Thoughts on Bob’s Burgers’ Characters

Bob's BurgersI 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.

Pat Buchanan Knows the GOP Better It Does Itself

Pat BuchananThe Post’s Michael Gerson says “establishment Republicans” must “make clear that [Trump] has moved beyond the boundaries of serious and civil discourse.” He loathes the Trumpites as much as Will.

Trump’s followers are “xenophobic,” Gerson tells CNN. They have a “resentment of outsiders, of Mexico, of China, and immigrants. That’s more like a European right-wing party, a UKIP or a National Front in France. Republicans can’t incorporate that.”

But if the GOP has no room for Trump’s followers, it has no future. For there simply aren’t that many chamber-of-commerce and country-club Republicans.

—Pat Buchanan
GOP Elites Plot to Purge Trump

Oath Keepers As Protectors of the Power Elite

Paul BibeauPaul Bibeau is one of today’s most brilliant satirists. Last week he wrote, What If They NEVER Come For Our Guns? I was going to use it for a quotations post, but there was nothing I felt I could cut, so you will just have to click over and read the whole thing. As you can probably guess from the title, it is written from the perspective of an Oath Keeper or other right wing Protector of Freedom™. But it’s a very special one who has started to have doubts. Certainly Obama is going to take away all the guns, but “the guy’s in year seven, and he’s really taking his damn time about it.”

For many years, I’ve been arguing that people who focus on conspiracy theories are missing what’s actually going on. There are the Jade Helm 15 types who have allowed their union jobs to be destroyed and their standards of living decline all while they worry about the coming marshal law. There are also plenty of liberal conspiracy theorists who do the same thing. But when you get down to it, all of the conspiracy theorists have a populist core that is upset that the power elite is rigging the system against them.

The rich have steadily warped the tax system so that they pay less and the rest of us pay more. But this is apparently too uninteresting to care about. And the rich have done a great job of limiting government programs that help the poorer classes. But again: not exciting. And the rich have managed to destroy unions while the middle class stands by and cheers. But who cares about such normal workings of society? It’s like documentaries about archaeological digs where we learn about the social structure of the Inca. Who cares about them when there are documentaries about how space aliens must have helped the Inca, because obviously they were too stupid to figure this stuff out.

Here is the core realization in Bibeau’s article:

I wonder if it’s possible that all this is the plan. Like maybe the people in charge of this country don’t really have to steal the guns. Not if they’ve stolen everything else while we’re out here doing Wolverine Drills in northern Idaho…

Maybe rich people just used the information age to bushwhack us. And part of how they did it was by intervening in countries all over the world to dominate their governments and markets, which created the blowback that justifies this bloated security state and keeps us all terrified of foreigners so we don’t ask questions. And you and me and most of the guys in Hannity Team… well, we’re all vets of these campaigns, and some of us are cops and intelligence guys. So, it almost seems, sometimes, like we’re doing this guerrilla warfare role-play thing as a way to avoid thinking about how they already won the game. And how we kind of helped them.

If only we could get these people to think about this stuff. One thing that I continue to marvel at is that people have been saying this stuff for my entire lifetime. Yet their predictions continue to fail. They really are like people in cults whose faith only gets stronger as the prophecies crash and burn. But Bibeau really strikes at the heart of the central irony that these people who think they are fighting the power are actually doing its bidding.

Yes, Let’s Dump Chuck Schumer

Chuck SchumerShould Chuck Schumer’s position on the Iranian nuclear deal make us rethink his becoming the next leader of the Democrats in the Senate? After all, he isn’t doing what many pundits thought he would: just voting against it but not lobbying other Senators. He is instead actively lobbying other Senators. It’s a concern, because I am really worried about the deal. The thing is that the deal is a no-brainer. And the arguments make no sense. And as Josh Marshall pointed out last week, Schumer isn’t stupid. So why is he standing against the deal?

I’ve come to the conclusion that being against the deal has nothing whatsoever to do with the Iranian nuclear program. It is simple bigotry. The people against the deal just hate Iran and they are against this deal because it is good for Iran. It isn’t just that it helps the country economically. It also establishes it as a regular country. Over time, I’m sure the international reputation of Iran will be improved because of this deal. This is what those who are against the deal are actually against. They really don’t care about nuclear weapons. In fact, they probably think Iran having nuclear weapons will further isolate it.

To a large extent, this bigotry toward Iran is just a bank shot off Israel. The Israeli government wants to do everything it can to hurt Iran, and so many in the US follow along. I really do think that Israel is being shortsighted about this. This deal is good for Israel in the long term. Of course, it may not be good for the current Israeli regime. But who cares about that? And if Schumer had to admit to that — that his real concern is for Likud and not Israel — he would be laughed out of polite company.

This isn’t just about Schumer, of course. There is no sense in any argument against this deal if your actual concern is nuclear proliferation. So the real reason that people are against the deal is simply because they are against Iran. And look: I’m no fan of the current Iranian regime. But I am a friend of the Iranian people. And as we’ve seen over the last 50 years with Cuba, playing this kind of petty game doesn’t cause regimes to fall. It just makes the people’s lives worse without any up side — to anyone at all.

So I’m with Josh Marshall: I think Chuck Schumer should be disqualified for the job of the Democrat’s Senate leader. It’s certainly not because he disagrees with the president. I am very much in favor of that. We aren’t authoritarians like the Republicans. And it isn’t because I disagree with him. It is that his argument makes no sense on its own terms. And the only way to explain that is to see that — just like every single Republican in Congress — he’s just a hate monger who can’t see past his own rage and support a deal that ultimately is in everyone’s best interest. Yes, let’s dump Schumer.

Morning Music: Get Together

Get Together - Chet PowersContinuing on with this week of spirituality without God, I’m afraid that I’ve only made it too clear that my idea of spirituality is intimately linked to community. What is perhaps interesting about this is that all religious movements are fundamentally about that — in the beginning. It is the brotherhood of humankind. This is, ultimately, all that the mystics have to teach us in a practical sense. But if there is one thing that established religions hate, it is mystics.

Today, we listen to Chet Powers do his song, “Get Together.” It is a call for solidarity. And it is a song that we need to hear, “Love is but the song we sing; fear’s the way we die.” It’s interesting that political leaders are so good with using fear as a weapon, but useless in wielding love. It’s probably because those who lust for power aren’t very much in touch with the idea of love.

Anniversary Post: the Mona Lisa Theft

Mona LisaOn this day in 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre. It was taken by an Italian loyalist who felt that painting should be in Italy. But that didn’t stop the authorities from first arresting and incarcerating the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Regardless, the Mona Lisa is representative of everything that is wrong with the art field. Why is it such a great painting? Because everyone thinks so!

I’m not saying that it’s bad. And I loved it when I was a kid. Now, well, not so much. Certainly it is a great example of High Renaissance portraiture. But I find the background disturbing — and fake. I think people love it most because they don’t appreciate it. It’s just this painting of a woman with a smirk. And let’s be honest: there’s nothing mysterious about it; that’s all it is: a smirk. I know this because most pictures of me have the exact same expression. I hate posing for pictures and as a result, that’s the face I make.

There are things that I greatly admire by Leonardo da Vinci. But he was the Orson Welles of the High Renaissance — he didn’t finish much of anything. That’s why his sketches are often the most interesting of his work. And that’s why I can hardly think of a more boring thing to do than go to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa — especially when there are so many more interesting works in that very same museum.