The Belcher kids go to great lengths to avoid making handmade gifts in a solid episode of Bob’s Burgers.
Overview (Spoilers Below):
When Louise, Gene, and Tina are told that their ‘crappy’ gifts aren’t being appreciated by their grandparents, they’ve got to come up with a solution quick. They embark on a treasure hunt to find the lost ceramics room, which has lived on as a legend ever since it was sealed-off back in the ’80’s.
Meanwhile, Teddy sets up shop in the restaurant, replacing broken phone screens. But the longer he stays, the more annoyed Bob becomes. The kids obtain some power tools from their favorite uncle and commence digging into the room. After a lot of hard work (and lots of missed lunch periods), they discover the legend is real – but Mr. Frond’s past may be a complete sham.
Who would think that an episode about making homemade gifts for elderly grandparents would be this exciting? It seems like Bob’s Burgers can make any premise into an enjoyable episode at this point. A lot of this is due to the characters being so well established. Even when they’re hunting for vases or destroying school property with power tools, their usual sibling dynamics are on display. As one of three siblings, I always find something to relate to when an episode focuses on the three kids and their hijinks. I love Tina’s hilarious observation that simply making the gifts themselves would’ve been so much faster (and less of a workout for Louise and Gene’s muscles – they don’t have puberty power yet!).
It felt a little strange not to see the other school kids get more involved in the search. They’ve been developed so much that they feel like part of the main cast by now, and it would’ve been fun to see everyone’s reactions to the secret ceramics room. (At least we got a quick appearance from Pocket-sized Rudy, as well as the knowledge that Zeke is a gong-enthusiast.) But The Secret Ceramics Room of Secrets keeps things focused on a smaller, tighter cast, and this pays off when the kids find out about Mr. Frond’s long-regretted 7th-grade misdeed. Tina’s provides some wonderful insight into how admitting to his ballet-tampering might make him a better, more relatable guidance counselor. His utter dismissal of Tina’s attempt is hilarious, but also sad. Mr. Frond certainly isn’t a contender for the worst villain in the show, but he sometimes seems to care more about feeling good about himself rather than helping kids feel good about themselves. Wouldn’t it be neat if Tina grew up and replaced him as Wagstaff’s resident counselor?
While there’s not a whole lot going on in the subplot, it is funny to see just how annoying Teddy can be. Things start out okay but escalate to a point where Bob couldn’t even bear to be in the same room as Teddy and Linda. It really is a testament to Bob’s patience that he allows him to stay as long as he does. Friends don’t always get along, but Bob and Teddy’s relationship has stood the test of time.
With an intriguing mystery investigation and a surprising revelation from Mr. Frond’s history, this episode definitely delivered the quality that fans have come to expect. And we didn’t have to wait weeks on end to watch it! (What’s even better? We have another new premiere to look forward to next week.)