Bob’s Burgers: The Underappreciated American Family
The Underappreciated American Family
By: Terra Clarke Olsen
I’ve never been an avid TV viewer. I like to think I have discerning taste (or maybe I’m just picky). But when I do find a show that I think is worth following, I tend to be its biggest cheerleader. Granted, my access to available shows is limited since I only use Hulu and Netflix, but I’d like to think that my opinion is valid nonetheless. With these disclaimers, I now feel comfortable shoving my opinion in your face. Hard.
For the love of television, watch Bob’s Burgers. Seriously. Watch it.
I’ve been baffled by the number of people I’ve met who have either never watched it or only watched a small clip of it and have decided it’s crap. Oh the tragedy. For all you naysayers, you’re missing out. On what you ask? Oh, don’t worry. I’m getting there. But first, I have to admit that I was once like you.
I, too, once scoffed at the show and brushed it off as poor art and bad writing. My husband was the first in our family to discover the show. As he would watch I would leave the room and occupy myself with something else, but I’d catch a line or two in passing. By the 3rd episode, I found myself standing behind the couch ‘not watching’…but totally watching. Finally I swallowed my pride and sat down to watch the show I had previously declared ‘lame.’ And now I’m hooked.
Bob’s Burgers is a beautiful example of what a family is–a chaotic, mishmash of personalities who have to find a way to coexist.
Bob’s Burgers depicts the Belcher family’s struggles in everyday life. Bob, a ‘typical’ guy in many respects, runs the burger joint with his wife, Linda, whose spunky and enthusiastic personality provides a necessary counterpoint to Bob’s often expressionless observations. They have three kids: Tina, the oldest and most awkward; Gene, the sole boy whose whimsical personality shines through a cheap keyboard; and Louise, the youngest, whose constant scheming often instigates the family’s adventures. Every episode shows the quirky working of the Belcher family as they stumble through life together.
For example, the episode “Mother Daughter Lazor Razor” tackles complicated parent-child relationships in a hilarious but telling manner. Linda decides that she needs to bond with Louise, who aggressively objects, while Tina seeks shaving advice from her father. The episode includes agonizing parent coaching, aggressive adolescent behavior, and awkward pubescent desires. Overall, you can expect a lot of awkward moments from most episodes.
These exaggerated situations are not only entertainment, but reminders of our own awkward moments in life and how our strange, often fragile, family units fit together. These very different human beings, who have little in common aside from their last name, are thrown together under one roof, and hilarity ensues. Yet, despite their many differences, they always find a way to come together as a family in the end. Cue the *awwwww.*
Besides the strange situations and warm-fuzzy family element, the writing and character development is great! Each character has a distinct personality that’s well executed. (My personal favorite is Louise, whose unabashed and outrageous nature makes her a bit of a hero in my eyes. I usually favor the episodes that feature her more.)
If nothing else, Bob’s Burgers reminds us that life is awkward and funny, and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. Watch just 2-3 episodes, and if you’re still not feeling it, maybe the show is just not for you. But if you do like it, you’ll probably end up loving it. Loving it to the point of making fan art and dressing as the characters at conventions (speaking of which, can someone make me a Louise hat?!).
For those who do love the show (newly found or original fan), you’re in luck! Bob’s Burgers is actually touring right now.
That’s right, I said they’re touring. The live show will incorporate stand-up comedy, a table read, fan Q&A, and sneak peeks of future episodes. Dates and locations are listed below. Viva la Bob!
May 6 – Irenic, San Diego
May 7 – Wilshire Ebell Theatre, LA
May 8 & 9 – Neptune, Seattle
May 10 – Crystal Ballroom, Portland
May 11 – Nob Hill Masonic Center, San Francisco