I am a huge fan of Bob’s Burgers. It’s probably because the main characters are so well rendered. I feel a connection to each of them. That’s especially true of Bob, who is brave and a natural leader. His only problem is that he is totally lacking in charisma. He’s like Dan Hollins in The Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life.” Bob’s the kind of guy who says, “Follow me! Our cause is just!” It doesn’t matter how obviously right Bob is, when he looks back, no one is following him. They are standing there as he rushes to what would be certain death if he weren’t a character in a successful television series.
Bob is very lucky to have found Linda. I know that people focus on her looniness. And it is true that like everyone else in the show, she is insane. But would a woman who wasn’t at least partially insane marry Bob? She needs to see herself in the middle of a big budget musical. For most women, life with Bob would be a sad ending to her life. But to her, she is in the middle of an exciting adventure. And as such, she is Bob’s rock. Because let’s face, Bob is even more crazy than she is. He’s just too insecure to show it often.
Tina is a hero of mine. There is no deception in her. She is entirely comfortable in who she is with her obsession with butts and zombie love. She seems like she is insecure, but it is just that she’s introverted and methodical. The world is alien and it goes by so fast. She isn’t able to engage with it in real time. So it seems awkward. And it is! For the world. But she’s used to it running ahead and she’s fine with it.
She is, of course, at that awkward age. She hasn’t figured out her sexuality. That’s what makes her earnestness all the more inspiring. But it needs to be said: she will never end up with Jimmy Jr. For one thing, he’s a jerk. And he’s everything she isn’t. He’s style, and she’s substance. Anyway, Jimmy Jr is, like so many of the characters in the show, gay. And the show’s been pretty open about this. In “Lobsterfest,” Tina creates a list of people she “can mate with to repopulate the Earth.” Gene comments, “Here, let me see that: gay; gay; mythical creature; gay mythical creature; in your dreams!”
Tina, of course, will end up with Zeke. When he first showed up on “The Belchies,” he wasn’t very likable. He was just a typical guy who was on the wrestling team. But in that time, we’ve gotten to see a lot of the softer side of him — especially in “Midday Run.” And most recently, in “The Oeder Games,” when he tells Tina that he’s interested in her, I believe it. And Tina reciprocates. Their chemistry is obvious. I wish Jimmy Jr well in his own sexual awakening.
Gene is the oddest character in the family. He is also the most feminine. Louise spoke the truth when she told Linda, “It’s time to focus on your good daughter: Gene.” He definitely takes after Linda — but without having ever developed a serious side. He has the most pure id of all the characters. He also tends to get the best lines, because he has the most clear view of reality. In “Bob Day Afternoon,” Bob is planning to tell the banker, “What does ‘past due’ even mean?” Gene responds, “It’s brilliant! There is no such thing as time!”
Louise is the most misunderstood character in the series. At first, she was the reason I watched it. She is the “puppet” character: the one who can get away with saying the most outrageous things because she is nonthreatening. But like all the characters in the series, she has been given a lot of time to deepen. And we find that she is, ultimately, a fragile little girl. She seems like she doesn’t care about anyone else, but it is just the world outside her family that she doesn’t care about. She is fiercely protective of and dependent upon her family. But I feel that I can see the future, and that eventually, she will marry Logan from the “Ear-sy Rider” episode.
Now all of these thoughts are subject to change without notice. Ultimately, Bob’s Burgers is so great because these characters continue to develop and grow. And that makes it stand out compared to other modern situation comedies. Increasingly, everything is about laughs without a lot of thought to the characters and the audience’s relationships with them.