Bob’s Burgers S11E04: “Heartbreak Hotel-oween”

Episode Grade: B+

There are times when I start to feel like maybe I watch too much Bob’s Burgers. That is to say, I’ve watched most episodes enough times that I remember (or maybe misremember) details that the writers have either forgotten, disregarded, or retconned, and that can cause me to pedantically fixate on plot points that aren’t that important in the grand scheme of an episode. Some of this comes with the territory of being the guy who writes about the show for free every week, but it’s honestly not a great way to appriciate what the show is actually doing by fixating on the little things. Still, when I read the description of tonight’s belated Halloween episode, one thought immediately jumped into my head: But Bob’s a hemophiliac.

Look, we’re eleven seasons in on Bob’s Burgers. Some things are going to get retconned or sent down the memory hole, and me being that guy about isn’t going to make things any better. Also, in the name of fairness, I should conceede that they never explicitly say that Bob’s a hemophiliac in “The Kids Run the Resturant” (yes, I went back and checked. Linda just says that “he can’t clot to save his life). Still, it’s an odd look that this plotline leans so heavily on other character beats established in that episode (Bob’s squeemishness with needles and inability to look at his own blood) while ignoring that one. It changes the tenor of the plot line as well. If he’s not a hemopheliac, it’s a goofy little b-plot about Bob’s phobias. If he is, there are actual stakes here that the episode ignores, and Linda and Teddy are kind of monsters for pushing him into it. It seems pretty clear that the episode intends the former, but that requires the viewer to set aside previously learned information. Again, this is probably only a problem for a huge Bob’s Burgers geek like myself, but there it is.

Alright, all that out of the way, Bob’s Burgers contuinued its winning ways with Halloween this year. I was slightly concerned in the early going, as it seemed like we were headed for another Louise’s revenge episode, which is a well they’ve gone to again and again, and should probably stay away from for a while. Luckily, the plot pivoted once we met Dolores at the hotel. From there, the episode shifted into something of a “Weirdo of the Week” format, another well-worn Bob’s trope, but one that can still work if you have the right weirdo. Dolores was entertaining enough on her own, and Gus and the other “conjuring enthusiasts” added some welcome color to the proceedings.

Overall, the plot felt a little familiar (Tina in particular seemed to be channeling her role in “The Secret Admiral-irer”, and the plot shared a bit of DNA with “Tina and the Real Ghost”), but not so much to drag the episode down any. We didn’t reach the heights of the best Bob’s Burgers Halloween episodes, but what we did get was certainly enough not to tarnish the show’s reputation for nailing the holiday.

Needle Weenies

  • Storefront: Someday, Bloody Someday Gory Calenders
  • Exterminator: She’s Super Squeaky Pest Control
  • “There’s a lot of Tina’s boobs in my face.” “And Gene’s!”
  • We got double the kids’ costumes with the flashback sequences. My favorite was Gene as a cat named “Stevens”, complete with guitar.
  • “And then we all die like Rodger.” “Too soon! Actually, no it’s not”