Kate Frydman ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Now that Bob’s Burgers has rejoined my Sunday night TV schedule (fitting in nicely after not watching The NFL and right before checking if the Simpsons episode playing is season twelve or earlier) there’s always a warm, glowy feeling that I’m about to be taken care of. The first five seasons have been a reliable, rewatchable ally. Keeping me in good company on sick days, and on others when ‘I just really need to work on my mental health’.
Bob’s is a relatable and identifiable comedy that focuses on grounding its humor in the characters and their radiating insanity. And, while continuing to explore the Belchers and their quirks, the writers stick with an important constant which lives at the core of the family’s dynamic: the five of them really like each other. This allows the show to deviate away from long, painstaking fights that end in a touching but sullen admittance, “You know I love you, right Tina?” after an argument about boys or popularity or something else that the Belcher kids wouldn’t fight about. Of course, conflict still finds itself between the five of them, but it’s the world outside the restaurant that plays the problematic fourth child who comes into the restaurant and really takes its time screwing things up. It really is the Belchers against the world, but they seem to be alright with that.
The sixth season is off to a slower start than I would have liked, especially after last season ended on such a high with The Oeder Games, which used an excellent Hunger Games parody opportunity to remind us that landlords have feelings, too. Sliding Bobs reminds us that Linda was engaged to Hugo, the very persistent health inspector, before she left him for mustachioed Bob. When Bob starts to lose some of his mustache hair, Linda admits that most of the reason she was attracted to Bob was because of his mustache. We see young Linda accidentally slapping Bob in his fuzzy face while emphatically telling her friend Ginger a loud story over their “quiet cocktail.” It was love at first touch of fuzzy face. That was that.
The children use the big reveal to start hypothesizing what would have happened if Bob hadn’t had his babe magnet mustache- would Bob and Linda have fallen in love? The visual speculation starts with Gene. His version of Linda and Bob’s meeting has Linda slapping Bob’s bare face which, without the protection of his mustache, is cut by her diamond engagement ring. He’s rushed (for the cut, remember) to the hospital where the doctors take the necessary measures: turning Bob into a cyborg called Robostache. His training? An simple upload of Police Academy to his software. Robostache and Linda have a chance encounter during Robostache’s patrol of the streets and Linda’s musical interlude, and the two of them hit it off. Linda reminds Robostache over coffee that he was once human, and he goes in search for answers and retribution. He is subsequently defeated by a robot Mr Fischoeder, who turns out to be Bob’s vengeful creator.
Louise tells her story, setting up the bar-slap scene, but she poses that without the mustache, Linda would be disinterested. “You need some face candy,” Linda tells a confused Bob. When she explains she means a mustache, not cocaine, he tries and fails to act on her advice. As a last resort, he tries a wish machine, only to settle for a wish from the machine’s repairman (a young Teddy). Linda is thrilled with Bob’s face candy, but the two of them quickly become victims to the, “the wish worked too well,” plot twist. Bob turns into a hair covered non werewolf with uncontrollable hair-growth everywhere. But, he and Linda are still trying to make it work, and he resolves that the only course of action is to be a freak in Fischoeder’s freak-show. From there, Louise wraps up quickly; Bob and Linda split up, Linda joins the catholic church because she thought it would be like Sister Act (it wasn’t) and they both end up alone.
Tina remains hopeful. Insisting that Bob and Linda meeting was fate, she reminds everyone, “It’s called fate. And it’s great. That’s an easy way to remember it.” And it is. But despite her own conviction, Tina eventually admits that the slap would have undoubtedly caused a fight between her parents had it not been for Linda’s lust for Bob’s stache. Tina goes further with her story, showing us the parallel universe in which Linda marries Hugo and they open up their restaurant, Hugo’s Hotdogs. They have three children, Mona, Dean and Charlize, and Bob is their mustacheless health inspector. Tina grows increasingly upset about the unravelling of her own story, but she accepts it and concedes that maybe fate isn’t great but that it’s real and just really random.
Sliding Bobs uses a familiar narrative technique that we’ve seen before in episodes like The Frond Files, from season four. The children each take up a comfortable third of the twenty-three minutes to tell their story their way. Bob and Linda listen patiently and comment intermittently. It’s sweet, but it’s safe, and these episodes always fall a little flat for me. The kids are especially strong when they work as a team, and that’s obviously lost when they’re split up by who’s talking. The jokes are always there- fate really is great- but the setting didn’t allow for the strongest material to come from the characters. I think the season will probably see a lot more movement and characters back in the mix, and I’m looking forward to it. Like I said, a slow start to the season, but hopefully the Belchers get out more in the coming weeks.
Overall Grade: B