Apr 19, 2016

TV Recap: Bob's Burgers - "Hormone-iums"

Welcome to TV Recap, in which we look at modern shows and analyze them on an episode-to-episode basis. This one focuses on the cartoon sitcom Bob's Burgers, a very funny show that is capable of rivaling old school Simpsons in terms of irreverent humor and off the wall zaniness. With a cast of modern alternative comedian heroes, the story follows the Belchers as they run a burger joint. Join me as I take part in dissecting the show in its first full season. Check back on Tuesdays for the next exciting installment.

For the most part, Tina (Dan Mintz) has been the runaway favorite on Bob's Burgers. It's likely for good reason, too. She has embodied the awkward, hormonal teenager better than most other series. She wants to know what love is, yet is too naive to actually enjoy it when she finds it. In this episode, she finds out what happens when she has some dreams that excise her from an already exclusive group. It's an episode that focuses around her singing, and it brings out the best in her as well.
The episode begins with Tina in the Hormone-iums: a group at Wagstaff that perform teenage sexual awareness songs as written by Mr. Frond (David Herman). They're not very good and exist solely to tell students to not kiss each other. When a solo drops out, Mr. Frond turns to Tina to take up the mantel. She does, and becomes ecstatic at the idea that she will be living her dream, even if it has only existed for a few days. However, it leads her into a musical about how kissing leads to death, which greatly upsets her and gets her rejected from Jocelyn's (John Roberts) party. She becomes worried, wondering if the chance to be lead solo forever is worth the excision.
After talking to Bob (Jon Benjamin), she discovers that if she doesn't agree with the politics of the play that she should probably quit. Instead of doing such, she decides to perform the musical with an added twist. She will add a note at the end that suggests that kissing doesn't cause death. This gets Jocelyn to switch her opinions on Tina not going to her party. However, Tina's precision when it comes to spinning the bottle does cause her to be somewhat of a nuisance in a different manner.
Meanwhile, Bob is emptying out the lost and found bin from Bob's Burgers. When he finds a shoe, they try and figure out who it belongs to. Linda (Roberts) decides to put a wine bottle in and suggests selling it to the Fischoeder brothers (Kevin Kline and Zach Galifianakis). However, neither accept and Linda feels a little downtrodden by her lack of success. However, she later discovers that someone made the shoe a few years prior, making her happy that she came up with an idea that somebody did want to buy - just not from her.


Rating: 4 out of 5


I have to admit that I personally am hit and miss when it comes to Tina. Much like most of these characters, I do think that they're a little one note at times, and it does result in a certain predictability. I think that Tina's character is essentially one who loves butts and boys. There's nothing wrong with it, but that's generally the extent to her character on a weekly basis, and it does sometimes keep me from liking her more. However, I do admit that I like when she gets her own episodes. It definitely brings out the best of her in fascinating ways.
I don't know that I care for Tina singing as it is. However, I do like that she is seen here standing up for herself. As a character who is often submissive and doesn't have the authority to say anything, it is exciting to see her attack the establishment by suggesting that they're teaching kissing wrong. She believes that it is a normal thing, and thus proceeds to reflect that. She is a compelling character, and her quasi-empowerment conversation with Bob was a rather funny yet awkward moment. She does well when she's addressing her own issues, and here she gets to do so with gusto. She must sacrifice a career for her interests, and she does it rather well.
Most of all, I enjoy that she was giving the predominant episode to focus on her own issues against the other characters. As it stands, they're as mixed bag as Tina is for me. I am all for Tina making a difference, but I don't really care for her peers. They all seem even more one note. Still, I like that she manages to win them back in the only way that she knows how. Considering that these type of shows (anti-sex shows that is) are very contrived as it is, it's nice to see Bob's Burgers taking it on with the same ease as they did Thomas Edison a few years prior. 
I can also say that for a supporting plot, this week's one was among the more tolerable. I don't know that there's much to dissect, but I like that the family is trying to make a product that is appealing to a mass audience. It's an ingenious one, and it manages to work for comedy as they try to convince everyone that it is a good idea. To some extent, it is. However, it's still a baffling concept that most people could make at home. It was also nice to see the Fischoeders complaining about the Belchers not paying rent. It's a great hypocrisy that reflects the problematic corner of this particular plot. Still, I am glad that they resolved it in a rational way.
With this looking to be Bob's Burgers shortest season since the first somehow, it is bittersweet to see the season getting to an end already. It could just be that I consider it unfair how many shows have gotten more episodes than them. Still, the overall impact of the season has been pretty strong and I am glad to see that the show is developing something of a heart and authority in its characters that results in some of the more endearing late series episodes. Considering that I don't see this lasting as long as The Simpsons, it's impressive to see that it got to 100 episodes at all. It's also nice that Tina got yet another episode to reflect why she can be one of the most effective members of the cast with the right story.

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