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A Firefighting We Will Go

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A Firefighting We Will Go

"A Firefighting We Will Go"
King of the Hill episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 10
Written by Mike Judge
Greg Daniels
Production code 3ABE11
Original air date January 10, 1999
Guest actors

Buddy Ebsen (as Chet Elderson)
Barry Corbin (as the fire chief)

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Pretty, Pretty Dresses"
Next →
"To Spank with Love"
Season 3

"A Firefighting We Will Go" is the 10th episode in the third season of the Fox animated series King of the Hill, and the 45th episode overall.


Hank, Boomhauer, Dale and Bill are in an interrogation room with Arlen's fire chief and it is implied that something major has happened. Hank's glasses have been broken and taped back together, Boomhauer's ear is bandaged, and Bill's face is burned.

In an extended flashback, it is revealed that the story begins when, due to a sickout by the regular firefighters, Bill has joined the Arlen Fire Department as a volunteer. Excited at the opportunity, Hank, Dale, and Boomhauer decide to sign up and despite some mishaps during training, the four men become part of the department. However, it becomes quickly apparent that they all cannot stop fighting as Hank is the only one taking it seriously; this leads to trouble such as the destruction of a fire hydrant due to Dale breaking the restraining bolt and Boomhauer making the situation worse by trying to fix it with the jaws of life.

As part of the force, the men meet Chet Elderson, the oldest member of the squad. He remembers Hank as "the idiot that blew up the Mega Lo Mart" and insists on having his electric Alamo Beer sign plugged in at all times, despite the fact that the sign is malfunctioning. At the same time, Bill discovers a tub of beef jerky in the kitchen and decides to use its lid as a Frisbee. This results in Boomhauer's ear injury to start.

Things begin to come to a head the same night of the hydrant incident at the firehouse. A frustrated Hank is trying to relax while Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer fool around. It begins when Dale and Bill refuse to stop playing ping pong so Hank can sleep, so he destroys the ball with his foot. Bill retaliates by taking Hank's glasses and breaking them with his foot, and in the ensuing fracas, a hot Frito pie hits Bill in the face, causing the burns on his face. Bill then runs from a furious Hank and ends up getting rear-end first stuck in the fire pole hole trying to escape him. Finally, after Hank comes downstairs again because Dale and Boomhauer refuse to stop horsing around, the men receive word of Chet Elderson's death due to natural causes.

At Chet's funeral, the four serve as the pallbearers, but because Dale will not touch the casket, believing it to be bad luck, they all end up falling into the open grave, and Elderson's corpse loses its pants as a result. Hank then refuses to speak to Dale. This does not stop the two from fighting over Chet's Alamo Beer sign, which Dale wants to plug in in his honor but Hank refuses to, citing its electrical problems.

As this is going on, the alarm goes off, dispatching the men to Goobersmooches' restaurant. However, they are not needed as the small dumpster fire called in has been put out. While still at the restaurant, another call goes out, this time, for all units. Hank reads the call and discovers, to his horror, that the call is for the firehouse as it has burned to the ground; this being the reason why the four are being interrogated.

The fire chief makes them each go through each moment that happened before they rushed out of the station for the first fire. Each of the friends recreates the scene, putting more emphasis on themselves. Dale's story depicts Hank as a drill instructor, while Dale is buff, with long, flowing hair. Boomhauer's story has everyone talking in his own usual unintelligible style, while Boomhauer himself is talking slowly and coherently. Bill's story depicts him as completely bald and fatter than normal, with a weakness for French bread pizza. Although the stories are different, they all list potential causes for the fire: Dale dropped a lit cigarette on the floor, Boomhauer knocked over the tanning lamp he was using at the time, and Bill left one of the stove burners on while using it to roast a marshmallow.

Finally, Hank reveals that none of those things had caused the fire. Just before he got his gear on, he went back and turned off the stove, doused Dale's cigarette, and unplugged the tanning lamp. He also saw Dale fiddling with the oxygen tanks in the back of the fire truck, with Dale saying he switched his tank with Hank's because his own was fuller. As Hank was pulling out of the firehouse, he noticed a glow in the window and determined that the malfunctioning Alamo sign had to be what was glowing. He also determined that it was the cause of the fire.

Although Dale was the one who plugged the sign in again, having done so just before the alarm, Hank decides to repay him for his good deed and place the blame for the fire on the recently deceased Chet Elderson. Everyone besides Boomhauer goes along with the story and the chief is satisfied, because he himself had told Chet not to plug his sign in. However, he does not want to soil the old man's name due to his years of service. After Hank says the fire could just be ruled accidental, the chief agrees and promptly releases the four, who promptly decide to try their hand at plumbing work in exchange for all the beer they can drink.

In a side plot, Peggy pulls her groin muscle trying to lift Bobby up, but after working out, is eventually able to accomplish it.

Cultural references

This episode is significant because of several references to The Three Stooges, most notably the episode's title, which is a reference to the 1940 Stooges short "A Plumbing We Will Go". Other references throughout the episode include:

  • Hank constantly playing the role of Moe among the group, at one point calling Boomhauer a "knucklehead", with sometimes Shemp being played by Dale and the role of Curly being played by Bill along with the role of Larry being played by Boomhauer.
  • A rendition of "Three Blind Mice", which was used as an intro theme to Stooges shorts, playing at the end of the episode when Bill brings up a woman looking to hire four plumbers (which could be a reference to the Stooge short that the episode title parodies). A common theme in Stooge shorts was the three of them being hired by a random individual for a job in which they have little or no experience.
  • Instances of slapstick comedy and idiotic mishaps, such as Dale throwing a Frito pie in Bill's face, Boomhauer bonking Dale and Bill's heads together, and Boomhauer's use of the Jaws of Life on a fire hydrant.
  • A portion of the main plot - inept firemen not available to put out their own burning fire station, is also the focus of 1938's "Flat Foot Stooges".


  • Dale's hair is much darker than usual when he is switching the labels on the O2 bottles.
  • Heck Dorland would later reappear in "Born Again on the Fourth of July," but looks much younger there than he does in this episode. His voice is also deeper and more masculine sounding.
  • When Dale & Bill are playing ping pong, their positions change when Hank slides down the pole, grabs the ball & crushes it.
  • There is no explanation for Dale's sunglasses being damaged.
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