I found it extremely weird that I was more excited for the new Bob’s Burgers than I was for the (two!) new Simpsons that aired tonight. It’s not that I love Bob’s more than The Simpsons (I have never thought that, nor shall I ever think that – about Bob’s Burgers or any other show in comparison to The Simpsons) but there have been some killer episodes lately, and the latest was no exception.
Wait, actually it was an exception. Sorry for that fake-out. Let me explain.
Last night’s Bob’s Burgers adopted an approach used countless times by shows like the aforementioned Simpsons, and later copied by slightly newer-comer Family Guy, in which three different mini vignettes are presented, tied together by some common plotline. It can be hit or miss, working most notably for the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, but I’d reckon that at least two of the stories have to work in order for the episode to be successful. That being said, let’s break down last night’s Bob’s.
During a schoolwide event to showcase all of the student’s recently-completed essays, Bob and Linda found out that their children’s pieces were not on display, due to the fact that they are “too offensive.” Mr. Frond then showed the parents each of their three kids’ essays, as the vignettes began.
Louise’s story was a fast-paced, action-packed story about how a super-strong robot replica of Mr. Frond was sent from the future, to the present day, by Frond’s future self, in order to kill Louise before she utterly humiliated him with a prank. The whole thing was clearly a Terminator rip-off, but dammit if it didn’t work.
There was a brilliant spoof of the Jurassic Park scene with the raptors in the kitchen, Tina had a well-scripted cameo, and Aziz Ansari returned to voice the kids’ classmate Darryl, all adding to the success of the vignette.
I could have done without the ending of Louise’s tale, if you want my honest critique of the flow of the storyline within a visualized version of a child’s essay in an episode of a Fox cartoon – but hey, at least it had a funny Belize pun.
Gene’s story was called “Fart School for the Gifted,” and featured the author as some kind of funk musician-slash-student. Frond appeared in this story as well, when he took away Gene’s keyboard (which was apparently based on a true story) and the children had to steal it back. When cornered by Frond, Gene performed a song about farts over the loudspeaker, and all was well again. Despite the song working out for Gene in the vignette, I really could have done without it in the episode. It was the type of humor you’d expect to see in a Nickelodeon show, and was simply not funny. They unfortunately also had the song during the show’s end credits as well. Oh well, at least it was colorful.
Tina’s story was another erotic friend fiction tale, and being the last one to air, I had high hopes that it would help the episode succeed in a make-or-break moment.
“Why I Love Wagstaff: A Tale of Horror” featured Tina as a Hall Monitor/Sheriff who lead a small group of students to safety (with no help from a selfish Mr. Frond) after a jock itch vaccine turned all the school’s male athletes into zombies.
Despite the potential, Tina ended up being better in her cameo in Louise’s story than she was in her own. It was almost as if the story was written with too many funny aspects of Tina’s personality (her obsession with butts, sexual attraction to zombies, affinity for erotic fiction, etc.) that might have appeared to work on paper, but ended up clashing in the end. The story could’ve benefitted from a bit more simplicity.
Actually, this problem with “potential” sums up the episode as a whole pretty well. Each of the vignettes had separate potential, as did the three segment approach, but Louise’s tale was the only thing that was properly executed. The rest wasn’t awful, but it was definitely a miss by Bob’s Burgers standard. If you need further proof, look no further than the quote collection in the below section.
In Case You Missed It:
1) At one point in Louise’s story, Gene was shown in the midst of a dodgeball game, with a ball stuffed under his shirt, claiming to be “dodging for two.”
That’s it; one really good, quotable line. If that’s not a red flag for a Bob’s Burgers episode I don’t know what is. Well, except for the fact that there weren’t any scenes in the restaurant, and thus we as viewers were not treated to a single “Burger of the Day.”
I’m still hungry.