Bob's Burgers did its first Halloween-themed show tonight, joining the long history of Fox's animated series celebrating the holiday with a dedicated episode. As far as first forays into the tradition go, "Full Bars" was a solid one, even if I have some quibbles.
Teddy’s "Black and Orange" party was where the episode stumbled a little bit. I love send-ups of the "murder investigations at a party" scenario, but I never felt like "Full Bars" committed to it all that well. There were good bits to be had—I liked Teddy comparing shoes to the deceased guinea pig Francis, and the realization that Teddy and Francis essentially had matching costumes cracked me up—but they never amounted to a satisfying whole.
The biggest fault may've been with the climax, or lack thereof. The decision to shift the blame to both Bob rolling all over Francis and Teddy spray-painting her left the whole event feeling sort of wasted, without much of a punchline. Everyone just wandered off, and then Linda recounted the tale to the kids when they arrived home.
But with that said, it wasn't that big of an issue in the long run since the rest of the episode was such a treat.
After being thwarted in their own neighborhood (receiving oyster crackers, order numbers at the deli, and seaweed candy from Mr. Frond), the kids took advantage of their first solo trick-or-treating excursion and decided to head across the bay to Kingshead Island, where the upper-class families live (“Rich people are better at Halloween.” “And skincare!”).
I think it’s really to the show’s credit that it didn’t engage in some intense class-warfare comedy. The episode was defter than that, painting Kingshead Island as a more complicated place than just "where the rich people live." Milo and Ned’s costumes weren’t particularly inventive compared to the Belchers’, and they even recognized Gene’s masterful Queen Latifah costume (while failing to identify Tina as a mommy mummy). These weren’t snobby kids. Even Bryce and his gang weren’t concerned with the fact that the Belchers were from the mainland. They just saw some young kids out past the Halloween curfew, prime targets for the Hell Hunt (“IT’S HELEN HUNT!!!”).
Most of the humor was actually mined from the Belchers’ amazement at full-sized candy bars (“How did this not topple your economy?!”), and they even came off in a slightly poorer light than Milo or Ned after they took more than one candy bar from the Wagners’ self-serve candy bowl. While this sort of thing could come off as mean-spirited, making fun of blue-collar kids, I feel like the show has earned these moments over the course of its brief run—the strength of the family, and its neighborhood, has routinely been connected to its lower economic rung. The kids were be a bit out of place, and it was ultimately their outsider status that allowed them to turn the tables on Bryce’s gang.
So Bob’s gave us a decent bag of candy for its first outing at Halloween, and hopefully it’ll just be the first of many.
Notes & Quotes
– “Maybe means maybe, Bob. It doesn’t mean ‘I’m too scared to say no.’”
– Specials board: The Jack-O-Lentil burger.
– “Right. Left. Kill. Kill.” “You know it’s a limp, Teddy.”
– Bryce and his gang were so lame that they even made a tired The Warriors reference. Amanda was totally right to ignore him.
– “I can pee on myself. I don’t need any handouts.”
– Louise’s slo-mo throw of Amanda’s phone into her passing car and it missing? That’s the sort of punchline that was missing from the Teddy’s party plot.
– A quick programming note: Since it’s October, that means it’s time for the MLB postseason, and that means Fox’s schedule gets a little wonky. There’ll be no Bob’s Burgers (or any Fox animated programming, for that matter) next Sunday, but it’ll be back on Oct. 21.