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Bob's Burgers "The Unbearable Like-Likeness of Gene" Review: Love Bites

Bob's Burgers S03E08: “The Unbearable Like-Likeness of Gene”

Crushes are horrible. They can drive you crazy, ruin your appetite, distract you, and generally make your life a living hell. And while crushes may never get easier even as you get older—though drinking a lot helps at a certain point—they’re especially onerous when you’re in school.

Thus was the pressure that Gene faced in this episode as he became the target of Courtney’s affections. Courtney, the blonde queen bee who sucks on her necklace and has a congetial heart condition and talks too much and kicks the back of people’s seats, was just the worst sort of crusher, and Gene was simply not prepared to turn her down, let alone deal with such a high degree of annoying.

The episode didn’t offer a particularly compelling story, and it could be because Gene isn’t exactly the show’s strongest character. While we routinely get a sense of his interior world, like his notion of music gear heaven, it’s an interior world that isn’t very deep. It’s full of whimsy and randomness, and there’s a certain amount of charm to that, but it doesn’t make Gene strong enough to carry this sort of emotionally driven story. Contrast Gene to Tina or Louise, both of whom have very definitive personalities and way of relating to the world, and a story similar to this one would likely have gone differently, whether it be Tina hesitating and being neurotic or Louise being, well, psychotic.

I think the show was aware of this, and that was the reason for introducing Doug and all his music and jingle gear. Doug was a way to keep this story moving when it likely should’ve ended following the date at the movies. Sitcoms often serve up such contrivances to keep an episode’s romantic entanglement going when it’s clear everyone is mismatched; this one connected to one of the defining characteristic of Gene, which is more than other sitcoms typically do (most of the time, it’s just that the sex is fantastic).

But overall, "The Unbearable Like-Likeness of Gene" didn’t offer a lot of laughs. Courtney’s annoying behavior wasn’t amusingly annoying, just outright annoying. I did appreciate short bits, like Tina and Louise running and screaming through the school in an effort to stop Gene from agreeing to like-like Courtney, and Tina trying to give Louise amnesia. The main plot was never very funny, despite the character-based humor, and so the episode was definitely not one of my favorites.

At least it wasn’t the manatee puppet. But then again, the puppet didn’t have an oral fixation.


Notes & Quotes


– Burger of the Day board: Yes I Cayenne Burger and then some burger that comes with beans.

– Linda attempted the skin-deep diet to lose her muffin top. It was pretty forgettable, though I think the best bit was when she tried to eat Tina’s hair. “Did you use that cocoa butter shampoo?”

– “Good luck finding a drive-thru hammer store!”

– "Can't I just wait 'til we go to different colleges and lose touch?"

– "They make a cute couple, huh?" "They're certainly standing next to each other."

– "Do you think I've ruined her birthday?" [In a helium voice] "Nah."

– "Aw, horny little grandpa."


What did you all think of this episode?

Comments (7)
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No love for Liam... I don't think we had heard of him up to this point and if that's the case the show did a brilliant job building him up as a Fonzie-esque character. Bob's exchange with him in the car was priceless.

Speaking of Bob in the car that was a great scene too after he dropped off Gene and said just back in the car and we can drive away. Gene's "Can we do that?!" was so perfectly incredulous, not to mention Bob's "I think so" was priceless.

Agree it was a weaker episode but hey at least I still got some laughs out of it, which isn't always the case when a show has a weak episode
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xooo
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I agree that Gene isn't a strong character, but I laughed a lot during this episode. It seemed relatable if you've ever known that one person with an ability to be overly-clingy and suffocating. Plus, the helium bit was hilarious, as was the scene with Tina and Louise running through the school. Gene is a somewhat shallow character, but overall, I think this episode rang true to who he is. He's random, weird, and without much substance. It was a good episode, I think.
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I agree with your assessment here. At the very least, I found the first half of this episode WAY less grating than the opening act of the Tina-centric episode from last week. Gene's distress is actually comedic, whereas Tina's made me want to punch a child in the face. Her, specifically.

As someone said below, I think part of the problem in this episode--if we want to call it that, which I suppose we do--was that the B-plot with Linda's diet binge was disposable. Bob's Burgers usually fairly nicely creates SOME connection between the plots, but that didn't happen.
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While I totally agree with you on Gene being a weak personality to hang an episode upon, I think his story felt somewhat true and would have been a more watchable outing had the B-plot not felt like disposable junk. Gene's story reminded me of any number of "Home Movies" episodes except without the strength of hangers-on to help the character along the way.
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"Talk to the hand glove store"
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I still laughed, but out of the siblings Gene is my least favorite. The biggest laugh in the episode for me was: In a helium voice "Nah." and it was just one little word!
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