What About Bob?

The third of my Big Three television close to close out its season is Bob's Burgers. Both Parks & Rec and Community took a step down in quality this past season (one gentle, one massive), but the same can't be said for Season 3 of Bob's Burgers, which will be difficult to top as my favorite show of 2013. I have no idea where it will go from here, but it sure feels like we're in a Golden Age. Much like The Simpsons did, this show spent some time building its universe, and now that the ground rules and major denizens are set, it's begun to expand in fun ways.

Naturally, any comedy will be judged on how funny it is, and I certainly have no problems on that level. Most of the third season episodes made me laugh out loud at least twice. But Bob's Burgers impresses in other ways, as well. Plenty of sitcom families are funny, but how many of them come across as believably related? No matter how zany adventures the Belchers get into, the familial relationships are actually quite realistic. You can easily see shades of Louise and Gene's wild ids in Bob's personality, or how Tina's nervous, low-key approach to things plays off Linda's ability to happily go along with pretty much anything life throws at her.

Music is also a superb aspect of the show's universe. The Belchers are a musical family, and between Gene's compositions and Linda's predilection for bursting out into weird little songs (not to mention the show's pitch-perfect satire of boy band songs about fantasy relationships), I actively wish there was a soundtrack I could buy.

If that weren't enough reason to love this show, the secondary and tertiary characters are hysterical. Teddy was always pretty amusing, but he really got a chance to shine in "The Deepening", making an episode about him battling a mechanical shark from his past one of the season's best. Random classmates of the Belcher kids drop in and out, and they never fail to make me giggle, whether it's Gene's short-lived girlfriend Courtney, or Regular-Sized Rudy happy to accompany Louise on a rule-breaking adventure. Oh yeah, and I can't skip over Andy and Ollie (voiced by Laura and Sarah Silverman), whose complete codependence would be insufferable if they were overused, but they never are.

I thought it would be tough to whittle down the list of episodes to the best of the season. In fact, the only one I didn't like was "Family Fracas". Everything else was at least good, if not fantastic. Still, some truly remarkable episodes did jump out. The aforementioned "The Deepening" was followed by the wonderful "Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks". I usually love most Tina-centric episodes, so I have to include "Two for Tina" as well. That's not to say the other kids didn't have great episodes, too. "The Unbearable Like-Likeness of Gene" and "Topsy" were excellent Gene and Louise episodes, while the family unit works as a whole in "Carpe Museum". All of these were great, but as far as my favorite episode of the season, I have to go with "Boyz 4 Now", not only for the boy band parody, but for a hilarious exploration of Louise's first crush, and Bob/Linda/Gene working together to dominate a table-setting competition. I have no idea how long this winning streak will last, but even in the unlikely event that next season's episodes aren't up to par, Bob's Burgers has already earned its keep for the year.

Bob's Burgers - Season 3: A


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