With its doubleheader on 5/20, Bob’s Burgers officially ended its eighth season. So, 21 episodes later, how does season 8 stack up with the rest of the show?
Well, before I give my final impressions of the season, I would like to look back at the highlights (and lowlights) of season 8:
“The Trouble with Doubles” – aired 4/15/18
In an effort to have more adult friends, Bob and Linda go on one of the worst double dates in history. It’s made worse when Linda, thinking she was texting Tina the details of her awful date, actually texts the other woman. Things get awkward with the four in a dingy, and slightly rat-infested escape room. Meanwhile, Louise invites the other kids over to watch a gory zombie movie. Everyone invited is too terrified to leave afterwards, leaving Tina with the task of getting them out of the apartment before her parents get home.
Both stories of this episode were executed quite well, and had plenty of laughs throughout. From Bob having to take charge in the escape room to Tina getting the kids’ minds off the zombie movie long enough to get home, this episode did a good job on shining the spotlight on the two more introverted members of the Belcher family. This is an episode that can rank up there with some of Bob’s Burgers best.
“Sit Me Baby One More Time” – aired 11/5/17
In trying to start a babysitting business, and fending off competition from her nemesis, Tina and Tammy end up babysitting the daughter of the neighborhood’s newest family. They are told that the daughter, Kendra, is being bullied at school, but it turns out she is the bully, and she has decided that Tina and Tammy are her new targets. Meanwhile, the rest of the family visits a new restaurant so Bob can try its critically-acclaimed burger, not knowing Teddy is there to do the same.
The theme of this episode is “missed opportunities.” Both stories feel like they could have been fleshed out better. And the two best gags of the episode, Linda serving as a bathroom attendant and flashbacks of Bob’s family pretending to be disgusted with burgers other than his, were too fleeting for such a weak episode. It’s not the worst episode in Bob’s Burgers‘ lineup, but it’s certainly the worst episode of the new season, and indicative of the season’s sluggish start.
Best holiday-themed episode
“The Bleakening” – aired 12/10/17
Linda feels the town needs more holiday spirit, and when her makeshift Christmas tree is stolen after a party at the restaurant, she takes it upon herself to spread some holiday cheer and get her tree back. Meanwhile, the kids, after hearing the story of the Krampus-like Bleaken, decide to investigate the legend when they fear their presents have apparently disappeared (in reality, Bob and Linda haven’t wrapped them). This leads the kids pick up the Bleaken’s trail in an abandoned warehouse district.
An hour-long, musical special, “The Bleakening” turns out to be one of Bob’s Burgers best Christmas episodes. Effectively bringing Linda’s and the kids’ stories together for the final act, the episode successfully brings the holiday charm in Bob’s Burgers signature irreverent style. And the image of Linda literally dancing the night away, since she was slipped something at the secret Christmas rave, is too funny to forget.
Teddy’s side job at Bob’s Burgers – “The Secret Ceramics Room of Secrets” – aired 3/18/18
Teddy, the town handyman, decides to start a side business as a cell phone screen repairman, unwittingly giving Bob a new business partner. Teddy’s bad habits are on full display, from interrupting guest meals to find missing screws to trying to sing along to lyric-less smooth jazz. But the gag ends in the best possible way; before Bob can tell Teddy he can’t set up shop in the restaurant, Teddy tells Bob he’s leaving because of Bob’s own bad habits. It’s one the season’s better executed side stories.
Tina and Louise – “Mission Impos-slug-ble” – aired 5/20/18
Through episodes such as “Tina Tailor Soldier Spy” and “Speakeasy Rider,” it’s clear that despite all of her barbs, Louise does look up to her big sister. However, the relationship is strained when Tina is unable to keep Miss LaBonz from confiscating Louise’s Burobu cards before she can complete the set. While Louise is ready to declare her sister dead to her, Tina does not stop looking out for Louise, even taking the heat for her as she tries to get Louise’s cards back from Miss LaBonz. This is a believable interaction that has the benefit of a few episodes worth of set up.
Most heartwarming moment
Thanksgiving with Teddy – “Thanks-Hoarding” – aired 11/19/17
Trying to help Teddy prepare for hosting Thanksgiving dinner for his family, the Belcher family finds Teddy is a hoarder. Linda helps Teddy to declutter and Bob provides him instructions to prepare dinner. However, Teddy is struggling with both, leading the Belchers to spend Thanksgiving with him.
The kids have declared Teddy an unofficial uncle at various points in the series, and this episode kind of confirmed his status an extended member of the Belcher family. Even when it turns out his family isn’t coming, the Belchers are more than happy to share the holiday with him.
Unfortunately, from the first month of the season, it seemed like season 8 of Bob’s Burgers would be one to forget, with more clunkers than we’re used to seeing. Thankfully, the show picked up its pace, starting with the heartwarming “Thanks-Hoarding” and continuing with such gems as “The Bleakening,” “The Secret Ceramic Room of Secrets,” “The Trouble with Doubles” and “Boywatch.” “Something Old, Something New, Something Bob Caters for You” helped to end the season on a high note as well.
Due to this, there was more good to remember with Bob’s Burgers season 8 than bad. Despite the slow start, some of the above episodes and more gave us fare more consistent with what we’re used to seeing from the show. That extended to the weekly relationships featured and the more heartwarming moments of the season.
When compared to prior seasons, season 8 is certainly not the best Bob’s Burgers has had to offer. It’s comparable in quality to season 6, but both seasons sandwich the superior season 7. While there were some missteps in season 8, we got enough moments to remind us what makes this show work, a focus on both believable family sentiment and irreverent, and sometimes raunchy, comedy.
When you have a show as old as Bob’s Burgers has gotten, it’s natural to see the show decline, whether gradually or dramatically. Whether season 8 is the beginning of the decline remains to be seen, but at the very least Fox has confirmed a ninth season for the show.
What do you think? What were some of your favorite, or not-so-favorite, moments from season 8? Let us know in the comments below!