Bob’s Burgers: S09E12 “The Helen Hunt”

Episode Grade: B+

I think it was Anton Chekov who once said “If you introduce a broken elevator in act one, a character must be hanging onto it for dear life by the third.” I might be paraphrasing. Put another way, it was evident fairly early on that this episode wasn’t going to end well for Teddy. It might have been nice to see the poor guy get a win, or at least a date, but that’s not really his role on the show. The Belchers’ best friend/best customer/uncle can’t really have too successful a personal life, otherwise we’d have to wonder why he’s always hanging around the restaurant and getting involved in the family’s shenanigans.

Still, Teddy’s a good guy and easy to root for, for both the audience and the other characters. That’s why the Belchers are willing (well, some of them more than others) to close the restaurant early and spend an evening helping him search an old apartment building, and it’s at least part of why Linda and Tina spend the whole time in matchmaker mode. The other reason is that those two are the show’s resident romantics, and this is just what they do.

Their respective choices of potential partners for Teddy also make a lot of sense, given what we know about these characters. Of course Linda wants to see Teddy with Helen: the ‘poor-schlub gets the rich, attractive woman’ angle perfectly suits her dramatic way of looking at the world. It’s like something out of a movie she would watch (and Bob would roll his eyes at). Of course Tina would hear the friendly banter between Teddy and Kathleen and decide they were destined to be. Turning normal interactions into romantic overtures is her number one pastime. The fact that neither of these women actually has any interest in Teddy (and honestly, Teddy himself seems kind of ambivalent to the whole thing) is besides the point. Linda and Tina will instigate epic romance, naysayers be damned.

Meanwhile, the Belcher men do what they do, which is to get involved in a seemingly simple activity, only to helplessly watch as it spirals out of control. Theirs was a simple, low-stakes plot, but Bob and Gene remains one of the show’s less explored pairings so it’s always a treat to watch them bounce off of each other. Louise didn’t have a ton to do tonight, but shew managed a few good lines in pursuit of her $50.

All in all, I found this episode on the high end of the show’s average. Nothing groundbreaking, but an eminently enjoyable half-hour driven by solid characterizations of the show’s core cast.

Netsukes:

  • Storefront: “If You Don’t Glove Me Now- Glove Emporium”, Exterminator: “It Had To Be Glue”. Storefront gets bonus points for tying in to the plot.
  • I’m sure Teddy would kill it at Handyman Prom. Ah well…
  • “Sure, she’s gorgeous and rich and why would she go out with you? But also, why not you?”- Linda Belcher, life coach.
  • It’s too bad Kathleen and Teddy didn’t work out. I could see Teddy getting way into hurling. It’s kinda like hockey on grass.
  • Re-imagining Fleetwood Mac as a “father and hot-son plumbing team” certainly puts a different slant to Rumors.
  • “So these guys will know what to do, right?” “The wrench will. The screwdriver doesn’t know anything. And don’t ask the pliers.” The fact that Teddy has anthropomorphized his tools is just another sign he has truly become a Belcher.
  • Helen totally did it, right?