44. “Carpe Museum”
(Season 3, Episode 22)
Introducing Regular Sized Rudy, the cutest asthmatic in television history. “Carpe Museum,” which takes place on a museum field trip, gives every character something to do, although only Bob and Louise’s story (which culminates in an adorable father-daughter moment) excels. Still, Linda’s part, in which she helps picketers outside the museum chant, is pretty wonderful, as it plays on her character’s overenthusiasm perfectly.
Best moment: When Linda is right on.
43. “Father of the Bob”
(Season 5, Episode 6)
Before season five, all we know about Bob’s dad is that he was a drinker, he forced Bob to work throughout his childhood, and that Bob’s relationship with him is strained. In “Father of the Bob,” we finally meet Big Bob (voiced by Bill Hader), and discover what led to their tense relationship: Big Bob’s overly critical nature and reluctance to allow Bob creative freedom. This makes sense, considering that Bob has a lot of pride in his work—check out how happy he gets whenever telling someone the Burger of the Day—and doesn’t handle criticism well.
While the moments with Bob and his dad (among the most effective of season five) are enough to make this my favorite Christmas episode Bob’s Burgers has done so far, the episode isn’t particularly funny, as seen in the boring B-plot where the kids try to make Bob a last minute Christmas present.
Best moment: When the kids know who to worship.
42. “Bob and Deliver”
(Season 4, Episode 7)
In Zeke’s early appearances, he never seemed like a character that the writers would ever build on. But lo and behold, in seasons four and five, he started to become a full-fledged character. “Bob and Deliver,” a parody of inspirational teacher movies like Dead Poets Society and Stand and Deliver, is really where this begins. When the home economics teacher is fired, Bob becomes a substitute and ends up helping the class (full of students the school has deemed stupid) become passionate about cooking. This is a good one overall, but Zeke’s role, in which he turns out to be a naturally gifted chef, is the highlight, as it expands upon a character who always seemed to be just a goofy joke machine.
Best moment: When Teddy is proud of his accomplishment.
41. “Full Bars”
(Season 3, Episode 2)
As I said when writing about “Bed and Breakfast,” Teddy seems to have some sort of mental illness (in “Uncle Teddy,” he admits to seeing a therapist and he appears to have a temper), so the episodes where something really awful happens to him can’t help but leave a bad taste in my mouth. While it’s just a secondary plot, Teddy’s story in “Full Bars,” in which his Halloween party is ruined after Bob accidentally kills his hamster, is the worst in this regard. Meanwhile, the kids’ story, in which they go to the wealthy King’s Head Island to get better Halloween candy, is terrific. Without the Teddy part, this would be much higher.
Best moment: When Louise just misses.
40. “Spaghetti Western & Meatballs”
(Season 1, Episode 9)
Among season one’s best, “Spaghetti Western & Meatballs” is notably the first episode to tackle what is possibly the show’s most compelling relationship, that of Bob and Louise (Louise’s similarity to her father is revealed when she talks to her lasagna, using the same kind of voice Bob does when he talks to inanimate objects). Also: Jocelyn’s first appearance.
Best moment: When Louise looks on the bright side.
(Season 4, Episode 3)
Wanting a little adventure in her life, Linda takes a flying lesson with seaplane pilot Kurt (voiced by Will Forte), who turns out to be a seducer who use his flying lessons to trick bored housewives into sex. Coming just two episodes after the unremarkable “A River Runs Through Bob,” “Seaplane!” shows how you do a fun adventurous episode right.
Best moment: When Tina fantasizes about her dream island.
38. “The Millie-Churian Candidate”
(Season 5, Episode 12)
Featuring the second appearance from Millie (voiced by Molly Shannon), Louise’s annoying, obsessive wannabe friend who first appeared in “Fort Night,” “The Millie-Churian Candidate” deals with how outward disdain for another person can make them seem sympathetic. When Millie runs for school president in order to force Louise to become her friend, Louise runs as well, and yet her attempts to ruin Millie’s chances just increase them. With a clever twist ending and the reappearance of a couple memorable characters from earlier seasons, “The Millie-Churian” is a lot better than you’d expect from the fairly typical plot.
Best moment: When Gene reveals himself to be an avid Twitter user.
37. “Itty Bitty Ditty Committee”
(Season 5, Episode 17)
The weakest of the last six season five episodes (the best string of episodes in the show’s history), “Itty Bitty Ditty Committee” is just OK for most of its runtime. That is, until it gets to a scene that reveals how central Gene’s keyboard is to his character. This moment, which manages to make a prop that’s been with the show since the beginning poignant, is an episode-saver.
Best moment: When hungry Tina gets hostile.
36. “Synchronized Swimming”
(Season 2, Episode 3)
The kids want to get out of gym, so they trick Mr. Frond into starting an independent study synchronized swimming class. When Linda finds out, she becomes their coach. This one has plenty of memorable lines, some family drama, and a storyline involving Bob getting a soft serve machine that’s one of the earliest classic Bob’s Burgers B-plots.
Best moment: When this kid knows how to live.
35. “Wharf Horse (or How Bob Saves/Destroys the Town – Part I)”
(Season 4, Episode 21)
During re-watch, I was surprised at how much I liked the two-part season four finale, which I’d remembered as being underwhelming. I’m still not a big fan of Felix, but this one, in which he tries to get Bob to convince Mr. Fischoeder to sell Wonder Wharf, utilizes him well. This is also the only Bob’s Burgers episode to end on a cliffhanger, a nice change of pace from the weekly resolutions.
Best moment: When things never change.
34. “Best Burger”
(Season 5, Episode 5)
Gene is the least explored of the main characters, so any episode that focuses on him is appreciated, especially if they go in depth. “Best Burger,” a wonderful Gene episode, focuses on his unreliability and how that affects his family. When he’s tasked with gathering an important ingredient for a burger competition Bob is a part of, he predictably forgets it. The kids then have to rush to get it and Gene is forced to overcome how easily distracted he is. This was the first season five episode I really loved.
Best moment: When Tina is full of wisdom.
(Season 1, Episode 13)
None of my friends who are Bob’s Burgers fans like first season finale “Torpedo” as much as I do, and it’s not hard to see why. It doesn’t feel like a season highlight the way other, better first year episodes do, and yet it’s as pure an example as I can find of how wonderful the show’s minor episodes can be. The story isn’t anything special, but peppered throughout are some of the funniest lines from the early episodes, including Linda’s “Ooh, a gold medal! We should get that bronzed” and Gene’s “I’m a top!”
Best moment: When Tina sums up puberty in one sentence.
32. “Bob Fires the Kids”
(Season 3, Episode 3)
Realizing that working in his dad’s restaurant robbed him of a childhood, Bob fires the kids so they can have a real summer, hiring Mickey (appearing for the second time after season two’s “Bob Day Afternoon”) to replace them. The kids then unwittingly begin working on a pot farm run by an old hippie couple (voiced by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally). Another example of a great minor episode.
Best moment: When Gene speaks to me on a personal level.
31. “Purple Rain-Union”
(Season 4, Episode 6)
Like the “World Wharf” two-parter, “Purple Rain-Union” is a season four episode I initially underrated, with some funny moments with the kids’ babysitter Jen and a refreshing look at Linda and Gayle’s relationship. As far as high school reunion episodes go, this is top-tier.
Best moment: When Tina tickles the wrong person.
30. “Midday Run”
(Season 5, Episode 8)
This one’s fun. Tina is up for a hall monitor promotion when she’s tasked with taking Zeke to the principal’s office, where he’ll be expelled. He escapes and, with her promotion at risk, Tina gives chase. A neat parody of fugitive movies, “Midday Run” also explores Zeke’s character more and features an ending that is actively anti-cynical.
Best moment: When Bob’s Burgers somehow made me start shipping Tina and Zeke.
29. “An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal”
(Season 3, Episode 5)
As a Thanksgiving episode, this seems less impressive compared to season four’s all-time classic “Turkey in a Can,” but it’s still a good time, featuring some funny material for Mr. Fischoeder and (of course) high Bob. Honestly, I’m not sure if an episode where Bob gets high can be less than amazing.
Best moment: When Linda writes a Thanksgiving song.
28. “Bob Day Afternoon”
(Season 2, Episode 2)
With season two, the Bob’s Burgers writers seem to have set out to take more chances. Season premiere “The Belchies” was a Goonies parody that showed that the show could do adventure well while, as the title suggests, “Bob Day Afternoon” involves Bob stuck in the middle of a bank robbery. This also introduces Bill Hader’s Mickey, the lovable bank robber who later becomes one of the best recurring characters.
Best moment: When Gene needs answers.
27. “Weekend at Mort’s”
(Season 1, Episode 11)
Oh Hugo, how we didn’t miss you. His second appearance is better than his overwhelming role in the pilot, since he’s essentially just here to kickstart the plot, in which a mold problem forces the Belchers out of their apartment. This results in them spending the…well, look at the title. A simple plot—even if it does lead to the kids almost cremating Bob alive—but one of season one’s finest. I’m still disappointed that Mort’s potential girlfriend Samantha didn’t appear in any later episodes.
Best moment: When the Belchers reveal themselves to be well rehearsed.
26. “World Wharf II: The Wharfening
(or How Bob Saves/Destroys the Town — Part II)
(Season 4, Episode 22)
The fourth season finale follows up on the previous episode’s cliffhanger well, with Felix tying up Bob and Mr. Fischoeder underneath Wonder Wharf, intent on letting them drown. Bob’s Burgers has never done a bottle episode and, with so much of this episode involving the two of them trying to escape, this could have made an interesting one. Linda, the kids, and Teddy trying to find Bob with only autocorrected texts as clues is still entertaining, though, and it’s nice to see them end the fourth season (the overall weakest next to season one) on such an ambitious note.
Best moment: When Gene isn’t an antelope.
(Season 5, Episode 19)
This was one of three episodes that were previewed at Bob’s Burgers Live in Detroit, the others being “Eat Spray Linda” and the upcoming season six Halloween episode. We were shown clips of the other two, while the cast gave a table read for the first act of “Housetrap.” It seemed like a solid episode, and it only got better when I finally saw where it went from there. Featuring Bob high on painkillers, a paranoid Linda, and a potential love interest for Teddy in Kaitlin Olson’s Helen (even though she probably killed her husband), “Housetrap” continued the stretch of great episodes that closed season five.
Best moment: When Bob is tired of Gene’s shit.
24. “Broadcast Wagstaff School News”
(Season 3, Episode 12)
When Tina is rejected from the school’s news team, she starts her own investigation on a serial pooper (dubbed The Mad Pooper). It’s always cool to see Tina’s ambition at work, especially when she proves others wrong in the end. I also love the B-plot, where Gene starts dressing and acting like Bob.
Best moment: When Gene sees a picture of teenage Bob.
23. “Fort Night”
(Season 4, Episode 2)
The show’s second attempt at a Halloween episode is by far superior to its first, mainly because it doesn’t feature a storyline as upsetting as Teddy’s in “Full Bars.” The secondary storyline is still pretty dull here, though, and unnecessary, too. With a plot that finds the kids trapped in their elaborate fort on Halloween, this would have made a fine bottle episode.
Best moment: When Mort reveals a little too much information about himself.
Stay tuned for the final part, where I’ll reveal my 22 favorite episodes.