For those of us who are familiar with Bob’s Burgers, let’s all agree on one thing: it’s awesome.
For the “Bob’s Haters,” fine.
We’ll agree to disagree, but stick around because what I have to say may give you a new lens.
For those who haven’t seen it, I’ll tell you one thing: it’s awesome.
First, let’s get past one thing. The family’s last name is Belcher. That’s right. Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene, and Louise Belcher. (Probably a fact that has been brought up by the Bob’s Haters a time or two).
Despite the crude name, which admittedly appeals to my sense of humor, there is one more thing that stands out in this family.
I’m going to coin a term here. I will call it the “crazy family fallacy” – the belief that one’s own family is the CRAZIEST compared to ALL other families.
We’ve all met someone who claims their family is crazy only to find that the claim is…bullshit.
Playing devil’s advocate, I suppose the straight-laced folks are crazy in their own way, but that type of crazy doesn’t apply to the Belchers. They’re nuts. And I’ll break down the family one Belcher at a time.
From the opening credits, we see that Bob is, at best, a bit of a jinxed man, with the joke being the “re- re- re- opening” of his struggling burger joint. His monotone voice and blank expression illustrates his perpetual exhaustion of trying to compete with his mortal enemy’s neighboring restaurant while raising his three kids. Bob’s landlord makes frequent visits, usually to complain about Bob’s inability to make his rent on time. I’m experiencing secondary trauma just writing this.
The darling wife of Bob Belcher: funny gal, devoted wife, attentive mother, margarita lover—What’s not to adore about Linda? She is a tall glass of optimism with a New York accent. She’s boisterous, funny and full of Linda-wisdom: “No one who had a great childhood stands like that.” Though this sounds like a pitch for the Linda fan club, like all the Belchers, she’s flawed. As anyone with a big personality can attest to, Linda rides the fine line between being exuberant and being downright overwhelming— we can usually look to Bob for his input on the matter.
The eldest of the Belcher children, Tina is living (/surviving) “the awkward years”. Did anyone else just break out in hives or experience something that may be classified as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Moving on. Outwardly timid and socially awkward, Tina writes erotic literature with a major focus on zombies, butts, and Jimmy Jr. (who just so happens to be the son of Bob’s mortal enemy previously mentioned). Like her siblings, she’s paid less than minimum wage to work at the family’s restaurant.
Gene Belcher is the blissfully oblivious middle child, and only son, of Bob and Linda. He’s frequently engaged in quarrels or challenges with his younger sister, Louise, and often gets manipulated into her master plans…most of which end in disaster. Gene is purposefully portrayed as a bit of a dim-wit, even forgetting the name of his family’s restaurant (Bob’s. Burgers.) when he’s given the opportunity to earn some free publicity at a locally-aired minor league baseball game.
Louise is the youngest Belcher, and the hungriest for adventure. She’s mischievous and too clever for her own good. She holds authority over her older siblings with her manipulative little mind, and gives adults a run for their money—especially her own parents. (Earmuffs Bob’s Haters!) There’s even an episode where Linda and Bob (and his pill-induced prolonged erection) have to go rescue their trapped daughter after her failed attempt to find buried treasure. Louise is a handful—an entertaining and engaging handful.
So why bother with the character summaries?
Because each member of the Belcher is a pain in the ass and downright weird in their own way; and yet—they wholeheartedly love and accept each other. Love stands out among the Belchers. A successful family unit requires balance among the personalities of its members. Most of us can agree that sometimes the balance is thrown off, and sometimes the result is a full-blown battle. While the Belchers frequently tip the balance, we never see them really “lose it” as a unified family. There’s no explosive arguments or grudges, only temporary sprawls and eye-rolls. Why? Because while Bob shrugs off the fact that his daughter Tina fantasizes about intimacy with zombies, or that Gene has an IQ of useless, each Belcher accepts each other.
We may not like every quality of every member of our nuclear family, and we may not all get along. What we must practice within our family is acceptance and forgiveness. Next time you tune into Bob’s Burgers, view it through the lens of family. We should find what it is that keeps this family a team, and begin to apply it to our own relationships. And don’t worry; sometimes this can involve a margarita or two.