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Friday, November 23, 2012

Bob's Burgers gets "An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal"

Unlike the Halloween special, which aired almost a month before the holiday, FOX let Bob's Burgers put out their Thanksgiving episode at an appropriate time, the Sunday before. Of all the animated comedies the network has on this night, Bob's Burgers is my current favorite. To see the family celebrate a holiday that is so much about family is heartwarming. And, this being Bob's Burgers, also funny.

The story, "An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal," begins with the landlord, Mr. Fischoeder (Kevin Kline), bribing Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) to cook a meal for himself and a lady friend, and also hiring Bob's family to pose as his own. See, Mr. Fischoeder's love interest only goes for married guys, so he plans on using Linda (John Roberts) and the kids to hook her in.

Bob is very resistant. Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday, and he has traditions with each child. To him, preserving these rituals is more important than money. Unfortunately, the children don't feel the same, and are excited to escape their father's corniness to get involved in a scheme. This is not only a typical portrait of a clan, painting Bob as the family man he truly is at heart, but also illustrative of the generational divide, parents being more sentimental than their offspring.

This, in of itself, would be a good enough tale. Bob grows ever jealous in the kitchen, while his kids compete for Mr. Fischoeder's affections, and Linda horribly overdoes things, as she is wont to do. But "An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal" adds in a twist when Bob finds a bottle of absinthe in the kitchen. Suddenly, he is hallucinating and talking to the turkey, whom he has named, which makes things spiral even quicker out of control, and in very humorous ways.

Bob's Burgers works because of so many elements. One, it has a unique sense of humor that isn't found in practically any other series I can think of. Two, the characters are incredibly well defined, and are always played to their strengths. A fine balance is walked between repeating already known character traits, and overusing the same jokes, and it is pulled off expertly. Third, the show and its vocal cast can really land a joke, over and over again. Like when the family is naming holidays in the order of importance and Gene (Eugene Mirman) says the season premiere of Game of Thrones, though quickly admits to never having seen the show. Fantastic!

Louise (Kristen Schaal) remains the best part of Bob's Burgers. The fiendish young girl with her pink bunny ears is as clever as she is ornery. She will do whatever she must to meet her goals, and her brain just thinks on a different wave length than everyone else. And yet, when combined with her siblings, Gene and Tina (Dan Mintz), as she so often is in many a story, she works well in the group, too, without stealing too much focus.

"An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal" has a happy ending for the family, of course. Like The Simpsons, no matter what happens during the episode, they can all come together in the end, and there is deep love between them. Bob's Burgers may be a little quicker to show it than The Simpsons, though, and only three seasons in, it still feels fresh and original, definitely designed for the modern sensibility.

Bob's Burgers airs Sundays at 8:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

If you like my reviews, please follow me on Twitter! Check out my website, JeromeWetzel.com! First posted on TheTVKing

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