Bob’s Burgers S11E08: “The Terminalator II: Terminals of Endearment”

Episode Grade: B-

“So you’re saying that the way to show you I love you is to just let your parents be crappy?”

How do you grade an episode that was mostly a fun ride, but whose final denouement just goes over like a wet fart? How do you factor in the fact that the show has done this exact thing before and that you should’ve seen it coming? Is Linda telling Bob to basically suck it up and deal with it because it’s never going to change, or is Bob’s Burgers telling the audience that? Does the show actually believe that Linda’s doormat/enabling tendencies where her parents (and Gayle) are concerned is not something that needs fixing?

At her core, Linda is a helper. This is why she’ll do things like spend a day teaching Teddy to dance before a wedding, or talking Ms. Selbo through an epically bad break-up. This in itself is not a bad character trait. The problem is that she’s both incapable of saying no and prone to singlemindedness to an extent she rarely considers the effect her ‘helping’ has on others (usually Bob, but sometimes the kids too), and this goes double when dealing with her parents or Gayle. So tonight, when her mother calls with the absolutely unreasonable request for her to make a three-hour round-trip to the airport to deliver itch cream, not only does she say yes, she then immediately ropes Bob into it so she won’t have to deal with parking, then involves the kids under the flimsy pretext of this counting as a visit. All this for parents who are not only ungrateful for the trouble she’s gone through (now we know where Gayle gets it), but also overall essentially checked-out and uninterested in the family. Bob may have been a bit childish over the phone charger, but he’s not wrong to resent the way his in-laws treat him, his kids, and his wife. That the moral of the story tonight is that he just needs to deal with it because Linda loves her parents is absolutely maddening. Once again, the wrong character learned a lesson.

It’s extra frusterating tonight because, until we reached the conclusion, we had a pretty good episode going. It helped that Al and Gloria were absent for large parts of it, since I find them irritating on a good day, but turning the kids loose on a new enviroment is typically a winning move for Bob’s. Gene and Louise’s quest for airline wings did its job as motivation, but most of the humor tonight just came from the kids just throwing up one-liners about the general situation. We were never in danger of a classic breaking out, but we had a fine, low-key episode going until that nosedive at the end.

Jumbo Cajun Tater-Tots

  • Storefront: Where the Sun Don’t Shine Tanning Salon
  • Exterminator: Vermin on the Verge of a Nervous Beatdown Pest Control
  • So, more grist for the “New Jersey vs. New England” debate. Al and Gloria’s flight originates in Connecticut (Bradley, I guess?), then they have a layover in an airport an hour and a half from the Belchers’ town. This should put most of the Jersey Shore into play, depending on whether they’re laying over in Newark or Philadelphia. At the same time, if they’re flying into Logan, an hour and a half would probably cover most of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire coasts, and maybe even southern Maine. Argue amongst yourselves.
  • Whatever airport they were at, those were about the most helpful airport staffers I’ve ever seen.
  • Your tone says this is good news, but your body says there is no good news.” Probably the most savage burn Louise has laid on Bob in awhile.
  • Relatedly, Gene’s “Trust me, when you see my grandma, you’ll know my mom’s apples didn’t fall far from that tree” was pretty brutal, even if he probably didn’t mean it like that.
  • So in Louise’s fantasy, her wings grant her the power of flight, while Gene’s rant him access to fancy cafeteria food? Yep, that all tracks.
  • At the risk of sounding like a broken record, enough with Linda’s family for awhile. Bring back Big Bob, a more interesting character in every way, and one who hasn’t worn out his welcome yet.