Bob’s Burgers – Season 1 (2011)

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Bob’s Burgers is a good show that doesn’t strive for greatness and is the better for it. It’s often compared to Family Guy, but the two shows have little in common aside from being animation with a preference for absurd humour. It’s closer to King of the Hill, embracing a lackadaisical pace that enhances an appreciation of its characters. There’s less humour than, say, a modern episode of The Simpsons that tosses joke after joke at the viewer with little regard for comic timing, but I much prefer the more relaxed approach.

The show’s best attribute is its characters – particularly the three children, Tina, Gene and Louise. All the characters in the show are flawed in a handful of ways. They’re also written as fundamentally good people (evidenced by Bob unquestioningly befriending transvestite prostitutes) in a way that feels genuine rather than cloying. Importantly, the show never uses the characters’ shortcomings in a mean-spirited way by ridiculing the characters: for example, Tina’s obsession with Jimmy Junior may be misplaced, but the show never judges her for it. Instead the show’s creators appear to have a genuine empathy for their misfits, producing a show that’s comfortable and enjoyable, if nothing revolutionary.

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