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Recap / Bobs Burger S 3 E 16 Topsy

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Determined to stick it to a Thomas Edison obsessed substitute, Louise sets out to recreate his infamous elephant electrocution.

Tropes

  • Adult Fear: During the live reenactment, Tina, who’s playing Topsy, nearly gets electrocuted for real. Fortunately, Tina was just acting, but her family and the audience clearly thought she actually died for a few seconds.
  • Artistic License – History: The episode repeats a popular myth that Edison used Topsy as part of his War of the Currents with George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla.note  In fact, the War of the Currents occurred a decade prior, and Edison himself played little role in Topsy's death, beyond authorizing his movie company to film the execution (and Edison Company equipment was used in the electrocution). Since Edison had authorized electrocution of other animals prior to Topsy, however, Louise's portrayal of Edison remains accurate in spirit.
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  • Funny Background Event: An angry Nikola Tesla is visible in the background during the end credits.

  • Jerkass Has a Point: As undeniably nasty and unpleasant Mr. Dinkler is, his rule about "No volcano science experiments" because of how cliche and effortless they are does come across as somewhat valid, especially since Louise was explicitly trying to use the same one she constructed the previous year in order to not do any work.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Louise is horrified that her efforts to humiliate Dinkler with the Topsy execution reenactment, while sucessful, almost killed Tina.
  • No, You: When Bob asks Louise to do a new project for the science fair this year.
    Bob: Shouldn't you turn in a new project this year like you're supposed to?
    Louise: Why would I do that?
    Bob: I don't know, to learn something?
    Louise: You learn something!
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  • Sadist Teacher: Mr. Dinkler is a complete prick of a teacher.
  • Science Fair: The plot revolves around one. Louise wants to do the cliché volcano model she did last year, but substitute Mr. Dinkler bans them. After finding out about the Topsy execution, Louise decides to do a live staging of it as her submission to humiliate Dinkler.
  • Shout-Out: Gene decides to “Milli Vanilli” the performance.
  • Shown Their Work: Thomas Edison did indeed kill an elephant, though the episode's portrayal isn't entirely accurate.
    • Tina mentions that Topsy was chosen for the execution because she had trampled a few people.
    • Dinkler admits that Topsy wasn’t the only animal Edison electrocuted.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Bob is the only one who notices (or indeed seems to care) that Gene and Tina sound like Mr. Fischoeder and Gayle when they sing.
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