Wholesome. That’s how I would describe Bob’s Burgers to any new viewer. Unlike other animated sitcoms such as Family Guy or The Simpsons, the family at the center of this show–the Belchers–truly support one another, through the best of times and most definitely the worst. There’s Bob, the easily flustered father who owns a small restaurant that, spoiler alert, is “Bob’s Burgers”. His wife, Linda, helps out with the customers, and is always one to hype up her family and belt out an improvised song, not necessarily in that order. Tina is the oldest child, eager to day dream about boys and jolt down another entry to add to her erotic friend fiction. Gene is the middle child and you can count on him to play a self-produced score on his keyboard and never miss hitting the fart sound effect either. Then there’s Louise, the youngest and the most adventurous, finding herself in trouble, if not the root of it.
The Belcher family have been gracing television screens for 10 seasons now. If you haven’t decided to tune in, no better time than now. I, myself, only became a fan within the past few years. And being that I find myself in the middle of a heat wave, I figured it seemed ideal to take a look at, in no particular order, some episodes that offer the best in summer vibes.
Season 3, Episode 3 – “Bob Fires the Kids”
As the title states, Bob fires his kids from helping out in the restaurant, but he does so with the best of intentions. He wants his kids to enjoy the summer, unlike how his own childhood went. Right away, the summer season is in bloom here and something I didn’t realize until this rewatch, was how much the kids wanted to work. So much so, that they got involved in another job, although one that isn’t exactly legal. That’s some professional dedication I definitely didn’t have as a kid.
Season 5, Episode 19 – “Housetrap”
Family friend and clumsy handyman, Teddy, has too much on his plate. When Linda learns he’s added yet another errand to his list–to check on a local vacation house–she takes it upon herself to have her family complete the errand instead. The Belchers live right above their restaurant, any chance they can get away to something grander, you bet they seize on it. And when the family arrives at the house, with the task to only check on it, they manage to get inside and enjoy the lavishness all around them. But something is off about the homeowner. Something…sinister? With an approaching storm, the atmosphere builds into something moody but funny. Who doesn’t love a good rainy, summer day?
Season 3, Episode 6 – “The Deepening”
Pop culture references always find their way in Bob’s Burgers. No better example than here, where the literal story is a parody of Jaws. The greedy, outlandish landlord, Mr. Fischoeder purchases a life-size shark prop from an old flick to use as a new attraction in his local amusement park. But when it malfunctions and goes berserk, movie problems become very real ones. With the mechanical beast let loose to cause destruction, it’s up to Bob to figure out how to save the day. Fans of the Spielberg classic will find many callbacks to iconic scenes. How many will you spot?
Season 8, Episode 17 – “Boywatch”
Tina joins the Junior Lifeguards, thinking it will be easy. It is anything but that. And as the training gets harder, Tina doesn’t just quit. Well, she does. But she also saves the day! With the narrative of this episode primarily set along the beach, think of it as a little escape of your own if you can’t get away this year. Best part, you won’t even have to put on sunscreen. Or, I mean you could, if you’re that dedicated.
Season 7, Episode 2 – “Sea Me Now”
Teddy brings the Belchers onto his newly fixed up boat…all to make his ex-wife jealous. But a mishap leaves them all stranded in the middle of the ocean. A mysterious island seems to be the only refuge. The chaos the family find themselves in, only ratchets up from there. This is a perfect example of how the Belchers’ day can switch from the mundane to absolute outrageousness.
Season 10, Episode 13 – “Three Girls and a Little Wharfy”
Louise decides to help some fellow classmates on their hunt for a mythic sea creature. Will they actually find it? We all know there’s no better way to create friendships than in monster hunting. Don’t we? I mean, if I had a local urban legend about a monster in my town, I know how I would have spent my summers. In the B-storyline, Bob attempts to perfect his burger-tasting palette and slips into what I can only say is a musical acid trip you have to see to behold.
Season 5, Episode 10 – “Late Afternoon in the Garden of Bob and Louise”
Finally! Bob is granted a spot in the local community garden. It’s his dream come true, but at the cost of frustrations for Linda and Louise. In one of my favorite of the show’s musical numbers, Linda and Louise lament about their crappy place, while Bob celebrates about his happy place, all while wearing his “British lady” summer hat.
Season 3, Episode 18 – “It Snakes a Village”
Bob goes on family road trip to visit his in-laws when his restaurant is being fumigated. Suffice it to say, he much rather have been left with the poison. Once there, Bob learns the senior living community his in-laws are in, is not quite what it seems. Everyone are swingers! But despite what you may think, the humor found here is rather progressive. The jokes are never at the expense of the seniors, which made them even better. Meanwhile, the Belcher kids stumble upon an adventure to find a missing chihuahua that might have been taken by a python in the nearby woods. This isn’t a dark episode, so no worries there.
Season 7, Episode 21 – “Paraders of the Lost Float”
The Belchers decide, quite last minute, to enter into a town parade. Should they wear costumes? Linda is on it! Although from the image above, it’s questionable if they properly promote the restaurant well. There’s a big cash prize too, what could go wrong? The forecast for rain is the least of the Belchers’ problems. Is the parade competition for the whole family or just for Bob? But when there’s a fictional disco song involved (“Hot Pants, Rain Dance”) the episode is bound to be fun. Move aside, “Rain On Me,” there’s a new summer bop to celebrate!
Season 5, Episode 21 – “The Oeder Games”
We get to see pretty much all of the supporting characters of the show in this one as Bob tries to form a strike against Mr. Fischoeder. Instead of listening to his tenants’ demands, the landlord holds a spontaneous water balloon fight. Last one standing, wins BIG. So the town breaks off into their own groups and motivations and Bob is left flabbergasted. But when he’s the last man standing, Mr. Fischoeder decides the game isn’t over yet. Don’t miss out on the Nena cover of “99 Red Balloons” that plays over the credits, because whenever there’s a Bob’s Burgers cover of a throwback song, I’m here for it. You might even get some ideas for your own water balloon fight after this one.