Home TV TV Lists

Order Up! The Best of ‘Bob’s Burgers’

Series creator Loren Bouchard looks back on his favorite episodes and reveals details about the epic season finale

Bob's Burgers

Courtesy FOX

Since it debuted in 2011, Bob's Burgers has slowly but surely gained a cult following (search for "Tina Belcher" on Tumblr and you'll see what we mean), as well as a reputation for hilariously depicting the exploits of a loving, slightly dysfunctional clan. For the unfamiliar, the show follows Bob Belcher (voiced by  H. Jon Benjamin), the owner of a struggling burger joint in a seaside town, and his family (played by comedy-nerd faves that include Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal). But unlike its family-oriented cartoon predecessors such as The Simpsons and Family Guy, the humor is more reliant on real emotions than rapid-fire pop-culture references.  

Last Laughs: Top 40 Cult TV Comedies

Much of the credit for that goes to creator Loren Bouchard, a former writer for Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist and co-creator of the Adult Swim cult favorite Home Movies. He got the cast on board before writing the show, and makes a point of having his actors record their parts at the same time — the better to capture that family dynamic on screen. "It anchors every moment, to have them all together, pretending to be a family," he explains. Bouchard and his team are hard at work on the show's fifth season, but he took some time to chat about his favorite moments from the series so far, and what's to come in the fourth season's finale on May 18th. By Amy Plitt

Play video

‘Crawl Space’ (Season One)

"I always have a light regret that we didn't use 'Crawl Space' as the pilot. What I like about that one is Bob kind of acts crazy and active, which is a nice place for him to be. We went back to that many, many times in later episodes, and it's fun to kind of see him go off the rails and become this almost, like, Hulk. Bob gets a little crazy when he gets righteous —  that's been part of the DNA of the show from the beginning. I just like the idea of him crawling around inside the walls of his house, and the fact that the apartment is above the restaurant. I like the architecture of Bob's Burgers a lot; I appreciate the care that's gone into the thinking about the background. We've had great artists from the beginning, and you want to inhabit [the spaces], you want to know what connects to what in that world."

Courtesy FOX

‘Sheesh! Cab, Bob?’ (Season One)

"That's one of the first episodes where you sense the depth of Tina's heart. She is a romantic character, and you get it in that episode so well. It was a cheap trick, but using that Thompson Twins song…you could almost be moved to tears by that kiss. It's pretty adorable."

Play video

‘Art Crawl’ (Season One)

"This was a big deal for us. It's kind of a sillier premise — these animal anuses — but it worked perfectly. The story seems organic and silly at the same time, and Bob goes nuts, which is always fun. Plus it's about art! From the beginning, we wanted the show to be a portrait of an artist. Bob's Burgers is not about a guy trying to run a business; it's really about a guy trying to follow his artistic urges. The business isn't struggling because of anything sad-sacky, it's because Bob insists on this certain standard. He doesn't want anyone else working there, he wants to make these burgers of the day, and he may be in the wrong market for that. [Laughs] With the exception of Mort and Teddy, the neighbors may not appreciate the artist in their midst. It's always been important that Bob seems really good; he probably makes fantastic burgers. He will insist on making them the way he likes to make them, and his family completely supports him."

Play video

‘Torpedo’ (Season One)

"I love this partly because it was a morality story, and you really had a feeling for the town and the effect of this landlord. He's sort of a benign devil, and I always like those characters a lot. He's sort of tempting Bob to act immorally — but he also seems to be tempted by Bob to act better as well. Bob is almost as important to Mr. Fischoeder and Fischoeder is to Bob. Even though he's just this humble burger man, we've laced through this idea that he's the moral center of the town."

Courtesy FOX

‘Bob Day Afternoon’ (Season Two)

"It was inspired by a movie, but it wasn't just a riff on a movie. It was filmic, but it was our own story. If nothing else, for the scene where Bob's gonna go bring food to the hostages, and Boscoe the cop is hollering at him, you know, "Come on, we've gotta go," and the family doesn't want to let him go. They're holding on to his legs, and he's trying to shake the kids off his legs, and it's sort of this rising cacophony of voices. You can't write that. You literally can't write that. There's not even a way to put that many lines on a page in that order, but of course ,when you get your actors together, that scene emerged…I wouldn't say they improvised it. They just vomited it up in a perfect little symphony of acting. And you really feel the love of the family in that scene." 

Play video

‘Bad Tina’ (Season Two)

"One of the most important episodes we've done; it's a touchstone, in a way, because we really get to see inside Tina's fantasy life. We started with that in 'Crawl Space' — she's having sexual dreams about zombies, which she gets confused with her grandparents. But we come back to her fantasy life with this Erotic Friend Fiction, which was so satisfying and important for us. The fantasy life of our characters is where we get to be more silly. In a grounded show, you can't take advantage of animation the way you might. You don't have broad, crazy, physical things happening that can't happen in real life: If you fall down it hurts, no one can fly, things like that. But in their fantasies, these characters can go nuts, and we've always had the pleasure of popping into their daydreams and nightmares. Going even further with that and having Tina write her shit down in these notebooks — and to see the stack of them, and how deep and long this goes — was really important for us."

Play video

‘Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks’ (Season Three)

"It's such a good episode, partly because of that sequence in the beginning when she's driving in the parking lot. If it was an episode of just Tina driving around in a parking lot, shot from overhead, making that noise and Bob desperately trying to get her to turn, I would watch it. It's definitely a high point for me."

Courtesy FOX

‘Mother Daughter Laser Razor’ (Season Three)

"This is a really special episode to me because it's really about these two characters who we realized needed to get together — like, Louise and Linda needed to talk some shit out and get on the same page. In a funny way, they were not connected. It was a good premise to go right at this mother-daughter relationship, and to have it all culminate in this great laser tag battle where they work their stuff out and come to an understanding was really satisfying."

Play video

‘Topsy’ (Season Three)

'It's a favorite because of the music — and in particular, because it was Gene's music. We realized, maybe this kid can really put a piece of music together; maybe he's sort of a savant in a way. Why not? So we got this idea that he was going to write for Fischoeder and Gail (voiced by Kevin Kline and Megan Mulally) to sing. I love that in the middle of it, he says maybe we're going to get some kids from band class, or a couple of choir kids, and all of a sudden he's pulling in his backing instruments. It was so fun for me, as a wanna-be musician, to fool around with that stuff. That kind of pointed the way for where we could go with the musical aspects of the show. The Season Five premiere is a full-blown, wall-to-wall musical episode." 

Play video

‘Boyz 4 Now’ (Season Three)

"I like the episodes where Louise is a little vulnerable. We've tried to do a bunch of those; you don't want her to be as invulnerable as she pretends to be. If you try to keep the show grounded, then you periodically have to say, she's a nine-year-old girl. She's got Kristen Schaal's voice coming out of her, she's got an adult sensibility about a lot of stuff, but we look for ways to bring her back down to earth. In 'Boyz 4 Now,' it's her fighting against growing up, which is such a bittersweet place to be. And it's so nice that Tina is her strange ambassador into that world; in some ways, you couldn't ask for a better guide."

Courtesy FOX

‘Fort Night’ (Season Four)

"I love that they're trapped in a cardboard box for the entire episode. It was a high-concept, what I call a 'submarine' episode, but it didn't feel claustrophobic in a bad way. We didn't do an actual bottle episode, but it's fun to try to do our take on that. It was also fun to do this Wes Anderson-y design of this fort, with multiple rooms and floors and decor."

Play video

‘Purple Rain-Union’ (Season Four)

"It was fun to dig deep on Linda's intense drive. Talk about an artist! She's an unfulfilled artist-singer-performer, and it's so fun to just let her rip. She really goes nuts in that episode in a fun way, and to have it come home in the way that Purple Rain did where in the end, it's all about, will he play Wendy and Lisa's song? We liked having Gail in this episode for the same reason; these older siblings, Linda and her sister, can kind of resolve some long-festering problems that they had. It's an extension of storytelling about siblings." 

Play video

‘Bob & Deliver’ (Season Four)

"You really see Zeke (played by Bobby Tilsdale) on his feet. He's one of those great characters that has more depth the more you keep scratching. Zeke can really be somebody that we can lean on, and it's so nice to discover those. First the side character becomes beloved to the writers, and then to the artists, but then there's this long period of loneliness where we're the only ones in the world who feel like we know about him. Then finally, when the episode goes on TV and people say they love Regular-Size Rudy or Mr. Frond or whatever, that's so satisfying — because we're already there."

Play video

‘Christmas In the Car’ (Season Four)

"The animation is executed so well. I really thought we were at a high level of execution for that one. I love seeing everything come together like that. It's really a warm feeling. I imagine that's what it must be like to work on an animated feature: The backgrounds are beautiful, the action is exciting, the jokes are hitting. It's just a well-told story."

Play video

‘The Frond Files’ (Season Four)

"Again, the fantasy life of the kids — being inside their heads for so long is really fun for us. Like, what is Gene's wildest fantasy like? And to see it be Fart School for the Gifted and to have that full-blown, two-minute song in the middle of it about farts was such a fun indulgence for us. We'll go back to that form now that we know what it's like to be there."

Play video

‘Mazel Tina’ (Season Four)

"I was excited about that one partly because it had this great Tina-Louise-Tammy triangle; it was a new kind of story, but it felt totally organic at the same time. And Louise and Tammy are trapped in Tammy's giant head — I guess we like stories where people are trapped in things. To have it be this kind of gift that Louise is giving Tina, that she knows she's stalling so Tina can have her moment in the sun, and then Tina betrays that trust. The poor thing, she didn't know that it was going to be the night of her life. Once you're leading the Conga line for the first time, it's hard to let it go."

Play video

‘Uncle Teddy’ (Season Four)

"That performance by Larry Murphy — and then there's Tina, of course, with her big heart. I like that line at the end, where Teddy says, 'She's just going through a ton of puberty right now!' That's kind of a perfect story — sweet, but silly. I love Paul Rust as Jonas with his melodica. Jonas is a rock that Tina is wrecked on in this episode, and it's great to go there without him being a dark character. He's this dorky guy who isn't trying to break Tina's heart, but he pulls her off course a little."

Courtesy FOX

‘World Wharf II: The Wharfening (or How Bob Saves/Destroys the Town – Part II)’ (Season Four Finale)

"We went for it on this one. It's a two-parter, and it goes back to this idea that Bob — and in some ways, Tina — is the moral center of the town. We tried to thread that needle and do a kind of cliffhanger, to-be-continued episode…not that you have to wait all summer to see the resolution. We fooled around with expanding the world a little bit; we needed a few more villains, and we wanted them to be the way we would do villains, which is to say, hopefully funny and silly but still dangerous. We introduced this brother character, Felix Fischoeder (played by Zach Galifianakis). There's a musical number in each part, and a really dire, really life-threatening story that gets going. We're really interested to see how it all comes out. We went outside of our comfort zone to tell a story across episodes, but it's also got a ton of heart and a ton of music, so hopefully it'll feel comfortable to try on."

Show Comments