I. Love. Animation. In any form and in any genre. I think everything should be animated and even when I write, my stories as I picture them are always animated, which gives a cartoony flavour to all of my screenplays, for the best and for the worst. Why am I telling you this? No particular reason, except maybe to explain the fact that I’ve been talking mostly about animation in the past few weeks. This week: Bob’s Burgers.
I know the show is in its fourth season, but I can be pretty slow to get into the good stuff. The most important thing is that now, I’m on board and I’m caught up. So let’s talk about it.
Animated family sitcoms are a popular genre, kind of. They have their audience. Of course, the most well-known example of that particular genre is The Simpsons, the 25 seasons show that also happens to be one of my favourite shows ever. The Simpsons did a lot for television in their time. For example, you are probably aware that our favourite dysfunctional family opened the door for series like South Park to be created. I still have a hard time believing that nowadays, the little revolution that The Simpsons was at the time is considered tame (if you said « lame », I will make sure to find you and personally crush your soul). The Simpsons have been going on for way too long now, and the only reason the show is still on air is that it is now part of a franchise that can’t just be dismantled. Plus, be honest with yourself for a second: wouldn’t it be weird to turn on the TV knowing that The Simpsons are not going to have new adventures anymore?
Anyway. At this point, you are probably wondering why I’m talking about The Simpsons when I announced that this article was going to be about Bob’s Burgers. Well, the reason is really simple: I think Bob’s Burgers is the new Simpsons.
Don’t believe me? Well, it’s true that American Dad and Family Guy have been around for a longer period of time, but none of them really hooked me the way Bob’s Burgers did. To be totally honest, I never found American Dad and Family Guy that good, or even that funny. I know that I can’t ask Seth MacFarlane to be Matt Groening. I know that what the dude finds hilarious usually happens somewhere under the belt and that some people are big fans of that kind of humour. Hell, I love sex jokes… when they’re actually good. Yes, Roger was funny, he was the only really funny thing in American Dad, along with that one episode where the Mom discovers that her husband has been hypnotizing her for the past 15 years to keep her a bored housewive. Yes, in Family Guy, Stewie was amusing for a bit, but I always hated the way the show made fun of Meg because she was « ugly ». Haha. Laugh, audience. Ugly people are so damn hilarious. Got it? Because they’re not pretty. Note that if you don’t get the joke, you don’t need to run to the hospital. You are just an effing normal human being.
It honestly got to a point where I considered the animated family sitcom genre dead, for a while. I watched my favourite episodes of The Simpsons on repeat at night, wrapped up in a blanket and dreaming of a future where good jokes would be written.
Then, Bob’s Burgers arrived and it was like a bowl of fresh air. Or, you know, a homemade burger after years of fast food. It really reminded me of the golden age of The Simpsons right away. Yes, it is animated and thus, can go way further than a live action show, but it is still rooted in reality. It takes every day situation and just elaborates from them. It’s creative, it’s well written, and it’s really, really funny. And the characters? Damn, I love all of them. The parents are crazy and the kids are crazier… and still act like actual kids. I guess that’s also what I hated about American Dad or Family Guy: the characters in those shows were just poorly written caricatures of what people actually are. In Bob’s Burgers, yes, they are exagerated a bit, but you can also identify with them. Just like, at the time, we could tell what character of The Simpsons we were. I was Lisa. In Bob’s Burgers, I am mostly Tina, with a touch of Louise. By the way, I want to thank the show for breaking the stereotype of the innocent nerdy girl. Nerdy girls are horny all the time and it was about time that someone finally said it.
Bob’s Burgers is hilarious, touching at times, and makes me believe that the animated sitcom has a future again. If you’re not already a fan, go watch it and make sure to come tell me which character you identify with the most.