The National + Bob’s Burgers are your new OTP.
Bob’s Burgers became TV’s most enjoyable show by channeling early Simpsons
Bob’s Burgers is good at so many different kinds of jokes that it sometimes seems to take on the rhythms of a night out with funny friends. It has at least one surrealistic musical sequence in nearly every episode, whether it involves Thomas Edison and an elephant singing a duet or old-person swingers sexing it up in a swimming pool. It features grand visual gags. It features elaborate movie and pop-culture references (as in the wild, weird E.T. riff “O.T.: The Outside Toilet”). It plays around with tropes of both the genre it’s in and the genres of stories it’s seen before. It even has a ridiculous number of puns, more than any television show should be able to get away with in this day and age. It takes all of this, blends it with a genius ensemble cast that rattles off the show’s weird-ass punchlines with aplomb, then builds it on a foundation of real drama and stakes. It feels so impeccably constructed that to take it apart seems as if it should ruin the magic trick of every episode, yet it all seems so easy that it almost doesn’t matter. Bob’s Burgers has always been a good show, but its third season has placed it in the rarified air of TV’s best, a near constant assault of humor, heart, and old-fashioned showmanship. (via)
Last night’s Thanksgiving episode of Bob’s Burgers was great enough, but this morning we get The National’s cover of Linda’s song? This show is perfect.
It’s no secret that Bob’s Burgers is a favorite among the TV Hangover crew and Tumblr in general. It makes sense because not only is the show consistently and uproariously funny, but it’s also so perfectly strange. The characters are comfortably uncomfortable with themselves and it’s one of the few shows on television to reallynail down that awkward feeling of adolescence and portray it with a mixture of laughs and heart. Of course the show is popular on Tumblr, a site where most users embrace their weirdness instead of hiding behind it. This character trait is one that the Belcher children seem to share and the Belcher parents encourage. Scroll through your dashboard and you’re bound to find someone excited about their upcoming Belcher Halloween costume; post a picture of Tina and within minutes you’ll have a ton of “GPOY” reblogs. In addition to the handful of fanmade Bob’s Burgers blogs, the writers themselves created Behind Bob’s Burgers. It’s a refreshing blog, one that isn’t run by an out-of-touch network or a bored intern but rather run by the writers themselves who post exclusive sneak peeks, fan art, give away t-shirts, and (most importantly) engage with the community. They were also kind enough to answer a few of our ridiculous questions.
Much of the cast are accomplished comedians. Is it intimidating to write for them, and how many of their lines are ad-libbed?
JON SCHREODER: Yes, very. But they are as giving as they are hilarious, so it’s not as scary as you’d think. They improvise a lot of their lines, and we keep just about all of the network-friendly ones.
How are you able to balance the absurdity of the comedy with how genuinely charming the relationship within the Belcher family is?
MIKE BENNER: There is a warm, beating, gooey heart at the center of our show. We go to some unsavory places and meet unseemly characters, but there’s always affection for them. The show is really just about a struggling, loving, supportive family that is really amused by one another. But also transvestite prostitutes.
JON SCHROEDER: Luckily, those things seem to go hand-in-hand, which is a credit to Loren Bouchard for creating such wonderfully flawed yet beautiful characters.
How much of Walter & Perry from Home Movies carried over into the creation of Ollie & Andy Pesto? What’s so successful about that dynamic?
JON SCHROEDER: You’re living in the past, man. Get with the times.
Have any of you worked in the food industry? Tell us a story about something odd/awful that happened during that job.
WENDY MOLYNEUX: I used to work at The Squat & Gobble, which is a breakfast place in the Upper Haight in San Francisco. One day a homeless woman came in seeming pretty agitated and started picking off people’s plates pretty aggressively. I told her I’d make her a big box of food if she’d wait outside. Feeling pretty full of myself about my altruism, a few minutes later I took her a styrofoam container filled with home fries, etc. She took it, looked me square in the eye and said, “Thank you. When you get off work today, I’m gonna come back here and stab you in the heart.”
KIT BOSS: Before becoming a TV writer, I worked in a slaughterhouse. However, nothing odd or awful ever happened in my six years there. It was a beautiful, ennobling experience, and I miss it every day.
MIKE BENNER: I’ve never worked in a restaurant, but I did grow up working in my family’s hardware store for most of my childhood. One night, my brother was ringing up an old lady at the register when I noticed a well-dressed but not fully with it old man smoking a cigarette in the store. Then I noticed turds rolling out of his pant leg. He was smoking, pooping, and standing in the plumbing aisle, muttering to himself. I didn’t know what to do, other than to ask him to finish his cigarette outside, and he shuffled out the front door. As I was cleaning up the poop, the old lady from earlier asked what I did with her husband was, as if I murdered him. I told her I asked him to finish his smoke outside, and she yelled at me that he was a veteran and should be allowed to smoke wherever he wants. I was already cleaning up her husband’s poop, so I felt maybe she could have been a bit nicer. Is that awful enough?
JON SCHROEDER: Do the words “employee of the month, May of ‘92 at the San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf TGI Fridays” mean anything to you?
Has anyone actually attempted to make the Meatsiah?
JON SCHROEDER: Yeah, John Madden. It’s replaced his Turducken.
Weirdest thing in your writers room?
MIKE BENNER: A Hamburglar cookie jar that contains the soul of writer Scott Jacobson. If the cookie jar breaks, he dies.
JON SCHROEDER: Two competing medical-type drawings of how farts are made, on a white board that is supposed to be used for story breaking.
KIT BOSS: We have several splinters of the True Cross, an early landscape painting by Adolph Hitler, a life preserver from the S.S. Andrea Doria, and a Hamburglar cookie jar. But the most unusual thing is probably an early draft of a “Bob’s Burgers” Season 1 script with no fart jokes.
Have you ever worried that there are a finite number of burger puns?
JON SCHROEDER: No Whey (served on a bun with no whey)
What shows did you grow up watching?
JON SCHROEDER: Cheers, Family Ties, Miami Vice, Alf, Get a Life, Bakersfield PD.
MIKE BENNER: Cheers, The Simpsons, Get A Life, Night Court, Seinfeld, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Saturday Night Live… I had a habit of faking sick at least one day a week to stay home and watch reruns of Hogan’s Heroes, Abbot & Costello, and perhaps most embarrassingly, Mama’s Family.
Tumblr is full of Bob’s Burgers related blogs — Texts From Bob’s Burgers, Ask Tina Belcher, Of House Belcher, etc. — and the show has a huge fanbase on the site. Were you conscious of this before you decided create a Tumblr? Do you think that Tumblr (and other social media sites) has had a big impact in bringing attention to the show?
MIKE BENNER: Tumblr is great because it seems like it sits at the crossroads of superfandom and creativity. It’s not enough for people on Tumblr to be fans of something, they have to create stuff about it, which is great. Ask Tina Belcher is funny and infinitely flattering and makes us feel nice in our inside parts. Natasha Allegri is a super talented artist on Adventure Time who’s really big on Tumblr, and she does a bunch of great Bob’s Burgers fan art that we enjoy. We love it all and we love the people that create it, which is why we started a Tumblr that exists pretty much solely to give t-shirts to those people.
What is your dream TV crossover episode? We’ve all voted Bob’s Burgers meets SVU.
MIKE BENNER: SVU is a show about sex crimes against children so I don’t even want to think about how it relates to Bob’s Burgers, you sickos.
Who is your dream guest celebrity voice to get on the show?
MIKE BENNER: Um, Kevin Kline, much? What more do we need?
JON SCHROEDER: Samuel Jackson, Sir Ian McKellan, Carol Burnett.
What was it like when you got the call (or email? telegram? whatever) to join the staff of Bob’s Burgers?
JON SCHROEDER: An answer to prayer. I really, really wanted this job. I was vacationing in Mexico, which I couldn’t afford when I got the good news. Lots of cerveza followed.
MIKE BENNER: That was the day I finally stopped cutting. Thanks, Loren and Jim.
While all of the characters have dedicated fanbases, it seems that Tina Belcher became the breakout — especially on the internet. Why do you think it is that viewers latched on to her the most?
JON SCHROEDER: I think she’s just very relatable. She is honest, wears her heart on her sleeve, delightfully nerdy and destined for greatness.
MIKE BENNER: Tina is the embodiment of everyone’s awkward teenage years. But unlike teenage me, teenage you, and teenage everyone else, she is almost pretty much okay with who she is as a person. She’s not ashamed of being really into horses and writing erotic fan fiction. I wish I was like Tina when I was a teenager. I wish I was like her as an adult.
Who decides the name of the store to the left of Bob’s Burgers for every title sequence?
JON SCHREODER: David Schwimmer. Loren Bouchard lost some weird parlour bet to him.
KIT BOSS: Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Barbara Hackman Franklin.
MIKE BENNER: All the storefronts so far have been failed business that Loren Bouchard has actually owned, operated, and subsequently closed.
What’s your alcohol of choice and best hangover remedy?
JON SCHROEDER: Beer, and Beer with an Advil floater.
MIKE BENNER: Any bourbon drink that grandmas like: Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Whiskey Ginger, whatever. As for hangover remedies, I find going for a nice long drive before I go to bed helps me avoid hangovers in the morning.
Bob’s Burgers airs Sundays at 8:30 on Fox. Be sure to check out the trailer for their upcoming Halloween episode (which we’re already predicting will go down in history as one of our favorite holiday episodes). You can follow the writers on both Tumblr and Twitter.
This entire week is basically just the internet walking around dejectedly and kicking rocks at railroad tracks while we all impatiently wait for Breaking Bad but in the meantime, here are some things to temporarily occupy your mind:
- You can now watch the pilot for The New Normal on NBC’s website. It’s definitely not my favorite new show so far (okay, fine, it’s my least favorite but only because I haven’t seen The Neighbors yet) but what else are you going to do for twenty minutes? Something that doesn’t involve broad stereotypes, unforgivable dialogue, and a token sassy black woman? That’s cool, I guess.
- Or, if you somehow missed them yesterday, you can head over to Hulu (which has been awesome lately) and watch the pilots for The Mindy Project, which was slightly disappointing but maybe it’ll pull a New Girl and get better, or Ben and Kate, which was surprisingly enjoyable and so charming that I didn’t mind the pilot predictability.
- But really your best bet is to watch Slacktory’s supercut of all the shouting in The Newsroom which is the only time I’ve ever enjoyed anything in The Newsroom.
- As for words: Huffington Post has your Bluth family fix of the day with ’Arrested Development’ On Netflix: Reasons To Be Glad (And Afraid) That It’s Returning, a fond look back on the show and some apprehension about the new episodes.
- The AV Club has been reviewing Home Movies which you should definitely read —and also [re]watch the series via Netflix Instant. It’s a show that goes well with the transition from summer into fall, a time that most people associate with growing up, because it’s one of the smartest and most honest shows I’ve ever watched about childhood.
- That said, it makes sense that Home Movies co-creator Loren Bouchard went on to create Bob’s Burgers. All of the Belcher children are fantastic but Tina is, hands down, my favorite adolescent character to pop up on television in years. “Uhhh…”: Negotiating Tina Belcher’s Sexuality is an interesting article that you should read so we can all sit around and discuss Tina for hours.