TV Review: ‘Bob’s Burgers’ Serves Up Laughs on FOX Sunday

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CHICAGOTV animation continues to reign on FOX Sunday nights, and the newest addition is “Bob’s Burgers,” premiering January 9th at 8:30pm ET/7:30pm CT. “Burgers” is created by Loren Bouchard, known for “Dr. Katz” and “Home Movies.” Television Rating: 4.5/5.0
Television Rating: 4.5/5.0

Bob Belcher (voice of H. Jon Benjamin of “Archer”) is the proprietor of the burger joint, set in a vague seaside resort town. Helping run his business is his entire family, wife Linda (John Roberts), children Gene (Eugene Mirman), Tina (Dan Mintz) and Louise (Kristen Schaal). Bob seems to have some trouble getting off the ground, as the restaurant is celebrating its Re-Re-Re-Re Grand Opening.

In the first episode it’s Labor Day weekend, one of the busiest times of the year, and Bob gives a pep talk to his family staff. Wife Linda is the ardent supporter, although she suspects Bob doesn’t pay enough attention to their marriage. Gene is the costumed burger mascot, who revels more in his comedic role than promoting the food. Tina, the low-keyed adolescent, complains about her bodily functions in her job as grill cook. Youngest Louise is the precocious one, having told her schoolmates that the meat in Bob’s Burgers is human flesh, obtained from the crematorium next door.

Grillmasters from Left: Gene (Eugene Mirman), Linda (John Roberts), Bob (H. Jon Benjamin), Louise (Kristen Schaal) and Tina (Dan Mintz) in ‘Bob’s Burgers’
Grillmasters from Left: Gene (Eugene Mirman), Linda (John Roberts), Bob (H. Jon Benjamin), Louise (Kristen Schaal) and Tina (Dan Mintz) in ‘Bob’s Burgers’
Photo Credit: FOX

This of course brings the health inspectors, the main one an old lover of Linda. Bob is forced to put up a sign noting that the premises is being inspected for suspicion of human flesh burgers, and that brings the protest signs (”Don’t Taste Me, Bro”). Will this nascent food emporium get past it’s latest grand opening?

Although the look of “Bob’s Burgers” is different, creator Loren Bouchard’s low-key and sly sense of humor is ever present, characteristic of previous efforts “Dr. Katz” and “Home Movies.” The family is a hoot, motivated not for the business but for their own existential boredom killing in navigating life. Having helium-voiced Kristen Schaal as Louise is a stroke of genius; her line readings are nothing short of hilarious. Meat euphemisms will never be the same.

The humor is quick, and often in the background (another protest sign reads “Eat Cheeseburgers, Not ‘Me’ Burgers) but is based on the entrepreneurial family and their connection of togetherness. Honest dialogue humor involving Perfect Moisture Mouth and poetry loving health inspectors induce the laughs as much as the fluid cartoon images. Jim Dauterive, the executive producer, used this same approach when he helmed “King of the Hill.”

At Your Service: The Familial Staff of ‘Bob’s Burgers’
At Your Service: The Familial Staff of ‘Bob’s Burgers’
Photo Credit: FOX

The look of any animated series is important to its being memorable, and Bob’s world is nicely rendered between the surreal and the hometown folk. Nice touches like Louise’s rabbit ears hat add character to her wackiness (she’s my favorite) and the no-chinned, bug-eyed character design has an easy essence that is also very funny.

And that’s the bottom line, the show is sharp and funny. Bob’s bluster, Linda’s exasperation and Louise’s specific world view cooks up a savory TV treat. I predict millions and millions served.

”Bob’s Burgers” premieres Sunday, January 9th at 7:30pm CST on FOX TV. Check local listings for channel location. Featuring the voices of H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Eugene Mirman, Dan Mintz and Kristen Schaal, created by Loren Brouchard. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2011 Patrick McDonald,

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