Episode Grade: B+
It’s probably been a few seasons since we got an outright classic, but Halloween is probably Bob’s Burgers most consistent holiday, give or take Valentines Day. On one hand, this level of quality should be the envy of most shows on TV, but on the other, it can cause even pretty great episodes to feel a little ordinary. Last year’s edition, “Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street”, a fine episode that couldn’t quite rise above feeling like just another Halloween episode.
Early on, it seemed like this would be “Pig Trouble In Little Tina”‘s fate as well. Part of the reason was that it shares a lot of its DNA with “Tina And The Real Ghost”, which similarly felt less like a Halloween episode proper, putting more emphasis on Tina and her classmates than candy. Hell, both plots even featured ghosts! Additionally, both episodes essentially sink or swim based on each viewer’s tolerance for Tina’s weird obsession du jour. Speaking for myself, I wasn’t buying it at first (a fetal pig? Really?) until I made a conscious decision to just go with it. This improved the episode substantially, but I’d understand if someone else found it a little too weird or off-putting.
Either way, the first 2/3 of this episode had the feel of a good, not great retread, until the last act, which took a surprising turn into the surreal by taking place almost entirely inside Tina’s dream with dream-versions of Gene and Louise along for the ride. Aside from allowing the show to have some visual fun (eight-armed Louise was great), finishing the episode inside Tina’s head kept things from seeming formulaic. I’m still not sold on Tina feeling guilty for insulting a pig cadaver, but honestly a lot of Tina-episodes kind of require me to just go with her strangeness, so it’s not a deal breaker.
Meanwhile, back at the restaurant, Bob and Linda deliver an above-average B-plot with strong assists from Teddy and Mort. They could’ve gone a few different ways with Bob’s apparent hearing loss, but ear wax being the culprit was appropriately low-stakes and silly for the episode. Linda becoming increasingly unhinged in her pursuit of that huge chunk of wax was a great use of her trademark intensity, and if her and Bob’s marriage is stronger for the experience, then everybody wins.
White Wax Whale Moby Ear Dicks:
- “Well Davey rhymes with gravy, so maybe Jason.” Jocelyn was typically on-point tonight.
- “Oh, Seishin Dobutsu haunting, huh? That’s my twenties in a nutshell.” Line of the night goes to Mr. Ambrose though.
- “Wait, has your ear doctor seen you naked?” Seems like something they should circle back to…
- Is Louise afraid of blood? Her reluctance to prick Tina’s finger seemed odd.
- Looks like Bad Kuchi Kopi is still around.
- Gene (“Fiona Applesauce, Fiona Apple’s Saucy Aunt”) and Louise’s (“The Bjorn Identity”) costumes were excellent, which I’m sure surprises no one.
- I sort of felt like there was a bit of a missed opportunity having dream Gene and Louise act mostly like their normal selves, rather than as some sort of visualization of how Tina sees them in her head, but that might have been a little conceptual for Bob’s. Then again “Flu-ouise” went down a similar path…