Bob’s Burgers – The American Family

Each generation in the United States has been identified and interpreted by its media and animation is no exception. This has produced shows like the Flintstones, the Jetsons, Family Guy, the Simpsons and American Dad. these attempt to reflect the realities or aspirations of the family unit of their time. Bob’s Burgers fits very well into this category of shows.

The show revolves around the Belcher family (Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene and Louise) that runs a small burger restaurant. By doing so it is comparable to The Simpsons in it’s attempt at showing a middle income household in the US. What is different is the aspirations of its characters. Where Homer Simpson’s jobs over the years, nuclear plant worker, snow plow man, astronaut reflect the baby boomer generation and the sense of feeling trapped in dead-end jobs. Bob Belcher on the other hand is a small business owner in a creative field, and there are many episodes that revolve around his passion for the craft of cooking, burn out, escaping into side hobbies, and this shows the aspirations of middle income families in the US today, to find fulfillment in the their work.

Where the shows diverge is their understanding of race. Where the Simpsons immitates the reliance on racial stereotypes for humour some more dated shows were known for. Bob’s Burgers shows a more maturing understanding of race that a browning America is beginning to voice. This is joked about through characters in the show asking Bob what his race is, and a clear answer is never given. Although the show doesn’t confront issues of race in America as directly as shows like Craig of the Creek does. Another comparison is gender. Where Marge and Lisa Simpson are largely dutiful and studious, Linda, Tina and Louise Belcher are more diverse in their voices (Linda is qwirky, Tina sexualises boys all the time and Louise is a badass). Gene Belcher is often shown to be sensitive and creative, compare this to Bart Simpson’s bratty boy stereotype. To say Bob’s Burgers is avant garde in confronting gender and race would be an overreach, to me these shows are always made to appeal to large audiences.

Overall I love the wit and humor of the show’s writing, and wait to see more episodes in the future.

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