Move over, Wimpy -- there's a new sad sack of animated burger eaters.
Bob's Burgers debuted on Fox last night, a half-hour comedy about a third-generation restaurateur who runs a failing burger joint with his family of five. The jokes will strike some as too raw, but there's a lot of meat for those willing to digest the entire show.
The opening introduces us to proprietor Bob; his wife, Linda; and their three children, Tina, Gene and Louise. The plot focuses on a rumor that the burger joint is
serving human flesh, courtesy of youngest daughter Louise's wild
show-and-tell claims. When the health inspector, the wife's jilted
fiance, shows up to inspect the restaurant during the busiest weekend
of the year, high jinks ensue.
It's a sitcom that just happens to be animated. The fact that it's drawn lets Bob's Burgers push the boundaries of taste beyond a live-action show. But don't expect the wild cutaways of Family Guy. This is a quirky family that intends to make you sit through all its awkwardness, whether that's eldest daughter Tina's itchy crotch, Gene's attempt to prove Tina is autistic by making her count toothpicks on the floor, or Louise's decision to change the daily special to "the child molester" that comes with a "side of candy."
The jokes can be ham-handed, such as when Louise informs the health inspector that her parents are in the basement grinding meat and it's not a euphemism. But the show also has its finger subtly on the foodie culture of America with slight digs at the ubiquity of bacon and adventurous eaters who are willing to overpay for the idea of exclusivity.
It was a quiet moment near the end of the episode that hit the spot, when Bob is reflecting on his life, using the front window of his restaurant as a mirror. He laments the failures in his career and how he is now middle-aged and fat, until his family invites him in because they are hungry.
The show seems to have struck a chord -- 9.4 million viewers tuned in to watch the premiere. Maybe that's because, in today's world, it's not too big a stretch to see oneself in a burger-shop window.
Bob's Burgers airs Sundays at 7:30 p.m. on Fox. The series debuted last night.
[Image via Fox]