An extra-long episode–but isn’t that what we want?

An extra-long episode–but isn’t that what we want? October 14, 2022

Images: Disney/Hulu

Being old, I remember back in 2007 when The Simpsons Movie came out to many complaints that it was just an extra-long episode. At the time, I was confused by such complaints–wasn’t that what we wanted? We liked the TV show and wanted to see it on the big screen, and wouldn’t we have been outraged if it had been ‘adapted for different sensibilities’ or whatever?

In the same vein, The Bob’s Burgers Movie gives us one hundred and one minutes of exactly what the fans of the show want: Bob’s Burgers on the big screen. Or on the small screen, for those of us who use Hulu. The plot is pretty straightforward and well-aligned with the tenor of the show: Bob’s diner is in desperate need of cash to pay its various bills and only the ingenuity, hard work, and luck of Bob and his family can save the day. Oh, and there’s a murder mystery and a bunch of songs as well.

For what it’s worth, the weak part of the movie is the music. It’s one thing to have a short song in a 22-minute TV episode. It’s another thing to have several songs (some of which have multiple verses) in a hour-and-a-half long movie. They’re not terrible per se, but they’re not really good either and could easily have been skimmed down without any cost to the quality of the show. Still, I know that’s part of the hook of Bob’s Burgers, and again this really is an extra-long episode on the big screen.

Otherwise, if you like the show you’ll like the movie. It is well-written with subtly clever humor and compelling characters and a well-enough constructed plot. It is also the closest thing you’re going to get on network TV to King of the Hill style animated comedy. That is, subversive of dominant norms by means of presenting a compelling worldview with traditional characters, rather than by explicitly saying ‘we’re subverting dominant norms’ the way The Simpsons and Family Guy tend to.

Cheerfully recommended.

Dr. Coyle Neal is co-host of the City of Man Podcast an Amazon Associate (which is linked in this blog), and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO


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