Episode Grade: B+
I know this will be absolutely stunning to those of you who’ve read my Bob’s Burgers write-ups in the past, but I’m going to hit on some themes I’ve talked about before reviewing this show. Deepest apologies.
First: every character is fair game to return, and will probably have a better second outing than their first. Jairo is probably the most notable example of this phenomenon, but Alex and Courtney are probably more relevant to this episode in particular. Put simply, Bob’s is not always at its best when introducing new recurring characters. Once these characters are established however, it’s a little amazing how quickly they get assimilated into the odd little orbit of the Belchers. “A Fish Called Tina” was a fine episode, but Kaylee Morgenstien was nowhere near the best part of it (that would be Zeke and Rudy. We’ll come back to that). I was initially surprised to see her back, but I shouldn’t have been. The show just needed to find a place for her, and honestly? A shy, awkward 9-year old makes a much better foil for Louise than Tina.
(Speaking of Louise, this was easily her best outing this season. We’ve talked at length about this season’s apparent regression of the character to early-era, agent of chaos mode, as opposed to the more layered version we’d become accustomed to. Tonight struck the best balance between the two I’ve seen in a while. Yes, she would love nothing better than to cover Wagstaff in fake roaches, but she also won’t do it at the expense of what’s best for Kaylee.)
Second: There are no bad guys. Not really. It was bound to happen. Jimmy Pesto is a dick, for sure, but Bob’s Burgers doesn’t really do ‘bad guys’ in the traditional sense. Every character has their flaws, but even outwardly antagonistic characters on this show are eventually shown to have understandable reasons for being the way they are. For a long time, Jimmy was the glaring exception to this rule (give or take Helen, I guess), but tonight’s episode managed to humanize him somewhat, even if it was just as a small part of the b-plot. Yes, he’s an ass, but no one wants to be alone (something that may be thrown into greater relief by the current state of the world, but I’m not going to act like an episode produced some time ago is responding to quarantine life). Also, he’s got cool stuff, and Bob’s only human.
Third: Rudy and Zeke make everything better. I mean, this is just self-evident at this point, right?
This wasn’t a perfect episode by any stretch. Gene, Linda, Teddy, and Tina all had very little to do, and Bob and Jimmy’s b-plot probably could’ve used a little more room to breathe. Still, the things the episode did well, it nailed. I would say this one overtook “Poops, I Did It Again” for the strongest Louise episode in recent memory, and it seems as though we can add Kaylee to the deepest bench of great supporting characters on TV today.
Creamed Corn Queries:
- Storefront: Hey Now, We’re a Rock Store
- Exterminator: Wasps Your Problem? Pest Control
- “First it’s bugs, then it’s drugs. There’s a reason those two rhyme.”
- “Doing more school after school? What, are you getting your Masters?” Gene is wiser than even he knows.
- “Can you actually press it instead of just saying ‘buzz’?” Dick move, but maybe also the moment I stopped hating Jimmy Pesto. Bob’s just fun to mess with, ya know?
- “Louise, whatever you’re planning, you should know that the Think-geneers are a peaceful people. We don’t use our powers for pranking.” Oh, sweet Rudy. You will use your powers for whatever Louise tells you to use them for. Have you learned nothing?
- “That’ll teach you to play with someone else’s toys while they’re passed out on drugs!”