BOB’S BURGERS: THE COMPLETE 1ST SEASON
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Additional bonus features include two Fox Movie Channel bits, one looking at what it was like to grow up with your parents doing “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and the other as a spotlight on Jason Lee. Last fall, “Bob’s Burgers” filled the slot in the Fox animation block that was previously held by “King of the Hill.” Like the other shows in that block, this animated series is not for the kids, but it features them in the most uncomfortable of situations. The show follows a family that runs and lives above a burger restaurant in an unnamed coastal town. The family struggles to keep their business afloat while the parents deal with the crazy nature of the kids.
What started with “The Simpsons” more than twenty years ago has blossomed into a huge enterprise for Fox. It continues to dominate the marketplace in adult-natured cartoons with only and occasional cable series like “South Park” or something from the Adult Swim line to give it any competition.
With the shows from Seth MacFarlane crowding the marketplace, this is a welcome break from what has become the standard (and it plays so much fresher than that “Cleveland Show” spin-off). It’s a more subtle comedy than either “The Simpsons” or the MacFarlane line, throwing in a lot of dry humor from the parents. The zaniness and freshness comes from the children, mainly because they don’t feel like retreads of other animated, inappropriate children from other shows.
Making jokes about child molesters, puberty, necrophilia, cannibalism and good, old-fashioned murder, “Bob’s Burgers” doesn’t shy away from topics. Still, it’s not overtly a gross-out show, either.
The anchor of the show is Bob, voiced by H. John Benjamin, whom many people will recognize as the voice of Archer in his own series. In fact, I like to think of this series as a long-form undercover assignment for Isis in a parallel universe where Sterling Archer is actually a committed spy.
However, the charm comes from the kids. The obvious one is Louise, voiced by Kristen Schaal (oddly enough, the only woman who voices one of the three main female roles). She’s the Bart Simpson or Eric Cartman of the bunch, playing dangerously precocious and manipulating situations. However, the son Gene, who seems to be a bit of a moron with some alarming health problems, has some great moments too.
But I think my favorite character is the other daughter, Tina, who was originally conceived as a boy. After reworking the character, the show kept the male voice but made her a girl budding into her own pubescent sexuality. She’s as awkward as they come, and she the driest of the bunch in terms of humor, but this makes her one of the most unique animated sit com kids I’ve seen in a while.
It’s not the most watched show in the Fox animation block, but it should be. “Bob’s Burgers” has great potential and already has shown some excellent humor in its first season.
The DVD set comes with 13 episodes on two discs. Special features include audio commentary on all episodes, audio outtakes for two episodes, the original demo with an introduction by the series creator, a music video and a spotlight on Louise as she explains how the command structure works in her family.