|Sleight of Hank|
|Written by|| Jonathan Aibel|
|Directed by||Jeff Myers|
|Original airdate||March 7, 1999|
|Prev. episode←||The Wedding of Bobby Hill|
|Next episode→||Jon Vitti Presents: Return to La Grunta|
Bobby and Peggy paint puffy white clouds on a blue wall in Bobby’s bedroom. Hank enters the room and beams with pride at the sight of his son hard at work. But his smile fades when he realizes that the “white blotches” are clouds. Hank announces his intention to paint the wall solid blue so it resembles a boy’s room. Later, Dale hands each of his friends an invitation to his wife Nancy’s surprise birthday party. Hank groans when he realizes the event is being held at Abracapasta, a restaurant that features magic acts. Hank tells his friends about his dislike of magicians, as they cannot be trusted. Despite his misgivings, Hank shows up at the party. He hands Nancy her present, then attempts to make a quick getaway. But Peggy makes him sit down . During the show, the Astounding Herrera asks for a female volunteer. He extends his hand to Peggy, and she runs to the stage, much to Hank’s dismay. Herrera helps her into a large piñata, which is sealed shut. Blindfolded, Herrera swings a flaming pole at his target. But on the third swing, Hank grabs hold of the pole. He then orders the magician to let Peggy out of the piñata. Herrera responds by striking the piñata with the pole. It erupts in a shower of candy. Peggy, however, is not inside. Moments later, Peggy calls to Hank from her seat in the audience. Hank cannot believe his eyes.
When the Hills return home, Peggy refuses to tell Hank how the trick was done. The next day, Peggy describes the trick to Bobby, telling him it was all accomplished with magic. When Bobby returns home from Sunday school, he authors a report on Jesus Christ. Peggy listens as her son reads his essay aloud. She encourages him to be more creative. Hank exclaims that he has figured out the secret behind Herrera’s magic. He instructs Peggy to climb inside an empty crate so he can reenact the trick. But once Peggy climbs inside, Hank seals the crate shut. He threatens not to let her out until she divulges the secret. Peggy stands her ground. Later, Peggy and Hank accompany Bobby to church to hear his report on Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, Bobby chooses to use magic tricks to enliven his presentation. A gasp erupts from the audience when Bobby asks for “a large, wooden cross and a couple of volunteers.”
During the drive home from church, Hank and Peggy argue over who is to blame for Bobby’s behavior. Joseph tells Bobby that his parents make up by doing something nice for each other. Bobby takes this to heart. He paints white puffy clouds on his bedroom wall, then calls to his mother. When Peggy enters the room, her face lights up. Bobby tells her that Hank must have done the painting, perhaps as a way of apologizing. Peggy approaches her husband and thanks him for the effort. Hank reacts with confusion. Bobby interrupts the conversation. He suggests that Peggy now do something nice for Hank by telling him how the trick was performed. Peggy eyes her husband suspiciously. She accuses him of painting the clouds on the wall to force her into divulging the secret. Another argument erupts. Suddenly, out of total frustration, Peggy kicks Hank in the shin. Hank kicks her back and they both erupt in laughter. When Bobby reenters the house, he realizes that his parents have made amends. Hank tells Bobby that “there are just some things you can’t explain.” With that, Hank, Peggy and Bobby stare at the cloud-covered bedroom wall… and pick out imaginary shapes.
- The tag scene is a parody of a FOX special called Breaking the Magician's Code: Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed in which famous magic tricks were divulged by "The Masked Magician."
- This episode is the first one in which Hank is angry at Peggy, the next time being in the episode Luanne Virgin 2.0.
The title is a reference to the poular magician method sleight of hand.