I am an idiot… of that there can be no doubt. To date there have been three seasons of Bob’s Burgers produced, at least one of which was broadcast over here in Britland on E4… and yet, despite having a mad crush on one of the regular cast members (and several of the recurring players), it’s taken me this long to get around to actual watching an episode (or thirteen)! Boo to me.
The inciting incident in this case was the release of an animated video of St. Vincent covering a song from a second season episode, called “Bad Girls”. I was only watching it out of idle curiosity, but I quickly became addicted… partly because it’s such a fun song in its own right, but mostly because of the adorable animation. Just look at the way St. Vincent shakes her head when she sings the chorus… or the way ‘Tina’ gently nods her head when asked if boys’ butts are really worth all the trouble. Sooo cute!
After playing that video to death, I promptly set about tracking down the first season of the parent show, only to find that it was just as moreish as its musical offspring. The premise of a dysfunctional family running a small town hamburger restaurant doesn’t necessarily sound like the stuff of great comedy, but the writers have already managed to wring a remarkable number of solid storylines and strong laughs from the setting. The real gold comes from the banter between the characters, which combines a loose, naturalistic performance style, with often absurd subject matter.
Unsurprisingly, my favourite Belcher is devious, demented daughter ‘Louise’, voiced by Kristen Schaal. Her aggressive enthusiasm for mayhem is so infectious – and her signature headwear so snazzy – it’s no wonder the other kids follow her like lemmings! She actually reminds me of a more upbeat, energetic ‘Wednesday Addams’, as she attempts to cut her brother’s ear off to make him a better artist, advocates using Voodoo to bring down a rival restaurateur, or locks her siblings in the basement of a mortuary with a booby-trapped coffin. Bwaaa haaa haa ha ha ha!!!
My favourite ep so far would have to be either “Art Crawl” (1.8), which sees Louise setting up her own Warhol-style production line for tacky tourist “art” (and features the classic exchange quoted in this post’s title)… or “Spaghetti Western and Meatballs” (1.9), in which the eponymous ‘Bob’ bonds with son ‘Gene’ over a series of old-timey movies, robbing Louise of her precious father-daughter quality time. Aw! If pressed, I’d have to give the win to “Art Crawl”, because it introduced the inseparable Pesto twins, two easily manipulated school friends of Louise’s, voiced by Laura and Sarah Silverman. There was also a vocal cameo by Megan Mullally, as Louise’s fragile, artistically-inclined aunt ‘Gayle’. Yay!
On the downside, I was going to complain about the fact that two of the three main female characters were voiced by men… until I remembered that a lot of young boys in cartoons are voiced by women (the most obvious example being Nancy Cartwright’s work as ‘Bart Simpson’). Nevertheless, I do feel that John Roberts sometimes tries to make the mother’s voice as grating as possible, as if that were a joke in itself… and maybe it is, but it’s not one I find very amusing. As Bob himself asserts in the opening ep, there’s a line between being entertaining and being annoying.