FOX’s Bob Burgers has slowly made its mark in the Sunday night Animation Domination lineup. While it is neither created by Seth MacFarlane nor Matt Groenig, it does feature a familiar, five-member family unit and their wacky adventures, so in a way, it sticks to the tried-and-true formula. Yet, the humor in the series feels more edgy and current than its multi-decade peers, and it has become a beloved favorite. The Complete Third Season, featuring episodes from the 2012-2013 television season, has finally recently been released on DVD.
Season three is probably where Bob’s Burgers finds its stride. It had a good freshman run and a solid sophomore series, but by the third year, it knows what it is and can really start to pay off running gags. We know Linda (John Roberts) will break out into weird songs at inappropriate times. We know the kids will get into trouble based on hormones, curiosity, or selfishness. And we know Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) will serve as the anchor that keeps everyone grounded, ineptly managing to clean up the messes when necessary.
Which is not to say it has become completely predictable. Bob’s Burgers follows a certain pattern for most episodes, one that is different from The Simpsons or Family Guy stories, but it still manages to come up with situations that feel original and fresh. I love the varying end credits that call back to a great part of that week’s plot. Its zany, recurring cast are a different make up of people than those other shows, and its installments feel more realistic, rather than so cartoonish. Most importantly, the trademark brand of humor it has carefully cultivated frequently lands.
Yes, many of the female characters are voiced by men (and occasionally boys are voiced by women), which seems odd if you are first discovering the show. However, after spending many hours with the parts, it’s hard to even notice such things, so convincing is the talent.
There are some great episodes among season three’s 23 offerings. In “Ear-Sy Rider,” Louise’s (Kristen Schaal) signature bunny ears are stolen and a biker gang shows up in town. “Bob Fires the Kids,” features Bob’s attempt to give his children a normal childhood, which backfires when they begin working on a pot farm. “Mutiny on the Windbreaker” has Gene (Eugene Mirman) falling in love with a stuffed manatee. In “An Indecent Thanksgiving,”Mr. Fischoeder (Kevin Kline) hires Bob’s family to pose as his own, and in “The Deepening,” the family must stop a haywire mechanical shark. “Lindapendent Woman,” finds Tina (Dan Mintz) thinking that an arm near the milk shelf must be her soul mate; and, “The Kids Run the Restaurant,” is exactly what it sounds like.
The release has no extras, which is a huge disappointment, especially given the very long wait for the DVD to come out. Although I’m not sure exactly what kind of bonus features I expect from a prime-time animated series, with such a funny creative team, I would imagine the writers and actors would have at least a few things to share.
But, even without extras, the episodes themselves provide enough great material for a worthy purchase. Looking over the episode list from The Complete Third Season, I still vividly remember a number of the installments. That should indicate what a terrific series it is if, more than a year later, the jokes are fondly recalled and one can be amused all over again, before it is even re-watched. I can’t emphasize enough how good the material here is, which slightly lessens the sting of the crappy, late, weak release. Slightly.
Bob’s Burgers – The Complete Third Season is available now.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00K8HAJN8,B00CO8WWS4,B00775R45A]