|Death of a Propane Salesman|
|Season 3, Episode 1|
|Air date||September 15, 1998|
|Written by||Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland|
|Directed by||Lauren MacMullan|
And They Call It Bobby Love
As firemen sift through burning rubble of what once was the Mega Lo Mart, Peggy searches for any sign of her loved ones. A fireman emerges from the flames, escorting Hank and Luanne to safety. Luanne screams when she realizes the fire singed away her hair. Shortly thereafter, Chuck Mangione emerges from the building, smoldering but apparently unharmed. Hank turns to a fireman and inquires about Buckley. He learns that no one else survived the explosion. Luanne, however, is more concerned about her hair. Later, when Hank is released from the hospital, he is anxious for his life to return to normal. When Luanne is released, she announces that beauty is only temporary, and tosses away her beauty supplies. Later, as Hank and his buddies drink beer, Dale states that Buckley’s death is part of a conspiracy. The next morning, Mr. Strickland phones the Hill residence, anxious for Hank’s return. Strickland believes that Hank deliberately triggered the explosion in an effort to save his propane business. At dinner time, Hank discovers that he is unable to approach his backyard grill, as he is haunted by the explosion at the Mega Lo Mart.
Luanne’s friends at the beauty academy fashion a wig to cover her singed scalp. But Luanne hands the wig to Peggy, insisting she throw it away. Later, mourners gather at Arlen cemetery to pay Buckley their last respects. During the service, Luanne unfurls a rolled-up poster of Bobby in his underwear, and speaks out against hunger in Ireland. Shortly thereafter, Kahn delivers a poignant Buddhist story that relates to Buckley’s death. But the mourners are unsure what to make of the tale, and dismiss it as a joke. Later, Peggy realizes the horrible truth: her husband is afraid of propane. She turns to a grief counselor, who concludes that Hank is really afraid of death. Hank dismisses the idea, but later, as he sips beer with his buddies, he raises the issue. Bobby overhears the conversation, and concludes that his father is still not himself. Shortly thereafter, he runs away from home.
An anxious Hank hopes that Ladybird will be able to pick up Bobby’s scent. Meanwhile, Kahn tires of Luanne’s fixation on starving Irish children. He wonders why she does not share his remorse over Buckley’s loss. Luanne enters the den, where she discovers a birthday card sent to her from Buckley. She is suddenly overwhelmed with grief. Using her hand puppets, she works through her emotional crisis—and eventually dons the wig. Later, Hank finds Bobby sitting in the playground. Hank tells his son that he shouldn’t obsess over death. He encourages him to relax and enjoy life. Suddenly, Hank hears and understands his own words. He then understands and attempts to repeat Kahn’s eulogy story... as only Hank Hill could. Bobby also thinks it's a joke and tells one of his own as Hank listens on.
During the end credits, everybody at strickland thanks hank for blowing up Mega-lo Mart even though he said he didn't do it.
- Although Buckley is dead, he remains in the opening credits every week, riding his motorcycle. He remains in the opening credits for the rest of the series.
- This episode was supposed to be scheduled on September 8, but it was postponed due to the Cubs vs. Cardinals baseball game on FOX.
- This episode's name is a reference to the Arthur Miller play Death of a Salesman.