We’re in a tricky time right now, when there’s more sensitivity than ever about representation, and about who gets to play what kinds of characters in movies, television, stage, etc. That means even a show as silly and consistently excellent as Bob’s Burgers comes under scrutiny. After all, two of its main female characters — matriarch Linda and eldest daughter Tina — are voiced by men (John Roberts and Dan Mintz, respectively). While presenting his latest show, Central Park, at this year’s Television Critics Association gathering, the show’s creator, Loren Bouchard, made sure to address this issue.
As noted by The Hollywood Reporter, the subject came up since three of the main stars of Central Park — about a family tasked with caring for the eponymous NYC park — stars voice characters who are not like them: Daveed Diggs and Stanley Tucci both voice women, while Kristen Bell plays a mixed-race daughter.
“Animation just makes you want to take this voice and have it come out if this face,” Bouchard told the crowd. “Hopefully there’s something about it that makes sense.”
Bouchard recalled when he cast Roberts as Linda on Bob’s Burgers, way back when. “We knew early on it’d be fun to do it and we couldn’t look away once you imagine that. And the same for Stanley playing a little lady with white air like Margaret Thatcher glued onto a little dog,” Bouchard said. “Once you think of that, it’s impossible to not get excited about it.”
And yet Bouchard never takes casting lightly. He elaborated on the trickiest casting: Bell as someone of mixed-race, which she is not. “Here I am, yet again, taking away two roles for women, and it’s something that I have on my mind all the time to try and keep balancing things,” he said. “Kristen needed to voice Molly. We couldn’t not make her Molly and then we couldn’t make Molly white and couldn’t make Kristen mixed-race. Then you arrive there and keep doing it as best you can to turn around and give someone an opportunity who wasn’t getting it. A commitment to diversity isn’t some odd job, it’s a commitment to making it better.”