With everyone under quarantine and self-isolation, there’s never been a better excuse to get better acquainted with an old friend called television. It’s no surprise then that the ultimate choice of comfort binge-watching shows is the animated sitcom Bob’s Burgers. Sorry, Simpsons, but the Belcher family has taken your place. There’s a reason Bob’s Burgers made the Beat’s list of “The Greatest TV of the 2010s” for quite a few of us at Stately Beat Manor.
New York Times chief TV critic James Poniewozik described in a recent piece how his attempts to escape from the current pandemic anxieties by continuing a Bob’s Burgers binge-watching marathon ultimately proved futile. As it turned out, when your main characters prepare food for a living, health is a major aspect of the show. What once was a distracting comedy may end up exacerbating our current anxieties.
Make no mistake, Bob’s Burgers is the perfect comfort watch during this most trying time. But on the chance you’re looking to avoid the slightest trigger, you may want to avoid the following episodes:
“Crawl Space” Season 1, episode 2
In an effort to avoid a visit from his annoying in-laws, Bob pretends to be trapped in the crawl space only to discover he’s stuck for real. Through a modern lens, one can’t help but watch it as a cautionary tale of the effects of social distancing. Nevertheless, Bob’s descent into madness à la The Shining is one of the most hilarious moments of the show. Plus it introduces Louise’s nightlight Kuchi Kopi (in yet another role by H. Jon Benjamin), a character who will appear again in this list in association with deteriorating mental state.
“Bad Tina” Season 2, episode 8
In the episode’s B-plot, Bob and Linda attend a hand-clapping Broadway show, Cake, which is basically grownups playing patty cake. Bob quickly becomes a “paddy daddy” and is obsessed with “caking” with everyone. Hard to believe it wasn’t so long ago when we didn’t take physical human contact for granted.
“Full Bars” Season 3, episode 2
The first Halloween themed episode from the series that began the tradition of the creative (and often punny) costumes worn the Belcher kids. While Tina’s decision to go as a “mommy mummy” is inspired, I think we all share Bob’s concern about losing that much toilet paper.
“Nude Beach” Season 3, episode 11
Bob’s eternal nemesis Hugo the health inspector is a stickler for rules and is determined to shut down Bob for any violation no matter how insignificant. So when he sees that Bob lacks a handwashing seminar, he forces Bob to attend a one-day seminar exploring the 32 steps of proper hand sanitation. But not before watching the introductory DVD featuring Andre Royo, best known for playing Bubbles on the critically acclaimed series The Wire. Suddenly, a handwashing instructional video doesn’t seem as risible as it used to be.
“The Frond Files” Season 4, episode 12
Regular viewers are already aware of Tina’s proclivity for zombies and erotic friend fiction. In this anthology episode, a segment brings said friend fiction to life when a zombie horde attacks Wagstaff School. In general, my prescription is to avoid any and all zombie related stories during this epidemic.
“The Oeder Games” Season 5, episode 21
When Bob and the other local businesses of Ocean Avenue band together to combat the threat of a rent hike, the wealthy and eccentric landlord Mr. Fischoeder (Kevin Kline) creates a Hunger Games-style water balloon fight with the winner getting their rent cut in half. It’s a stressful time for small businesses to say the least, so the last thing they want is to be reminded of looming financial burdens.
“Lice Things Are Lice” Season 6, episode 10
When Tina volunteers at the nurse’s office at school, things take a turn when an outbreak of lice hits Wagstaff School. The power goes to the new school nurse’s head as she taps into pandemic fears and escalates the situation going so far as to quarantine the kids and threaten to shave their heads. Sure, there’s no comparison between lice and COVID-19, but given the current climate, it’s an episode that hits close to home.
“Flu-ouise” Season 7, episode 1
I promised you that Kuchi Kopi would appear again in this last, and as promised he’s back, this time as part of Louise’s fever dream after her family accidentally destroys the beloved nightlight. Louise’s desire to hide within a fortress in the dream is a not so subtle metaphor for forgiving her family. The fortress may be the “worstest” in the fever dream, but in this current light, it’s actually the most ideal place for quarantine.
“Eggs for Days” Season 7, episode 16
The annual Belcher family Easter egg hunt goes awry when the last missing egg in the house begins to rot and stink up the house. Despite the initial assertion by the head of state that the quarantine would be over by Easter, I think we can assume there will be no Easter egg hunting for the kids this year.
“Roamin’ Bob-iday” Season 9, episode 16
🎶 "Nothing, nothing, nothing makes me happy." 🎶 pic.twitter.com/f3YL39yi2K
— Bob's Burgers (@BobsBurgersFOX) March 14, 2019
Linda and the Belcher kids lock Bob out of the restaurant in order to force him to take a much needed day off when his burnout from overworking starts affecting the restaurant. After he and tries and fails to get Mr. Fischoeder to get him back into the restaurant, he’s instead treated to a rousing song on the virtues of doing nothing. I think it’s safe to say that we’re all more empathetic with Bob than ever and his desire to return to work.