Bob’s Burgers: “Purple Rain-Union” (Episode 4.06)

TV Reviews
Bob’s Burgers: “Purple Rain-Union” (Episode 4.06)

One of the well-documented strengths of Bob’s Burgers has been its use of music, and the ability of its creators to adapt their talents to everything from boy band pop to Broadway bombast. Now with a decent audience under their belts, they can real start stretching themselves into new territories like tonight’s foray into ’80s rock.

The core of the episode revolves around Linda deciding to get her high school band, The Ta-Ta’s, back together to play their reunion. The only trouble is, when they played the talent show back in the day, Bad Hair Day, a band that went on to become a bona fide success, blew them off the stage. It was a moment that has left Linda with all manner of emotional scars.

This opens up the floodgates for the writers on the show to try their hands at a little “getting the band back together” romp, a heartfelt and highly sexual ballad written by Linda’s band mate and sister Gayle to a high school crush (“Won’t you enter my Acropolis/and make my yogurt Greek?” she sings at one point), and a Go-Go’s-like anthem on the failings of an aging mom’s body that is the show’s big finish.

When Linda and Bob take off for the reunion, the kids are left with a babysitter, a strange woman named Jen. This is an affront to Tina, who usually looks after her younger siblings but is removed from the job after a previous incident when Gene ate a box of cookies and threw up in his mom’s bed. As Louise tries to convince Jen to drive them to the reunion, Tina spends the night mocking the babysitter. That is before it is revealed that Jen is extremely ticklish. The kids try to use this to their advantage, threatening to tickle Jen if she won’t drive them to the reunion. But when they do, the side effect of the tickling comes out: poor Tina is punched in the face and given a black eye.

Something that came to mind while watching this episode is that while I’m still grateful that Fox has given Bob’s Burgers a chance to thrive on their vaunted Sunday night schedule, I almost wish they were on a network that let them play things out over a full half-hour with no commercial breaks. As undeniably great as the show is, it seems to whizz by between the ads, and is then over before you realize what hit you. Jokes sometimes don’t get enough time to sink in and you don’t get a lot of quiet moments. Sure, they’re filled with some amazing songs and gags and one-liners, but a little breathing room would be much appreciated.

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