Episode Grade: B
This is the type of Bob’s Burgers episode that’s hardest to write about. It’s not that it wasn’t funny. It was! But episodes with issues at least give us some grist for discussion. Excellent episodes are easy to rave about. The ones in between are a little harder to get an angle on, especially ten seasons in. To be clear, this is not the show’s problem: the goal is to turn in a solid half-hour of comedy, not to provide content for some dink on the internet to write about.
That said, there was a certain sense of weightlessness to tonight’s episode, meaning I’d basically forgotten about it thirty minutes after it ended. Which is a shame, because there were a few promising plot strands here that could’ve turned into something special, but just never quite made it. The prime example was Gene and Louise’s quest to find gifts that match the thought and effort that Tina put into her’s. When they set this plot up, it felt like we were headed for a ‘Louise loves her siblings’ episode, something on the order of Tina, Tailor, Soldier, Spy or Speak-easy Rider. Instead, that thread is almost immediately (and literally) backseated in favor of a much less compelling Linda and her obsession of the week plot. I enjoy Mike the Mailman as much as anyone, but I couldn’t help but feel like the focus was misplaced here.
Meanwhile. back at home, call me crazy but I kind of felt like we could’ve used more Gayle? Man, that feels wrong to even type. Still, Bob (and Tina) trying to handle Linda’s family felt like it could’ve been mined a little harder. Al and Gloria are not the most compelling characters (and I couldn’t help but wonder if this plot wouldn’t have worked as well or better with Big Bob), but Bob going all to pieces trying to deal with them on his own was a solid laugh-getter. The Ottoman Incident probably should’ve gone unexplained though, in the spirit of The Noodle Incident.
Overall, this one had in common with a few episodes over the past couple seasons the feeling that each individual subplot probably could’ve been a better episode on their own with a little more attention. Of course, this could all just be me being a killjoy and failing to appreciate a good episode for what it is. I enjoyed it and should probably quit overthinking that. Like Tina, I’ll just accept the hug Bob’s Burgers gave me, and quit patting my siblings down looking for more.
- Storefront: Hey Big Suspender, Plus Sized Suspenders
- Exterminator: Bye, Flea-cia Pest Control
- “To be fair, I’m a lot. Less is more with me.” Gene gets his meta on.
- Spotted in Gene’s room: the toy guitar from Spaghetti Western and Meatballs. Ah, we were all so young…
- “If I know them, everything has to be just so.” Do you know them, Tina?
- I’m sorry. I love you very much!” “No, you don’t!” Bob and Linda have a good marriage.
- “Nice, sweaty, and weird. If my penis could talk…” Gene is the best.
- No one on the East coast says “surface streets”, Mike.