I was a weird kid. Well, I guess I still am a weird kid at 18 years old who just graduated high school and will be on his way to college in the fall. I’ve never been very normal and never quite fit in nor have I ever had an abundance of friends over the years and even the friends I did have were (mostly) superficial. This is the exact reason I love and adore Bob’s Burgers so much and why the show gets so much right in terms of humor (especially humor) but also it is relatable for weirdos like me. Both the children and the parents are totally crazy and weird. Bob is a good dad but occasionally will just partake in drugs or lose his temper due to petty rivalries. Linda is a wonderful mother but not in the stereotypical sitcom sense of necessity who is there to fix all the problems instead she is almost there to be the “Yes and” character. And what I mean by “Yes and” is one of the main rules of improv comedy is to always agree and add onto the situation and that is precisely what Linda does. She isn’t there to fix everything or even question the morality of every situation, she lets the situations linger but in a sweet and sympathetic way where it doesn’t get so ridiculous, she isn’t judgmental in the slightest. Tina is perfectly awkward but also has bundles of empathy thriving off of her that her occasional offhand comments of “hey this is kinda crazy what we are doing” keep the show levelheaded. Gene is the typical loudmouth, class clown type but also serves as the strange social/political commentary character despite the fact that he doesn’t understand a thing he is saying like when he comments on the economy or immigrants and uses cliché phrases that people against immigration would say “they come to steal our jobs and our women!” And lastly, my favorite character of bunch: Louise. A borderline sociopath but has (at least in my opinion) the most humorous moments typically with her absurd pranks and chaos that only adds to the chaos (the sweet and sympathetic chaos though).
What the hell am I trying to say here? I can relate to all these crazy weirdos more than any other characters on television right now. I say stupid shit. I try to be funny all the time and maybe it doesn’t always work but it’s what I’ve (kinda) built myself upon. But beyond that, I’m very close to my immediate family, my siblings and my parents for the most part. I remember a moment early on in the show when Louise says that (or something along these lines as I can’t remember the specific episode) her family is all she has and sure, in almost any other show, that would be incredibly sentimental and corny and maybe even forced but in this show, it actually brought a real, genuine, and purely honest smile to my face. And the reason for that? Because the Belcher family isn’t bullshit like so many other families on TV. The show thrives upon the chaos every single character brings out but instead of in a misanthropic way, it does something strange. It does something so against the mold. It thrives on honesty within the chaos. It thrives on sincerity within the chaos. And most of all, it thrives on empathy within the chaos (more on that one later).
People as a whole are cynical. You can find so many cynics anywhere you look. Many artists are also cynics. Many comedies thrive on cynicism and use that modern day cynicism for its humor. Do I entirely have a problem with it? No, I don’t. But comedy (and a lot of art) has thrived on it especially more than ever because people are more cynical than ever. Politics have made them cynical. The media has made them cynical (especially the fucking media). People have lost the notion of independence and thinking for themselves and I think our entertainment and art has HELPED that situation when it shouldn’t be. Cynicism isn’t wisdom and never will be. Is an ultra sense of optimism either? No, not entirely. I prefer to use the phrase “cautiously optimistic” in most situations as I realize things can turn to shit with the randomness of life but I still look for some bright point in any chaotic situation and keep calm. And Bob’s Burgers does that wonderfully. Okay, it might seem like I’m being a bit over the top about an animated, thirty minute sitcom on Fox but stick with me, I will (hopefully) make a point that makes some sense.
As we’ve now established, I’m a weirdo and a cautious optimist but I’m also a comedy geek, which isn’t something I really figured out until like a year ago. I started to suddenly realize that the one thing I really enjoy, just like I am obsessed with it, is any moment I can make someone laugh. I thrive on it. It keeps me going anytime I make anyone laugh. And I also hope to (somehow) make a career out of making people laugh whether it is through writing or performing or directing or something. But goddammit, Bob’s Burgers is funny. Like more than most shows funny. And oddly, the show gets the most funny when it gets really loud and every character is screaming like the maniacs (sympathetic maniacs) they are. I’m a shy person for the most part but when I’m with my family? I’m as loud as can be and I can relate to the crazy screaming of Bob’s Burgers. The shows just seemingly gets better in terms of writing episode by episode and the voices paired with that writing? My God. H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, and Kristen Schaal all deserve a thousand Emmys (take that Emmy nominations that came out today! I don’t (really) care about you!). H. Jon Benjamin certainly has a calmer voice to fit Bob but can certainly explode when Bob needs to. John Roberts as Linda…well first of all, I’m still impressed that isn’t a woman every time I hear the voice but that’s beside the point, the very enthusiastic acting of his is so perfect every time and those songs…those damn songs are beautiful (that Thanksgiving song may or may not still be stuck in my head from watching the episode…a few days ago. It might be worth mentioning that I’m only on season 3 of the show and have basically been watching the show for only a couple of weeks now). Dan Mintz is so perfectly awkward as Tina that I still can’t get over it; almost every line Tina utters manages to be funny due to the deadpan delivery. Eugene Mirman as the loud and proud Gene works always, the weird stuff the writers make Gene say is just awesome and Mirman emphasizes that with perfection. And then we have Kristen Schaal who just kills it as Louise, whenever Louise needs to go crazy and scream (which is basically every episode), Schaal is perfect but when she gets extremely crazy and devious…Schaal also nails it perfectly. The entire voice cast is so impressive and only adds to the deeper point of Bob’s Burgers going beyond of just being another funny show, it’s doing something new and I like that.
I think the main point I’m trying to make about Bob’s Burgers is that the show thrives upon empathy and understanding. Every crazy member of this family (that I can relate to all in different ways) is extremely empathetic toward each other in midst of the chaos the writers have crafted. One of the strange things the show is empathetic towards is alcohol, drug use, and sex/raunchy humor. Linda’s fun use of alcohol isn’t looked down upon (like most shows would) but is rather seen with a sense of understanding. Bob’s occasional drug use such as in the episode “BurgerBoss” isn’t looked down as something very bad but rather seen as mistake humans make. It isn’t condemning this behavior so much as it is saying “hey, we do shitty stuff sometimes.” And it brings a sense of warmth and understanding along with it especially from each and every family member (even Louise). And lastly, the raunchy/sex/swearing the kids say isn’t looked down upon whatsoever and what do I think about that? I fucking love it. I can honestly think of very few moments where the parents condemned their children for what they have said/done (Louise just casually saying “ass” or Tina being a creepy yet lovable pervert or Gene just saying things that a kid his age probably doesn’t understand) and they either ignore the behavior because they understand their weird children as simply being weird and (for the most part) fairly harmless, their kids don’t mean any actual harm usually with their actions or words…they’re just kinda weird (like me…just go read my other blog at http://shitsocrazy.wordpress.com and you’ll understand how weird I am. Shameless plug, I know). And the other thing the parents will do is they will slightly look down upon (but sorta realize it’s kinda their fault) it but never in a very cynical nature and Linda won’t be the stereotypical sitcom mom and try to stop it…instead, it is filled with empathy and understanding of their children at every step of the way.
Hopefully this lengthy post actually made sense on the point I’m trying to make. I can relate to the weird and lovable family of the Belchers because I’m weird and so is my family. I sincerely think Bob’s Burgers is designed for the weirdos and the outcasts who never quite fit in with it all right out of the womb…because I certainly feel that way. The show revels in empathy and sympathy and honesty and pushes away the modern day cynicism that is reining on television. And well it does all of that, it never lets a moment of humor slow down, as the laughs per minute this show has are just incredible. I give my sincerest thanks to everyone making Bob’s Burgers happen and I really hope this show can keep going for quite some time, as it deserves it before someone draws a picture of Bob’s mustache really givin’ it to a caterpillar (I feel like I went really obscure Louise quote to end this post…uh it’s from the episode “Moody Foodie.” This post is now ending weirder than I intended…I’m a weirdo, don’t forget it).
Author of this post (and every post thus far and maybe forever more):
Jesse Jordon is an aspiring comedic writer/filmmaker/performer/pieceofshit who writes this garbage on these blogs to (hopefully) make you laugh or learn something I guess. Follow him on Twitter @WhyShitSoCrazy for bad, witty tweets.