Bob’s Burgers shook up the family dynamic in this week’s episode “Lil Hard Dad.” We rarely see the Belcher family split up according to gender (Louise and Tina tend to play off the two sides of their father Bob, while Gene’s musical flair pairs him with his mother Linda), but this week didn’t just have a division of gender, it questioned what it means to be an adult.
Even though Bob usually serves as the straight man to the rest of the cast’s antics, he switches his even keel for Gene’s manic pace when he declares war on someone who did him wrong. Gene may not pal around with his dad, but he looks up to him—we’ve seen enough evidence in prior episodes and seasons—so we buy Gene’s desire to be more like Bob, especially when Bob’s acting like Gene. The conflict escalates to cartoonish levels—pun intended—and it’s Gene who channels his inner Bob and convinces his dad to forgive and forget. Both male characters reversed their typical roles, but the ladies didn’t have as much of a dramatic turn.
Tina confesses that she’s a slow reader—that tracks because she’s slow at everything—and she didn’t finish The Call of the Wild for school. Linda chimes in with a “You can’t judge a book by its cover—its front cover—but you can judge it by its back cover.” Linda’s the weaker of the two parents—moral compass wise—so this isn’t a departure for her. She takes the scant information from the back cover and the picture on the front to make up a musical. Apparently, this is how she got Bs and Cs in school.
I kept waiting for Linda to see the errors of her ways and she did for a split second, but that was only because her mischievous daughter Louise agreed with her too much. I also kept waiting for Tina to do the right thing—she was three-quarters through the book with the sun still out—but she didn’t return to her usual form. She went to class, dressed as a wolf, and freaked out. But this wasn’t a normal Tina freak-out, she got violent and destroyed her props. Fortunately, the teacher thought this was part of the book report and passed Tina, but unfortunately, Linda didn’t from Tina’s book report debacle. She even tried to claim a best parent this week award, but the rest of the family was there and they set her straight.
Yes, Gene, you were the best parent this week, and this episode of Bob’s Burgers proves that you can learn from your children.
Another great episode of Bob’s Burgers that shows the Belchers as a living and growing family.