Photo: Fox

When I first saw the title of this episode, “Silence of the Louise,” I assumed that it would be Louise herself taking on the Hannibal Lecter role in some capacity. She is, after all, an evil mastermind in her own right, but with more than enough charm to manipulate those around her. Who other than Louise would have the dark vision and deep understanding of others’ psyches to fulfill the role? The person who obsesses most over Louise, of course: Millie Frock.

Molly Shannon returns to voice the fourth grader with such a deep obsession that her home is covered with crayon drawings of Louise and she exactly replicates Louise’s room. So when Louise goes to her for help to figure out who destroyed Mr. Frond’s feeling dolls ala Buffalo Bill (but think yarn instead of skin, this is a family show), Millie knows exactly how many clues to give to keep Louise interested before forcing her to sing karaoke or put on a play to earn the next juicy tidbit.

Throughout the episode is a back and forth of Millie claiming that Louise is 100 percent her best friend, with Louise immediately denying it. But that begs the question, who is Louise’s best friend? In fact who are any of the Belcher children’s best friends? The people they mainly confide in are each other and their parents. The most present kid characters—your Jimmy Juniors, Zekes, Tammys, etc.—are rarely a source of comfort for the Belchers. Louise in particular looks down on most of them as lovable idiots if anything at all. Before committing to a friendship, Louise needs to be able to respect someone’s cunning and wit. And that’s exactly what happens with Millie by the end of the episode.

The biggest sign that these two really get each other is when during a phone call instead of the cutesy “you hang up first” trope, they get into a “You slam the phone down first!” “No, you slam the phone down first!” screaming match. That’s one step away from Best Friends Forever necklaces in the shape of anatomically correct hearts for these two.

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Back in the burger shop, Bob and Linda (well, mostly Linda) are trying to be supportive of Teddy’s new venture: creating inspirational posters. It’s a straightforward enough story line that touches on both the profound impact of a simple phrase and unfathomable online popularity of nonsense words written on top of sunsets. Bob’s Burgers is great at letting a more complex A story shine while using simplistic B and C stories packed full of jokes. Case in point, Linda’s best line of the episode: “That’s how inspiring posters work, you stare at them again and again until they kick in. Like antibiotics.”

After the first episode’s experimental approach, it’s nice to see things back to normal this week. What’s always amazed me is how this show has maintained its momentum over eight years, and what worries me is how it will continue over another season, and now a movie. Every less than stellar episode gives me pause, but then it comes back swinging proving it’s more than earned every second that it will be taking over our screens, small and large.

Stray Observations:

  • Burger of the day: “Weekend at Bearnaise Burger”
  • Like Mr. Ambrose and Mr. Frond, I am SHOCKED that these kids read 500 books. There has to be an episode 801.5 where they all come up with some hair-brained scheme to convince everyone they read these books without actually reading them.
  • “Some of the others I’ll have to identify from yarn records.” - Mr. Frond

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