Bob’s Burgers Season 3 Review “My Fuzzy Valentine” and “Lindapendent Woman”

These last couple episodes of Bob’s Burgers, “My Fuzzy Valentine” and “Lindapendent Woman,” have focused their story lines onto the husband-wife relationship between Bob and Linda. When the kids are at the center of story lines it’s often easy to forget that Bob and Linda are more than the supportive parents of quirky kids and that they are also two odd adults who have a relationship that requires as much effort as their parenting.

The holiday appropriate “My Fuzzy Valentine” highlighted Bob’s history of heart-shaped Valentine’s Day surprises for Linda. What was interesting about Bob’s Valentine’s Day history was that he had never forgotten Valentine’s Day. If it really is the thought that counts, Bob actually had Linda and Valentine’s Day in his thoughts all along. The problem was that Bob’s level of effort and the quality of his thoughtfulness was rather low. There are some people who would have been thrilled if their significant other would even remember to make a heart shaped pancake or leave a heart shape on the mirror steam on Valentine’s Day. The thing is that Linda and the kids know that Bob is already capable of much more than a heart shaped hamburger and they sort of hope he’d be willing to make the effort to go just a little farther.

Enter the Belcher kids, whose own desires to ditch school for various reasons motivated them to coach their dad through the minefield of Valentine’s Day shopping. Although Bob’s wallet couldn’t keep up with Valentine’s Day purchases at the mall, he was able to come up with a pretty cool idea for a meaningful gift, a love meter from his first date with Linda. Bob and the kids spent the entire day tracking down the love meter and jumping Hugo hurdles to get the machine, only to discover that Bob’s memory had failed him and that the machine was a memory from his time with an ex-girlfriend.

Linda had spent a rough couple of hours trying to get some love into the lives of local singles, so maybe her failed speed-dating put her into a mood to be more moved by Bob’s mis-remembered love meter than she would have otherwise. Knowing Linda though, her reaction was pretty much just what I would have expected. What had been missing from all of Bob’s previous displays of affection was not a bigger, fancier gift, but a show of effort. That’s what she had always wanted from Bob and that’s what he finally got her.

In “Lindapendent Woman,” Linda got a part time job at a grocery store. Part of her motivation was to help the family out with their financial troubles, but also to feel appreciated in the workplace. As Bob spent the week trying to run the restaurant on his own, he realized how much Linda contributed to the smooth running of their business. He’s always been the man behind Bob’s Burgers but his most loyal customers had a much better idea of the vital role Linda played in the restaurant. Bob had never really considered the business beyond his role in the kitchen, making those burgers.

Bob wasn’t the only one learning a lesson from the change. Linda’s first week of part-time employment was dandy, but when she was promoted to a full-time store manager, things quickly fell apart. She realized that the Fresh Feed employees didn’t even want to be at the store. It was an idea so foreign to her that she began to hate the employees for not loving where they worked and putting in all their effort to make it a success. She began to hate the customers who were anxious to take advantage of the situation when things got out of control. It wasn’t so much that she missed her role at the restaurant as much as she missed working in an environment where the work was a serious matter of personal pride and the customers appreciated the effort.

While Bob and Linda were learning lessons about the value of one another’s work, the kids were taking advantage of chaos in a new environment and living out all their grocery store fantasies while “working.” Louise made it rain cocktail shrimp, Gene helped himself to food samples without restraint, and Tina found love in the dairy section with Josh. In the end, they all went home satisfied with a renewed appreciation for the same old work they’ve been doing for as long as they could remember.

Aside from the exploration of Bob and Linda’s relationship in both “My Fuzzy Valentine” and “Lindapendent Woman,” both Bob’s Burgers episodes featured a great sampling of strange Belcher songs. Bob’s Burgers can write a heck of a story, packed with brilliant one-liners, but they can also write a borderline annoying tune that makes you laugh and gets stuck in your head for weeks. I can’t help but love every bizarre song the Belchers sing, and after recently reading about “Bob’s Buskers” I can only hope they keep those odd catchy tunes coming.