One of the many successes of Bob’s Burgers is how pointed the scripts can get. They have taken diversions to mocking the art world in season one’s “Art Crawl” episode, and had plenty of fun thumbing their nose at foodies. Sometimes, as with this week’s episode, the commentary can be a little subtler. Want to offer up some commentary on male and female stereotypes? Send Bob to work at a fraternity house to be their cook for a week, and turn Linda into a sex toy saleswoman.
Of course, being on a 22-minute long animated sitcom, there’s only so much ground they can cover, but scriptwriter Scott Jacobson and the cast sure got their shots in.
Bob initially goes to this frat house to step in for their regular chef, but of course gets caught in the sway of their freewheeling ways. He earns the frat brothers (gents with names like Turd and Pud and Hefty Jeff) respect by driving them to a rival frat’s house so they can drop a fish in the A/C unit.
Naturally, tensions arise thanks to the return of Slowhand, or Dr. Yap, the family dentist (voiced by the ever wonderful Ken Jeong) who bristles at this outsider “non-brother“ winning over his frat brethren. Here’s where the show starts having fun wrestling with the mores of masculinity. Bob and Dr. Yap want so desperately to feel like part of a gang, and to join in activities seen as manly (represented here by drawing the word “wiener” in the rival frat’s lawn and shooting water balloons at their front door. Oh, and drinking beer out of a stuffed iguana’s anus).
On the flipside of Bob’s adventure, Jacobson shows how the women survive as the men in their lives attempt to regain their glory years: by buying vibrators. It’s a less-than-subtle gag but a really funny one. Especially when Linda, trying to convince a recently dumped woman to take home a little number known as “Sneaky Pete,“ by affecting the voice of the vibrator and talking to her mark in a disturbing but kind of sweet manner. (“I wanna hide in your bedside drawer and live there forever!”)
The kids get kind of shoved into the corners of this episode, but they do make for a heck of a Greek chorus throughout.:
• Wondering aloud what a LadyGoods party might be, Tina: “Tampons and pony
saddles?” Louise: “Breast organizers?”
• Eugene, after getting kicked out of the LadyGoods party: “I want a magic vibrating
club just like any other boy!”
• Bob: “Now I regret going to college.” Louise: “Oh, c’mon, it’s not like you ended up
flipping burgers … oh wait…”
• Tina, upon entering the frat house: “This is the biggest mancave ever and Tina’s
The subtext of this week’s episode isn’t necessary to appreciate it, mind you. Like all good subtext, you’ll only find it if you’re looking. There’s plenty of silliness right there on the surface to enjoy. Skim over the top or dig in deep; you’ll be satisfied either way.
Side note: Tucked away in the credits of this week’s Bob’s Burgers is a name that should be familiar to folks who have followed showrunner Loren Bouchard’s work over the years: Jonathan Katz. A former standup and therapist, Katz has been a regular on Bouchard’s former animated gems Home Movies and Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. His appearance on the show as Dean Dixon was a small thing, really, but it was a nice nod to Bouchard’s past.