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Odd But Funny 'Bob's Burgers' Is a Good Fit For Fox's Sunday Animation Block

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 8th 2011 2:00PM
'Bob's Burgers'After years of trying to figure out what to pair with 'The Simpsons' and 'Family Guy' on Sunday nights, FOX hit on a successful formula: Give Seth MacFarlane every timeslot after the venerable 'Simpsons.' It works, even if it made the night somewhat monolithic in nature. So any attempt at bringing in other voices to the 'Animation Domination' lineup should be welcomed.

Enter Loren Bouchard, who produced the "squigglevision" cult hit 'Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist' and the short-lived but well-regarded 'Home Movies.' His contribution to the FOX Sunday lineup is 'Bob's Burgers,' which debuts Sunday, January 9 at 8:30PM ET. It's a show that takes its cues as much from Adult Swim as it does its FOX counterparts. But for all of it's irreverence and oddity, there's a sweet tone underneath that makes the show more accessible than most of its AS cousins.

Oh, and it's also pretty damn funny, to boot.

The show revolves around the Belcher family, who run a greasy spoon restaurant in a small shore town. Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) comes from a family of restaurant owners and thinks his burgers are the best ever. He just hasn't had much luck with his business; the first episode has Bob's Burgers celebrating it's "grand re-re-re-opening" after a series of unfortunate incidents. His wife Linda (John Roberts) loves Bob's vision, even if she's getting a bit weary that the business seems to constantly come before her in their marriage.

Bob is not 100% happy that he depends on his kids to help him run the place. "I love you all dearly... but I need to tell you, I'd fire all of you if I could," he says to his kids. The oldest, Tina (Dan Mintz), is a big social misfit; the middle child Gene (Eugene Mirman) fashions himself as a grand entertainer, even if his idea of promoting the business is to make fart noises with his megaphone; the youngest, Louise (Kristen Schaal), really wants Bob's Burgers to succeed, but her "creativity" often makes her dad's life more difficult.

It's that creativity that forces Bob to confront someone from Linda's past in the pilot, who just happens to be a persnickety health inspector. The combination of the inspector's emotions about Linda, the antics of Bob's kids, and the restaurant's location next to a crematorium leads to one of the more unique failing grades ever given to a restaurant, real or fictional.


There are a few issues with the pilot: Benjamin's dedpan voice is so distinctive, fans of 'Archer' or any of his other voice work may have trouble envisioning him as the hapless Bob. And the pilot seems to be a little heavy on the cutaways, extended gags and flashbacks that have been done to death on their schedule-mates.

But there is definitely a warm family vibe under the oddity, something that Matt Groening has been great at but MacFarlane has always struggled to capture. Bouchard has said that he envisioned 'Bob's Burgers' as a replacement for 'King of the Hill,' and I can see where he's coming from. If Mike Judge ever combined the family-oriented 'King' with the more subversive humor of his other major efforts, 'Beavis and Butt-head' and 'Office Space,' he might have come up with 'Bob's Burgers.'

Either way, I found myself laughing hard a few times during the pilot, which is ultimately what is going to make or break this show. Is America ready for a family cartoon with an Adult Swim sensibility? I certainly hope so, because 'Bob's Burgers' deserves a chance to succeed.

'Bob's Burgers' airs Sundays at 8:30PM ET on Fox, starting January 9.

(Follow @joelkeller on Twitter and at www.facebook.com/joelkeller.)

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pinkster88

I think the show is very interesting and I can tell that FOX didn't really edit the comedy that came out of the show. I know over time it's going to evolve into something that all people will embrace. I work and subscribe to DISH Network and I missed a few of the earlier episodes so I went to DISHonline.com and watched it there. For most of the content, you don't need a subscription to watch but for the premium content such as Starz and BBC America, you do. I love it and DISH offers people so much more value that other companies and I'm recommending that anyone who comes across this post to check out DISH and experience a value unseen by any other provider!

*Danielle

April 07 2011 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pinkster88

I think the show is very interesting and I can tell that FOX didn't really edit the comedy that came out of the show. I know over time it's going to evolve into something that all people will embrace. I work and subscribe to DISH Network and I missed a few of the earlier episodes so I went to DISHonline.com and watched it there. For most of the content, you don't need a subscription to watch but for the premium content such as Starz and BBC America, you do. I love it and DISH offers people so much more value that other companies and I'm recommending that anyone who comes across this post to check out DISH and experience a value unseen by any other provider!

*Danielle

April 07 2011 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ddhboy

To me, the show would be better served on a network like TBS than it would be on FOX. The jokes aren't as strong as shows which have historically made up the sunday lineup (The Simpsons, Family Guy, King of the Hill, Futurama). I'd honestly say that it should have been a 15 minute show on Adult Swim, or 30 minutes on TBS.

The next episode really needs to step it up, or I see it joining the long list of cancelled fox programming.

January 14 2011 at 9:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Loli

I loved it - I worry that it won't get the audience it needs from the viewers on FOX right now - basically the same people that got Family Guy canceled when it was on FOX the first time around... because it wasn't funny, it was offensive, etc. Then of course, Adult Swim picked it up for syndication and it became popular enough for mainstream audiences again 5 years after it was canceled. I hope that won't need to happen here... but I'm usually wrong about network audiences. It's nice to see a newcomer... I hope it does well!

January 11 2011 at 3:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Patrick

I'm sorry, but there are people who actually found this show funny? I turned it off halfway through the first episode. The only character that was even close to funny was the little girl.

Let's hope this show doesn't even last a month!

January 10 2011 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard Ott

Burgers and doughnuts? Not a very good combination.
I think this show actually stands a better chance on
Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block than on FOX's
Animation Domination block against a 22-year old
series. Otherwise, despite a full-season order,
Bob's Burgers will be out of business after episode 1.

January 09 2011 at 12:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John F.C. Taylor

Well, another reason to not watch Fox. I like animation, but have not seen any of the current Fox shows by choice.

January 09 2011 at 7:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John F.C. Taylor's comment
Leroy

If you haven't seen them, then you have no business judging them.

January 09 2011 at 10:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris

Home Movies ran for four seasons, so I dunno if I'd call it "short lived."

January 08 2011 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Chris's comment
Eric

Loren Bouchard also did "Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil" which was great but only lasted 12 episodes on Adult Swim.

H. Jon Benjamin voiced the Devil as an alternately befuddled and scary dad in a Crosby sweater.

January 08 2011 at 9:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alex

It's a me too..not funny or cute it's trying too hard. Family Guy is still the funniest lol satire on TV...no one else come near.

January 08 2011 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe Nickel

I think it'll last a month before being pulled from the schedule.

January 08 2011 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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