Bob’s Burgers Season 3 Review “Bob Fires the Kids”

Bob finally made good on his threat to fire the kids in tonight’s episode of Bob’s Burgers, but it didn’t happen quite the way I would have expected. “Bob Fires the Kids” didn’t feature Bob finally firing Tina, Gene, and Louise because they were terrible, but because he wanted them to have a better childhood than the one he did.

Bob’s sad box of toys reminded me of a similar scene in Amélie, although unlike the childhood reverie that Mr. Bretodeau’s tin of toys sparked, Bob’s box of secret toys caused him to recall a much more bleak childhood. Bob’s youth was spent working in his father’s restaurant playing with a brillo pad, a dog shaped bar of soap, and a grill spatula while being repeatedly told to get back to work. Remarkably, Bob had never previously considered the possibility that he might have had a rotten childhood.

There was some pretty great character building happening with Bob here. In revealing Bob’s lacking childhood, we saw that his workaholic tendencies and his irrational drive to continue in the restaurant business might actually be the result of a lifetime of childhood labor. There was never any other option for Bob, and although he saw other children his age running around playing outside, he looked at them from the window of his father’s restaurant as if they were an entirely different species. Bob might have never in his life considered what he would do outside of working in the restaurant business.

Maybe working in Bob’s restaurant had already rewired Tina, Gene, and Louise’s brains because unlike most modern kids who would be anxious for time to play video games indoors or run amok in the town, these three quickly became bored with typical playtime. What I suspect is more accurate is that Tina, Gene, and Louise already had a better life than the one Bob had in his father’s restaurant. They were allowed to be terrible at their jobs and they could entertain one another while meeting new people everyday in the (relatively) safe environment of the family restaurant.

The truth is that Tina, Gene, and Louise probably wouldn’t have worked for very long on that farm if there wasn’t an offer of $10 per day. That’s a lot of money for a kid and despite the shady work environment and their strange, smelly employers, they were now getting paid to stay busy.

When Beverly and Cooper first joked about the kids pulling weeds, Tina laughed because everyone else was laughing, Louise stared at them as if she believed she could figure out the joke if she concentrated hard enough, and Gene flat out admitted that he had no idea what was going on. Bob’s Burgers really does an excellent job of putting these kids in adult scenarios without requiring that they become miniature adults for the sake of comedy. The humor comes from Gene using language that he’s heard adults use without really understanding the meaning of the things he says; or Tina’s natural awkwardness during her transitional years; or Louise combining her cunning and cute to manipulate everyone around her.

Many television shows have dabbled with drugs-in-suburbia plot lines, and I liked that in the Bob’s Burgers’s version, the kids were always completely naive about their involvement in a drug operation. Even after the DEA flew in to make arrests on the farm, Louise still believed that the government had something against blueberries. Despite riding bikes unsupervised through the streets of their town and playing alone in parks, these kids still retain their youthful innocence.

Mickey, the bank robber that once held Bob hostage, returned to the restaurant to visit his favorite hostage. I really enjoy when Bob’s Burgers brings back characters from previous episodes to establish a continuity and develop them further as part of the community. Outside of trying to dig a tunnel to rob the bank again, Mickey would have seemed like Bob’s dream employee. Having an almost perfect employee actually made Bob realize how much he missed Louise’s snark, Gene’s farts, and Tina… being Tina. His family was a significant part of why he was happy in the restaurant despite running a failing burger business.

In terms of plot, “Bob Fires the Kids” wasn’t a particularly meaty episode of Bob’s Burgers. Still, the usual non-stop litany of hysterical lines kept up the episode’s momentum while creatively and successfully tying in Bob’s back-story to his relationship with his own children.

Favorite lines from “Bob Fires the Kids”:

  • Louise: What is this feeling I’m feeling right now? It’s like I’m sad for another person. Is that a thing? Am I going crazy!?
  • Gene: Im an inside boy. I can’t go outside. Ive been declawed and I can’t defend myself.
  • Tina: If you think about it any box could have vibrators in it.
  • Louise: Mom’s the one with a drinking problem.
    Linda: Yeah, the problem’s that I don’t have a friggin’ drink in my hand.
  • Gene: People love fruit. I will never understand it. It is not that good!
  • Gene: Summer is awful. Too much pressure to have fun. It’s like New Years Eve for kids.
  • Bob: He’s a boy!
    Gene: Tell that to my vagina!
  • Bob: I wonder what Gene’s doing. Probably farting.
  • Cooper and Beverly, singing as they try to escape the DEA on a tandem bicycle: “And now we’re going to the right, gotta get away…”