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"Come meet our family, and let us meat you!"Note 

"Listen, you're my children and I love you, but you're all terrible at what you do here and I feel like I should tell you. I'd fire all of you if I could."
Bob Belcher

Bob's Burgers is an American Long Runner animated sitcom created by Loren Bouchard for the Fox Broadcasting Company, starring H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, and Larry Murphy. It follows Bob Belcher, his family and their floundering burger joint. Despite the greasy counters, lousy location and occasionally spotty service, Bob and his lovable and quirky family are convinced their burgers are their ticket to success.

Loren Bouchard stated that Bob's Burgers came out of the fact that Fox's animation brand centers mostly on family, but that he also wanted to dabble in workplace comedy.

Bob's Burgers gains most of its humor through quirky characters and situations that also display a level of realism that is rarely seen in animated shows. Especially noteworthy is the show's realistic portrayal of the Belchers as a financially unstable working class family, the interactions between imaginative children and busy, half-interested adults, and a level of diversity amongst the cast and guest stars that mostly avoids stereotyping. For these reasons, it falls very close to King of the Hill on the adult animation spectrum, steering clear of most Animated Shock Comedy tropes. Indeed, some have considered it a worthy (if crazier) successor.

Bob's Burgers is rerunning on Cartoon Network's [adult swim], FXX, and local broadcast stations on a regular basis.

Tie-in media includes:

Bob's Burgers celebrated its 10-year anniversary in January 2021.


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  • 555: The number of Bob's cab in "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?".
    • When Tina scribes down her phone number in "Lindapendent Woman", it begins with 555.
  • Abandoned Warehouse: "The Belchies" takes place in an abandoned candy factory that's set up for demolition. The children venture inside to find a supposed lost treasure from the previous owner, a la The Goonies.
  • Absurd Phobia: "It Snakes a Village" reveals Tina has a fear of feathers.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: The factory in "The Belchies" has a sewer that's so massive the Belchers spend an entire night just trying to get out of it. Justified, as the tunnels weren't originally made to be sewers; they were used to smuggle alcohol during Prohibition and were simply repurposed after their original use became obsolete.
    Gene: I just cannot stop banging things down here! The acoustics are GREAT!
  • Abusive Parents: Bob and Linda seem to be just about the only notable aversion in the series. Jimmy Pesto has all but disowned his children and completely neglects them, Linda and Gayle's mother Gloria takes advantage of the former and shows distaste for the life the latter leads, and Bob's father Big Bob (Bob Sr.) is a Control Freak who kept his son working all the time and prevented him from truly enjoying his childhood. While Big Bob has shown remorse for his actions and is making an active effort to make amends with Bob, Gloria and Jimmy truly have no excuse.
    • Much like the Bumbling Dad trope, Bob is a very refreshing aversion in the face of this trope being used for pretty much every animated sitcom father under the sun. The times he actually gets mad at his kids he always makes it clear that he's just on-edge and will apologize if he gets too angry, and he never does anything to intentionally emotionally or physically hurt his kids.
    • Compare the Belchers' reaction to the kids going missing in "Fort Night" to Jimmy Pesto's. Bob and Linda are understandably worried and go out in search of them when they realize the kids have been gone for too long, and nearly actually find them before Millie leads them away. Meanwhile, Jimmy Pesto doesn't even appear in the episode, showing he literally didn't even notice that Andy and Ollie were gone (or, if he did, that he didn't care).
  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable:
    • Lampshaded in "Synchronized Swimming":
      Mr. Frond: You'll need an AH-dult to supervise you...
      Louise: We know an AH-dult...
      Gene: We definitely know an uh-dult.
    • Lampshaded in "The Equestranauts" when Bob finally asks Bronconius why he keeps stressing the second syllable in "tattoo".
    • In "Ambergris", just before Felix unveils the restaurant's redesigned bathroom, he says "bathroom" with extra emphasis on the second syllable.
  • Accidentally Correct Writing: All in-universe.
    • In "Sliding Bobs", Tina writes the Habercore children to be as different as possible from the Belcher children. For Louise's counterpart, Tina writes her as a Daddy's Girl (to contrast Louise's status as a Little Miss Snarker). Except, while she's nowhere near as blatant about it, the real Louise actually is a Daddy's Girl.
    • In "Bed, Bob, & Beyond", Gene's story devolves into a Speed ripoff, complete with the bus having to maintain above a certain speed. Gene measures the speed using miles per hour, ignorant of the fact that England uses the metric system (as Bob and Linda call him out on)... and then Tina points out that while England primarily uses the metric system, it actually does use miles instead of kilometers. While Gene clearly didn't know as much, the fact remains that he still got the correct terminology.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: When Bob buys a $300 kitchen knife, his obsession with his new knife and his casual dismissal of other people's tools results in hard feelings between Bob and both Linda and Teddy. It ends with Teddy using his prize hammer to destroy the knife... and Bob wanting to get the same brand of hammer.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In "Food Truckin", Tina mistakes Randy for Werner Herzog. Randy's voice actor, Paul F. Tompkins, is known for his Herzog impression.
    • In "Moody Foodie", Bob is startled when Mr. Fischoeder likens him to a tumor with hair and teeth. H. Jon Benjamin was the voice of just such a tumor on Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil.
    • In "Mutiny on the Windbreaker", Bob gets shanghaied by a cruise ship captain, which becomes even funnier if you think of it as Len Trexler getting back at Archer for all the crap he's pulled.
    • In "O.T.: The Outside Toilet", Jon Hamm is a guest voice (playing the titular toilet), which is acknowledged when Bob walks into the kitchen in a suit. Cue Louise: "Woah, Don Draper's looking fat this season!"
    • In "Easy Com-mercial, Easy Go-mercial", Jordan Peele plays a semi-brain-damaged football player not unlike the meat-headed athletes he played in sketches seen on MA Dtv and Key & Peele.
    • In "The Millie-churian Candidate", the climax of the episode hinges on Louise (played by Kristen Schaal) discovering that a girl (nicknamed Abby) is actually named Mabel, the same name as Schaal's character on Gravity Falls.
    • In "Eat, Spray, Linda", we learn that Linda has giant hands, like H. Jon Benjamin's other animated love interest, Lana Kane.
    • In "Ain't Miss Debatin'", when asked by Louise who can do a Russian accent, Gene is the only one who doesn't say yes or otherwise indicate he can. In a hefty dose of irony, Gene's voice actor Eugene Mirman was born in Russia (well, technically the Soviet Union, but still).
    • "The Hurt Soccer" is basically an excuse to make H. Jon Benjamin a soccer coach again. One of the background players resembles Brendon Small, and Louise's teammate Mara is a dead-ringer for Melissa (and is even voiced by the same actor).
    • "The Taking of Funtime One Two Three" is basically an excuse to have Kevin Kline participate in another heist, just like he did in A Fish Called Wanda. He even turns on his allies like he did in the film.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • In "Crawl Space", Bob accuses Linda of nagging, and refers to her with nicknames like "Nagatha Christie" and "The Secretary of Nagriculture". Linda isn't amused until Bob gets to the latter nickname, which she admits was a good one.
    • Despite warning Linda not to start singing all week again, when she belts out a musical Big "NO!", spins around, and falls on the bed, Bob lets out a chuckle.
    • While Linda is reading from Tina's diary in "The Belchies", she finds a random entry that reads "If guys had uteruses, they'd be called duderuses." Bob snorts.
    • In "Bad Tina", Tina tells Linda not to have a "crap attack", which Linda gets so mad about she sends Tina to her room. Everyone else finds it hilarious, and Bob even uses it on Linda a few more times. Louise finds the phrase just as funny as her father does, if not even more. As mentioned above, Bob uses it on Linda, and each time he does Louise laughs as if she's hearing it for the first time.
    • In "The Frond Files", Bob and Linda actually enjoy their children's stories that Mr. Frond found objectionable. Granted, it helps that the stories themselves are largely fine (besides maybe Tina's), and the big issue Mr. Frond has is that he's the bad guy in all three.
    • Also in "The Frond Files", the end of the episode reveals that Louise managed to get Mr. Frond with her "brownie surprise" prank, which she explained in her story.note  Bob and Linda have to stifle laughter when they notice.
    • The big reveal in "The Gayle Tales" is that the kids got grounded for pulling a prank on Linda that led to her farting after crashing into a pile of maxi pads. Bob actually found the incident hilarious, and it's clear he thinks Linda was a bit hard on the kids.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Mr. Fischoeder. He's a man who makes his fortune off of child labornote , shady if not outright dangerous business venues (see literally every corner of Wonder Wharf), and is arguably very close to being an actual sociopath with how callous he is towards human life. Yet he manages to remain hilarious enough for most of this to be glossed over, and he showcases a genuine admiration for the Belchers, meaning that however close he is to sociopathy, he's not quite there. "The Oeder Games" reveals that he invokes this, as he wants to be a landlord that his tenants can be friends with even while trying to bleed them dry of their cash.
    • The robber from "Hamburger Dinner Theatre", who robs the restaurant and then sings a duet with Linda before leaving. Then he comes over the next day and is almost requested to do the same thing again for a second time by Linda before Bob calls the cops and forces him to run away.
    • Mickey, the bank robber from "Bob Day Afternoon." The entire time he holds the bank hostage, he's relaxed, friendly, and happily helps Louise with her essay—he's even nicer than some of his own hostages, and unambiguously nicer than the police. Overall he's just helpless without his usual robbing partner, which Bob realizes. After the incident ends and Mickey's trial comes and goes, he even becomes a friend of the Belchers.
    • The One-Eyed Snakes are meth-cooking (and meth-selling) murderers implied by Critter to also have ties to white supremacy movements. In any other genre of story they'd be villains. However, they do a good job at making one forget all of their less-admirable vices (aside from Louise siccing them on Logan, as well as a few throwaway lines).
  • Affectionate Parody: The titular films in "Hawk & Chick" are this to Lone Wolf and Cub.
  • Afraid of Blood: "The Kids Run the Restaurant" shows Bob fainting at a single drop of blood. Justified; he's all but stated to be a hemophiliac.
  • Ageless Birthday Episode: Played with. On the one hand, Tina's 13th birthday in "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?" and Linda's 44th/45th birthday in "Eat, Spray, Linda" mention the characters' new ages (well, part of it in Linda's case), while Bob's 45th birthday in "The Laser-inth" isn't directly said to be his 45thnote . However, the show maintains subtle continuity by permanently aging the characters up for these birthdays (Tina started the series at age 12, but has remained 13 ever since that Birthday Episode)—even Bob's unspecified 45th birthday keeps him a year older (or one can assume, given his age hasn't been mentioned since "Father of the Bob"). There is one exception—Bob's second Birthday Episode in "Are You There Bob? It's Me, Birthday", because it comes so soon after the previous one (not only do Linda and Tina not get a second birthday episode before then, but Gene and Louise haven't even had one). In that case, it's not so clear whether Bob remains 45 post-"The Laser-inth" or is now 46 (in effect, having aged two years in the time everyone else took to age one—or, in Gene and Louise's case, not even one).
  • All Bikers Are Hell's Angels: The bikers in the episode "Ear-sy Rider", The One Eyed Snakes. They're not necessarily bad guys, but they're depicted as violent, hard-drinking thugs that have no problem with taking care of people who insult them "the hard way". They also make and sell meth.
  • All for Nothing: Defied in "The Equestranauts". After Bob goes through hell to retrieve Tina's stolen Chariot doll (which culminated in him getting an Embarrassing Tattoo on his back for the rest of the series), he spots Tina putting the doll away because she feels like she's getting too old for the titular show. While she nonetheless thanks him for his efforts, Bob refuses to let everything he did go to waste, to the point that he demands and then starts yelling at Tina to play with the doll.
  • All Gays Love Theater: Discussed by Chet in "Bob Rest Ye Gentle-Mannequins":
    Chet: (to Bob) That's very theatrical. Are you gay?
    Louise: We wish.
  • Alliterative Name: Aside from the ever-obvious Bob Belcher, there's also Hugo Habercore, Chuck Charles, Shelby Schnabel (Calvin Fischoeder's ex), Henry Haber (an eighth grader at Wagstaff), Hogarth Haber (Henry's younger brother), Derek Dematopolis (a dermatologist and Gayle's old high school crush), Sylvester Stieblitz (Regular-Sized Rudy's father), Felix Fischoeder, Matilda Merkin (Wagstaff's music teacher), and Big Bob Belcher (Bob's father). And while not alliterative in the spelling sense, Phillip Frond's first and last name both phonetically start with an "f-" sound.
  • Alliterative Title: Bob's Burgers.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • Supervising Director Bernard Derriman has created a diagram to quell the notion that Bob doesn't have ears with their exact location under his hair.
    • The recipe Bob uses in "Turkey in a Can" is hilariously described on the show's official Tumblr blog, supposedly from Bob himself.
    • The writers used a diagram to keep track of where the secondary characters were seated in the restaurant over the course of "Glued, Where's My Bob?", and a closer look at the diagram reveals the name of Regular-Sized Rudy's father (which hasn't been mentioned in the series proper, not even in the end credits) to be Sylvester Stieblitz.
  • Almost Kiss: Bob and Linda in "Lindapendant Woman", thanks to Louise. Also a Moment Killer.
  • Alpha Bitch: Tammy Larsen is arguably a deconstruction. She's rich, she's rude, she acts like the queen of the school... and most people can barely tolerate her at best because she's just that insufferable. She's not popular with legions of followers, she's a self-absorbed airhead with only a few friends who thinks she's popular, with everybody else unable or unwilling to tell her otherwise. The only reason Tammy gets away with half the stuff she does is because she's part of the school's extracurriculars (meaning she still comes across as more popular than she actually is) and because Tina is generally used as a scapegoat (see: literally pooping in the library with the intent of getting caught, just so she can frame Tina).
    • It comes to a peak in the Season 12 finale, where she and Jocelyn use their new segment on the school news to hype up themselves and people they like while relentlessly bullying everyone else. Even people who actually are friends with Tammy (like Zeke and Jimmy Jr.) call her out on it.
  • Alternate Timeline Ancestry: In "Sliding Bobs", Tina imagines what things would be like if Linda had married Hugo the health inspector instead of Bob. The Habercore children, along with having Hugo's blond hair, have personalities that are the opposite of the Belcher children: boy-obsessed Tina becomes Mona, who has no interest in boys at all; Large Ham Gene becomes shy, soft-spoken Dean; and Enfant Terrible tomboy Louise becomes Charlize, an Adorably Precocious Child in a pink princess dress. The Belchers are quite understandably disturbed at the mere thought of this, especially Louise (who outright calls Tina a monster for her re-imagining of history).
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Linda. Louise states at one point that she not only tries too hard, but she tries too hard to not try too hard.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: While Gene was born male and still primarily identifies as male, he has occasionally referred to himself as a girl and displays no problems with other people (primarily his sisters) doing the same, sometimes even insisting that they call him such. It's entirely possible that he's genderfluid, though at the same time he's only eleven, meaning nothing is set in stone.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Whenever a man shows interest in Bob, Bob's reactions range from flattered to mild interest. Bob himself outright admits he's "mostly straight", and the fact that the show hasn't outright used the word bisexual to describe Bob is arguably the only reason it's ambiguous in the first place.
    • Gene as well. He doesn't show interest in men nearly as often as Bob, but it's definitely there and he's arguably less ambiguous about it than his father.
  • Ambiguously Brown:
    • The Belchers are on the tanner side. In-Universe too, since in "Torpedo" Bob is outright asked if he's an immigrant by Mr. Fischoeder, though judging by their appearance they could be Greek or Mediterranean descent.note 
    • "Darryl, you're something, right? Black?"note 
    • Calvin and Felix Fischoeder are both on the paler side, but Bob reminds Calvin of his father, and as seen above Calvin himself believes Bob is non-white, leaving room for both Calvin and Felix to be mixed-race.
  • Ambiguously Christian: The Belchers celebrate Easter and Christmas and Linda has taken Eucharist at least once in her life, but their celebrations of the aforementioned holidays appear purely secular in nature and they're never once seen in church, with absolutely nothing suggesting that they even attend. If they are Christian, it's looking more and more likely that they're non-practicing.
  • Ambiguous Situation: In "The Fresh Princ-Ipal", it's revealed that Principal Spoors has a brother-in-law named Don. It's never clarified if Don married Spoors's sibling or if Spoors married Don's sibling. In fact, Don himself doesn't even know.
  • Ambiguous Syntax:
    • On romance:
      Chet: As summer turned to fall casuals, our relationship became anything but.
      Tina: Casual?
      Chet: Yes, casual.
    • Another from an exchange in "I Get a Psy-Chic Out of You":
      Louise: It involves horses and money and us getting some.
      Tina: (smiles) Some horses?
      Louise: Some money!
      Tina: Oh...
  • Analogy Backfire: Bob's family is not quite sure the circumstances that would account for hitting candy from a baby's hand... with a baseball bat.
  • And This Is for...: When Louise is shooting Linda in the laser tag arena.
  • Animal Motif:
    • Louise has rabbits. Much of her clothing (including her iconic hat and the slippers of her pajamas) are rabbit-themed.
    • Tina has horses, helped by the fact that she is a prime candidate for All Girls Like Ponies.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: Two in "Sacred Cow", the film documentary group that glued a wig to a castrated steer and the discount petting zoo that stole the cow from the restaurant and is all but stated to abuse its animals.
  • Animation Bump:
  • Apathetic Teacher: Ms. LaBonz has no care whatsoever for her students, not even enough to dislike them. She just wants to make it through the day and go home.
  • Artifact Name: Regular-Sized Rudy was nicknamed such because of the One-Steve Limit; there being another Rudy at Wagstaff (nicknamed Pocket-Sized Rudy). However, Pocket-Sized Rudy is so minor a character that he has a grand total of three appearances (one of them in flashbacks) in the entire series, and is mentioned only once besides then; meanwhile, Regular-Sized Rudy is one of the most recurring characters in the entire series. Thus, there's little need for the nickname when only one Rudy has any actual significance in the series—which the show has silently acknowledged by having the characters refer to Regular-Sized Rudy more often as just Rudy as the seasons go by.
  • Artistic License – Child Labor Laws: Bob's underaged kids are all working at his burger restaurant because Bob doesn't have the money to hire or pay for any employees, due to it barely making enough money to stay afloat, and he doesn't pay his kids for any of the work they do at the restaurant since it's all treated like one of their chores. This is lampshaded by Hugo in the pilot episode and somewhat justified as minors under the age of 16 actually can work for their parents' business, provided the work they're doing isn't hazardous to children.
  • Artistic License – Geography: In "It Snakes a Village", a Travel Montage of the Belchers' road trip to Florida shows the family car traveling on a map of the East Coast, with each state outlined and colored. While the map is largely accurate, Long Island is drawn as part of New Jersey (and connected to the mainland rather than being an actual island) rather than New York State.
    • As seen in "Bed, Bob, & Beyond", the kids' knowledge of England's geography is spotty at best (primarily Gene and Tina, since Louise's story mostly takes place in a flat). This leads to things such as Gene calling Tower Bridge the London Bridge and thinking the Tube (slang for the London Underground) is a literal (not to mention above ground) tube. Bob calls Gene out on both (and moves to correct Louise when she makes the same London/Tower Bridge mix-up in her story), but he makes a very common mistake as well—he refers to Big Ben as the clock tower, when it's actually the bell inside (the tower itself is the Elizabeth Tower). Unlike the other examples, the Big Ben mix-up is never corrected.
  • Artistic License – Law:
    • In "Bob Fires the Kids", Mickey is released from prison on a technicality (the prosecutor was on meth during the trial), and believes he can rob the same bank as last time and not get arrested due to double jeopardy. Bob has to tell him that double jeopardy doesn't work that way.
    • In "Family Fracas", the Belchers sue the titular game show under the belief that it rigged the game they lost (it did). However, Harry, one of the game show's co-hosts, destroys the key piece of evidence (a recording of the rigging), causing the Belchers to lose the case. This by itself isn't quite an example, but what is an example is the fact that Harry destroyed said evidence in front of several witnesses yet somehow gets away with everything—in real life, he'd be criminally liable for blatantly tampering with evidence.
    • In "They Serve Horses, Don't They?", Hugo and Bob attempt to expose a vendor for meat fraud (advertising one kind of meat as another—in this case, horse meat as beef). This is an actual crime, but in the process of investigating the meat fraud Hugo completely overlooks another meat-related law—namely, it's illegal to sell horse meat in the United States period, even if it's advertised as such. Bob and Hugo didn't need to get the vendor to lie about the meat product, because the simple fact that he was selling horse meat (which they did have proof of, so evidence wasn't an issue) would've been enough to get him in deep trouble.
  • Art Shift: "Brunchsquatch" goes above and beyond by using fan submitted ideas from the Bob's Burgers Fan Art AKA Fart Contest (over 60 animators) by constantly shifting the art style every time a setting transition occurs (sometimes within the same setting). At one point, it even goes Animesque.
  • Art Evolution:
    • Season 1 was animated in Adobe Flash (hence the floatier animation). Starting with Season 2, it's animated using the more-reliable Toon Boom.
    • Mr. Frond undergoes a noticeable design change in "The Frond Files". His head and eyes are smaller, and he appears slightly fatter when viewed from the side.
    • "Itty Bitty Ditty Committee" marks several minor changes in character design. For example, Louise's neck is slightly shorter, and Linda's shirt is now a V-neck.
  • Asinine Alternate Activity: In "Mother Daughter Laser Razor" Linda takes Louise to a bonding seminar, but Louise would rather play Laser Tag next door.
  • Ass Pull: In-universe. Linda started her murder mystery production with a prologue where she claimed that she was not the murderer, but at the end of it she went back on that and said that she was. There was zero foreshadowing or even sense in it (it's one thing to have her character be Beneath Suspicion the whole time, but Linda stated while out-of-character that it wasn't her). The public was not amused.
  • Attractive Zombie: This is how Tina views any and all zombies. She frequently writes “erotic friend fiction” stories involving zombies and has romantic dreams about them. Once, she even wrote a school essay about dating an entire zombie basketball team.
  • Auto Erotica: Gayle and Derek Dematopolis can be seen making out in a car at the end of "Purple Rain-Union". While they're not having sex yet, it's pretty clear that this is the direction they're going in.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Bob's burgers of the day are on paper an excellent idea to demonstrate his skill in cooking. In practice, it's the opposite, as Bob never repeats them, buys a new ingredient everyday, and has to come up with a pun name. This means he spends a lot of money on something nobody else but Teddy cares about, especially since one episode revealed he spent a whole months barely selling any. It doesn't help that Bob wants them to be the main hook to his restaurant.
  • Awkward First Sleepover:
    • Louise is forced into having her first sleepover by her doting mother Linda. Not only does Louise not want a sleepover in the first place, but Linda makes the situation even more awkward by exclusively inviting girls Louise can't stand.
    • Gene's first sleepover is with his friend Alex, and that also goes poorly, as he gets roped into Alex's attempt at running away from home and living out in the wilderness. Not helping is that Gene, much like Louise, also didn't want to have a sleepover, although in Gene's case it was moreso out of fear than dislike.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Happens often with the Belchers. It'll be a huge turning point of the episode whenever Louise is involved (primarily because she's the one most likely to come across as if she doesn't love the others), and an even bigger one whenever it's directed towards Bob (primarily because Bob is the most common target of Louise's hell-raising).
  • Bad Boss: Mr. Fischoeder underpays and undervalues his employees, to the point that they've attempted to unionize before.
  • Bad Date: Well, Bad Double Date. Bob and Linda go out with another couple in "The Trouble with Doubles". As the title might imply, though, things don't go according to plan. To Bob and Linda's credit, it's through little fault of their own—but between the other couple's service dog (who probably needs a service dog of his own) and the other couple hogging most of the food, the poor Belchers don't have a fun night out. And then they get trapped in an escape room together, during which Linda accidentally texts the couple while trying to tell Tina about how the entire night has been horrible...
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Happens pretty much anytime that Tina is assigned as a babysitter for Gene and Louise. Also happens to Jen, the professional babysitter hired in "Purple Rain-Union", suggesting that this is probably just an inevitable result for anyone taking care of the Belcher children.
  • Bait-and-Switch Performance: Bob finds a banjo and starts playing it, thinking it could be a fun hobby. Soon he starts playing beautifully, and a large crowd gathers at the restaurant to hear him play. Cut back to reality, with Bob still struggling to play properly.
  • Baseball Episode:
    • "Torpedo" (Season 1): Bob meets his childhood hero, the baseball player Torpedo, and pushes Gene to participate on mascot races to earn the restaurant publicity.
    • "The Unnatural" (Season 3): Gene turns out to be really bad at baseball, and Linda pawns the restaurant's new espresso machine to pay for a training camp. While Bob attempts to get a refund because the camp is an obvious scam, a coffee-addicted Tina loses her mind from caffeine withdrawal as a result of the espresso machine being sold.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • In "Dr. Yap", Linda pretends to fall in love with the titular dentist knowing that it'll make Gayle stop pursuing Bob to instead pursue Yap.
    • The plan of The Chessmaster, Henry Haber, in "The Millie-churian Candidate" is an extremely convoluted plan that's very dependent not only on playing on several people's character flaws, but that several of the involved people would fail at certain tasks - most prominently, that Louise would get caught doing something illicit and thus get disqualified from the election. Parts of the plan bordered on Gambit Roulette.
  • Beach Bury: In "The Belchies", Ollie has apparently been buried to Buried Alive standards by Andy, who forgot where he was under the sand. He was fine.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Does a man in a bear suit count?
  • Beast in the Building: There is an episode where Bob brings Moo-Lissa the cow inside their tiny, walk-up apartment. She stays because it turns out cows can't walk downstairs - until a fed-up Linda invents a way (sliding her down on a mattress).
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In "Mazel-Tina", Tammy tells Tina to keep on-schedule no matter what. Tina agrees and doesn't derail the party for any reason—even when that reason is Tammy getting stuck inside a giant model of her head, resulting in Tammy missing her entire party.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Thinking of insulting Bob's kids, perhaps by calling them freaky? Probably not a good idea. Also, try to avoid talking about Lobsterfest. And don't even think of buying him a V-Neck shirt.
    • Make sure not to mention "Bad Hair Day" to Linda.
    • Don't even think about taking Louise's bunny ears. And heaven forbid if you actually go through with it...
    • If you mess up Critter the biker's vest, there will be hell to pay.
    • Gretchen goes completely apeshit if one of her regulars goes to another hairdresser besides her even once. If she finds out, she'll plan on using her scissors to cut a lot more than just hair...
  • Better as Friends: "Tappy Tappy Tappy Tap Tap Tap" opens with Tina deciding to tell Josh (her secondary love interest in Season 3) that they're better off not dating. She spends the entire episode worrying about how to break the news to him (assuming he still likes her) before the episode ends with Josh revealing that he also doesn't want a relationship with Tina—if anything, he's annoyed that Tina didn't just tell him at the start like she planned.
  • Big Damn Movie: A feature film of the series was released on May 27, 2022.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Linda gets one during "Art Crawl" when she has a nightmare of Gayle's paintings.
    • When Louise believes her bunny ears were incinerated in "Ear-sy Rider".
    • During Tina's Imagine Spot of her in Hell in "Tina-rannosaurus Wrecks":
      Tina: What's for lunch today?
      Demon: Your lies!
      Tina: NOOO! That's what I had yesterday!
    • Bob in "Turkey in a Can" when he sees his Thanksgiving turkey in the toilet. Twice.
    • Bob does this a lot. Some memorable examples are in "Sacred Cow", and "It Snakes a Village".
  • Big "OMG!": Sometimes, if a situation is just that nuts, Bob's usual subdued "Oh my God" will grow in volume and emphasis.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Bob yells this at a new customer in "Synchronized Swimming".
  • Big Sister Instinct: Linda has this for Gayle, being very protective of her and going through hoops to make her happy. Unfortunately, it's deconstructed through this overprotective approach making Gayle overreliant on Linda and also rendering Gayle genuinely incapable of functioning on her own (to the point that she can't even keep a job without calling Linda for help).
  • Big "WHAT?!":
    • Linda's initial reaction upon learning that the kids told Mr. Frond that she would be choreographing a synchronized swimming routine for their fake "independent study".
      Linda: Independent WHAAAAAA...?!
    • When Bob calmly tells Linda that he and Tina were in a "little accident" in "Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks".
  • Birds of a Feather: Part of what lets Bob and Louise bond so easily is that at their core, they're fairly similar. In addition to their shared habit of making something into a Companion Cube, they share similar interests in movies and TV shows, they're among the smarter (or at least more well-adjusted) members of their respective age groups, and Bob even has a wilder streak that, as "Carpe Museum" shows, Louise is perfectly capable of drawing out from inside him. It lets their attempts at bonding come more naturally, in contrast to Linda trying to force a bond onto Louise.
  • Birthday Episode:
    • "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?" (Season 1): To raise money for Tina's 13th birthday party, Bob takes a night job as a cab driver and befriends a trio of hookers, who he promptly invites to said party.
    • "Mazel-Tina" (Season 4): Tammy's birthday and Bat Mitzvah is coming, and although Tina hasn't been invited, she gets in anyways by getting her family to cater.
    • "Eat, Spray, Linda" (Season 5): Linda, who hates her birthday, has to face a series of misadventures when going to buy groceries while the Belchers look for her around the town.
    • "House of 1000 Bounces" (Season 6): Rudy's birthday has the celebration endangered when the bounce house for the party is taken elsewhere.
    • "The Laser-inth" (Season 7): For Bob's birthday, he is going with Gene to watch a laser show, but the boy is scared of the loud noises of it.
    • "Are You There Bob? It's Me, Birthday" (Season 8): Linda forgets Bob's birthday, and sends him out on a day watching Hugo the health inspector at work while she tries to throw a belated surprise party.
  • Black Widow: "Housetrap" has Linda and Louise suspecting that the wealthy owner of a beach house was murdered by his second wife. Though their suspicions are never proven, it's heavily implied that they're right.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: In "The Unbearable Like-Likeness of Gene", Gene tells his girlfriend Courtney that he was just being her boyfriend so he could have access to her dad's music studio. The following exchange ensues:
    Courtney: You were using me?
    Gene: I prefer the term "networking".
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • Bob becomes obsessed with a video game expy of Burgertime. The sprites are Burgertime-ish but the game itself is a platformer that has massive difficulty reminiscent of early Konami games.
    • Apparently the ubiquitous search engine in this show is neither Google nor Yahoo!, but Yahoogle.
    • Two games that the Belchers own are called Torpedo and Surgery Sam, referring to the games Battleship and Operation respectively.
    • Subverted with Burobu in "Mission Impos-slug-ble". It seems like it's this to Pokémon, with a similar theme song and trading card game, but a throwaway line from Tina reveals that Pokemon already exists in the Bob's Burgers universe, meaning Burobu is just a rip-off that happens to be popular.
    • Purrbo, a Virtual Pet game Gene gets addicted to in "A-Sprout a Boy", is clearly based on Tamagotchi.
  • Book Dumb: All three Belcher kids, but the show places particular emphasis on Tina. Numerous episodes have happened as a result of Tina's poor grades, and it's shown that she just generally has trouble focusing in school.
  • Boring, but Practical: Bob tends to favor the simplest and least flashy way to solve a problem, compared to Linda (who almost always does the opposite).
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Bob does a Tina-moan during his nightmare in "Friends with Burger-fits". Gene also does a Tina-moan throughout most of "The Unbearable Like-Likeness of Gene". All three kids later indulge in one in "World Wharf II: The Wharfening" when it looks like Bob is about to drown.
    • Louise has a tendency to break out Bob's trademark "Oh my God" whenever she's annoyed or frustrated. On at least one occasion she and Bob even say it in unison.
  • Brain Bleach: During "The Trouble with Doubles", the Belcher kids have a secret horror movie night with Rudy, Darryl, the Pesto kids, and Zeke. By the end of it, everyone is mentally scarred by the movie so much that Tina has them watch a video of when she was a little kid crying over flushing her own poop down the toilet in order to make them forget about the scary movie. It works, albeit by mentally scarring them in a much different and less scary manner.
  • Bravado Song: Subverted in "It Snakes a Village". Gene starts to sing about how he's not afraid of ghosts, sharks or cancer, but the instant he mentions snakes he proceeds to rant about how he doesn't like them for the rest of the song.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    • From "Sexy Dance Fighting":
      Gene: At first, we thought it was a breakdancing class, and then we thought it was a special needs class.
      Louise: Now we think it might be a special needs breakdancing class.
    • Gene remarking on Tina's "End of the world mating list" in "Lobsterfest":
      Gene: Gay... gay... mythical creature... gay mythical creature...
    • From "Tina-rannosaurus Wrecks":
      Tina: I'm going to jail, or hell, or Hell Jail.
    • As of this point in the series it's practically become the family's Catchphrase.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In "Human Flesh" after the "May contain human flesh" notice is put up an old lady says she might still try it. At the end of the episode she shows up again along with her adventurous eaters group.
    • In "The Belchies", Teddy invites Bob to watch a game and have a make your own three bean salad meal and Bob had to bring his own beans. Later a construction worker says he went to a make your own three bean salad meal and he didn't bring any beans.
    • In "Food Truckin'", when Randy and Gene talk about Tabitha Johansson's song "Oil Spill", Gene remarks that it's really about her vagina—Bob is aghast that Gene knows this, but both Gene and Randy claim it's not subtle. At the food festival later in the episode, the Belchers and Randy are treated to a live performance of "Oil Spill", and Bob quickly remarks that it really isn't subtlenote .
    • At the beginning of "Broadcast Wagstaff School News", Tina practices her news-anchor routine on Bob, where she catches him out on not knowing how to cook paella. This goes unmentioned again until the very last line of the episode where Bob suddenly remembers he does know how to cook it.
    • In "Lindapendant Woman", Louise ties balloons to shrimp and sends them floating into the heavens. Towards the end of the episode, right as Linda and Bob are about to kiss and make up, a shrimp on a balloon lands between their lips. Dozens of other balloon shrimp soon follow.
      Louise: Yes! It's happening!
      Linda: Wha-? Louise, what'd you do?
      Louise: I MADE IT RAIN SHRIMP! What did you ever do?
    • A multi-episode one. In "Mother Daughter Laser Razor", Louise adamantly remarks that she doesn't sing. Later, in the two-part finale of Season 4, there are two major songs ("Nice Things Are Nice" and its Dark Reprise "Bad Things Are Bad")... and sure enough, Louise is the only Belcher without a notable line in eithernote .
    • In "Silence of the Louise," Linda hangs one of Teddy’s motivational posters in the kitchen over Bob’s instructions for saving a choking customer, causing Bob to complain about it being a hazard. In the background of the episode’s credits, Teddy chokes on his burger and Bob rushes into the kitchen to rip down the motivational poster to read the Heimlich instructions.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: As implied in "Poops!... I Didn't Do It Again" and confirmed in "Touch of Eval(uations)", Louise has the brainpower to do genuinely well in school, but she couldn't care less about that.
  • Broken Aesop: In "Are You There Bob? It's Me, Birthday" as Bob is out being distracted by Hugo he makes the remark that all Hugo does is harass people, prompting Hugo to make Bob join him as he inspects a wrap restaurant so Hugo can prove the importance of his job. It’s meant to give new perspective of Hugo’s job for Bob, expanding his scope about health inspectors, and if the point were isolated on its own it succeeds. However, the point is diluted by the fact that it blatantly ignores how Hugo has harassed Bob over nothing, having even been threatened with termination by his supervisor solely because he keeps harassing Bob. While Bob concedes Hugo's point, if anything it just makes Hugo look even worse, as he's completely professional with the wrap restaurant but completely biased and unprofessional towards Bob's Burgers.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • From "Torpedo": Poor Bob's idol, the titular baseball player, is a cheater in multiple senses of the word, using grease to make his pitches harder to hit and having a Secret Other Familyactually, three of them. Torpedo discusses it later in the episode, telling Bob to pick older role models that'll be dead by the time he grows up.
    • In "Hawk & Chick", Louise originally looked up to Chick from the Hawk and Chick movies, but upon meeting Yuki, the real-life Chick, she's completely distraught to learn that Yuki doesn't look back fondly on her old movies and wants nothing to do with her father. She's so mad that she has to sit outside Yuki's office yelling "Idiot!" just so she doesn't call Yuki that to her face.
    • Also from "Hawk & Chick", as shown in a flashback, Louise openly compared Yuki and her father's bond to Louise's own bond with Bob; now, Louise wants them to be nothing alike if it means she and Bob avoid the same fate as Yuki and her father. Fortunately, it leads to a case of Rebuilt Pedestal after Bob and Louise successfully reunite their heroes.
    • In "Wag the Hog", the One-Eyed Snakes grow bitter towards Critter for pretty much leaving the gang to be a full-time father. Bob manages to turn it into a case of Rebuilt Pedestal by talking about how Critter can make time for both, as well as Bob's experiences with his own kids and how parenthood isn't a bad thing.
  • Broken Record:
    • During the preparations for Rudy's play in "House of 1000 Bounces", Harley fights with Sasha over the stress ball, repeatedly saying "No!"
    • In the very next episode, "Stand By Gene", Tammy doesn’t like where Jimmy Jr.'s going with some valuable information, and keeps saying "Wait" over and over.
  • Brutal Honesty: Bob doesn't mince words with anyone, even his own family. It helps that he's known to be a Bad Liar, so he takes it to the opposite extreme.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: A very rare literal example. In "Sacred Cow," Bob has a dream with a courtroom sequence. In it, Louise acts as his attorney, complete with three-piece-suit... and her ever-present bunny ears. Later in "A Few 'Gurt Men," Louise is a bunny-ears lawyer for real when she acts as Mr. Frond's defense attorney and of course, is still wearing her ears.
  • Bumbling Dad: Averted, which is wonderfully uncommon for an animated cartoon dad. Bob commonly acts as the sensible one in the family, in contrast to the rest of the Belchers. He puts his duties as a father before just about anything else, and is never the one being coddled by his children (at least, not in a way that clearly isn't patronizing and meant to be demeaning).
    • According to Loren Bouchard, the Burgers of the Day mean Bob's not just phoning his cooking in, but thinks of the restaurant as his own 'food laboratory'. Given Bob would not only have to think of a name for the burger, but also prepare the ingredients (which have been shown to sometimes be more rare than the standard farmer's market produce) and taste the burger to make sure it's edible, it's easy to see this point of view. Additionally, Bob is shown to never repeat Burgers of the Day (as evidenced by holiday episodes), and assuming he's been doing them since the restaurant opened (at least 15 years prior to the series, given it was open when he and Linda got married, and probably before then), this means that Bob has come up with at least five thousand Burgers of the Day, and very likely more (assuming that 15 years is too low a number for how long the restaurant has been running). If Bob were truly bumbling on the level of other animated fathers, needless to say he would not be capable of anything near this caliber.
    • Not to mention "Bob and Deliver", which shows his skill not just as a Home Ec teacher, but as the boss of a packed, student-run restaurant.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • A frequent occurrence is for seemingly one-off characters to return in a later episode. Examples include Sal (debuted in Season 3, returned in Season 5), Helen Goodwin (debuted in Season 5, returned in Season 9), and Shinji and Yuki Kojima (debuted in Season 5, returned in Season 10).
    • Among recurring characters, Josh was Put on a Bus in Season 3, Jen in Season 4, and Mickey in Season 5. Josh and Jen later returned in Season 10, while Mickey returned in Season 11.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • The Fuzzy Buddies.
    • While not quite an example of this trope, it's worth noting that in "Art Crawl" there's a literal butt monkey (as in, a monkey with a second rear end replacing its head).
    • Bob seems to be this for the whole town- in almost every episode Bob ends up being humiliated in some fashion.
    • Tina seems to be this for her siblings. It was a lot more noticeable in Season 1.
  • Bystander Syndrome:
    • In "Burgerboss", after Bob chases Darryl's bullies outside, the Family Funtime security guard just stays where he is, glad that it's no longer his problem.
    • In "Easy Commercial, Easy Go-mercial", Bob is harassed by Jimmy Pesto's customers after they assume Bob stole Jimmy's idea of using ex-NFL player Sandy Frye to advertise his restaurant—not only was it the other way around, but Bob's commercial aired first, giving even less credence to this theory. Sandy Frye himself is nearby and could quite easily verify Bob's claims that he did his commercial before Jimmy did his. So naturally, he just sits there and eats his food, doing nothing to calm the situation and forcing the other Belchers to save Bob.
  • By the Hair: Linda snatches a clump of the hair of Debbie, the high school reunion organizer, after a day of non-subtle disappointment at being forced into booking the Ta-Tas, when she tells them to chant for Bad Hair Day. See Berserk Button.
  • Cain and Abel: Linda and her sister Gayle. Gayle is the Cain, with a compulsion to steal any guy Linda likes just because Linda likes them. Linda is fine with this and uses it to set her up with Dr. Yap.
    • The Fischoeders also play this role. Unlike what you'd expect at first glance, though, the ineffectual, oft-belittled Felix is Cain and the Affably Evil, emotionally distant Calvin is Abel. Felix is the reason for Calvin's missing left eye, and that's saying nothing of the Season 4 finale, where he attempted to drown his brother under Wonder Wharf.
  • Call-Back:
    • Tina moans on the floor in "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?" like in "Sexy Dance Fighting".
    • Tina's zombie fantasy comes back at the end of episode 6 with angel wings and her unicorn poster comes to life in her Imagine Spot.
    • One of the flyers Bob's kids hand out in "Burger Wars" flies past in a scene in the next episode.
    • In the Pilot Episode, Linda calls Hugo while he's crying in a bathroom stall at the "Falafel Waffle" restaurant. Later, in "Nude Beach", Bob calls Hugo an 'awful man' for shutting him down after failing a health inspection. Hugo corrects Bob, saying "Uh, wr-r-rong Bob! I'm a 'lawful' man." Gene and Louise then tease him with "Falafel Man." and "Waffle Man." respectively. Tina belatedly yells "Omelets! Am I doing it right?"
    • Linda says she's going to Pickles, a strip club, in "Hamburger Dinner Theater" when she's actually going to a dinner theater. Bob and the kids enter Pickles in "My Fuzzy Valentine" on a mission to get the Love Test-o-meter for Linda, and the entire family winds up back there in "Land of the Loft". Additionally, Linda claims in "Hamburger Dinner Theater" that the place is named because it apparently serves very good pickles; Bob gets to try them in "Land of the Loft" and he remarks on how good they are.
    • In "What About Job?", Louise claims that her mother devised a method to move cows down a flight of stairs, a reference to the events of "Sacred Cow".
    • The series premiere started after Louise presented one of Bob's burgers at show-and-tell and claimed it was made from human flesh. Season 13's "The Show (and Tell) Must Go On", which focuses on Louise's final show-and-tell, features a flashback to this scene.
  • Camp Gay: Dalton Crespin, a brunch blogger known as Dame Judi Brunch, is quite flamboyant and is known to have had an ex-boyfriend.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': The Belcher family never hesitates to call out Bob when he's being meaner or even slightly more selfish than usual.
  • Cassandra Truth: In the first episode when Bob admits to Linda he forgot their anniversary, but she thinks he's actually planning a surprise party.
    Linda: I can see you smiling.
    Bob: I'm not smiling!
    Linda: You're smiling with your eyes.
  • Cast Full of Crazy: You could count the number of recurring characters without at least a single issue on one hand.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Bob's countless and sometimes hilariously unique utterances of "Oh My God" and/or "Oh God", the first of which came after just one minute in the series premiere.
    • Also Linda's constant use of the elongated "Alriiiiiiight!"
  • Caustic Critic: The Moody Foodie from his eponymous episode. While some of his negative reviews do have a point (one restaurant uses day-old bread, and another reuses uneaten noodles), for the most part he's just being overly harsh and explicitly revels in seeing his targets' businesses suffer.
  • Celebrity Lie: Courtney's dad claims to know Carly Simon but keeps making excuses for why she hasn't shown up yet. He gets slapped when his lie gets fully exposed.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless:
    • In "The Belchies", Linda tries to use her cell phone while in the tunnels below the taffy factory. Linda assumes it's this trope when she gets no reception, but Bob quickly points out that cell phones don't exactly work underground.
    • In "World Wharf II: The Wharfening", Bob is tied up with Mr. Fischoeder and tries to use his cell phone to call Linda, but can't put it to his ear and the call is drowned out by ambient noise. He next tries sending a photo, but can't get a good angle and sends only a picture of Mr. Fischoeder's butt (which Tina recognizes, but it still doesn't give any important information). Finally, he tries texting, but auto-correct garbles it and it takes a while for the others to decipher it. The phone falls into the water before it can be of any more (dis)service.
  • Centipede's Dilemma: In “The Fresh Princ-ipal”, Teddy innocently inquires how Bob flips burgers so well, inadvertently psyching him out and making him unable to do it at all. The trope is actually discussed, with Teddy calling it the "yips" (the term used to describe the dilemma when applied to sports).
  • Central Theme:
    • Family and sticking with each other through bad times. The Belchers are poor, and life seems to love screwing them over, but they've still got each other so things aren't too bad.
    • Renegade Cut argues in a video about the show that Class is also one. The Belchers face multiple challenges typical of the lower economic class, and it shows that their friends are mostly of the same class while their enemies (Mr. Fischoeder, Jimmy, Tammy, etc) are often of a class above them.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • The first few episodes have Bob display traits of the traditional animated sitcom father (he forgets important dates and he at one point calls his kids failures), and he's much more impulsive. Compare this to his current depiction starting with the second half of Season 1, where he's a caring and loving father who doesn't always understand his kids' quirks, but accepts them all the same, and is much more calm and laid back.
    • Similarly, Linda is more of a Wet Blanket Wife in Season 1, to the point that she often chastises Bob for doing something he'd likely chastise her for doing in later seasons. She's also more of a jerk, which largely vanishes by Season 2.
  • Character Tic: Linda and Louise twitch their eyes when they're angry or going nuts.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Linda's prenatal yoga tape from "Synchronized Swimming".
    • The ice cream machine in "The Deepening".
    • The giant Tammy head in "Mazel Tina".
    • Louise's grabber toy in "The Cook, the Steve, the Gayle & Her Lover".
    • Gene's "Super Bowel" in "Easy Commercial, Easy Go-mercial".
  • The Chessmaster: In "The Millie-churian Candidate", Henry turns out to have manipulated events to ensure he could win the class election. It's even foreshadowed by his campaign slogan: "Chess I can".
  • Chew-Out Fake-Out: In "Carpe Museum", Louise makes a jab at Mr. Frond on the school bus. Bob tells her not to insult Mr. Frond, but quickly adds "here" to the end of his sentence, revealing he'd be fine with it if Frond weren't around to hear it (which is further supported by the fact that Bob has already shown disdain towards Frond on multiple occasions, including earlier in the episode).
  • Christmas Episode: Every season since Season 3 has featured one.
    • "God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins" (Season 3): The family befriends a man who believes he is a mannequin brought to life, and when he helps them with the decorations and marketing for Christmas, they pay him back by reuniting him with his mannequin "wife".
    • "Christmas in the Car" (Season 4): The family gets stuck in the car while shopping for a last-minute Christmas tree, and they get followed by a disgruntled truck driver; Teddy goes to check on Bob's Christmas dinner, only to fall for a trap the kids set for Santa Claus.
    • "Father of the Bob" (Season 5): The family goes to spend Christmas at Bob's father's diner, causing some old friction between Bob and his dad to come to light; the kids raid their grandpa's basement for a last-minute gift for Bob.
    • "Nice-Capades" (Season 6): Louise, Tina and Gene put on an ice-skating show to impress a Mall Santa with their so-called good deeds.
    • "The Last Gingerbread House on the Left" (Season 7): Bob participates with the Fischoeder brothers in a sketchy and strange gingerbread house-making competition with the Fischoeders' fellow eccentric millionaires; Teddy goes caroling with Linda and the kids, where they try to solve the mystery of a creepy old house at the end of the street.
    • "The Bleakening" (Season 8): A musical two-part episode that features Linda throwing a Christmas party to bring cheer to the town. When her mini tree and the family decorations on it goes missing, Linda drags Bob into her quest to find the thief, while the kids suspect a Krampus-like monster called the Bleaken and strike off on their own investigation to find the Bleaken's lair.
    • "Better Off Sled" (Season 9): The kids fight back when Logan and his friends take over the sledding hill in the park with their snowball fights; Bob and Linda work on homemade gifts for the kids.
    • "Have Yourself a Maily Linda Christmas" (Season 10): Linda gets a part-time seasonal job working for the post office, but defies post office protocol in order to make sure a last-minute gift gets to its recipient. Gene and Louise tag along to find a gift for Tina, leaving Bob and Tina to deal with Gayle, Al, and Gloria by themselves.
    • "Yachty or Nice" (Season 11): The Belchers are invited to cater at a yacht club's boat parade, but when Bob learns the invitation is from Jimmy Pesto he becomes paranoid that Jimmy has an ulterior motive; Louise attempts to sneak off and steal presents that Teddy (who is dressed as Santa) is giving out.
    • "Gene's Christmas Break" (Season 12): After Gene breaks his favorite, extremely rare '70s era Christmas record, Tina and Louise join him in the search for another copy. Meanwhile, Teddy wants to do a neighborhood Secret Santa with Bob and Linda.
    • "The Plight Before Christmas" (Season 13): Bob and Linda try to attend all three kids' holiday performances at the same time.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: The Belcher women.
    • Linda = Red
    • Louise = Green
    • Tina = Blue
    • The Belchers also fit the traditional four-color version of this trope, with Gene (yellow) being added to the above three.
  • City with No Name: For the first eight seasons, the town the Belchers lived in had no official name. Neighboring areas were given a name (such as the nearby town of Bog Harbor), but the town itself went without one. The Season 9 premiere, however, finally gave the town the official name of Seymour's Bay (which had been an unofficial nickname used behind the scenes, but hadn't been made canon until then).
  • Class Trip: The plot of "Carpe Museum" and "If You Love It So Much, Why Don't You Marionette?" each revolve around one.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Good luck trying to name a character who isn't one. Even the more rational characters have their moments.
  • Closed Circle: In the aptly-named "Housetrap", the Belchers are stuck in the home of a suspected Black Widow, due first to Bob's back injury (caused by Linda) and then due to Hostile Precipitation.
  • Color-Coded Characters: All the Belchers are associated with one main color: Bob is white, Linda is red, Tina is light blue, Gene is yellow, and Louise is light green.
  • Comic-Book Time: The show has been on the air since 2011, but none of the characters have aged more than a yearnote —and school-wise, the kids are all in the same grade as they've always been (fourth, sixth, and eighth). See Not Allowed to Grow Up below.
  • Comic Sutra:
    • In "Bob Day Afternoon", Linda offers Bob some extra incentive to get out of the hostage situation alive by offering to do "anything"... except "that one thing".
    • In "My Fuzzy Valentine", Linda hosts a speed-dating event at the restaurant and asks for the participants' favorite food and sex position. Mike the mailman answers "fried green tomatoes" to both. The other participants' responses to the latter question are also quite interesting: "Pick 'n Roll", "Broken Sprinkler", "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", and "Sticky Wicket", with no elaboration on what any of them mean.
  • Comic Trio: Again, the Belcher children.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Louise is this.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Bob tells his kids it's not good to cheat at sports in the episode "Torpedo". Tina then immediately asks if he and their mother are getting a divorce. Cue the Flat "What" from Bob. Further point missing ensues.
    Gene: I call Mom!
    Louise: I call Dad!
    Tina: You took both of them.
    • As the show has continued, this tends to sum up both Linda and Tina's jokes.
  • Companion Cube: Between Louise's Kuchi Kopi nightlight and Lance the Thanksgiving turkey, Bob has a tendency to do this. As hinted at in "Spaghetti Western & Meatballs" and further revealed in "The Belchies", Louise has inherited this tendency.
    • Bob's tendency towards this was explained in "Bob Fires The Kids"; a bar of soap, a rusty spatula, and a scrubbing pad were his only toys, and since Bob had no friends... or rather his father forced him to spend his entire childhood working, forbidding him toys or friends, so he was forced to improvise with cooking tools when his father wasn't looking. As for why Louise does it as well, the likely explanations are either childish imagination or she learned from watching Bob.
  • Complexity Addiction:
    • The kids from occassionaly run into this problem. One Halloween, the three kids were a group costume, the movie Twister, with one dressing as a tornado and the other two dressing as characters from the film. Later, the kids became costumed wrestlers, and decided to become sea cucumbers with an overly complex backstory and in the ring routine. Despite the kids being overly ambitious in some of their plot, they are able to pull them off as often as not.
    • Mr. Fischoeder's plan to woo Shelby in "An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal" technically only required Linda, as he needed someone to pretend to be his wife. By bringing the rest of the Belchers into it (with the kids pretending to be his own and Bob pretending to be a lowly chef under his employ), he makes more work for himself to maintain the facade—and sure enough, Bob's frustration at being neglected soon leads to him getting shitfaced on absinthe and disrupting dinner in a fit of jealousy, which in turn leads to the kids intentionally revealing the hoax to try and save Bob from a trigger-happy Shelby. The only required part of the plan was the only part that didn't go up in flames. In other words, if Mr. Fischoeder had just brought Linda, he might've been able to keep the facade going long enough for him to get what he wanted.
  • Conforming OOC Moment: Despite being characterized as feeling uncomfortable when it comes to lying, Tina has had her share of dishonesty in several episodes when her siblings lie, like in "Synchronized Swimming" (wherein she and Gene were okay with Louise forging Linda's signature), and "Burgerboss" (when she, Gene, and Louise lied about having sailing lessons).
  • Continuity: Many times, the show subverts Negative Continuity by showing the consequences of older episodes in recent episodes.
    • In the first episode, deceased taffy company owner Mr. Caffrey is being buried (in a candy box coffin) out of Mort's funeral home. In the Season 2 premiere, the taffy factory is about to be torn down, and Caffrey himself is revealed to have been a bootlegger whose fortune came not from taffy but from alcohol. Season 7's "Sea Me Now" reveals that he bought an island to try and woo a girl.
    • The seal mascot in "Torpedo" was the same mascot that was having sex with Teddy's ex-wife in "Bed & Breakfast" (the crown being a dead giveaway).
    • In "The Deepening", Bob uses the ice cream machine to defeat a mechanical shark by clogging its insides, but the machine is damaged in the process. While it's still operational, ever since this episode it'll be depicted with bite marks.
    • After "The Equestranauts", any episode where Bob's back is seen will show the mustache tattoo he received from Bronconius.
    • In "Gene It On", Jimmy Jr. offhandedly mentions that he could sell his bike to pay for a date with Tina. Episodes before this depict him with a brown bike while episodes after this depict him with a green bike, indicating that he really did sell his bike to pay for the date.
    • The out-of-place bathroom designed by Felix Fischoeder in "Ambergris" remains in "Wharf Horse" (and gets pointed out) instead of just disappearing (like Bob wishes it would). Later episodes that show the restaurant's bathroom also depict it with Felix's design, and it even becomes a plot point in "Glued, Where's My Bob?" when the lack of a removable toilet seat means Bob is immobile for most of the episode.
    • "Speakeasy Rider" features the return of several previous one-off characters, notably Mudflap and Critter (last seen in "Ear-sy Rider"), Gus (the elderly docks man in "Seaplane!"), and Bryce (the leader of the Hell Hunt in "Full Bars"). The episode also mentions Tina's fender bender from "Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks".
    • The Sofa Queen commercial from "Sacred Couch" is playing on the TV in the opening scene of "The Trouble With Doubles".
    • Linda's love of chanting, first depicted in "Carpe Museum", is brought up again in "Something Old, Something New, Something Bob Caters For You", 5 seasons later.
    • Several episodes feature throwaway lines revealing a certain quirk of a character that becomes a major plot point in later episodes.
      • Season 9's "The Taking of Funtime One Two Three" casually reveals that Bob has a Shy Bladder when it comes to public bathrooms; Season 10's "Poops... I Didn't Do It Again!" focuses on how Louise has inherited this issue, and showcases Bob and Louise working together to overcome their shared problem.
      • The Season 10 premiere reveals that Linda can't whistle, which becomes the subplot of Season 11's "Fast Time Capsules at Wagstaff School".
      • Season 9's "The Helen Hunt" and Season 11's "Some Kind of Fender Benderful" reveal that Teddy was in the Navy, which is placed front-and-center in Season 12's "Frigate Me Knot".
    • The plot of "Loft in Bedslation" depicts the Belchers building Louise a loft bed. Since then, any episode that features Louise's room will depict the loft bed.
    • Season 13 onwards is set after the movie, and features the consequences of the movie's events.
      • The patch of road outside the restaurant is noticeably darker than the surrounding road, referencing the sinkhole from the movie that was recently filled in.
      • Bob and Linda have upgraded to smartphones, as their flip phones were dropped into the ocean during the movie's climax and thus needed to be replaced.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The end credits sequence from the Season 6 finale "Glued, Where's My Bob?" features cameos of nearly every character ever introduced, even including one-off characters such as Bronconius (from Season 4's "The Equestranauts") and Torpedo Jones (from Season 1's "Torpedo"). Interestingly, despite the appearance of one-shot characters, two recurring characters—Mickey and Logan Bush—are absent from the sequence (Logan's absence is even more noticeable given his mother's presence in the sequence).
  • Contrived Coincidence: In "Ear-sy Rider"; had Logan's dad's doctoring skills not turned up when Mudflap was going into labor, bad things would have happened. Also, Mudflap going into labour the exact second Critter was about to brutalize Logan's parents—while the stress of the whole situation likely was the cause, the fact is they are very lucky it happened.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In "Mother Daughter Laser Razor", Louise and Logan get a bit too disruptive during the therapy session and as punishment are locked in a room containing a television that is showing Freaky Friday on a loopnote . They're initially horrified about it, but after a loop or two Logan quickly becomes fascinated with the movie, and even appears to have found some deeper meaning in it.
  • Cool Teacher: Bob quickly becomes this in "Bob & Deliver" by encouraging the Home Ec students to get creative with cooking rather than just watch movies all day. Unfortunately, he gets a bit too popular for the school's liking.
  • Costume-Test Montage: In "These Boots Are Made For Stalking" one of these pops up when Tina goes to a thrift store to find new clothes to impresS a group of "cool kids."
  • Couch Gag:
    • The business that owns the building to the right of Bob's Burgers (called the Store Next Door) is different in every opening. In the episode proper, it is always shown as being "For Rent", with a few exceptions (such as in "Burger Wars", where the raccoon sanctuary shown in the opening is apparently still there). Every time the Store Next Door is actually there in the episode, it'll be referenced by one of the characters. In at least two cases, it even directly affects a subplot. The easy implication is that the businesses are forced to shut down regularly, but why isn't clearnote .
    • As of the second season, the ending credits are different for each episode, usually based on some variation of the family working in the restaurant.
    • It's easy to miss, but in the opening, the name of the pest control firm that shows up to exterminate the rats changes every episode from Season 2 onward. For instance, in one Halloween episode, they were bat exterminators.
  • Counterfeit Cash: In "Ancient Misbehavin'", a teacher creates a system where kids who participate in class earn clay coins they can exchange for prizes. However, the way she has the desks set up means she can only see half the class at any given time (not helped by her poor eyesight), meaning several students barely end up with any coins. To circumvent this, Louise, Rudy, and Millie start making counterfeit coins. However, the operation has two flaws—they barely participate so they can't use too many coins at once without arousing suspicion (which locks them out of the better prizes, basically defeating the entire point), and it's later revealed that the teacher added a hidden strip of foil in the center of the real coins that the counterfeits lack (which the students aren't told about until after the counterfeits have been in circulation for days).
  • Cover Version: Some of the show's musical numbers are short covers of existing songs. See Teddy singing "Beyond the Sea", Tina singing "Just What I Needed" by The Cars, and Bob and Louise singing "Bat Out of Hell" by Meat Loaf for prime examples.
  • Crash Course Landing: In "Seaplane!", Linda has to use what little she learned during her one flying class to land the seaplane safely after it becomes airborne as it's being towed to shore.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy:
    • Teddy is a platonic example; he becomes extremely possessive whenever Bob hangs out with someone who isn't him. Bob even mentioning that he plans to also sets him off.
    • If there's one consistent way for Jimmy Jr. to ever start liking Tina back, it's when she's going out with someone else, which he never takes well.
  • Credits Gag: The scene in the credits with Bob and his kids working in the kitchen is changed to relate to the episode, even being in 8-bit style in "Burgerboss". This was occasionally done in season 1, but starting in season 2, it applied to every episode.
  • Creepy Child: Louise is more cheerful than most examples, but that doesn't exactly help, given how disturbing her behavior can get.
  • Creepy Twins: Andy and Ollie Pesto, who are outright called such on occasion.
    Ollie: I know how everyone's gonna die.
  • Crossover:
    • The Season 4 premiere of Archer opens with that show's Sterling Archer suffering from amnesia and thinking he is Bob Belcher (both characters are voiced by H. Jon Benjamin). Linda and the kids make an appearance and are even given the much more detailed Archer art style, though only Linda has any dialogue.
    • Bob has a cameo appearance in the Family Guy episode "The Simpsons Guy".
    • Speaking of The Simpsons, the show proper features the Belchers a few times as well. Aside from the aforementioned cameo in "The Simpsons Guy", the entire family appears in the Couch Gag of "My Way or the Highway to Heaven" (which takes place during the opening sequence), while the final scene of "Treehouse of Horror XXXIII" is set in the restaurant (though only Linda appears).
    • In-universe; the Season 5 premiere sees Gene and Courtney team up to make a crossover musical of Die Hard and Working Girl, called "Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl", turning the two stories into a tragic romance between Hans Gruber and Tess McGill.
  • Crowd Chant:
    • Gene starts a "fight" chant and gets a crowd going in "Sexy Dance Fighting".
    • In "Bob & Deliver", the Home-Ec students start chanting for Bob to turn on a movie, not helped by Louise's yelling outside. Bob loses it.
      Bob: You're all animals!
    • Linda tries to start one for Tina and Louise in "Speakeasy Rider". She stops after realizing nobody's gonna chant with her.
  • Crying at Your Birthday Party: In "House of 1000 Bounces", Regular-Sized Rudy breaks down sobbing in anger because Louise and the others had forced him to go along with stealing a bounce house for his birthday party when all he wanted was to perform a spoon puppet show.
  • Cutting the Knot: In "The Equestranauts," the hotel safe with Tina's Chariot doll is locked with a code that "only the most diehard fan" of The Equestranauts would know. Does Bob open it with the intense knowledge of the show that Tina drilled into him? Does he rely on The Power of Friendship with the more rational fans of the show that he's connected with to provide the answer? No, he just calls the hotel staff and gets them to open it for him.
  • Daddy's Girl: Despite everything about her, Louise admires Bob to the point of wanting to take over the family restaurant, is strongly implied to see Bob as her hero, and one of her biggest fears (if not her absolute biggest) is growing apart from him as she gets older. It's even acknowledged by characters in-universe that Louise favors Bob over Linda and likely always will. Their strong bond is the focus of several episodes, is occasionally hinted at in episodes not focusing on the two, and Louise seems to open up most often when she's around her father.
    • "Mother Daughter Laser Razor" deconstructs it. While Louise and Bob have a very close bond, it comes at the cost of Louise neglecting her bond with Linda. Additionally, Linda is not only aware of Louise and Bob's bond, she's jealous of it.
    • To a lesser extent, Tina's bond with Bob has been the focus of a number of episodes. While Louise is shown to look up to Bob the most of the kids, her sarcastic nature means that Tina is the kid most likely to immediately rally to his side.
  • Dance-Off: Bob and Teddy take a hip-hop dance class and get challenged to a dance-off by Flips Whitefudge, the teacher's son. As the dance battle begins, Flips hurts himself, so Bob and Teddy win by default before they even make a move.
  • Dark Reprise: The Season 4 finale, being a two-parter, has a couple songs in the first half that get significantly more twisted in the second half.
    • In "Wharf Horse", Bob sings a song called "Oh, Nice Things are Nice" to try and convince Mr. Fischoeder to sell the Wharf, singing about how selling the Wharf will improve the lives of both Fischoeder and Bob himself. In "World Wharf II: The Wharfening", Bob sings the song again after he and Fischoeder have been tied up under the pier by Felix—only the song is now "Oh, Bad Things are Bad", and Bob is lamenting his imminent demise while his family desperately looks for him.
    • In "Wharf Horse", Fanny's song "Mr. Dancefloor" is sung twice, the first by herself. After a while, it's sung again with Linda, Mort and Teddy added to the list of singers—and this time, the song is way more intense and frightening, showing scenes of Bob agreeing with Felix, the carousel being destroyed while Tina tries to protect it, and Mr. Fischoeder calling people to the Wonder Wharf. And then there's Fanny singing it a third time in "World Wharf II: The Wharfening". While the song itself isn't too tense in the moment, it should be noted that she's singing it as she holds the Belchers and Fischoeders at gunpoint.
  • Deadpan Door Shut: In "Nude Beach", Tommy is singing about his abusive father in the restaurant. Mort starts to open the door, briefly listens to Tommy's singing, and then wordlessly closes the door without changing his neutral expression.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All of the Belchers can be prone to this (special mention to Tina for being deadpan in general), but Bob and Louise definitely do this the most. Bob and Louise in particular are prone to snarking together, as shown by Burn Unit (which they play regularly) and even the occasional jab at their own family.
  • Debate and Switch: The entire conflict in "Sacred Cow" was solved by said cow almost getting hit by a car and then dying of a cow heart attack.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • Most of the Burgers of the Day fall into this, as even when the pun is obvious there's still a little "served with" parenthetical underneath. "New Bacon-ings (served with bacon)", "She's a Super-Leek Burger (Comes with braised leeks)", etc.
    • Mort's line, "I've been murdered... to DEATH!" in "Hamburger Dinner Theater".
    • Linda says she has "'90s Cosmopolitan magazines from the '90s" in "Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks".
  • Designated Villain: In-universe; in "The Frond Files", the kids invoke it by each making Mr. Frond the villain of their creative writing, despite Mr. Frond having not really done anything to deserve their wrath (well, not this time, at least) besides confiscate Gene's keyboard. Deconstructed, however, as Mr. Frond realizes that the kids are doing this because they genuinely hate him, which drives him to tears.
  • The Determinator: The Belchers. No matter what happens, their poor luck will not get the best of them.
    Tina: Our family motto is "Maybe we'll get lucky this time."
  • Devoured by the Horde: In "The Gayle Tales", in Louise's Game of Thrones inspired story, Lindaryen (Linda) unleashes the Mort-ain (Mort) to fight in the duel against Louise. However, Louise wins the duel by slapping him with her sword and making him fall into the pit of ravenous porcelain babies that eats him alive. When Lindaryen mentions that she should get a new fool as her current fool Bobdor (Bob) isn’t skinny or hot, Bobdor gets angry and throws Lindaryen into the pit, too.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • In "Mutiny on the Windbreaker," Bob tries to get away from Captain Flarty, until Flarty points out that because he's on a ship in the middle of the sea, he can't get far unless he can walk on water.
    • In "Fort Night", Darryl betrays the group during their escape attempt so that Millie will let him outside to use the bathroom. Louise has to outright tell him how stupid he is for thinking that foiling the escape attempt would let him escape.
    • Many of Frond's ideas for Wagstaff (be it a contest to decide the new school anthem or mandatory teacher evaluation forms) are poorly planned. If Frond doesn't directly undermine it himself, the kids are often able to notice loopholes within a minute and remove whatever authority Frond had over the situation. It's lampshaded by both students and Frond's fellow faculty members.
  • Different in Every Episode: The Burger of the Day that is posted on the restaurant's blackboard changes every episode. Befitting its name, it will also change during episodes that take place over multiple daysnote .
  • The Dinnermobile: "Christmas in the Car" sees the Belcher family being menaced on the road by an angry trucker whose rig is shaped like a candy cane.
  • Distant Duet: Bob and Linda get a sweet one in "Lindapendant Woman".
  • The Ditz: Gene, full stop, although Linda and Tina can occasionally give him a run for his money.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • In "Lobsterfest", the kids act like the titular celebration is a religious holiday, with Louise trying to skip class by claiming her family doesn't observe it. Later they describe what they want Their First Time eating lobster to be like, with Tina planning to save lobster for her wedding, Gene hoping to eat lobster in a hot tub, and Louise wanting to order lobster as her last meal on the electric chair, then use it to stab the executioner's eyes out and escape. When they wind up eating lobster later that episode, Louise tells Tina to pretend at her wedding that it's her first time.
      • From the same episode, it's pretty obvious that when Gretchen described Hugo as having a small "badge" he didn't know how to use, she clearly meant his penis.
    • In "Bad Tina", Bob gets addicted to "caking" (extreme patty cake) and it's portrayed as if it's some weird sex act, complete with Bob trying to get Teddy to do it and Teddy getting freaked out.
    • In "Mother Daughter Laser Razor", Louise talks to her mother about their relationship as if they were a couple.
    • In "Itty Bitty Ditty Committee", the scene where Linda haphazardly tries to shave her armpits and Bob interferes is reminiscent of someone trying to stop a suicide attempt.
    • In "Sit Me Baby One More Time", the Belchers catch Teddy eating at another restaurant. Teddy's reaction sounds as if he's just been caught committing adultery (even saying that the few times he's tried a burger that wasn't Bob's meant nothing to him before breaking down sobbing about betraying Bob).
    • Often, Bob reacts to using another grill as if he's cheating on his old one. He outright spells out the comparison in the 200th episode, likening it to cheating on Linda.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: A Burger of the Day named "Child Molester" (it comes with a side order of candy) is disturbing enough without Louise trying to explain the name.
    • Most of the time, the Burger of the Day board has a small "comes with [ingredient]" next to the name of the burger, in case people don't understand the pun.
    • Tina often forgets this, turning an often-already awkward joke into an even more awkward joke.
  • Double Entendre: In "Lobsterfest," Louise tells Tina, "When you get married, just pretend it's your first time eating lobster."
  • Downer Ending: "Family Fracas" is a mild example. See Karma Houdini for more details.
  • Drag Queen: When Bob starts driving a taxi he befriends three of them, and they're portrayed fairly sympathetically. Despite being called transvestites, at least one of them seems to be a pre-op trans woman who hasn't been able to get surgery.
  • Drawing Straws: Squickified in "Speakeasy Rider", when the kids turn to plucking the hairs on Gene's back mole.
  • Dreadful Musician:
    • Tommy, the health inspector that briefly takes over for Hugo in "Nude Beach", makes music that's a lethal combination of disgusting lyrics ("Elderly Prostitute", anyone?) and a complete lack of actual talent.
    • Subverted with Gene. At first, his love for music seems to only be an excuse to make obnoxious fart-based compositions with his keyboard. Then comes Season 3 (primarily the episode "Topsy"), where it's revealed he's not only capable of making actual music, he's capable of making it good.
  • Drop-In Landlord: Mr. Fischoeder, the family's landlord, often shows up to remind the family that the monthly rent is supposed to be paid every month. Typically episodes involving him revolve around some crazy favor he wants in exchange for forgiving a set number of months' collective rent, such as the Belchers pretending to be his family to impress an old flame, Bob being his ringer in a gingerbread house building competition, or the kids being used to pull an Ocean's Eleven style heist on his own fun center.
  • Drowning Pit: In "World Wharf II: The Wharfening", Felix ties Bob and Mr. Fischoeder under the pier to let them drown in the rising tide.
  • Dub Pronunciation Change: The Italian dub changes the pronounciation of the main characters' last name Belcher from "Bel-chair" to "Bel-care" and the one of Zeke's name from "zeek" to "Zeck".
  • Dumb Blonde:
    • Although he's currently bald, "The Deepening" reveals that Teddy's natural hair color is blond. As for the intelligence factor, well...
    • Invoked in "Tina, Tailor, Soldier, Spy". When Linda gets her hair dyed blonde, she starts screwing up orders and her intelligence drops. She goes back to normal once she returns to her black hair color again. However, Bob points out that her hair color isn't directly lowering her intelligence—the reason she's started screwing up more is because she's so obsessed with her new blonde hair it's all she can think about. Thus, her new hair color is causing her screw-ups, but not in the way one might think.
    • Helen Goodwin is a mild version of this, with certain lines showing her true blonde-ness. It's implied that this is just an act to make her seem like an unassuming, friendly woman rather than the Black Widow she very likely is.
    • Jocelyn, and also Tammy (from Season 3 onwards). Jocelyn in particular seems to be pushing Too Dumb to Live levels.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: When it looks like they're going to drown in "World Wharf II: The Wharfening", all five Belchers reaffirm their love for each other. Fortunately for them (and no doubt for the audience), they get to live to see another day.
  • Dysfunctional Family:
    • Subverted: the Belchers are weird, bicker a lot, and can be outright jerks at times, but it's made consistently clear that they truly love each other, dozens of episodes show just how far they'll go for each other, and even at their worst they never resort to physical or verbal abuse (the farthest anyone goes is Louise regularly slapping people, but she does that to everyone).
    • Played straight regarding the Pestos. Jimmy Sr. is a deadbeat divorcee who neglects all three of his kids, causing Jimmy Jr. to dislike him and also leading to the twins becoming emotionally dependent on each other. This has led to considerable emotional distance between all of them—outside of Andy and Ollie, the Pestos have very few interactions with each other, and even fewer of them are positive.

  • Ear Ache: In "Ear-sy Rider", the One-Eyed Snakes threaten to cut off the ear of a bully named Logan if he didn't return Louise's bunny ears (which he had stolen), and even pull a knife on him. They claim to have just been trying to scare Logan, but Louise clearly intended to have them actually do it and Logan's family certainly thought they would have.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: And that's just putting it lightly:
    • The kids were more supportive of their father until only Tina's insensitive-but-well meaning compliments to him remained. Louise was the biggest example.
    • The kids were too much into profane stuff (like Gene's recording of his grandparents having sex).
    • Profane stuff was very general until it switched to just weird stuff.
    • Linda mentioned a lot of graphic mental images regarding Bob.
    • Louise's status as an Enfant Terrible was at its most prevalent and random (she would target anyone for the hell of it, even her own family), in contrast to her more controlled but vindictive attitude (she'll still snark at her family, but tends to be kinder in their presence, and ruthlessly pursues anyone who hurts her or her family).
    • In his debut episode, Randy Watkins had a small but noticeable crew to help film his documentaries. Later episodes indicate that Randy operates on his own, playing every role he needs to and in general being far less professional (which really says something).
    • Gene's fart-playing megaphone has since been phased out in favor of his fart-playing keyboard.
    • Mr. Fischoeder had a black eyepatch in his first appearance, as opposed to his current white one.
    • Peter Pescadero looked completely different on the first season. Compare it with his regular appearance for the rest of the series.
    • In her first appearance, Tammy was a brunette and had a crush on Zeke. Later she dyed her hair blond and any romantic feelings toward Zeke disappeared.
    • The animation style in seasons 1, 2 and 3 were wildly different from the series onward. All seasons had more fluid movement and the characters stood in varied poses beyond simply facing forward most of the time, while Season 1 had the mouths curve and move in an odd way. Background characters also looked like they were in a completely different style than the main characters.
    • The first two seasons lacked any Christmas, Halloween, or Thanksgiving episodes. Starting from season 3, each season has had one of each, with most of them also having a Valentine's Day episode as well.
    • The intro is very different in the first two seasons:
      • The intro's animation is much stiffer. The burger Bob holds merely pops up on-screen instead of falling into place. Mort's crematorium and the Store Next Door snap into place, rather than slamming into the restaurant more fluidly. Additionally, several of the Belchers have different poses: Linda doesn't put her arm around Bob, Gene lacks his keyboard and doesn't bounce on the spot, and Louise doesn't strike a pose, leaving Bob and Tina as the only characters who keep the same pose in both intros.
      • At the end of the intro, the camera zooms upwards into the "Grand Re-Re-Re-Opening" sign, as opposed to zooming in towards the burger Bob is holding like in Season 3 onwards. It also pauses once in the middle of the zoom, as opposed to remaining fluid throughout it in Season 3 onwards.
      • The theme song is slightly different from the one used from Season 3 and onwards.
      • The Season 1 intro had the exterminator van, but it didn't change every episode. Throughout all of Season 1, the facility was met by a company called, "Rats All, Folks!" before changing in every episode onwards.
    • The opening credits for the first few episodes used the Comic Sans font instead of the distinctive font used afterwards.
    • Larry Murphy (Teddy's voice actor) wasn't in the opening credits until Season 3. Teddy also wasn't considered a "main" character until Season 3.
    • The credits sequence remained the same throughout the first season (the Belchers working in the kitchen as normal) with no variation aside from what music played. Starting from Season 2, the sequence varies depending on the episode, with several sequences moving away from the kitchen midway through or even leaving it out altogether.
    • The first two episodes of Season 1 had a Running Gag involving Louise changing the "Burger of the Day" name to one of her own choosing, with the resulting name being completely inappropriate. This gag was completely dropped afterwards because the writers realised coming up with regular "Burger of the Day" names was difficult enough already. Bob alludes to it in "Bob Fires the Kids", and in "The Kids Run the Restaurant" a Freeze-Frame Bonus confirms Louise once again changed the burger name after Bob and Linda left for the hospital.
  • Easily Forgiven: Initially defied in regards to Felix Fischoeder. After the Season 4 finale involves him trying to drown his brother Calvin and Bob under Wonder Wharf, he has a Heel Realization and becomes a Karma Houdini when the blame for his scheme is placed solely onto his girlfriend Fanny, who continued the scheme when Felix wanted to save Bob and Calvin. Bob, however, outright questions why he's not facing charges, and is very close to just going to the cops and telling them everything. It's played straight in future episodes, but it's arguably justified— it's heavily implied that Calvin paid a lot of money to the Belchers to keep things quiet.
  • Eat the Camera: Linda when finding out about independent study in "Synchronized Swimming".
    Linda: Independent [camera instantly zooms into her mouth] whaaaAAAAAAA?!
    • Literally happened in the Bob's Buskers "Sailors In Your Mouth" music video where the Belchers eat the members of The National, who resemble gravy sailors throughout the video.
    Bob Mmm. Man, this gravy is good.
    Linda: I know, right? It's my mother's recipe.
  • Eating Pet Food: In "There's No Business Like Mr. Business Business", Tina finds a box of Aunt Gayle's cat food, has a taste, and becomes utterly hooked on it. She then gives some to Gene, who likes it as well and soon both of them are scarfing it down. Then they discover that the box was Linda's, and it's implied that this has been a longtime habit of hers. And then Gayle mentions eating cat food regularly, to nobody's surprise. And then Bob and Louise try a couple bites at the end.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Calvin and Felix Fischoeder, with extra emphasis on the "eccentric" part.
  • Either/Or Title: "Wharf Horse" and "World Wharf II: The Wharfening" each have (or How Bob Saves/Destroys the Town) as a subtitlenote , establishing the episodes as each being one half of a larger story (namely the one-hour Season 4 finale).
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Bob is forcibly given a tattoo of his nose and mustache in "The Equestranauts". Ever since that episode, any shot of Bob's bare back will depict the tattoo.
  • Employee of the Month:
    • In "Late Afternoon in the Garden of Bob and Louise", Bob hires Louise's Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Logan to work at the restaurant so Logan's mom Cynthia will give Bob a plot in the community garden. Logan doesn't do anything except make a mess and pick on Louise, but when Louise fights back and Linda escalates the situation further it upsets Cynthia and Bob is forced to give Logan an Employee of the Month award to keep Cynthia happy and avoid losing his garden. Even though she knows the award is meaningless, the gesture still upsets Louise so much that she temporarily quits.
    • In "Driving Big Dummy", Linda and the kids are left working at the restaurant while Bob is away. With a big rush of customers coming in and the kids being as unhelpful as ever, Linda tries to entice them to work harder by offering an Employee of the Day award; the winner gets twenty seconds worth of soft serve ice-cream directly from the machine. The competition later changes to have all of the kids team up against Linda.
  • Entertainment Above Their Age:
    • A couple of episodes suggest that Gene and Louise have been secretly watching Game of Thrones. In "An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal", Gene lists "Season premiere of Game of Thrones" among the holidays the kids like more than Thanksgiving, much to Bob's confusion. In "The Gayle Tales", Louise's story is a blatant parody called Gayle of Thrones, though when Bob questions if she's actually watched Game of Thrones, Louise pretends she's never even heard of it.
    • In "The Handyman Can", Louise's story is a Whole-Plot Reference to both Waterworld and Mad Max: Fury Road (the former being PG-13, the latter being rated R), with Louise explicitly citing the latter. She very unconvincingly claims she's never seen Mad Max, especially not by using Linda's password over and over.
    • In nearly every Halloween Episode, Louise's costumes of choice are characters from PG-13 and R-rated moviesnote . Only two of her costumes are age-appropriate—and not only are both of them a costume involving all three Belcher kidsnote , but both of them are generic costumes and not movie references.
    • Subverted in "Drumforgiven", when Louise makes a threat likening herself to John Wick, but immediately clarifies that she hasn't actually seen the film:
      Louise: Hey, quick question: you ever see John Wick? ... Well I'm John Wick, and Gene is my puppy. And you're those guys who did something to the puppy, I'm not sure what because I only saw the trailer, but I know enough about it to know that you are gonna pay. PAY!
  • Entertainment Below Their Age: In the episode "The Equestranauts", Tina is a fan of the eponymous magical talking horse adventures show, and she and her dad are equally surprised to find there's a massive following of adult male fans who call themselves "Equest-icles". Tina herself also qualifies, given she's a teenager and the show is clearly marketed for kids much younger.
  • Epic Fail:
    • When Tina took the car for a spin in a massive parking lot, while driving extremely slowly, there was only one parked car there. Not only that, but Bob was there telling her exactly what to do at every moment. Tina still managed to crash into the car.
    • Gene's attempt to complete a parenting assignment in "O.T.: The Outside Toilet". He near-immediately drops the flour bag representing a child and breaks it open. Then, when he's given a replacement, he drops it and breaks it the second Frond lets go of the bag. He then goes to steal another kid's flour bag... and proceeds to trip over the previous two bags and break the third. Frond just gives him a failing grade and moves on.
    • Jimmy Pesto decides to compete in the titular competition in "Best Burger". As if he weren't already outclassed (he's up against a world-class chef and a man who cooks burgers daily), his burger (which he loaded with oregano and left out under a heating lamp when he finished it ten minutes early) is so bad that it gets spat out in a single bite, giving him last place in a landslide.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: Tina having a sad look on her face.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: Discussed in-universe in "Bob Belcher and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Kids". After it's revealed that Hugo started the restaurant fire, Tina is quick to point out that while the kids may not have started the fire as previously thought, the things they did likely only made the fire worse. Louise quickly shuts her up, and overall it works out because Hugo is so unlikeable that nobody exactly feels bad for Ron making him take full responsibility—plus, the kids had already spent the entire episode atoning for what they believed was their fault, so even if they were involved they'd already made up for it.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Each of the Belchers get this in the opening scene of the first episode:
    • Bob is giving a pep talk to the family, mentioning past difficulties with the restaurant which establishes him as the no-nonsense business owner determined to pull his struggling business out of the red. There's also the line to his kids "You're my children and I love you but you're all terrible at what you do." Bob forgetting the anniversary also establishes Bob's character as being so focused on the restaurant that it often gets in the way of the rest of his life and responsibilities as a family man, a recurring conflict in future episodes.
    • Linda enthusiastically interrupts Bob's pep talk to drop hints about her and Bob's anniversary which establishes her as the enthusiastic fun-loving one.
    • The first line Tina says in the series is "My crotch is itchy."
    • Gene disrupts Bob's pep talk by making fart noises with his toy megaphone. Bob also reminds Gene to not annoy any mourners from the funeral home next door while giving off samples and that it's not "The Gene Show" outside and there's a line between being entertaining and annoying. This establishes Gene's showmanship, sense of humor, and his constant desire for attention.
    • Louise is told by Bob to not alter his chalkboard and that he's taking away the chalk, of course Louise already has her own chalk on hand. She then proceeds to name the burger of the day "The Child Molester". This establishes her as a rule-breaking prankster with a dark sense of humor who is generally one step ahead of the rest of the family.
  • Establishing Series Moment: Bob's monologue in the first episode and Linda's subsequent reassurance establishes the series and characters as always persistent despite the failures in their lives.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: A new health inspector dumps rat feces in the restaurant and shuts it down after Bob refuses to allow him to play his disturbing music (one of his songs is called "Elderly Prostitute" and he played it in front of the kids) in the place. This prompts Hugo (who had taken a leave of absence) to return to duty and reopen the restaurant, as not only does he want to be the one to take down Bob, he doesn't want to resort to sabotage to do so.
  • Everyone Has Standards: This is basically Louise's character in general. As chaotic and mischievous as she is, there are lines she won't cross. Intentionally harming her friends and family (as opposed to snarking at them or messing with them) is one such line.
  • Everything Is an iPod in the Future: In Tina's Flash Forward Imagine Spot in "Can't Buy Me Math", the world that she breaks the news to her grandkids that she is bad at math is very shiny and white. Ditto for her Imagine Spot in "Wag the Song".
  • Evil Chef: In the shot after the lunch lady at Wagstaff in "Bob and Deliver" sneaks in the men's bathroom to burn Bob's hands with hot water in the sink, a crow overlooks her forcing him into a car in the parking lot. And that's just two scenes.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening credits change in Season 3, and again in Season 13.
    • In the first two seasons, Louise stands still during the intro. Starting in Season 3, she does a "ta-da!" to the camera when she appears. Similarly, Gene stands still in the first two seasons, but has (and uses) his trusty sound effects-playing keyboard from Season 3 onward (and can also be seen bobbing up and down as the opening plays).
    • Season 13's intro is updated to acknowledge the events of The Bob's Burgers Movie. The sinkhole is depicted alongside the other three disasters that befell the restaurant (the fire, infestation, and falling telephone pole), the "grand opening" sign is updated a fourth time as a result of the sinkhole (the same sign was seen at the end of the movie), and the road is shown to have a noticeably darker patch to reference the sinkhole being filled in (also seen at the end of the movie and throughout the season proper).
  • Exposition Already Covered: In Season 4 "Purple Rain-Union", after Linda has a nervous breakdown and flees from her high school reunion when her old high school band isn't going her way, Jen the babysitter gives her a Rousing Speech about not worrying about what people will think and do what you love, which gives Linda the courage to return to her reunion. When Linda returns, Bob, who has a huge pimple on his nose, was about to give Linda his own inspirational speech similar to Jen about his worries about his pimple but he was brave to be seen in public and still had fun, but Linda cuts him off and tells him Jen already gave her the inspirational speech and she's fine. Bob didn't mind and he went back to hang out with his new friends, thanks to his pimple.
  • Expy:
  • Eye Scream: Calvin Fischoeder is missing his left eye, which he covers with an eyepatch. A throwaway line in "Ambergris" reveals that his own brother Felix gouged it out, and a decades-old picture of the Fischoeders confirms it was when he was a teenager/young adult at the very oldest.
  • The Faceless: The most we have seen of Principal Spoors is a neck-down blue suit in "The Runaway Club".
    • Even after Ginger's two cameos in "Sliding Bobs" and "Clear and Present Ginger", we've never seen her face, as her back is always facing the camera during her few seconds of screentime.
  • Faint in Shock:
    • In "Sacred Cow", Bob faints after he witnesses Moolissa's death, resulting in him having a dream about talking to Moolissa on a cloud and kissing him.
    • In "The Kids Run the Restaurant", Bob passes out at the sight of his hand bleeding a bit.
  • Faceplanting into Food:
    • During a flashback in "Crawl Space", Al briefly dozes off and faceplants into his breakfast, causing Gloria to shout his name in annoyance.
    • In "The Land Ship", Tina is so exhausted from her nightly graffiti excursions with Jordan that she keeps falling asleep in random times. After she falls asleep in her cereal, a suspicious Louise points out that's the fourth time she's fallen asleep in her food that week. Bob eventually has to hold her head up so she doesn't do it again.
  • Faked Food Contaminant: In "A Few 'Gurt Men", a customer pulls this scam on both Bob and Jimmy Pesto, pretending to find a hair in the last bite of his food to get a free meal. They try to get back at the scammer, a celebrity impersonator, by hiring him to perform at a party and then refusing to pay him...only to discover they'd already paid online in order to book the performance.
  • Fake Period Excuse: Not quite fake, but according to Tina, one of her classmates actively tried to get her period to skip a test.
  • Family Business: The titular Bob's Burgers, ran by the Belcher family. "Carpe Museum" reveals that Louise plans to keep it in the family by inheriting it after Bob retires. When Bob finds out, he's absolutely elated.
    • Big Bob's Diner, the restaurant owned by Bob's father, used to be run by father and son before Bob quit. Unlike many examples of this trope, including Bob's Burgers itself, it's clear that the diner has nobody to inherit it in the event of Big Bob's retirement and/or death, as Bob has no interest and Big Bob doesn't have any other relatives (at least, none who are alive and/or in any position to run a restaurant).
  • Fan Community Nickname: All in-universe.
    • Fans of pattycake performance group "Cake" are referred to as "Patty Daddies".
    • Fans of Boyz 4 Now members Allen and Boo-Boo are referred to as Allencoholics and Boo-Boo Boosters, respectively. Teddy is known to be the former, while Louise is quite clearly the latter.
    • Of course, there are the "Equesticles" for adult male fans of The Equestranauts.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father:
    • Bob's father was a workaholic who made his son work all the time instead of playing, leading to him having no friends or even toys. Big Bob realizes it after he drives his son away and shows genuine remorse for it.
    • Jimmy Jr. loves to dance. Jimmy Pesto would rather he do literally anything else.
    • Bob defies it because his father was one—even if he finds something conceptually stupid, he won't stop his kids from doing it unless it harms them, even if that something is atypical or beyond the traditional "norm" (such as Gene becoming a cheerleader). In one episode he's so worried about being this that he fires his kids just so they can enjoy some time away from him... which is then deconstructed in that it doesn't work precisely because he isn't one of these—the kids grow bored being unable to spend time with their father in the restaurant.
  • Fauxreigner: The Pestos aren't actually Italian, as implied in "Burger Wars" (their real surname is revealed to be Poplopovich, implying Slavic origins) and eventually confirmed in "Bye Bye Boo Boo" (Jimmy Pesto outright states he wishes he was Italian).
  • Feigning Healthiness: In "The Kids Run Away", Louise refuses to allow Dr. Yap to fill in her cavity, so she hides in Gayle's house. Bob and Linda make a deal with her; if she can spend the whole weekend with the annoyingly eccentric Gayle, she won't have to get her cavity filled in. Louise starts to feel the pain of a toothache, but she hides her discomfort and manages to last the weekend. As such, Bob and Linda trick her into eating ice cream so that she'll go to the dentist.
  • Female Groin Invincibility: Seemingly averted in "Sit Me Baby One More Time". When Tina and Tammy discover that Kendra's been kicking her classmates in the groin and letting them take the blame for it, Kendra yells that she's going to kick them in the "tinkle-dink". Judging by their panicked reactions (and them using leaves as protective padding), they know it's still gonna be painful for them. She never does get to nail her attacks on them, though.
  • Fictional Board Game: Gayle has created a board game called "Gayle Force Winds" and has made her family play it before, though everybody hates it. The game's plot involves Princess Gayle trying to save multiple kingdoms from a witch, but the rules make no sense and the game can just restart from the beginning whenever Gayle feels like it. The kids don't actually finish it, but a throwaway line implies that Bob and Linda have—and they do not have fond memories of it.
  • Finger-Snapping Street Gang: Referenced. In the episode "Burger Wars", Linda mentions that the situation with their kids and Jimmy Pesto's is similar to West Side Story. She sings and snaps her fingers like the Jets.
  • Fire Alarm Distraction:
    • In "Synchronized Swimming", the Belcher children make up a fake synchronized swimming class to get out of regular gym class. When Mr. Frond demands an actual performance, Louise tries several methods to get the performance cancelled. She tries pulling the fire alarm, but Mr. Frond claims that the swimming pool is the safest place to be during a fire, so no one evacuates before the alarm is found out to be fake.
    • In ["The Runway Club", the students in Saturday detention manage to convince Mr. Frond to let them leave early, so when Principal Spoors shows up to check in on them, Mr. Frond panics and pulls the fire alarm as a distraction while he runs out of the building.
  • Flat Joy: Tina is naturally timid, so even at her most excitable, it comes off like this.
  • Flight of Romance: In "Seaplane!" Linda's flight instructor is famous for seducing women while in the air, earning the nickname "Upskirt Kurt". However, Linda isn't as susceptible to Kurt's charms. She doesn't even realize what he's doing at first, and when she does realize she refuses to even consider sleeping with Kurt.
  • Focus Group Ending: Discussed in-universe in "The Deepening". Teddy reveals that the original ending for the titular movie had the shark die of cancer, but test audiences thought it was too anticlimactic, so they changed it to have the shark suffocated with wet cement.
  • Foil: There's enough of them to warrant its own page.
  • Follow in My Footsteps:
    • Interestingly, Bob himself doesn't count, but his own father does. Big Bob wanted his son to run Big Bob's Diner with him as a father-son team, even making plans to change the diner's name to Big Bob and Son's Diner. However, while Bob did want to go into the restaurant business, he wanted to do so on his own terms—by getting to create whatever burgers he wanted without the restrictions of a menu or his father's constant criticisms. When Bob revealed this, it caused a massive argument that the two took twenty years to reconcile from.
    • Bob himself is a technical inversion. While he doesn't forbid his kids from taking over the restaurant when he retires, he clearly doesn't expect them to and he seems resigned to that fact. However, one of his kids does plan on inheriting the restaurant in the future—said kid happens to be Louise, something that shocks (and delights) Bob when he finds out.
      • "What About Job?" further expands on his viewpoint, explaining that he doesn't want his kids to feel like they have to take over the restaurant just for the sake of continuing his legacy, and wants them to explore their career options—if they actually want to run the restaurant, that's fine, but if they don't that's fine as well.
  • Food as Bribe: In "Burger Wars", Bob intends to do this to convince Mr. Fischoeder to look the other way on rent. While it initially fails when Fischoeder chokes on the burger, at the end of the episode Fischoeder tries Bob's food again and likes it so much that he not only forgoes rent but extends Bob's lease.
  • Food Songs Are Funny: Gravy Boat!
  • Foolish Husband, Responsible Wife: Inverted with Bob and Linda. Linda is recklessly enthusiastic, tends to be smothering regarding the kids, and is often a Horrible Judge of Character. Bob, however, is pragmatic in regards to difficult situations, can cook burgers quite well, and usually objects to whatever shenanigans Linda's got planned.
  • Foot Popping: Tina while stuck in the milk fridge, made easier by her feet already being elevated.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • It's very brief, but when Tina mistakenly concludes that Bob and Linda are getting divorced in "Torpedo", the kids' responses (where they each claim a parent's custody) lay the groundwork for the dynamics that are explored in later seasons—Louise, later revealed to be a Daddy's Girl, claims Bob; Gene, later revealed to be a Momma's Boy, claims Linda; Tina, who isn't shown to really favor either parent, is last to go and doesn't actually claim a parent before the conversation gets sidetracked.
    • Throughout Season 12, the sidewalk outside Bob's Burgers gradually gets more cracked and uneven, with later episodes in the season even featuring some background characters tripping over it. This is meant to tie into the movie, with the ruined sidewalk serving as early signs of the massive sinkhole that opens up in front of the restaurant.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: Jimmy Pesto loves Italian culture, to the point of changing his surname to sound more Italian-themed.
  • Forgot Their Own Birthday: In the first episode, after Bob realizes that he forgot his and Linda's anniversary, he says that he's not good with dates. A montage of him forgetting important dates shows that he even forgot his own birthday once.
  • Forgotten Anniversary: Bob is apparently such a dedicated worker that he not only forgets his and Linda's anniversary, but also Linda's birthday, his own birthday, and the birth of his first child!
  • Forgot to Pay the Bill: Or, rather, Linda deliberately didn't pay when she and Bob have an argument in "Lindapendent Woman", causing the power to go out.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The staff of Wagstaff school. Mr. Branca (optimist), Ms. Jacobson (realist), Mr. Ambrose (cynic), Ms. LaBonz/Ms. Schnur/Coach Blevins (apathetic), Mr. Frond (conflicted).
  • Framing Device: Often used to set up stories told by the three kids. Every season since Season 4 (with the exception of Season 8) has had one of these kinds of episodes. Another trend starting in Season 11 has one of the kids sit out while either Bob or Linda step in to tell the final story.
    • "The Frond Files" (Season 4): The kids write three stories for a school exhibition, but Frond says they are "inappropriate" and refuses to display them. When Bob and Linda ask why they are "inappropriate," he reads the stories to them.
    • "The Gayle Tales" (Season 5): To get out early from grounding, the kids have to come up with stories about Aunt Gayle.
    • "Sliding Bobs" (Season 6): The kids wonder how Linda and Bob's first meeting would go down if Bob didn't have a mustache.
    • "Mom, Lies and Videotape" (Season 7): After failing to record the kids' Mother's Day performances, the kids come up with completely fictional and improved versions of their crappy plays to Linda.
    • "Bed, Bob and Beyond" (Season 9): After watching part of a movie, the kids take turns telling what they imagine happens next, hoping to improve Bob and Linda's moods, and thus get out of trouble. Notably the first anthology episode to be combined with one of the show's regular holiday episodes, namely Valentine's Day.note 
    • "The Handyman Can" (Season 10): The kids take turns telling Teddy stories to restore his confidence in his handyman abilities.
    • "Diarrhea of a Poopy Kid" (Season 11): Louise, Tina, and Bob take turns comforting a sick and bathroom-ridden Gene on Thanksgiving. This is the second anthology episode to be combined with one of the show's regular holiday episodes, this time Thanksgiving.
    • "Interview with a Pop-pop-pire" (Season 12): Tina prepares to interview Bob's father Big Bob for a school paper. After learning about a time Big Bob was nearly crushed by a tree, Louise, Gene, and Linda take turns recounting their theories on how that happened. The episode differs from the other anthology episodes by introducing a Halfway Plot Switch—while the other anthology episodes keep the stories going until the end, this time Big Bob interrupts things at around the two-thirds mark, with the episode shifting focus to his and Bob's relationship.
    • "What About Job?" (Season 13): When an upcoming career day makes Louise fear that she will have a boring job for the rest of her life, Gene, Tina, and Bob come up with stories of interesting jobs for her.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: During "Mom, Lies and Videotape" Tina faithfully recounts her grade's Mother's Day performance for the sick, and thus unable to attend, Linda. It was a blatant rip-off of Aliens, except Sigourney Weaver's character (named Sigourney) and the alien queen become envious of each other's positions and due to a spatial anomaly they switch bodies/costumes.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Many of the show's Couch Gags, such as the exterminator van and many Burgers of the Day, are only onscreen for two or three seconds at a time.
    • Hugo's surname of Habercore is only briefly seen in a news headline within the first episode, and never mentioned elsewhere.
    • Louise's Christmas wish list in "Bob Rest Ye Gentle-Mannequins". It reads: "1. My own apartment 2. Towels (for apartment) 3. Doll whose head comes off and it's a knife". Only the apartment is directly acknowledged in the episode proper.
    • In the opening titles (starting with the second season), if you look carefully at the pest control van's window, you can see Jimmy Pesto in the reflection. This makes Jimmy the only non-Belcher to appear in the opening.
    • In "The Equestranauts", Bronconius claims the combination to the safe he's keeping Chariot in is an obscure Equestranauts reference that even Bob, who binged the entire franchise in a weekend, wouldn't know. While we never overtly learn what the combination is (Bob just calls the hotel security to open it for him), earlier in the episode Bronconius opens the safe to show Bob the doll—the combination is 5193, though what it references is unknown and will almost certainly never be revealed.
    • They're only visible in one shot before Mr. Fischoeder guns down Bob's gingerbread house, but in "Last Gingerbread House on the Left," one can see that Bob made miniatures of his family on his gingerbread house's front lawn.
    • In "The Ring (But Not Scary)", the kids sneak downstairs in the dark to meet with Nat. In the split-second before the lights turn on, Bob's outline can be seen in the dark, indicating that he's already there waiting for them.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Several episodes primarily focus on two members of the Belcher family and their relationship with each other independent of the other Belchers. The show has done most of the possible pairings, all except for one—Tina and Gene. While every other pairing has had spotlightnote , there has never been an episode whose A-plot focuses on just Tina and Genenote . Second-last is Gene and Louise (with only one episode—"Large Brother, Where Fart Thou?").
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Bob's love of experimenting with food, his Companion Cube habit, his lack of social skills, his Brutal Honesty... hell, pretty much every aspect of Bob as an adult can be explained by how his father was when Bob was a kid—Big Bob was extremely strict, gave Bob no room to explore new ideas, forced Bob to work all summer instead of making friends, and was himself rather blunt with Bob.
    • Similarly, when we see just how horribly Gloria and Al treat their kids, Gayle being a mess of a human being becomes a lot easier to understand (which Bob outright lampshades in "An Incon-Wheelie-ent Truth"). Linda being a Horrible Judge of Character also makes more sense—she fails to see the poor attitude of someone she's known for her entire life, so she won't have an easier time seeing the poor attitude of someone she's just met.
    • Parodied by Mr. Frond in "Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl", though not in the typical psychiatrist role, and more as a jab at bad school counselors.
      Mr. Frond: Alright... well, this is the part where I blame the parents.
    • A brief line in "Father of the Bob" reveals that Big Bob's poor treatment of his son can be traced back to the death of his wife, making things tougher on him as a single parent and leading him to make mistakes he might not have made if there were another parent in the household. However, Big Bob himself doesn't use it as an excuse—he makes it clear that he does truly regret how he raised Bob.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Tammy believes she's the most popular kid in school. Aside from Jocelyn, everybody has been shown to barely tolerate her.
  • Full Moon Silhouette: Gene does this with a wagon and a hi-tech talking toilet. Bonus points for the episode in general being a Whole-Plot Reference to E.T.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": Mort is this.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • "Spaghetti Western And Meatballs" has Mr. Frond's conflict resolution program "A.B.S.": Access your feelings, Be apologetic, Slap it! (referring to giving a high five once the conflict is resolved). Humor is mined from the fact that Frond pronounces the acronym like the abbreviation for "abdominal muscles", resulting in him telling his students to work out their "abs", and at one point offering to show his "abs" to a bemused and disgusted Bob.
    • "Mazel-Tina" mentions "BFOS" (pronounced "bee-foes"): Boys From Other Schools. "Sleeping with the Frenemy" derives this into "BFOT" ("bee-faht"): Boys From Other Towns. The latter episode also has Tammy proclaiming herself as an "OOTGF" ("oot-guf"): Out-of-Town Girlfriend.
    • In "The Millie-Churian Candidate", a power-hungry Millie Frock runs for class president in order to get closer to Louise and become her best friend. If elected, she plans to impose a system called "BESTIES": Buddying up Everyone with Someone To Improve the Experience of School.
      Zeke: That's elegant.
      Tina: She's really good at that stuff.
  • Funny Background Event: Happens occasionally, like in the pilot.
    • Every so often, Jimmy Pesto is visible across the street being a dick to Trev.
    • "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?" has Tina and Gene getting slapped by Louise repeatedly. Even as the camera pans away from them, the slaps can still be heard.
    • In "Burger Wars", when Bob tries to serve his Meatsiah burgers at Jimmy Pesto's, Teddy can be seen at a table hiding his face so as not to be seen by Bob.
    • "Bob Day Afternoon" has a cop who removes his headphones every time Louise screams into the phone.
    • In "The Kids Run The Restaurant", while Bob and Linda are driving home and Bob's blood is spraying everywhere, a man in the car behind them can be seen looking horrified.
  • The Gadfly: If the there's a chance to make their father's life harder, the Belcher children will take it. Louise and Gene especially enjoy saying things to people just to make Bob squirm, whether it be calling him a murderer for making burgers or cheering for distressing news.
  • Game Show Appearance: The plot of the first half of "Family Fracas". In the second half, it becomes a Courtroom Episode.
  • Gasshole:
    • Gene. Almost every other scene with him will contain a fart joke.
    • Gloria and Tammy.
  • Genius Ditz: Bob and Teddy for cooking and mechanics/home repair, respectively. Though Bob isn't so much The Ditz in non-cooking elements as he is generally unskilled or simply average, and is actually shown being quite decent in some areas (such as, of all things, knitting). Teddy, on the other hand...
  • Gentle Giant: Teddy.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Louise snaps Linda out of her panic attack like this.
  • The Ghost:
    • Ken, Gene's alleged 28 year old albino friend who does improvised hip hop. However, it is often implied by the other characters that Ken is just an imaginary friend, which is confirmed in "Mr. Lonely Farts".
    • The appropriately-named Principal Spoorsnote .
    • The mayor of Seymour's Bay, who Linda seems to be a fangirl of. In "I Bob Your Pardon" he's conveniently absent due to a Potty Emergency, and in "Yachty or Nice" he's always just offscreen despite being at the same parade the Belchers are attending.
  • Girlish Pigtails: In "Slumber Party", Linda throws Louise an unwanted slumber party and wears her hair in pigtails to fit in with the girls.
  • Girl Scouts Are Evil: Tina has had a run-in or two with Troop 257, a ruthless group of Thundergirls who have their troop leader cowed into submission and treat cookie sales as Serious Business. Even their own fathers are spineless when it comes to them.
  • Girly Run: Linda's run in "Purple Rain-Union" is fairly girly, and her runny makeup really feminizes her in the scene as well.
  • Given Name Reveal:
    • The family's surname of Belcher wasn't actually mentioned in the show proper until "Synchronized Swimming", although it'd been used in supplementary material prior to then and the title of "The Belchies" (which predates the aforementioned episode) alludes to it.
    • "Torpedo" reveals the first name of Calvin Fischoeder, while "Synchronized Swimming" reveals the first name of Phillip Frond. Both had gone exclusively by their surnames prior to those respective episodes.
    • In her debut appearance, Nat solely goes by her nickname. The Season 10 premiere confirms her surname to be Kinkle, while "Just The Trip" confirms her full first name to be Natalie.
    • After twelve seasons of mystery, "Sauce Side Story" reveals Linda's maiden name (and by extension the surname of Gayle, Gloria, and Al) to be Genarronote .
    • Despite Bob's mother first being mentioned in Season 3, it's not until Season 13's "Show Mama from the Grave" where her name (Lily Belcher) is mentioned for the first time.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: In "Dr. Yap", Gayle aggressively pursues a squicked-out Bob, mostly because she's not attracted to a man unless Linda falls in love with him first. As noted, Linda resolves this by pretending to fall in love with her dentist, which sends Gayle after him—All According to Plan.
  • GMPC: Gayle's board game, Gayle Force Winds, revolves entirely around a character named Princess Gayle. Given none of the kids' player tokens resemble anything that would represent Princess Gayle, the likeliest explanation is that Princess Gayle is one of these (if the name wasn't already a dead giveaway).
  • A God Am I:
    Louise: Voodoo works! I'm a god!
  • Going to See the Elephant: In "Stand By Gene", Gene and the other kids head to a farm that has a goat with two butts.
  • Gonk: The guy in the pelican suit and the guy in the cotton candy suit.
  • Good-Looking Privates: Gretchen is attracted to men in uniform with power positions. And Hugo's got a thermometer.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: In "Beefsquatch", Linda tries to stop a live show by swearing on camera, but none of her "swear words" are anything close to offensive. She then resorts to flashing her breasts, which not only stops the live show but gets it cancelled.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: It's implied on more than one occasion that Jimmy Pesto hates Bob so much because he's jealous of his food's high quality. And considering Bob's family is more tight-knit than Jimmy's, it's entirely possible that Jimmy is also jealous of Bob's home life as well.
  • Grossout Fakeout: In "Hamburger Dinner Theater", Mort uses fake intestines for the Belchers' murder mystery show. Unfortunately, it looks too realistic and the audience ends up calling the policenote .
  • Guilt-Induced Nightmare:
    • In "Sacred Cow", Bob has a few days to make a choice; he will either make Moolissa into a burger or spare his life. He keeps him outside during a rainy night and has a nightmare that he's put on trial for killing Moolissa, and he loses the case. He wakes up and decides to let him sleep inside for the night.
    • In "Friends with Burger-Fits", Bob is feeling remorseful and worried about serving burgers to Teddy, as the latter has informed him that constantly eating burgers has given him high levels of cholesterol. He has a nightmare that Teddy's doctor calls him on the phone, and then a long arm comes out of the receiver. The arm pulls Teddy's heart out of his chest and begins to stuff burgers into it. Bob grows several arms and uncontrollably shoves burgers into Teddy's exposed heart, which grows bigger and bigger. He wakes up in a fright just before Teddy's heart bursts.
  • Halloween Episode: Has become par for the course for every season since Season 3. Most of them are opportunities for the kids to show off their knowledge of pop culture and/or puns.
    • "Full Bars" (Season 3): The kids travel to King's Head Island to trick-or-treat in a rich neighborhood and get targeted for hazing by older kids; Linda and Bob go to Teddy's party, only to get caught up in a murder mystery when Teddy's guinea pig gets killed.
    • "Fort Night" (Season 4): The kids, the Pesto twins and Darryl get locked in their box fort by Millie, a girl who's obsessed with becoming Louise's best friend; assuming the kids are off trick-or-treating, Bob and Linda decide to use the costume they were making for the kids to trick-or-treat themselves.
    • "Tina and the Real Ghost" (Season 5): Tina falls for a ghostly teenage boy that they believe to have locked in a box; the ghost attracts business to the restaurant, including a duo of ghost hunters.
    • "The Hauntening" (Season 6): The family tries to scare Louise during Halloween, but things take an unexpectedly dark turn at Bob and Linda's makeshift haunted house.
    • "Teen-a-Witch" (Season 7): Tina becomes a witch to attempt to win a costume contest, while Bob's jack-o-lanterns keep getting stolen.
    • "The Wolf of Wharf Street" (Season 8): Linda and the kids go looking for a wolf on a foggy Halloween night when trick-or-treating turns out to be a bust. Meanwhile, Bob, under the influence of painkillers, thinks Teddy is a werewolf.
    • "Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street"(Season 9): When Ocean Avenue closes street traffic for Halloween, someone starts stealing the kids' candy; Bob gets dragged into Teddy's decorating war with a rival contractor.
    • "Pig Trouble in Little Tina" (Season 10): Tina is haunted by the ghost of the fetal pig she dissected and recruits her siblings to help get rid of the ghost; Bob struggles with a serious earwax problem.
    • "Heartbreak Hotel-oween" (Season 11): Louise intends to get revenge on a couple for stiffing her on a previous Halloween, but her plan hits a snag when she and her siblings meet an old woman with a dark and mysterious past; Bob goes to donate blood with Linda and Teddy, where things predictably don't go to plan.
    • "The Pumpkinening" (Season 12): Linda and Gayle return to their hometown to confront a misdeed they committed 27 years ago; Bob's Burgers becomes a hit with trick-or-treaters after Bob buys a popular candy brand, but the Belcher kids worry that he'll run out before they can get some for themselves.
  • Handsome Lech: Jimmy Pesto is good-looking (as confirmed by Linda, Tina and Hugo) but some episodes suggest that he also has a seedy private life. In "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?", it's revealed that he frequents adult fetish clubs and a comment by Andy on Ollie in "The Unnatural" implies that he also takes dates to sleazy motels ("this is where our dad goes for his naps!").
  • Happily Married: At the end of the day, Bob and Linda are this. They occasionally bicker, and Linda can be a bit too energetic for Bob to keep up, but they're just as in love as when they first met.
  • Hard Truth Aesop:
    • The lesson in "Art Crawl" is, "some people are too fragile to be told the truth". Made even funnier by the fact that the episode seemed to be heading towards a more normal "honesty is the best policy" Aesop, but Bob and Linda couldn't go through with it after seeing that it would've caused Gayle to have a Freak Out.
    • A lesson in "A Fish Called Tina" is that sometimes people won't like you for no real reason and still won't even if you actively try to make them like you.
  • Has a Type: Tina mentions in "Ain't Miss Debatin'" that she has a thing for boys with speech impediments and/or accents. Which, prior to that same episode introducing Duncan, basically included Jimmy Jr. and nobody else.
  • Hash House Lingo: The episode "Bob and Deliver" has the following exchange:
    Gene: Give me a bald Kelly Ripa and a canoe with a brick!
    Zeke: Chicken taco, no sour cream, plus a brownie — you got it.
    Gene: Really? I didn't even know what I meant.
  • Hates Their Parent:
    • Louise and Linda were not on great terms for the first few seasons, not helped by Louise's blatant preference of Bob. While her preference of Bob remains, Louise has largely grown out of outright hating her mother, though the two still don't always see eye-to-eye and Louise is far more likely to get annoyed at Linda than she is at any other member of the family.
    • Jimmy Jr. has a lot of resentment towards his father for refusing to let him dance and generally just being a crappy dad. Compare this to Andy and Ollie, who blindly worship Jimmy Sr. despite him being even worse to them than he is to his eldest son.
    • Bob held a lot of resentment towards his father Big Bob for his Control Freak tendencies and refusal to let him enjoy his childhood. Big Bob, for one, deeply regrets his role in this and apologizes to his son. By the end of "Father of the Bob" the two are on better terms, though Bob still expresses displeasure with how Big Bob raised him.
    • Gayle holds a contentious relationship with her mother Gloria, which is primarily because Gloria is an Abusive Parent to both her and Linda. The fact that Gayle actually recognizes Gloria as a crappy parent is a sharp contrast to Linda, who blindly supports her mother even when it's clear she'd be better off cutting ties.
  • Heart Symbol: Tina in "My Fuzzy Valentine" in a flash back gets a bad case of these floating around her head.
  • Heist Episode:
    • "The Kids Rob a Train" (Season 4): The Belcher kids employ Regular-Sized Rudy in their plan to steal a hoard of chocolate stored in a wine train; Bob and Linda get into it with a snobby wine taster.
    • "The Taking of Funtime One Two Three" (Season 9): Mr. Fischoeder employs the Belcher kids, Pesto kids, Darryl, and Zeke in a plan to win Family Funtime's prized dune buggy; Bob and Linda are given a chicken from Teddy.
    • "Yes Without My Zeke" (Season 9): The kids sneak into school on the weekend to erase toilet paper graffiti and save Zeke from being sent to a reform school; Bob and Linda rent out the restaurant to Randy for his latest filmmaking efforts.
  • Helium Speech: In "The Unbearable Like-Likeness of Gene", Tina and Louise start doing this with the balloons at Courtney's birthday party. Tina sneaks one out with her, and Bob asks for a hit of it.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue":
    • A lot of Tina's erotic friend-fiction uses an idealized version of herself as the protagonist. It's most noticeable with "Buttloose" at the end of "Bad Tina".
    • When Gayle explains her overly-complicated board game, Gayle Force Winds, a brief line reveals that the game revolves around none other than one Princess Gayle. Yes, a multiplayer board game where the focus is always on one character. Try not to think about it.
      • Gayle gets it again in "The Gayle Tales", though this time the kids are specifically invoking it because they're trying to appeal to Gayle. Gayle in general seems to not like stories without her as the perfect protagonist.
  • Here We Go Again!: Linda spends the entirety of "A-Sprout a Boy" waiting for a delivery of Alaskan salmon that Teddy ordered, having to watch out for it during a very specific timeframe. When the salmon finally arrives, Teddy reveals he ordered ribs to thank the Belchers for helping him... ribs that Linda is going to have to spend even more time watching out for.
  • Heroic BSoD: A downplayed example in Louise. She has been picking the lock on Tina's diary for years, so when called on to help Gene break back into the house he was sleeping over at, she finds the skills translate over into the real world. The look on her face just sells it, as she seems to realize that no door can keep her out now. You can almost hear the gears turning.
    Louise: (Door opens to reveal Louise with lockpicks in hand) So, I guess I can do that now!
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: A literal example in "The Belchies". One of the taffy dummies, designed to stop intruders and terrify them, is befriended by Louise and used to get her out of danger. Turns out the hidden treasure was a gold bar hidden in the chest of the dummy.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: Bob has a habit of, both, willingly and unwillingly wrecking any chance the restaurant has at succeeding. In season six alone (in back-to-back episodes no less), a childhood friend and a historian presented Bob with opportunities to make the restaurant popular and he rejected both of them.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: In-universe; substitute teacher Dinkler (from "Topsy") views Thomas Edison as a heroic figure to be admired, and intends to have students write a science fair report about how great Edison was. This is, of course, ignoring Thomas Edison's history of electrocuting animals, which Dinkler is not only aware of, but outright ignores just so his hero's image can remain untarnished.
  • Historical In-Joke: The Thomas Edison-centric "Topsy" features a scowling Nikola Tesla as a Funny Background Event during the end credits. Tesla and Edison had a very public rivalry during their lifetimes.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Near the end of "Bad Tina", Tammy was defeated by farting too much.
  • Homage:
    • In "Art Crawl", to Dumbos Pink Elephants on Parade with "BUTTS, BUTTS, BUTTS, BUTTS..."
    • Bob's dream in "An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal" spoofs My Neighbor Totoro.
    • "Full Bars" features a few nods to The Warriors, including lawyer-friendly musical quotes, and a "come out to playy-aayy!" delivered by the "Hell Hunt" teens.
    • The last act of "Moody Foodie" ably apes Reservoir Dogs.
    • A Spaghetti Western with a banjo-wielding gunfighter? It's been done.
    • The three stories in "The Frond Files" parody The Terminator (with a hint of Jurassic Park), Rock 'n' Roll High School and zombie movies in general, respectively.
    • "The Belchies" was inspired by The Goonies complete with a theme song performed by none other than Cyndi Lauper herself.
    • In "The Unnatural", Tina goes through caffeine withdrawal and hallucinates a porcelain baby with Jimmy Jr.'s face crawling on the walls, a la Trainspotting.
    • In "Mazel Tina", Tammy's video introduction at her Bat Mitzvah was an homage to the opening titles and theme song to the TV show Blossom.
    • The final number of "Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl" looks just like "Seasons of Love"
    • A graphic with some cinematic allusions in the show can be found here.
    • At the end of "The Kids Run the Restaurant", Linda performs a copyright infringement friendly "Anything Goes" tune accompanied by dancing sailors.
    • "O.T.: The Outside Toilet" inspired by E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
    • The singer at the festival in "Food Truckin" is a parody of Tori Amos.
    • "The Quirk-Ducers" is inspired by The Producers, complete with a Springtime for Hitler gambit.
  • Hollywood Density: Somehow characters managed to carry a taffy dummy around and not notice that it was stuffed with gold bars. While Bob could probably chalk it up to a person-sized dummy naturally being heavy, it's a wonder Louise (and Gene for a brief moment) was able to carry Taff at all.
  • Honor Before Reason: If Bob can't make his restaurant successful based solely on the quality of his burgers, and without resorting to any gimmicks, he would rather live in Perpetual Poverty, as seen in "Pro Tiki/Con Tiki".
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Glitter, Marbles, and Cha-Cha from "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?", as well as Marshmallow (though her profession isn't mentioned past her debut episode).
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Tina lusts for everything from Jimmy Pesto's son to zombies.
    "Is it possible to be in love with twenty-five people at once?"
  • Humans Are Bastards: "The Oeder Games" grapples with this theme. Most of the townspeople are perfectly willing to engage in a water balloon fight to get their rent deducted, and when the going gets tough they're willing to betray any alliances they might have made to save themselves. By the end of the episode, they decide to stand with Bob after Linda convinces them through a Shaming the Mob speech.
  • Human Shield: Discussed by Tina when she and Gene are both used as them in "Slumber Party".
    Tina: Gene, is this your first time as a human shield?
    Gene: Yeah!
    Tina: It's my third time. You're doing great.
    • In "The Oeder Games", Jimmy Pesto uses Andy and Ollie as body armor, with one twin covering his front and the other covering his back.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Sergeant Bosco claims he's part of a secret society that does this during Linda's impromptu speed dating. It's never made clear if he's joking or not.
  • Hustler: Mr. Fischoeder is revealed to be one in "The Kids Run the Restaurant". He loses a few hundred on games like Surgery Sam to let the kids' guards down... and proceeds to win five thousand dollars on rock-paper-scissors, forcing Bob to intervene to avoid paying him.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: In general, this tends to sum up Louise's character. Only she mocks her family and gets away with it.
    • In "Bad Tina", Gene and Louise blackmail Tina into doing their chores. Then they find out her school frenemy is blackmailing her into getting into trouble. Suffice it to say that Tammy now has them to contend with.
    • Louise consistently mocks her family's cooking throughout the series. In "Sleeping With the Frenemy", when Tammy acts as if the Belchers' cooking is beneath her, Louise responds with an Implied Death Threat.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • In "The Belchies", after Tina invites Jimmy Jr. without asking, Jimmy Jr. brings his friend Zeke, leading to this exchange.
      Tina: Zeke?! Jimmy Jr., you don't just invite someone without asking!
    • Tina has another hypocritical moment in "Carpe Museum" where she calls Henry Haber's robot-themed graphic novel dorky, despite being an avid writer of erotic fanfiction. She even considers making a robot fanfiction after this.
    Tina: (thinking) Robots? That does give me an idea for my next erotic fanfiction: "Ro-Butts!"
  • I Am Not Shazam: In-universe; Teddy thinks Bob's surname is "Burgers" because of the name of his restaurant. This is first revealed in "O.T.: The Outside Toilet" and every so often it's revealed that he still thinks that even after Bob tells him otherwise.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Teddy creates an inspirational poster that reads "Today is tomorrow's yesterday". Think about it for a second.
  • Iconic Item: Louise is never seen without her pink bunny ears hat. When they get taken from her by a bully in "Ear-sy Rider," she wears a hoodie until she gets them back.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Much of the series's recurring cast debuted after the first season, such as:
    • Season 2: Jimmy Jr.'s best friend Zeke, Affably Evil bank robber Mickey, incompetent police sergeant Bosco, gaming nerd Darryl, Casanova Wannabe Dr. Yap, and Alpha Bitch Tammy Larsen.
    • Season 3: The obnoxious Logan and Cynthia Bush, Gene's rival/love interest Courtney Wheeler, Boy Band Boyz 4 Now, and Louise's partner-in-crime/Only Friend Regular-Sized Rudy.
    • Season 4: Calvin Fischoeder's younger brother Felix and Louise's Stalker Without a Crush Millie Frock.
  • Idiot Ball: Frequently with Linda and the kids. Particularly in "Christmas in the Car", when they do all sorts of idiotic things, including buying a Christmas tree the day after Halloween, pissing off other drivers by trying to play "Jingle Bells" on the car horn, and tickling Bob while he's driving.
  • Ignorant About Fire:
    • In "Hamburger Dinner Theater", during the series of flashbacks showing Tina's Performance Anxiety, Tina is shown calling 911 and being too nervous to tell the operator that the kitchen is on fire.
      911 operator: 911, what is your emergency?
      Tina: Uh...
      Bob: [bursts out of the kitchen] Tina! Help!
      Tina: Uh... uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...
    • In "Bob Belcher and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Kids", none of the characters know much about fire safety. Gene uses a crimping iron, but he leaves it turned on and plugged into the wall, and the kitchen is set alight. It's revealed later on in the episode that Louise accidentally made the fire worse by leaving a bunch of sparklers lying out and Tina left a fan in front of the iron, which literally fanned the flames. At the end, however, the real culprit is revealed to be Hugo, who, during his inspection the previous day, threw a bunch of greasy rags on the floor; Bob found most of them but missed one under the stove, and it ignited during the night.
  • I Have No Son!: Jimmy Pesto likes to think Jimmy Jr. and his twins don't exist because of how they have a dubious career choice/are nutcases. It's one of the things that further contrasts him with Bob (whose children also have atypical interests and can be even more off-kilter, yet are treated with love and respect in contrast to the Pesto kids).
  • I Have This Friend:
    • How Bob tries to get advice from Fischoeder in "Torpedo", but he just divulges it anyway.
    • Rudy attempts it in "The Fresh Princ-Ipal", but everything he mentions about this "friend" is so specific (asthmatic whose parents are divorced) he could not be talking about anyone other than himself. He eventually admits it.
  • I Know You Know I Know: In the episode "Radio No You Don't," Bob is telling the story of how his grandmother Alice suspected a spy was living in her appartnemnt during World War II. When she noticed bird poop on her neighbor Mr. Miller's shoe, she knew he was on the roof sending radio signals, then she began to panic, but attempted to hide her distress from Mr. Miller, acting oddly as a a result. The kids, who Bob is telling the story to, then begin engaging in this trope, wondering if Mr. Miller knows that Alice knows he is the spy.
  • Illegal Gambling Den: In "The Kids Run the Restaurant", Linda has to take Bob to the hospital to get a nasty cut stitched up. In their absence, the Belcher kids start an underground casino in the basement of the restaurant called the "Meat Grinder".
  • Imaginary Friend:
    • Gene's "friend" Ken, a 28-year-old albino who does improvised hip-hop. For a long time, the show never outright stated whether Ken was real or imaginary (though everyone around Gene seemed to believe the latter), but "Mr. Lonely Farts" seems to have definitively confirmed that Ken truly is imaginary.
    • Gene also has another imaginary friend, Antonio, who "covers" some of Gene's shifts at the restaurant and believes Bob killed his father.
    • Tina has an imaginary horse named Jericho. Quite a bit of Cringe Comedy occurs from Tina "riding" Jericho in front of others.
    • Linda also states that she used to have an imaginary friend who stole all her make-up from her. It's not clear if this is a case of a Not-So-Imaginary Friend or she just misplaced her make-up a lot.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The restaurant doesn't actually serve human flesh, of course. But rumors that it does attract the attention of a club for "adventurous eaters".
    • The original concept for the series had the Belchers actually use human meat in their burgers. It's not clear if they eat the meat as well or if they only serve it to others (not that either way is any less horrific than the other).
  • I'm Standing Right Here: In "Family Fracas", Jimmy Pesto refers to Trev as the son he wishes he had. As if that weren't bad enough, he says it right in front of Jimmy Jr. and the Pesto twinsand on live TV.
  • Ink-Suit Actor:
    • Gene bears quite the resemblance to his voice actor Eugene Mirman.
    • Tina is Dan Mintz, right down to the monotone and glasses (it helps that Mintz uses his natural voice to play Tina), and used to be even more like Dan in the original pilot.
    • Mr. Frond looks very much like David Herman, especially when he's wearing glasses.
    • Josh, Tina's temporary love interest in season 3, looks like Ben Schwartz with lighter brown hair.
    • Fred Stroller's inksuit guest character, Sal the sex shop owner, in "Bob Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins"
    • In "Family Fracas", Harry uncannily resembles his voice actor, Daran Norris.
    • Bob's high school friend Warren Fitzgerald looks a lot like his voice actor, Chris Parnell.
  • Innocently Insensitive: While they're a family that cares a great deal for each other, much of the show's humor comes from the fact that few people make life more difficult for Bob than his own family. In spite of this, they do all care for each other in their own weird way, and they don't mean to be as mean to him as they are.
  • Insistent Terminology: As Bob puts it, Marshmallow isn't handsome, she's beautiful. Considering Marshmallow is trans, this distinction is justified (and, based on Marshmallow's reaction, quite appreciated).
  • In Spite of a Nail: While Tina's story in "Sliding Bobs" is a what-if scenario regarding Linda marrying Hugo, the Habercores retain some consistencies with the Belchers (primarily in terms of physical appearance). Namely, Dean is still just as chubby as Gene, Mona still wears glasses like Tina, and Charlize still shares Louise's need to have a hat covering her head (in her case, a princess cone hat rather than a bunny ears hat). Charlize and Louise are also both very fond of their respective fathers (although Charlize is way, way more open about it than Louise).
  • Instrument of Murder: The titular Anti-Hero in Banjo has an instrument (guess which one) that shoots bullets.
  • Intentional Mess Making:
    • In "Art Crawl", Bob draws "anuses" (read: black dots) on the paintings in Edith's store Reflections.
    • In "Broadcast Wagstaff School News":
      • The main plot is Tina trying to find out the identity of the Mad Pooper, who keeps defecating in the school. Tammy intentionally takes a dump in the library while dressed as Tina to make it seem like she is the Mad Pooper.
      • During the climax, Zeke reveals that he was the Mad Pooper. The first time he soiled himself was an accident, but he did it for fun in some of the following incidents (although a couple more accidents happened as well), and eventually does it to help Tina's journalism.
    • In "Topsy", Mr. Dinkler accidentally-on-purpose knocks Louise's papier-mâché volcano out of her hands and stomps all over it.
    • In "Glued, Where's My Bob?", Tina, Louise and Gene prank each other by putting sticky stuff in random places so that one of them will touch it by accident. This results in Bob getting glued to a toilet.
  • Intercourse with You:
    • In "Food Truckin'", there's a hippie singer named Tabitha Johansson who claims to be singing about oil spills, but she's really singing about her vagina. It's not subtle. The fact that she seems to be orgasming while singing doesn't help (nor does the fact that she's rubbing her crotch on the piano bench).
    Tabitha: Oh it's hot and wet and slick / And it's making everybody sick / Oil spill / Oil spill / Oil spill
    Bob: Ugh, you were right. It's not subtle.
    • Tommy's music in "Nude Beach", which is either about sex or his abusive father. That said, Tommy's music doesn't come across as seductive or hot—it comes across as immature at best.
  • Irony:
    • The one time Bob actually does something that could get him shut down (illegally selling homebrewed beer in "Speakeasy Rider"), Hugo is called out for harassing Bob and forced to back off under threat of being fired.
    • Louise is a mini-Linda in appearance and base personality. Guess which parent she likes the least.
    • As much as Hugo hates Bob for marrying Linda, Hugo himself is responsible for helping bring the two together—the engagement ring he gave Linda got stuck in Bob's mustache, and Linda fell in love with him when she got a good look at him while trying to untangle it.
  • Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: Louise's fan/stalker Millie Frock.
  • Island Help Message: Linda goes for a flying lesson in the "Seaplane!" episode and it turns out that the instructor likes to fake an emergency landing near a remote island then seduce his female students with a picnic of wine and cheese that just so happens to have. After the seaplane floats off, Linda makes a help message out of the wine bottles that he left from his previous visits.
    Linda: Sheesh, this island's seen a lot of "emergency landings".
  • Is That the Best You Can Do?: After a tree branch and powerline fall in "Lobsterfest", Bob shouts, "Is that all you got, storm?" He is then hit in the face with wind chimes.
  • It Amused Me: Many of Louise's antics stem from this. As Linda says, "She likes to play tricks on people she thinks are stupider than her". Sometimes she'll play tricks on people she knows aren't stupid, seemingly just to see what she can get away with.
  • It's All About Me: Linda tends to lapse into this.
    • In "Hamburger Dinner Theater", she gets mad at Bob for calling the cops on someone who robbed the restaurant and held them at gunpoint, all because he happened to make her dinner theater popular.
    • In "Boywatch", she initially plans to unplug the router because nobody is paying attention to her, even though giving out the wifi password has been extremely good for Bob's business.
    • In general, Linda tends not to punish the kids for anything unless their actions specifically affect her (see "The Gayle Tales"). Granted, Bob rarely punishes them either, but it's especially noticeable given how loose on discipline Linda is overall.
    • Whereas Linda will only occasionally show shades of this, Tammy Larsen has it as her main character trait. Especially noticeable given more than one character is willing to point out that it's really not all about her.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: In Pro Tiki/Con Tiki, Bob's best friend from high school, Warren, is the guest of the week. Warren is played by H. Jon Benjamin's Archer costar, Chris Parnell, a.k.a. Cyril Figgis.

  • "Jaws" Attack Parody: In "The Deepening", it's revealed that a movie with a similar plot was filmed in town years ago (Teddy even had a minor role in it), and Mr. Fischoeder buys the mechanical shark from the movie as an attraction for Wonder Wharf. The Belcher kids play with it and it turns on and falls on its side, sending it wriggling across the block. The residents treat it as if it were a real shark attacking, and it's up to Bob to stop it.
    • The episode overall makes a lot of Jaws references. Teddy attempts to recreate the Nails on a Blackboard scene (failing because he doesn't have nails) and at one point Teddy says "We're gonna need a bigger restaurant", which Bob actually calls him out on.
  • Jerkass:
    • Hugo Habercore and Jimmy Pesto Sr., especially to Bob.
    • Linda was a naggy jerk in most of Season 1, but Characterization Marches On for her from Season 2 onwards.
    • Teddy in Full Bars, though he's justifiably on-edge due to Bob accidentally killing his guinea pig he had for years.
    • Bob's own children (less so Tina) tend to really undermine his authority and almost never root for him in his endeavors unless it benefits one of their crazy schemes.
    • Steve's son Xander, who's a shameless pickpocket enamored with Tina.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Belcher kids, especially Louise, are rude and disruptive (less so Tina, but it's still there on occasion). However, even though they regularly disrespect (or, in Louise's case, outright mock) their father, they still love him dearly and will show it. In particular, Louise's poor attitude towards Bob is a cover for the fact that she not only loves him, but outright idolizes him.
  • Jewish Mother: While her religion is apparently Catholic (she takes Eucharist), Linda has a lot of traits of this tropenote . Assuming Linda is (or at least was) Jewish, this trope could also apply to her mother Gloria.
  • Jump Scare: The intro to "Fort Night". The image itself isn't scary, but it comes out of nowhere.
  • Just One More Level!: Bob goes through this when they buy a "Burger Boss" arcade game, but mainly because he was trying to beat Jimmy Pesto's high score, because Jimmy entered the initials "BOB SUX". When Linda takes it away, he has to go with his kids to an old-fashioned arcade to beat the score.
  • Kafka Komedy: Several episodes revolve around Bob suffering a ton of abuse through no fault of his own, with the entire world (whether they're rivals like Jimmy or Hugo, random one-time characters or even his own family - particularly Louise during her worst moments) ranging from actively making his life hell to being completely unsympathetic towards him.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • In "Family Fracas", Jimmy Pesto, Chuck and the Channel 13 station owner conspire to keep the Belchers from winning the Game Show, complete with the station owner destroying evidence of their scheming on camera. The only comeuppance for any of them is when Bob makes fun of Jimmy for not knowing how to change a tire on his new minivan (which the Belchers should have won). Originally, the Belchers were supposed to spray Jimmy Pesto with Silly String as revenge, but Loren Bouchard thought it would come off as petty and out of character, so he dropped it. Either way, both endings would have had their share of irate fans.
    • Unless one counts being treated as a perpetual Butt-Monkey for the rest of the series as karma, Felix Fischoeder faces no consequences for his actions in the Season 4 finale, even though Bob outright lampshades he should've been sent to prison. Justified; his brother Calvin kept him out of legal trouble by pinning his actions on Felix's accomplice, and it's implied Calvin also paid the Belchers a lot of money to keep quiet.
    • Overall, as the seasons go on, antagonists tend to get away with tormenting/screwing with the Belchers without comeuppance. That said, they will just as often get karma of some kind.
    • Bob will never punish his kids no matter what they do, and Linda tends to only punish them for things that affect her.
  • Karmic Butt-Monkey: Mr. Frond is an egotistical Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who doesn't care about the students, with his sole motive for helping them being clout. As such, no one respects him, especially the Belcher kids, who frequently prank him or otherwise treat him poorly (such as in "The Frond Files", where they write stories, and each one of them cast him in an unflattering light). While he suffers quite a lot throughout the series, it's hard to argue that he doesn't deserve at least a little of it. In fact, it's not just the students—even the adults don't like him. Bob in particular hates him even more than Gene and Tina, and arguably as much as Louise does.
  • Kitsch Collection: Linda's porcelain babies.
  • Kitschy Local Commercial: Bob makes one to air during the Super Bowl in "Easy Commercial, Easy Go-mercial".
  • Lady Drunk: Linda is implied to be a mild alcoholic, with her love of wine and often drunken demeanor.
  • Large Ham: Tammy. She thinks she's popular, but she's really not. She themed her own Bat Mitzvah around herself, complete with a large hanging replica of her head and toothpicks with her face, which she scolds the Belchers for not using. Also, her audition for the school news:
    "WOW, it's Tammy with the news! Whoo! (singing voice) Neeew-eeew-ew-ew-ew-ews... (speaking voice) News."
  • The Last DJ: "Long Time Listener, First Time Bob" offers a literal example. Bob is a long-time fan of local disk jockey Clem Clements, who was fired for talking too much, playing music he liked instead of what he was told to play, and generally being too proud to compromise with his bosses. When Bob and his kids discover that Clem has been reduced to working at a local bowling alley, they try to get him re-hired, but Hilarity Ensues when Clem basically hijacks the radio station.
  • Laughing Mad: Louise in "Ear-sy Rider" when she's told that her bunny ears have been incinerated and it is too late to save them.
  • Left the Background Music On: In "Poops!... I Didn't Do It Again", Bob comments that the dramatic music playing when dropping off Louise (that the viewer assumes is a backing track) was pretty intense, as he thought that the classical channel he picked would have played more soothing tunes. A quick switch to a peppy pop song comes too little, too late.
    • Earlier, in "Lobsterfest", Ron tries to remind Hugo of Bob's selfless attempts to set Hugo up with Gretchen. The viewer is treated to a montage of these attempts, set to a slow song about being a wingman... that it turns out Ron was singing the whole time.
      Ron: "Wingmaaan... Wingmaaan... Wingmaaan..."
  • Lethal Chef:
    • It's amazing Jimmy Pesto has more customers than Bob, as most people who eat his food complain about how bad it tastes (in contrast to Bob, who generally gets heaps of praise whenever someone eats his burgers). Mickey, when robbing a bank, demands a free meal. Jimmy takes delight at the free publicity when he delivers pizza, only to get humiliated when Mickey shoots the pizza boxes and loudly proclaims Pesto's food is the worst pizza he'd ever had. He once promised his customers a popular musical duo, only for them to bail when getting food poisoning from his scampi. He even tried to make his own burgers to spite Bob, only to cry when he realizes how horrible they taste. And when going head-to-head in a burger-making contest with Bob and a world-class chef, he gets dead last while Bob very nearly wins despite his competition being way out of his league.
    • Some episodes imply Bob is the only exception to this in their town. In "Moody Foodie", three restaurants were reviewed by the titular food critic, the Mexican restaurant shutting down from a bad review. Bob however suggests the Jerkass Has a Point about their food. The sandwich shop purposely uses day old bread, the Chinese restaurant reuses uneaten noodles and the Mexican restaurant, despite the owner himself being Mexican, used a different meat for carne asada and didn't know it was supposed to be beef. Assuming Bob is the only genuinely talented chef in town, it just adds insult to injury that he's the one who gets the least business.
  • Lighter and Softer: After the first two seasons depicted the Belchers as a largely Dysfunctional Family, Season 3 onwards shows them as extremely quirky and prone to bickering but a primarily loving and wholesome family, which has only gotten more prevalent as the show continues. The show has also shied away from some of the edgier humor used in Seasons 1 and 2 (especially the former), with later seasons using biting and often adult-oriented humor but not outright dark humor.
  • Like Parent, Like Child:
    • Louise has the same Companion Cube tendencies as her father, and employs them under the same circumstances (isolation or emotional distress), almost in spite of her infinitely more nurturing upbringing. Bob also notes that she gets her crazy side from Linda, something Linda acknowledges and validates... however, while Louise inherits her craziness from Linda, her sense of adventure comes from Bob, as seen when Bob helps her ditch a field trip in "Carpe Museum". Louise herself also believes her cunning mind comes from her father.
    • An invoked example in one episode has Gene dressing like and pretending to be Bob, with uncanny accuracy in appearance and behavior. He even drops his Large Ham tendencies and goes completely deadpan when acting as Bob.
    • Both Linda and Gene love attention and making music without any provocation.
    • Both Bob and Tina have No Social Skills and speak in a monotone. However, Tina seems to have inherited Linda's extroversion.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The Belchers seem to always be wearing the same outfits...though Bob states in "World Wharf II: The Wharfening" that his usual white shirt is his favorite one (so he would wear it the most often).
  • Line-of-Sight Name: In "Synchronized Swimming", Louise did this and somehow came up with Independent Study.
  • Little Girls Kick Shins: In "Bob Day Afternoon", Louise does this to Sergeant Bosco when they're fighting over the phone. He kicks back.
    Bosco: Serves you right, kid.
  • The Load: In "The Belchies," Louise declares that Tina and Gene are this when they explore an abandoned taffy factory.
    Louise: "You guys are a are dead weight!"
    • Subverted at the end of the episode, when Louise admits that they were useful and resourceful after all. That said, while she was wrong about her siblings, she arguably hit the nail on the head with Zeke and the Pestos, whose sole contribution throughout the entire episode is getting Louise out of a trap (after having to be freed from one themselves).
  • Look Both Ways: Double subverted in "Sacred Cow". The cow is about to get hit by a van when Bob and Randy are arguing, but the van stops just short. Then the cow dies of a heart attack.
  • Loose Tooth Episode: The subplot of "Sleeping with the Frenemy" sees Gene about to lose his last baby tooth, which Linda is eager to get because she's been collecting them. When it finally comes out, however, it falls on the beach and gets taken by a seagull. Bob and Gene go to Dr. Yap to try and get a replacement tooth to give Linda, but when the time comes to pretend to lose it Gene accidentally swallows the fake tooth. Linda, however, admits that it wasn't such a big deal, as she already misplaced a lot of the old teeth (much to Bob's annoyance, as the whole series of events could've been avoided had Linda been upfront about this). At the very end of the episode, while on a date, Tina witnesses the seagull vomit out the tooth.
  • Lost Food Grievance: Happens with Teddy in multiple episodes. Any time he can't have his usual burger and/or fries, things get ugly.
    • In "Food Truckin'", the Belchers temporarily close the restaurant while they take their business on the road. One day, Teddy is so angry about it that he nearly tries to break into the restaurant by smashing the front window with a brick, but Mort stops him.
    • In "Friends with Burger-fits", Bob feels responsible for Teddy's poor health and refuses to serve him any more burgers. Teddy becomes enraged and threatens to murder Bob and Linda, then breaks down crying, then rips up a stool seat, then proclaims unwillingness to live. He tries to work around Bob's cutoff by paying a stranger $300 to buy him a burger, which he then stuffs in a briefcase and eats in the restaurant's bathroom.
    • In "Sexy Dance Healing", Bob stops thinking up Burgers of the Day as Jairo thinks it's causing him stress. Teddy is shocked at the sight of a blank chalkboard and goes off on Bob, shouting "It's the only constant in my life!" and demanding that the board no longer be blank the next day. He then goes on a rampage in the street trying to punch cars. The next day, Bob starts making Burgers of the Day again and Teddy is overjoyed to see that the board is no longer blank, even though he doesn't find the burger in question appetizing.
    • In "The Horse Rider-er", the restaurant's deep fryer is broken. Linda and the family convince Bob to use their repair funds to send Tina to horse camp, meaning the restaurant stops serving fries until further notice. Teddy is so distraught at Bob's decision that he returns to the restaurant a mere two hours later to angrily ask if the fryer is fixed yet. He copes by buying fries from Jimmy Pesto's Pizzeria, then tries to fix the fryer himself simply by shaking it and exorcising it to no avail. Teddy later calms down and suggests chips as an alternative, but gets mad at Bob again when he says that he doesn't serve chips either.
    • In "They Serve Horses, Don't They?", Teddy taste-tests a burger using meat from a new supplier recommended by Jimmy Pesto. Although the Belchers are appalled at the revelation that their new meat is horse, Teddy becomes accustomed to the new meat and breaks down when Bob tells him that they stopped serving horse burgers.
  • Make-Out Point: In "Seaplane!", "Upskirt Kurt" takes Linda to an island frequently used for making out, earning it the nickname "Quickie Kiss-it Island".
  • Manchild: Jimmy Pesto's insults towards Bob are first grade level (in fact, most first graders could more than likely think up more mature insults than him).
  • Mandatory Line: Since Larry Murphy's promotion to main cast, Teddy has appeared in almost every episode, although many of his appearances are brief, usually sitting in the restaurant as Bob and Linda explain what they'll be doing for the day and not appearing again. Since Teddy almost-always appears in at least one restaurant scene per episode, most of the episodes he does not appear in are ones that have no restaurant scenes at all (such as "It Snakes a Village" and "Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl"), although he sometimes doesn't appear in episodes with restaurant scenes (such as "Hawk & Chick"). In the few episodes where he doesn't appear, Murphy usually voices someone else, but will sometimes still be credited "as Teddy".
    • In "Gayle Makin' Bob Sled", Teddy is out of town during Thanksgiving, but still briefly appears when Bob calls him asking him to pick him and Gayle up in his truck, only for him to reveal that he and his mother are on a singles' cruise.
    • In "Li'l Hard Dad", he literally appears in the last five seconds of the episode. He even asks if he missed everything.
  • May–December Romance:
    • Felix Fischoeder's girlfriend Fanny, who appears in the Season 4 finale, is 29, in contrast to Felix being in his late 50's/early 60's. She's clearly just with him for the money.
    • The late Larry Goodwin had graying hair, while his widow Helen appears to be in her late 20's/early 30's. See also: Meal Ticket and Black Widow.
  • Metaphorgotten: Louise has gotten a couple in so far.
    • She says she's "...just gonna make like a tree and go to my room" in "Slumber Party".
    • "Tina flew too close to the floor... and hit her face on it."
  • Mini-Golf Episode: "Putts-giving" features the Belchers going to a mini-golf course on Thanksgiving morning. It technically doubles as a Thanksgiving Episode, though the holiday is only a minor plot point.
  • Missing Mom: Bob's mother Lily died of unknown causes when Bob was around 12-13 years old, and he doesn't remember much about her.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In "Turkey in a Can", the clerk at the supermarket thinks Bob is trying to ask him out after Bob is forced to return to the store twice. While Bob insists he just wants a turkey, the clerk says he's in a relationship, but flattered. The clerk later turns the tables on Bob's last visit, and starts flirting with Bob instead as he reveals that his relationship with a man named Tony isn't going so well. Bob turns him down because he's already married, but he encourages the clerk to fix things with Tony and even implies that if he were single, he might have been more receptive.
  • Momma's Boy: Gene is a rare example that isn't played for laughs. His relationship with Linda is strong enough that he "claims her" when he and Louise are debating who gets which parent if they get divorced, but their relationship doesn't often follow any of the stereotypes usually associated with this trope.
  • Money Dumb: Linda zigzags this trope. On one hand, she is the one to actually manage the expenses of the restaurant, she has an extremely complex system through which she controls bounces with the bank and manages to keep their heads above the water. However, whenever something she, or someone she likes, really wants shows up, she has a terrible time controlling herself with what little money her family has. This is best exemplified in "The Unnatural", where she pawns off Bob's espresso machine to pay for baseball lessons for Gene that everyone warns her to be an obvious scam, and "Yurty Rotten Scoundrels", where she freely loans Gayle money to rent a yurt and make an art workshop, even though she is a terrible artist and even Linda herself admits that it's unlikely they'll ever see a return on that money; Bob even says that this is a recurring occurrence when Gayle is involved.
  • Mood Whiplash: A lot of the time, but especially the ending of "Hawk & Chick". As the Belchers are forced to dub a "Hawk and Chick" film live in the theater, Bob's acting quickly descends into hilarious, downright hammy territory. What is this juxtaposed with? The decidedly not-hilarious scenes of Yuki nearly leaving in frustration, Louise confessing her fear that Bob will abandon her, and Bob reassuring Louise that they will always remain close. The switch from hilarious to tearjerking/heartwarming is almost at a breakneck speed.
  • Mooning:
    • Bob at Hugo and Ron as petty payback for forcing Lobsterfest on his restaurant. Normally childish for Bob, but it IS Lobsterfest...
    • Bob gets mooned by a random, mean bike owner when the bike owner thinks that Bob is stealing his bike.
    • While Gene and Louise are riding in Mort's hearse, a police officer passes by (as Mort is currently doing a funeral procession). Gene responds by mooning the police officer.
      Louise: Take that, po-po!
  • Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls: Tina writes a lot of it, more specifically "Erotic Friend Fiction", mostly involving Jimmy Jr. as her love interest. However, she started writing those because she had already written erotic fanfiction of every TV show, movie and book series she could think of. note 
  • Motivated by Fear: Louise's actions in "Hawk & Chick" are underscored by her fear that she and Bob will meet the same fate as Koji and Yuki (namely, that they'll grow apart and not talk for 30 years). It's not entirely obvious at first (it initially seems like she just wants to reunite her and Bob's heroes), but when it comes to light at the end Bob has to step in to personally reassure her that her fear will never come true.
  • Motive Decay: In Season 1, Hugo started out jealous that Bob married Linda and is living the life Hugo believes he should have gotten, with his hatred of Bob motivated by his unresolved feelings of resentment. Nowadays, he's since devolved into just tormenting Bob for the hell of it, sometimes barely even acknowledging Linda's presence.
  • Motor Mouth: Harley, a guest of Louise's (mom) in "Slumber Party". She just will not shut up.
  • MST: Bob and Louise apparently do this regularly and call themselves "The Burn Unit", with the implication that it's been going on for months if not years.
    • Earlier in the series, Bob and the kids do this with the art in "Art Crawl".
  • Mundane Horror: Billy Bandana from the subplot of "Video Killed the Gene-io Star". On the surface, he's just a man in a suit with a briefcase full of walnuts that he accidentally leaves behind and comes back for the next day. But he manages to be genuinely unnerving, both because of his Creepy Monotone and the fact that next-to-nothing is revealed around him (even for a show that's not averse to using The Unreveal), including why he has a briefcase of walnuts in the first place. Linda and Teddy think he's a Serial Killer, and by the end of the episode Bob is so creeped out that he agrees with them, with the three also agreeing that they're better off not knowing anything about Billy.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Pretty much the entire series revolves around the mundane activities of life (from sleepovers to science fairs to visiting a farmer's market) and how the Belchers manage to turn them into a grand adventure.
  • Musical Episode: This show's getting more and more of these.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Tina in "Topsy"—twice. She only gets one line in before Gene cuts her off the third time.
    Gene: Ok, here's a funny story, you cannot sing.
  • Must Not Die a Virgin: From "Food Truckin'":
    Tina: I don't wanna die a virgin!
    Randy: Me neither!
    Bob: No! No!
  • My Beloved Smother: Linda has a tendency to go a bit overboard when trying to bond with Louise, and as a result Louise quickly grows tired of Linda's company (especially in the first few seasons). Louise's clear preference of Bob doesn't help matters.
    • In "Motor, She Boat", Gene gets dragged into it as well when Linda takes him and Louise to a fire station open house. Considering how much Gene loves his mother, the fact that he eventually gets sick of it shows just how hard this trope is in play.
    • Overall, Linda does this regarding all of her kids, with Gene taking the least offense to it and Louise taking the most. The end result is that while she's the more loose and fun parent overall, the kids actually consider Bob to be the "cool" parent because he doesn't try to force them into activities only he considers fun (at least, he doesn't nearly as often as Linda).
  • My Little Phony: The titular Show Within a Show in "The Equestranauts". It even has a large adult male fanbase.
  • Narm: All in-universe.
    • Tina's erotic friend fiction is (obviously, given the name) meant to be sexy and romantic. Tammy instead finds it hilarious, much to Tina's dismay. When Tina reads it out loud to the entire school, it garners a similar response.
    • Linda treats the phrase "crap attack" as if it's an offensive insult. The rest of the Belchers just laugh at the sheer absurdity of the phrase, with all of them wondering what it's even supposed to mean.
  • Nature Versus Nurture: "Poops... I Didn't Do It Again!" suggests that at least some of the habits Louise shares with Bob were behaviors she learned directly from him rather than behaviors she just inherited—after all, when someone looks up to another person the way Louise looks up to Bob, they tend to copy their habits. While it's only specifically discussed in regards to one habit (their dislike of public bathrooms), it would explain several of their habits, namely why Louise invokes Companion Cube despite being in significantly different circumstances from the ones Bob was in when he started invoking it.
  • Negative Continuity: While the show actually retains a noticeable degree of Continuity, there's no explanation given for how there can be multiple holiday episodes (most prominently Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and to a lesser extent Valentine's Day) with none of the cast having aged between them. Most glaringly, Season 11 depicts two previous Halloweens as flashbacks within its Halloween Episode—not only are these different Halloweens from the supposed "previous" yearsnote , and not only do the kids look as old as they do now, but Bob is absent, whereas "Full Bars" indicated that up until the current "year" Bob always took them trick-or-treating. This means that, in addition to all the previous Halloweens crammed into one year, there were two more that were depicted off-screen (and meaning that technically, two more years have passed within the "single" year the show takes place in).
    • Birthdays suffer from this as well. While most characters have had only one birthday (such as Tina's 13th in Season 1 and either Linda's 44th or 45th in Season 5), Bob has had two—in consecutive seasons, no less (Seasons 7 and 8)—meanwhile, the rest of the cast hasn't aged at all since their birthday episodes (or, in Gene and Louise's case, they haven't aged at all). This means, assuming Linda's birthday was her 45th, that Bob went from being a year younger than Linda (as he was 44 prior to his first birthday episode, and Linda's came before his) to a year older than her (as he would be 46 after his second birthday episode).
  • Never Had Toys: As shown in "Bob Fires the Kids", Bob never had toys growing up (or any real friends, for that matter) due to his father Big Bob always making him work the grill at his restaurant and never allowing him to go out and do anything else. As such, the closest things he had to toys or companions were Mr. Brilly the scouring pad, a spatula, and Mr. Doglovich the dog-shaped bar of soap. In fact, he still talks to inanimate objects now, though usually when he's high or dealing with extremely negative moods, and only when he thinks nobody's watching.
  • Never Wake Up a Sleepwalker: Teddy believes in this trope, and goes so far as to restrain Bob when he wakes up anyway, interpreting Bob's complete confusion as him being in a blind rage.
  • Never the Obvious Suspect: Parodied in "Hamburger Dinner Theater". When Linda performs a stage play in the restaurant, Louise plays a butler who reacts dismissive to the murders and loudly remarks that the murder weapon is hers. This is intended as a (lazy) Red Herring, with Linda actually being the killer. When the true killer is revealed, the audience becomes angry since clearly The Butler Did It and there were no clues pointing to Linda.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The promotional images for "The Kids Run Away" made it look like Dr. Yap was going to be an antagonist again. He technically is, but only from Louise's perspective, and even then he's more of a Hero Antagonist given he's actually got good intentions the entire time.
  • Nice Guy: Skip Marooch, the professional chef Bob competes with in "Best Burger". Though he and Bob are in a competition, Skip is nothing but friendly (especially compared to Jimmy and Chuck Charles within the same episode), he's a graceful winner, and he even shows up at the restaurant to try Bob's black garlic burger because he thought it looked good. "Glued, Where's My Bob?" shows this wasn't a one-time thing; he genuinely likes Bob, considers his food the best he's ever had, and wants to see him succeed as a restaurateur, to the point that he sets up a magazine interview believing Bob will knock it out of the park and even warns Bob in advance when he learns the interviewers are jerkasses. There's no ulterior motive to any of it, there's no dark secret of his, there's not even a mild crack in his demeanor—he's just that nice.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Linda spends all of "Housetrap" believing Helen is a Black Widow. However, she ends up hurting Bob while trying to prove it to him, forcing Bob to take painkillers (something he has a past history of getting absolutely shitfaced on). What this means is that when Bob finds actual evidence that Helen is a Black Widow, he's too woozy to connect the dots. Had Linda just left Bob alone after telling him instead of trying so hard to prove it, her suspicions would have been validated.
  • Nightmare Fuel: An In-Universe example in "Hamburger Dinner Theater", where Mort's gory death scene put some people into shock.
    • Another in-universe example in "Sliding Bobs", where Tina's story about Linda marrying Hugo quite understandably freaks out every single member of her family. Louise outright calls Tina a monster.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Gene's picture in "Art Crawl" is described as a ninja robot fighting a vampire tape recorder at Stonehenge. Featuring Ken, his albino friend who does improvised hip-hop.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Invoked In-Universe during "Beefsquatch" when Linda gets a live show cancelled by flashing her breasts for two minutes straight.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • "The Tickle Boat that killed that guy?"
    • Mr. Fischoeder is a goldmine for these.
      • He was apparently married for a week. No details are given other than it teaching him a lesson about walking away from things.
      • Similarly, he once lost $30,000 on a horse. Not as in betting on horse racing, though, as in he literally placed $30,000 on a horse that promptly ran away with the money.
      • He lost the year 1996 to schnapps. He still doesn't know what the Macarena is, though he's adamant that he'll figure it out on his own.
    • Bob once drank from a spit bucket on a dare from Linda.
    • Bob once pooped out dice.
    • Nat Kinkle once lived in a lake. Not by the lake, in it.
    • Linda remarks that she once gave Gene a fish to prove he was responsible enough to get a dog.
    Gene: I was not.
    Linda:(with Thousand-Yard Stare) That poor fish.
  • "No Peeking!" Request: In "Boyz 4 Now", Tina and Louise sneak on the Boyz 4 Now's tour bus. When they're found out, Boo Boo is humiliated now that they've seen him in a booster seat and yells at them not to look at him.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: In-universe; Linda says this trope verbatim upon seeing the many more customers they were receiving thanks to Moolissa standing outside next to the restaurant, who was due to be slaughtered by a documentarian. She calls it the best free publicity the restaurant's ever gotten.
  • Not-So-Phony Psychic: Linda in "I Get Psychic Out Of You". After hitting her head and making a few coincidental predictions, she thinks she's gotten psychic powers, and Sergeant Bosco asks her to help him catch a burglar. Eventually, Linda discovers that she wasn't psychic after all when many of the people she made predictions to come back disappointed, but she does help in the capture of the burglar in a roundabout way; he's discovered by Bob when he goes to pick up the kids from the racetrack, where they were going to bet on a horse Linda predicted would win.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Loren Bouchard mentioned in a 2013 interview that Bob's Burgers invokes this.
    Bouchard: We knew we wanted to do that 13th birthday party for Tina in season one, and then we swore to ourselves and to anyone who cared to listen that we won't age anybody else. That said, it's really fun to tell coming-of-age milestone stories. Your first Halloween trick-or-treating by yourself just seemed like such a nice one to do. Such a natural and interesting thing to think about for our characters - but from that point on, you can't do that story again. You can't reset the clock. In that respect, they'll age, but it's going to be subtle. In a way, you have to live in this ever-present now for animation. It's tough. But the alternative is worse. What are we going to do? Draw them older and older and have them grow up before your eyes? It seems like not what animation wants to be.
  • Now What?: Louise and Tina spend the entire subplot of "Ready Player Gene" trying to build a menu tower that touches the restaurant ceiling. When they actually succeed, they quickly get bored and question what to do with it now. They ultimately settle on ramming into the tower and toppling it, much to the dismay of Teddy and Linda (who'd gotten invested in the tower's construction).
  • No, You:
    Bob: Duval, these oysters are spoiled.
    Duval: You're spoiled.

  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Bob can't stand Linda's parents. While originally he seems to just be overplaying their minor flaws, Season 10 and especially Season 11 reveal that Bob has good reason to want to avoid them—they take advantage of Linda regularly and invoke Never My Fault to a degree that would disgust Louise, and Gloria especially is teetering very close to being a borderline abusive parent.
  • Occidental Otaku: Both Bob and Louise have expressed interest in Japanese media, primarily the Hawk and Chick film series, which they watch together. Louise also has a stack of manga in her room, and her Kuchi Kopi nightlight is of Japanese origin.
  • Odd Name Out: Of the three known males born into the Belcher family, all of them are named Robert—all except for Gene, whose name is uniquenote .
  • Old Money: The Fischoeders inherited their wealth from their late father, and in Calvin's case he also inherited Wonder Wharf. This trope is a sore spot for Calvin's employees, who dislike him for not having to work a day in his life while they're busting their backs just to make ends meet.
  • One of the Boys: Louise eventually learns to bond with Linda and Tina, but even after that she openly admits she prefers the company of Bob and Gene.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • Downplayed with Henry Haber (a recurring classmate of the Belcher kids) and Henry (a regular customer at Big Bob's who only appears in "Father of the Bob").
    • Also Rudy's (the restaurant Bob enjoys eating at in "Seaplane!"), Pocket-Sized Rudy (real name unknown), and Regular-Sized Rudy (real name Rudolph Stieblitz). Though even then it's still downplayed (the restaurant appears in just one episode, and Pocket-Sized Rudy is mentioned maybe once every other season if that, meaning Regular-Sized Rudy is the only consistently-recurring Rudy of note throughout the series).
    • To differentiate between Bob Belcher Jr. and his father Bob Belcher Sr., the latter gets called Big Bob.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • Regular-Sized Rudy's full name is revealed in his debut episode to be Rudolph Stieblitz. While his surname is mentioned once more in "Teen-a-Witch", his full name of Rudolph is never brought up again; he's exclusively called Rudy or Regular-Sized Rudy for the rest of the series.
    • Bob's real name is Robert Jr., but he's only called Robert by three different characters (Randy, Louise, and Nat, with Nat being the only one to call him such more than once)—and Bob's father is the only one to ever call him by the "Junior" at the end.
    • Bob's father's real name is Robert Sr., but he goes exclusively by "Big Bob" or variations of "Dad" and "Grandpa" (most often "Pop" and "Pop-Pop").
    • "My Fuzzy Valentine" has Louise confirm that Gene's full name is Eugene (it was already easily inferred, but this episode cements it in stone). However, aside from the line confirming such he's never called Eugene anywhere else.
    • Pretty much the entire Pesto family, even if one were to ignore how their real surname isn't Pesto, but rather Poplopovich (revealed by Mort in "Burger Wars"). Jimmy Sr. and Jimmy Jr. are both named James, Andy's name is traditionally short for Andrew, and Ollie's name is traditionally short for Oliver—but while Zeke calls Jimmy Jr. "James" in "Presto Tina-o", the other three Pestos are never directly called by their real namesnote .
    • Nat Kinkle's full first name is Natalie, which she's only sparingly called by Bob. Ironically, when referring to anyone else she Prefers Proper Names.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You:
    • Hugo in "Nude Beach" with Bob. The instant he learns that Tommy (the replacement health inspector) has sabotaged the restaurant in order to get it shut down, Hugo re-opens it and vows to shut it down himself—and unlike Tommy, he vows to do it legitimately (well, as legitimately as "nitpicking over minor things because of a petty grudge" can mean).
    • Tina suggests in "Slumber Party" that they could just get their parents to send Jessica home... but Louise refuses the easy way out and tries to force Jessica out on her own. While Louise at the least has a reason for not wanting to bring Linda into it (she caused the entire mess), she doesn't give a reason as to why she doesn't just get Bob, especially when Bob himself implies he'd be fine just taking Jessica home because he's already taking the others home.
  • Only One Name: Even when his name is written on lists that have other characters' full names (such as those who made the cut of the school news team or a field trip buddy list), Zeke is never given a surname. Downplayed in that he has a middle name (Anthony), but still no surname.
  • Only Sane Man: Bob is often this to his family, friends and customers.
    • "Sane" is a stretch when it comes to her, but Louise is often the only one on-task when it comes to adventures focusing on the kids. On occasion she'll even overlap with Bob, and the two will point out something odd together (like Linda feeding Gene his food airplane-style).
  • Out of Focus: Mort's appearances have been heavily reduced in recent seasons, despite starting out being almost as prominent as Teddy, who continues to appear in almost every episode. Sometimes, he still appears in the restaurant with Teddy but without any lines. In Season 7, Mort only had speaking roles in two episodes (plus a brief, non-speaking cameo in "Paraders of the Lost Float").
  • Overly-Long Gag: Whether it's threatening to punch Jocelyn over and over for ten seconds, or making her trademark moan for thirty seconds, Tina has proven to be the queen of this in the series.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: The episode "Hawk & Chick" describes the titular movie series as "featuring the most celebrated father-daughter traveling barber samurais in the history of Japanese cinema."
    • Bob at one point calls Tina his favorite eldest daughter. Considering his other kids are right next to him at the time, being overly specific is arguably necessary.
  • Ow, My Body Part!: Linda has a tendency to say, "Ow! My face!" whenever she is injured.
  • Painful Body Waxing: Bob, Gene, and Tina in "Mother Daughter Laser Razor". It's also fairly itch-inducing, and Bob and Gene can be seen scratching each other's legs at the end of the episode.
  • Papa Wolf: Bob looks out for his kids first and foremost. At one point he even fought Jimmy Pesto after he insulted them... and despite Jimmy being in much better shape than Bob, Bob managed to fight him to a draw. He's also made it clear that no matter what, if his kids need him, he'll be there.
    Bob: (to Louise) Just so you know, I'm always available to come pick you up. Even in college. Or on business trips. Or your honeymoon.
  • Parental Favoritism: For the large part it's averted, but it's still oddly reflective of complex real life family dynamics. Although Bob and Linda have activities with one kid that they don't have with the others (such as Bob and Louise playing Burn Unit/watching Hawk and Chick or Linda and Gene's Spa-turday), they try their hardest to be as fair and inclusive as possible to all three of their kids. At the same time however, Bob seems to get along with Louise the best (although he admits Tina is his most supportive child), and Linda seems to get along with Gene the best.
    • Louise and Gene invert it—unlike their parents, they do play favorites and make no attempt to hide it. Louise heavily favors Bob and Gene heavily favors Linda. Unfortunately, this means that their relationships with their same-sex parent are lacking, and in Louise's case it's outright hostile at times.
    • Unlike her siblings, Tina doesn't overtly favor either parent. However, on occasion it's hinted that she favors Bob over Linda. While this might have to do with there being more Bob/Tina episodes than Linda/Tina episodes, overall Tina seems to just have a slightly better bond with Bob (though it's nowhere near as obvious as Louise).
  • Parental Title Characterization:
    • Currently, Louise just calls her parents "Mom" and "Dad", but "Carpe Museum" reveals that up until the age of eight (only a year prior to the series) she was still calling Bob "Daddy" (and she briefly lapses back into it at the end of the episode), indicating her close bond with her father. Meanwhile, she's never been known to call Linda anything besides "Mom" or "Mother" unless she's trying to butter her up, indicating that she's nowhere near as close to Linda.
    • Courtney Wheeler often calls her father "Daddy", but it's not out of any sense of closeness (not that they're distant, though), it's moreso because of Courtney's immaturity.
  • The Parent-Produced Project: It's all but stated that Doug Wheeler produced the Working Girl musical that was thought to be produced by his daughter Courtney. Courtney hasn't shown significant musical aptitude both before and after this episode (she's shown some but not the level this episode would have you believe), while Doug literally owns a music studio and is a professional songwriter. It serves as a contrast to Gene, whose fairly impressive musical feats (including his own Die Hard musical from the same episode) have all been his own.
  • Parody Assistance: The episode "The Belchies" features a song in the end credits that's a send-up of "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" sung by Cyndi Lauper.
  • Patriotic Fervor: The Capoeira instructor, Jairo, peppers his warcries with the occasional shout of "BRAZIL!"
  • The Perfect Crime: After eating too much pie, and possibly helped along by seeing Tina and Jimmy Jr. kiss, Louise throws up on the pie restaurant's window. Louise surmises that since it's a rotating restaurant, no one will know who did it.
  • Perpetual Poverty: The Belchers live a comfortable enough life, but Bob's restaurant always seems to be on the verge of going out of business.
  • Person as Verb:
    • "Beefsquatch" has the name of Gene's on-air persona frequently getting used as a verb.
      Linda: [Bob]'s just sad because Gene beefsquatched all over his big break.
    • In "Best Burger", Louise informs her brother that in the family, "Gene-ing out" means to screw things up by getting distracted.
      Gene: Oh my god, I'm a verb! I'm a bad verb!
    • Louise also said Linda ruined her game with Bob saying she "Mom'd it all up." When she asks "Dad's here, did he Dad it all up?" she responds saying the latter is a good thing. Needless to say, Linda is less than pleased to hear that she's a bad verb while Bob is a good verb.
    • In "Itty Bitty Ditty Committee", Linda says that Gene got "David Lee Rothed" after learning he got kicked out of his own band.
  • Pet the Dog: Some episodes allow even the most dickish antagonists to display kindness to the Belchers. Even Jimmy Pesto on a couple occasions.
  • Ping Pong Naďveté: Most notable with Gene. His knowledge of sexuality seems to be based on Rule of Funny. He appears to think that a BDSM couple are "escape artists" in one episode, after earlier declaring that slapping a dead seal "sounds like an orgy" and intentionally recording his grandparents having sex. Of course, it wouldn't be outside of his personality to just be faking this to peeve people off intentionally.
  • Pink Is Erotic: Tina's crush, Jairo, is the headmaster of Capoeira, a "sexy form of self-defence". This is treated as Tina's sexual awakening; as Jairo wears pink neckwear to emphasize the sex appeal and one of the women in the back of the advert wears a pink bikini.
  • Playing Both Sides: Louise, when Bob and Gene start playing dirty tricks on each other in "Beefsquatch".
  • Police Are Useless: It's a wonder Bosco graduated from the academy. In "I Get Psy-chic Out of You", he turns to Linda (who he assumes is psychic) for help in a high profile case (only catching the criminal by sheer luck). Later, in "World Wharf II: The Wharfening", he disregards Bob's desperate attempts to contact his wife to save his life as drunk texts (even though he's been missing for hours and was last seen going off with a family known to be unstable at best). Even later (in "Bobby Driver"), it's revealed he's shot somebody just because his mother told him to (though he at least refuses to do so again).
    • "I Get Psy-chic Out of You" shows him facing actual consequences for his constant screw-ups—he's on the verge of getting demoted to patrol and only through sheer luck does he solve the case needed to save his job. That episode also suggests that the police's incompetence is limited to Bosco himself. At the same time, however, "Bob Day Afternoon" shows him as the most competent of his team (albeit still pretty incompetent), painting a rather poor image of the police department as a whole.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The meth-dealing, cop-killing One-Eyed Snakes also have ties to white supremacy movements, if Critter's Suspiciously Specific Denial indicates anything. "Wag the Hog" has another member note that they should probably be more racially tolerant. Interestingly enough, there are some non-white One-Eyed Snakes.
  • Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title: The show's been doing them since Season 1, but kicked it into overdrive starting in Season 3, to the point that virtually every modern episode title is a reference of some kind.
  • Precision F-Strike: The show rarely uses anything more than mild swearing, but rarely doesn't mean never...
    • Linda says this in "The Unnatural" after Bob desperately tries to beat Gene in a baseball game to prove that his baseball coach is a sham:
      "You're such a dick, Bob."
    • Tina's reaction to Boyz 4 Now breaking up in "Bye Bye Boo Boo":
      "Son of a bitch!"
  • Prefers Proper Names: Nat Kinkle tends to call Bob by his full name, Robert, and is the only character to call him such more than once; prior to meeting Bob, she demonstrated this by calling Tom Hanks "Thomas Hanks". Bob in turn adopts the habit of calling her by her full name, Natalie.
  • Prisoner's Last Meal: In the episode "Lobsterfest", the Belcher kids imagine what their first time eating lobster would be like. For Louise, who imagines herself as a death row prisoner, lobster would be her last meal before being executed. She would then use the claws to attack the guards and escape.
  • The Problem with Pen Island: The town's cultural center, "Wharf Arts", which Gene (and even Linda at one point) has naturally read as "War Farts".
  • Prone to Tears: Aunt Gayle is extremely emotionally fragile, and the Belchers have to walk on eggshells around her to avoid triggering a full-blown meltdown.
  • Pun:
    • From the Store Next Door to the Burger of the Day to most businesses in town, the show practically thrives on puns. Some of the puns are subtle, many are not.
    • If the burger of the day ideas we see are anything to go by, Bob is prone to these.
    • Pretty much every Belcher is prone to it. Bob's just the worst (or best) offender.
    • The shops and the exterminator van in the title sequence always have a different pun to their names in every episode.
    • The episode titles themselves. Many of them are pop-culture references with a word replaced with a major character or concept from the episode.
  • Pungeon Master:
    • Bob. Keep an eye on the Burger of the Day on the chalkboard.
    • Really, the whole town qualifies; apparently a prerequisite to opening a business there is a pun in your name.
  • Punny Name:
    • Tina and Louise, for Tina Louise who played Ginger on Gilligan's Island; and Gene and Louise for Jean Louise Finch, Scout's real name in To Kill a Mockingbird.
    • Logan's full name is Logan Barry Bushnote . Linda lampshades it, and Logan's mother explains that she and her husband didn't think it through.
  • Pushover Parents: Thundergirls Troop 257 is composed of pre-teen Alpha Bitches. As shown in "Motor, She Boat", their fathers are not only terrified of their ruthless, nasty daughters, but constantly seek their approval in a rather pathetic case of "Well Done, Dad!" Guy (one dad even hugs Bob because his daughter won't let him hug her). Contrast this to Bob and Linda, who are also pushovers in the sense that they let their kids get with a lot more than most parents ever would, but still retain enough authority to command some genuine respect from their children.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • After Season 1, the zombies from Tina's dreams just vanished... up until Season 4's "The Frond Files", where they're a focal part of her "Why I Love Wagstaff" story. The zombies do also make return in the feature film.
    • Hugo took three bus trips—he was absent for all of Seasons 4, 10, and 12-13.
    • Calvin and Felix Fischoeder were both absent throughout all of Season 10, the only season the brothers were absent from since their respective debuts (and in Calvin's case, the only season he's been absent from period).
    • Jimmy Pesto Sr. is shelved from Season 12 onward, not even having a cameo, after voice actor Jay Johnston was fired for his participation in the the Capitol Hill insurrection on January 6, 2021.
    • Linda's parents Gloria and Al disappeared after Season 3's "It Snakes a Village" up until Season 10's "Have Yourself a Maily Linda Christmas", though they were occasionally mentioned during that gap.
    • Tina's secondary love interest Josh disappeared after Season 3's "Two For Tina" and only returned in Season 10's "Tappy Tappy Tappy Tap Tap Tap" to resolve his and Tina's relationship status.
    • Mickey the bank robber disappeared after Season 5's "Best Burger" and didn't reappear until Season 11's "Copa-Bob-bana".
    • Marshmallow hasn't had a speaking role since "The Bleakening" in Season 8 (she danced in the closing credits of The Bob's Burgers Movie). This was compounded in 2020 after 20th Television introduced a new policy that voice actors must match the ethnicity of their roles; David Herman was thus released from the role, and though Marshmallow has since been recast she has yet to make a return.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Linda gathers up the Ta-Tas for a final performance in "Purple Rain-Union", as the title suggests.
  • Quirky Household: The Belchers count as this more than they do for Dysfunctional Family. Quirky doesn't even begin to describe them, but at the end of the day they're the most important things in each other's lives.
  • Raging Stiffie:
    • In "The Belchies", Linda puts a "penis pill" in Bob's casserole. He's stuck with a boner for the second half of the episode. Linda even asks it to help them find their kids, using the logic that it made them.
    • Gene's reaction to the Marilyn the Manatee puppet; he mentions that she made him feel like he had to pee even though he didn't.
  • Rain of Something Unusual: In "Lindapendant Woman", Louise ties frozen shrimp to balloons so that it could rain shrimp in the grocery store. She gets her wish by the end of the episode and is overjoyed.
  • Rain, Rain, Go Away: Everyone is pretty down when Lobsterfest is almost rained away... except Bob, of course.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: The show in general runs on this.
  • Realism-Induced Horror: In-universe; Louise is a Nightmare Fetishist who loves outlandish, scary stuff and loves to be terrified. However, it's shown that more realistic fears like getting a cavity filled or growing apart from her father as she gets older terrify her in a way that genuinely upsets her.
    • Another in-universe case—in "Sliding Bobs", Gene and Louise's stories are highly unrealistic, and nobody is upset by them. And then there's Tina's story, which (aside from the whole "wiener dogs" plot point) is dangerously close to a hypothetical reality where Linda stayed with Hugo. It understandably freaks everyone out.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic:
    • Averted via the heavy use of improvised dialogue.
    • Unlike many comedy shows, the characters often react to humorous dialogue appropriately. Characters sometimes talk over each other, stutter, pause to let the other continue only to start up again, admit when someone has said something funny, etc.
  • Real-Person Fic: Tina likes to write "Erotic Friendfiction", stories about real people she knows (including herself) in a romantic setting. She does this because she's already written erotic fanfic about every other bit of media she can possibly think of.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gene's speech dissolves into this during a pep talk toward the actors in his musical.
  • Reconstruction: After so many animated shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy deconstructed the Dom Com format, the show reconstructs it by portraying the Belchers as deeply flawed and individually dysfunctional people, who nevertheless make up a very loving and supportive family that many people can relate to.
  • Recurring Extra: Speedo Guy and Large Tommy.
  • Recursive Canon: "Bad Tina" reveals that The Simpsons is still a show in this show's universe (as seen in a Freeze-Frame Bonus, it's one of the works Tina has turned into erotic fanfiction). However, several characters in this show make cameos in The Simpsons, most prominently Bob's cameo in the Family Guy crossover and a Couch Gag starring the entire Belcher family, meaning that Bob's Burgers technically exists as a show... within the Bob's Burgers universe. And that's saying nothing about the aforementioned Family Guy crossover, which confirms that Family Guy is also a show in the Bob's Burgers universe, which is even more of a Mind Screw given that show has directly mentioned Bob's Burgers several times.
  • Red Herring: Early episodes hinted that if any of Bob's kids were going to inherit the restaurant as an adult, it'd be Tina, and an Imagine Spot in "Sexy Dance Fighting" even shows her working there after having a kid of her own. "Carpe Museum" reveals that one of Bob's kids does in fact want to run the restaurant as an adult, but it's not Tina—it's actually Louise.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Jimmy Jr. is the more reserved blue to Zeke's loud and hammy red.
    • The Belchers are all pronounced in these tendencies too. Linda, Louise, and Gene have red personalities while Bob and Tina seem more blue. However, they're all capable of being the other color if they need/want to be.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The pilot is about suspected cannibalism in the restaurant. And then a group of "adventurous eaters" come to eat there believing they're about to eat actual human meat.
  • The Reliable One: Tina is this among her siblings, due to being the oldest and by far the least chaotic.
  • Repetitive Name: Chuck Charles. Chuck is often a nickname for Charles, meaning his full name would be Charles Charles. Or, at worst, Charlie Charles.
  • Restaurant-Owning Episode: Besides being the premise of the show, this trope comes into effect whenever the Belchers try to expand their services, like serving brunch or running a food truck. These are usually the work of Bob's impulsive wife Linda, and her poor planning, compounded by the kids' antics, usually means they're back to normal at episode's end.
    • In "Are You There Bob? It's Me, Birthday", Hugo the health inspector takes Bob on an inspection to show how important his job is. The restaurant they inspect is run by a former stockbroker who had no food service training and opened a wrap restaurant because he thought it would be fun and easy. Hugo finds violation after violation and marks the place with an F, shutting it down before it even opens, and then makes Bob eat one of the wraps, which makes him violently ill. The stockbroker doesn't seem to get the message, as he plans to start a sushi restaurant next.
  • Revolting Rescue: Attempted in "Art Crawl". When Andy and Ollie are waiting for customers late at night, Ollie complains that he's cold. Andy says he can cut him open with scissors and crawl inside of him. Before Ollie can do so, however, Louise comes by just then.
  • Rimshot: Louise does one for her own joke in "Burger Wars" on a drum set.
  • Rise of Zitboy: In "Purple Rain-Union", Bob's singular, gigantic pimple only appears directly before he has to go to Linda's High School Reunion (it isn't that bad at first, but Bob fussing with it makes it worse). It ironically seems to make him more popular.
  • Road Trip Plot:
    • Discussed in "Burgerboss"; a throwaway line reveals that Louise plans to hitchhike across America, and she planned on bringing Bob with her. Bob's reaction implies that he has actually discussed these plans with her before.
    • Subverted in "It Snakes a Village". While the Belchers drive to Florida, we see pretty much nothing of the trip itself, to the point that it's glossed over using a map of the United States.
    • "Just the Trip" features the Belchers going on a day-long trip in Nat Kinkle's limo to return a snake to Nat's ex.
    • "Driving Big Dummy" features Bob and Teddy going on what was meant to be a simple afternoon trip across the state to pick up a new sink and drop off a giant dummy head belonging to Mr. Fischoeder. Teddy constantly making stops to talk to people extends the trip to roughly quadruple its original length (it was supposed to be a four-hour round trip, but Teddy takes so long that it goes from late morning to early nighttime before even reaching the halfway point).
  • Rogues Gallery: While not in the traditional heroic/villainous sense, there are quite a few recurring characters who torment or annoy the Belchers:
    • Felix Fischoeder, the Cranwinkles, and Dr. Yap tend to antagonize the entire Belcher clan, yet take on Bob the most. While Yap has swapped over to the kids in later seasons, it's worth noting that for the most part they tend to antagonize him first, while in earlier seasons he would torment Bob for no good reason. Yap is also the most rational of the above, and most likely of them to be an ally of the Belchers instead.
    • Phillip Frond tends to antagonize the kids the most, being their guidance counselor and believing that their quirkiness is more harmful than it is beneficial. However, he also has moments of antagonizing Bob and Linda (primarily Bob), and in Season 1 he actually counted more as an enemy of Bob before switching to the kids in later seasons. It's worth noting that Bob seems to hate him even more than Gene and Tina do, arguably as much as Louise does.
    • Jimmy Pesto and Hugo Habercore are Bob's biggest hurdles in life. The former is a rival restauranteur who goes above and beyond to annoy Bob and even damage his business, including trying to buy his house just to drive him away, which in part seems to stem from Jimmy's jealousy for Bob's genuine cooking skills. The latter is a nitpicky health inspector that is hellbent in shutting Bob down if he ever gets the chance, due to the fact Linda left him for Bob, causing Bob to have a much harder time in the restaurant than necessary.
    • Tammy Larsen is Tina's recurring opponent. The girl is a bratty Alpha Bitch that sees Tina as the one she should one-up and humiliate at all costs. While Tina can often be friendly to Tammy, she will rarely do the same, and they have more than once competed over a boy (whether that boy is real or not).
    • Millie Frock is Louise's Evil Counterpart and a full blown sociopathic stalker for her, with her plans revolving around how to force Louise into being her friend. Millie is a surprisingly intelligent enemy, often on par with Louise herself, and is also prone to some quite mischievous and even dangerous actions when her plans go awry.
    • Louise and Linda have a shared enemy in the mother and son duo Logan and Cynthia Bush. Louise quite vocally considers The Bully Logan her nemesis ever since he stole her ears, while Linda vocally hates Rich Bitch Cynthia, who constantly berates her. Although there are a few instances where they work together (such as Louise teaming up with Logan to escape a boring seminar and Linda teaming up with Cynthia to thwart them), they both hate each other too much for that to last longer. Cynthia also clashes with Bob briefly in "Late Afternoon in the Garden of Bob and Louise".
    • Gene's recurring enemy was his Abhorrent Admirer turned rival Courtney Wheeler, an annoying girl with a crush on him that manages to piss off his whole family with her habits, but later episodes shows them making up and even still having lingering feelings for each other. The role of Gene's recurring enemy has since shifted to her father, Doug Wheeler, a Stage Mom that pushes his daughter and often ropes Gene along in his attempts at having artistic achievements.
  • Romancing the Widow: More like adorably having a crush on the widow in Teddy's case. Two widows, in fact, the second of whom he does end up dating as of Season 13.
  • Rule of Three:
    • According to the title sequence, Bob's Burgers is on their third "Re-Opening", and the restaurant suffered three disasters in the process.
    • Ethan makes up a third rule to invoke this in "The Kids Rob a Train".
  • Running Gag:
    • Whenever Gene uses an innuendo in front of Bob, the latter will say "Gene." in an annoyed tone.
    • When there's a shocking revelation, the camera quickly zooms with a dramatic orchestra sting. Sometimes, the camera will zoom in and out on multiple characters' faces individually, all within the span of about two seconds. This was more common in the early seasons.
    • Each of the Belchers has put up with unwanted attention from an Abhorrent Admirer of some kind. Bob had Linda's sister Gayle, Linda had that creepy pilot who tricked lonely housewives into having sex with him, Tina had that boy who was trying to use her to fulfill his fantasy of tasting a TV star's hair, Gene had Courtney Wheeler, and Louise had Millie Frock (though Millie's obsession with Louise was not of the romantic sort, as far as we know).
    • Characters have a habit of mumbling their answers when they want to hide the truth from someone (Linda trying to hide the fact that she sold the espresso machine, Bob trying to hide the fact that he made a veggie burger for Teddy). Predictably, it never works.
    • Whenever Linda finds out about something that one would think would upset her, she looks like she is about to react with anger, but ends up actually being happy about it.
    • Whenever Tina greets Jimmy Jr. when he's accompanied by Zeke, she'll greet the former in a friendly manner and flatly acknowledge the latter. This has lessened throughout the series.
      "Hey, Jimmy Jr. (pause) ...Zeke."
    • Louise making old jokes about Bob. "Hawk & Chick" suggests this isn't just her usual trolly self, but rather that she genuinely believes Bob is that old.
    • The Belchers will come up with some plan with an overly-long name and then put their hands together, reciting that name as quickly as they can. The most recent incident is from "Frigate Me Knot."
  • Sadist: Hugo admits in "Are You There Bob? It's Me, Birthday" that he derives pleasure from seeing Bob in immense physical pain.
  • Sadist Teacher: Mr. Dinkler, the Thomas Edison-obsessed substitute in "Topsy", at least to Louise. He destroys her science fair volcano and is just a complete prick to her in general.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Louise, the girl who mocks her father and his restaurant daily, is not only a Daddy's Girl, but wants to run the restaurant in the future. Even before these two facts were revealed, it's hinted at in "Bob Fires the Kids", where Louise actually misses being in the restaurant even though she'll be the first to complain about working there.
  • Save Our Students: The plot of "Bob and Deliver".
  • Scandalgate: When a lunch lady doesn't give Gene enough tater tots, he refers to what happened as "Tatergate."
  • Schedule Fanatic: In "Mazel Tina", Tammy demands that Tina keep her Bat Mitzvah running on schedule no matter what. Even when Tammy goes missing at her own celebration, Tina continues to make sure the events proceed on schedule, which means filling in for Tammy and becoming the new star of the party.
  • Scout-Out: Tina is a member of a Girl Scouts-esque troop known as the Thundergirls, as revealed in the episode "A River Runs Through Bob". She's revealed to have quit at the start of "Tina, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", but rejoins at the end of that episode.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl:
    • Mr. Frond has done this on more than one occasion.
    • It's hinted at this by Louise and Gene in "Christmas in the Car".
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Though it's pretty clear which musical will be chosen, Ms. LaBonz instantly chooses "Working Girl: The Musical" in part because Courtney's dad claims to know Carly Simon (plot twist: he does not).
  • Second Place Is for Winners: Bob once entered a a burger-off against Skip Marooch, a well-respected professional chef (so did Jimmy Pesto, but he doesn't know anything about burgers and is pretty much a non-factor throughout the entire thing). Bob lost by a narrow margin, but he earned Skip's respect for holding his own and the judges' praise of his burger resulted in both Skip and many members of the crowd coming to his restaurant. Bob may not have won the competition, but he's definitely the one who got the most out of it.
    • The "Boyz 4 Now" subplot has Gene entering a table-setting competition and ending up coming in 4th place thanks to a rather tactless theme cobbled together out of desperation. Gene, Bob, and Linda are still happy about his placement, since it's apparently the highest any of the Belcher kids have ever placed in anything and the person they wanted to beat also lost.
    • In "Paraders of the Lost Float" the family enters a float into a parade in hopes that, with only four other floats competing, they would win the $500 prize for fifth place through zero effort of their own. Unfortunately, Jimmy Pesto has the same idea, and thus the Belchers actually have to work to earn that prize.
  • Secret Diary: Tina's diary is how Linda finds out where the kids are in "The Belchies."
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: The restaurant is nearly shut down after Louise starts a rumor that the burgers are made from the corpses from Mort's crematorium. Hugo wants to do tests to make sure the meat contains less human flesh than "the 4% maximum allowed by the FDA". It's worth noting that Hugo knows from the start that the rumor is fake, he's just drawing things out to spite Bob.
    • The original concept for the series.
  • Secret Santa: The B-plot of "Gene's Christmas Break" revolves around Bob, Linda, Teddy, Mort, and Mike the mailman participating in one of these.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: A Once an Episode occurrence, often between Bob and Teddy.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Jimmy Jr. and Zeke respectively.
  • Sentimental Shabbiness: In "Sacred Couch," the family buys a brand new couch and discards their shabby old one. However, they soon find they were very attached to the old couch and try to get it back.
  • Serial Escalation: Tina's night terrors, they started after she saw the movie Night of the Living Dead when she was younger, and as a result she has vividly terrifying dreams where she is attacked by zombies. Then she hit puberty, and her budding sexuality has caused the dream to now have Tina making out with the decaying undead. Then after an unfortunate incident regarding the thin walls between her room and her grandparents, the zombies now make out with each other with Tina forced to watch while sounding like her grandparents having sex!
  • Serial Homewrecker: Shelby Schnabel the sharpshooter only dates married men, to the extent that Mr. Fischoeder has to pretend to be married with kids to have a chance with her. Linda is quick to call her out for what she is.
    Mr. Fischoeder: She left me for a married oil magnate. Then she left him for a married movie magnate.
    Tina: She's a magnate magnet.
    Linda: More like a homewrecker.
    Mr. Fischoeder: Exactly! Which is why I need to give her a home to wreck.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Gene is shown eating shrimp in the Season 4 finale, despite episodes before and after that one confirming he's allergic to shellfish.
    • In "Gayle Makin' Bob Sled" Bob insists he drive to Gayle's, bringing up Linda's previous attempt to drive in the snow, at which point it cuts to a flashback based on "Christmas in the Car"—but while Linda definitely caused the problems in that episode, Bob himself was the one driving.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    • The songs "Nice Things Are Nice" and "Bad Things Are Bad" from the Season 4 finale. The episode "Lice Things Are Lice" as well.
    • In "Synchronized Swimming", a woman asks Bob for a free sample of chocolate ice cream to see how it tastes. An unconvinced Bob points out that it's chocolate, and "tastes like chocolate tastes".
    • In "Topsy", Louise describes her lost volcano as "volcano-shaped".
  • Shared Family Quirks: The Belcher children tend to take a lot of traits from their parents.
    • Gene and Linda tend to be the most musically-inclined Belchers, with Linda constantly breaking into song and Gene often having new ideas for his keyboard. The two both also have Big Eater tendencies (to the point that Linda has been banned from a bakery for taking too many free samples), and both have/had dreams of being famous stars one day (while Linda's dreams have since died down, she still encourages Gene to follow his).
    • Louise has inherited Bob's Shy Bladder, dry wit, Companion Cube tendencies, and even her sense of adventure. Additionally, while Bob tends to be the Only Sane Man, he can be just as vindictive as Louise when the situation calls for it. "Carpe Museum" shows Louise exploit their shared sense of adventure to get Bob to join her in ditching the field trip—while Bob is reluctant at first, he soon gets into it and the two even find themselves bonding.
    • Interestingly, Tina takes after not Bob or Linda, but Gayle, at least in the romantic department. Both of them are boy-crazy to the point of mild perversion, and neither of them can be tied down to one person, but actually keeping a boyfriend tends to go poorly. Both even have a recurring crush on one specific person (Jimmy Jr. for Tina; Bob for Gayle) who can be courteous to them but just as often considers them an Abhorrent Admirer.
  • Ship Sinking: Season 10's "Tappy Tappy Tappy Tap Tap Tap" confirms that despite their initial connection, Tina and Josh aren't and never will be a couple, with both agreeing that they're Better as Friends.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page!
  • Show With In A Show:
    • The western movie series, Banjo, seen in "Spaghetti Western and Meatballs".
    • "Beefsquatch" features the morning news program, Get On Up.
    • "Family Fracas" features both the titular Game Show and a judge show called Pam's Court.
    • "The Equestranauts" has the title show, a cartoon about horse superheroes.
    • The aforementioned Twincinnati.
    • There's also the Japanese movie series Hawk and Chick, which Bob and Louise regularly watch together and have come to bond over.
    • The Gladiators-esque "Supreme Extreme Champions", another show that Bob and Louise enjoy.
  • Shy Bladder: "Poops... I Didn't Do It Again!" reveals that both Bob and Louise have trouble using public bathrooms. They both get over it by the end of the episode, and the middle part of the episode even implies they've bonded a bit over their shared troubles.
  • Signature Instrument:
    • Gene has a small blue keyboard capable of recording sounds to which he is deeply attached to and is often seen playing (though he plays it less and less with each season).
    • In-Universe, Bob and Gene share a love for a series of western movies called Banjo about a man whose banjo also doubles as a gun and is his signature item, even featuring it in the DVD case of the collection of movies.
  • Significant Reference Date: Bob and Linda's wedding anniversary is September 3note . September 3 also happens to be the wedding anniversary of the show's creator, Loren Bouchard.
  • Simple Solution Won't Work:
    • "Long Time Listener, First Time Bob": When Clem Clements hijacks his old radio station so he can do whatever he wants on the radio again, with the Belchers (minus Linda) caught in the middle, the manager of the radio station asks Patrick, the radio engineer, to shut them down. Patrick admits he does have a button to shut them down, but he also points out they can just enter his booth to press the button again to resume what they're doing since there's nothing stopping them from doing it since he's outnumbered.
    • "Glued, Where's My Bob?": Bob gets superglued to the restaurant toilet due to a misfired prank — on the same day he's scheduled for an interview with Coasters Magazine, no less. A couple of times, characters suggest he simply detach the seat from the toilet, but this isn't feasible because Felix Fischoeder's redesign of their bathroom gave them a seatless toilet.
  • Singing in the Shower: Linda, who loves to sing anyway, gets more than one singing in the shower scene.
  • Sisterhood Eliminates Creep: In "Better Off Sled", the athlete girls team up to get some payback on Logan Bush for making fun of them (and picking on the Belcher kids).
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Jimmy Pesto, Hugo Habercore, and the Bush family play the closest roles to this.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • In "Lobsterfest," the kids are looking at a pamphlet that Louise says is porn. Bob thinks nothing of it. But once he finds out it's actually about Lobsterfest...
    • Likewise, in the beginning of "Hamburger Dinner Theater", Bob seems perfectly fine with the idea of Linda going to a strip club named Pickles. However, he gets upset when he learns she's actually going to dinner theater.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Actually quite idealistic and heartwarming for an adult-oriented show. The Belchers can reach small yet hard times but they all have each other to get by. They still love each other like a real family, and we love them because of it.
    Bob: Let's go home, live our lives the best we can. I mean, we're poor, but we're happy.
  • Sleeping Dummy: Louise makes one of these when sneaking out in "The Belchies", complete with socks to simulate her bunny ears. Gene also makes one using a bag of garbage, while Tina just leaves a note with her name on it.
  • Sleepwalking: Allergy medication causes Bob to sleepwalk and put the Thanksgiving turkey in the toilet, thinking he's toilet training Tina.
  • Small Town Boredom:
    • "Hawk & Chick" reveals that Louise believes Seymour's Bay to be in the middle of nowhere. When she and Bob meet retired actor Shinji Kojima, she outright asks him if he's lost, because she can't comprehend that someone as important as him is willingly visiting a town as unimportant as Seymour's Bay.
    • "Local She-ro" shows Linda determined to avert it in Tina by taking her on a tour of the town and showing her everything great about it. Her persistence stems from the fact that Linda herself had a case of this when she was younger, something she doesn't look back on fondly.
  • Smelly Skunk: Linda gets sprayed a by a skunk in "Eat, Spray, Linda." Worth noting is that the skunk spray acts just like it does in real life, a spray of fluid from it's anus.
  • So Unfunny, It's Funny: More often than not, Bob's punny names for the Burger of the Day, as well as his comedy routine in "Beefsquatch". To make matters worse, he seems genuinely surprised when people aren't laughing.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Invoked in-universe. In "The Millie-Churian Candidate", Peter Pescadero calls Jimmy Jr. a "dick" on Wagstaff School News. Being a school news channel, he gets bleeped and he promptly apologizes. The show itself has never used any language that had to be bleeped out. In fact, "dick" is occasionally (albeit rarely) used uncensored as an insult.
  • Spear Counterpart: Tina has Nathan in "Beefsquatch" and Henry Haber in "Carpe Museum". Both take different aspects of Tina up to eleven (Nathan takes her normally-harmless creepiness to Abhorrent Admirer levels, while Henry takes her obsession with certain interests to the point of being obnoxious about it).
  • Speech Impediment: Jimmy Jr. with his lateral lisp.
    Tina: You're so annoying.
    Jimmy Jr.: Well, I have a speech impediment, Tina.
    Tina: Well, fix it.
  • Speed Dating: Linda sets up a speed dating event at the restaurant in "My Fuzzy Valentine". It doesn't go so well.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To Family Guy. Originally panned by critics and viewers alike as another unnecessary copy of adult animated sitcoms centered on a Dysfunctional Family and appealing to Dark Comedy and Cutaway Gags, Bob's Burgers grew to use the archetype to go into the opposite direction of comedy. A large portion of Bob's appeal is the genuinely heartwarming moments between the quirky Belchers and the lighthearted style of humor that heavily contrasts with Family Guy's dark brand of humor that focuses on the often unlikable Griffins and their Dysfunctional Family dynamics. Additionally, Bob's Burgers almost never undercuts these moments with a cheap gag or joke, something that Family Guy is infamously prone to doing to its own heartwarming moments.
  • Spiritual Successor: While it's earned comparisons to King of the Hill due to its quirky characters and realistically grounded (albeit Denser and Wackier) setting, the show also has more left-leaning values, particularly in its unassuming depictions of gender nonconformity and sexuality, than the characteristically conservative Hill. As such, one could say that it's a better liberal version of King Of The Hill than The Goode Family was.
  • Spoiled Brat: Due to the Belcher kids living in Perpetual Poverty, many of their rivals tend to be this. Tammy's parents are pushovers and somewhat terrified of her, Bryce and the other Kingshead Island teens are filthy rich bullies, and Louise's nemesis Logan has a My Beloved Smother (though their relationship is volatile). Darryl's bully Tyler from "Burgerboss" runs to his wealthy father when chased by Bob.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Though the show initially focused on Bob's attempts to run the restaurant and the rest of his family's antics in equal measure, later seasons have put Tina, Gene and Louise's adventures at the forefront while Bob and Linda are relegated to secondary subplots that don't factor into the kids' stories, and there are even multiple episodes that either don't feature the restaurant at all or relegate it to a minor set piece for the actual plot of the episode.
  • Stage Whisper: Played for Laughs in "Wharf Horse", when no amount of insistence from Bob can stop Linda from stage whispering a plan to manipulate Mr. Fischoeder... right next to Mr. Fischoeder.
  • Start My Own:
    • Bob left his father's diner to start Bob's Burgers after his attempts at creativity were stifled.
    • In "Broadcast Wagstaff School News", Louise encourages Tina to do this with her own news show when the current news won't listen to her plea.
    • In "Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl", this is how Courtney reacts to not being allowed in Gene's musical.
  • Status Quo Game Show: Double subverted in "Family Fracas". Bob's family gets on the show and amasses a huge win streak, but the wheel of prizes at the end keeps giving them nothing but Fracas Foam. Eventually, the Pesto family is brought on and, through some host-sanctioned cheating, actually wins the minivan that the Belchers were trying to get... but then when Jimmy Pesto and his family try to drive home in it, it gets a flat tire, and Jimmy has no clue how to fix it.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • Nothing stops Hugo from being a complete and utter jerkass to Bob. Nothing. Not even having his job threatened by his supervisor.
    • No matter what, whenever Tina DOES manage to find a boy that likes her in any way, that boy will never be seen again by the next episode and never mentioned again. Or, in the case of Josh, he'll come back but have any romantic connection with Tina ruined by the end of his return episode.
      • Relatedly, even if she manages to win Jimmy Jr.'s affections (usually coupled with a Big Damn Kiss), expect their relationship to be back at square one by the next time Jimmy Jr. appears. This one is actually recognized in-universe, with all of the Belchers (sans Tina) believing that Jimmy Jr. is just leading Tina on.
    • None of Aunt Gayle's love interests seem to last, even those who actually do return her affections. Mr. Frond is the only one to last more than one episode, lasting for seven episodes in Season 6 before Mr. Frond ruins it by cheating on Gayle.
    • "Weekend at Mort's" shows Mort hitting it off rather well with a woman he met online, but she's never seen nor mentioned again after that episode, and "My Fuzzy Valentine" explicitly states that Mort is single.
    • The show runs on the Perpetual Poverty trope, so anytime the family finds any source of financial betterment, expect them to lose it by the next episode or before the end of the episode. They can't even get away with replacing their couch with one they bought with their own money.
    • Louise joins the Thundergirls in "Tina, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", but quits by the end of the episode and reveals that unless there's a murder or drug sting, she won't rejoin for as long as she lives. Tina goes through the opposite scenario that Louise does—she quits at the start of the episode but rejoins at the end.
    • Subverted regarding Boo Boo leaving Boyz 4 Now in "Bye Bye Boo Boo", which is not resolved at the end of the episode or even the end of Season 6. It takes Boyz 4 Now until the premiere of Season 9 to reconcile.
    • Subverted with minor elements: the ice cream machine is shown to be damaged in all subsequent appearances after Bob uses it to stop the mechanical shark in "The Deepening" (although it's still functional), and the Embarrassing Tattoo Bob gets in "The Equestranauts" is still on his back in later episodes. Louise's lofted bed from "Loft in Bedslation" has survived from its debut episode as well.
    • Louise's schemes tend to rarely work in later seasons of the show. Either she's talked out of them (usually by Tina), or goes through with them only to be Out-Gambitted or otherwise fail. If it's about money or for a selfish reason then it's just about guaranteed to crash and burn by the end of the episode.
  • Stealth Pun: In "Turkey in a Can", Linda and Gayle help Gene write a song about gravy — "It's a gravy boat, not a navy boat..." then they get sidetracked and start singing about a navy boat that pours sailors onto your food. They specifically say "sailors" instead of... you know, another word for sailors.
  • Stock Ninja Weaponry: The ninja star credit card, created by Louise Belcher.
  • The Stoner: "Bob Fires the Kids" reveals that several characters around town, including Marshmallow and Mr. Fischoeder, use weed. "Comet-y of Errors" also depicts Mr. Fischoeder in the middle of tripping on mushrooms.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: It's prevalent throughout the entire Belcher family, but perhaps the standout examples are the three generations of Belcher men—Big Bob, Bob, and Gene. Bob heavily resembles his father (down to having the same shape of mustache), albeit Bob still has hair on the top of his head while Big Bob is bald. And Bob apparently looked near-identical to Gene as a child, to the point that Gene sees a picture of eleven year-old Bob and actually mistakes it for a photo of himself.
  • Stylistic Suck: Anytime a musician appears or a character sings, the lyrics are going to be deliberately awful. Gene and Linda in particular stand outnote .
  • Suck E. Cheese's: Family Funtime's name couldn't be more ironic. The owners put games out of order if they think kids are winning too many tickets from them, and Tina prays that there isn't any pee in the ball pit when she hides there in one episode.
  • Sucky School: Wagstaff School is among the worst of them. Its staff is almost universally incompetent and/or cruel (with one exception in the straight-laced Ms. Jacobson), it has numerous budget problems (it had to completely cut chemistry from the curriculum as a result), its competitive teams are so bad the trophy case was once converted to a turtle tank, and pretty much nobody of any age likes the place.
  • Super Bowl Special: Three restaurants (Bob's, Jimmy Pesto's, and a noodle place) end up using the same retired football player (Sandy Frye) in their local game-day commercials. They even use the same line at the end ("[insert restaurant here] goes great with Frye"), despite the pun in said line really only working for Bob's restaurant.
  • Supreme Chef: Despite his lack of business, Bob is a highly talented chef and the only people who argue otherwise tend to be clearly biased against him. His food has impressed world-class chefs and even people who've eaten at much higher-end restaurants claim Bob's burgers are still better.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Teddy eats at Bob's restaurant almost daily, and eats a burger and fries every time. This is shown in "Friends with Burger-fits" to have negative long-term effects on his health—namely, he has very high cholesterol and his doctor is concerned that he could die if he continues to not change his eating habits.
    • Bob runs his business his way, but it's shown he's not very good at anything but cooking. He's shown to have little to no skill in business management and very adverse to change. As such, he consistently rejects things like a Tiki motif by a friend investing because he hates it, or refuses to sell sweet potato fries because he hates them. He also refuses to emulate his rival Jimmy Pesto despite his better amount of customers. Bob also has No Social Skills, preferring to stay behind the grill as opposed to go out and talk with people and get involved with locals. While in most stories this counts as Underdogs Never Lose, it results in his business constantly teetering in bankruptcy, relying mostly on repeat customers. If it weren't for Status Quo Is God, Bob's refusal to budge on how he runs his business would have done more damage than anything.
  • Swallow the Key:
    • Tina in "Wharf Horse", though she is tricked into doing it by Louise. As a result, she's stuck with a bike lock around her neck for the rest of the two-part Season 4 finale, only getting it off in the end credits of "World Wharf II: The Wharfening".
    • Bob attempts to do it in "The Wolf of Wharf Street". After failing to do so, he questions how people in movies can do it so easily.
  • Switching P.O.V.: A large part of the episode "Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl" is different people telling the story from their perspective. For the kids (especially Louise), this dissolves into Self-Serving Memory at times before they're corrected.
  • Take That!:
    • Tori Amos gets a not-very-subtle "tribute" in "Food Truckin'".
    • The subplot of "The Kids Rob A Train" can be seen as one to wine tasters, in particular, pretentious ones. The end of the subplot (where Bob and Linda trick the wine taster into drinking nearly an entire glass of spit) isn't too far-fetched, either, since some experiments actually do show that professional wine-tasters can be easily tricked, despite their "expertise".
    • "The Equestranauts" is one for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and especially its infamous Peripheral Demographic, the Bronies (here referred to as "Equesticles"). Although the Take That! is more aimed at the Bronies than the show itself, since the whole episode is dedicated to mocking Bronies while the actual show is just parodied. Although given the positive reception of the episode by the Brony fandom and the fact that it stands as more of an Affectionate Parody, it being an actual "Take That!" is dubious.
      • While the episode comes off at first like the typical Brony-shaming, the end of it shows more understanding towards the community as mostly decent people (as Bronconius's followers are shown to primarily be peer-pressured into their worse actions, and are actually pretty nice to the Belchers when acting on their own terms—Bob even personally befriends one). The real Take That! is directed at Bronconius, who represents the worst people in the fandom who use their love for the show to mistreat others.
    • "The Hormone-iums" seems to be one towards abstinence-only education, how some programs intentionally lie about how not only sex but any affection works, and overall how this misinformation does more harm than good.
    • "Long Time Listener, First Time Bob" has a rather harsh one against automated radio stations, particularly ones like Jack FM for being super corny and try-hard.
  • Tangled Family Tree: Slightly downplayed in that Zeke's family tree isn't so much convoluted as it is massive. However, actually piecing everything together is rather lengthy, as his family is only revealed bit by bit throughout the series, often only in throwaway lines. Among Zeke's relatives include:
    • His mother and father, who got together when Zeke's mother was in high school and Zeke's father was around 50, then divorced when Zeke was a toddler. In the present day Zeke's father would be close to Mr. Fischoeder in age, and is old enough to not only be his son's grandfather but also old enough to be the father of both of his wives.
    • Two paternal half-siblings, one Bob's age (44) and one an infant. The infant might not actually be related to Zeke, however, as Zeke never refers to them as his sibling (simply as his dad's girlfriend's baby).
    • His stepmother Cheryl, who is currently married to Zeke's father. It is unclear whether she's the mother of Zeke's younger half-sibling or if the mother was a previous ex of Zeke's father, but the short timeline between Zeke mentioning both suggests the former. She never appears directly, but has a single line in "Mom, Lies, & Videotape".
    • His cousin Leslie. Leslie appears in "Boyz 4 Now" and "So You Stink You Can Dance" with Zeke also mentioning him in "Carpe Museum".
    • An aunt who smells like coconuts, mentioned in "The Silence of the Louise". It's unclear whether she's Leslie's mother or also Leslie's aunt (which would mean there's an additional aunt/uncle in the mix).
    • His grandmother, who appears in "Midday Run" and "Stuck in the Kitchen with You". The former episode implies that her husband (Zeke's grandfather) is deceased.
  • Technical Euphemism: In "The Unbearable Like-Likeness of Gene", Gene admits to Courtney that he never liked her and that he only stayed with her to get closer to her father Doug. Courtney asks if he was using her, and Gene says he prefers to call it "networking".
  • Terrified of Germs: Sleepover attendee Jodi, to the point that she has apparently never sat on anything (from toilet seat to car seat). Louise manages to drive her away by exploiting this fear.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: Every season since Season 3 has had one. The plots usually involve Bob taking the meal too seriously, or having even his most basic plans derailed by his family's antics.
    • "An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal" (Season 3): Mr. Fischoeder attempts to seduce an Old Flame with a thing for married men by hiring Linda and the kids to pose as his family during Thanksgiving.
    • "Turkey in a Can" (Season 4): Bob tries to solve the mystery of why the turkeys he prepare keep getting thrown in the toilet every morning; Louise tries to clear her name of suspicions; Gene, Linda and Gayle attempt to create a Thanksgiving song; Tina tries to prove she belongs in the adult's table.
    • "Dawn of the Peck" (Season 5): While Bob stays at home drinking, Linda and the kids attend a "running of the turkeys" that leads to swarms of angry poultry rampaging in the streets.
    • "Gayle Makin' Bob Sled" (Season 6): Bob attempts to get Gayle (who's suffering from a broken heart and a broken ankle) to their Thanksgiving dinner while Linda and the kids attempt to make the dinner by themselves.
    • "The Quirkducers" (Season 7): Louise and Gene come up with a plan to get a half-day before Thanksgiving using Tina's erotic holiday fiction; Linda becomes obsessed with a potato that looks like her late grandfather.
    • "Thanks-hoarding" (Season 8): The Belchers end up helping Teddy with a Thanksgiving dinner for his family and discover he’s a (one-room) hoarder.
    • "I Bob Your Pardon" (Season 9): The Belchers are joined by a journalist to save a turkey that was supposed to be pardoned by the mayor but is headed for a slaughterhouse instead.
    • "Now We're Not Cooking With Gas" (Season 10): Bob gets a fancy heritage turkey for Thanksgiving, but a gas outage leaves him struggling to find a way to cook it.
    • "Diarrhea of a Poopy Kid" (Season 11): Gene is struck with an unknown ailment that leaves him quarantined in the bathroom with gastrointestinal trouble; to cheer him up about being unable to eat Thanksgiving dinner, the Belchers tell him a series of food-themed stories.
    • "Stuck in the Kitchen with You" (Season 12): Louise helps Bob cook Thanksgiving dinner for a retirement home. Meanwhile, Gene and Tina try to help Zeke entertain the residents when the cable TV goes out, and Linda tries to help Sergeant Bosco convince his mother to join the guests.
    • "Putts-giving" (Season 13): The Belchers go to a mini-golf course on Thanksgiving morning. The kids accidentally break a yeti animatronic that serves as part of the course, Linda becomes obsessed with getting a hole-in-one despite her clear lack of skill at the game, and Bob is worried about getting home on time to prepare Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Theme Naming: Tina, Louise and Ginger.
  • Themed Party: "Bobby Driver" has the Belcher kids attending a kid's extravagant The Great Gatsby-themed birthday party. The birthday boy is very uninterested in the party and the kids initially think he's a Spoiled Brat who doesn't appreciate his parents' hard work. They later find out the parents threw the party for themselves so they could post photos of it on social media, while the boy just wanted a low-key pizza party the whole time.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave:
    • Inverted. When Linda runs a bed & breakfast at their home, she is the thing that won't let the guests leave, until they're satisfied by her terms.
    • How Bob views his in-laws. Considering they regularly take advantage of Linda's generosity, his feelings are quite justified.
  • Third Wheel:
    • Teddy often ends up being involved in Bob and Linda's situations, whether he's dragged into them or whether he decides to tag along uninvited. In "The Kids Run Away", he decides to crash Bob and Linda's stakeout on Louise, even though he claims that he just happened to be in the neighborhood.
    • Zeke is often the third wheel whenever Tina tries to spend time with Jimmy Jr. As a result, Tina doesn't like him very much.
  • Thirteenth Birthday Milestone: The episode "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?" has Tina turning 13 and wanting a party with smoke machines and streamers and to invite a few people from her class, particularly a boy named Jimmy Pesto Jr. Louise takes on the role of the kissing coordinator at the party and the episode ends with Tina and Jimmy Jr. sharing a kiss under the disco ball.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: As seen in "Bed & Breakfast", "Mother Daughter Laser Razor", and "Slumber Party", Bob is able to anticipate that something is about to go wrong whenever Linda tries to do something regarding Louise. As seen in those same episodes, Linda tends not to listen to him—and Bob is pretty much always proven right.
  • Threatening Shark: A mechanical shark goes berserk in "The Deepening".
  • Three Shorts: Ocassionaly an episode will provide a set-up for the three kids to each tell their own story. See the Framing Device entry for a breakdown of the episodes that use this.
  • Time for Plan B: In "Mazel Tina", when Tammy and Louise end up getting stuck in a hanging party decoration, Tammy briefly tries to break free with her feet by jumping and stomping. After Tina finds them but refuses to help them, Louise calls for Plan B.
    Tammy: And what is that?
    Louise: Going back to your Plan A. Jump till this thing breaks open! Go!
    Tammy: You got it! (they angrily jump up and down)
    Louise: Oh, my little legs!
  • Toilet Humour:
    • "OT: The Outside Toilet" practically speaks for itself, involving Gene befriending a talking high-facility toilet.
    • There's Gene's love of fart jokes, the episode about "The Mad Pooper"... the show actually did this practically Once an Episode, for a while.
    • Gene calls the kitchen sink "the guest bathroom". He's even shown using it as such.
    • Louise apparently uses the bathtub for... yeah. She even tries to kick Bob and Linda out of it because she needs to go and Gene's already using the toilet.
    • "Turkey in a Can" is all about the Thanksgiving turkey ending up in the toilet, with Bob growing increasingly unhinged.
  • Token Minority: In Thundergirl Troop 119, Molly is the only girl who appears to be non-white. At least, prior to "Motor, She Boat", which added the similarly dark-skinned Harley to the roster.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Louise and Tina, respectively.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Louise is an example of one of these. Despite being the tomboy to her older sister Tina's girly girl, she wears a dress and a pink hat with bunny ears and seems to have a fondness for the color pink and stuffed animals.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Whenever Teddy offers to help fix a problem, he will always make the problem ten times worse by doing literally everything except the one thing that would solve the problem. Even if the solution is as straight-forward as handing Bob a phone, he will insist on doing something that leads to the problem running for an entire episode. There's also the fact that he doesn't seem to know how to operate an oven or cook Thanksgiving dinner even after Bob gives clear instructions that are impossible to misinterpret.
    • Teddy also provides several literal examples. On two occasions he eats something he's severely allergic to (in one case eating it while driving), and it sometimes gets to a point where one has to wonder how he hasn't died yet.
    • "Christmas in the Car" shows plenty of instances:
      • Everyone in the family but Bob seems to be fine with the idea of tickling a driver (in this case, Bob). Surprisingly, it was Linda who suggested everyone tickle Bob.
      • The kids would have been the first ones to be gravely injured in a car accident for completely ignoring the candy cane truck coming from the road while they were pulling back to the street. Louise blames Bob for expecting them to do more work on that.
      • None of them but Bob can even tell they were truly going to die by a crazed driver in a candy cane truck and instead decide to blame Bob for trying to get them killed.
      • They finally realize the candy cane truck is out to get them when it tries running them all over head on. Even then, they stupidly endanger themselves as they try to make sure it doesn't notice them.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Gloria was originally an obliviously obnoxious and well-meaning person, and Bob's hatred of her seemed fairly irrational (especially by the end of her debut, where she defends Bob and Linda from Mr. Frond). By Season 10 and especially Season 11, she's become a self-centered Abusive Parent whose only interest in her family's lives is based solely on what they can do for her, and in general Bob's hatred of her becomes rather disturbingly justified.
    • Speaking of Mr. Frond, in his debut episode he was completely incompetent at his job but still well-meaning. His incompetence remains, but by the end of Season 1 and especially Season 2 he's a lot more selfish and vain, with his attempts at helping kids being motivated by self-gain. He goes from yet another poor victim of the Belcher kids' antics to a Karmic Butt-Monkey who deserves quite a bit of his misfortune.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: The Belchers themselves. In Season 1, they were a typical Dysfunctional Family who were all (sans maybe Bob) very selfish (with Linda and especially Louise being the worst in this regard). In every season afterwards, they've settled into their current roles as a Quirky Household—even Louise, still the most selfish of the family, has mellowed out quite a lot.
  • Train Job: "The Kids Rob a Train", wherein the kids (and Regular-Sized Rudy) break into a train kitchen and steal their chocolate reserves. Bonus points for the chocolate bars resembling gold bricks.
  • Treasure Hunt Episode:
    • "The Belchies" (Season 2): The Belcher kids learn about a secret treasure hidden under a soon-to-be-demolished taffy factory, and go to find it. Tina ends up inviting Jimmy Jr. (who in turn invites Andy, Ollie, and Zeke), and Louise strikes out on her own to find the treasure while Bob and Linda try to find everyone before the demolition starts.
    • "The Secret Ceramics Room of Secrets" (Season 8): The Belcher kids try to find the rumored ceramics room in the school that was walled up in the 1980s after a kiln fire.
  • Trolling Translator: When Tina hurts her tongue during cheerleading auditions, Louise volunteers to be her translator, which she uses as an excuse to screw with her. When Tina manages to get a date with Jimmy Jr. despite this, Louise takes the opportunity to set the date at the place she wants to go, a rotating restaurant that only serves gourmet pies.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior:
    • Louise sometimes goes into this, particularly as regards her proclivity toward violence.
    • Gene can manage it at times, despite being in the upper age range for this trope. There's nothing quite like recording your grandparents having sex and playing it in class to merit a visit to the guidance counselor.
    • Linda proved to be capable of this in her younger years. Besides throwing rocks at nearby drivers, she considered calling some bullies pretending to be a Serial Killer for a year suitable payback for being made fun of once (though in hindsight she now seems to consider it overkill).
  • Trying Not to Cry: Even more heart wrenching due to the fact that it's Louise...
    • Specifically, Louise has cried twice throughout the series, but this trope has been in play for her many more times, such as the ending of "Hawk & Chick" (where she sounds noticeably choked up as she reveals her fear that she and Bob will grow apart).
  • Twitchy Eye: Louise develops this briefly after having her pink bunny hat stolen by a bullying teen. This is a foreshadowing to her psychotic fit that starts mere moments later when questioned by Linda about the hat's absence, and only ends the next day at school when she resolves to get the hat back by any means necessary.
    • She gets it again after they find the ambergris and she becomes consumed with greed when they make plans to sell it on the black market. It doesn't help that she's sleep-deprived.
  • Two Decades Behind: The characters make a great deal of 80's and 90's pop-culture references. Somewhat justified coming from the adults (who, based on the show's loose continuity, would have been born at the end of the 60's), but it is much stranger that Bob's Generation-Z children (especially Gene) do this with such frequency.
  • Tyranical Town Tycoon: Downplayed in regards to Mr. Fischoeder. He's a corrupt businessman who practically owns the town, including various buildings, businesses, and the local amusement park (the last of which happens to be the town's major source of income). However, he rarely actually abuses his power and seems fine with just leaving his tenants alone until it's time to pay rent.

  • Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: Though this is an Informed Attribute due to the animation style, Jimmy Pesto is often acknowledged as being handsome, while Bob is often called some variation of ugly or fat (occasionally both).
  • Unconventional Food Usage:
    • In "The Belchies", it's revealed that Mr. Caffrey used taffy to create dummies to fake-out the authorities. Louise finds one of these dummies and has it serve as her companion.
    • Rather disgustingly subverted in "Synchronized Swimming". Bob assumes that Louise threw a chocolate bar in the pool to make it seem like someone took a dump in the waternote , but she actually did crap in the water so that they wouldn't have to perform for the school board.
    • In "An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal", Bob becomes drunk on absinthe and befriends a Thanksgiving turkey that he calls Lance.
    • In "Turkey in a Can", someone keeps putting the Thanksgiving turkey in the toilet, and Bob assumes it's to get revenge. Near the end of the episode, it's revealed that the culprit was Bob, who was sleepwalking and dreaming about when he was toilet-training Tina.
    • In "The Frond Files", Louise reveals a prank she made up called "brownie surprise". The idea is putting a brownie on a chair so someone will sit on it and it'll look like they soiled themselves. She manages to get Mr. Frond with it at the end of the episode.
    • In "Dawn of the Peck", Bob talks to potato chips when he's distraught that he's not cooking Thanksgiving dinner for once.
    • In "Glued, Where's My Bob?", Tina, Gene, and Louise start a prank war revolving around putting sticky stuff in places for someone else to unknowingly touch, including guacamole and hummus.
      Bob: So... just a huge waste of food. And toiletries.
    • In "Ain't Miss Debatin'", Louise sculpts a Meat Man out of leftover burger meat and makes a Stop Motion movie with it.
  • Unexpected Kindness:
  • Unexpected Virgin: "Nude Beach" reveals that Hugo and Linda never slept together while they were dating. While it wouldn't be out of place for someone as pathetic as Hugo to be a virgin, it is a little surprising considering the two were outright engaged (for under a week, but still)note .
  • The Unfavorite:
    • Tina subverts it. On the surface, Bob seems to get along better with Louise while Linda bonds better with Gene, leaving Tina as the odd one out. However, Bob and Linda go out of their way several times to make sure she knows she's loved equally to her siblings, and whatever hints of favoritism do exist are overridden by the fact that Tina doesn't seem to have any hang-ups about it. It also helps that as a growing teenager, Tina seems to prefer having more space to herself, while Louise and Gene are more energetic and thus require more attention.
    • Gayle is implied to be this for Gloria and Al, especially when we finally see them interact in Season 10 (Gayle's insistence that she's the favorite borders on Suspiciously Specific Denial, not to mention her parents seem infinitely more invested in Linda's life than hers). Considering just how badly Gloria and Al treat Linda, one has to wonder how much worse they've treated Gayle.
    • Felix Fischoeder was implied to be this to his brother Calvin, given his resentment of Calvin as well as how their father left Calvin an inheritance trust, Wonder Wharf, and the Fischoeder mansion (whereas Felix was left nothing of note).
  • The Unreveal: In the episode where Louise loses her bunny hat, we never see her bare head completely (though we do see a fair bit of it during the close-up). She has a hoodie on the whole time and when she gets her hat back, she puts it back on over her hoodie.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Mort in episode 6.
  • The Un-Smile: Tina's "everything is okay" face, as seen in "Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks". It makes a return in "The Gene & Courtney Show", just as unconvincing as before.
  • Useless Bystander Parent: While not actively abusive like his wife, Linda and Gayle's father Al enables Gloria's nonsense and never sticks up for his kids. It would normally be explained by Al's senility in that he doesn't even recognize what's going on, but Linda implies he's always been kind of useless as a parent even when Linda and Gayle were kids.
  • Vague Age: Several of the adults. Bob and Gayle are the only major adults with a confirmed age (Bob was 44 as of "Father of the Bob" and turned 45 in "The Laser-inth"; Gayle is 42 as of "Boyz 4 Now"), whereas the rest are only hinted at.
    • As of "Eat, Spray, Linda", Linda has just turned either 44 or 45 (she cuts her age off after saying "forty-f-"), but it's never made clear which. As a result, it's also unclear whether she or Bob is older (Bob was still 44 at the time of this episode).
    • Mort is over 35, as that's the fake age he uses on his dating profile, and his hair is naturally gray (he's also bald, and he covers up both that and his true hair color with a brown toupee). He also has a visibly elderly mother, all of which would place him as a little older than Bob (around 50 or so).
    • Teddy was a young adult in the 1980's, and "The Wolf of Wharf Street" confirms he's at least in his forties. A throwaway line in "Thelma & Louise Except Thelma Is Linda" indicates he's at least 49 or about to be.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: With the exception of Seasons 4 and 10, every season since Season 3 has had one, almost always focusing on one or several of the Belchers' love lives.
    • "My Fuzzy Valentine" (Season 3): While Linda hosts a Single's Day in the restaurant, Bob and the kids go after the perfect Valentine's Day gift for her.
    • "Can't Buy Me Math" (Season 5): Tina and Darryl fake a relationship to hook up with their respective love interests, but Tina soon develops a crush on Darryl for real; Bob and Linda try to make it through a weeklong Valentine's Day advent calendar.
    • "The Gene and Courtney Show" (Season 6): Gene and Courtney become the stars of the morning announcements and rekindle their relationship; Tina, Louise and Linda attempt to fix a mess Tina made with Valentine's Letters; Bob attempts to get last minute carnations to Tina's Valentine's Day.
    • "Bob Actually" (Season 7): A collection of stories of couples in the town. Linda helps a woman get over her break up; Bob and Teddy get dance lessons as a gift for Linda; Louise deals with Regular Sized Rudy's newfound feelings as well as her own; Tina has diarrhea but attempts to get with Jimmy Jr. anyway; Gene falls for a substitute kitchen assistant and helps her make dark chocolate.
    • "V For Valentine-detta" (Season 8): Linda and Louise take Tina for a girls' night out in a limousine on Valentine's Day after Jimmy Jr. breaks her heart; Bob and Gene attend a couple's trapeze lesson.
    • "Bed, Bob, & Beyond" (Season 9): When a movie night fails to end tensions between Bob and Linda, the kids tell stories to try and end their fight, albeit with the ulterior motive of avoiding trouble for breaking Gene's bed.
    • "Romancing the Beef" (Season 11): While Tina attends an "anti-Valentine's" party hosted by Tammy, the rest of the Belchers pounce on last-minute Valentine's Day reservations to give the restaurant a boost in business.
    • "Ferry On My Wayward Bob & Linda" (Season 12): Bob and Linda accept a Valentine's Day dinner invitation from the chef of a fancy restaurant on Kingshead Island. Meanwhile, the kids have a scheme to get cheap Valentine's Day candy, but first they'll have to make it past an unusually strict Jen the babysitter.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: For the most part, the show is a lighthearted (if sometimes biting) romp through the Belchers' coastal town, and none of the antagonists are dangerous so much as they are obnoxious. Cut to the Season 4 finale, where Felix Fischoeder attempts to drown his brother Calvin as well as Bob. Though even then, Felix still has his amusing moments and ultimately pulls a Heel–Face Turn—the true vile villain is Felix's girlfriend Fanny, who not only continues the murder plot after Felix tried to stop it, but also pulls a gun on the rest of the Belchers, being willing to shoot even the kids so that Wonder Wharf can be sold and she can get her nightclub. Not even Felix was willing to go that far, and while Fanny is dealt with quickly it does little to stop her from skyrocketing to the position of darkest antagonist in the entire series.
  • Virtual Assistant Blunder: In "O.T.: The Outside Toilet", Gene discovers a high-tech toilet with voice recognition capabilities. Its AI is pretty advanced, but it still makes these blunders occasionally, such as playing the band Wings when Gene asks if it can deploy wings and fly.
    Gene: I'm gonna bet my sisters $1,000 that there isn't a talking toilet in the woods. That's what I call easy money.
    Toilet: Playing artist Eddie Money.
    [rock music playing]
    Gene: No, no, cancel! Undo!
  • Vocal Evolution: In the first season, Tina wouldn't speak above a barely audible monotone and usually handled tense situations with an awkward, drawn-out moan. By Season 3, she began speaking up and the moan was replaced with hyperventilation (though the moan does reappear from time to time).
    • The moan comes back in Season 8 "V For Valentine-detta". For 12 hours straight.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Louise is Type 1 with The Pesto Twins. They trust her blindly, no matter how obvious it is that she's only taking advantage of them.
  • "Walk on the Wild Side" Episode: In one episode, the normally shy and awkward Tina was influenced by a new student into wearing makeup, dressing scantily, and using lots of slang. Tina was also blackmailed into cutting class with her by being threatened with having her "erotic friend fiction" of him shown to her crush.
  • Waxing Lyrical: In "Hamburger Dinner Theater", Gene describes an armed robbery using a lyric from Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Gimme Three Steps" - "When in walked a man with a gun in his hand, and he was lookin' for you-know-who".
  • Weaponized Stench:
    • In "Friends with Burger-fits", during an ice wrestling match between Louise and Zeke, Gene uses a fart stored in a jar to disorient Zeke, allowing Louise to win the match.
    • In "Large Brother, Where Fart Thou?", Logan threatens to give Louise a Reverse Norwegian Stinkhold (read: shove her face in his smelly armpit). Gene, however, chooses to take the heat for her, so he ends up getting the full brunt of the stench.
  • What Does This Button Do?: Gene and Louise play out something straight from Dexter's Laboratory in an abandoned elevator in "The Belchies". Cue The Walls Are Closing In.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Oh, so very often.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Parodied in-universe. In "My Greek Fat Bob", Linda hosts a party for Gretchen to sell "LadyGoods" products. Linda assumes she's selling cosmetics but is sorely mistaken when Gretchen begins her sales pitch in front of the kids...
    Woman: Do you think it's appropriate to have the children here?
    Linda: Why wouldn't it be appropriate?
    Gene: Our money's as green as yours, toots!
    Gretchen: Our first LadyGood is called the Joie de Vibe, which we all know is French for "fun".
    (She pulls out a vibrator and turns it on. Linda chuckles nervously.)
    Louise: Ha, ho! I don't know what that thing is, but the look on Mom's face is hilarious! I'll buy it!
  • What Is This Feeling?:
    • Louise, upon discovering that her father considered a spatula, a brillo pad, and a dog-shaped piece of soap toys while he was growing up, asks if it's possible to feel sad for another person. Possibly intentionally invoked as a joke, since she doesn't seem to be quite that sociopathic.
      Louise: What is this feeling I'm feeling? Like, I'm sad for another person? Is that a thing? AM I GOING CRAZY?!
    • This hits Louise again at the Boyz 4 Now concert when she develops feelings for the youngest member. Too bad the feeling is to slap him as hard as possible.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The restaurant is "conveniently located on Ocean Avenue", but not only is the state never listed, the name of the town isn't even given—at least, at first. While the Belchers' home state is never verbally stated, "It Snakes a Village" and "V For Valentine-detta" confirm that the show takes place in New Jerseynote . As for the name of the town, "Just One of the Boyz 4 Now for Now" officially gives the area the name of Seymour's Bay (named after the show's editor Mark Seymour and his editing bay).
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • According to "Bed and Breakfast", Teddy has an irrational fear of people in mascot costumes, which Louise tries to exploit. This fear stems from him witnessing his (now-ex) wife cheat on him with a seal mascot, and it's to the point that he lashes out violently when forced to confront said fear head-on.
    • A literal case; Gene has a fear of snakes, as revealed in "It Snakes a Village".
      Gene: I'm not afraid of ghosts, I'm not afraid of sharks, I'm not afraid of cancer, I'm just afraid of snakes!
    • Bob has a fear of pigeons due to an incident in his childhood, but it turns out to be a misremembered scene from The Birds. By the end of the episode he's gotten over it.
  • Wimp Fight: Josh and Jimmy Jr. engage in one in during their Dance Off in "Two for Tina".
  • World of Pun:
    • If you see the name of damn near any business, odds are it's a pun. "It's Your Funeral" Mortuary to the left of Bob's Burgers, the ever-changing storefront to its right, the exterminators in the Couch Gag...
    • Bob himself notes the entire town has this problem; in various episodes, we see businesses like Who Cut The Keys? (a locksmith) and Waxing Philosophical (a grooming parlor).
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Bob is heavily implied to be a hemophiliac, and even the most minor cut can send him to the hospital for stitches.
  • Wrestler of Beasts: Invoked and discussed in "Dr. Yap"; the Prince of Persuasia says that one way to get a girl to like you is to make up a story about fighting and killing a wild animal.
  • Wrong Restaurant: When the kids enter the Glencrest Yacht Club in "Burgerboss", Gene orders the butler to bring him a plate of pizza bagels, much to his confusion. In the end, the butler does actually bring him a plate of pizza bagels, but by then Gene isn't interested anymore.
  • Yes-Man: Jimmy is almost never seen without his bartender Trev, who keeps agreeing and supporting every jab or joke Jimmy throws at Bob. "What About Blob?" reveals that Trev doesn't always find the jokes funny, he just wants to be Jimmy's friend and finds this trope to be the easiest way to accomplish that. In turn, Jimmy thinks of him as his son... more than his real blood sons, something he has gone as far as to outright admit in front of his kids.
  • "You!" Exclamation: Tammy does this to Tina in "Mazel Tina" when she's finally freed from captivity after Tina refused to help her.
  • You Were Trying Too Hard: This tends to pop up whenever Linda tries bonding with Louise. She tries to make Louise do things Linda herself likes or things Linda thinks Louise will like, while Louise wants to do none of that stuff. Linda then tries to compensate for it and goes overboard, resulting in nobody having a good time. It's a heavy contrast to how Bob deals with Louise—he just lets her do her own thing and pops in when there's an easy opening for him, resulting in their moments of bonding coming much more naturally.

Heh. "Duderuses."


They Folded a Steel Grill

Jules and the Belchers hide in Jules' secret recipe room. Before hiding, Louise opens a window to make the auctioneer and movers think they escaped through it, despite the fact the grill can't fit through it.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / FakeoutEscape

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