It’s hard to believe that in three seasons, the Belcher family had never celebrated Christmas on Bob’s Burgers. Imperfect timing of the seasons restricted this opportunity, allowing it only to live in the imaginations of fans. But this season, we had the opportunity to see inside the holidays for the Belchers with “Full Bars,” hands down one of the show’s best episodes so far. So after three seasons, we finally get the first Belcher family Christmas, and it’s just as unusual and hilarious as you would expect.
In “God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins,” the Belcher kids are getting ready for Christmas. Louise wants her own apartment; Tina wants a dry-erase board so she can write her thoughts like “penis fly trap” down and then immediately erase them, and Gene naturally wants the bobsled used in Cool Runnings. When Bob’s Uncle Ernie dies and includes Bob in his will, they assume their wildest dreams are going to come true. Instead, they inherit a storage unit with a guy named Chet living inside. Chet, voiced by a great Zach Galifianakis, used to make the window displays at Ernie’s shop. In exchange, he was allowed to live in the storage unit. The Belchers let Chet move into their basement until Christmas and are delighted that he has taken to creating window displays for their restaurant. But soon they find out that not only does Chet believe he was married to a mannequin he has named Nadine, he also believes that he was once a mannequin himself.
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins” is essentially everything you could want from a holiday episode of Bob’s Burgers. Chet’s story of finding mannequin love with Nadine is so ridiculous, yet everyone in the family except Bob finds it to be beautiful. Tina even proclaims it to be the greatest love story ever told. That may not be accurate, but it’s definitely the weirdest love story you’re going to find in a holiday TV special.
Galifianakis makes this episode great as Chet. The character feels like one that he might have created, and he imbues Chet with a humor very similar to his own. That’s one of the most brilliant things about Bob’s Burgers: It’s able to make these insane characters unlike any others TV has even seen, while allowing the voices of the comedians portraying them to still remain strong. Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal have proven this week after week, but with the constant guests, Bob’s Burgers is always able to mesh very well.
This episode also reaffirms the warmth of the Belcher family. No matter how strange the characters who enter Bob’s Burgers are, they are always welcome. In fact, the family seems to encourage the oddities. Their hearts are so big that even though it is pretty clear Chet is certifiable, they are still willing to give up their own Christmas presents to help Chet get his love back from a sex store manager.
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins” hits that sweet spot that Bob’s Burgers does so well, by taking characters who we’ve never seen before, putting them and the family in an adventure that goes in places that have also never been seen, and showing the great amount of compassion for others that the Belchers can provide. If this is any indication of how fantastic the Belcher holidays can be, Fox needs to schedule them accordingly.