Saturday, May 26, 2012

In defense of 'Bob's Burgers'

Cause child labor laws are pretty unnecessary

I'm not too big on broadcast television but when it comes to cartoons, I can get a little passionate.

The problem is that, these days,  it's hard to get into anything new without disregarding the given flaw that it either comes out of the "Family Guy" or "Simpsons" cookie cutter.

"Bob's Burgers" isn't immune to this reduction, but it certainly makes a case for itself and justifies being renewed, as Stephanie posted. A week ago, I saw a commercial for "Bob's Burgers" and thought "Yay. Another cartoon for Fox to shove down people's throats Sunday night."

Then I began mainlining Season 1 and wasn't only surprised, but pleasantly surprised. This may look and sound like another Fox cartoon from the commercial but it's actually a witty, character-heavy chucklefest.

The cast displays the comedy you're getting: H. Jon Benjamin (Archer, Home Movies) plays the main character and owner of the title restaurant, Bob. With the help of his three kids and slightly out of touch wife Tina (Dan Mintz), Bob runs a mom-and-pop burger place in a downtown city filled with interesting characters, rivalries and shemale prostitutes.

His children are played with slight mental disorders by comedians John Roberts (socially inept Linda), Kristen Schaal (sociopath Louise) and the hillarious Eugene Mirman (Assburger's Syndrome candidate Gene).

The usual plotlines are less like the "Simpsons" and "Family Guy" (A slight story vehicle that only exists for jokes) and more along the lines of an adult "Hey Arnold" (a story about local city characters with some grim truth) if Arnold grew up, had kids and kinda hated life.

The jokes also land a bit better than the two larger comedies. The depth of each punchline doesn't slide off like "Family Guy" and isn't as shallow as the celebrity-depraved Simpsons have become (I gave up after season 12). Instead, the cast delivers gems like this interaction between the kids:

Louise: If we want to be real artists, we need to cut off someone's ear!

Linda: I need my ears, I have glasses.

Louise: (to Gene) What's your excuse?

Gene: Don't have one! HAVE AT IT!

Luckily, despite poorly reported ratings, Fox has renewed "Bob's Burgers" for a second season, giving it an opportunity to get the following it deserves.

In a world of two cartoon parties, there's finally a chance for a third party... and intelligent party... to take hold.

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