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'Bob's Burgers' Season 5, Episode 16 Recap: 'The Runaway Club'

March 23rd, 2015 4:05am EDT
Bob's Burgers
Like a lot of 21st century sitcoms, “Bob’s Burgers” has been known to occasionally put together a pop culture homage. It is a question worth asking of how well these homages fit within the world of this show. “Bob’s” may be populated by wacky characters, but the rules of its reality are fairly grounded. Thus, whenever the events of this show resemble those of a classic movie, it is not presented as that big a deal, which can produce some cognitive dissonance. It is perhaps as if “Bob’s Burgers” is saying that childhood is filled with moments that mirror touchstones of pop culture.


'Bob's Burgers' Big Adventure

March 16th, 2015 9:35am EDT
Bob's Burgers
“Bob’s Burgers” has a habit of splitting its core characters up into separate subplots without bothering to make any direct connections between those storylines beyond just being in the same episode. It gets away with this better than most shows because it has such a good handle on its characters. All of the Belchers can stand on their own, and there is no need to drone on with an explanation about why everyone is where they are, because it all just makes sense. For a change of pace, “Adventures in Chinchilla-sitting” deserves a little extra credit for a premise that actually requires a ...

'Bob's Burgers' Touches On Some Timeless Themes

March 9th, 2015 10:53am EDT
'Bob's Burgers' Season 5, Episode 14 Recap: 'L'il Hard Dad'
With its focus on the family, “Bob’s Burgers” covers a lot of timeless themes. Indeed, it is not trying in reinventing the wheel in terms of life lessons. But that is not to say it is not unique or imaginative – far from it. The particulars of its plots often find avenues that no other show would ever look down. A father defending his principles because of the shoddy craftsmanship on a model helicopter based on “True Lies” requires some very special people to think it up.

This commitment to idiosyncrasy is an ideal approach for subverting expectations, partly because it is often unclea...

'Bob's Burgers' Recap: Action, Adventure, Love, Drama, and Scott Bakula

March 2nd, 2015 8:11am EST
Bob's Burgers
Anthology episodes make for a tried-and-true animated show formula, but there is often something vaguely unsettling about them. With minimal setup required, they have a feeling of being untethered in time. That is not necessarily a problem in animation, where characters do not really age. These episodes could exist at many possible dates, and thanks to lack of serialization, that temporal ambiguity is acceptable. “Bob’s Burgers,” indeed, does not have much serialization, but it does have a lot of continuity, which an anthology can draw upon, often in warped fashion.

This is not to say ...

'Bob's Burgers' Recap: 'The Millie-Churian Candidate'

February 16th, 2015 11:33am EST
'Bob's Burgers' Season 5, Episode 12 Recap: 'The Millie-Churian
“Bob’s Burgers” was a pretty great show in its first season, but it quickly matured into one of the best shows on television in its second through fourth years. The fact that it is still improving in its fifth season is testament to its writing staff understanding what works so well and building upon the show’s established universe with interesting new developments. New characters are introduced and defined by such wild quirks that would seem to confine them to one episode. But then they are given depth in ways that avoid sanding off their craziest edges, as they become regular parts of ...

'Bob's Burgers' Recap: 'Bugs Are The New Hugs'

February 9th, 2015 10:37am EST
'Bob's Burgers' Season 5, Episode 11 Recap: 'Bugs Are The New Hu
“Damn it! There are no leagues!”

If a character in a movie or TV show announces that she knows the conventions of a certain genre, you can be confident that those conventions are going to be addressed at some point. Tina Belcher knows that romantic comedies about two people fake dating each other generally lead to at least one of them developing genuine feelings for the other. So when she warned Darryl against doing this, it was pretty clear that either he was going to fall for her, or something different, but similar, was going to happen.

“Can’t Buy Me Math” really showed off the matur...

'Bob's Burgers' Recap: 'Late Afternoon In The Garden Of Bob And Louise'

January 26th, 2015 9:44am EST
Bob's Burgers
Bob Belcher’s passion comes out when he gets into activities that are not typically known for inspiring passion. This could be a recipe for annoying others, but for the most part, he does not indulge his interests at the expense of the people in his life who do not share them. This is partly because he has not very often had the opportunity to fully indulge his passions. Acceptance into the community garden changed all that.

Bob insisted that this opportunity was for the sake of the restaurant, and thus the family. He certainly seemed to believe this. Not that this was a particularly ...

'Bob's Burgers' Recap: Belcherdict Arnold

January 12th, 2015 8:49am EST
Bob's Burgers
The Belchers keep their cool in the face of obsession. They are not lacking for their own ambitions, but they care too much about what is right to let their desires get in the way of what is really important. That is why Tina, Gene, and Louise have the “Gene’s hairy mole” solution. And it is why Bob and Linda have always been able to survive Hugo’s overzealous inspections.

Picking hairs off Gene’s back has thus far been a foolproof system for ensuring an impartial solution whenever the kids reach an impasse. It is a manifestation of how they avoid being swayed by the Sasha’s of the wor...

'Bob's Burgers' Recap: One Hall Pass To Rule Them All

January 5th, 2015 8:57am EST
Bob's Burgers
A common philosophical conundrum is whether individuals are defined by intrinsic internal qualities or by their actions. Do the uniforms that people wear represent who they already are or do they become who they are by putting on a uniform? “Bob’s Burgers” has made it abundantly clear how honest Tina Belcher is. This was established entirely in one episode: Season 3’s “Tina-rannosaurus Wrecks.” Really, it was established in just one scene from that episode. But her straightforward, oversharing personality throughout the series has frequently contributed to that characterization.


TV's 10 Best Female Characters Of 2014

December 27th, 2014 11:43am EST
Television's 10 Best Female Characters Of 2014
No more simple sidekicks. No more dopey love interests with no purpose other than mooning over the smoldering leading man. Female characters have come a long way. From the anti-hero badasses who don’t mind destroying lives if it means getting their way to intelligent, compassionate women with ambition, 2014 was home to dozens of amazing female characters. These women push boundaries, more than hold their own against their male counterparts, and entertain audiences all over.

While it was tough to narrow down the barrage of awesome women to a short list, we have the 10 best female characters...

'Bob's Burgers' Recap: The Brett Favre of Thunder Girls

December 15th, 2014 9:32am EST
'Bob's Burgers' Season 5, Episode 7
Some TV shows justify genre homages with characters who are so pop culture-obsessed that acting out scenarios from their favorite works of fiction is just a natural part of their daily lives. That element is at play somewhat in “Bob’s Burgers” (as in this season’s premiere, “Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl”), but what really distinguishes this show when it comes to pastiches is how hard every member of the Belcher family commits to any new obsession. Tina and Louise did not jump into the job of drawing out the Thunder Girl mole because they are devotees of the spy thriller, but because that...

'Bob's Burgers' Season 5, Episode 6, 'Father Of The Bob'

December 8th, 2014 10:01am EST
Bob's Burgers
“Bob’s Burgers” features the healthiest family dynamics on any television show currently airing. Linda and Bob’s devoted and playful relationship sets the tone for the kids’ relationships with each other and their parents. They are all so unapologetically weird, and they are never afraid to let their freak flags when in each other’s company. Their quirks are not identical, but they are not ashamed of them because they all have each other’s back. The kids are actively encouraged by their mother and tolerated, with affection, by their father.

One might surmise that the Belchers come from...

'Bob's Burgers' Review: 'Best Burger'

December 1st, 2014 9:59am EST
Bob's Burgers
Most sitcoms remain essentially in stasis, their appeal lying in the comfort of familiar situations and familiar characters. Good sitcoms have the promise of potential change, for the sake of providing tension. But the truly great sitcoms actually go through with changes and still manage to maintain their appeal.

With this in mind, Bob Belcher is an ideal sitcom character. His passion for the craftsmanship of buns and meat patties is never going to go away. Furthermore, his lack of ambition and general contentedness with his lower-middle class life mean that he will probably always rem...

'Bob's Burgers' Recap: 'Dawn Of The Peck'

November 24th, 2014 1:33pm EST
Bob's Burgers - Dawn Of The Peck
An episode like “Dawn of the Peck” makes it clear how fully formed the town of “Bob’s Burgers” is. It also serves as a reminder that this town remains unnamed. It is definitely somewhere in the Northeast, probably in the New York-New Jersey area, though even that is rarely mentioned. So considering the area of the country and the Thanksgiving timeliness, it was weird that just about everyone was wearing their typical garb of shorts and short sleeves. Though this town does have a connection to a real area, since it is a cartoon it also has a feel of existing outside of time and space.


'Bob's Burgers': 'You Technically Are My Best Friend'

November 17th, 2014 8:42am EST
Bob's Burgers
What is a best friend? And how do you know when you have one? When it comes to romance, it is not unheard of for friends to point out to oblivious people how much they are obviously in love with someone. But when it comes to friends, people generally do not need to have it pointed out to them which of their acquaintances qualifies for the next level up. If you spend plenty of time with someone and enjoy doing so, then that person is clearly a friend.

However, for someone like Bob Belcher, who is not too introspective and who does not interact with too many people beyond his family and ...

'Bob's Burger's' Season 5, Episode 2 Review: Catfished By A Box

November 3rd, 2014 9:39am EST
Bob's Burgers
“Bob’s Burgers” has a knack for going heavily conceptual, often with homages to sci-fi or fantasy films, and then naturally weaving those concepts into the lives of its characters. In that vein, “Tina and the Real Ghost” was not really an exploration of supernatural presences, as of course there was no ghost in the box. But even if there had been, this episode was always going to be about the students of Wagstaff Middle School were affected.

The thing about teenagers, and particularly the teenagers on this show, is that they want know what the deal is with a weird new thing, often for fe...

'Bob's Burgers' Season 5 Premiere Review: Die Hard The Musical: A One-Gene Show!

October 6th, 2014 1:39pm EDT
Bob's Burgers
“This musical theater stuff is just too dangerous.”

The characters of “Bob’s Burgers” have a tendency to go dangerously overboard. The kicker of it is that they do so in areas of life that typically do not have a high frequency of actual physical harm. While this is not a show that shies away from the serious physical consequences of wild shenanigans, the danger of musical theater and of the overenthusiasm tend to be more of the mental variety. it is only appropriate that guidance counselor Mr. Frond would be the one to express exasperation over it all. He absolutely deserves a Conflic...

Fall TV 2014: A Night By Night Comparison Of What May And May Not Work

May 15th, 2014 2:40pm EDT
Fall TV 2014: A Night By Night Comparison Of What May And May No
Now that all the big networks have revealed what they’ll be showing us this fall, let’s take a look at what may or may not work.


ABC is essentially playing it safe, and keeping Sunday Night intact. American Crime will swap for Resurrection at midseason. Resurrection was a buzzy drama that started seeing a ratings decline. Not waiting till midseason is probably a smart move. You don’t want to lose any more audience. It’s not a winning strategy, but ABC just doesn’t want to be in last place.

NBC has football, another super safe move. CBS is shaking things up, banishing Amazing Race...

2013 Fall TV Preview: The Returning Shows On FOX

September 7th, 2013 12:30pm EDT
New Girl
We've reached the end of the 2013 Fall TV Preview.

BONES returns Monday, September 16 at 8PM

Booth and Bones find a friend in the priesthood. The priest will help counsel the couple. Oh, he's an ex-priest now working as a bartender. A wedding's in the works for Bones and Booth. Apparently, the wedding will happen. I've found absolutely nothing about Bones solving murders. The early going of the season seems focused on romance.

NEW GIRL returns Tuesday, September 17 at 9PM

I've heard a few interviews with New Girl creator, Liz Meriweather. I really dig listening to her talking about wri...

2012 Television Premiere Dates

September 8th, 2012 9:45am EDT
The Voice
It's that time of year again. Television fans have appointments with their couches as the fall season kicks off this month with tons of returning favorites and new shows. DVRs will be working overtime as viewers record their must-see-TV programs and talk about them later at the watercooler.

Check out the premiere dates of the new season (brand new shows are indicated with italics and by *). All times are eastern unless otherwise indicated.

Monday, September 10
The Voice 8 p.m. NBC

Tuesday, September 11
Go On 9 p.m. NBC *
The New Normal 9:30 p.m. NBC *
Parenthood 10 p.m. NBC

Wednesday, ...

Fox Adds Three New Comedies & Drama Starring Kevin Bacon To 2012-13 Lineup

May 14th, 2012 10:25am EDT
Kevin Bacon
FOX has released its primetime schedule for the 2012-2013 television season, adding three new comedies and two dramas to its slate. "Glee" will move this fall to Thursdays, following all-new installments of "The X Factor," which will feature two new judges (Britney Spears and Demi Lovato).

This fall, two new half-hour comedies – "The Mindy Project" and "Ben And Kate" – will join "Raising Hope" and "New Girl" on an all-new Tuesday night comedy block.

"The Mindy Project" features Mindy Kaling as a skilled OB/GYN navigating the tricky waters of both her personal and professional life, as sh...

Q&A: You Should Know Who 'Archer's' H. Jon Benjamin Is

January 19th, 2012 1:10pm EST
H. Jon Benjamin
From the moment Archer star H. Jon Benjamin gets on the phone, I know I'm in for it.

He's joining me to talk about the FX comedy's third season, which officially starts tonight after a three-part preview in September, but he wastes no time cracking jokes at the expense of the network representative. "This woman has too many rules," he says, "It's not fair for anybody to have to sit through that." He tries in vain to have her line disconnected.

I stifle my laughter and get to my first question. "You're doing, of course, Archer and Bob's Burgers, and your Comedy Central show..."

"We all ...

Where Is The Love? 'Bob's Burgers'

March 14th, 2011 11:57am EDT
Bob's Burgers
Traditional North American 'family' sitcoms seem to have at their core misogyny, and either fear, hatred or disinterest in children. Wives are to be eluded and duped by any means possible. The man-child husband dreams of freedom from his wife-mommy, and creates ever more elaborate schemes to elude the horrible captivity of his family. Each week, a quick setup explains why the poor, put upon husband wants, needs, and deserves some toy, alone time, or escape. The wife explains why this is not feasible or possible. Husband decides to do it anyway, despite wife's wishes. Hubby gets hopelessly e...