How A Paper Route And Couple Of Beers Helped Inspire King Of The Hill

Mike Judge had the basic concept for “King of the Hill” from the time he was in college, where he’d act out what would eventually become parts of the show with a friend. “I think as far back as in college a good friend of mine and I used to sort of do a bit of like two bubba’s sitting around drinking beer and talking about what’s in the news or whatever,” Judge said in a 2012 interview with IGN.

But the inspiration for the show’s┬ácharacters might have occurred even earlier. It was Judge’s work as a paper boy that exposed him to people that would eventually become the animated residents of Arlen. Judge said:

“I had a paper route that was sort of in a blue-collar neighborhood with lots of Texas transplants, so early on I had these kinds of characters around me. But I think when I lived north of Dallas I had really a pretty good neighborhood; everyone took care of each other, helped out with each other’s lawns.”

The animator explained that it all came together when drawing a panel cartoon. “I just had this image of just four guys with beers standing out in front of the fence, kind of like I used to see when I’d look out my kitchen window,” Judge said. “And I just drew them all saying, ‘Yep, yep, yep.’ That’s still basically the drawing you see at the beginning of the show, is those four guys and their beers. That was really the seed of the idea.”

It was clear from early on that Judge had a talent for creating real people in an otherwise fabricated world.

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