Bob’s Burgers: An Animated Series essential for the Whole Family

Creator Loren Bouchard (known for Home Movies) and co-creator/executive producer Jim Dauterive (known for his work in King of the Hill) gave birth to the blue-collar, self-employed, Belcher family. Bob’s Burger stars Bob Belcher (H. Jon Benjamin), his wife Linda (John Roberts), and their three kids; thirteen year old Tina (Dan Mintz), eleven year old Gene (Eugene Mirman), and nine year old Louise (Kristen Schaal) and centers on their struggles for keeping their family sane and their restaurant open. The opening credits of the series show how the family struggles three times to open their restaurant: their building catches on fire, their restaurant gets infested with rats, and finally, a car crashes into an electrical pole that falls into their restaurant window. All of this is juxtaposed with its ukulele theme song which pushes the feeling that though things can get bad, the family can persevere.

What’s great about this series is its ability to give each family member their own individuality and showing how the family respects their individualism. In Frond Files (season 4, episode 12) Bob and Linda go to Wagstaff School to see their children’s work in the school’s show, “Why I love Wagstaff”, however, when they can’t find their work projects, they go looking for the school guidance counselor, Phillip Frond (David Herman). After unsuccessfully hiding from them, Mr. Frond decides to bring Bob and Linda to his office to talk about their kids’ projects. All three of them wrote story reports explaining why they love their school. Gene’s is titled “Fart School for the Gifted” which is a musical, Tina’s is titled “A Tale of Horror” which is about a zombie attack stopped by Tina’s flirting abilities, and Louise’s is simply titled “Why I Love Wagstaff” which is about robot Mr. Frond coming to attack to Louise, Terminator-style. Mr. Frond pulls these projects of the school show because they make him look bad in their stories and he is very hurt by that. Instead of Bob and Linda taking Mr. Frond’s side regarding the subjects of their kids’ stories, they actually enjoy the creativity, even when it’s a little comfortable for them (Bob quickly changes the subject from Tina’s semi-erotic fan-fiction to Louise’s sci-fi fiction). When Mr. Frond sees that they do not see eye-to-eye, he breaks down and cries “why don’t they like me!” Their response is he should relax and try to relate to the kids.

Another great thing about the show is Bob and Linda’s openness and understanding to their children’s individual ticks. 151344_origIn Kids Run Away, Louise runs away from the dentist, Dr. Yap (Ken Jeong), during the families bi-annual dental cleaning. When she finds out she needs a filling, she runs away to her “crazy” aunt Gayle’s (Megan Mullally) studio apartment. Bob supports Linda’s idea of betting Louise that if she cannot handle a weekend with her aunt, she will have to get the filling. Linda sends Tina and Gene to stay with her sister Gayle and has Tina be the spy that will follow Linda’s outside orders via text messages, to try to make the weekend unbearable. This reminds me of all the different measures I’ve taken as a parent to force my kids to do things that need to be done. Louise ends up winning the bet but still refuses to go to the dentist and instead of Bob and Linda just forcing her, Aunt Gayle is the one that helps Louise “turn her fear-believe into make-believe” which creates a beautiful last 5 minutes of the episode showing how the family, including Dr. Yap, works together to get the tooth-filling mission complete. Bob’s Burgers episodes don’t bluntly give out “lessons” but the story lines give important views on how a family can work together.