In the Tank, Listening in to "King of the Hill"
Today's cuppa: Iced tea (half black tea, half pomegranate/raspberry green tea) chased with afternoon Earl Grey tea (hot).
There's a lot of talk these days about which members of the media are or aren't "in the tank" for one political candidate or another. We here at Hot Cuppa TV -- and when I say "we," I mean ... me -- have no intention of publicly jumping into any politico's tank. However, we're happy to admit to being in the tank for other folks -- and here's who they are.
- We're in the tank for everyone who brings us great TV shows, and that goes from the executive perched at the top of the corporate food chain all the way down to the guy who sweeps the studio floor.
- We're in the tank for the TV audience, the ultimate arbiters of what succeeds and what doesn't. No matter how hard No. 1 works, if No. 2 doesn't tune in, the show does not go on (Unless it's "The Wire," a criminally under-watched HBO drama that floated for five seasons almost entirely buoyed up by critical hot air.).
- We're in the tank for the men and women of America's armed forces, at home and abroad, past, present and future. Without their courage and dedication, No. 1 wouldn't have the freedom to produce great TV shows, and No. 2 wouldn't be able to sit safely in the living room and watch them.
Speaking of the armed forces, here's an excerpt from the live table read of the upcoming 250th episode of Fox's animated comedy "King of the Hill," called "Serves Me Right for Giving Gen. George S. Patton the Bathroom Key," as performed yesterday for TV critics at 20th Century Fox Studios.
The relevant scene is reproduced below, so play the sound clip to listen along (headphones are recommended as it was recorded in a large theater and can be a little echo-y over speakers).
Mike Judge voices Hank, Boomhauer and the Young Vet. Stephen Root voices Bill, the Fifty-ish Vet and the Very Old Vet. Phil Hendrie voices the Bartender and the Second Old Vet. Toby Huss voices the Vietnam Vet. All voice the Vets.
Without being spoilery, the episode finds Hank on a mission for his late father, war vet Cotton, and the mission requires gaining entry into the men's room of a bar for military veterans, called the Chimney Pipe Bar and Social Club. For various reasons, Hank, Bill and Boomhauer need to distract all the patrons and the bartender in order to slip into the men's room.
INT. CHIMNEY PIPE BAR AND SOCIAL CLUB -- MOMENTS LATER
Bill is sitting at a table with some veterans around his age. They are all drinking beers. Bill downs his beer and belches.
Bill: Yep, Vietnam. That was the toughest war we ever fought.
A few of the VIETNAM VETS sitting around Bill get pumped up.
VIETNAM VET: I heard that!
The guys clink their beers. A VERY OLD VET at the bar leans in.
VERY OLD VET: At least we won ours, you whiny, dope smokers!
A SECOND OLD VET chimes in.
SECOND OLD VET: WW II was the last great war!
Some World War II Vets grumble. A YOUNG VET sands up along with his buddies. This gets the attention of everyone in the bar.
YOUNG VET: The Russians did all the dirty work for you guys. Now Desert Storm, that was the real gut check.
VIETNAM VET: (DISGUSTED) Desert Storm? You guys barely had time to eat a falafel before you high tailed it out of there.
A FIFTY-ISH VET stands up.
FIFTY-ISH VET: What about Grenada? Those medical students were trapped!
Now everyone in the bar is standing up and getting involved in the heated debate.
BARTENDER: Come on, you guys! Remember the rules!
The Bartender points to a sign that reads: "No Smoking, No Refunds for Ms. Pac Man and No War Debates." The VETS ignore him.
VETS: Not my rules!/Hell with the rules!/I can't read!
Everyone in the room is fired up. It's chaos. Bill signals behind his back to Hank and Boomhauer. They nod and then get up and run into the bathroom...