Bob’s Burgers – A Look Back at 10 Captivating Seasons

The quarantine has been an interesting time for me. While some people spent their time catching up on new shows or watching movies they never had the time for, I spent it continuously re-watching Bob’s Burgers. It takes me about a week to make it through all 10 seasons and if you divide that by quarantine starting in March thats…60 minus 7 which is 50..hmmhmm times.

Bob’s Burgers is one of those weird cartoons that doesn’t quite fit the stereotype of adult animation, but does in every sense of the word. Voiced by the iconic H. Jon Benjamin and supported by a cast of equally funny and recognizable voices, Bob’s Burgers tells a story of a struggling restaurant owner and the antics of his no-filter family.

One might not think this makes an interesting show, but when you have one kid who somehow knows what beef curtains are and likes to give updates about his genitals, another kid that mimics the savvy of an entry level secret agent, and a third kid who has an obsession with butts, zombies, and horses, things can get pretty hectic.

What’s impressive is that very little in the show is outlandish. Working in the service industry for most of my career, things get weird alot of the time. Even the kooky regulars that come in aren’t too far off from regulars who go into a real restaurant. Yes, maybe the taffy factory incident wouldn’t pan out the same in real life and maybe there are more close calls than could be believable, but if you take most of the events separately, I would say 95% of them could happen in real life.

One of the things I really appreciate about Bob’s Burgers is that they don’t put too much attention to things that could be questionable in today’s society. Bob’s daughter wants a big birthday? Cool, make an episode about transvestite hookers. In the Bob’s Burgers world, this is perfectly normal. There is never any racism or real hate in the show. It can provide wholesome comedy that is legitimately funny and sometimes a trans-femme shows up with her butt and possibly a lip hanging out of a shockingly revealing leotard. Love you, Marshmallow.

Animations tend to be unique in the fact that they are an endless year. There is an occasional birthday episode (Gene, I hope this is your year buddy!), but every year is the same year and the kids stay immortal at 13, 11, and 9. What goes beyond their immortality is the fact that they still seem to evolve and grow up in a way. The adults are the only ones that retain their weird habits, but adults don’t technically need to become better.

Let’s take Louise for example. There she is in Episode One, “Human Flesh”, almost getting the restaurant shut down, then you find her having her first crush on a boy, until the end of Season 10 when she has the maturity to realize someone was self sabotaging themselves and she needed to help them instead of enabling them even if it meant giving up a really good prank.

The most entertaining episodes for me have been the Thanksgiving ones. Bob’s weird obsession with a perfect holiday – one that ranks pretty low in my book – that often leads to a failed but sort of successful execution makes for some heartwarming episodes. There’s always turkey on the table by the end of the day whether it’s eaten or not.

On my list of least entertaining episodes are the multi-episode musicals, “Wharf Horse” and “The Bleakening”. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the songs in Bob’s burgers. I’m especially in love with Todrick Hall’s performance as Miss Triple-Xmas. But there is something about stories that go on for too long that makes things drawn out and I get bored. I think Bob’s only works in a format of really quick antics that can be forgotten by the next show.

Speaking of songs, the best song goes to Gayle and her soulful ballad, “Derek Dematopolis”. Why do you ask? Because there will never be anything that matches the lyrics, “Won’t you enter my acropolis and make my yogurt Greek?”. The writer of those lyrics deserves an award simply for the rhyming.

I would have to give best relationship to Mr. Frond and Gayle. The children might hate it, but how have those two not gotten married already? I also need to know why the show broke them up and never said anything about it. I get the fact that both are super unstable but isn’t that why they work so well together? This is one of the unfinished story arcs that I was a little upset didn’t pan out more than it did.

The most unsatisfying episode was a little hard for me to pick. It was between Gene forgetting the black garlic and Linda lying to get Gene in a play. Gene is one of those characters that it’s hard to center a whole show around because he’s just so “much”. A quip here and there is great for comedic timing but 20-some minutes of constant Gene-chaos honestly exhausts me. Adding Linda into the mix makes it exponentially worse. I think that’s why there aren’t more Gene centric episodes and especially Gene/Linda focused episodes. For that reason, “All That Gene” is my most unsatisfying episode. Not only is it super-cringe and not funny, but Linda…seriously? You’re ruining the beauty of local theatre just so your loud son can play a part he isn’t ready for.

Favorite side character definitely has to be Millie. Her constant stalking of Louise is really funny. They both are the same in so many ways, but Louise refuses to see that. They are so perfectly matched together and if they went on an more adventures, I think it would make some interesting comedy. “The Silence of the Louise” was a pretty good indication of what those two could get up to. Instead, Louise is hanging out with boring old Jessica and nerdy little Kaylee so I guess I’ll have to sit around and find out.

Best friendship goes to Gene and Alex Papasian. I’m happy they found a way to have Gene connect to someone outside of the family even if their first adventure was a failure and they bonded over being out of shape. I think Alex is a good buffer to Gene’s personality and it helps even him out a little bit. The three way friendship with Gene, Alex, and Courtney at the end of “Roller? I Hardly Knew Her!” was actually pretty satisfying and I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing more of it.

The most ridiculous part of the show for me would have to be Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction. Beyond her stories usually involving something mildly sexual with a zombie, horse, or combination of both, her openness and her family’s acceptance of it is something I can’t decide whether I like or not. I mean, I like it because it’s Tina. She wouldn’t be who she is if she wasn’t awkwardly proceeding through puberty.

The absurdity of this comedy will keep it living on forever in our minds. The next season of Bob’s premieres tonight and I can’t wait to see what fun adventures this family gets off to next. I hope that Gene gets a birthday, Teddy actually goes on a date with Kathleen, and I wouldn’t mind finding out if Bob stayed in touch with Patricia and her 77 sandwiches.