01. “Bobby Goes Nuts”
Original Air Date: Nov. 11, 2001
“That’s my purse! I don’t know you!” is an empowering mantra repeated by Bobby Hill throughout a classic sequence of fisticuffs. The usually laid-back, prepubescent Hill child — voiced with exceptional range by Pamela Adlon — attends the YMCA at Hank’s urging after losing a fight. Although Hank wants his son to enroll in boxing lessons, the precocious Bobby instead joins a women’s self-defense class and eagerly adopts their testicle-booting combat move, much to the chagrin of bullies throughout Tom Landry Middle School. Bobby’s groin kicks start out as a shield but gradually become a lance as he aggressively takes down classmates for increasingly trivial reasons: “Which one of you guys is the tallest?”
The brawls gets so out of hand that Principal Moss meets with Hank and Peggy for an emergency behavioral meeting. It’s a treat to see Hank’s swelling pride when he first hears that Bobby has been beating up the other students rather than absorbing their abuse. But the glowing emotions quickly turn to disgust once Bobby reveals his hidden, nut-busting strategy. Hank also eventually ends up hobbled by one of Bobby’s patented sneak attacks, leaving Peggy to best the boy in single combat while Hank recovers on the couch for a few days.
“Bobby Goes Nuts” highlights the differences between the athletic, moral, disciplined Hank and the whimsical, laid-back Bobby, who prefers making people laugh to doing hard work. This dichotomy is repeated throughout some of the series’ most heartfelt episodes because it’s fascinating to see the two characters attempt at making a connection. These efforts also speak to Hank’s kind desire to forge a close relationship with his son, avoiding the distance that exist between Hank and his own father.
King of the Quote:
Poor Bill just wants a family like Hank’s. “I wish I had a son to kick me in the nuts.” (Dale kicks Bill, who falls.) “Be careful what you wish for.”