Bob’s Burgers is perhaps the most reliable show on television. Even its weaker episodes (of which there are few) are thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining. The cast is full of incredible comedians: H. Jon Benjamin, Kristen Schaal, and Eugene Mirman all lend their voices to this animated show. They voice characters that are more fleshed out, more interesting, and more complex than most of the characters on the many so-called “prestige dramas” currently airing on TV.
And heading into its sixth season, Bob’s Burgers shows no signs of old age. The Season 6 premiere, “Sliding Bobs” is every bit as vibrant and energetic as the show’s first season premiere. “Sliding Bobs” begins with Bob, voiced by Benjamin, discovering in the shower that his moustache is thinning out. And when his wife Linda, voiced by John Roberts, tells the kids that Bob and Linda only fell in love in the first place because of his moustache (Linda accidentally got her ring tangled in his ‘stache, the whole family goes into panic mode).
As the episode’s title suggests, the moustache itself is only a framing device. The meat of the episode is devoted to the sliding-doors scenarios each of the Belcher kids puts forth regarding what would have happened if Bob hadn’t had a moustache the night he originally met Linda.
Each of the kids proposes a sliding door that lines up perfectly with their personalities.
Gene (Eugene Mirman) suggests an elaborate scenario wherein the local police force equip Bob with a robotic moustache. The rest of this scenario plays out much like Robocop (“Robostache”). It’s insane and chaotic and weird, just like Gene.
Louise (Kristen Schaal) thinks that if Bob hadn’t had a moustache, he’d have wanted one to impress Linda, so he’d have gone to an arcade and made a wish on a gypsy-wishing game (a take-off on the movie Big) for more facial hair – only to wake up the next day with uncontrollable hairgrowth looking like Bigfoot or a werewolf. This scenario is bleak and kind of gleefully horrifying and wacky, just like Louise.
At first, Tina (Dan Mintz) insists that Bob and Louise would have fallen in love at first sight even without the help of Bob’s moustache. But the other kids convince her that the reality would have been far less positive – Tina describes a set of circumstances that lead to Linda being married to Hugo the Health Inspector, only in this parallel universe, he’s Hugo of “Hugo’s Hot Dogs.” Linda and Hugo have three alt-universe kids – bizarro Tina, Louise, and Gene. Worst of all, in this alternate timeline, Bob is a health inspector after opening a series of failed restaurants.
“Sliding Bobs” is an example of a show at the peak of its powers. Bob’s Burgers is a delight to watch, pure and simple. Each member of the Belcher family is distinctly funny, the writing is sharp, and the unconventional animation style lends itself to this sort of humor. This Season 6 premiere is a good sign that Bob’s Burgers has a lot of life left in it yet.