Bob’s Burgers Season 3 Review “God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins”

Judging from this year’s holiday themed episode of Bob’s Burgers, Christmas at the Belchers is a relatively low key affair. The always spirited Linda is content to modestly decorate the restaurant’s windows (and sing Christmas carols terribly while doing it) while the kids are already at a stage where they opt to bypass the Santa Claus middleman and deliver their wishlists directly to the man with the household purchasing power, Bob. What added a little spark to the family’s usual holiday tradition in “God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins” was the Belchers’ unexpected inheritance of a storage unit and the crazy squatter living inside of it.

Chet, the man living in the storage unit that had Bob inherited from his deceased uncle Earnie, was initially only as strange as the Belchers themselves. He certainly didn’t seem as odd as many of the characters in the Bob’s Burgers community that we’ve met thus far, so maybe that’s why I wasn’t too concerned with Bob reluctantly allowing him to stay in his basement. After all, Bob has welcomed transvestite prostitutes and bank robbers to his home, so a down-on-his-luck former employee of his uncle’s business seemed like a relatively harmless guest.

Of course, there had to be a catch with Chet. I don’t think anyone was expecting Chet to be a completely normal person, so his loony mannequin love story actually made him fit in with the Bob’s Burgers community more than he had when he was first introduced. Chet’s story on its own was pretty great, but Linda and Tina’s reactions to the love story between Chet and his two-left-hands mannequin mate, Nadine, made it hysterical.

We got some nice family moments out of tonight’s story. I liked seeing Linda and Bob get into a “fight” and seeing how terrified Bob was to be alone with her wrath. Linda’s wrath amounted to stomping away after loudly telling Bob how disappointed she was in him, but I kind of love that this relatively minor outburst was exactly what Bob wanted to avoid. Their relationship is normally so stable, that he panicked at the thought of Linda being upset and disappointed in him.

Something about the montage of Chet’s window dressings surprised me with a genuine feeling of holiday cheer. There was a sort of a contagious warmth in watching the kids get excited about becoming a part of the displays while The Kinks’ “Father Christmas” played over their antics. Business was coming in and Bob and Linda were getting their hopes up about being able to give their kids “real” Christmas gifts. For a family that manages to stay upbeat despite their financial circumstances, it was nice to see things going well for them for a change.

The kids willingly giving up their one chance to get fancy Christmas presents in exchange for Chet’s chance at forever with Nadine was a sweet moment that was oddly exactly what I would expect from the kids. Tina was so moved by Chet’s romance that it was clear she would do anything she could to help, while Gene and Louise seemed to just really enjoy the thought of their strange friend living in happiness with a mannequin.

That happy holiday ending was enough to outshine Chet’s final revelation that he wasn’t homeless and was only squatting in the storage unit until his loft in Manhattan was finished being renovated. Chet might not have deserved the Belchers’ goodwill, but it didn’t diminish the significance of Tina, Gene, and Louise’s generous act of kindness. I don’t usually expect to get into the Christmas spirit by watching FOX’s Animation Domination holiday lineup, but this episode of Bob’s Burgers definitely did it for me and I hope this will be the first of many Christmas themed Bob’s Burgers episodes that will continue to do the same.

Favorite lines of the night:

Bob: I never know how much to tip the mailman.
Mailman Mike: No…you don’t.

Chet: One day Nadine came in. She didn’t have nipples and let me tell you, she didn’t need them.

Tina: I get it. One day all of a sudden you’re anatomically correct… I just went through that.

Tina: This is the greatest love story ever told.

Linda (stomping): Don’t bother bringing the mistletoe to bed! But do bring me a snack! Chocolate!

Louise: Hey! Peace on earth, smut peddler!