Tanner Reviews Bob’s Burgers


200px-Bob's_Burgers_promoWhenever it was first released, I had no interest in watching Bob’s Burgers. This show came out during the height of the Middle Class America Adult Cartoon craze that Family Guy (and by further extension The Simpsons) started. I watched shows like this at best for background music when there was nothing else on and that was the extent of it. When shows like American Dad, The Cleveland Show, and Bob’s Burgers reared their heads… My interest was well below zero. It wasn’t until my roommate turned on Bob’s Burgers earlier this week that I ever got a taste of the show and after sitting through the majority of the episodes… I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised… But not necessarily blown away. Bob’s Burgers as I predicted, has several similarities to shows like Family Guy. A middle class family with several kids each with their own quirks and goofiness trying to get by day-to-day and we get to sit and watch all their crazy wacky antics… But still I cannot deny that this show does have an identity to it that is all its own, a uniqueness that separates itself from Fox Network’s cavalcade of cartoon shows.

Bob’s Burgers is the continual story of the Belcher Family. They are a middle class family living in the seaside town of Wagstaff and owns a Hamburger Restaurant. The family consists of the father Bob (H Jon Benjamin) who is the owner of the restaurant, his eccentric wife Linda (John Roberts), his oldest daughter Tina (Dan Mintz) who is currently going through puberty (which makes up about every joke that surrounds her), their son Gene (Eugene Mirman) who is obsessed with techno music, and finally their youngest daughter, bunny hat wearer, and all around sociopath Louise (Kristen Schaal). Like most family oriented sitcoms, both animated and live action. The show follows the family in their various exploits and problems that come with owning a restaurant and living the good ole middle class life.

Pros

Unlike Other Shows Similar to it, It doesn’t got into Too Many Extremes to Display Comedy

I should add that this is part is centered around Fox Network’s whole animated comedy repertoire. This is really the area where Bob’s Burgers sets itself apart from its other brothers and sisters is the fact that they keep the comedy grounded in a form of reality. Not since King of the Hill have I seen one of their shows really embrace this. Family Guy and American Dad are the worst culprits of this as they rely on characters like Stewie to build world destroying super weapons and time machines to set up a plot point or the alien Roger from American Dad just merely existing as an effeminate alien. Then of course you have the anthropomorphic animals like Brian and The Bear Family from The Cleveland Show to just… exist as anthropomorphic people.

Bob’s Burgers does not use any of these tropes to generate comedy, plot lines, or to bring in viewers and I think this is a good thing. It isn’t like there is anything wrong with any of those aforementioned tropes. On the contrary, I actually quite enjoy many of those characters and the plot points that they create. But I also like it when a show like Bob’s Burgers stays away from jokes like that. They seem to ground their show in some form of reality and by doing so makes the show very relatable. The characters and the setting is enough to tug at the heart-strings of any middle class person who can see themselves easily in the Belcher Family. Small time business owners just living the American Dream. All of this made easier by the fact that a talking walking dog isn’t apart of the family dynamic.

I applaud a show that could so easily fall to using tropes such as this to quickly generate fans to instead focus on the family and how ‘normal’ people can interact with one another.

Louise Belcher

This girl is quickly on a fast track to being one of my all time favorite television characters. It really helps that she is voiced by Kristen Schaal one of the funniest people I have seen in the past couple of years with her work on 30 Rock and The Daily Show just to name a few. But the character of Louise Belcher I cannot help but find to be an adorable, charming, sociopathic, and hilarious monster. Unlike the other two Belcher kids who I do see as having serious social problems, it would seem that Louise firmly understands the norms of society and then breaks them just for the sake of causing absolute chaos. Nobody is immune and nothing is sacred to this girl who just loves to watch chaos and destruction follow in her wake. Not since the Joker from Batman have I seen a character that just wholeheartedly embraces the concepts of chaos and destruction and enjoys it with an adorable gleam in her eyes. This made all the better by the fact that every time you see her on-screen you can’t help but say ‘Awh!’ as you see the adorable little girl reeking havoc on unsuspecting people.

Cons

It Is Still a (Animated) Sitcom Clone

I guess you cannot escape it. Sitcoms are one of those areas where creativity is crushed under foot in favor of the tried and true methods in order to get viewers. It is usually the same. A group of people living life in any given profession and comedy arises from it. This show is no exception as it still does fit in Fox Networks list of animated comedy shows. While I did praise the show earlier for the things that they did different, they still have many of the same dynamics. First off, just like The Simpsons, Family Guy, and The Cleveland Show the family is a five person unit with a husband and wife and three children. Just like Family Guy and The Cleveland Show, the youngest, Louise is the main draw when it comes to comedy due to some quirk that set them apart from kids their age, whether is be superhuman intelligence or sociopathic tendencies.

Just like the other shows, there is a nerd or socially awkward child, in this case the character Tina who has to ‘struggle’ with being socially awkward in a middle/high school atmosphere. Though she is shown to be much more able to cope with this much more than characters like Meg and Steve even being much more of an aggressor than the other two… The fact that she is socially awkward is still there. The middle child just like Cleveland Jr. and Chris is an overweight male who is not only socially inept but seems to blissfully unaware of how bizarre he really is. Just like all of the other series, Bob is the ‘breadwinner’ of the family while Linda the wife is just your basic supporting wife who assists her husband in any way she can unless it becomes a plot point in an episode.

I suppose it all fits into that Slice of Life Americana and the ideas of the old family dynamic that each of these shows tries to satirize. But when it comes to family dynamic each of these characters fulfill the same function and Bob’s Burgers is no exception to this. Because of this, they still feel like a dime a dozen Fox Network Clone.

Conclusion

Bob’s Burgers does do some a few things different than its predecessors but at the end of the day it still has too many tropes that make it another Fox Network cartoon clone. Just like all of the other shows it is decent. It will give you some laughs and will be an enjoyable watch. But if you are expecting something more than what you get out of the shows, you will be disappointed. Though I will give it this, the show does have Louise Belcher who is worth the watch just to see how adorably insane she is.

Final Score 2.5/5

Announcement Time

Thank you for reading and as always if you enjoyed this review then please like and subscribe for more. So we are now in the final month of 2013 and there are still so many video games and movies  that I have not played or watched from this year. So with the exception of the Nerdiest Talk Show on Earth and other videos, the remaining of my reviews are going to focus on video games and movies from this year until we reach the end of December when I will give my list of the Best and Worst Movies and Video Games of 2013 so please return for more.

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