Romance is a tricky thing for both young and old. At least, that’s what I think the Belchers were trying to tell us in this wonderful Valentine’s Day-themed episode. If not that, then maybe they were just trying to remind you to keep the curtains closed, if you’re going to do a striptease in the living room.
This was also a reminder that poor Tina is going to have such a hard time finding true love. Her relationship with Jimmy, Jr. never gets off the ground, thanks to his hesitance. And her attempts tonight to move both closer to her beloved, and beyond him, with the help of her fake relationship with Darryl just messes everything up for all parties involved.
I can’t feel too bad about it because it was hilarious to watch her unwittingly turn Darryl into the kind of boyfriend who will compliment her on how she opened her locker on the first try and then sing her a slow jam at the big dance. And when that slow jam is sung by Aziz Ansari, you can’t help but fall in love too.
Great as it was, I really was hoping we’d get more time with Tina’s parents attempts to make Valentine’s Day not stink for once. The concept of a Valentine’s advent calendar was a pretty great one, and bless poor Linda for devising all the activities to make things romantic. As ever, though, things go off the rails fast with her ridiculous attempts at sexy cooking (“Find the strawberry I’ve hidden somewhere on my body…”) and the bubble bath with Bob that ends up with Eugene and Louise in the bathroom (Eugene: “Once I’m done peeing, I’m going to make a sandwich and join mom and dad in the bath.”).
If you watch nothing else from this episode, I would recommend seeking out the final scenes where Bob attempts to do a striptease for his wife. It’s the perfect mix of over-the-top silliness, with Bob’s inability to do anything more but swivel his hips around, embarrassment due to the curtains getting stuck open, and some genuine affection between the couple. There’s something to be said about how willing Bob was to do this for his wife. His enthusiasm was definitely something to be admired, as was his choice of AC/DC’s “The Jack” for his stripper song.
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.