Throughout the course of King of the Hill, Peggy Hill was a force of nature — a somewhat delusional one, but a force of nature nonetheless. Her relationship with her mother Maddy was a factor in that development. But one of the strangest things about the series was how much its depiction of Maddy changed between her sporadic appearances in the early seasons and her final episode in Season 9.
Hank Hill’s parents were a massive part of the show. His father Cotton Hill was a larger than life character despite losing his shins in World War II. His dated views on women, different races and parenting heavily influenced Hank as he grew up. It was a tough upbringing and Hank became a much better man than his father. On the other hand, Hank’s mother Tilly was a wonderful person who cared about her son dearly and worked hard to raise him right. Maddy Platter was somewhere between the two.
Maddy Platter’s King of the Hill Debut
While Cotton and Tilly were around throughout the series, Peggy’s parents were not. Cotton lived in Texas and eventually moved to Arlen, while Tilly lived in Arizona and visited occasionally. But Peggy’s parents Maddy and Doc Platter lived in Montana and rarely made their way down to Texas. Maddy showed up a handful of times in Seasons 1, 2, 4, and 9 while Doc only appeared in Season 9, Episode 1, “A Rover Runs Through It.”
In her few appearances during Seasons 1, 2, and 4, Maddy was depicted as an older version of Peggy. They looked a lot alike and even acted quite similarly in Maddy’s limited appearances. One of Maddy’s most notable episodes was Season 4, Episode 7, “Happy Hank’s Giving,” in which the family tried to visit her in Montana for Thanksgiving but was blocked by bad weather. Though she was several states away, Maddy argued with her daughter about Thanksgiving dinner. She would never be confused with Marge Simpson.
King of the Hill’s Family Contradictions
The Hills would finally get to Montana in “A Rover Runs Through It,” where they met a completely different Maddy Platter. This version of Maddy looked nothing like Peggy, was emotionally repressed and seemed to almost hate her daughter. The animosity came from Peggy’s decision to leave life on the ranch behind, but the root of their problems was much deeper than that. The conflict hinted at in “Happy Hank’s Giving” came to the forefront in this episode.
Maddy was now shown as a hard-nosed Montana rancher. Peggy’s time growing up in Montana had come up at different points in the series, but the fact that her family owned and operated a ranch didn’t get much of a mention until then. While Peggy’s son Bobby thrived on the ranch to the delight of his dad, “A Rover Runs Through It” not only retconned Maddy but her relationship with Peggy.
Maddy’s intense dislike of Peggy didn’t make a lot of sense. Her other child Hoyt was in prison and did little to care for Maddy’s naive granddaughter Luanne. Peggy might not have stayed on the ranch, but she was definitely better adjusted than Hoyt. In Season 9, Peggy’s relationship with Maddy mirrored Hank’s relationship with Cotton. That explained Peggy’s extreme dislike of Cotton a bit better, even though no explanation beyond Cotton’s abrasive personality was necessary.
King of the Hill never acknowledged this massive difference in both the look and personality of Maddy Platter. She was suddenly a completely different person from the one fans had met in the first four seasons, and she never appeared again. Much like how Hank never made peace with Cotton before, Peggy was never able to resolve her issues with her mother. Hopefully, any new episodes of King of the Hill will explore their relationship further — or at least explain why it changed.
King of the Hill is now streaming on Hulu.