While I have always maintained that the restaurant is my favorite location on Bob’s Burgers—tonight’s episode showcased why: it’s always there, even when it’s not physically there—the one other place that never fails to provide laughs is Wagstaff Elementary School. I talk a lot about how Bob’s Burgers is the best when it comes to the children because I believe that the three kids are the best written and, oddly, the most realistic children currently on television, but it should also be noted that this extends to many of the classmates as well. Basically, all of the kids in this show are weird, occasionally mean, or downright insane, and sometimes, well, not exactly smart, but they are always a delight—even Zeke killed me when he broke down to Bob about cooking. The majority of Bob’s Burgers’ episodes put a heavy emphasis on the family members’ interactions with each other, so it’s refreshing to see them hang with characters who don’t share the Belcher name. “Bob and Deliver” had a nice mix of both: Bob invaded Wagstaff and dealt with the students and faculty, but all three kids still stuck around while Linda danced away in an amusing storyline with Teddy.
When Tina’s drug-addicted home economics teacher goes on disability, Bob decides to take over as substitute. Fortunately, this doesn’t turn into a “kids are embarrassed by their dad at school” storyline (in fact, it reminds me of “Carpe Museum” and how sweet it is that this family likes each other). In fact, Tina is excited because it means that she’s guaranteed to become the teacher’s pet. Bob himself is excited about the idea of molding young minds and teaching them how to cook—after all, not everyone is lucky enough to grow up in a restaurant—and really embraces the idea of being a substitute. It’s true that Bob really loves his restaurant and enjoys what he does for a living, but there are sometimes hints that he wants to do more, even though he’s totally comfortable where he is. One of the main reasons “Bob and Deliver” works is because it finds a way to push Bob forward without completely taking him out of his comfort zone. Teaching is a step up, but he’s teaching what he knows—cooking—so it’s not completely yanking him out of his element.
But both Bob and Tina are disappointed. It takes only a few minutes in the classroom before Bob realizes that he’s in over his head (so much so that he threatens to use the pepper spray in his purse). It turns out that they don’t cook in class, only watch videos. Home Ec, as Mr. Frond explains, is where dumb-dumbs learn to make ice, but Bob refuses to give up on the students. This storyline is especially nice after last week’s “Purple Rain-Union” which centered on Linda pushing herself forward to fulfill a dream. I really like how both the parents are stepping up this season, showing their talents and independence.
Soon, Bob finds his footing as a teacher and decides to take the Home Ec class a step further by turning it into a restaurant because, well, the restaurant is all he knows. He can’t escape the restaurant, even when he does literally escape the restaurant. This goes for the children, too. Gene and Louise aren’t even in Bob’s class but still find themselves, once again, working for their father, and there’s a great joke about how they’re so much better at their jobs here than in the real restaurant (“Maybe we’ve always been great,” Gene says. “Yeah, and we’ve just been working in a sucky restaurant,” Louise adds).
Things can never go too well for too long. Tina finds herself on the outside when it turns out Zeke is an amazing cook, resulting in him becoming teacher’s pet. An upset Tina transfers to Metal Shop, but Bob doesn’t notice. The “Home Ec-staurant” is hugely successful, so successful that it captures the attention of the cafeteria workers who want to shut it down. Sure, this isn’t the most compelling conflict in the world—it’s too easy and was seen coming a mile away, plus it’s all relatively low stakes—but it does make for some nice, smaller moments. Hildy, for example, is a wonderfully sassy character, and her insistence on flipping Bob off repeatedly when he asked for eggs is golden. The show also got a lot of mileage out of inserting silly, relatable car jokes (telling Bob how to get into a backseat, Frond refusing to sit on the hump) in the middle of what’s supposed to be a very serious conversation—and Bob’s firing.
“Bob and Deliver” has a predictable quick-fix ending: Of course there’s a “O captain, my captain” moment and of course Bob yanks Tina out of Metal Shop to have her rejoin the “restaurant” and save the day with a piece of metal welded to another piece of metal. But it’s hard to complain about an episode that features Bob and a handful of students careening down a hallway on a TV cart. Plus, Bob and Tina are always the best pairing on the show, so any time Bob’s Burgers ends on a sweet note between them, I can’t help but love it.
- A few more scenes of Linda and Teddy (I love you forever, Teddy) dancing together in the restaurant and they might have become my new favorite pairing.
- “Hey, Bob, I made this guy say yes with my body,” Teddy says proudly.
- “Your Dad’s really cool.” “He’s married to a friend of mine!!” Gene had so many great lines tonight.