One of the best offerings of adult animation on television at the moment has to be Bob’s Burgers. The Simpsons has, it must be admitted, lately lost a great deal of its satirical genius to celebrity cameos; and Family Guy – in my opinion, at least – continues to make its characters more unlikeable by the episode, and stretches its narratives around crude, unintelligent, and humourless gags. We are left, then, with Archer, South Park, and Bob’s Burgers.
Bob’s Burgers follows the Belcher family in their burger restaurant, situated on Ocean Avenue in a Jersey Shore town. The restaurant is sandwiched between a mortuary and an ever-changing shopfront (in one episode it is ‘Annie Get Your Gum’, in another the ‘Cane You Dig It?’ Candy Cane Outlet, and in yet another episode ‘Miles of Vials’). Across the road is a pizzeria; Bob’s competition and the home of his arch nemesis, Jimmy Pesto (voiced by Jay Johnston).
It is certainly the characters that make this show great. Each time I watch it I struggle to choose a favourite. Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) is the long-suffering father and chef with a penchant for puns (as demonstrated in his burger specials, such as the ‘Open Sesame Burger (served open-faced on a sesame seed bun)’, and the ‘Pickle My Funny Bone Burger’). His wife Linda (John Roberts) often spontaneously bursts into song, and enjoys jokes about diarrhoea almost as much as her eleven year old son. Tina (Dan Mintz) – who was originally written and drawn as a boy – is the eldest child, and is awkwardly exploring her budding sexuality (which often manifests itself in fantasies about cute boys and zombies). Gene (Eugene Mirman, who played the landlord in Flight of the Conchords) is Linda and Bob’s only son, a middle-child with an equal interest in music and toilets. And finally, there is Louise (Kristen Schaal, also of Conchords fame), the youngest daughter with the mind of an evil genius and a neurotic attachment to her pink bunny-ears. Bob’s Burgers also boasts an impressive array of recurring characters, including restaurant regulars Teddy the handyman (Larry Murphy), Mort the mortician (Andy Kindler), and Jimmy Pesto’s twin sons Andy (Laura Silverman) and Ollie (Sarah Silverman). Over its four seasons Bob’s Burgers has hosted a wide range of voice-acting talent, including Bob Odenkirk as a dodgy insurance adjustor, and John Hamm (yep, Don Draper himself) as a talking toilet.
While Bob’s Burgers may not be as politically biting as South Park, or boast the expansive (if wonderfully outlandish) narratives of Archer, it is a very entertaining show. Bob’s Burgers offers flawed yet extremely likeable characters, engaging storylines, and just the right amount of poop jokes. If you’re looking for something fun to settle down with on a Sunday night, Bob’s Burgers is just the thing.
Bob’s Burgers was created in 2011 by Loren Bouchard. It is currently in its fourth season.