Oh how we’ve missed you Bob’s Burgers. Sure, the baseball playoffs were fun and all, but who among us would refuse a little island of hilarity amid the tension of the World Series?
Whether by chance or scheduling, the good people behind this show came back with a bang this week, reassuring any fans who might have been grumbling about the slow start to the season.
In this episode, Linda, frustrated by a lack of thrills in her marriage, signs herself and Bob up for flying lessons. Bob balks and Linda takes off for her first free lesson. It is then that the town millionaire, Mr. Fischoeder (voiced impeccably by Kevin Kline), reveals that the flying teacher is known as “Upskirt Kurt” for his penchant for seducing bored housewives. His secret is faking mechanical problems with his plane and landing his student on Quipiquissit Island, or “Quickie Kiss It Island” as the locals call it. As Tina sums up, it’s “where the kisses are currency and everyone’s rich.”
The episode then moves between Bob and the kids trying to get to the island to stop Kurt, and Linda rebuffing Kurt’s advances in dramatic fashion. (Kurt: “Why did you head butt me?!” Linda: “I would have punched you, but I’m holding a drink!”). It culminates in a big thrilling conclusion where Linda has to put her rudimentary flying skills to the test to save her family after they are accidentally sent airborne.
As with most Bob’s Burgers plots, it’s silly conceit piled upon silly conceit with pithy one-liners bouncing off of it all like a superball—Eugene, midair: “I got in the mile high club, early admission!”; Kurt, talking about his seaplane: “She’s 45-years-old, but she looks like she’s 30, and she handles like she’s 18,” to which Linda responds: “If I die today, I want that on my headstone.”
Some folks will likely point out the parallels between this plotline and that of The Simpsons episode “Life in the Fast Lane,” wherein a silver-tongued bowling instructor (voiced by Albert Brooks) tries to seduce Marge. But such comparisons are unavoidable when it comes to animated sitcoms. And in Bob’s Burgers, there’s only the semblance of a happy ending. That is if you’re idea of a happy ending is Bob and Linda threatening to screw in the cabin of a seaplane after forcing their children to swim to shore.
To me, this is a perfect example of how the show provides that perfect midpoint between the often-heartfelt approach of The Simpsons and the all-out assault on good taste of Seth MacFarlane’s shows. There’s enough of each sensibility—and a hearty push/pull between the two—to keep the show bubbly, acidic and infinitely watchable.