Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Bob’s Burgers: “Dr. Yap”

Illustration for article titled Bob’s Burgers: “Dr. Yap”

Bob’s Burgers performed a neat little trick tonight: The show turned a family comedy into a romantic farce. Most American TV series about nuclear families tend to highlight marital fidelity. Sure, there might be an episode where mom or dad is tempted to step out (The Simpsons’ “The Last Temptation Of Homer,” for instance), but it’s rare that they get to act on their cheating desires. This makes staging a romantic farce with various characters trying to sleep with various other characters rather difficult, since the two main characters are usually removed from those shenanigans.

How does “Dr. Yap” get around this constraint? Well, Bob does drugs, and Linda is insane.

In the first case, Bob goes to the dentist (and would be pick-up artist) Dr. Yap, as Linda’s sister Gail drops in for a surprise visit. Bob is put under for some serious work, and when Gail shows up, he thinks she’s Linda, and sloppily kisses her. In Linda’s case, after Bob tells her that he kissed Gail—I liked that the show got that out of the way; many would have him dance around the idea for too long—she decides that’s a great thing. Her sister needs that kind of confidence booster, she says, so Bob should go along with Gail’s fantasies. In order to get Gail off Bob’s back and onto Dr. Yap’s, the whole crew goes up to Yap’s timeshare for some skiing and romantic entanglements.

The ensuing chaos isn’t Bob’s Burgers at its best, but it’s charming nonetheless. Linda’s about-face when she sees Gail trying to kiss Bob is good for some chuckles, thanks largely to Bob’s confusion. And the brief depictions of the “Prince Of Persuasia,” the Mystery-like pick-up artist Dr. Yap is trying to emulate, are efficient parodies of an easy target. They’re especially entertaining when hormone-driven Tina tries to use them on Yap.

While the main storyline is cute, the highlight of the episode is the B-plot, involving Gene and Louise challenging each other for possession of a giant jawbreaker. Giving the two younger, louder children a story of escalating dares is as close to a comedic sure thing as you can get, and “Dr. Yap” doesn’t disappoint. Each of the challenges is fun, from the initial “most disgusting drink” competition, to the kids stuffing snow down their pants for as long as they can. Having the kids be so reliably funny, both in how they’re written and acted, ensures that Bob’s Burgers can rely on having something good each episode while the producers tinker with other aspects of the show.

There’s also some thematic consistency in sibling relationships. Linda and Gail obviously have a dysfunctional relationship, with Linda enabling all of Gail’s worst behaviors. Gene and Louise look like they’re going down a healthier path, but that could just be because we like them and want them to yell insane dares at each other forever. Get renewed soon, Bob’s Burgers!


Stray observations:

  • “That’s right, Bob. Your negligent flossing habits are funding my one-way ticket to pound-town.” Ken Jeong did fine as Dr. Yap, though he wasn’t as exciting as previous guest Aziz Ansari. So yeah, that tips it, Parks And Recreation is better than Community.
  • “That’s an expression for peeing in the shower. I’m not going to be peeing in the shower anymore.” “Why? Why doesn’t he get to do that?” Favorite exchange in the episode.
  • “That’s stupid. Let’s tie it to a deer and then tell the deer he’s late for a meeting.”
  • Interesting choice to make the jawbreaker the focus of the kids’ insanity, instead of the truly frightening prospect of Louise drinking even a little bit of 4-Hour Energy.