Bob's Burgers is an American animated sitcom created by Loren Bouchard for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Belcher family – parents Bob and Linda and their children Tina, Gene and Louise – who run a hamburger restaurant. The show was conceived by Bouchard after he developed Home Movies. Bob's Burgers is a joint production by Wilo Productions, Buck & Millie Productions, and 20th Century Fox Television and syndicated by 20th Television.
|Created by||Loren Bouchard|
|Developed by||Loren Bouchard|
|Voices of||H. Jon Benjamin|
|Theme music composer||Loren Bouchard|
|Opening theme||"Bob's Burgers Theme"|
|Composer(s)||John Dylan Keith|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||172 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Loren Bouchard|
|Camera setup||Animated rendition of single-camera|
|Running time||21 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Bento Box Entertainment (2011)|
Wilo Productions (2012–present)
Buck & Millie Productions (2012–present)
20th Century Fox Television
|Picture format||720p (16:9 HDTV)|
|Audio format||5.1 surround sound with SAP DVS audio description|
|Original release||January 9, 2011 –|
While reviews for the first season were mixed, feedback for subsequent seasons has been much more positive. The series premiere, "Human Flesh", drew in 9.39 million viewers, making it the highest-rated series premiere of the season and finishing ninth in the ratings for the week it aired. Reruns began airing on Cartoon Network's late night programming block Adult Swim on June 23, 2013 and began airing in syndication on local stations in September 2015.
In 2013, TV Guide ranked Bob's Burgers as one of the top 60 Greatest TV Cartoons of All Time. The series has been nominated for several awards, including the Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program seven consecutive times, winning in 2014 and 2017.
The show centers on the Belcher family – Bob, Linda, and their children Tina, Gene, and Louise. The family runs a burger restaurant on Ocean Avenue in an unnamed seaside community (informally known as "Seymour's Bay" among the show's writing staff). While series creator Loren Bouchard has said that the show's location was an indeterminate Northeastern United States shore town (calling the setting a "semi-Springfield)", some critics, particularly after the episode "It Snakes a Village", have deduced that the unidentified setting appears to actually be southern New Jersey.
Bob's Burgers is located in a green two-story building which features an apartment on the second floor where the Belcher family lives. The restaurant is sandwiched between two other commercial buildings, one of which houses "It's Your Funeral Home and Crematorium". As a running gag, the other building is shown in the opening credits to be a new business each week, often with names which are elaborate puns.
Bob's Burgers has a few regulars – most frequently handman Teddy and Mort from the neighbouring crematorium. The restaurant has to compete with several other local eateries for business. His biggest rival is Jimmy Pesto, who owns an Italian restaurant called “Jimmy Pesto’s Pizzeria”, which is located directly across the street and is generally more successful, creating tension between the two owners.
As well as assisting in the restaurant, the Belcher children all attend Wagstaff school. Several episode plot lines involve the children's escapades in and out of school. 13-year old Tina, at the beginning of adolescence, struggles with her attraction to boys. The most common target for her affections is Pesto's eldest son, Jimmy Junior.
Episodes will sometimes involve a single storyline involving all of the Belchers, or will have two simultaneous stories for different groups of the family. The family members interact with many recurring characters who are also residents of the town.
Bob's Burgers makes occasional use of musical numbers. The closing sequence uses different soundtracks each episode, and, from season two, a different animation played alongside the credits.
- Bob Belcher (H. Jon Benjamin) is one of the main protagonists of the show and owner of "Bob's Burgers." He is the husband to Linda and father to Tina, Gene, and Louise. He is a third generation restaurateur and is 47 years old. Bob was born to an unnamed mother and Big Bob who ran a diner called "Big Bob's Diner." Bob had a relatively unhappy childhood as his mother died when he was young and his father was an alcoholic who forced Bob to constantly work. He is also known to never smile. Bob is the more sensible one of the bunch though he isn't afraid to get petty and is often stubborn and exasperated. Despite his somewhat pessimistic personality, he loves and cares for his family very much as well as his restaurant. Bob has black hair and black eyes. Many fans suspect that the family is of Ashkenazi Jewish, Arab, Greek, Italian, or Armenian background, though it is confirmed Bob is of French or French Canadian descent due to his surname. The show's official wiki reveals that his height is 6’1.
- Linda Belcher (John Roberts) is one of the main protagonists of the show and wife to Bob and mother to Tina, Gene, and Louise. She is fun-loving and happy-go-lucky, a positive contrast to her husband's pessimism. Linda is generally laid back and obliviously enthusiastic in whatever she does. Linda is shown to be very supportive, such as encouraging Tina to write erotic fanfiction or supporting her sister Gayle in her anus-themed paintings which Gayle hangs in the restaurant. However, Linda can be strict as well, showing less leniency when Louise doesn't listen to her. Linda has black hair and black eyes and wears glasses. Linda is 45 years old.
- Tina Belcher (Dan Mintz) is the eldest of the three Belcher children, is socially awkward and insecure, and tends to freeze up when faced with any sort of decision. She is like many teenage girls, fantasizing over her crushes and a fan of boy bands such as "Boyz 4 Now". She likes horses, rainbows, butts, zombies, writing erotic fiction, and movies. Tina has a massive crush on Jimmy Pesto (Bob's rival)'s son, Jimmy Jr., who vacillates between reciprocating and rejecting Tina's affections. She is a hopeless romantic and writes various fanfiction about Jimmy Jr. and her life. Out of the three siblings, Tina is arguably the most responsible, although Gene and Louise take advantage of her innocence and naivete. Like everyone else in her family, Tina has black hair and black eyes, and wears glasses like her mother. She is 13 years old.
- Gene Belcher (Eugene Mirman) is the second child and the only boy of the family. Like his mother, Gene is carefree and friendly. Gene enjoys pestering everyone around him by using sound effects with either his Casio SK-5 keyboard or his megaphone. He frequently records fart sounds and uses them as sound effects and additions to his music. He is quite close to everyone in his family, especially Louise, often helping her with schemes. Gene has shown to have passion for music and music business but, as he is 11, has been shown to have trouble committing to putting the work into learning the technique behind music. Despite this, he has written at least one full musical as well as many other songs with topics ranging from farts to Thanksgiving. Like the rest of his family Gene has black hair and black eyes.
- Louise Belcher (Kristen Schaal), the youngest Belcher at 9 years old, is a schemer with a mischievous and cynical personality. She is often yelling or screeching. Though her intentions in the series consistently appear to be dubious, she is often portrayed as a reluctant antihero. She is also narcissistic in nature and is very manipulative. Louise is protective of and has a deep affection for her family, though she displays her feelings towards each in different fashions. She looks up to her father somewhat, and enjoys bonding with him over games such as "burn unit", where they take turns making fun of TV shows (or "burning" them), but she is not above manipulating him when it suits her. Her relationship with her mother is more complex, and Louise is more likely to disobey her mother than her father. Louise always wears a pink bunny hat, with her uncovered head yet to be seen. Like the rest of the Belchers, Louise has black hair and black eyes.
There are various recurring characters in the series including Jimmy Pesto, Sr. (Jay Johnston), Bob's primary business rival who owns an Italian-themed restaurant across the street, and his three sons: Jimmy Jr. (H. John Benjamin), Tina's love interest, and hyperactive and childish twins Andy (Laura Silverman) and Ollie (Sarah Silverman), who are friends of Louise. Other friends, and frenemies, of the Belcher kids include Zeke (Bobby Tisdale), Tammy (Jenny Slate), Jocelyn (John Roberts), and Regular-Sized Rudy (Brian Huskey). Mr. Frond (David Herman) is the guidance counselor at their school.
Other recurring characters include customers Teddy (Larry Murphy), Mort (Andy Kindler), the Belcher family's mailman Mike Wobbles (Tim Meadows), Linda's eccentric sister Gayle (Megan Mullally), and the Belchers' sometimes-meddling landlord, Calvin Fischoeder (Kevin Kline) and his brother Felix (Zach Galifianakis). Bob is frequently antagonized by health inspector Hugo (Sam Seder), Linda's ex-fiancé who holds a grudge against Bob and constantly schemes to get the restaurant shut down, though his plans are often revealed to the Belchers by his easy-going assistant, Ron (Ron Lynch).
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||January 9, 2011||May 22, 2011|
|2||9||March 11, 2012||May 20, 2012|
|3||23||September 30, 2012||May 12, 2013|
|4||22||September 29, 2013||May 18, 2014|
|5||21||October 5, 2014||May 17, 2015|
|6||19||September 27, 2015||May 22, 2016|
|7||22||September 25, 2016||June 11, 2017|
|8||21||October 1, 2017||May 20, 2018|
|9||22||September 30, 2018||May 12, 2019|
Creator Loren Bouchard said Bob's Burgers came about because Fox's animation brand centers mostly on family, but he also wanted to dabble in workplace comedy. In his original concept, the family were cannibals, but Fox executives convinced him to drop that aspect of the show. The show has generally been viewed as a spiritual successor to King of the Hill, which carried less emphasis on shock comedy and focused more on character-driven humor; Bob's Burgers executive producer Jim Dauterive worked on King of the Hill for nearly its entire run.
Proof of concept
Before the show was aired, the team created a proof of concept so Fox Broadcasting Company knew what to expect if they bought the show. Jay Howell had his art featured in a test animation based on Bob forgetting about his and Linda's wedding anniversary. This proof of concept eventually turned into the pilot episode. It had the same synopsis as the official pilot (aired in 2011) but had both cosmetic and substantial differences.
The original pilot can be seen on the DVD release of the first season, released on April 17, 2012.
Bob's Burgers first appeared on the development slate at Fox on August 6, 2009. On December 1, 2009, Fox ordered 13 episodes for the first season. On May 17, 2010, Fox placed the series on the primetime slate for the 2010–11 television season. A special preview aired on Thanksgiving on November 25, 2010.
Creator Loren Bouchard serves as the executive producer, alongside developer Jim Dauterive. They have served as executive producers since the first season. Dan Fybel and Rich Rinaldi were promoted to executive producers during season 6.
The team of writers includes Loren Bouchard, Jim Dauterive, Scott Jacobson, Lizzie Molyneux, Wendy Molyneux, Holly Schlesinger, Nora Smith, Steven Davis, Kelvin Yu, Dan Fybel, Rich Rinaldi, Jon Schroeder, and Greg Thompson. Past writers on the show include Kit Boss, Aron Abrams, and Mike Benner. H. Jon Benjamin, Rachel Hastings, Justin Hook, Dan Mintz, and Mike Olsen have also written or co-written episodes. After the writing has been completed, the voice actors read the script as written, but later are allowed to improvise lines. The editors and writer decide what improvised lines make the final cut.
Bob's Burgers has six main cast members: H. Jon Benjamin as Bob Belcher, John Roberts as Linda Belcher, Dan Mintz as Tina Belcher, Eugene Mirman as Gene Belcher, Kristen Schaal as Louise Belcher, and Larry Murphy as Teddy.
The components of a hamburger fall into place on a white screen, and Bob's hands appear underneath to hold it. The other family members appear around him one at a time, beginning with Linda and ending with Louise. Linda puts her arm around Bob, Tina stands expressionless, Gene plays a sound effect on his keyboard, and Louise poses for the camera. The restaurant then materializes behind them and the neighboring businesses slide into place, with a funeral parlor at screen left, and the street slides into view in front. A "Grand Opening" banner is placed over the door, followed by a series of mishaps: a fire, an infestation of vermin, and a car knocking down a utility pole so that it smashes the front window of the restaurant. A new banner is hung up after each event: "Grand Re-Opening," "Grand Re-Re-Opening," and finally "Grand Re-Re-Re-Opening." The camera then zooms in on the cheese on the burger Bob is holding (or the restaurant sign during Season 1), and the view fades in to the start of the episode.
As with other Fox animated series such as The Simpsons, the show employs the "changing element" running gag in its opening credits. The gag present on Bob's Burgers involves the store located to the right of the restaurant, which has a new, humorously named client in every episode (such as "Betty's Machetes" in "Purple Rain-Union"). Additionally, beginning with Season 2, the pest control van in the sequence has the name of a different company on each episode; the van read "Rat's all Folks! Exterminators" on all episodes of Season 1. On certain episodes, an element is changed for a special night (a flash frame saying "HAPPY HALLOWEEN" was shown during the title sequence of "Fort Night").
In an article where the writers of the show rank the best 10 musical numbers of the first three seasons, show creator and theme composer Loren Bouchard explains that the ukulele track in the theme is an edited version of the first recording he did, as well as the first take in 2008. According to Bouchard, if the EQ filter is taken off the original track, there is noise audible from the nightclub below the apartment he was living in when he recorded the theme.
The credits sequence of Bob's Burgers often features the Belcher family at work. The scene is the kitchen of Bob's Burgers drawn with a black outline over a white background and the characters in full color, with the credits off to the right hand side. The sequence consists of Bob cooking a burger and Louise and Tina doing prep. Bob places the burger on the plate for Louise to give to Linda, who takes it from the window, and a few seconds later Gene walks through the kitchen wearing his burger costume.
Although the kitchen scene is still the main closing sequence the show uses, beginning in season two the producers began to use different elements from the show in the credits. Other times, the scene will play out as usual, but with something from the episode going on in the background.
Every episode features one or more "Today's Special" burgers on a chalk board on the wall behind the counter. The name of the special is usually a play on words that indicates what comes on the burger (ex.: "It's Fun to Eat at the rYe M C A Burger": Comes with Rye, Mustard, Cheese, and Avocado). Other "Special" burgers are also mentioned by the family without being written on their chalkboard. The joke is often that the play on words is overly complex or obscure, or simply a bad pun.
|Region||Set title||Episode count||Discs||Time length||Release date||Notes|
|1||Bob's Burgers: The Complete 1st Season||13||2||286 minutes||April 17, 2012|
|1||Bob's Burgers: The Complete 2nd Season||9||198 minutes||May 7, 2013||Manufactured on demand (MOD) on DVD-R|
|1||Bob's Burgers: The Complete 3rd Season||23||3||506 minutes||May 13, 2014||Manufactured on demand (MOD) on DVD-R|
|1||Bob's Burgers: The Complete 4th Season||22||484 minutes||May 12, 2015||Manufactured on demand (MOD) on DVD-R|
|1||Bob's Burgers: The Complete 5th Season||21||July 20, 2016||Manufactured on demand (MOD) on DVD-R|
|1||Bob's Burgers: The Complete 6th Season||19||October 2, 2018||Manufactured on demand (MOD) on DVD-R|
|1||Bob's Burgers: The Complete 7th Season||22||October 2, 2018||Manufactured on demand (MOD) on DVD-R|
|1||Bob's Burgers: The Complete 8th Season||21||October 2, 2018||Manufactured on demand (MOD) on DVD-R|
Bob's Burgers initially received mixed reviews for season 1, with a Metacritic score of 54 out of 100. However, by season 2, the ratings had reached a score of 78 out of 100, proving a rise in popularity with praises about its "daffy comedic momentum" and how it is "new and fresh." Rotten Tomatoes gave the first season a 64% score based on 28 reviews with an average rating of 6.33/10. The site critical consensus states "A modestly immature workplace cartoon, not without potential, that needs to work on finding its rhythm". The Washington Post described the show as "pointlessly vulgar and derivatively dull", while Reuters stated that "It's unwise – and unnecessary – to launch an animated sitcom on Fox that appears intent to ape the vulgarity quotient of Family Guy." USA Today stated that "Bob's Burgers isn't very tasty" describing the comedy as just "lop[ing] along, stumbling from one tasteless moment to the next" The New York Times described the show as having "a lackadaisical vibe; its humor, no matter how anarchic, slides by in a deadpan monotone."
However, as the first season progressed and concluded and the second began, critics began giving the series praise. Rowan Kaiser of The A.V. Club has recalled, "...the show was amusing, yes, and there was certainly potential, but it took half a dozen episodes before it really began to meet that potential." Season 2 has a Metacritic score of 78 out 100, And a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100% based on 5 reviews.
Season 3 has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 80% based on 5 reviews, Season 4 has a score of 100% based on 6 reviews, season 5 has a score of 100% based on 7 reviews, and season 6 has 100% based on 7 reviews.
Entertainment Weekly gave the show an A- grade in its review, remarking that "a comedy this well done is very rare indeed". Ain't It Cool News called Bob's Burgers "perhaps the funniest half-hour currently airing on broadcast TV" in 2011. In its review, CNN called the show "wickedly funny" and said there are "too many highlights to list here". Speaking about the show during its second season, The A.V. Club reviewer Rowan Kaiser said: "After an uneven start, Bob's Burgers is becoming one of television's best comedies!" Since the debut of season two of the series, the show's positive reception has increased.
Awards and nominations
After airing, the show became the highest-rated series premiere of the season and also finished 9th in the ratings for the week it aired. Despite this, the ratings went on a slide with ratings expert Bill Gorman of TV by the Numbers calling it a "toss up" for renewal before the series was renewed for a second season which premiered on March 11, 2012.
|Season||Timeslot (ET)||Episodes||First aired||Last aired||TV season||Rank||Avg. viewers|
|1||Sunday 8:30 pm||13||January 9, 2011||9.38||May 22, 2011||4.31||2010–11||117||5.07|
|2||9||March 11, 2012||4.04||May 20, 2012||3.57||2011–12||142||4.18|
|3||Sunday 8:30 pm (1–14, 18–23)
Sunday 9:30 pm (15–17)
|23||September 30, 2012||5.46||May 12, 2013||3.38||2012–13||107||4.45|
|4||Sunday 8:30 pm (1–11)
Sunday 7:00 pm (12–22)
|22||September 29, 2013||4.48||May 18, 2014||1.95||2013–14||96||4.93|
|5||Sunday 7:30 pm (1–2, 13–18)
Sunday 9:30 pm (3–12, 19–21)
|21||October 5, 2014||3.14||May 17, 2015||2.44||2014–15||147||3.18|
|6||Sunday 7:30 pm (1–10)
Sunday 8:30 pm (11–19)
|19||September 27, 2015||2.51||May 22, 2016||2.04||2015–16||144||2.90|
|7||Sunday 7:30 pm||22||September 25, 2016||2.60||June 11, 2017||1.52||2016–17||138||2.78|
|8||21||October 1, 2017||2.93||May 20, 2018||1.62||2017–18||155||2.80|
|9||Sunday 8:30 pm||22||September 30, 2018||2.47||May 12, 2019||1.48||2018–19||TBD||TBD|
Adult Swim acquired the rights to air Bob's Burgers in 2013. Episodes air six nights a week, with a 1:30 am airing on Sunday and 8:30 pm airings Monday through Friday. An additional episode airs every Monday through Thursday at 9:00 pm. Adult Swim currently has rights to the first eight seasons of Bob's Burgers and recently began airing the season eight episodes on Sundays.
20th Television began distributing Bob's Burgers to local stations in 2015. The syndication package began airing on its affiliates on the weekend of September 19–20, 2015, and two episodes air each weekend.
The series also premiered on September 26, 2016 on TBS and airs Mondays afternoons (along with Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show) and on Friday nights. TBS has the same rights as Adult Swim, and is airing the first eight seasons.
The series will join the FXX line-up in fall 2019, starting with the ninth season. In 2021, it will become the exclusive network for reruns, which means it will leave the Adult Swim and TBS lineups.
On January 6, 2011, some Fatburger locations were re-branded as Bob's Burgers for the day as a promotion. It also offered limited-time offers, such as a free burger giveaway, and a special, "The Thanks a Brunch Burger", on the menu until February 2011. There were also "Bob's Burgers" coupons offered for a free medium Fatburger special. Across the US, four locations were re-branded as Bob's Burgers: in California, New Jersey, Nevada, and Illinois. At least one restaurant location in California continued to use the Bob's Burgers appellation into 2016.
In the Family Guy episode "Space Cadet", the principal shows Peter and Lois a picture of Bob Belcher as a sign that Chris is doing poorly in his Advanced Art class. Peter mutters "I'm so ashamed", and the principal replies "Yeah, well, someone should be." In "Boopa-dee Bappa-dee", Louise is one of many characters Stewie is turned into by Peter using a remote control. Bob's Burgers is also mentioned on "He's Bla-ack!", as one of the reasons why The Cleveland Show did not succeed.
The season 4 premiere episode of Archer features a crossover where the Belcher family is shown, but Bob is revealed to be Sterling Archer (also voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) in a fugue state. Archer has taken the place of Bob Belcher, with Bob inexplicably missing. The menu board touts the "Thomas Elphinstone Hambledurger, with Manning Coleslaw", a play on amnesiac secret agent Tommy Hambledon, a character in a series of novels by Manning Coles.
"Homerland", the season 25 premiere episode of The Simpsons, features a couch gag in which the Belcher family (skinned yellow according to the standard character coloring of the series) attend a 25th anniversary party in the Simpson family living room with the main characters of their fellow Animation Domination series. Bob made another cameo in the episode "The Girl Code", where a picture of him is shown, and explaining that the restaurant was boycotted by short people due to an offensive Burger of the Day.
Bob makes a cameo appearance in the hour-long The Simpsons-Family Guy crossover "The Simpsons Guy". He appears on the same airplane as Homer and Peter in a cutaway about them being a greater team than the Air Force. Peter remarks to Homer that they have to carry Bob, and then Peter points to Cleveland's plane and says "We let that other guy try and look what happened." Cleveland, repeatedly saying "no", crashes in flames. This is a reference to the poor ratings of Bob's Burgers and the cancellation of The Cleveland Show.
In Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a character previously known as Dr. Eugene Mirman (obviously played by himself) was renamed "Dr. Gene Belcher" in the episode "Hospice". The character's name was revealed on Aqua Teen Hunger Force's creator Dave Willis' Twitter account two hours before the episode. The character had been introduced in 2006, which was five years before Bob's Burgers aired.
Seattle rock band Sleater-Kinney collaborated with Bob's Burgers and its crew for their 2015 single "A New Wave", from the album No Cities to Love. The resultant music video featured the band, animated in the cartoon's style, performing for the Belcher children in Tina's bedroom.
In 2016, The Bob's Burgers Burger Book, edited by series creator Bouchard, was released. There are 75 burger recipes pulled from the fan-based blog "The Bob's Burger Experiment" based on the Specials of the Day that appear on the chalkboard menu in the show.
On October 4, 2017, Fox announced that a Bob's Burgers movie was in the works to be released on July 17, 2020. Creator Bouchard has said the movie will "scratch every itch the fans of the show have ever had", while being appealing to new audiences.
On July 18, 2018, Loren Bouchard said that the script has been submitted and accepted by the studios. The movie will be a musical comedy and will involve Louise and her night light Kuchi Kopi inside her fantasy world as a minor subplot.
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Bob’s Burgers has always been a good show, but its third season has placed it in the rarified air of TV’s best, a near constant assault of humor, heart, and old-fashioned showmanship.
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