Pretty much everyone loves a good burger, and everyone loves a good adult-aimed cartoon. Put them together and you’ve got Bob’s Burgers, the popular animated American television programme that airs on the Fox Network. The show (which first premiered on January 9th 2011) began airing its seventh season in September, and so far has a healthy 110 thirty minute episodes under its belt.
The series focuses on a nuclear family who run the titular fast food restaurant, and documents their daily lives in typical zany cartoon style – with the various characters getting themselves into overtly complicated and often hilarious situations. The show is generally considered to be a spiritual successor to the popular show King of the Hill (both in style and the fact that lead producer, Jim Dauterive worked on the previous show for the majority of its run). Loren Bouchard joined Jim as executive producer for production company Bento Box Entertainment in 2011, (which was replaced by Wilo Productions in 2012 alongside Buck & Millie Productions and 20th Century Fox Television). Like other animated shows, (such as The Simpsons and Family Guy), the characters take place in a unique timeline, whereby time passes, but the characters do not physically age.
So what is the show all about? Well, the family is led by Bob himself (played by H. John Benjamin, Wet Hot American Summer) – a 44-year-old restaurant owner in a New Jersey shore town, who is known for having conversations with inanimate objects, a fondness for alcohol, and being highly skilled at burger making, but terrible at business management. Bob’s wife Linda (John Roberts, Good Day New York) shares her husband’s proclivity towards alcohol, but is loyal and supportive despite the fact that neither of them has had a break from the business in 10 years. Linda takes care of the bookkeeping, although she isn’t great at it and regularly creates more problems than she fixes. As a keen singer, she often breaks into random song during episodes, (which are then remixed and replayed over the credits at the end).
Tina (Dan Mintz, Cookers) is Bob and Linda’s eldest child. Although it is suggested that she is autistic in the pilot episode, the subject is never readdressed. Iconic for her low, monotonous manner of speaking she is the moral compass among the Belcher children, giving words of wisdom to them in-between working part-time at the restaurant. To say she is the most moralistic does not by any stretch of the imagination make her ‘normal’ with her having an unhealthy obsession with horses, the opposite sex and touching other people’s bums, which she sees as the pinnacle of sexual expression. Compared to her siblings, Tina is generally quiet and shy for the most part.
The middle child of the family is 11-year-old Gene (played by Eugene Mirma, Flight of the Conchords). Whereas Tina is quiet and shy, Gene is loud and enthusiastic, embracing his role as the restaurant mascot – for which he has to wear a giant burger costume. He isn’t the brightest penny in the box and is often taken advantage of due to his inherent gullibility, (known as ‘Geneing out’).
The youngest member of the Belchers is 9-year-old Louise (Kristen Schaal, The Last Man on Earth). Despite her age, Louise is as overbearing as she is intelligent, using manipulation and aggression to get what she wants. Iconic for her pink bunny ears that she wears constantly, she is also known for her particularly dark sense of humour and abilities that belie her age (such as being able to successfully pick locks). That isn’t to say Louise is without affection, which she simply expresses in her own unique way.
In addition to the main family of BB, the show also features many supporting characters who surface during different episodes. These include restaurant regulars Teddy – who is loyal and friendly, but talks too much, and has a secret desire to be part of the Belcher family, despite the fact that eating so many burgers has started to give him long-term health problems, and Mort – the owner of the funeral parlour that sits next to the restaurant, who has a dark sense of humour that rivals Louise’s, but is firm friends with both Bob and Teddy.
The Belcher extended family often crops up, including Gayle – Linda’s neurotic sister – sad and somewhat lonely, she holds not too secret romantic feelings towards Bob, who categorically does not reciprocate those feelings, but rather feels nothing but contempt (much to his wife’s dismay). Al is Bob’s father-in-law who is known for barely ever speaking and being horrendously deaf, as well as holding a weird fetish that involves the sound a popping balloon makes. Gloria is Linda’s mother, who (like her sister) Bob does not like, and is constantly trying to hide from when she comes over to see them.
Like King of the Hill before it, #BB has managed to charm itself into the hearts of viewers worldwide. However, modern audiences are less forgiving, and with a dearth of fantastic new animated shows like Rick and Morty and Son of Zorn ready to steal its thunder, has it done enough to ensure that we the Belchers again for a seventh season? The simple answer is yes it has! FOX has already revealed that it will be returning for not only a seventh season, but an eighth season too. David Madden, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting said that after six seasons “the Belchers have become one of America’s most beloved TV families, and we are so happy to keep them in the fold for another two seasons. #BB is hilarious, warm, smart, inventive – critics love it, and so do fans.” So everyone who loves the show can breathe a sigh of relief, there is still plenty more Belcher antics to look forward to. Still, let’s take a look at the ratings and reviews to see what the future looks like for the show longer term. The first season was a strong opener for Fox, with it averaging 5 million viewers, which dropped down to 4.18 during its second season run, and 4.11 million in its third. Whilst things weren’t quite so rosy by the time the show reached its fifth season – which has the latest statistics available at the moment – with the show averaging a 1.22 rating among the 18 – 49 demographic, and 2.58 million viewers (which is 16.78% and 18.71% down on the previous year respectively), it’s still great numbers by the standards of any average show, especially six seasons in. In terms of reviews, the show has a very decent score of 8.1 out of 10 on IMDB from almost 40,000 votes, as well as receiving a stellar rating of between 4.8 and 5 stars across all seasons available on content streaming service, Amazon Instant Video. With great reviews and confidence from the network, as long as it can keep its consistently high quality going forward, we think it’s pretty safe to assume that #BobBurgers is going to be with us for some years to come.
There are no Blu-ray copies of BB available to buy, but you can pick up DVD copies of each entire season on Amazon, ranging in price from $13.98 to $29.99. If you prefer to watch your shows online, then you can either head over to iTunes store or Amazon Instant Video. (At the latter, you can pick up each episode for $2.99 or between $14.99 and $34.99 for each complete season – depending on how recent). You will also able to catch reruns of the show on Fox, as they air quite frequently. Just check your local television guide for details of airdates and episode lists. If you live within the US, then you can also catch episodes on Fox Video on Demand, or Hulu, with episodes released 8 days after their initial broadcast. (if unpaid, or just one day if paid). If you live outside of the US, then Amazon and iTunes are going to be your only way of legally watching some episodes.
Have you watched #BobBurgers – do you think it stands proud among other animated television shows, or do you think it’s one that has already outstayed its welcome? Are you a fan and have a favourite character – what is it about them that you really like? How do you feel about animated shows in general – are they a source of good fun and a break from ‘normal’ shows, or do you think that they will always pale in comparison?
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