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The Blue & Gray Press | September 22, 2017

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Bob’s Burgers has much to teach about family life

Bob’s Burgers has much to teach about family life

By SAMANTHA GROSSMAN

Bob’s Burgers has recently made my personal “Most Baller TV Shows” list, and as a result, I tell everyone to watch it all the time. You should probably watch it right now. It is an especially good time at this point in the semester because who does not need a quick 20-some minute, belly-laughing study break? All four seasons are currently on Netflix in case you were wondering. You probably were.

First of all, it is hilarious. The show is about a family who lives above a burger restaurant that the mother and father, Linda and Bob Belcher, own. Bob, an average guy with a pretty impressive moustache, is married to the enthusiastic and quirky Linda. Together they have three kids: Tina, Gene and Louise, who are all equally funny, weird and endearing. Watching them interact is a joy.

I am not going to write a whole lot about how funny or entertaining the show is, because that fact really speaks for itself. What I am going to write a whole lot about is how sneakily progressive it is. I mean, when was the last time you saw a sitcom where the humor didn’t rely on a family bullying each other? Instead, what you get is a loving and realistic marriage where parents unconditionally support their children.

First, a quick run-down of the Belcher children: Tina, bless this poor girl’s soul, is the epitome of our early teenage years. She is awkward, insecure and even a little sexually confused. She has an intense attraction to butts and zombies. Gene, on the other hand is a gender and sexually ambiguous boy with an equally intense passion for farts and music. And then lastly, we have Louise, who probably is going to rule us all someday. Nobody is more conniving or fiercely loyal than Louise.

Each child comes with their own set of specific needs, and Bob and Linda do their best to support them. My favorite example of this unconditional support is when Tina becomes worried that the popular girls at her school will bully her for having hairy legs, and so Bob takes her to a waxing salon. Except, when they get there, Tina becomes too scared to do it by herself and asks her dad to do it with her. Bob, in an act of love, gets his legs waxed with her, which only makes Gene want to wax his legs, too.

Bob never once stopped to think that it was too feminine to wax his hair, nor did he hesitate to let Gene join him and Tina. Ultimately, they decided that they were proud of their hairiness and weren’t going to wax again.

In one fail swoop, Bob’s Burgers confronts the pressures of puberty, gender roles and beauty standards. Bob is progressive and caring consistently throughout the show. It is the same with Linda, and how hard she tries to connect with Louise or how she encourages Tina’s individuality (and also sometimes Tina’s erotic friend fiction). Never has a show demonstrated so much love and acceptance while also being original and hilarious. If that is not a good enough reason to watch the show, I do not know what is.

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