Life: A Loser's Manual
Season 12, Episode 22
Air date May 18, 2008
Written by Dan McGrath
Directed by Anthony Chun
Episode guide
It Came From the Garage
Dia-BILL-ic Shock

Life: A Loser's Manual is the two hundred-thirty-fifth episode of King of the Hill. It was first aired on May 18, 2008. The episode was written by Dan McGrath, and directed by Anthony Chun.


Luanne's long-lost father and Peggy's brother, Hoyt, returns to Arlen after being incarcerated for years. As it turned out, no one had known he was in prison except Peggy (she let eveyone else think that he was working on an oil rig), so the news of Hoyt's release comes as a surprise, along with the update that he had spent time in prison for a separate crime, making this his second offense. Due to the "three strikes law", should Hoyt commit one more felony he will get a mandatory life sentence. With nowhere else to go, Hoyt turns to his daughter and sister for guidance and a little bit of dough; Lucky quickly susses out Hoyt's real story as well. When Peggy refuses to give Hoyt a handout, he decides to take matters into his own hands and robs a restaurant to get some cash.

Meanwhile, Luanne's husband, Lucky, turns to Hank for some insight on how to become a better father. When he finds Hoyt running away from the restaurant Bacon 'N Waffles after robbing it, he comes to the conclusion that taking the blame for Hoyt's crime might be a great way to step it up. Peggy (who, as we all know, doesn't like Lucky) tries to rationalize keeping him out of prison, but after Bobby tells them that Hoyt was selling him on the virtues of crime because Bobby is too young to get any major prison time, Peggy sadly agrees with Hank that Hoyt is worthless, and he needs to be exposed as the true culprit. Peggy then leaves out her car keys and a fair amount of money to tempt Hoyt into stealing them, which he does, and when he buys a large amount of illegal prescription drugs he gets arrested. Hoyt is put in a cell adjacent to Lucky's, and Lucky listens in silent disgust when Hoyt tells the officers that Luanne is behind the drug purchases. Hank shows up and Hoyt begins talking about how he needs help, but Hank lays down the law: Hoyt is going to get his 3rd strike and spend the rest of his life in prison, and the only way to provide any redemption is for him to confess to both the robbery and the drug purchase. Hoyt quickly folds, asking Hank to come up with a cover story for Luanne so she doesn't know he'll never see her again.

Hoyt is sent back to jail, but Lucky tells Luanne that he went back to the oil rig on a "lifetime contract", and Hank (with great difficulty over this white lie) agrees that oil is more important to the U.S. economy than propane, thus preserving her good image of her father by not allowing her to learn that he is a disgraced convict.

In the subplot, Dale builds his guard tower thinking that so long as it's just slightly under specifications the city can't reject it. Unfortunately, he not only built it under-spec but also without a foundation.



Hoyt's appearance in the episode created several inconsistencies:

  • In the episode, Hoyt says he hasn't seen Luanne since she was a little girl. However, there are flashback scenes in earlier episodes where it's implied that Hoyt is present, and in those scenes Luanne isn't much younger than her current age.
  • Bill once said that Hoyt looked just like a male version of Peggy, but in this episode, Hoyt bears little resemblance to his sister save for identical hair colors.
  • Since propane is "a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining" [Wikipedia], Hank's internal struggle about propane vs. oil at the end is a little overdone.


Stinger Quote

Hank: "Pee-pee money is not an employment history."

Lucky: "My dad always said a man's wallet should only hold cash, razor blade and a lucky poker chip." (Edu-Macating Lucky DVD Release Version)

Lucky: "Were you on the state oil rig or the federal?" (You Get What You Give DVD Release Version)

Season 11 Season 12 Season 13

Suite Smells of Excess · Bobby Rae · The Powder Puff Boys · Four Wave Intersection · Death Picks Cotton · Raise the Steaks · Tears of an Inflatable Clown · The Minh Who Knew Too Much · Dream Weaver · Doggone Crazy · Trans-Fascism · Untitled Blake McCormick Project · The Accidental Terrorist · Lady and Gentrification · Behind Closed Doors · Pour Some Sugar on Kahn · Six Characters in Search of a House · The Courtship of Joseph's Father · Strangeness on a Train · Cops and Robert · It Came From the Garage · Life: A Loser's Manual

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