Photo: Fox

Tina is the character who has grown the most over the course of Bob’s Burgers’s 8 seasons, despite the cartoon rules of arrested development. And in “Sit Me Baby One More Time” we see her grow beyond horse and zombie-loving nerd into a woman so confident she’s a full blown bully. Tina gets nasty when Tammy (Jenny Slate) attempts to thwart her burgeoning babysitting business and the two enter into full-fledged competitive childcare.

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We’ve seen Tina’s bullying side before, and it is often Tammy who brings it out in her. What we don’t often see is a foe as formidable as Kendra, the creepy crotch-kicker who speaks through her teddy bear. Maria Bamford, who has a variety of voices made for animation, deftly covers the range between innocent child and potentially murderous plaything throughout this episode.

It’s always great when enemies come together on this show. The Belchers are the working class family of their town, and often the other characters are shown as having more than them. In this case, when Tammy is unable to pay to get her roots done, as small a problem as it seems to the Belchers (and many in the rest of the world) it makes her at least a little bit more relatable. That desperation allows Tina and Tammy to find common ground as a babysitting team.

But the real hero of this episode is Zeke. Every time he appears, we see more and more to the depth of his character. In this episode when he and Jimmy Junior show up as part of Tammy’s plan to foil Tina’s chances of getting a babysitting job, Zeke is the one who provides the words of wisdom about Kendra’s actions that make Tina want to change her approach. Despite his jock tendencies, Zeke always seems to be the character with the most insight into the world.

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While Tina is growing as person in her new job, we see Bob doing what he does best—staying exactly the same. The rest of the Belcher clan find themselves in a fancy restaurants that claims to have the best burger in town, and Teddy is so ashamed to be there enjoying it that he lies to Bob to save face. While it’s a worthy story line, everything feels a little thrown in and rushed up against the complexities of Tina’s babysitting adventure. This plot line deserved some more room to breath. And Linda realizing she had enough junk in her purse to collect money as a bathroom attendant could have been an episode all its own.

What stands out most from the B-story is Bob’s family’s complete disregard for his job. Despite living their entire lives in the restaurant, there are several innocent digs about how great it must be to own your own business (exactly what Bob does) and how weird it is to see a restaurant busy. But, in the end, everyone works like madmen to make sure Bob isn’t offended when a burger might be better than his. Even when not showing the best sides of themselves, Bob and Tina are able to preserve their own visions of who they are by the end of the episode. 

Stray observations:

  • Burger of the day: “The Clear and Present Ginger Burger”
  • Tina’s amazing babysitting tagline: “Childcare this good is medium rare.”
  • Of course Linda carries Gene’s baby teeth in her purse
  • “Ugh, you talk like homework.” -Tammy

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