Bob’s Burgers: “O.T. the Outside Toilet” (Episode 3.15)

TV Reviews Bob's Burgers
Bob’s Burgers: “O.T. the Outside Toilet” (Episode 3.15)

On Bob’s Burgers, there might not be much character development, as there rarely is on such animated shows, but the writers have certainly figured out how to write for some of these characters in a much more balanced way. This is especially true for Gene, who became somewhat grating in last season’s “Beefsquatch,” then found a nice medium in this season’s “The Unbearable Like-Likeness of Gene.”

Gene is one of the most fun characters in Bob’s Burgers, but at times he can be too much. He’s definitely the hardest of the Belcher kids to nail down. Tina is the most relatable, probably in the entire show, as the girl who feels out of place and just wants to find a way to fit in. Louise is the sort of leader of the kids as the oldest and always leans on the side of anarchy, which at the very least always makes you question what she’ll be up to next.

But as Bob’s Burgers started out, Gene became the wacky one, the perfect choice to have dance outside the restaurant, keyboard filled with fart noises to grab the attention of potential customers passing by. Gene was more of a way to spout out funny noises and hear great one-liners from Eugene Mirman. That’s not a bad thing; it just doesn’t make for a fairly interesting character.

The writers on Bob’s Burgers have toned Gene down, from a screaming noise creator like he was in “Beefsquatch” into simply a high-energy child who doesn’t want to disappoint or lose the people who want to spend their time with him, as seen in “The Unbearable Like-Likeness of Gene.”

This all isn’t to say that Gene has changed the core of who he is. On the contrary, in “O.T. the Outside Toilet,” Gene becomes best friends with a talking toilet that costs thousands of dollars and is voiced by Jon Hamm. It’s delightfully weird, but it feels perfect in the Bob’s Burgers world. As the title implies, the episode is an homage to E.T., made clear when Gene dons a red hoodie and gathers the neighborhood children to ride their bikes to go save the toilet from the man who originally stole it, the code-named Max Flush.

It’s not all Jon Hamm and dancing bidet displays though. Bob borrows a suit from Mort as he goes to court, but he realizes people treat him differently when he’s not wearing his white T-shirt and gray sweatpants. There’s not much to the story, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s just fun to see Bob and Linda go out on the town and get drunk and watch Bob get cocky, almost to Archer levels at times.

The two stories combine in a perfect way, with the drunk Belcher parents helping Gene with his toilet friend, but they’re too drunk to quite comprehend what’s going on, and Gene eventually has to say goodbye to his best toilet/friend.

It’s all insane, but kind of sweet too, especially when Bob has an awkward heart-to-heart with Gene, and the entire family rises up to help Gene in his time of need. Once again, Bob’s Burgers gets some of the best voice acting on TV as well, as Hamm is great as the toilet, constantly misunderstanding Gene’s commands, like when Gene tells him “I love you,” and Hamm responds, “you have to throw up?” It’s the perfect balance of weirdness and heart that Bob’s Burgers excels at.

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