The Fox-animated sitcom “Bob’s Burgers” concluded its 12th season on Sunday, but fans need not fear: “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” debuts on Friday.
Created by Loren Bouchard, “Bob’s Burgers” revolves around the Belcher family, led by Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and his wife, Linda (John Roberts), who, with the help of their three children, run a struggling restaurant in an unfamiliar neighborhood. named city. Like “The Simpsons,” “Bob’s” puts a wry twist on the live-action family sitcom, and it’s grown over the years into a rich world of colorful guest characters that feel specific, lived, and real.
With over 200 episodes, it’s not easy to pick favorites. Fans will tell you that the writers excel in holiday-themed episodes, and the occasional A-list guest star can produce comedic gold. But the key to understanding the success of “Bob’s Burgers” lies in the Belchers themselves: They push each other’s buttons in a way that only families can, but they’re also each other’s most trusted support system.
Despite all the chaos of recent years, there’s something comforting about knowing the Belcher clan is staying afloat. Here are 10 must-watch episodes to get to know them before the movie premieres. (All 12 seasons are on Hulu.)
‘Bob Day Afternoon’ (Season 2, Episode 2)
The first season of “Bob’s Burgers” felt like a writing staff trying to find its sense of humor. This is the first great episode of the show, a chapter where Bob is involved in a bank robbery perpetrated by an unlucky criminal named Mickey (Bill Hader). The Belchers will try to publicize everything, which is what happens when Bob realizes that the hostage criminal wants burgers from his restaurant. It’s also an early example of how often “Bob”‘s story hinges on miscommunications that lead to a Belcher being pushed into the role of an ordinary hero in an extraordinary situation.
“An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal” (Season 3, Episode 5)
There are several highly holiday themed episodes that could make the list, but this Thanksgiving episode tops the list. It’s a formative chapter for the playfully manipulative Calvin Fischoeder (Kevin Kline), the Belchers’ landlord, who offers the family five months of free rent if they pose as his family for the holidays. Class issues often elevate “Bob’s” best episodes; this shows how much the Belchers could use the free rent and their unwillingness to sacrifice family unity to get it. It also includes “The Thanksgiving Song,” one of the best songs from a show known for its clever music. It was even covered by the rock band The National.
‘Broadcast Wagstaff School News’ (Season 3, Episode 12)
At this point, the writers knew what made the Belchers funny and produced several fantastic chapters in the first half of the third season. This one rises above many strong contenders from this period by highlighting the Belcher kids and the array of personalities at their school, Wagstaff, who is threatened by a serial defecation known as the “Mad Pooper.” It also really gives the clumsy oldest child, Tina (Dan Mintz), a chance to shine when her superiors at the school news station try to bury the story, forcing her to evade journalistic ethics in order to break it. It’s a perfect example of how the writing of this show can use youthful buildings to craft clever comedy.
‘OT: The Outside Toilet’ (Season 3, Episode 15)
Once again, the writers of “Bob’s Burgers” find a way to elevate toilet humor, this time with a literal commode. The best episodes of this show often mix the weird with the sincere, as in this story, where the creative middle child, Gene (Eugene Mirman), finds a talking toilet (Jon Hamm) in the woods and makes it his best friend. At the same time, Bob and Linda end up at a restaurant where Bob keeps getting free drinks just because he looks sharp enough in his suit to deserve them. A truly odd episode, it’s a great showcase for Gene’s sense of humor, connecting the impossible story of a boy and his new best friend with an unforgettable night on the town for his parents.
‘Christmas in the Car’ (Season 4, Episode 8)
A list like this wouldn’t be complete without a Christmas episode, and this is hardly the best, a quirky mix of classic family sitcom holiday conventions with a thriller structure. Bob and his family need a new tree on Christmas Eve, forcing them to drive to the only occupied property, an hour away. As they leave, they are nearly hit by a semisweet that looks like a candy cane, and the truck chases them. Linda still finds a way to get a local treat called a ‘Dutch Baby’ on the way home while the kids try to catch Santa Claus but end up only getting Bob’s best customer, the very funny Teddy (Larry Murphy ).
‘Word Hard or Die Trying, Girl’ (Season 5, Episode 1)
“Bob’s Burgers” has been consistently creative at this point in its series, opening its fifth season in 2014 with one of the most inspired pop culture mash-ups. Gene plans to premiere a musical version of “Die Hard” on Wagstaff, when his ex-girlfriend Courtney (David Wain) gets him on his feet with her musical version of “Working Girl,” the “cheeky sister film to ‘Die Hard’.” As Gene fights back with his own “protest production,” the writers unleash some of the best original music in the show’s history, culminating in a cameo from Carly Simon. The most memorable episodes of “Bob’s Burgers” often have a “let’s put on a show” creative spirit, and this best reflects that passion.
‘Hawk & Chick’ (Season 5, Episode 20)
Season five of “Bob’s Burgers” ended on a one-two punch, starting with a story that blended the Belchers’ creative passion with a touching investigation into the love affair between Bob and his precocious youngest daughter, Louise (Kristen Schaal). They are shocked by a once famous Japanese actor named Kojima at their farmers market, because he and his daughter, Yuki, were the stars of Bob and Louise’s favorite classic samurai franchise, “Hawk & Chick”. When they discover that Koji and Yuki are estranged, they stage a special screening to reunite them, but missing subtitles force the Belchers to dub the film live. Hysterically funny, the episode also touches an emotional vein when Louise reveals how concerned she too might one day drift away from her father.
‘The Oeder Games’ (Season 5, Episode 21)
The writers of “Bob’s Burgers” often subtly allow the Belchers’ shaky economic status to affect their plans, but it takes center stage in this dazzling season finale. When all of Mr. Fischhoeder’s tenants arrive at his estate for a rent increase strike, the landlord turns the tables and offers a water balloon fight where the winner gets his or her rent cut in half. Despite Bob’s protests, everyone grabs a balloon and Fishkeeper’s plan to turn allies against each other seems to work. However, the battle royale doesn’t go as he expected, ending one of the show’s best seasons with an examination of both the unity of the Belcher family and their impact on friends and neighbors.
‘The Hauntening’ (Season 6, Episode 3)
Halloween episodes of “Bob’s Burgers” are like playgrounds for the darkly comedic sensibilities of the writing staff. In this episode, they play with some wicked imagery, all the while emphasizing the closeness of the Belcher clan. Bob and Linda plan to scare their kids in a haunted house, especially Louise, who claims she’s never really scared. As their plan becomes more and more intense, Louise finally gives in to her fear, causing her facade of the fearless child to fall away. It cleverly taps into what fans know and appreciate about these characters, filtering it through the conventions of a traditional holiday sitcom episode and adding a “Bob’s” twist.
‘Glued: Where’s my Bob?’ (Season 6, Episode 19)
The 100th episode of “Bob’s Burgers” perfectly combines the show’s crazy sense of humor, big heart, and recurring theme that teamwork can save the day. Celebrity chef Skip Marooch (Kumail Nanjiani) calls Bob with the news that he’s profiled his favorite burger man in Coasters magazine, but the interview derails when a prank war between the Belcher kids results in Bob literally using the toilet. is glued. As a crowd gathers outside to mock the local restaurateur, nearly everyone in the Belchers’ circle of friends shows up to try and save the day, leading to a surprisingly moving finale to another great season.