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YMMV / Bob's Burgers

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  • Accidental Aesop: "The Hormone-iums" can be seen as a PG-rated way to criticize abstinence-based sex education. Mr. Frond tries to make a play to teach the kids to not kiss, or else they will get mononucleosis and will die, accidentally tanking Tina's chances to be invited to a spin the bottle party. Tina then changes the play during the presentation, showing information that mononucleosis isn't lethal in most cases, and that you can avoid mono by just kissing people without it.
    Tina: We don't have to not kiss, we just have to smart kiss.
  • Author's Saving Throw: The episode "Best Burger" is one for the much-maligned "Family Fracas", giving another competition between Bob and Jimmy Pesto, with Chuck Charles overseeing the event. While Bob still does not win, Jimmy crashes and burns hard, the contest between Bob and a famous chef is an incredibly close run, the winner was a deserving Nice Guy, and the restaurant picks up a significant amount of business on the back of it.
    • As a whole, the reaction to this episode made the writers learn that it's just not fun for the audience when the characters they root for lose for no reason and the Hate Sink wins. Subsequent episodes show Jimmy Pesto and Hugo either as laughably incompetent or losing for their efforts to do things in the most jerkish way possible.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Gene, who people either love or hate. He often times tips over the edge of funny behavior and just starts getting annoying. This is something the show actually lampshaded in the first episode.
    • Teddy is either funny and endearing or an irritating Manchild who frequently acts as The Load.
    • Linda is either a funny and enjoyable wife or an awful and annoying wife to Bob.
    • Jimmy Jr. in later seasons. It depends on whether you see his negligent or outright mean treatment of Tina to be funny or not.
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    • Gayle, like her sister, is either funny or annoying depending on the viewer.
  • Broken Base:
    • Something that becomes more noticeable in later seasons is that more episodes focus on the kids, with Bob and the restaurant barely even appearing and even then not related to the main plot despite him being the title character. As a result, this has caused some minor contention from viewers about the show overusing the kids, causing Bob himself to feel out of place despite the title having his name in it.
    • More than half of the women featured on the show are voiced by men, some of them, with Linda's actor in particular, intentionally doing a halfassed voice for them. Whether this is funny or annoying is dependent on the viewer.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Louise's Child Molester Burger special.
    • Bob telling Gene that fat kids like him can't get molested.
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    • In "Purple Rain-Union", Jen accidentally gives Tina a black eye. Louise's solution is to get everyone in the room to have black eyes.
    • A child calling their parent by their first name is usually considered rude as hell. Gene calling his mom Lin while doing a spot-on imitation of his dad? Surprisingly charming.
  • Crazy Awesome: Louise. In "Ears-y Rider", an older kid steals her bunny ears and says he threw them in the trash. When Louise is told they've been incinerated, as revenge she calls in a favor to a biker gang and has them threaten to cut the kid's actual ears off.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Regular-Sized Rudy has found many fans for his positive attitude and thrill-seeking tendencies in spite of his asthma.
    • Millie Frock from "Fort Night" gained fans from being so hilarious and disturbing, and they've repeatedly brought her back for more episodes. Thankfully her appearances have been far enough apart she hasn't lost her entertainment value.
    • Marshmallow, for being one of the few positive portrayals of a transgender person in fiction when introduced in Season 1's "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?" from 2011.
  • Family-Unfriendly 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 "always be honest" Aesop, but Bob and Linda couldn't go through with it after seeing that it would've caused Gayle to have a Freak Out!.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Seems to have become a Take a Third Option to the pre-existing one between The Simpsons and Family Guy. It doesn't help that Family Guy has repeatedly gone out of its way to mock Bob's Burgers, including a minute-long scene that's just Peter insulting the Belchers. The tone of all these jokes repeatedly come across as petty jealous over how well Bob's Burgers has done for itself. Compare that to The Simpsons doing a Couch Gag featuring Homer Simpson ending up in the restaurant during the show's opening credits while the Belchers discuss whether they should adopt him or if he's trying to rob them.
  • Fountain of Memes: Tina, and to a lesser extent, Louise.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Archer due to H. Jon Benjamin starring as the titular characters in both series. The Season 4 premiere of the latter was a crossover episode where Archer has amnesia and thinks he's Bob Belcher. The season 4 finale guest starred Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal as one-off characters, both using the same voices they use for Gene and Louise respectively.
  • Genius Bonus:
  • Growing the Beard:
    • The writing really improved halfway through season 1 and never really slowed down. Arguably the second jump in quality was by seasons three and four, where the show focused on the kids and their bizarre adventures alongside the adults and the failing restaurant.
    • "Burger Wars" is a strong contender for being the moment the show grew the beard, as it introduced Mr. Fischoeder and the Pesto twins.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • There is a real-life Working Girl musical in the works. It probably won't cross over with Die Hard, though.
    • "Nice-Capades" has Felix demanding to perform an erotic dance during an ice show, which he does in a black see-through over the sound of Carl's piano. This is absolutely hilarious as, after a year, Yuri!!! on Ice would focus on an ice skater that performs a very sexual routine on ice as his signature song, wearing a dark spandex with a lot of see-through parts, his second, less sexual theme, is entirely played on a piano.
    • Topsy the Elephant was sold by P.T. Barnum to Thomas Edison, which makes it rather hilarious that Gene made a musical where Thomas is portrayed as a hero to Topsy, despite killing her in real life, when, about 6 years later, they made a musical where P.T. Barnum is portrayed as a hero to the disabled, despite abusing them in real life. What's really ironic is that both Gene's musical and The Greatest Showman were praised for their music.
  • Hollywood Homely: Bob is frequently referred to as being particularly fat and/or unattractive, but due to the show's art style he doesn't look any more so than the other characters.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Ron seems... quite enamored of Hugo.
    • Zeke and Jimmy Jr. have a considerable amount of this going on, most notably in "Stand By Gene" in which Jimmy is jealous of Zeke suddenly being all buddy-buddy with Gene.
    • Bob and Jimmy Pesto Sr. could have hints of Foe Yay going on.
    • Andy and Olly Pesto, doubling as Twincest.
    • Jimmy Pesto Sr. and Trev seem to spend a lot of time together outside of work. Given Jimmy's apparent divorce, it's not outside the realm of possibility.
    • It's been strongly implied that Hugo isn't just mean to Bob because he hates Bob, but because he's attracted to Jimmy Pesto. Hell, Hugo called Jimmy "gorgeous" once.
    • There's also a fair share of Les Yay in some episodes, special mention goes to Millie's obsession with Louise, who's basically her stalker and wants nothing more than to be very close to her, much to the latter's chagrin and annoyance. Also comes off as Foe Yay too given how Louise wants nothing to do with her.
    • The very close friendship between Bob and Jairo in "Sexy Dance Healing".
  • Incest Yay Shipping: Andy x Ollie is a popular ship. And it's entirely possible that it's canon.
  • Informed Wrongness: Played with in "Are You There Bob? It's Me, Birthday". Hugo calls Bob Ungrateful Bastard for not liking birthday parties as he’s being unappreciative to people trying to show him that they care about him. However while a birthday is indeed about those who love you and want to celebrate your birthday. At the end of the day it’s still about the birthday person themselves. Doing something that they hate isn’t mutually beneficial as they aren’t enjoying themselves. However it’s less the intent of Hugo’s words and more their delivery as giving Bob a What the Hell, Hero? for not liking birthday parties comes off as self-serving and selfish.
    • Averted as the Jerkass Has a Point in the episode was Jimmy Pesto who reminded Linda that Bob didn’t like parties causing her to calm down and do something he would actually enjoy.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Henry Haber in "The Millie-churian Candidate". He is completely irrelevant in the presidential race, being shut out by Jimmy Jr. So he gets Millie to run for president, knowing that Louise would oppose her, and that she would jump on the Jimmy Jr. campaign. Louise tanks Jimmy Jr's campaign which leads to him dropping out of the race. Louise then enters the race only to be shut out by Millie, so Henry secretly gives Louise information that will take down Millie- Abby's real name is Mabel, throwing off Millie's bestie system, which is locked in Mr. Frond's office. This leads to Millie strangling Abby, leading to Millie being disqualified for strangling her and Louise being disqualified for breaking into Mr. Frond's office, leaving Henry as the only candidate remaining, winning by default. Louise was quite impressed!
    Louise: You're going to be an amazing president.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Most of Tina's dialogue in general. Just check Tumblr.
    • This quote from Gayle:
      Gayle: (gasps) My cat was right about you.
    • This quote from Linda:
      Linda: Independent whaaaaaaaaaa?
    • The fanbase still debates the "Spiceps" vs the "Spice Rack." Consensus choice is the Spice Rack. (Man, Bob can't even win in the fandom!)
    • Bob literally grasping at straws.
  • Moe: Tina, an awkward teenager with glasses and a seemingly puppy dog eye expression.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Millie Frock crosses this in the episode "Fort Night". In it, the children get trapped in their fort by a garbage truck and Millie opts to torture them instead of setting them free. However, that's not when she crosses it. She crosses it when Bob and Linda, worried to death over where their kids are, come this close to finding and rescuing them, only for Millie to lie to them and lead them away. Keep in mind that the children could have died trapped in there, which is hammered home when Daryl accidentally activates the truck's compactor, nearly crushing them alive.
    • And just in case more was needed to prove Millie is well beyond the Moral Event Horizon, in "The Millie-churian Candidate" she strangled Abby with her own braid in an attempt to kill her because it seemed she was standing in the way of Millie's plan to make Louise her best friend. And she does it in front of the whole school, horrifying the students and Mr. Frond.
    • In "World Wharf II" Felix leaves his brother and Bob tied under the pier so they'll drown when the tide comes in and he can get his brother's money. Eventually subverted when he can't bring himself to go through with it and tries to save them. When he confesses his plan to his girlfriend Fanny, she's the one who crosses it by putting the plan back on and attempting to murder Mr. Fischoeder and the Belchers.
  • One True Pairing: Louise and Logan Barry Bush is more popular than any other pairing, including those involving Tina. Considering that Louise is nine and Logan is fifteen, most shippers are quick to point out that their fanworks include a Time Skip.
    Gene: I bet when you reconnect in your thirties, you guys will get married.
    • Also prominent is Louise and Regular Sized Rudy, due to him being probably her only sincere friendship outside of her family. They even share a kiss at the end of "Bob Actually", complete with Louise slapping him afterwards.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Aunt Gayle tends to oscillate between annoyingly needy and an outright sociopath, but in "Gayle Makin' Bob Sled," when she's at her absolute worst, she admits that she was wrong, apologizes to Bob and make it up to him by dragging him the rest of the way home.
  • 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.
  • Spiritual Successor: The show is often considered a Denser and Wackier King of the Hill, due its use of fairly grounded characters and settings.
  • Squick:
    • Bob kissing the cow.
    • When the kids attempt to fill an empty pool by spitting in it. That's not the squicky part, though. This is.
    Gene: My mouth's dry! Tina, give me some of your spit!
    (Tina spits in Gene's mouth)
    • Gene does it again in "Synchronized Swimming" by loudly snorting up his streaming boogers after coming up from under the water.
    Gene: That is good stuff. Uncut!
    • Tina's dream of the two zombies making out.
      • As if that wasn't bad enough, the Zombies take on the voices of Tina's grandparents... who are having loud disturbing sex in the next room. Even Tina wakes up in terror.
    • "The Kids Run The Restaurant": The only thing worse than seeing Bob's small wound gush onto everyone is seeing Linda's disgusting, itch-inducing (she meant well) stitch job beforehand and having to see and hear it rip. Definitely one of the squickiest moments in the series.
    • Gene's incestuous comments about his mom seem to keep getting worse and worse such as this quote from "Wolf of Wharf Street":
    Gene: Mother, I've never been more attracted to you!
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: "Jingle In The Jungle," the novelty song which Gene keeps requesting the radio station to play in "Christmas in the Car," is reminiscent of a different classic novelty song "Pico and Sebalvida," aka the theme for The Dr. Demento Show. Even better, Gene's song sounds like the kind that would be played on that show!
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Whenever something bad happens to Jimmy Pesto, like the time he was accidentally hit in the crotch in "Are You There, Bob? It's Me, Birthday", something Bob was grateful for.
    • In "What About Blob", the other Belchers get tired of Gene's constant noise making and admit he's being annoying. The name of the preview on Youtube this scene was featured in is even called "Gene is Super Annoying".
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Jessica from "Slumber Party", the only kid who doesn't end up dropping out of the sleepover and shows a lot of cunning, enough that Louise considers her a Worthy Opponent, but she never appears after that episode.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • An episode title variant. "It Snakes a Village" doesn't sound quite as clever as "Swingers and Snakers".
    • Another variant: "A Few Gurt Men" is the show's Courtroom Episode, focusing on Louise as a defense attorney and Gene as the prosecutor, with a strange case on whether or not Frond ate Ambrose's yogurt. The episode feels like a wasted opportunity to make some great Shout Outs to Ace Attorney, specially making a debate between Gene and Louise In the Style of... the franchise, specially since there are some classic elements of the franchise such as a surprise guilty and a crazy plot twist.
    • The show's original premise was Bob juggling being a family man and the owner/cook of his own restaurant. As the show progresses, the focus has been more on the antics of the Belcher family, namely the kids, with the restaurant itself and Bob's attempts at improving business being relegated to mostly b-plots. In fact, there are episodes that never take place in the restaurant itself.
  • Toy Ship: Some viewers have posited a potential Opposites Attract pairing of Louise with Regular-Sized Rudy. In the episode "Bob Actually", she initially is disappointed to think that Rudy wants her to be his Valentine. Only to go into Green-Eyed Epiphany mode when she learns that Rudy wanted Chloe to be his Valentine. And at the end of the episode, she kisses him (and slaps him), showing that she really does like him.
    • Tina and Henry Haber.
  • Ugly Cute: Tina. She's supposed to be a plain-looking teenager, but many viewers have said that she's the kind of girl they would have had a crush on at that age due to her adorkable personality.
  • Uncanny Valley: The characters look downright weird if you've never seen the show before, but you get used to it after a while.
  • Values Resonance: The transvestite hookers in the Season 1 episode "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?". Instead of going for the point and laugh approach that other sitcoms of the era were still doing at the time, the show portrayed them as normal, well-adjusted people who befriend Bob and give the Belchers advice. This portray persists to the present day, where the prostitute Marshmallow makes several appearances as an occasional side character.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Had it not been for her breasts, it'd be very easy to mistake Tina for a boy.
    • Justified: In the original pitch pilot to the network, Tina was supposed to be a boy named Daniel (looking exactly like his voice actor Dan Mintz. Not that much has been changed between Daniel and Tina, except that Tina is chubbier, shorter, and has breasts, whereas Daniel was skinny, tall, flat-chested, and had a bigger nose).
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The horse animation in "The Horse Rider-er." Horses are notoriously hard to draw, let alone animate, and all of them in this episode are meticulously well-animated, especially Jerico's dancing.
    • The conversation the kids and Nat have while floating on inner tubes down a lazy river in "The Ring (But Not Scary)" is impressive, especially the shots of all four slowly rotating with the camera at water level.
  • The Woobie:
    • Bob, being the Only Sane Man in a world of crazy people. Growing up with an overly controlling father, he just wants his restaurant to succeed and just live a normal life. His business and simple way of living is constantly mocked or endangered because of his otherwise uninterested and unsympathetic family. His wife is a ditzy woman who enjoys drinking and bizarre interests while encouraging their kids in talents that interfere with his business. His oldest daughter is the most loyal, but her obsessions with horses, boys and butts constantly get on his nerves and her puberty and personality often causes problems. His son is an obnoxious and loud attention whore constantly doing gross things. His youngest daughter is a schemer who always shows no respect for his restaurant and constantly lands him in trouble. Even moreso outside his family, there's his Affably Evil landlord, said landlord's unstable younger brother, his obnoxious rival who runs a more successful restaurant, a health inspector who has it on for him for "stealing his woman", a borderline insane sister-in-law and plenty of one-shot characters who seem set on making his life a living hell.
    • As much of a Base-Breaking Character as Linda can be, "Eat, Spray, Linda" has even her detractors feeling sorry for her. It's her birthday, the least favorite day of the year for her, and she ends up receiving rude treatment at a grocery store (for rightly calling out a woman taking up the line that shoved her way forward), locking her purse (containing her keys and cell phone) in the car, getting gum in her hair, ripping her pants and having to wear a 'street diaper', taking the wrong bus and getting further from home, having a skunk spray her TWICE, breaking her glasses, getting in another argument with the lady from the grocery store and being chased through the chalk festival. She finally makes it home, defeated and miserable, but she admits that it was the best birthday ever and wants it to be a tradition.
    • Regular-Sized Rudy, the asthma-ridden kid who's frequently caught up between all the Belcher kids' craziness note . Especially in "Carpe Museum" where he has an asthma attack while stuck in a treehouse.
    • Tina. Most of the episodes focusing on her have her as a Butt-Monkey, and she's very socially awkward.


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