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The Belchers are a loving family. A weird family, but a loving family none the less.
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The first episode has Linda and the kids reassuring Bob that despite all his failures, the fact that he's pursuing his dream of a burger shop makes him better than Hugo who never had a dream at all.
Sheesh! Cab Bob?
Any time Bob does something crazy for his children's sake (and for his wife, as seen is the dinner theater episode). It happens a LOT for Tina in the first half of Season 1. Fighting Jairo? Check. Shaving off his mustache for her? Check. Bob may think his family is crazy (and they are), but he'll do anything for them, and it's both hilarious and sweet. Tina put it well.
Tina: Jimmy Junior isn't gonna make this party perfect. You already have.
Speaking of "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?Ē the characterization of the transvestite hookers in that episode is actually kind of sweet. A lesser show (like Family Guy) would've treated them as walking punchlines (and indeed, their seedy lifestyles do contribute to some of the episode's humor) but never once does Bob - or anyone - dehumanize or stereotype them. In fact, not only did they briefly become Bob's drinking buddies and may have gotten him to try crack, they wound up giving Tina a heartfelt pep talk near the end of the episode. Loren Bouchard, in his A.V. Club interview about the series, does mention that, in the Bob's Burgers world, the people considered "weird" (including those who are considered "weird" because of their sexual preferences and/or gender identity) aren't written or treated like walking punchlines and Bouchard and his writers actually put some effort into making them human and three-dimensional.
In the same vein (and combined with Awesome Moments), the fact that Tina Belcher is probably the most realistic, human look at a teenage girl in an animated family sitcom in comparison to other shows on the Animation Domination line-up (past and present): Lisa Simpson has become an insufferable Soapbox Sadie, Meg used to be like Tina, but has since become a Butt Monkey (though some later episodes of Family Guy like "Meg Stinks!" and "Seashore Seashell Party" do show a more human side to her, even if it doesn't last), Luanne and Roberta Tubbs were just the kind of brainless fanservice that most TV shows have for teenage/20-something daughtersnote and Luanne wasn't really the Hills' daughter; she was their niece/cousin who lived with them because her parents were put in jail, and Hayley from American Dad! was pretty much Demoted to Extra after the writers decided to stop making fun of politics. It's just so refreshing to see.
Spaghetti Western and Meatballs
Louise crying because Bob and Gene won't hang out with her anymore. Made even more heartwarming because of her usualpersonality.
Also Bob and Gene's interaction in this episode, bonding over a series of films.
There's something sweet about Gene's reasoning for why he couldn't remember the name of the restaurant when given the opportunity to do free advertising. As he describes it: "Well, I call you Dad! I think of it as Dad's Burgers!" That's... actually really sincere for a child Gene's age.
Tina suggests a Hug-o-War as a way to determine who gets the Jawbreaker. Gene instantly squeezes Louise in a big hug yelling, "I love you! I love you!" Louise is unaffected by how sweet this is.
Later in the episode, when Dr. Yap tells the Belchers that Bob and Linda's room is soundproof...
Gene:(runs inside) I can yell anything I want! No one can hear me!
Gene: [muffled] I LOVE MY FAMILY!
Gene and Louise getting back at Tammy, the girl who was blackmailing Tina doubles as this and Crowning Moment of Funny. Includes this memorable line from Gene, who sums up exactly what fans and critics love about this show:
Gene: We're Belchers, from the womb to the tomb!
Bob Fires the Kids
Not sure what's better, that Bob fires them because he's afraid their childhood working will be as bad as his was, or that the kids are genuinely disgruntled at not being allowed to hang around the restaurant all day.
The blink-and-you-miss-it moment in the beginning of the episode, when Louise actually feels sad for Bob upon seeing his box of makeshift toys from his childhood.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins
When the kids willingly give up the hard-earned money earmarked for their presents to buy the mannequin from the sex shop owner for their deranged houseguest, who is in love with it. This show makes that heartwarming.
Linda gets a new job at a supermarket. Not only is Bob miserable without her, but between that and the fact that the restaurant's finances collapse without her to sort out the bills, he still gets over his initial bitterness and tells her that if the new job makes her happier he's fine with her keeping it.
After Tina meets Josh from the supermarket, it almost seems like they'll never see each other again...until she comes across him walking home. It's nice to see a person who doesn't alienate Tina and Josh is genuinely interested in her.
O.T.: The Outside Toilet
Gene's friendship with the high tech toilet from "OT, the Outside Toilet".
It Snakes a Village
Linda is initially furious with Bob for encouraging her parents to attend a swingers' potluck, but changes her mind when she sees them kissing each other for the first time in twenty years.
Linda: Huh. I guess if you love something, you let it go swing.
In the same episode, an elderly woman sends the kids in search of a giant python that ate her beloved chihuahua. In the end they find the dog, safe and sound, and reunite him with his owner, only to have him immediately run off again. Tina consoles the woman by telling her that the dog seemed really happy living in the woods. The last scene of the episode shows the dog and the giant python snuggled together inside a hollow log.
Boyz 4 Now
Louise and Tina have a bonding moment when Louise has her first crush. Louise ends up saying that she thinks Tina is a strong woman because although Tina has crushes all the time (which Louise hates) that Tina can handle herself without freaking out is something she admires.
When Louise is snarking with Bob and alludes to herself one day running the restaurant. Bob lights right up realizing that Louise, on some level, actually looks up to him, and Louise's embarrassed denial is just plain cute.
Louise hugging her father at the very end (along with Rudy) adds to the sweetness.
Bob: Hey, I'm glad we ditched. That was fun.
Louise: Me, too. Let's do it again sometime. Like, maybe when you're old and senile, I'll close the restaurant and come spring you out from the nursing home.
Louise: Sorry, I didn't want to do it, but Gene and Tina put you in a nursing home. And not one of the nice ones either.
Bob: No, you said you'd be running the restaurant.
Louise: Oh, no, I was just saying...
Bob: You're taking over the family business?
Louise: (scoffs) Yeah, right.
Bob: Ha! Admit it, you look up to me.
Louise: No! You are ruining our perfect day right now!
Bob: Oh, my god, am I your hero?
Louise: (groan) Sick!
(at the end of the episode)
Bob: So, when you run the restaurant, will you call it Louise's Burgers?
Louise: I don't know. Maybe. (hugs Bob) Daddy.
A blink-and-you-miss-it moment, but in Seaplane! as Linda has to land the seaplane by faking a crash the way her instructor did, Gene freaks, grabs his sisters' hands and the three hold on to each other.
Turkey in a Can
The Reveal of who was dunking Bob's turkey's in the toilet. It was an allergy medicine induced sleepwalking in Bob, who was using the Turkey to represent his memories of potty training Tina, representing his subconscious fear of her growing up. Not only is the flashback of Bob helping a two year old Tina sit on the potty heartwarming enough in itself, but it's then topped by Tina assuring Bob she still needs him and Bob allowing her to sit at the grown-up table.
Christmas In A Car
During the credits, you see Teddy dressed as Santa carrying Louise around on his shoulders. They even split a cookie! It's adorable, and twice as sweet when you remember that not only is Louise not likely to share with others, ever, but that she was also planning on capturing Santa violently.
In a similar vein to "The Kids Rob a Train", "Slumber Party" ends with Louise actually making friends with Jessica, based on respect for her scheming, evidence disposal and pillow-fighting skills. The end credits show a fashion show with all the characters from the episode parading by, ending with Louise and Jessica chasing each other with pillows and laughing.
Jimmy Jr. and Tina making up after their big fight and winning the award for best on-stage chemistry.
The Frond Files
In all three of the kids' stories, Gene, Tina and Louise always stick together when there's danger. For all the jokes and snark, those kids are some of the most close-knit siblings on TV.
In a shockingly selfless act, Louise traps herself with the bratty, incredibly annoying Tammy for several hours so that Tina can steal the spotlight at Tammy's party. She also pretty much ends up taking Tammy hostage at one point, making her promise to invite Tina to all her future parties or be trapped forever.
"Uncle Teddy" shows that Teddy is now basically an extended part of the family, as protective and caring for the kids as their parents.
The Kids Rob A Train
It gives us the return of Regular-Sized Rudy, with Louise taking him surprisingly seriously. She puts a lot of stock in his train map, pays close attention to the plan and chides Gene and Tina for "embarrassing her", and assumes Rudy is going to take the chocolate and leave her because that's what she would do. She also shoves him away from the chocolate when she learns he's allergic and completely freaks out when he pretends to be choking. There's definitely still some ribbing involved, but it seems like after the events of "Carpe Museum" she sees him as a real accomplice, which coming from Louise is a big compliment.
On that note, the fact that Rudy helped the Belcher kids with a ridiculously complicated and dangerous espionage mission on a moving train to steal a huge bag of chocolate which he knew he couldn't even eat. The entire thing was so they could eat chocolate and be happy while stuck in the Juice Caboose. That's actually very, very sweet.
One of the tiny details that most shows wouldn't bother with occurs when the kids are climbing back into the moving train. Louise loses her footing briefly and Tina grabs for her, than steadies her with a hand on her back as she climbs through the window.
"The Equestranauts" shows us once again how far Bob is willing to go when someone has done something wrong to one of his kids, in this case helping Tina get back her prized Equestranauts toy after it gets swindled from her at a convention.
There's also Tina's relationship with the group of "Equesticles"note the show's take on the bronies, the adult male fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic she meets at the convention. While their leader Bronconius only acts like her friend to steal her toy and puts everyone else down, the others are genuinely friendly to her and each other, which quickly makes her feel at ease after being put off somewhat by the idea of grown men who avidly enjoy a little girl's show. This comes into play later on when Tina convinces them to turn against Bronconius for manipulating them through something they love to fulfill his own, twisted desires.
The Kids Run Away
In "The Kids Run Away", the lengths the family (plus Teddy) go through to help Louise get through getting her cavity fixed. Extra props to Dr. Yap for being so very accommodating. The entire session is staged to make Louise feel as though she is in the middle of a dire mission to save the universe, complete with a "microchip" being implanted in her teeth and enemy combatants breaking in. If only all dentists had been willing to do this.
Gayle's role in the episode in particular. When Louise is wracked by the pain of her cavity as well as her fear of getting a filling, Gayle comforts her in a remarkably empathetic fashion. Made especially heartwarming since Gayle tends to be eccentric comic relief.
Gene It On
A few things from "Gene It On":
The fact that Bob doesn't have any problem with Gene being a cheerleader and no one else raising any issue with it despite being a boy. Bob's only complaint is just that he thinks cheerleading in general is stupid, but doesn't have a problem with his kids trying it out nor does he try to discourage them. Linda's ecstatic about Gene joining, but it's for the sake of trying to be a cheerleader-by-proxy.
Tina doesn't have any problem either even though she was the one who initially tried out, and Gene didn't accept the offer to join the squad right away because he was there to cheer Tina on. She even gives Gene her support when he's offered the spot.
Despite Louise using Tina and Jimmy Jr.'s date as an excuse to pig out on pie in a fancy, revolving restaurant, Tina's able to have a nice romantic moment and enjoys a kiss with Jimmy Jr.
Wharf Horse, Part 1, Part 2
The memories Tina had riding the carousel in "Wharf Horse, Part 1". Ever since she was a baby, she loved being on "Mr. Goiter", even though she always fell off. In fact, Tina loved all the horses in spite of their deformities, and even after the carousel was torn down, she still got to keep Mr. Goiter's head to remember him by.
In "World Wharf II: The Wharfening", the Belcher's find themselves about to drown together. They do what any loving family would do: exchange I Love Yous for as long as they can. Even Louise!
Bob: Oh god! I'm sorry I got us into this. Kids, I love you, and Linda, I love you too, almost as much as the kids, but not—
Linda: Oh, Bobby. I love you too. I'm sorry I was mad at you about the stupid condos.
Gene: I love you, Mom! And you, Dad!
Louise: I love you all! But that's just between us.
After part of the wharf crashes down on the family, and they're forced to swim for their lives, when they come up for air Louise is the first to spot her sister and say what are probably the most heartwarming words she's ever spoken:
Louise: Tina! Thank God! You beautiful four-eyed son of a bitch! *hugs Tina*
Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl
In the end, Courtney and Gene make up, and together with all the other kids, combine both of their plays.
Tina and the Real Ghost
When Louise and Gene decides to help Tina get back at Tammy for lying, instead of going trick-or-treating.
The fact that it's Louise who's first to say that they need to help Tina, since she knows it's her fault for causing the events in the episode, and does truly want to make up for it.
Friends with Burger-fits
Bob doing all he can to help Teddy get healthy, since it's him eating Bob's burgers everyday that is causing his cholesterol to become too high.
The ending, where Bob finally tells Teddy that he isn't his best customer, but his best friend.
The part where Louise and Zeke are fighting each other in their ice-wrestling tournament in the basement, it seems like Louise is going to lose, but Gene helps her win despite getting beat by her earlier.
Gene: You might have beaten me Louise, but blood is thicker than ice...but not actually.
Earlier in the episode, when Bob has to wake up earlier than usual, both Gene and Tina come in, and join Linda in bed, and once Bob's gone even Louise joins in sleeping with her siblings and mother. Even though it only lasts for a few seconds, it's still really sweet.
Gene finally being able to focus, so he can get his dad the black garlic.
Bob: Listen Gene, you may get distracted from time to time, but I love you and I love who you are.
This line from Gene is brief, but also counts:
Gene: I've always admired you (referring to Bob)!
Ron helping the Belcher kids get the black garlic to Bob.
Even though Bob only came in second, tons of people are lined outside his restaurant, including the winner Skip Marooch, who smelled the burger Bob was cooking, and wanted to try it.
Father of the Bob
After an episode spent fighting, Bob and his father, Bob Sr., reconcile and return to Big Bobís Diner to find Linda and the Belcher children running the restaurant.
Bob Sr.: You got happy kids. Weird, happy kids. That's nice. You're a good dad, Junior.
Bob Sr keeping the first review of Bob's Burgers
Big Bob: Listen, I know why you had to go. I can be...not great to work with. It was tough without your mom around. You did great on your own, you should be very proud.
In the flashback, Bob Sr. changing his restaurant to Big Bob and Son's Diner, as Bob's Christmas gift. Although his relationship with his son was rocky, he did try to bond with his son and wanted to work together as a team, as a way of showing his love.
Tina Tailor Soldier Spy
Louise wanting to help Tina find the mole in her Thundergirl's troop, creating the "Mole Patrol".
When Tina returns to her troop after finding the mole, Louise compliments her, and expresses brief sadness over no longer needing to be a team. Linda deduces that Louise was jealous of the thundergirls taking her sister away from her.
Compared to the season one episode "Spaghetti Western and Meatballs" where Louise had a hard time finding a way to bond with her mother and sister, here, she finally found a way to bond with Tina.
Tina: Louise you could always come back to troop 119
Louise: Nah, Thundergirl's is your bag, and if I had to I'd probably join troop 257. But if there's a murder or a drug sting, call me.
Tina: Well I made this friendship bracelet for you.
Louise: Ah, you know I'm not really a jewelery person.
Tina: You don't have to wear it.
Louise: No, I'm gonna wear it forever, back off.
At the end, When Bob sees Gene using the trash he gathered from the Thundergirls they were spying on as clothes, he admits that he actually likes how Gene looks and asks Gene to pick him out something next time. Gene asks him what he'd like to smell like, and Bob says to surprise him. Kinda squicky, and doubles as a funny moment, but it is a sweet brief moment of bonding for the two.