TV Review: Bob’s Burgers (5×11) – “Can’t Buy Me Math”

can't buy me math

“Can’t Buy Me Math” is the first season five episode of Bob’s Burgers that feels like a legitimate classic. The last episode that fit into that category was “The Equestranauts,” the season four episode that people instantly began viewing as one of the series’ all-time greatest. “Can’t Buy Me Math” isn’t quite that instantaneous—it took me a second viewing to recognize how great it actually was—but all the elements are here:

For one, it’s a Tina episode, which many of the best episodes are. “Can’t Buy Me Math” begins with Tina getting a D on a math test. If she gets another bad grade, she’ll have to go to remedial math. So, she seeks out the help of Darryl, the lovable nerd voiced by Aziz Ansari. He is hesitant at first, but then he comes up with a plan: in exchange for his tutoring, he and Tina will pretend to be a couple, go to the school’s Valentine’s Day dance, win the Cupid’s Couple contest, and then break up, which will make them eligible to date anyone they want, enabling him to ask out his crush Rosa—who he considers to be out of his league—and Tina can date Jimmy Jr.

Tina is convinced that pretending to be a couple will cause Darryl to fall for her. Instead, the opposite happens. Tina, charmed by Darryl’s sweetness in pretending to be her boyfriend, develops a crush on him. After winning the contest and then breaking up, Darryl and Rosa start dating, but Tina no longer pines for Jimmy Jr. the way she used to. She confesses their plan to everyone, causing Rosa to leave. When Darryl informs Tina that Rosa, unlike Tina, has nearly everything in common with him, she decides to get them back together.

Along with that wonderful a-plot, the episode also features a b-plot just as great. Linda, knowing Bob to be terrible at planning for Valentine’s Day, creates an advent calendar leading up to Valentine’s Day, full of activities she picked out, including sexy cooking, a bubble bath (which she ruins by using an entire bottle), and a climactic striptease from Bob, in front of an open window and several onlookers.

“Can’t Buy Me Math” gets better with each viewing, like all great T.V. episodes should. At this point, Bob’s Burgers isn’t likely to go back to the level of consistency of its third season, but this is the kind of episode I’ve been waiting for: a sweet, fun, and all-around hilarious episode that renews my faith in the show’s ability to craft near-perfect half hours of television.

Rating: 10/10

Best lines and moments:


“Remedial math, huh? On your first day in there, steal the bigger kid’s pencil.” “Yeah, and then sharpen it and give it back.”

The “What will I tell my grandchildren?” flashback was amazing.

“A negative times a negative is a positive.” “That can’t be right.” “We’ll cover that in tutoring.”

“Find the strawberry, strawberry trail!”


“So, Darryl boyfriend, you girlfriend?” “Mhm.” “Really?” “Really… okay, you broke me!”

“Well, now I gotta pee.” “Use the second toilet.” “Mom, dad, can you get out for a second?”

“Bowling? Did someone say nachos?”

Bob’s Burgers handles mumbling in conversations better than any other show, as seen here: “If Bob Belcher strips, he’s gonna strip serious.” “Like what? Like how?” “Like crazy—like you’ve never seen, like you wa…like you won’t even want it.” “Yeah!” “After 20 seconds of my striptease, you’re gonna…you’ll want to leave!”


“Those cheeks aren’t leaving me weak like they usually do.” The best Tina butt line in a long time.

“What a tangled-ass web we weave.” Zeke, you magnificent bastard.

Ansari’s delivery makes this line: “Oh my God, you and Rosa should be together.” “Yes, we should.” “I broke up a perfectly good relationship.” “Yes, you did.” “I need to get you two back together.” “Yes, you do.”

“Ugh, I came here to get away from you.” “An arcade might not be the best place to get away from Darryl.”

Jocelyn had tons of great lines in this episode. My favorite: “They’re like Mario and Luigi, they’re so in love.”


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