No one can be blamed for quickly and emphatically stating their favorite animated program on television is “Archer,” the spy comedy (well, former spies now) airing Monday nights on FX. But among the contenders out there for second place — or first in the minds of many — there lies a closely-affiliated comedy that at one point even crossed over with the FX series. “Bob’s Burgers” has quietly built a much deserved and devout fan base through its three and half seasons. It’s the “quietly” part we have a problem with, and thus we give you five reasons you should start watching “Bob’s Burgers” right now.
H. Jon Benjamin has the voice of 1,000 incredibly manly angels — and knows how to use it.
Do not be alarmed when you first hear the voice of Bob Belcher. Yes, it is the same voice as Sterling Archer. Yes, it’s even the same voice Coach John McGuirk on “Home Movies.” There’s a reason the same voice actor is used again and again — he’s incredibly talented. H. Jon Benjamin lends his vocal talents to all these characters, and while it may seem jarring to hear the suave, dulcet tones of Sterling Archer coming from the mustache’d mouth of an overweight burger flipper, Benjamin has imbued the character with a brand new flavor. Benjamin’s versatility is subtle, but impacting. After watching for more than an episode or two, you’ll quickly forget about the heavy-drinking spy and only see the heavy-set grill master.
Unlike your favorite cable comedies, “Bob’s Burgers” is pumping out more than 8-12 episodes a season.
“Veep,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Workaholics” all exist in their own perfect little worlds. They’re not forced to expand to bloated versions of their ideal incarnations by network standards demanding 20+ episodes per season. Yet the key word in the first sentence is “little.” Compared to “Parks and Recreation,” “Community,” and other network comedies, the world of cable shows is little, as in not as much content. If you’re going to crash on the couch for a weekend or two of entertaining television comedy, you want as much as you can handle. You don’t want to run out on day one and spend the rest of your weekend — shudder — outside. “Bob’s Burgers” started small, producing 13 and 9 episodes in its first and second seasons, respectively. Then it moved up to the big leagues with 23 episodes in season three. After airing 13 episodes in season four, “Bob’s Burgers” is more than halfway to the 100-episode syndication standard with 58 episodes total.
It’s perfect for binge-viewing and accessible to do so.
Those aforementioned 58 episodes combine to total more than 21 hours of television, or more than enough for a fun weekend at home. The first two seasons are available on Netflix, and the current season is all out on Hulu Plus. Season three can be picked up on Amazon for an affordable price once you mow through the subscription content, and you can do watch all of that you want before buying anything — including the new season. “Bob’s Burgers” doesn’t need to be watched in order. Sure, there are ancillary benefits to some jokes from watching straight through, but most can be picked up merely paying close attention during your first few viewings. Here’s a tip: always read Bob’s burger board in the restaurant, especially if you’re a fan of puns (and who isn’t?).
The colorful, comfortable animation is in perfect sync with the laid back wit of the writing.
Take a look at the photo above and tell me how many different colors you see in the frame. Quite a few, right? There are even three different versions of pink in there, but the shot doesn’t feel muddled, cluttered or overly bright. It’s an extremely pleasing image on its surface, and the subtle touches become all the more endearing when character and story are added to the mix. Bob’s scraggly facial hair — beneath his well-groomed ‘stache — becomes the haggard but proud mark of a working man who still seeks admiration from his long-time wife. Tina’s large glasses mirror the innocence of a child while providing ample evidence for her off-center world view. All of the details add up, and they ain’t hard on the eyes either.
This year, it’s the funniest show on Fox — animated or otherwise.
While it’s a close fight between “Bob’s Burgers” and “Brooklyn 99,” the animated comedy gets the edge in consistency while Andy Samburg’s Golden Globe-winning freshman cop caper has suffered a few episodes worth of growing pains. Fox’s other comedic programming has taken a slight dive in 2013-2014. “New Girl” hasn’t been able to adjust to its new character, despite Damon Wayans Jr. being perhaps the best comic actor on the show (Max Greenfield is the only other contender). “The Mindy Project” added a “Happy Endings” veteran as well, but has been on hiatus since January 21st, making it ineligible by default. The other animated programs — barring “The Simpsons,” still charming in its 25th year — aren’t up to snuff, with “American Dad” seemingly only still in existence to keep “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane happy (maybe they can kill it now that “COSMOS” is performing well?).
Barring the unmentionables (cough”Dads”cough), that leaves “Bob’s Burgers,” the 7pm (7pm?!) Sunday night lead in as the network’s best comedy. Don’t believe me? Give it a shot. I think you’ve got good reason(s).
Article corrected to reflect H. Jon Benjamin was the voice of Dr. Katz’s son, not Dr. Katz as previously stated.