I think I first got hooked on Louise. The bunny-ear wearing youngest daughter of Bob and Linda Belcher is who we all wish we could secretly be – at least for certain parts of the day. A screaming, furious force of nature, her unique blend of little girl determinism and psychopathy has you entranced. Sure, the other characters seem a little odd, but my god, Louise! You are crazy.
It takes a while, a few episodes, but eventually you come to see Louise not as the pinnacle of a crazy pyramid or the customary ‘weird’ character in your sitcom soup. No, she’s just a Belcher. The fact is that they are all nuts – every last one of the five-member clan: Bob, his wife Linda, and their three children. Tina, the oldest, is a slow-burn parody of outsider teenage anxiety; Louise, you’ve met; and Gene… ah, Gene. Words fail to describe him, but that’s nothing a few fart sounds on an electronic keyboard won’t fix. If you wonder where the kids got their crazy, look no further than mom Linda. Bob is arguably the most normal of the lot, but even he has some exotic quirks. Together they run a barely-in-business burger joint that shares its name with the show.
Not that the Belchers are an island of crazy – everyone in Bob’s Burgers lilts a little towards the dilly. That is not unique to animated sitcoms, but this bunch still make it their own. The show shares a common lineage through executive producer Jim Dauterive, who also had a hand in King Of The Hill. Both shows are about blue collar men trying to navigate the turmoil of work, home and family.
Both shows also share a strange deadpan humour, but while King was very dry, Bob’s is a straight-faced shift into the weird. The situations, characters and dialog can get really absurd. As much can be expected from a show with lines like “there are animal anuses all over our walls.” But at the same time it stays grounded and even manages a warm, fuzzy moment every now and then. But blink and you’ll miss it, much like some of the incredible statements that jumps out of a character’s mouth every now and then.
It is true that with every season the throttle seems to be pushed a little bit further. At some point Bob’s Burgers will suffer from the same debilitating familiarity that eventually consumes other animated sitcoms (and season-churning shows in general). But right now it is not only fresh, but has that kind of snap only reserved for the greats of the genre. Is it the next Family Guy, South Park or Simpsons? Who knows? But at four seasons and a fifth incoming it has already earned a spot away from the newcomers and cancelled wrecks. May we see much more of the Belchers and their special slice of everyday life.
Last Updated: May 13, 2014