Bob's Burgers first premiered back in 2011, and it was seen as being a dark horse companion to more successful Fox shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy. However, over its nine seasons, Bob's Burgers has become one of the network's most popular, funny, and endearing programs.
You could easily draw a parallel between the quiet success of Bob's Burgers and that of King of the Hill (Not a far stretch, considering that King of the Hill veteran Jim Dauterive helped develop Bob's Burgers with Loren Bouchard), but the show truly stands on its own merits: its off-kilter humor, its heartwarming moments, and of course, its brilliant musical numbers. These are the ten best episodes of Bob's Burgers.
The first season of Bob's Burgers is a bit shaky, to say the least. It hadn't quite found its rhythm yet, the characters don't feel quite right, and it utilizes gags like the quick zoom-in with a violin sting that it would later drop altogether. Still, there are a few gems in the show's inaugural season, one of them being "Crawl Space."
In order to avoid having to deal with Linda's parents, Bob pretends that he is stuck in the crawl space behind the restaurant's walls. However, when he really does become stuck, he starts to lose it. This episode was a great introduction to Bob's tendency to freak out (the scenes where he talks to Kuchi Kopi are particularly brilliant). This was also the first episode to feature Teddy!
The truncated second season of Bob's Burgers would have been enough to put any fan on edge. After all, it's never a good sign when a season of a TV show only consists of nine episodes. Still, those nine episodes really shine and show a marked maturation from the first season.
"Bob Day Afternoon" might just be the best of the bunch, though. After Bob tries to get some exposure for his restaurant by delivering burgers to a hostage situation across the street, he is taken captive by the bank robber, Mickey (played perfectly by Bill Hader). The show is full of funny moments, and yet still manages to deliver some tense excitement, particularly when the hostages form a human wall around Mickey so he can go across the street and have a burger.
The third season of Bob's Burgers was when the show truly hit its stride. It was the very first full 23-episode season, and it started to feel like a show that had found the right rhythm. The characters haven't changed much since this season, and that's for the best because this was when they were all truly defined.
That's especially true for Tina, who really gets a chance to shine in the standout episode of the season, "Tina-rannosaurus Wrecks." In one of the funniest sequences the show has ever done, Tina drives the family car in a parking lot and gets into the slowest, most easily avoidable collision ever. Bob and Tina must then lie to their insurance adjuster (Bob Odenkirk, giving the role his trademark smarminess), but Tina soon spirals out of control, as she has never been one for lying, and imagines going to Hell, or jail, or helljail!
One thing that Bob's Burgers has done to set itself apart from other animated shows is to bend the genres of its holiday episodes. One of the best examples of this by far is the fourth season Christmas episode, "Christmas in the Car." This is one of those amazing holiday episodes that still stands up after multiple rewatches.
When Linda continues to buy Christmas trees too early in the year, the Belchers are left without one on Christmas Eve. They head out to get one, but have an unfortunate encounter with a candy cane truck, which begins stalking them in a brilliant and hilarious ode to Steven Spielberg's Duel. The episode even leaves room for a small B-story in which Teddy gets stuck in a Santa trap and becomes pinned under the family's fridge.
Just as they did with "Christmas in the Car," Bob's Burgers turned a holiday episode on its head again in the fifth season Thanksgiving episode "Dawn of the Peck." As the name suggests, this episode pays homage to the zombie films of the past, as well as giving a slight nod to Hitchcock's The Birds.
Linda signs up for a turkey day fun run, but unbeknownst to her (and the other runners) the turkeys (along with some other random fowl) have been all riled up, and are ready to attack. The show then pits Linda, Teddy, a returning Mickey, and the Belcher kids (with Regular-sized rudy) against a horde of angry birds led by a grizzled, one-eyed turkey. Bob decides to stay home, drink, and listen to Donna Summer, blissfully unaware of what is going on outside.
Some of the best episodes of Bob's Burgers are the ones that put the focus squarely on any one of the Belcher children. In particular, "The Gene and Courtney Show" does a great job in highlighting Gene's particular talents, as well as giving his character probably the most emotional and heartwarming story he's ever had.
It all starts when Gene and his one-time person who "like-liked" him, Courtney, get so fed up with the school announcements, that they display their great musical and rhyming chemistry in class and get a spot doing their own announcements. However, their work soon transitions to a new relationship, and the two discover that being with each other ruins their show. The episode culminates in a short but incredibly sweet musical number sung by Gene, capped off by the line "Your heart's not broken, it's only growing."
There are plenty of fantastic Halloween episodes of Bob's Burgers to choose from, but the one that stands out as probably being the best is the fourth season episode, "Fort Night." The Belcher kids, along with Darryl and Andy and Ollie, are trapped in their cardboard box fort when a truck parks in the alley blocking them in.
The situation is made worse by the fact that the kids are being terrorized by Louise's classmate Millie (played with gleeful malevolence by Molly Shannon), who was spurned by Louise when she was not invited to hang out in the fort. Bob and Linda spend the episode making the kids' Halloween costume with Teddy. The whole thing is a great bottle episode (that sometimes steps out of the bottle) that culminates in a daring escape by the kids.
Yet another Valentine's Day episode of Bob's Burgers makes the list. There's just something about the way the show really wears its heart on its sleeve that makes it the perfect program to tell stories about young love, marriage, and romance. The episode, as anyone could guess from the title, plays on the multiple story structure of the film Love, Actually.
All of the Belchers get their own storyline in an episode that never feels overstuffed but manages to give everyone a satisfying arc. Louise tries to help Regular-sized Rudy with his love problems but realizes the girl he likes does not feel the same way. Tina, stuck in the bathroom after a chili eating contest, must figure out how to kiss Jimmy Jr. on a trampoline. Gene helps a substitute lunch lady make a meal for her boyfriend, and Bob and Teddy put together a hip hop dance routine for Linda, who is trying to play matchmaker for Ms. Selbo.
The episode does a great job showing the best sides of every member in the Belcher family, and none of the storylines feels neglected.
Teddy (voiced with a perfect amount of handyman earnestness by Larry Murphy) is the secret weapon of Bob's Burgers. Sure, he's not part of the family on an official level, but he's always there to help the Belchers when they need it, even if he can be kind of dim sometimes. Teddy gets his best showcase in the episode "Sea Me Now."
Some of the best episodes of Bob's Burgers find the Belcher family outside of the restaurant, and "Sea Me Now" is no exception. Teddy offers to take the family on a day trip on his new boat, the Sea Me Now. However, it becomes clear that Teddy is trying to use the boat to show off to his ex-wife. After a crash, the boat becomes incapacitated and Teddy and the Belchers head to a seemingly deserted island, where they must deal with a treacherous bridge and some very angry cows.
In a cathartic ending, Teddy realizes he doesn't need the boat and he sets it on fire, only to then have the Belchers ask him why he wouldn't sell it or at least use it for scrap.
One of the best episodes in terms of showcasing the strengths of bob's burgers has to be "Flu-ouise," the seventh season premiere, in which a flu-ridden Louise descends into a fever dream where she and her damaged Kuchi Kopi (which in real-life first fell in the toilet than melted in the oven) must journey to a castle where Louise can be away from her family, who she sees as betraying her.
The episode is filled with hilarious musical numbers and features all of Louise's stuffed animals as representations of her family. Louise eventually learns a lesson about not building walls around herself, but it feels entirely earned, really allows Kristen Schaal to display her natural talent for voiceover work. Overall, this musical, fantastical, hilarious episode stands as one of the best bob's Burgers episodes ever, even if it doesn't much involve bob or his burgers.