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Recap / Bob's Burgers S5E6 "Father of the Bob"

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It's Christmas and the family is invited to the restaurant of Bob's father, "Big" Bob. The night ends up bringing back some unpleasant memories. Meanwhile, the kids try to build a last minute gift for their father.

Father of the Tropes:

  • Alter Kocker: Henry, one of Big Bob's regulars.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Henry's an Alter Kocker, but he's willing to eat beef with dairy, which is non-kosher.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Bob and Big Bob do patch things up. While dancing at a gay bar.
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  • Both Sides Have a Point: Bob was absolutely in the right when he refused his father's partnership due to his controlling nature. That said, Big Bob wasn't wrong to feel hurt and humiliated when Bob did so in front of a very large crowd. The two eventually apologize to each other about it.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Invoked. When Teddy remarks that he has to either attend midnight Mass or watch midnight basketball, Gene tells him to do both and calls it "Massketball".
  • Call-Back:
    • When the kids talk about the Mistle-Tony awards, they each try to call dibs on bringing one of their parents as a guest—all the way back in "Torpedo", they also tried to call dibs on one of their parents' custody should Bob and Linda ever divorce. The resulting scene is identical to that in "Torpedo"—Gene picks Linda, Louise picks Bob, and Tina doesn't actually pick because her siblings already took both parents. They even pick in the exact same order (Gene picks first, Louise picks second, and Tina "picks" last)note .
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    • Bob has a heartfelt moment with his dad outside the restaurant, then moves to re-enter the restaurant, only to be locked out by the kids the same way they locked him out after he apologized to them in the first episodenote .
  • Christmas Episode: The episode takes place during a Christmas Eve gathering at "Big" Bob Belcher's restaurant.
  • Control Freak: Big Bob likes things done a very specific way at his diner. It's part of why Bob ended up opening his own restaurant.
  • Crappy Homemade Gift: The kids scramble to assemble a Christmas present for Bob out of junk from their grandfather's basement. All of their homemade constructions collapse spectacularly, but the basement rummaging turns up an old newspaper with the first review of the Bob's Burgers restaurant. In a touching moment, Bob realizes that his gruff, seemingly uncaring father has held onto this memento of his son's success for years.
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  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Big Bob has aspects of this, as he discards the specialty burger Bob came up with.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Bob's loose parenting style and tendency to make unique Burgers of the Day are both revealed to stem from how his father was a Control Freak who wanted to keep things the usual way.
    • Big Bob gets a whopper of one in the ending, where we learn his wife's death took a big toll on him, and that he tried to raise Bob as best he could as a single parent.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Interestingly, it's not Bob who dismisses Big Bob's above explanation—rather, it's Big Bob himself who does, as he clearly doesn't believe losing his wife is a good excuse for all his shortcomings as a father.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Bob specifically does things the opposite of how his father did them. He never forces his kids to do things a "usual" way, and he doesn't set expectations for them like making them take over the restaurant (Louise wants to inherit the restaurant, but independently of Bob's wishes, much like how Bob opened his own restaurant independent of his father's wishes).
  • Manly Gay: Pete, who runs the gay bar next to Big Bob's Diner.
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: When Linda tells her to clean up a spill by the bathroom, Tina says "Bathroom Spill" is her middle name.
  • Missing Mom: Big Bob very unsubtly implies that Bob's mother died when Bob was young.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Bob is about to ask his dad if he's gay, but Big Bob says he's merely returning the patronage of the local gay bar's customers.
  • No Name Given: Max, the black patron at Big Bob’s Diner, is never mentioned by name.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: This episode reveals that both Bob and his dad have the same name, yet the only character to consistently call Bob "Bob Jr." is his father. Additionally, to further differentiate him from his son, Bob's father goes exclusively by "Big Bob", after the name of his diner.
  • Parents as People: Big Bob tried his best to raise Bob as a single parent, and while he did a decent enough job considering how Bob turned out, it's clear that the mistakes he made have severely strained his relationship with his son, something that he clearly regrets.
  • Shout-Out:
  • So Proud of You: At the end of the day, Big Bob reveals that he's proud of how Bob made it on his own, and remarks that Bob's late mother would be proud as well.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Linda attempts to defuse her husband and father-in-law's competition to see who made the better meal for Henry by encouraging the restaurant to sing to bring them together. Instead, all of the patrons just stare at her in disbelief. It doesn't help that she's just repeating the word "peace" over and over again in the tune of "O Come, All Ye Faithful".
    • Gene empties a dozen cans of beans in a cardboard box and lies in it. The box eventually gets soggy and collapses.
  • Technician Versus Performer: The difference between Bob and his father, with Big Bob being the technician. This led to their eventual falling out.
  • Unfortunate Names: Big Bob considers Gene's name to be this. It's never outright stated why, but it's implied that it's because Gene's name breaks the naming theme of both Big Bob (Robert Sr.) and Bob (Robert Jr.). Worth noting is that Big Bob outright asks Bob if it's too late to change it (he never says to what, but based on the above implication it's suggested he wants it to be to Robert III). Considering Bob wants to distance himself from his father, he almost certainly broke the naming trend on purpose.