Tuesday, May 18, 2021

10 Years of ‘Bob’s Burgers’: How the Animated FOX Comedy Has Stood the Test of Time

On January 9, 2011, Bob’s Burgers first graced our TV screens. Ten years and 11 (ish) seasons later, Bob’s continues to be a bright spot. To celebrate the show’s 10-year anniversary, we take a look at why Bob’s Burgers holds a special place in our hearts.

You Look Familiar

Like every other show on television, Bob’s Burgers has its fair share of standout recurring characters. One of the most notable, who’s more of a series regular, is Teddy, who has become a member of the Belcher family in his own right (read our article about him here). Beyond Teddy, Bob’s Burgers introduces characters who don’t show up as often but still leave their mark. Recurring characters such as Linda’s sister Gayle (and her cats. Especially Mr. Business), Mr. Frond, Jimmy Jr., and many more have a clear effect on the Belchers that are memorable for viewers. Characters in just a few episodes, like Nat the limo driver, are able to shine in brief appearances and leave the audience wondering if they’ll return.

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Courtesy of FOX

Bob’s Burgers: The Semi-Musical

One of the trademarks of Bob’s is its penchant for including the occasional musical number and full-blown musical episodes. From Linda’s iconic Thanksgiving song to pop culture sensation boy band Boyz 4 Now, Bob’s Burgers delivers when it comes to musical content. Like any musical, every song in Bob’s Burgers serves a purpose. Sometimes they’re silly tunes to add a little groove to your day, but even the “just because” songs are needed every once and awhile. The songs range from totally ridiculous (in the best way) to more serious (but with that goofy twinge). From the theme song that kicks-off each episode to the brief jingles that conclude them, Bob’s Burgers has no shortage of catchy music.

Laugh Until You Cry

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Another major quality that makes Bob’s unique is its specific brand of humor. As someone who lives for cheesy puns and generally goofy humor, I find that Bob’s knows exactly where to strike. One way it does so is through the opening credits. First are the “blink and you’ll miss it” extermination vans featuring companies such as “LaVermin Shirley” and “Into the Spider Hearse Exterminators.” Next is the store next to the restaurant that rarely exists within the episodes themselves, featuring shops such as “Break-A-Bear Teddy Bear Disposal” and “Sew-Sew: Average Needle Point Supplies.”

Along the same lines are the plethora of Burgers of the Day. Nearly every day in Bob’s Burgers time, Bob creates a clever name for his daily burger special. He has themed ones for the holidays (e.g., “Be My Valen-thyme Burger); non-holiday themed burgers (like the “Chili Wonka Burger”) that play on movies, songs, TV, and other phrases; and there’s even an episode where Bob can’t come up with a clever burger.

Courtesy of FOX

Some of the most prominent humor comes from the characters themselves. Their distinct personalities create individual bubbles of comedy to keep things interesting. They utilize physical comedy, like the way Jimmy Jr. runs the mile, but they also add to an ever-growing list of unforgettable one-liners (from Tina, “Your ass is grass and I’m gonna mow it”) and out-of-pocket comments (from Teddy, “My dad toilet trained me. It was the worst seven years of my life. Seven to fourteen”).

In general, the show brings consistent comedy. Every episode is guaranteed to cause, at the very least, one laugh. The writers place the Belchers (and many of the other characters) in creative situations that bring out the humor. Comedy also lies in the more subtle background details, from other stores near the restaurant to what other characters do in the background that are funny simply because they’re off in their own world. It emphasizes the evident care placed into the show.

The Belchers

Of course, Bob’s Burgers wouldn’t be what it is without the family nestled right at the very heart of the show – Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene, and Louise Belcher. First up, we have Bob and Linda, the dynamic duo, and one of the very best couples in media (#RelationshipGOALS!!!). One of my favorite aspects of Bob and Linda is the clear and deep love they hold for one another. After several years of marriage, three chaotic children, and a barely afloat business, they continue to find ways to surprise each other and find time to enjoy each other’s company. They also know to take time for themselves individually when they need to and encourage it. Their personalities are perfectly suited for each other, Bob’s more subdued nature meshing well with Linda’s outgoing and enthusiastic one.

Meanwhile, each of the kids stands on their own. Tina, the eldest, is a boy-crazy (and butt-crazy!) teen who values being treated like an adult and owning her independence. But luckily for us, Tina doesn’t grow up too fast. She also has some of the most relatable quotes. (“If you need me, I’ll be down here on the floor dying.” Same, Tina. Same.) Gene, the middle child, reminds us to live our lives authentically and boldly. He is unapologetic in his attachment and love towards Linda. He holds the familiar traits of boys but also serves as an example of someone who is secure enough in who he is to easily and joyfully embrace his feminine side (toxic masculinity who?). Never change, Gene. Last, but most definitely not least, is Louise, the youngest Belcher. On the outside, Louise attempts (and kind of succeeds) to put up a tough and slightly cold persona. She is, however, a giant softie, which always prevails. Despite her elaborate (and, quite frankly, admirable) schemes, Louise holds quiet compassion for others, especially her family.

Courtesy of FOX

The Belchers as a unit also exemplify how a healthy family should be portrayed. They’ve learned to understand each other and their quirks. Bob and Linda don’t suffocate the kids, but they also make sure to keep the kids on track, so they don’t go too wild. Like every family, the Belchers have their ups and downs. They argue and annoy each other – Bob and Linda with their occasional fights and disagreements, and the kids with their ever-relatable sibling rivalry — but at the end of the day, they work to understand, love, and support each other no matter what.

Throughout its run, Bob’s Burgers has solidified its place in television history. It’s a show that thrives with each individual aspect that sets it apart, as well as succeed as a whole. Bob’s is a show for every mood. It cheers you up when you’re sad, only adds to your day when you’re happy, helps calm if you’re angry or anxious … there’s really no mood Bob’s Burgers can’t help. It’s an endlessly comforting and feel-good show that everyone can enjoy, and its ability to maintain that tone continues to help it triumph. As a continued testament to its success, Bob’s Burgers was renewed for two more seasons in September ahead of the season 11 premiere. So, thankfully, we won’t have to say goodbye to the Belchers anytime soon.

Catch up with Bob’s Burgers now on Hulu and watch the new season Sundays on FOX.

Julia
Julia
Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds. She joined the team in 2019 but has always enjoyed talking about her favorite fandoms. When she isn't writing or working, you can find her reading, watching her favorite shows and movies, and building her repertoire of Dad jokes.

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