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

Bob's Burgers delivers with an excellent Gayle-focused episode

Illustration for article titled Bob's Burgers delivers with an excellent Gayle-focused episode
Photo: FOX

Ah, what a classic Gayle episode of Bob’s Burgers. Gayle is a wonderful, neurotic ball of energy who usually gets our central crew out of their comfort zones. Who can forget Bob bravely taking on the elements to save her cat in “Gayle Makin’ Bob Sled”? Or Gayle’s last appearance in “As I Walk Through the Alley of the Shadow of Ramps” where Linda is forced to go to work with Gayle so she can keep her job? She’s such a helpless mess, the entire family is usually forced to play straight man to her cat-obsessed lunacy. A Gayle appearance typically means new scenery for the Belchers and “Lorenzo’s Oil? No, Linda’s” definitely delivers on that promise.


Lured into the “somewhat exotic” world of essential oils, Linda has become enamored with her “a chili’s heel”: pretty people. Unsurprisingly, Angie and her essential oil parties are a hit with Linda. Gayle, however, immediately raises the stakes and pretty soon the family is racing to save Linda from a potential pyramid scheme. The kids feed off Gayle’s energy as they strategize ways to save their mom from making them even poorer. While Gayle gets plenty of time to shine, the focus is really on Linda’s need for approval and friendship. No matter how pretty or good someone smells, they’re not a replacement for a family member who protects you. Even if that family member does so with essential oil vials stuck up her nose.

When Linda finally sees the light and the potential oily albatross that could be put around her neck, we get a perfect Linda moment. She explains to Angie that people are just drawn to her radiating youth. Unlike Bob, Linda has a way of bringing people to the truth while complimenting them along the way. Gayle and the kids might’ve been afraid to bring up the scam that is essential oils sales, but Linda has no trouble calling it how she sees it.

The kids don’t get much to do here. Gayle handles most of the heavy lifting, but we do get a few great moments with Louise and Angie’s puppy. It’s always a treat when Louise removes her terrifying, take charge personality and just acts like a kid. Even though she has to keep everyone focused and cares the most about stopping their mom, she can’t resist the temptation to squish a puppy’s face and it’s hilarious. Tina and Gene get a few one liners this episode, but Louise shines again as the group’s distracted ringleader.

Thankfully, Bob and Teddy’s attempt to help someone out doesn’t work out quite as well. While Gayle, Linda, and Louise’s puppy obsession were great, Bob and Teddy end up carrying the best plot this episode. As soon as Bob said he only volunteered to help move a mattress because he thought it would be quick, we all knew this would be an episode-long journey. Just like Linda, Bob and Teddy are being taken advantage of by Mr. Huggins. Unlike Linda, Bob recognizes this immediately. But that’s the thing about Bob, it doesn’t matter if he’s frustrated: he still sticks around and tries to finish the job, because it’s the right thing to do.

So, when Mr. Huggins finally admits that this ill-planned move was driven by his anxiety over a new ladyfriend, it only gets them more involved. Teddy is right, he came to the right guys. Bob and Teddy aren’t just going to let him head to his date with a back full of hair and a silk robe of questionable sexiness! Bob may do a horrible job of moving a mattress, but he can give a great pep talk. While he may not take Linda’s route of showering his subject in compliments (in fact, he likes Mr. Huggins a little less after today), he reassures Mr. Huggins that he only needs to be himself. It’s a simple lesson and maybe it wasn’t worth getting pinned to a wall by a bed frame, but no one could’ve delivered it like Bob.


There’s a great parallel with Bob helping someone else feel more confident while Linda points out just how manipulative confidence can make people (while Bob is being manipulated by the very person who needs a confidence boost!). There’s just a hint of darkness to the episode that could’ve taken Linda down if she’d actually gotten involved with selling essential oils or if Bob had snapped on Mr. Huggins. Instead, honesty gets both groups out of their situations and even gets Louise an hour of extra puppy play time. “Lorenzo’s Oil? No, Linda’s” might not be the most complicated or hilarious episode of Bob’s Burgers, but it’s a hit when it comes to Gayle episodes.

Stray Observations

  • “Hello, I’m a kid but all my grownups are totally home.” is one of my new favorite Louise lines.
  • I wouldn’t mind if this was the last time we saw Angie, but more Mr. Huggins and Bob would be great.
  • Sorry for the late review! Something football related happened in the Chicagoland area and the episode was preempted in favor of some guy talking about how the Bears lost.

Ashley Ray-Harris is a stand-up comic and writer.