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

Bob’s Burgers: “The Kids Rob A Train”

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One of the more frustrating problems about being a child is the frequent exclusion from the adult world. It’s the whole forbidden-fruit thing—everything that isn’t allowed is more appealing. That’s definitely at play in this episode, though the pile of chocolate bars is already plenty appealing to the children. Much of this great train robbery has to do with the basic desire to steal a bunch of chocolate, but it’s also the annoyance of being told that you can’t do something and being confined to a boring juice caboose while the grown-ups have free reign of the train (and of the chocolate fountain). The Belchers are often put upon—the children and the parents—but they don’t just take it. They fight back however the can, whether it’s by robbing a train or making a stranger drink from the spit can.

“The Kids Rob A Train” lays out everything right there in the title. But it’s still a surprisingly tense episode, even though the children are never in any real danger. It reminds me of “Fort Night,” the great Halloween episode with crazy Millie. The kids were never going to die that night, and they’re not going to get hurt trying to jump back onto the train. But Bob’s Burgers manages to create suspense in both episodes while still being very, very funny.

Also: Regular-Sized Rudy is back! Oh, I love Rudy, and he’s even better than when we first met him. He’s a sad but lovely character. In “The Kids Rob A Train” we learn that he spends an awful lot of time on this train because it’s where his father takes his dates (and he lies to his dates about having a child). Poor Rudy spends four hours stuck on this train with no human interactions—aside from when Ethan brings him a juice box every hour, on the hour. Rudy has filled his time by forming an unhealthy attachment to his beanbag and I love it.

The Belchers are all here because Bob and Linda have decided to go on a wine-tasting train (Linda thinks it’s a BYOWine trip, which makes me love her even more). On the train, kids are allowed but not welcome (similar to the health and sexuality section of the bookstore) so they are locked away for the duration of the ride while Bob and Linda have their own fun little story. Bob is dismayed when Linda invites over a “wine enthusiast” to their table—Bob was hoping for a relaxing day off (”I wasn’t even going to talk to you that much,” he admits to Linda)—to teach them out to do a proper wine tasting. Rick is as insufferable as you’d expect a wine tasting expert to be and it’s only a matter of time before he angers them. He insults Linda’s attempts at wine tasting and Bob goes into defense mode and accidentally causes a “wine off.” Bob and Rick are blindfolded and have to correctly guess which wine they are drinking. To no one’s surprise, Bob is terrible at this.

The kids occupy their time by planning a train robbery. It’s a mission that falls somewhere between “sandwiches with toothpicks” and “eating a burrito” on the dangerous scale. All goes according to plan for a while, and Louise gets the bag of chocolate, but it goes awry when she tries to get back on the train. There’s a funny exchange as Louise worries that Rudy is trying to fuck her over (”That’s what I would do,” Louise explains. “That’s so mean!”) but she does get the chocolate on the train—though it results in all of the children tumbling out into the grass to wait for the train to come back ‘round. When they do get back on the train, Ethan grills them about the missing chocolate and tears apart Rudy’s beanbag. His search reveals nothing and the kids get to keep their stolen chocolate which they all happily eat—even Rudy who has a chocolate allergy.

Near the front of the train, Bob and Linda have a victory, too. Linda gives Bob the spit can of wine to taste and he guesses correctly, becoming the winner of the wine off (and causing a wine fight). Everyone meets up at the end of the train ride and there’s a great exchange: “Why are you covered in chocolate?” “Why are you covered in wine?” “Don’t ask questions.”  I like when Bob’s Burgers has these episodes where the parents and children have their own separate but equally fun adventures with parallel victories.


Stray observations:

  • When it comes to funny one-liners, Gene is the MVP of this episode (and of the season so far).
  • Biggest laugh of the night: Louise’s shoes are muddy because she’s poor, but Gene is in his underwear because I’m rich.
  • Tina thinks there might be a boy around but “no, that’s a deer.”
  • I don’t think Linda needs any tips for getting tipsy. She seems to have it down. Also her “It is my birthday” delivery was perfect.