May 24, 2016

TV Recap: Bob's Burgers - "Secret Admiral-irer"

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.

Well, here we are at the end of another season of Bob's Burgers. With this week producing two episodes, including the 100th episode, it's quite a way for the season to go out. For the first episode, there's "Secret Admiral-irer," which is an episode that reflects the nutty and twisted logic of Bob's Burgers condensed with a great guest star (Cloris Leachman) and a plot that is insane enough to work. For a season that has given us a lot of highs, it's nice to know that the show still has some firepower on the home stretch.
The episode opens with the kids coming home from school. Tina (Dan Mintz) tries to befriend Jimmy Jr. (Jon Benjamin), who is more concerned about the downpour of rain that's expected. Tina decides that what she needs to do in order to bond with people is to join a group. This pits her into seeing an old woman who lives at a retirement home named Meryl (Leachman). She is old, bashful, and going blind. Tina begins to read her mail, which leads her to discover that there's mail regarding an old admiral who wants to befriend her. Tina, feeling lovelorn as it is, decides to pursue the conversation further. This is occasionally interrupted by Meryl's grandson, who is always getting money from them.
Meanwhile, Bob (Benjamin) befriends a series of chefs who want to eat at his place. The only catch is that they will do it at midnight. Bob thinks that he can handle it, but finds himself immediately wrecked as they do fanciful cooking and make quite the mess of the downstairs restaurant. Bob ends up vomiting for most of the morning before revealing that he is going back out around midnight with them. He likes it despite his woe, believing that he has found his people. However, he eventually comes to avoid these people as he becomes catatonic due to lack of sleep.
Meanwhile, Tina begins to hear complaints from Meryl. She is missing her necklace and is worried that someone is stealing from her. Tina, with help from Louise (Kristen Schaal) and Gene (Eugene Mirman), decides to get a detective (Gary Cole) on the case, believing that it is her grandson. Meanwhile, they try to figure out how to appease Meryl, who is expecting a romantic evening. They decide to dress up the catatonic Bob, who goes along with it despite being a little unconvincing. It turns out that there really was an admiral, and Bob drops the routine. Bob ends the episode by having Linda (John Roberts) convince Bob's friends that he's dead.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Overall, it's nice to know that Bob's Burgers is going into its 100th episode with a strong and shifty episode. While I admit that the series doesn't hold the charm that it once does, it definitely has found a way to do clever and smart things in recent episodes. In this case, it's about finding a way to make Tina more empathetic by making her reach out to others to help them find love. Her love life may still remain unresolved, but there's something endearing about seeing her feel passion for this woman whose final years of life can have one last moment of happiness.
Considering how much of the series focuses on the awkwardness that is Tina, it is nice to see her being selfless in ways that aren't bumbling or ill conceived. The gist of the episode is sincere, as the idea of robbing old people isn't that off the wall. In fact, the whole episode seemed to be set up perfectly that the criminal was the most obvious suspect. Everything about the construct of this episode has plenty of weight. In fact, it also helps to add to the final twist, which inevitably finds the show experiencing one of those rare moments of happiness. The twist isn't that there's some delusion of it, much like the previous episode, but that sometimes you have to go out on a limb to enjoy your life. 
Meanwhile, it's nice to see Bob trying to find social circles to interact with. He definitely deserves to have friends in the food community. It is also nice to see him rather happy despite the curse of having to lose sleep and focus. He is aging, and the idea of all night parties doesn't hold the weight that it once did. Instead, it throws him into a mess, making it a concern that he would have a social life. Considering that the juxtaposition is Meryl finding true love, the real irony is how Bob manages to end up unfulfilled, choosing to tell his friends that he is dead rather than live with a changed up schedule that would more allow him to enjoy their company.
Overall, this episode packs everything together in a way that the show has done very well. I am looking forward to seeing the 100th episode, if just to see what they do. Considering the incessant comparisons to The Simpsons that I have made, it would be exciting to see if it's a major event episode along the lines of "Bart's biggest prank." But what can the show do that is so shocking while staying within character? There's a lot of things to consider here, and I am looking forward to covering it. Stay tuned for that recap, as well as closing season thoughts tomorrow afternoon.

No comments:

Post a Comment