Finally, more Bob’s Burgers episodes! Was that really too much to ask, Fox?
I missed this episode on Sunday because, without much warning, it was scheduled for 9:30 instead of 7:30, and the 16th instead of the 23rd. Let’s hope it stays on the 9:30 timeslot, where no football game can touch it.
I’ve been waiting since the premiere for a good Belcher-centric season five episode, and I’m beyond happy with “Friends with Burger-fits”, even if it lacks the cinematic climaxes of “Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl” and “Tina and the Real Ghost”.
One of the most consistently hilarious things about Bob’s Burgers is the family’s relationship with Teddy, and Teddy himself. Next to Tina, Teddy is my favourite character, and just like Tina, his appeal lies in his lack of confidence and a sad, sweet sort of loneliness. Teddy is the Bill Dauterive of Bob’s Burgers--a pathetic, middle-aged, chubby loser past his prime, a tragic optimist who lives alone and has to invent fake relatives to keep him company (Teddy letting the Belcher kids keep their bikes in his garage so he can pretend they belong to his fabricated children is one of the funniest and saddest things the show has ever done: “Who’s your favourite?” “Jeremy”, says Teddy without hesitation. “He needs me the most; the twins have each other”).
When a guilty Bob has a nightmare of Teddy’s heart bursting due to eating nothing but burgers, he cuts off Teddy’s burger supply and agrees to become his workout buddy while simultaneously denying that he and Teddy are best friends. To Bob’s chagrin, Teddy signs them up for an intensive stuntman bootcamp in the woods. After a grueling training session that involves falling down stairs while pretending to be a drug dealer, jumping through glass and, inexplicably, setting Teddy on fire, Bob finally caves and admits to the bootcamp organizers that Teddy is his best customer, not his best friend, while Teddy overhears, heartbroken. Teddy escapes to Dusty’s Feedbag, his new favourite restaurant, and attempts to commit a sort of calorie-suicide by consuming a gigantic cheeseburger. Bob rushes to Teddy’s rescue in a scene that’s surprisingly not as over-the-top as, say, the mechanical shark scene in “The Deepening”. Instead, Bob sincerely informs Dusty that, yes, while it is large from all that cholesterol, Teddy has the biggest heart of anyone he knows because he’s incredibly sweet. Touched at Bob’s admission (and his willingness to once again be injured by jumping through a plate glass window after wrestling the cheeseburger from Dusty), Teddy offers to carry Bob over the threshold of the restaurant–that magical place where Teddy may be Bob’s best customer, but consequently, his true best friend. It’s a touchingly understated study of bro-love.
In a great B-plot, the Belcher kids create a skating rink in the basement after a failed attempt to freeze a fart. Linda, upon discovering that the kids and their friends love pushing each other on the ice (after an initial fear that “they’re doing drugs to each other!”), outfits them with safety gear and referees a sort of Beyond Thunderdome/ice roller derby tournament. Linda’s aggressively enthusiastic glee at pitting the kids against each other is matched only by her motherly compassion every time a kid gets eliminated, and the final results are, obviously, amazing.
Linda was on fire tonight, from her instant recitation of the plans she’s come up with in the event that Bob commits murder (“Alright, the car’s gassed up, that’s good… I guess I could homeschool the kids…”) to her impromptu “best friends forever” song (“Feed him soup when he breaks his jaw/help him pee when he has that thing!”). There’s no real character development and we don’t see a side of Linda or the kids we aren’t already aware of, but it’s funny as hell. I’m basically happy with any Bob’s Burgers episode that prominently features Linda belting out at least two off-the-cuff musical numbers. Bonus points if she’s off-beat and nothing rhymes.