8.9

Bob’s Burgers Review: “The Frond Files”

(Episode 4.12)

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<i>Bob&#8217;s Burgers</i> Review: &#8220;The Frond Files&#8221;

At long last, Bob’s Burgers is back with us after an extended hiatus, and because Seth McFarlane has Fox by the balls, at a new earlier time to make room for Cosmos. No matter, though, as this week’s installment was one of the finest and funniest of an already great fourth season.

The episode took after a familiar sitcom trope of telling a trio of very distinct stories, wrapped together by a framing device. Instead of, say, a flashback-heavy, Rashomon-like look at the past, though, this one sprung from the creative minds of Tina, Eugene and Louise.

The show is framed by a presentation of the reports and projects created by the kids of Wagstaff under the theme “Why I Love Wagstaff.” But what were missing were the reports written by the Belcher kids. The guidance counselor Mr. Frond finally owns up that he kept the reports in his office because they were “offensive.” Wonderfully, we get each one of the stories recreated in turn, starting with Louise’s strange and hilarious sci-fi tale that plays off of the plot of The Terminator.

In her vision, a robot Mr. Frond is sent from the future to destroy her and prevent her from pranking the counselor with her “brownie chair surprise” (a brownie is placed on the person’s seat, and they unknowingly sit in it thus making it look like they soiled themselves). The confrontation builds to a ridiculous climax where the kids learn the robot is vulnerable to creamed corn, leading them to lure the cyborg into a vat of it in the kitchen.

Eugene’s story is, of course, fart-related, with him using his musical talents to liberate the students of the Fart School for the Gifted from under the thumb of Mr. Frond’s rule. The segment is a brilliant play on the adults v. kids theme of ’80s films, in particular the Ramones picture Rock ’n’ Roll High School, complete with all the students sporting mullets, teased-out hairdos and lots of garish neon-tinged clothing. It all culminates in a disturbingly catchy ode to passing gas, which insists, “every fart is a work of art.”

There’s only a slight bit of disappointment that the show resorted to a zombie outbreak tale for the final part of the trilogy. That’s quickly swept aside though thanks to Tina injecting the story with her obsession with boys’ butts and her ability to turn the zombie basketball team (turned into flesh eaters due to a bad jock itch vaccine) into her slaves by the power of her flirting. The scene of her hair flips and booty shaking setting off sparks and turning the black-and-white world into color is probably the funniest moment of this season.

The whole thing is one ridiculous and brilliant pop culture reference and bit of silliness after the other. Yet, it again emphasizes the deep bond that the family has. In each of the stories, the narrating kid is either helping to protect siblings or joining forces with them. Too, the parents don’t freak out about the stories, well apart from Linda shedding tears at the end of Eugene’s report. You almost denote a hint of pride at the creativity, and at Louise finally succeeding in pranking Mr. Frond with a “brownie chair surprise” right before he’s going to give a big speech in front of the superintendent. Instead, Bob and Linda do the right thing: snicker, grab their stuff and head for home.

Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.

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