I never thought I’d see the day when I’d be underwhelmed by a Bob’s Burgers episode, yet … it’s happened this week. All thanks to the Belcher gang getting on a train together and letting some pretty silly hijinks ensue.
The train in question is a wine train, a four-hour rail trip through the woods and back. The ideal place for Bob and Linda to have a babysitter and lots of alcohol at their disposal, and for the kids to have an adventure trying to steal the kitchen’s store of chocolate.
It’s always fun to put Bob and Linda into these types of situations, the working class couple trying to punch above their weight, so to speak. And in this case, the show didn’t disappoint. The two try to make friends with Rick, a snooty oenophile who is on board to swish and slurp and gargle his way through a wine flight. Linda invites him over to their table (“You can give us tips on how to get tipsy!”) and things go quickly awry as Bob gets frustrated with his attitude. The natural solution? A wine-off.
Poor Bob has no hope of winning, but it allowed for plenty of hilarious chatter from Rick coaxing the name of his wine out of his tastebuds. (“Hmmm…you have got a lot going on girl … speak to me….”) The contest comes down to a final winner-take-all bonus round where Linda presents them both with a glass, and Bob nails it on the first sip. Rick keeps drinking and drinking trying to figure it out before it is revealed that they both sipped on wine culled from the spit bucket. How did Bob know that? Says Linda: “Because we went and saw Sideways and then went to a winery and I bet Bob he wouldn’t drink from the spit bucket and he did!”
Shame that the episode didn’t just stick with the adults as the whole train robbery bit with the kids wasn’t all that exciting. The three gang up with Regular-Sized Rudy who is stuck in the juice caboose while his dad is on a date to liberate the bars of chocolate from the front of the train. It’s a deeply silly idea and seemed, as ever, just an excuse for the kids to toss off as many weird asides as they could. Though a success in that regard, I probably laughed less at this episode than any of the 14 that preceded it. A better batting average than most sitcoms, to be sure, but a slight disappointment for one of TV’s finest half-hours.
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.