Episode Grade: B+
“Meh, I don’t want to be married to Courtney.”
“I’ll take Mom.”
“Ah, that’s a little…”
“I am sick and I get what I want! Now, continue..”
… And so Thanksgiving, that most hallowed of Belcher holidays, gets the ‘Kids Tell Three Stories’ treatment. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure how I felt about that when I first realized that was what was happening. One one hand, these ‘Stories’ episodes are almost always winners (give or take “Bed, Bob, and Beyond”). On the other, part of me misses the real-world holiday shennanigans that have given us stone-cold classics like “An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal” or “Dawn of the Peck” in seasons past, or even the big hearted humanity that gave us “Thanks-hoarding”. ‘Stories’ episodes tend to give us Bob’s at its silliest, which is an effective mode for the show to operate in, don’t get me wrong, but it necessarily puts a cap on the heights an episode can reach.
This is, of course, the wrong attitude to have going into an animated sitcom, especially one with “Diarrhea” and “Poopy” in the episode’s title. Silly is what Bob’s has on tap tonight, so what’s the use in looking for anything else? The only question here is how effective is the evening’s silliness? The answer: very. Eleven seasons in, Bob’s is completely within its comfort zone getting into the heads of the kids and throwing their unique brands to weirdness out there, and the first two-thirds of this episode works perfectly well in that idiom. Tina’s segment probably takes a slight edge over Louise’s, just in terms of character-specific quirkiness, but both Belcher sisters come through with great action-movie inspired tales to bring comfort to their ailing brother.
Ah, but now we come to a bit of a twist in the formula. This time around, Gene, like Teddy in last season’s edition, is the subject of our stories tonight rather than a storyteller. This means we need to bring in a ringer. So in steps Bob (honestly, I was expecting Linda) to round out the line-up. While he’s not quite as off-the-wall creative as his children, he still steps-up, because his boy is feeling bad on his favorite holiday and he’s going to do whatever he can to make him feel a little better. And, yes, maybe said boy brought all this on himself by eating ridiculously spoiled food he’d been told explicitly not to eat, but that’s ok, he is forgiven. The two of them will have Thanksgiving together just as soon as he’s feeling better.
And just like that, what started off silly ended up sweet. Well played, Bob’s Burgers.
Hot Chicken Poop Shooting Stars
- Storefront: The Road Less Graveled Asphalt Paving
- Exterminator: When Bugs Cry
- “Well, news flash: I’m already tired of Gayle.” I’ll say this for Gayle tonight: she was not actively detrimental to the episode. This is the highest praise I can offer the character.
- Has anyone else noticed how, when Bob is making up conversations with his food, recently the food has started to backtalk him? What is going on in his head, I wonder…
- Gene “Dutch Oven” Belcher. Gene “President Harrison Ford” Blecher. Gene Marinara. Louise wins the nickname battle, although Tina gets bonus points for Courtney “Glenn Close” Wheeler.
- I feel like I bring this up everytime they do one of these episodes, but it really does bear repeating: the writers do such a good job of making sure the dialogue of all the characters in each segment reflects which kid is telling the story. Particularly noteworthy tonight was Rudy’s briefing of Countney in Tina’s story.
- “I would still murder both of you for a single bite of that brie. I swear to God I would…” Gene may not have the natural inclination to violence Louise does, but he can be pushed, it seems.