- The first scene is Hank, Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer standing out in the alley drinking Alamo beer and saying, "Yup."
- The theme for the episode is usually introduced in their opening conversation (which does go beyond "Yup.").
- Most of the problems revolve around Bobby, Hank and Peggy's teenage son. He usually gets involved with a new hobby or group of friends who are quite different from him, and he begins taking on the new group's characteristics/language/behavior, causing conflict at home, especially with Hank.
- Bobby's involvement eventually leads to a situation from which Hank must rescue Bobby, with or without Bobby's desire for rescuing.
- Hank and Bobby reconcile, and everything returns to how it was before the whole mess got started.
My favorite episode is "Reborn to be Wild." Bobby is found rockin' out to heavy metal music, angering Hank. Taking Bobby to the church, Hank is referred to a youth group who would be glad to take in Bobby. Hank takes Bobby to a community center where they meet.
[Pause here for some of the dialogue from the episode:
Bobby: "Dad, this is totally not cool."
Hank: "You know what's not cool, Bobby? Hell."]
Bobby meets the group, which turns out to be a bunch of Christian skaters led by Pastor K, a skater himself with Christian tattoos and long hair.
[Bobby (after seeing Pastor K do a stunt): "THAT was AWESOME!"
Pastor K: "Thanks, but not as awesome as Jesus!"]
Bobby's hooked. And it shows. At dinner, Bobby, to Hank's delight, offers to pray. But what comes out does not delight Hank at all: "I wanna give a shout out to the man that makes it all happen. Props be to you for this most bountiful meal that sits before us. OK, check it: God, you got skills. You represent in these vegetables and in this napkin and in the dirt that grows the grain that makes the bread sticks that are on this table, yes, yes. [Hank tells him to wrap it up] Thanks, J-man. Peace."
Soon Pastor K invites Bobby to be on stage with him during his performance at MessiahFest, a Christian praise-a-palooza. Bobby gets an earring, which in turn gets him grounded. He sneaks out and goes to MessiahFest. Hank goes to the Fest and finds Bobby making a fool of himself on stage, shrieking out Psalm 23 to heavy metal music. Hank yanks Bobby off the stage and there is a final confrontation between Hank and Pastor K, which includes this classic line from Hank:
"Can't you see? You're not making Christianity better; you're just making rock-'n-roll worse."
The episode ends with Hank taking an angry Bobby home and showing him a box in the garage. In the box is all the things Bobby thought were cool and had since abandoned: a virtual pet, a Furby, a "Bean Bag Buddy" (obvious reference to Beanie Babies), and a photo of Bobby in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume. Bobby can't believe he thought those things were cool.
Then comes the moral of the story, from Hank: "I just don't want to see, you know. . . the Lord end up in this box."
In my next entry, I want to explain why this is my favorite episode, as well as the lessons evangelicals can catch from it.