Bob’s Burgers S11E05: “Fast Time Capsules at Wagstaff School”

Episode Grade: A

It’s Wagstaff, isn’t it? There’s just something about the school, and the various weirdos who attend and work there, that brings out the best in Bob’s Burgers. This is partially a result of the deep bench of characters available at this setting, but for the past few seasons it’s just seemed like the show is most at home in the kids’ world. This level of comfort allows for the writers to take some pretty familiar Bob’s Burgers tropes (Power-mad Tina, Boo Boo-obsessed Louise, Tammy being Tammy), mix them up, and come up with something new and entertaining. In a way, this episode reminded me of a really well done mash-up, where bits of familiar songs are chopped up and smashed together into something new. Anyone who was around for the initial mash-up boom in the early 00’s knows that’s much easier said than done. Or, just look back a couple weeks to “Copa-bob-bana”, an episode that played around with a few familiar, yet promising, elements, yet somehow would up as less than the sum of its parts.

That tonight’s episode succeeds as well as it does is doubly impressive, as there were a lot of moving parts to this episode, yet they managed to bring them all together (well, apart from Bob and Linda’s b-plot, which we’ll get to). We had Tina’s time capsule obsession, Tammy’s jealousy, Louise’s quest for Boyz 4 Now tickets, and the ups and downs of Henry and Susmita’s relationship all factor in to one plotline. On paper, that sounds like a mess, but they pulled it off. That’s the kind of thing you can only manage with total command of your characters and setting. That’s where the show is with Wagstaff.

The one downside to Wagstaff episodes is that they necessarily exclude Bob and Linda from most of the action. This in turn generally means we get a “Bob, Linda, and Teddy” hanging around the reasturant b-plot, and those can get a little samey, though that’s rarely enough to pull down an episode. Tonight’s edition was mostly standard issue Bob and Linda competitiveness, elevated at the end by an unexpectedly sweet turn from Teddy. Nothing groundbreaking, but it served its purpose well.

Andy’s Toenails. Ollie’s Toenails

  • Storefront: How Do You Mend a Broken Hearth Fireplace Repair
  • Exterminator: Ant Stop the Feeling
  • “I won’t let you down, Mr. Frond.” “Good. I mean, how could you? It’s putting crap in a box.” I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point over the last couple of seasons they gave Frond something of a spine. Makes the character much funnier, in my opinion.
  • “Ohmigod, Tina has so much power.” Lots of great turns from the supporting cast tonight, but Jocelyn was in especially fine form tonight. Although I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention Regular-Sized Rudy, Wagstaff’s poet laureate.
  • Susmita is a Griffin-Gal, apparently. Does that track?
  • “Maybe tell them to ‘Sod Off”? I mean, when are you gonna get a chance like that again?” As tends to happen with Louise and Tina focused episodes, Gene was a bit forgotten, but he nailed the lines he did get.
  • “Welcome to the world. People are garbage.”