A Second Helping of Comedy: Bob’s Burgers Returns!

Linda from Bob's Burgers

Simply put, Bob’s Burger’s is one of the most addictively watchable comedies on TV. Or as Gene might say, “Like heroine?” To which Bob would reply, “Yes son, like heroine!”

If you’re the type of TV fan who sets aside a few specific nights each week to become a complete couch potato for a few hours, nothing’s worse than a gap in the scheduling. For me, that was the problem with Sunday night for the past few months. I’m a long-time, die-hard Simpsons fan. Practically without fail I’m planted on the couch each time there’s a new episode of The Simpsons. I’m also, to a lesser extent, a fan of Family Guy, which airs at 9. This leaves me with the lazy man’s dilemma: what to watch between the two shows? The Fox Network, being opportunists, took advantage of my slothfulness and filled that time slot with every lousy show imaginable, from American Dad to The Cleveland Show and finally to the worst of all, Allen Gregory. For a short while, they tried out a TV adaptation of Napolean Dynamite that, while not amazing, was fun and more enjoyable than retreaded Family Guy material. Finally, I’m happy to say, that slot has been filled by the return of my favorite new show from last year, Bob’s Burgers.

Bob

If you didn’t catch it last year, Bob’s Burgers is a cartoon about a family who all work in a burger joint managed by the father (Bob obviously). Bob, played by H. Jon Benjamin, is a workaholic dad, and insists he and his family live the rooms directly above his restaurant. His well-meaning but misunderstanding wife is Linda, played with a delightfully nasal tone by John Roberts. They have three children, Gene, Tina, and Louise, played by Eugene Mirman, Dan Mintz, and Kristen Schaal respectively. The first few times you watch Bob’s Burgers, you’re definitely going to be uneased by how many of the women are voiced by men, as Louise is the only character voiced by an actual woman (Kristen Schaal is always hilarious by the way). When you get over that hump, Bob’s Burgers is a hilarious show.

Left to right: Tina, Gene and Louise

What’s so refreshing about Bob’s Burgers is that there’s an emphasis on story and on plot. Unlike Seth MacFarlane’s various projects, the humor is related to the plot and characters much of the time, and there are few instances of tangential humor. The way plots come together in interesting and often touching ways will remind you more of King of the Hill or The Simpsons than the seemingly arbitrary conclusions to most Family Guy stories. Another perk of Bob’s Burgers is that the humor, for the most part, isn’t topical. The show doesn’t respond to current events all that often, which allows the creators more time to animate each episode .South Park and Family Guy are more topical, which means they often have to be rushed on air, while the folks behind the scenes of Bob’s Burgers have time to spice up the jokes and touch up the animation.

I for one think this has some of the best artistic direction of any primetime, mainstream cartoon. I like the stylized character designs and how weirdly out-of-shape most of the characters are. More than that, I enjoy the show’s inspired and vibrant color scheme. The background sets up the tone of the show perfectly.

The first episode of season 2 aired last Sunday. From what I understand, it will continue to be aired Sundays at 8:30. This works out too for fans of The Walking Dead. You can go straight from the comedy block of Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers right into the undoubtedly dark and disturbing season finale of The Walking Dead airing this Sunday (mark your calendars, dead heads).

Here’s a short clip.

—-If you’re looking for a book to read, please check out my book The Madness of Art: Short Stories available on Amazon in paperback and as an ebook.

What’s your opinion of the cartoon Bob’s Burgers?

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