Bob’s Burgers: S09E15 “The Fresh Princ-ipal”

Episode Grade: B+

I talked a few weeks back, during my review of this year’s Valentine’s episode, about the weight of expectations. In that case, going in I expected a great episode, given Bob’s track record with both that holiday and the three part kid’s stories structure. The episode we ended up getting didn’t quite live up to those expectations, despite being a fine, albeit experimental, 22 minutes. This week was more or less the opposite situation, as I didn’t really have my hopes set up too high for “Louise becomes the Principal”. The premise implies a sort of wackiness that isn’t always this show’s strong suit, and it seemed a little out of this show’s accepted reality that any adults around would allow this to go on.

Well, one of the benefits to setting your expectations low is that you’re far more likely to be pleasantly surprised than mildly disappointed. The set-up that Louise’s principal-powers were to be entirely ceremonial was obvious in retrospect, and the fact that Frond was the only adult around interested in keeping them that way made it seem a little more plausible for her to seize total control (well, for the most part. It makes sense that Ms. Schner and Ms. LaBonz don’t care enough to maintain control, but I’d have figured Ms. Jacobsen might have at least called someone.). Really though, this was the kind of episode that makes it easy to just go with the premise rather than start to poke holes in it. Wagstaff’s full of enough great characters to make watching the school descend into a kind of anarchy is fun enough in and of itself.

Of course, something has got to reset the status quo by the end of the episode, and honestly the one ding against the a-plot I had was that it was obvious that Louise would start feeling sorry for Frond. One of the slow character shifts Bob’s Burgers has dealt in over it’s run is Louise’s developing empathy, and while sometimes it feels like they take it to far, Frond has been made just sympathetic enough over the years that her change of heart worked here. Plus, Frond may be a chore, but he does care, and it’s probably fair to say that the kids would prefer that to a counselor who doesn’t, as Principal Spoor’s brother-in-law Don would’ve been. Let’s face it, as this episode demonstrated, Wagstaff kids have some issues (Did Peter Pescadero confess to a crime? And if so, what crime?). No wonder Frond’s such a wreck.

Meanwhile, Bob, Linda, and Teddy turned in a slightly above average adults-at-the-restaurant b-plot. Nothing fancy, but I really enjoyed Bob slowly becoming unglued by his inability to preform the one task he does every day (“I’m broken, and you did this, Teddy!“), as well as Linda and Teddy’s spectacularly unhelpful efforts to snap him out of it. Ending with a win (of sorts) over Jimmy Pesto is always nice (and for the second time this season!), and overall this plot delivered its jokes without overstaying it’s welcome and taking time away from the a-plot.

Very Official Memos:

  • Storefront: Weight For It- Gym Equipment, Exterminator: I’d Trap That.
  • I’m the good parent, everyone remember that”. Bob preemptively dodging blame for whatever goes down today.
  • When I met him he could tie a tie, then I asked him how he did it and he couldn’t for five years.” I think we’ve established by now that Bob doesn’t do great under pressure. Remember when he forgot how to make paella for like a week?
  • Turns out both Ms. Schner and Trev are easily turned against their bosses. Schner’s not a surprise, but I’m honestly a little surprised at Trev. Teddy must be building him one hell of a doghouse.
  • How do you like our educational system now, Norway?” Regular-Sized Rudy, checking in with the line of the night.
  • I kept thinking Teddy was describing the catcher from Major League II, but evidently it’s been too long since I’ve seen Bull Durham.
  • Anyone else interested in what Zeke’s “highly quotable” notes entail?
  • Turning PE into “sensual reggae dance hour” was a strong move Tina, but I’m not sure I needed to see your father doing it in Jimmy Pesto’s underwear.