In a television landscape filled with absentee fathers, goofball dads who don’t have a clue, and dads using their children for personal gain, Bob Belcher stands above the fray as one of the best dads in recent pop culture history. Bob’s Burgers has a lot going for it in general, but the loving and low key family is one of the highlights of the show, and the lynchpin of that family is Bob. Played with perfect exasperation by H. Jon Benjamin, Bob is just a simple guy who loves Thanksgiving and is willing to dress up like a horse for the sake of his family.
However, as well meaning as they are (mostly), the rest of the Belchers often undermine Bob’s attempts at normalcy. Between their schemes, awkwardness, or even their attempts to “help him out,” Bob is often driven to exasperation trying to clean up their messes or understand what’s going on inside their heads. This adds a wonderful layer of relatability to the show, because who hasn’t had to deal with frustrating family? The next time you’re stuck answering questions about why you’re still single, dealing with familial bad behavior or trying to undo the meddling that has only made your life messier, channel your inner Bob and let the frustration flow free.
“Oh my god.”
Ah, the battle cry of the exhausted father. More often than not, Bob responds to the frustrations of life and family with this three-word refrain. Suitable for any situation and a phrase that can convey so much with a slight change of voice, “oh my god” could just be that ace in the whole that you need to express just how frustrating your family is.
“Okay. Now, are you telling me this as my daughter or as my grill cook? Because my grill cook would never tell me that. Also, my daughter should probably not say anything like that to me.”
Tina is the queen of the awkward interaction, and her relationship with her dad is no different. Bob tries his best to understand his eldest daughter, but teenagers and their actions are nothing if not a bizarre mystery. Sometimes you won’t get enough information, but oftentimes you will get way too much. Roll with it, but definitely vocalize when boundaries are crossed. You don’t need to hear about itchy crotches. Even if it’s a possible food safety concern.
“Well, I’m glad you kids are excited, because I am going to kill myself.”
Sometimes yet another disastrous family outing can seem like a bridge too far. When everyone around you is having a good time while Rome burns, you, like Bob, may find yourself in your own personal hell. Patience is a virtue, but sometimes an expression of your despair will have more of an impact.
“Listen, you’re my children and I love you, but you’re all terrible at what you do here and I feel like I should tell you. I’d fire all of you if I could.”
Child labor laws are a little murky in the Bob’s Burgers world, but the restaurant is a family business in every sense of the term, so everyone pitches in to keep it afloat. However, this can often be more of a hindrance than a boon. You have probably found this from time to time with your own profoundly misguided family members, so giving them a gentle hint that you love them, but that they need to please stop, might be the best way to go.
“Admit it, you look up to me!”
Despite having good relationships with his children, it can often feel like an uphill battle for Bob to get a shred of credit for all that he does. If you take a leadership role in family affairs as well, there is a good chance that you relate. Sometimes you have to demand credit from family members, and while it may seem like a hollow victory when they admit you’re right, it is a victory all the same, damn it.
“Your mother’s not being a boob punch, Tina.”
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your kids is form a united front against them. If they’re going to learn, they need to know when what they’re doing is wrong or disrespectful. Bob and Linda are always a team when raising their kids and they always have each other’s backs in a crisis. Sometimes your kids will drive you crazy, but having and being a supportive partner makes it all a little more bearable.
“Listen, what happened to Hawk and Chick will never happen to us. This Hawk and this Chick will never not talk for 30 years.”
Bob has unique a relationship with all of his children, but his bond with Louise is extra special. Even when she goes off the deep end with her schemes, she and Bob always manage to repair their father-daughter relationship. Even when she drives him insane, he reminds her that they’re a ride or die team. Sometimes that’s the best thing you can do with your crazy family: just let them know that you’ll be there to stay through it all.
“Okay, fine. But I am going to complain the whole time.”
Bob is usually a pretty chill guy, but sometimes his grouchiness gets the better of him. Family events can also bring out the misanthrope in all of us, even when we love them. While biting your tongue is always an option, expressing your displeasure in the most passive aggressive way possible is also an option. Sure, it’s not pretty, but it’s real.
“Lin, this isn’t a crazy day. This is a perfectly average day at Bob’s Burgers. This kind of stuff happens all the time, and I am so glad that you came by to take it in.”
Despite his best efforts to keep it together, sometimes circumstance gets the better of Bob. When his kids glue him to the toilet before an important interview in the season six finale, the training wheels come off and we see a hilariously unhinged burger chef. The family shenanigans crossed the line, and he had nothing left to do but react loudly and brashly. When you’re backed into a corner, the beast tends to come out. After the fact, sometimes you apologize, sometimes you just leave it alone. It really depends on how long they left you in the bathroom.
Bob’s Burgers returns with all new episodes on September 25