Trucking in Popular Media
Trucking has been a part of American life since the 1970s. If you are a trucker too busy on the road to watch the newest episodes of your favorite shows, here are some examples of trucking that you can look at while off-duty to see an outsider’s perspective.
The Simpsons: Maximum Homerdrive (1999)
The Simpsons have made an episode out of everything, so it should not come as a surprise that there’s a trucking episode. What you might not know is that it was in the early years of the show’s running.
After Homer loses an eating contest (crazy) to truck driver Red Barclay, Barclay keels over and dies. To honor Barclay’s memory, Homer takes up the mantle to finish Barclay’s last delivery, with the help of Bart.
As per usual with the Simpsons, the episode was ahead of its time. Despite being made in the 20th century, it spoke of the idea of autonomous trucking, and worries from truck drivers that they may one day find themselves out of a job.
Much less interesting, however, is the B-story. Lisa and Marge get a new doorbell, and shenanigans ensue.
King of the Hill: Livin’ on Reds, Vitamin C and Propane (2003)
Hank Hill might be the most “American” fictional character of all time. He loves guns, football, adventure, and doing the right thing above all else. So it is no surprise that one of Hank’s dreams is to drive an 18-wheeler, and he gets his chance in this episode where he makes a delivery of furniture to his mother’s new home.
The episode explores many of the nuances of trucker life (coffee), and asks what it means to be a trucker rather than a guy with a truck.
Like Maximum Homerdrive, there is a B-story with characters who stayed at home that does not add very much to the episode.
King of the Hill: Teddy Bear (1999)
Creator of the show and voice of its main character Mike Judge did a cover of one of the most popular trucking songs of all time, four years before the previously mentioned episode. It really shows the dedication that Judge has for his character and the storyline that he created.
Though Hank approaches the song as more of a spoken word than a song, it still shows immense respect for the trucking industry. If you are a fan of King of the Hill, you owe it to yourself to give it a listen.
Breaking Bad: Kafkaesque (2010)
Trucking plays a small but pivotal role in Gus Fring’s meth empire. He uses buckets of fry batter to distribute blue crystal (made by Walter White and Jesse Pinkman) to his customers in a network of day cabs. Hopefully the truck drivers are able to claim plausible deniability later on; they thought they were delivering one secret recipe!
The show also includes a few brutal scenes that take place in and around the delivery trucks, but we will keep those to the research of the reader.
There are not a lot of video games that involve truck driving. We have written about a few of them before, but the one that is probably most commonly known amongst gamers is Clustertruck. The only thing in the game directly related to trucking is that the platforms you are allowed to touch are in the shape of traveling big rigs. Chaos ensues as you avoid lasers and swinging pendulums.
Still easier to manage than driving in Los Angeles.
There are dozens upon dozens of reality television shows about trucking, so we have decided to omit them and instead focus on media not directly related to trucking such as Breaking Bad. In doing this, we show that trucking plays a bigger role in society than an average person may think.
What is your favorite appearance of a truck where you might not expect to find it? Let us know in the comments below!
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