|To Sirloin With Love|
|Season 13, Episode 24|
|Air date||September 13, 2009|
|Written by||Jim Dauterive, Tony Gama-Lobo, Rebecca May, and Christy Stratton|
|Directed by||Kyounghee Lim|
Just Another Manic Kahn-Day
"To Sirloin With Love" is the 20th episode of Season 13, and also the Season 13 finale and the series finale, overall being the 255th episode of the series. It was written by Jim Dauterive, Tony Gama-Lobo, Rebecca May, and Christy Stratton, and directed by Kyounghee Lim.
Hank finds himself left alone with Bobby when Peggy decides to spend an evening with the other women of the neighborhood. The two have an uneasy dinner at a steakhouse, during which Bobby surprises Hank by accurately pointing out the inferior quality of their steaks. This draws the attention of the coach of the Heimlich County Junior College meat examination team, and Hank enthusiastically supports Bobby's decision to join them. Driven by his talents - which were brought on by Hank teaching Bobby about cows and beef cuts ever since he was a baby - the team performs well until the final event of the regional competition. Bobby represents HCJC, confident that he can deliver a victory, but makes a crucial mistake that results in a fourth-place finish. Even though the team has qualified at the statewide level, Bobby's teammates lose all their confidence in him.
At dinner the night before State, Bobby discovers that the rest of the team does not share his passion for meat and will do anything to win, even assaulting rival squads if necessary. He decides to quit, but Hank insists on riding to State with the team as well. Suddenly, the bus is hijacked by supporters of Texas A&F, HCJC's nemesis, and stranded in a creek. At home, Peggy, Enrique, and Joe Jack bring out a small propane grill meant as a surprise present for Bobby after the state finals, so that he and Hank can grill together. Seeing the grill inspires Bobby to rejoin the team, but when Peggy drives him there, they learn of the others' absence and Bobby has to represent HCJC by himself.
Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer find the stranded bus, having followed it from Arlen, and give Hank and the team a ride to State. On the way, Hank realizes that Bobby was right about the others and berates them sharply for giving up on him so easily. Peggy calls Boomhauer to find out what is going on, having first tried to call Hank, whose cell phone was taken during the hijacking; by the time the team arrives, Bobby has reached the final event and is about to face off against Texas A&F. His teammates push him to the sidelines, but a pep talk from Hank gives him the confidence to stand up to them. Despite his teammates' verbal lack of faith in him, Bobby correctly identifies a minuscule flaw in a cut of meat that all the others had missed, winning the championship for HCJC.
Afterward, Hank and Bobby fire up their grills, having finally found a common interest, and attract a yard full of happy, hungry neighbors ready for a cookout. Kahn tells Connie to take the night off from studying; Dale has figured out how to relieve Nancy's headaches on his own, Lucky and Luanne scoop up Gracie and head for the Hills'; and Boomhauer hurries over, leaving his wallet behind - which flips open to reveal a Texas Ranger badge with Boomhauer's name and picture (the first indication of his career ever revealed in the series, though an early episode hinted that Boomhauer was an electrician who lives off workman's compensation due to an unmentioned injury on the job).
Bobby picks up the last steak and comments on how this is the last one (a meta-reference to this being the final episode), but Hank assures him that he will be grilling his whole life. Bobby and Hank agree, and continue grilling. The episode fades with a camera pan over Arlen, showing the town and the water tower, bookending the beginning of the pilot episode.
Hank: “You’re leaving us alone? But you’re a good buffer when things get awkward.”
Bobby: “What’s a meat examination team?” Hank: “It’s like debate team, but instead of doing something useless, they compete by judging cut and quality of meat”
Peggy: “Between this trophy and your certificate for attendance at Vacaction Bible School, I am one proud mother”
Hank: “If I had a nickel for every time I buckled under pressure, I would have five nickels”
Hank: “A boy who has a unicorn ranch in his bedroom shouldn’t call other people weird. That’s right; we know about Rancho Unicornio”
Hank: “What you’re seeing is team spirit. It’s like the Holy Spirit but more powerful”
- In "Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Clown," Luanne points out that Bobbie can take the clown class at Heimlich County Community College because "you don't have to be college years." That same loophole allows Bobbie to compete on the meat examination team.
- During the ending montage, Boomhauer puts his open wallet on his dresser. Inside is a law enforcement badge, branch Texas Ranger. Mike Judge, creator of the show, explains that Boomhauer's job is never known during the series, so he wanted to reveal it in the last episode.
- Bobby has the very last line of the show.
- The only character surprisingly not seen is John Redcorn, though he is mentioned by Dale.
- Texas A&F is a parody of real-life Texas A&M University, based in College Station, Texas.
- The last minute of the episode shows a camera pan up out of Arlen, much like the pan down into Arlen from the first episode Pilot.
- Luanne and Lucky are barefoot during their final appearances, leaving their house without even putting on shoes at Lucky's insistence when the scent of the meat cooking at Hank's backyard draws them out.
- The final lines of the series, where Hank mentions he waited 13 years for Bobby to gain an interest in outdoor cooking, can be interpreted as an offhand nod that the show itself ran for 13 seasons. Bobby also noting that the steak he's cooking is the last one refers to this episode being the final one of the series.
In its original American broadcast "To Sirloin with Love" was viewed by an estimated 6.11 million households and received a 2.9 rating/8% share in the 18-49 demographic.
The episode has received positive reviews. In a review of the whole hour James Poniewozik of Time gave the episode a positive review saying "It is one of the most moving things I've seen on TV this year. Hank, and Mike Judge: you've done right." Alan Sepinwall of The Star-Ledger gave the episode a positive review saying "Because the show was often content to go for knowing smiles rather than belly laughs, it became easy to take for granted over the years. In these final seasons, I would often let four or five episodes build up on the DVR before I got around to watching one -- yet I never felt dissatisfied when I put it on." Danny Gallagher of TV Squad gave the episode a positive review as well writing "The episodes didn't take the usual road to a long-running series finale by having the Hills pack up and move out of Arlen into the next phase of their lives or in some other predictable manner. It kept the characters honest, true and humble in their own unique ways and sent the audience off exactly where they started -- by being funny and fresh without being cheap or crass in their caricatures." and "It actually made me wish I was reviewing another season premiere instead of a series finale." Mike Moody of TV Squad said the episode was one of the best series finales of 2009.