‘Bob’s Burgers’ Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 23rd, 2012 at 9:43 am,

fox lineup bobs burgers Bobs Burgers Series Premiere Review & Discussion

I tuned in to Fox’s new animated sitcom Bob’s Burger’s wondering whether I would truly be getting the next Simpsons or yet another loosely-framed showcase for pop-culture references and irreverent jokes, a la the animated shows of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.

I’m happy to report that Bob’s Burgers actually manages to capture the culture-skewing satirical tones that made The Simpsons so great in its early years, while also managing to honor the word “sitcom” by (gasp) having an actual storyline and quirky, funny, fully-developed characters.

If I had to pitch this show to potential viewers (and I’m sort of doing that now, aren’t I?), I would describe it as a mix between early Simpsons and the witty banter ensemble comedy of FX’s Archer. (Note: Emmy-nominated voice actor H. Jon Benjamin actually voices both Archer and Bob’s Burgers titular character, Bob Belcher.) The show lightly pokes at an Americana landscape that is both traditional (the Belchers run a family-owned burger joint – how much more classic Americana can you get?) and modern (their burger shop is wedged between a funeral home and a PETA-inspired animal rights center).

It’s also a good sign that the Belchers are actual, fully-formed and unique characters, instead of simple allegories for modern-day or classic stereotypes (the put-upon wife, the moronic husband, the smart child, the bad child, etc…). The Belchers are not just Simpson family clones, a model that has been used for just about every animated sitcom family to come along since Matt Groening’s yellow four-fingered creations conquered the small screen. What we do get is a family that can’t be pigeon-holed into easy little boxes of convention, offering the possibility that the Belchers, and the situations they find themselves in each week, could potentially stay fresh and entertaining for at least a season or two (if not more), should the show attract the necessary viewers.


Bobs Burgers FOX 3 Bobs Burgers Series Premiere Review & Discussion

In this first episode, entitled “Human Flesh”, we meet the Belchers, a family who has just had a grand re-re-re-opening for their burger joint on “Wonder Warf,” a fictional beach/boardwalk town. It’s Labor Day weekend and Bob hopes to capitalize on the swell of tourism; he is insistent that his family – wife Linda, son Gene and daughters Tina and Louise – all put their work caps on and help promote the struggling family business. The twist comes when Louise decides to tell her classmates at school that Bob’s Burgers uses human flesh instead of beef (she thinks it’s a more interesting angle for her show & tell report). Once rumor gets out about the alleged flesh burgers, Bob finds the fate of his shop hanging in the balance. It only gets worse when he learns that his focus on the shop has caused him to forget about his anniversary, much to the disappointment of his wife. In a third  twist, the health inspector who comes to investigate the flesh burger rumor also happens to be the man Linda thought she would marry before Bob came along. Comedy ensues.

“Human flesh” was pretty entertaining, in my opinion; I certainly laughed a whole lot more than I thought I would. The comedic situations and jokes were well constructed and executed; the plot of the episode was humorous and engaging; and on top of that the dialogue and banter between the characters was smart, fitting with the plot and themes of the episode, and also felt loose and natural at the same time. The series was created by Loren Bouchard, who had a big hand in animated show Home Movies that ran from 1999 through the early 2000s; the animation style of Bob’s Burgers is pretty much a polished version of Home Movies‘ pencil-sketched characters and settings.

The misfit family was loads of fun: Bob is the sarcastic but loving dad; Linda (John Roberts) is the peppy/fiesty wife; Gene (Eugene Mirman) is a hyper-active geek; Tina (Dan Mintz) is a nerdy weirdo; and Louise (Kristen Schaal) is a precocious little schemer and mischief-maker. The opening of the episode – where Bob assigns each family member a task in the restaurant – was a great way to introduce us to the family and their respective personalities, each of which was colorful and memorable. The characters and settings beyond the burger shop were just  as amusing, suggesting that Bob’s Burgers has the potential to introduce the same kind of expansive world as Springfield, The Simpsons‘ fictional town (which is now populated by dozens of secondary characters).

Bobs Burgers FOX 4 Bobs Burgers Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Finally, it was refreshing to see an animated sitcom that managed to offer some insight and heart via its scripted storyline. In this one episode there were ruminations on everything from parenting and marriage to sexual politics and the hardships of pursuing the American Dream. Best of all, unlike the preachy heavy-hand of South Park or the increasingly lame esoteric “intelligence” of The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers managed to touch upon each of these topics in a light, breezy, chuckle-inducing way that anybody from lowest to highest brow could enjoy.

Hopefully the successful execution of this first episode is indicative of what lies in store for the rest of the season. Consider me onboard for this series, which is one of the better animated sitcoms to hit the airwaves in years.

Watch Bob’s Burgers Sundays at 8:30pm EST on Fox. You can catch the first episode now on Hulu.

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  1. This show was alright, I don’t think it will be a hit though

    • The cartoon was awful. It won’t last. Did Fox pay you to write that article. It was nothing like Home Movies other than the voice. I love the way some reviews write the cartoon is lacking but has potential if it were to last a few more episodes. Who are these people that are giving the chance of a life time to have a cartoon on Fox. Do a half-a$$ job and then are giving another chance to improve it.
      The farting and molesting jokes were just stupid. The whole thing with human remains being in the food… Come on… They stuck that in there just so everything would work together in the end. Because we all know how life is. It all works out in the end.

      Oh yeah… That was some solid story going on there… Can you imagine if they didn’t put this awful cartoon between Simpsons and Family guy.

      Fox knows they have a dud. They will try to revamp the cartoon. But it will only get worse.

  2. If you like Home Movies, you will love this. Lots of crew from the series does voices here. I LOVED IT!!!!

  3. I watched it for a few minutes and it was kind of funny, but when they started making jokes about kids being molested, I thought it terrible and turned it off. I tried to think of any time molesting would be funny and a day later still can’t. To me, it’s just another TV show crossing the line for shock value and hopefully others will register their disapproval with Fox on this issue!

    • Yeah… Bob’s Burgers makes a brief (if tasteless) joke about child molesting, while ‘Family Guy’ has made a prominent character and icon out of “Old Man Herbert”, who is a pedophile

      And yet, people are up in arms today about ‘Bob’s Burgers’ one little joke? I guess that makes sense…

      • I’ve never seen Family Guy or I’d have said the same thing. I have seen the Simpsons quite a bit. Although I wouldn’t let my preteens watch it, I can’t say I’ve seen anything about molesters.

        • Well you’re calling for a show that aired one tasteless joke in one episode to be chastised, while shrugging your shoulders at another show that has featured a molester as a prominent character for over a decade now, simply because you weren’t aware of it…

          Seems a bit silly to me. But that’s just my opinion.

          • What’s really silly(your words) is that you’re telling me I’m shrugging my shoulders about the Family Guy character. Why would I shrug my shoulders over something I’m unaware of? If I knew about it, I would’ve said the same comments as I did for “Bob’s Burgers”. You sound like you’d blame someone for turning in a bank robber on one street but not doing the same for an unseen robbery….

            • Like many people do, you just constructed a false analogy to support your argument:

              People who call for TV shows or other modes of free speech to be chastised for what is deemed by some to be inappropriate content, are usually doing so in defense of what is an “appropriate” or “suitable” STANDARD for public broadcasting – meaning not individual cases of something (molester jokes) but the entire standard of making molester jokes is unfit for broadcast TV.

              Highlighting one small case of this offensive material on a show that has aired one episode – while being totally oblivious to another show in the same format (animation) on the same network (Fox) that has promoted a molester as a popular character AND merchandising tool for more than a decade, does make your protest seem silly. You’re talking about something you feel to be a standard unfit for primetime TV without being informed of what the current sentiment regarding the standard is. That too is silly to me.

              Obviously if Family Guy is selling ringtones, TV shirts, etc… With this Herbert character, and has been doing so for years, people aren’t taking this sort of thing too seriously or aren’t too offended by it. Why should we suddenly be so horrified and righteously indignant about one little joke on Bob’s Burgers? Because it got under YOUR skin?

              • Um, I’m confused about at least part of the counter argument.

                I’ve never seen an episode of Family Guy and I had no idea the show had a character that was a child molester.


                • Thanks Vic, I guess Kofi thinks or assumes the whole world watches Family Guy…

                  • No, I just expect that someone talking TV standards actually knows about TV standards and what has become acceptable to the public at large vs. what has not.

                    That’s all. I expect people who want to talk loud to know what they’re talking about.

                • Vic,

                  Has that character and has tons of merchandising featuring that character and has for more than a decade now. And the world hasn’t ended and kids aren’t traumatized.

                  • Kofi,

                    I totally get that. My point is that as popular as the show might be, not everyone watches it much less might be aware of the details of the characters on the show.


              • No I think its because I got under your skin. My opinion is that the child molesting joke is not funny in the Bob’s Burgers TV show. It’s not a law that I must watch all other animated shows therefore I am not obligated, as you think, to have protested a character on Family Guy. I don’t watch the show, nor do I need to watch any other shows other than the one I commented on. Maybe you spend all your time watching those shows and that’s ok for you but not for me. My comment on B.B. stands as it is regardless of your thoughts my friend…

                • I’m not commenting on your opinion – you are welcome to it same as I am to mine.

                  I’m commenting on your claim that something should be done to punish the show for making that joke: “To me, it’s just another TV show crossing the line for shock value and hopefully others will register their disapproval with Fox on this issue!”

                  Your expressing a desire for action to be taken against a show you think violated the standards of decency, without knowing that another show on that network has gotten away with more flagrant risque TV for more than a decade. It makes you look out of touch, not responsible. It makes you look like a person who is oblivious to a bigger picture. I concerns me when uninformed people try to lead any kind of charge.

                  • I do actually understand your point but it’s more of a difference of opinion on what’s ok and what’s not. I see the networks crossing the line a lot more than they used to, which is probably why there are characters like that on Family Guy and other shows. Some feel nothing can be done and I tell them to make their opinions known. Others don’t care and probably get irritated, but that’s ok because we all have different things we’re concerned about. Also when it comes to TV programming, which is not a major issue, a person can be “out of touch” and still voice concerns about it.

                    • Thanks to tasteless boundary-pushing by South Park and Family Guy (i watch both) I’m surprised that that molestation joke had you up in arms. I actually thought it was the funniest joke in the episode (which wasn’t a stretch lol); whilst repeated “fart noises” was weak and extremely rudimentary.

                      I’ll also mention that crude/tasteless humour is seen in all of Seth MacFarlane’s other animations, and rears it’s head from time to time in The Simpsons also, so having such a joke on a Fox animation in the same block as these other animated shows is nothing out of the ordinary. I’m not advocating molestation jokes – but saying that tasteless humour is the hot type of humour these days.

                      Also, a much bigger point, if there’s one topic you “can’t” make a joke about, then other groups will lobby to get their agenda removed too. That was the whole point of the hugely contraversial “Cartoon Wars” double episode on South Park a few years back. Everyone gets smeared/lampooned and everything’s ok, or none of it is.

    • You spent over a day’s worth of time thinking of when a molesting joke might be appropriate?

      • Ha ha funny. No, I just meant that a full day later nothing had changed, it was still a bad subject to joke about.

  4. this show SUCKED!!!

  5. Not very good. the voices were bad. The mom voice sounded like a man and the kids voices sounded like adult acting like kids.
    Would they think a molestation joke was funny if they were molested as a child?

    • The mom is voiced by a man and the kids are voiced by adults (kids are usually voiced by adults in animation, BTW – Bart Simpson has always been voiced by an adult female, for example, and the South Park kids are all voiced by adults…)

    • Yeah I didn’t think the molestation jokes were funny either. There are many things in life to joke about, why that? Unfunny at the least…

  6. I thought the episode was pretty solid. The toothpick scene had me laughing pretty damn hard. My only beef is fact that Benjamin does nothing to distinguish this characters voice from Archer. I found it really distracting. I mean, imagine if Dan Castellaneta starting voicing a new series and used Homer’s voice for the lead. This pisses me off as much as that would. But I’ll keep watching anyway.

    • Yeah that is kind of a head trip hearing Archer’s voice come out of Bob’s mouth.

    • It’s essentially Coach McGuirk’s voice, as well.

  7. “Bob’s Burgers” wasn’t a dissapointment as I thought it would be.
    It was clever, funny, and hopefully it’s gots legs. In other words, I hope it sticks around.
    Other than the Simpsons movie, they have completly lost all relevancy. Family Guy is great as always. Cleveland is a bust. I give it two seasons.
    Isn’t American Dad already history? The show was annoying.
    Don’t they know you have to have a loveable lead character to sustain these kind of animated sitcoms?
    Bender wasn’t loveable.
    American Dad wasn’t loveable.
    Peter is loveable.
    Get it?, FOX?

    A viewer

    • It was better than I expected. I laughed a little.

    • I’m a big fan of Family Guy and The Simpsons. I lasted 8 minutes into Bob’s. It makes The Cleveland Show look good.

  8. In the words of Charles Barkley, it was TURRIBLE! The first fifteen minutes were laugh free. The rest didn’t fair much better. Fox and Comedy Central have the same affliction; they get a poorly animated show that stops at the concept, match it to the voices of some notable stand up comedians, thrown in some of what they believe are “edgey” jokes, and they’ll have a cult hit on their hands (Ugly Americans anyone?). Mistakenly, they believe that there’s a certain cool factor to watching these shows. Bad animation, monotone voices uttering bland dialog that’s relies on gross out “humor” does not equal “cool”. Hopefully it won’t even equal an audience.

    Who in their right mind at Fox saw this come across their desk and said “this looks like a winner! Let’s run with it!”? I don’t see this lasting very long. Looks like we have another Sit Down, Shut Up on our hands.

  9. This was worst cartoon ever.

    • I’m afraid that anyone who does not find this show incredibly funny is a complete void. Truth.

      • Only a sith deals in absolutes.

  10. Wow Kofi, you’re certainly much more generous than I am, to the point where I’m suspicious that you really just want to help out the makers of this awful animation.

    I’ve just finished the pilot as well, it was poor. It took them about 30 seconds to resort to fart gags (and revisited it several times). Why make a pilot without jokes? Irritating voice actors (especially John Roberts as the wife), poor storyline (that it was about human flesh is the most original thing this show has to call it’s own), poor humour, poor characters, poor writing. All I ask from an animated show is a few laugh-out-load moments or at least decent writing.

    “I would describe it as a mix between early Simpsons and the witty banter ensemble comedy of FX’s Archer.” My God, aren’t you charitable!

    It was a huge mistake making a family sitcom, as it brings nothing new to the table – this is a tired format that it seems every animated fox TV show has; and the general stand is far below it’s elders. Much better shows than this have been cancelled. It’s not smart, witty or funny, it’s just the best some untalented people can do. Saying it’s average would be being generous.

    Maybe a fart noises and an itchy crotch is funny the first time, but beat it into the ground 5+ times and it’s just lacklustre writing. Ignorant but well-meaning husband, nagging/loving wife, ADHD idiot children, no, this hasn’t been seen before! I’m not saying you can’t take from other shows, but wow at least make your writing snappy.

    Even as an avid animation fan, I will not be coming back for a second helping of Bob’s Burgers.

  11. Great show.

  12. Creative, witty and funny, laugh out loud funny for me at least. i was quite impressed

  13. my favorite part was the tooth pick part. “ugh! you’re not even a good autistic” (paraphrasing of course) but it was just hilarious.

  14. Didn’t bother watching the show because I saw 3 different previews for it and at no time did I even crack a smile. Teasers and trailers are supposed to showcase some of the ‘best’ moments a show has to offer so if I didn’t like them I was not about to sit through 20 mins of the same.

  15. if they want this show to be sucsesfull they need to include more jokes
    maybe the guys that make the show want to show there ideas but it needs more humor

    • They are including “jokes”, or at least what they believe are jokes. The problem is they are NOT FUNNY!

  16. The show is excellent. Very well-written. Excellent visual characterization. Quite hilarious. I’m sad it’s getting so panned by everyone and I’m not completely clear why. But I think it’s, frankly, outstanding. I’m not sure if this type of humor translates well across the country but it’s very familiar to anyone whose lived in the Northeast. The child molester joke was very funny. The trouble-making daughter changes the name of the burger-of-the-day (without her father’s knowledge) to “the child molester, served with a side of candy.” Look around at the teenagers in your own teen’s life. 4 out of 10 of them would have made the same kind of joke (whether you’re aware of it or not). Furthermore, the parents are extremely likeable, kind, gentle people. Vulgar, yes. But decent and generous. And very funny.

    Perhaps this show is just getting the wrong audience because it’s airing at the wrong time.

    Kudos to the creators of this show. Well-done.

  17. “Very well written”???? You’re serious? “Very well written?”. A pedestrian setup (and that’s being kind) of forgetting your anniversary, exploiting the elderly, tasteless child molestation jokes, cannibalism jokes, gross body rash “jokes”, spoken by talking bowling pins, delivered in a bland monotone voice, to crappy animation qualifies as “outstanding”?

    First off, the premise is lame. This family runs a burger joint, and the only employees are their children? That’s just not believable. They would have other employees. No burger joint would grind their own meat. They’d be buying it in bulk, only a few places in New York do that. Secondly, to rely on the tired cliche of forgetting your anniversary is lame. It’s been done, there’s nothing new you can do with that. And the whole setup with the guy who’s the health inspector and he’s the wife’s ex, oh like we didn’t see that one coming.

    Bob’s Burgers is predictable, to say the very least. The worst part is that it’s just not funny. There’s this feeling at Fox if you get some big alternative comedians like Eugene Merman, and animate it that people will watch. The formula works for Ugly Americans, why I have no idea. They believe there’s this “cool factor” that comes from watching Bob’s Burgers, the only thing “cool” will be when this gets canceled.

    I have a feeling this is going to be like the Sarah Silverman Program. There’s going to be a certain sect that says “well you just don’t get it”. To which I always say that I “get it”, I just don’t think it’s funny.

  18. It’s sad to see such negative feelings towards the show…I just hope it’s because of the poor first episode and not the entire show.

    I didn’t laugh once at the first episode, in fact I though much of the jokes were awkward typical joke fodder. However, the 2nd and 3rd episodes were vast improvements.

    I have faith in Bob’s Burgers, looking forward to see more of it. It’s amazing how quick people are to judge something over one measly episode. I really do think many people will have to eat their words by the time more episodes come out.

    • Well the title of the thread is “‘Bob’s Burgers’ Series Premiere Review & Discussion” 😛

      I hope to be proved wrong; after not enjoying the first episode at all I need time and more positive reviews to consider watching another few eps. Much like how I completely dismissed The Cleaveland Show after two abysmal episodes.

      I reckon for a lot of shows, especially one with no fanfare, it’s a miracle that most people tried it out at all. I hope you’re right that everyone (including me) have to eat our words!

  19. i thought the show was great i thought the cast does a great job of playing off each other i hope its around for another season

  20. My bro quite enjoyed the show so I ended up watching more episodes and after a while it grew on me. I wouldn’t recommend it but there are some fun episodes (Sheesh! Cab, Bob?) but i think it should get a 2nd season to mature and try find an audience.

  21. There’s a void where my animated comedy series should be, come back bob! BOB!
    Series two please.

  22. i think bob’s is a great show. a lot funnier than the worn out simpsons and lot funnier than family guy which has been wearing a little thin for the past 2 years (even though i love both these shows very much). it’s fresh humor for primetime fox tv and i really cannot get enough of it… because it’s my kind of humor. bob’s, like the late home movies, is pretty dry, so of course the average american crowd isn’t into it (ie monty python). it’s a little slow paced and too subtle, and when presented to short attention spans this kind of comedy seems silly and cheap. so the point… it’s a great show but i get if people don’t like it, but i also hope it doesnt get dropped like arrested development.