Episode Grade: B+
Tonight’s Bob’s Burgers finds itself in the odd position of succeeding largely despite its a-plot. It’s not that “Tina attempting to be a mentor” is necessarily a bad premise, but it unfolded in an eminently predictable way and ended up pushing her character in kind of an ugly direction. Obsession is of course a well-established Belcher family trait, but having it aimed at a fourth grader who just wants to be left alone made the whole thing a little less fun. As a result, Louise’s heartwarming ending speech about what a great sister Tina is didn’t really feel earned (at least in the context of this episode. It plays a little better if you think of it in the context of the whole series).
I might be being a little harsh here, but the weakness of the a-plot was thrown into sharper relief by the fact that Bob’s was firing on all cylinders the rest of the episode. The other Big Fish-Little Fish pairings (Zeke-Rudy, Jimmy Jr.-Arnold, Tammy- Louise, and Jocelyn-Harley) were particularly inspired. It was hard not to wish we were spending more time with any of them whenever the focus shifted back to Tina and Kaylee. Rudy and Zeke in particular could’ve carried the episode themselves. Louise and Tammy was also surprisingly fun, with the writers wisely not going down the expected road of the two of them fighting and instead letting the two characters actually have some fun together. Meanwhile, back at the restaurant, Bob and Linda had one of their better b-plots in a while, utilizing plenty of physical comedy and just the right amount of Teddy. The two of them attempting to get out of bed the morning after going to the gym might have been the funniest sequence in the episode.
Overall, this episode marked a solid return for Bob’s Burgers after an extended layoff. This is a show that’s solidly constructed enough at this point that one iffy part won’t derail an episode, and tonight the supporting elements ended up stealing the show by themselves. Sometimes it feels like the show has plateaued a bit, but hey, if your plateau is a B+, you’re still doing pretty well.
- Storefront: Pumpin’ Patch Fitness
- Exterminator: The Rodent Less Traveled
- “That’s OK, I’m busy mentoring Ken through the bankruptcy of his street-wear company.” It’s good that Gene still finds time for Ken, now that he has real friends.
- “You’re going to a gym? I thought we had a deal where none of us exercised.”
- “If God wanted us to listen to audiobooks, She wouldn’t have given us eyes to watch TV.”
- “Mom Is Living Forever, MILF.” Nice save, Linda.
- “Wait until Teddy and Mort feel your butt tomorrow.” I can see Teddy doing this, but maybe not Mort.
- “Please no wieners. Wieners are not art. Not in this country.” This was probably the best episode Frond’s has had in a while. He can actually be pretty funny when he’s acting marginally less pathetic.
- “I still think Zeke might be my soulmate.” Really, Tina’s greatest crime this episode was breaking up that beautiful friendship.
- Whatever, I’m in Eighth grade. Now, about my pubes.” Gene was mostly shut out of this episode by design (which the writers pretty much admit by having him crash the Big Fish-Little Fish events), but he got some good lines in when he had a chance.
- Big week for Ben Schwartz: Number One movie in the country and a guest spot on Bob’s Burgers.