Video Vault is an ongoing Wide Open Country series featuring our favorite country music videos, performances, and timeless moments.
I'm ashamed to say that it took me years to really get into the animated sitcom King of the Hill. Long after it stopped airing on FOX (after a whopping 13 seasons) I finally let my husband convince me that the Texas cartoon would be worth my while. I was immediately captivated by the hilarious characters, particularly Peggy Hill, voiced by the masterful Kathy Najimy. One of the episodes that sold me on the show early on was Season 4 Episode 24 -- "Peggy's Fan Fair."
If you're a fan of the series and don't remember episodes by name (who does?) then I'll refresh your memory. This is the episode focused on Peggy, Randy Travis, and a country music festival in Nashville. I don't know how country star Randy Travis really is in person (I've never met the guy) but setting up the "Three Wooden Crosses" singer to be the bad guy is honestly one of the funniest things I've ever seen. It's an unexpected choice for someone who represents themselves as a clean-cut gospel country singer, which really makes the episode that much more entertaining. Add on top of that the fact that Travis himself voiced his own character and it's just too good.
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The episode starts with Peggy excitedly shaking a letter in her husband Hank's face. It's a response she got from Randy Travis's lawyer after sending music lyrics she wrote to singers all over Nashville. Peggy is a completely ridiculous character who is constantly trying new things or getting into trouble so we know she's in store for something entertaining when she loses her mind over being called a "songwriter" in the rejection letter. This leads to Peggy convincing her church to go on a trip to the Country Music Fan Fair in Nashville which is where the fun really begins.
Because the show was so popular while it was on the air, there were tons of celebrities who jumped at the chance to appear on the series. That was clearly the case with this episode because some of the biggest names in Nashville all had cameos as King of the Hill versions of themselves. Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Lisa Hartman Black, Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn, Terri Clark, Martina McBride, Wynonna Judd, and Charlie Daniels all appeared in the episode, making the music festival that much more authentic. It's literally the star power equivalent of a real festival. But the best part, of course, is Randy Travis, who actually ends up stealing the song that Peggy mailed him, "Just the Way God Made Me."
The song (which is completely ridiculous) was inspired by Peggy getting bullied as a child for having overly large feet and Travis doesn't hide the fact that he's taking every detail for himself when she catches a recording of the song playing at his autograph signing. But no one believes her because she's always prone to dramatics and is frequently just really full of herself. Peggy even punches Randy in the face which really doesn't help get Hank on her side. Eventually, though, he's swayed when Travis gets back on stage and takes credit for something Hank did at the festival. The picture the show painted of this fictionalized version of Randy Travis is that he'll pretty much do anything to make himself look good and will constantly throw others under the bus if he needs to. It's disappointing for longtime fans like Peggy and Hank Hill but clearly hilarious for the audience.
There's honestly nothing funnier than entertainers playing themselves but it's an extra treat in cartoon form. Part of the reason Travis does such a great job in the episode is it's not his first time acting...he actually has a pretty lengthy resume from Matlock to Touched by an Angel. I highly recommend revisiting this gem which is available to stream on Hulu or on YouTube in Part 1 and Part 2.