Television is full of memorable families that have the ability to make their audience feel like they’re a part of their family, too. It’s for this reason that the family sitcom is not going anywhere any time soon, and there will likely always be some program about a dysfunctional, albeit loving, family on the air.
One little plucky show that has gradually bloomed into a bona fide hit is FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, which has only gotten better throughout the years. Loren Bouchard’s animated hit has won many people over by not shooting for the moon– it knows what it’s good at and then tries to do it better. The Belchers have given The Simpsons a run for their money on the network, and it’s not hard to picture the series usurping The Simpsons’ position after it’s left FOX’s schedule (if such a thing ever does happen).
With Bob’s Burgers currently preparing for its upcoming eighth season on FOX, it never hurts to explore why the series is so special and different. In honor of that animated family that everyone wishes they were a part of, here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Bob’s Burgers.
15. There Are Real Chains of Bob’s Burgers Around the World
The Belchers’ family restaurant might be a humble mom and pop (and children) operation on the television show, but there are also Bob’s Burgers establishments out there in the real world. The quirky chain of burger joints can be found in Bellingham, WA, Eugene, OR, La Puente, CA, , as well as Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hopefully there aren’t any turf wars brewing between Bob’s Burgers and Los Pollos Hermanos.
At these real-life Bob’s Burgers locations, the food certainly might be comparable to its television counterpart, but at least it stands to reason that the people preparing the food won’t be as zany.
FOX also ran a promotion to coincide with the launch of Bob’s Burgers’ first season where a number of Fatburger locations were re-branded to resemble the eponymous locale from the cartoon. The promotion occurred on January 6th, 2011 (the series premiered on January 9th), but many Fatburger locations continued playing dress up and offering specials ripped from the show (like the “Thanks a Brunch Burger”) on their menus well into February.
14. The Show Has Spawned a Comic Book Series
The fact that there’s a Bob’s Burgers comic series that’s published by Dynamite Entertainment might not be that surprising to some people. A lot of popular series— especially cartoons— receive the illustrious treatment and are able to expand their narrative with supplementary comic book series.
However, what’s special about the Bob’s Burgers comics is that they so perfectly tap into the characters, delivering a book that’s conceivably meant to be written collectively by the Belchers themselves. This concept for the comic pulls from a lot of beloved history from the show.
Each comic is broken up into several mini-stories, coming from each of the Belchers. There’s an installment on Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction, a musical interlude courtesy of Gene, a burger recipe from Bob, Linda provides an account of the soap opera-like exploits of King Trashmouth and the other raccoons in the alley, and Louise usually delivers some hard-boiled detective yarn or sci-fi tale to complete the book.
13. Production is Interested in Taking Its Time
Bob’s Burgers is a series that isn’t in a rush to push out its stories. In fact, a series that prides itself in feeling so natural probably shouldn’t try to force a narrative onto its characters just to reach an arbitrary deadline.
Due to this mentality, the Bob’s Burgers’ creative team made the decision very early on to focus more on smaller scale stories and character pieces rather than episodes that pride themselves on their timeliness.
Bob’s Burgers works best when it moves at its own pace. Besides, with other animated programs such as South Park absolutely dominating up-to-the-minute storytelling, Bob’s Burgers would only end up paling in comparison.
Furthermore, it doesn’t need to tell those sorts of stories. Some episodes of Bob’s Burgers have taken up to a year to produce, versus the week that South Park takes for each episode. Playing into these strengths and spending even more time on production has proven to work better than episodes that are rushed together.
12. The Show Has an Intense Musical Presence
Music is as integral to the show as burgers are to Bob’s Burgers restaurant! It’s one of the essential, weird aspects to the series and something that Bouchard has been playing with ever since his days on Home Movies.
Every episode of the series has some new original song that plays over the end credits. On top of this, some of these bangers have been so memorable that big groups such as The National, Hot Hot Heat, and Sleater-Kinney have even performed covers of songs from the show.
If all of that weren’t enough, the performers from the series also have orchestrated “musical tours,” where they’ve gone to cities throughout the United States and featured alternative performances from the works of the series.
All of this has compiled into the show’s impressive two-disc soundtrack, which features over 100 tracks. If there’s any debate over which of these memorable musical numbers is the show’s favorite, they’ve gone on the record to say that it’s “Electric Love.” And honestly, how could it not be?
11. The Show Has Different Opening Credits Every Episode
Bob’s Burgers is a show that’s so dense with comedy that many of the jokes that are crammed into each episode might go unnoticed by most viewers. Audiences have taken great delight in noticing the different “Burgers of the Day” that are on display in each episode, but there are even more rotating gags that are hiding in each installment.
The opening credits for Bob’s Burgers depicts what’s meant to be a typical day for the Belchers. The day-to-day antics of running their restaurant fly by, but while the routine of Bob’s Burgers might be the same, something is changing around them.
Every episode depicts a new struggling business opening up next to Bob’s Burgers that is ultimately plagued by tragedy. Additionally, an exterminator company’s van will drive by in the credits to aid the Belchers with their vermin problem. Each episode features new businesses (with new delicious pun-filled names) filling in those variables, creating a different title sequence each episode. Think of this as a more elaborate, crushing version of The Simpsons’ chalkboard gags.
10. The Show is the Perfect Lovechild of King of the Hill and Home Movies
One of the reasons that Bob’s Burgers has lasted for as long as it has and connected with so many people is because it’s a show about characters from a family, and not about just some elaborate premise.
Bob’s Burgers is a show that’s much more interested in diving into some niche sect of humanity– like LARPers or professional gingerbread house builders– rather than turning to gratuitous jokes or shock comedy in order to mine laughs. It is a show that’s infinitely satisfied with simply shining the light on different slices of life.
Curiously, this exact same approach in storytelling and focus was also in display in King of the Hill and Home Movies, the previous series of executive producers Jim Dauterive and Loren Bouchard, the former of which even ran in the same time slot that Bob’s Burgers currently resides in.
It’s incredibly easy to picture the adventures that the Belchers get in also happening to the Hills or Brendon Small and his group of misfits. Bouchard and Dauterive take everything they learned from their former shows and refine it to an even greater degree in Bob’s Burgers.
9. A Bob’s Burgers Porno Exists
There’s been a strange growing trend in entertainment that if some piece of pop culture hits a certain level of popularity, chances are there’s going to be a XXX porn parody about it. “Bob’s Boners” is 31 minutes of madness that seems more concerned about making gags than being sexy. It’s a thoroughly confusing experience.
The one clear thing about “Bob’s Boners” is that the people behind it are obvious fans of the series. The show’s back-and-forth patter is present, with even characters like Teddy making appearances.
The bulk of the spoof involves Bob and Linda arguing over a “Burger of the Day” special for when the Adult Erotic Con Biz Show comes into town. The rest sees Tina digging into some “erotic butt fan fiction” with Jimmy Jr., which strangely pulls Tina’s love for zombies into the mix. Zombies are definitely a weird angle for the series to embrace, but the entire concept of a Bob’s Burgers porno is so inherently bizarre that each idea is as good as the next. Lord knows what the restaurant’s health inspector, Hugo, would have to say about the health code violations.
8. The Show is Very Popular With Middle-Class and Low Income Families
Data about the people who watch particular television programs can sometimes be difficult to accurately determine. The area can be a goldmine for people like advertisers, who are looking to profit from well-placed commercial spots.
Not long ago, The Wrap conducted a study that looked at information regarding the household incomes of television watchers, with the results spelling out some interesting details about what shows resonate with which brackets of wealth.
The programs that were deemed the “richest shows” were television shows like Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, and New Girl, which report a median income around $80,000 for the households of their viewers. On the other end of the spectrum are shows like American Dad, The Simpsons, and CSI, all of which reported median household incomes around $50,000.
Bob’s Burgers is the “poorest show” of all, though, with its viewers apparently having a median income of $48, 800 as of 2013. With the Belchers being such an accurate, honest depiction of lower middle-class families in America, it’s not hard to see why those with less gravitate to such a show.
7. In Spite of Being Bi-Coastal, The Cast Record Their Dialogue Together
It’s always a luxury when the talent behind an animated series’ voices are able to record their dialogue together. However, due to scheduling and the time restraints, coordinating recordings where everyone is present at once can not only be difficult, but sometimes impossible.
The cast of Bob’s Burgers sees themselves split between the East and West Coast. The bulk of the talent are located in Los Angeles, but there are still a number of them who live in New York (primarily, Jon Benjamin himself). Rather than resorting to the easier method of having actors record their lines separately, the show utilizes an ISDN line so that everyone can connect and record their lines from wherever they are as a unit.
While some might say that this togetherness isn’t a necessary ingredient to the show’s success, Loren Bouchard certainly feels otherwise. Bouchard has spoken about how having everyone record their lines together is integral to creating a natural flow and the feeling of togetherness that fuels the series. Bouchard’s previous series, Home Movies, is another prime example of this– the improvisational, talking-over-each-other conversation flow helps to define Bouchard’s work.
6. Bob and the Rest of the Belchers Appear in an Episode of Jon Benjamin’s Other Series, Archer
Bob’s Burgers is one of the more self-aware cartoons out there. The series is never afraid to make references or hidden jokes in regards to its cast or the behind the scenes workings of production. Sometimes these jokes can come in the form of subtle one-liners– like a toilet that’s voiced by Jon Hamm which makes a sly Mad Men reference. One of the most drastic examples of this takes place when the entire cast of Bob’s Burgers effectively crosses over with Jon Benjamin’s other animated series Archer.
The Archer episode “Fugue and Riff” was a long time coming and masterfully incorporates ideas native to spy and crime thrillers, like amnesia and mistaken identities to weave its narrative. What follows is Archer waking up as Bob, as he tries to figure out how to return to his own life. It’s such a great joy to see Archer-ized versions of the Belchers.
The family also manages to sneak in a few cameos on The Simpsons as well, in “Homerland”, “The Girl Code”, and “The Simpsons Guy”, which also features the cast of American Dad, Family Guy, and The Cleveland Show.
5. The Belchers Live in New Jersey
Bob’s Burgers has had a lot of fun intentionally hiding the location of where the Belchers live. The show’s location is hardly a crucial aspect to the series, but for many seasons the series has operated under the principle that it was better to keep things vague on the matter. Leaving the home of the Belchers as a mystery allows it to become a “Springfield” of sorts, where it’s meant to represent a broader spectrum of the United States rather than just one city.
In spite of the series hiding the exact location, enough details have slipped through the cracks that it’s easy to extrapolate an answer. Additionally, the episode “It Snakes a Village” more or less confirms the fact that the Belchers live in New Jersey.
Loren Bouchard has gone one step further on the matter by adding that the exact city that the Belchers live in is called Seymour’s Bay, New Jersey. Bouchard dropped this bombshell back in 2015 at San Diego Comic-Con, but it’s pretty safe to regard it as canon. De-mystifying their home might be contentious to some Bob’s Burgers viewers, but it’s time for those people to face the cold, confrontational winds of Jersey.
4. There’s a Real Cookbook Based on its Recipes
If Instagram feeds are getting throttled by heaps of delicious, quirky burger photos, then it’s likely that The Bob’s Burgers Recipe Book has had something to do with the trend. The recipe book that’s inspired by the pun-tastic “Burger of the Day” specials that are featured in each episode has quickly become a popular gift for fans of the show or people who simply love to cook.
The interesting story behind The Bob’s Burgers Recipe Book is that it actually started as a project of pure fandom that FOX then graciously chose to partner up with. Back in 2016, Cole Bowden began a blog known as “The Bob’s Burgers Experiment.” The blog had a simple aim: it wanted to create actual recipes for the many specialty burgers featured on the show.
Bowden’s recipes are the perfect mix of deliciousness and simplicity, and it’s easy to see why his efforts were optioned to be turned into a physical collection. The Bob’s Burgers Recipe Book features 75 different burger recipes, but with the popularity that the show is experiencing, it might be time to start working on a volume two.
3. They’ve Openly Discussed How a Spin-Off Won’t Happen
Bob’s Burgers recently celebrated the conclusion of its seventh season, with the show also proudly having well over 100 episodes in the can. It’s not easy for a show to survive this long, especially in the increasingly proliferating television landscape.
When programs do find a dedicated audience and become permanent fixtures on a network, it’s not unusual to begin discussing spin-offs. Just because one show might be hitting a point of diminishing returns doesn’t mean that other characters from the same world can’t have adventures that are just as exciting. Bob’s Burgers has done a great job at fleshing out its supporting cast, but Loren Bouchard has been quite adamant about how a spin-off is not going to happen.
Bouchard has gone as far to say that spreading the Bob’s Burgers universe progressively thin would just be a bad idea. In spite of how the writers have jokingly thought about spin-off possibilities, such as The Jimmy Jr. Dance Party, they’ve never been serious suggestions. Bob’s Burgers works because of the Belchers, so removing them from the equation would be disastrous to the goodwill that the show has built over the years.
2. Tina Was Originally a Boy Named Dan
Would Bob’s Burgers and the Belchers themselves be the same lovable family if one of their most cherished family members were irrevocably transformed? What if that awkward, butt-loving, erotic-fiction-writing member of the Belcher family were turned into a boy? Is that a rabbit hole that’s safe to dive down?
Back in the original demo pilot that was made for Bob’s Burgers, the character of Tina Belcher did not exist. Gene and Louise still had another sibling, but it was just an elder brother named Dan. Dan might look quite different from Tina, but he contained the same idiosyncrasies and same voice from Dan Mintz.
Mintz originally wasn’t on board with his character being turned into a girl, but simply swapping the gender really caused Tina to come into her own and pop. Many of Tina’s defining traits carry more weight because she’s female, with this late-game revision being one of the smartest decisions that the show has ever made. Or maybe Dan Belcher is just locked away in a meat cellar somewhere.
1. The Belchers Were Originally Cannibals
Without a doubt the Belchers are one of the most realistic, relatable families— animated or otherwise— that can be found on television. This makes the revelation that the Belchers were originally supposed to be cannibals all the more shocking. While it’s surely not impossible to make cannibals empathetic characters, it’s a whole lot harder to get audiences on board with a show about a family of flesh-eating murderers.
Back in the demo stage of Bob’s Burgers, the Belchers still ran a family restaurant, only their meat was coming from their victims. The cannibalism wouldn’t have been the focus of the show, but it was understandably a hard sell that FOX eventually told Loren Bouchard and company to ditch (it’s an inclination much more suited for an Adult Swim pilot, not a FOX show).
The Belchers may no longer be cannibals, but as a tip of the hat to their past, the series’ pilot deals with the family being mistakenly accused as cannibals by the health inspector.
What say you, burger junkies? Do you have any other dirt on Bob’s Burgers’ Belchers? Fire up the grill and let us know in the comment section!
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