I am a huge fan of Bob’s Burgers. I feel like it gets unfairly dismissed by those that haven’t given it a chance as just another animated show like Family Guy. In truth, Bob’s bring a lot more to table regarding character growth and development. It does take advantage of the animated nature and does some pretty over the top storylines, but at its core, it’s really a solid family show. Over the years a number of episodes have gotten to me, but here are some of my personal favorites. I am not including the current season as it is still running.
Large Brother, Where Fart Thou?
This episode is a rare one with three separate storylines. Tina makes eye contact with a boy seemingly at random, but she does what Tina does best and blows it out of proportion. She gets detention (to serve it with the boy), and goes through an entire relationship with him without actually talking to him. Bob and Linda accidentally get high, which is hilarious. However, the more “heartwarming” story is between Louise and Gene. The youngest kids are confronted with the fact that despite Gene being older he doesn’t fit into the traditional “older brother” role. Throughout the episode, Louise attempts to assert her independence over Gene while he feels conflicted. In the end, Louise is shown that she is not as mature as she likes to present herself, and while Gene is a goofball, he will step up when needed for his little sister. It’s rather touching but without being so much that there is an expectation for their relationship to change.
A River Runs Through Bob
The family goes on a camping trip to help make up for the one Tina missed with the Thunder Girls. Bob fancies himself a real outdoorsman because he has a multi-tool and camped once as a child, he is not. He does, however, manage to get himself and Linda separated from the kids, and so each group goes on their own adventure to come back together. Tina meanwhile struggles with her identity as a Thunder Girl, largely encouraged by her sister. In the end, everyone finds their natural place, but they make sure to give us good laughs on the way.
Bob enters a burger competition and ends up competing against celebrity chef Skip Marooch. Part way into the competition he is horrified to discover that Gene forgot the black garlic, a key ingredient to his burger. The kids go on a quest to retrieve the garlic for Bob. Gene realizes that he is the screw up in the family, and Bob realizes that he trusted Gene with the vital ingredient to have an excuse for when he loses. Both of them have to overcome their faults and rise up to the challenge, and also connect with each other in the process. It’s a good episode with both characters having solid self-reflection, it also doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty hilarious in the process.
It Snakes a Village
The family goes to visit Linda’s family at their new place in Flordia. The kids are horrified to discover that the pool is closed, while Linda is equally horrified to discover that it is a place for swingers. The kids end up getting roped into helping a woman catch a snake on film to prove to the condo board that it’s there. Gene is terrified of snakes and eventually has to overcome his fears to help his sisters, though not before drawing it out as long as he possibly can. Bob meanwhile gets roped into helping Linda’s father overcome his *cough* stage fright at being in such a place. It’s pretty darn hilarious on both sides.
This is another great episode for seeing Bob and Gene’s relationship develop, but doesn’t leave the girls out in the least. It’s Bob’s birthday, and the family isn’t doing much of anything. Bob discovers that there will be one last Laser Show at the planetarium, something he greatly enjoyed as a kid. Gene decides to go with him, and they have a few hiccups. Meanwhile, the girls go with Linda to meet Gretchen at a doll store (clearly American Girl). Louise finds herself connecting with one of the dolls shortly before it’s going to be destroyed, and so everyone steps up to help her save it. Both of the stories have their moment of heartwarming character development while remaining laugh out loud funny.
Sheesh! Cab, Bob?
Tina’s 13th birthday is coming up, and the whole family decides to get together and give her a great one. Bob starts driving a cab at night to get more money for the party while Louise gives Tina kissing lessons. In the end, Bob is challenged by his rival Jimmy Pesto, and Tina must decide what is more important to her, her father or the boy she likes. It’s a good coming of age story in micro, complete with hilarious characters.
Bob is frustrated as he watches the Food Truck craze steal his customers. In an effort to fight back he gets his own food truck, and the family inevitably becomes obsessed with it. It’s a funny episode that highlights the best and worst about the family and their antics. It also features possibly one of the most hilarious songs in the series (which is saying something) as sung by a personal favorite of mine Megan Mullally.
Broadcast Wagstaff School News
This is less of a “heartwarming” episode and rather the one that will make me laugh out loud the most no matter how many times I see it. Tina tries out for the school news but is turned down because she is not “cool” enough. While Tammy takes over and turns the news into a joke, Tina gets on the trail of a real scoop, someone pooping in the school. What is really great about this episode is Gene’s story, however, after discovering that Bob looked just like Gene as a kid Gene decides to give up and lean into his future. He starts dressing and acting like his dad which drives Bob crazy, but the others respond very well. It’s hard to describe exactly how funny it is to watch Linda react to Gene’s words as though he is Bob while Bob gets more and more frustrated. It must be experienced, but Little Bob is fantastic.
Glued: Where’s My Bob
Bob is once again given a chance to put the restaurant on the map when Skip (from a previous episode) gets him an interview with a magazine. As per usual something goes horribly wrong and Bob is glued to a toilet seat. Most of the key players show up to help Bob, while many background characters make an appearance to laugh at the spectacle. Louise (who put the glue on the toilet seat) also tries to avoid her feelings of guilt. When the magazine people do show up Bob is still stuck and they are understandably dismissive. What makes this such a great episode though is Louise giving a speech about how her dad always rises above the antics that the kids cause and the town comes together behind Bob. The magazine does, in fact, do a write up about the restaurant, and it’s honestly very touching and a great summary of what Bob’s Burgers, is not just a restaurant in the show but the show in of itself.
What do you think? What are some of your favorite episodes? In all honesty, it was very difficult for me to narrow down the list, so there’s plenty more to choose from.