I'm sure everyone remembers the King of the Hill episode "Pigmalion". This particular episode had originally been produced for Season 5 as a Halloween special (as evidenced by its production code "5ABE"), but was pushed back to Season 7 due to its dark and disturbing content. Even then, when it was first aired in 2003, it was banned outright for many years afterwards because of how it ended. (For those of you unaware, while on a moving conveyor belt, this episode's antagonist Trip Larsen is momentarily given a shock to the head which seems to "cure" his schizophrenia; the scene then cuts back to Peggy and Luanne while he is mutilated off-screen.)
Now here's where it gets interesting.
The Original Ending
According to urban legend, in the original airing of the episode, you could briefly see Trip's bloody mutilated corpse hanging off a hook in the background while Peggy and Luanne rejoice over their little "victory". However, no copy of this ending seems to exist anywhere, not even on the Internet. That's where I come in.
I asked a couple of my friends to sleuth around, looking for any evidence that the original ending may have existed at one point. For days on end, they would hound Mike Judge and the other people who'd worked on "King of the Hill", asking if there were any changes they had to make after the original broadcast in 2003. Stormi and Justin (yes, those are my friends' names) told me that whenever they brought up the original ending to "Pigmalion", the crew members would either desperately try to change the subject in an attempt to avoid answering the question or just hang up on them without hesitation. Frankly, I found that to be quite odd. So we decided to take a little trip to Sacramento to see if we could get answers there.
When we made it to Sacramento, we made sure to ask all around if anybody had seen the original ending to an episode of "King of the Hill" that had been banned for years. No one seemed to know what we were talking about. All throughout, our investigation seemed fruitless. At least we thought so... until we met the one man who would blow this case wide open.
For transparency reasons, we will call him Todd. He was in his late 20s, a bit overweight, wore big round glasses that seemed too big for his head, and looked like he hadn't bathed in years.
We asked Todd if he knew about the original airing of "Pigmalion" and how the ending went. He told us that yes, he had seen the episode when it first aired and yes, he could tell us how that episode ended.
"It was, like, really fucked up, man," he said. "I'd never seen anything like it. When Trip was on that conveyor belt and saw that spike coming down, it was all over for him. Right after he saw it, it cut to a scene of the conveyor belt being splashed with lots of blood but it was only for a few seconds."
"What happened next?" I asked him curiously.
"Well, then it cut to Peggy and Luanne getting sprayed with blood, like someone was pounding a human corpse with a meat tenderizer and the blood splatter was landing every which way. Then I saw it: what remained of Trip fell off the conveyor belt and onto the floor. His remains were drawn with a lot more detail than usual, almost like they were traced from a crime scene photo or something."
"You sure about that?"
"Pretty sure. Anyway, after Peggy and Luanne had their talk, the episode cut to Trip's mangled body one more time before going to credits. It was so jarring to see what looked like a rotoscoped pile of human remains on the floor, only to then play upbeat music over the credits like usual."
Stormi couldn't help but gasp at this. This was just so incredible to listen to.
"Jesus, I feel so sorry for you, you poor soul," she told Todd. "Do you have a VHS tape of the ending or something or no?"
"Uh, sure, but I must warn you: it's seen better days."
He left us for a minute to find the tape. While we waited, we thought to ourselves "This is it, the moment of truth. This will confirm once and for all that he was telling the truth." He came back a moment later with the tape in his hand.
"Well, guys, here it is," he announced to us. "The tape you've been asking for."
"Cool," I said. "Can we watch it now?"
So we started watching the tape. The brief parts we saw while Todd fast-forwarded through the tape didn't seem out of the ordinary, at least by "King of the Hill" standards. Then we got to the part that we wanted to see: the ending. The usual stuff had happened: Peggy and Luanne trying to get away from Trip, them tampering with the controls for the conveyor belt, Trip getting zapped in the head and being "cured" of his schizophrenia. Then we saw what Todd was talking about. Trip saw the spike coming down and was killed soon after. Drops of blood and brain matter spilled out onto the conveyor belt and onto Peggy and Luanne. The two women seemed so traumatized having to witness a man being skewered to death right in front on them; however, it didn't seem to last long as they soon started talking about how this meant Luanne was now her own woman or something. The final scene was a close-up of Trip's mutilated corpse, which had just fallen off the conveyor belt and was not nearly as detailed as Todd had remembered it. It stayed on his bloodied remains for what felt like minutes on end before cutting to credits.
After the episode ended, Todd removed the tape from the VCR and thanked us for watching it with him.
My friends and I will never forget what we saw that day. We have nightmares about how Trip died all the time, and I'm sure Todd does, too. But one question remains: who started the rumor about Trip's corpse hanging in the background? The world may never know.