Tally ho pip pip.
Overview (Spoilers Below!)
On Valentine’s Day, Linda trips over a pile of Bob’s dirty laundry, launching a fierce argument. The kids are terrified to tell their parents they broke Gene’s bed.
In a rom com, a stuttering English tour guide realizes that a princess is on his bus—but a popcorn fire means that everyone has to evacuate the theater. Trying to smooth things over with their parents, Gene makes up the end of the movie: Princess Paula McCartney runs away from the palace. The Queen sends a Beefeater after the bus, who explains that an explosive scone is on-board.
Bus driver Scott John realizes that the scone was planted by his nemesis Big Ben, who also placed giant piles of dirty laundry around the city. They head for London Bridge, which is, of course, falling down. The bus launches across it and into a bed factory; the gang lands safely in a pile of broken beds.
Bob and Linda are still mad, so Tina takes over the story. Paula has to attend the royal wedding and invites Scott John as her date. Cue the makeover montage where Paula teaches her new boyfriend how to act like a nobleman! Paula reveals that it’s her wedding tonight—she wants Scott John to overcome his stammer in order to give a speech in protest of her betrothal to the Duke of Douchebury.
Aboard the wedding cruise liner, Scott John announces his objection—but he’s interrupted as the ship crashes into a pile of dirty laundry. Scott John and Paula take refuge on a broken bed. The wedding guests discover he’s a commoner right before a massive wave kills him. Paula moves to America, never gets mad at her kids, and thinks of Scott John whenever she trips over laundry.
The Belchers arrive home, but Louise insists on telling her ending to the story. Scott John washes up on the shore and returns home—when Paula arrives and trips over his laundry. They recreate Bob and Linda’s argument, and their negative energy creates a laundry-nado, which cracks the bed and destroys London. The laundry-nado moans out the word, “Sorry,” convincing the lovers to apologize. They get married and the queen gifts them a new bed, and they never get mad at their kids.
Teary-eyed, Bob and Linda apologize to each other. The kids confess and flee into the house.
God, this episode is hilarious.
Everything about it works: Gene’s misunderstandings about every single aspect of British culture, which is communicated through very clever puns. The constant appearances of dirty laundry and broken beds at absolutely inappropriate times in the story. Bob and Linda’s wry commentary. It’s a delight to watch, and it’ll certainly be a riot for our Anglophile viewers—or anyone who enjoys partaking in entertainment from across the pond, such as Downton Abbey or The Great British Bake-Off.
Some of my favorite lines include:
- “Since I’m not allowed to scream ‘fire’ in a crowded theater, I’ll just say it calmly. Fire.”
- “So there’s an exploding scone on the bus? Why?” “Do you not know how scones work? They’re incredibly dense!” “There’s all kinds of scones, Bob!”
- “Gene, you know the London tube isn’t an actual tube, right?”
- Louise, after Bob questions the appearance of dirty laundry in the film: “Sometimes stories are so universal, it feels like they’re speaking directly to all of us.”
- “Everyone knows [London Bridge] is falling down, because there’s a hit song about it.”
- “Don’t bridgesplain me, father.”
- Scott John: “Broken beds are incredibly good. And great!”
- “Shhh! I’m off to ruin a posh wedding!”
- Tina: “Anyway, there’s a ton of seamen all over the place.”
- “Well, if you must know, Dad, what really sunk the ship was human arrogance.”
I thought the story-within-a-story here might get old after Gene’s tale finished, but the episode keeps things fresh by having each of the kids each mirror a different genre in their faux films—Gene’s is a high-stakes chase that references Speed, Tina’s is a romantic drama reminiscent of The King’s Speech and Titanic, and Louise’s, of course, is a silly disaster movie that evokes Sharknado. The British cultural references are over-the-top and ridiculous but not inaccurate—I mean, English people really do watch soccer with beer at the pub. I especially enjoyed the debate over whether English people measure distance in kilometers or miles (and yes, they weigh themselves in pounds rather than kilograms as well).
But there are so many other moments that made me chuckle too, ones that don’t rely on heavy British humor. Gene names his protagonist Scott John Dan Steve. Bob buys the soundtrack of every rom com he watches. The Beefeater says “Yay” in Tina’s voice. Plus, the building next-door in the intro is “Beverly Hills Cups,” a store with a tagline that simply reads, “Expensive cups.” I can’t remember the last time there wasn’t a pun on that storefront, but this simple joke kills it (plus, it ties into Princess Paula’s immense wealth and status, even if she’s never set foot in Beverly Hills).
There’s a lot of heart in this episode too. Louise pictures Scott John living in a flat above an English muffin shop, in a building identical to the Belchers’. When Scott John and Paula leap off the bus, dirty laundry falls in a heart around them. Overall, this episode’s message is about how we shouldn’t let silly things ruin the relationships that matter most to us, how apologizing for our mistakes is the mature and decent thing to do. That’s what romance is really about—not big romantic gestures or perfect dates, but being willing to work at the relationship even when it’s difficult, because your significant other is important to you. Once again, Bob and Linda display that they’re one of the healthiest married couples on TV—they fight, like everyone does, but at the end of the day they’re willing to settle it like adults.
There are a whole lot of Valentine’s Day rom coms out there, but in this episode, Bob’s Burgers manages to create something totally new.