It wasn't enough that H. Jon Benjamin's two most popular pieces of animated entertainment -- "Bob's Burgers" and "Archer" -- were scheduled to run back to back, forcing the baritone-voiced comic to pull double duty on a hectic Friday at Comic Con. He also had to talk about a crossover episode twice.
Fans apparently weren't satisfied with the "Archer"/"Bob's Burgers" crossover episode in Episode 1 of the FX comedy's fourth season. They want to see the animation flip the other way around, with Bob taking on the world of espionage instead of Archer flipping burgers. Creator Loren Bouchard may have a solution, though, depending on a) network clearance, and b) genuine interest in the rather convoluted plan.
"This is either a joke or it's real," Bouchard said at the "Bob's Burgers" panel. "Depending on... I have to talk to some people afterward. I was driving down, and I think I thought of how we could do the 'Archer' crossover. This is what we're going to do. We'll take an episode of 'Archer.' We'll get all the dialogue Archer said in that episode, and we spread it out over a season of 'Bob's Burgers.' So if you knew where to find it, you could actually cut it together so that all of Archer's lines come out of Bob's mouth."
"Holy shit," Benjamin said. "That's very ambitious, but I like it."
Thus summed up the general reaction to Bouchard's half-plan/half-joke (though you better believe fans will be checking to see if he follows through), but it was only the beginning of Benjamin's brilliant few hours of antagonistic jokes, pointed advice and occasional befuddlement. While many worship the man through the hysterical characters he plays, Benjamin proved at Comic Con 2014 the man in the flesh is just as worthy of our admiration. Here are the highlights:
Do not pander to anyone -- even young children.
One young fan of "Bob's Burgers" made her way up to the mic during the audience Q&A session and adorably asked a question to the panel. She asked about a prank on the Halloween episode, and most of the panel members responded politely (though Kristen Schaal's responses were so genuine they bordered on mockery). Benjamin, though, called it like he saw it.
"Kids get applause for nothing," Benjamin said. "She just fumbled her way through that. I mean, whatever, but let's not pander to the lowest common denominator."
Parenting advice for Sterling Archer.
[Spoilers for "Archer" Season 5 follow.] One of the key plot points revealed at the end of "Archer: Vice" (aka Season 5) was that Lana's baby was indeed Archer's daughter. When asked if the major development would make things more complicated for his character, Benjamin had a simple answer many parents hopefully do not follow.
"I mean, not if you ignore it."
...More parenting advice for Sterling Archer, because he needs it.
One of the surprises regarding the baby's origins came with the revelation Archer and Lana did not sleep together, a fact that surprised Aisha Tyler, who voices Lana. Instead of making a baby via Archer's preferred and popular methods, Lana stole Archer's sperm (under advice from his mother) and artificially inseminated herself. This, you can imagine, did not sit well with Archer.
"You could see something was a-brew," Tyler said. "I would've thought they would have done it the old fashioned way. But there's no one way to make a family."
"There's always a Plan B..." Benjamin replied. That's parenting advice for Bob Belcher we desperately hope he ignores.
While we could listen to Benjamin talk all day (and have, thanks to both series' availability on Netflix -- binge party!), his family on "Bob's Burgers" is equally entertaining. Yet for some reason, Benjamin thinks it's time to say goodbye.
"I just want Bob to leave the family and start a new life," Benjamin said when asked to come up with an episode himself. "It may not be a good episode, but it would make a great season arc."
His favorite scene from "Archer: Vice"
"Didn't watch it," Benjamin said, after the rest of the cast rattled off an impressive list of funny moments (Chris Parnell's explanation of why he liked being a dictator -- he got to practice in real life -- was the best). "No fucking interest. I did really like that scene that ended the season. Between us, it was touching. I'm an old softie. And by that, I mean I can't get hard."
Advice for Comic Con attendees:
In order to make it to the October 5th premiere of "Bob's Burgers," Benjamin told fans to shape up. "Eat healthy. Don't eat that shit you've been eating."
"It sucks to be wrong, huh?"
A fan asked if one of the scenes from "Bob's Burgers" was inspired by an old film. Bouchard politely told him the thought hadn't crossed his mind, but Benjamin, again, got straight to the point.
Sometimes it's not even good enough to be right.
Another fan asked whether or not they would ever do an episode featuring Bob taking too many pain killers and hallucinating. It turns out, Benjamin had just finished recording an episode with a very similar premise.
"We just recorded an episode where Bob takes some pain killers," Benjamin said. "No joke. So... You're a mess."
According to Benjamin, Creator Loren Bouchard has the wrong idea about Bob Belcher.
One of the man appealing aspects of "Bob's Burgers" is the set up of the restaurant itself. A hidden gem, Bob's burger joint serves up delicious meals every day without acclaim -- or even much business. The constant need to drum up new customers creates an underdog blue collar mentality about Bob, but Benjamin sees the burger bar's atmosphere in a much darker light.
"I think your idea of this restaurant is wrong," Benjamin told Bouchard. "It’s actually really bad. If he made great burgers, people would come. Sorry to get all business-y, but I want more people to come. We need to hire a new chef. That might be a good episode."
It's not every day you hear an actor call for his own ousting from a show, especially at Comic-Con.
"Don’t wear tank tops. You look stupid. Anybody. Except for women. They should still wear tank tops. But men shouldn’t. That’s it."
You heard him. That's it.
"4:30 is the new 4:20, but you go to the bathroom."
...no need to elaborate there.
If you're a grown man, do not dress up like a little girl, no matter how popular her animated television show becomes.
One of the more popular costumes at the "Bob's Burgers" panel was that of Louise, the youngest daughter of Bob and Linda who consistently sports pink bunny ears and a green shirt. Early in the presentation, the panel called on all the "Louises" to stand up and be recognized.
"I've never seen a guy wearing those Louise ears," Benjamin said.
As soon as he did, two men stood up, shouting to draw attention to their Louise costumes, bunny ears and all.
"That's a bold move," Benjamin then said, shocked. "You're really setting yourself up for a bad life. Whatever. Good luck."
"What's a Hot Topic? Is it like Target?"
If only we all thought the way Benjamin did about Hot Topic: not at all.
Always demand the best from everyone.
When asked about introducing a possible "Home Movies" crossover episode into the mix with "Bob's Burgers" (Benjamin provided voice work for the canceled Adult Swim cartoon, and Bouchard co-created it), Bouchard said, "We're always doing a 'Home Movies' crossover episode. They feel very related to me."
"That's not good enough," Benjamin said. "Do a real one."
Coach McGurk has spoken. Make it so.
Don't be afraid to pick on people who deserve it.
Though Benjamin showed he wasn't above ribbing people who don't deserve it (see the "pandering" section), he also didn't let any jabs go by for those in need of a good poke. First up, "Archer: Vice" guest star Christian Slater.
The cast was discussing the role of the "old gypsy woman" who most of their characters have mentioned on the show, but we've never actually seen. "Hopefully Christian Slater does the voice for that one, too," Tyler said.
"He needs the work," Benjamin said.
But then, Benjamin had a hysterical reaction to a large, white male wearing a tank top (a no-no according to advice mentioned already) who was supporting a fellow FX animated program.
"'Chozen' has one fan!" Benjamin shouted, before laughing as much as he did all night.
Nothing is better than "The Simpsons."
One fan, a rather young one, had the gall to say "Bob's Burgers" had surpassed "The Simpsons" as the best animated program ever. This did not sit well with Benjamin, who showed no mercy to the young'n who hasn't been alive for half of Homer's lengthy existence.
"Oh....wait a minute," he said. "You get out of here!"
The crowd murmured, not knowing what to do. Mixed allegiances lead to the group not knowing whether to agree with their king or side with the show they were there to honor. I'm betting this was Benjamin's desired effect.
Other panel highlights:
Fans were treated to a recording of Archer saying hello to the crowd while trying to sell some of his leftover stuff from "Archer: Vice." Canvas docksiders, slightly used kevlar vests, and Pam's "skinny bitch clothes" were all up for sale. Pam asked, "Why'd you buy this stuff anyway?"
"I don't know," Archer replied. "I really thought this Vice stuff would be a lot more popular."
Also, Critics and fans may not have fallen for "Archer: Vice" as hard as expected, but the cast and creators were still proud of the zany Season 5. "It got us our first Emmy nomination, so suck it Internet," Tyler said. "And if we don’t win, you can suck it again."
And Allison Tolman, who broke out on FX's "Fargo" miniseries, will voice a character in the upcoming season of "Archer." And not just any character -- Pam's sister, Edie.