democrats should pay close attention -- Hank never professes an explicit party loyalty, and he and his buddies who sip beer in the alley don't talk like their fellow Texan Tom DeLay. If Hank votes Republican, it's because, as a voter who cares about religious and rural values, he probably doesn't see much choice.The problem for the Democrats is that their elitist liberal supporters look down their neck at King of the Hill. When I mentioned to some of my old buddies that it was the greatest show around they acted like I had really gone to the moon. Oh well. Their loss is my gain. They probably are watching some dumb reality show right now.
This is odd: after all, there is more reality about American life in five minutes of ''King of the Hill'' than in a full season of watching Paris Hilton prance around a farm in high heels. But none of this would come as much of a surprise to Hank Hill and his neighbors, who realized long ago that, as a nation, we often discard the things we once cherished in favor of a more synthetic modernity. ''The only place you can find a Main Street these days is in Disneyland,'' Hank once said. ''And just try to buy a gun there.''