Bob’s Burgers – A
Between all the hijinks, it’s often forgotten that Bob Belcher cooks one unforgettable burger. If you found yourself on the Jersey Shore (look it up, that’s gotta be where they be), and stumbled into his modest, usually unkempt diner, it’d likely be one of those long cherished vacation finds that you’d hearken back to for life, while wondering how the hell could someplace so enchanting be so empty. It’s part of what makes Bob’s Burgers, the show, special — Bob may be a sad sack, but along with the warm heart that’s often hidden beneath a crust of wizened sarcasm, he’s also exceptionally good at what he does. As a viewer, as if you were a customer, you know he deserves better.
You’d also be baffled by the over-chic bathroom Felix Fischoeder foisted upon him, and to the show’s credit, they keep it canon. And that’s where most of the action of the finale, “Glued, Where’s My Bob?,” takes place, specifically on the toilet that he’s stuck upon thanks to Louise’s love of mischief, and mistake of Teddy’s glue for the goo all the Belchers have been using in a prank war (which Louise has clearly mostly instigated). Celebrity chef Skip Marooch (Kumail Nanjiani) was so enamored with Bob’s creations — following a prior episode’s cookoff — he’s alerted a pal at a publication who wants to highlight the burger joint as a hidden gem. Of course, everything that could go wrong, does, and it’s hilarious, and before long a crowd of every beloved supporting character from Marshmallow to Regular-Sized Rudy has gathered. However, when the journalist dismisses Bob for being uninspiring, a chant goes up among the locals who often shun him, and even usually despicable rival Jimmy Pesto chimes in enthusiastically to support Bob. Ok, the chant is “Toilet Bob” and he’s mortified, but that’s the double-edged rapier of vicious sweetness on which Bob’s Burgers thrives. It may be the greatest mortifying triumph in the show’s six seasons, and everyone in the shows Simpsons-esque panoramic cast of misfits is involved, and featured in a wonderful closing credits.
– Jason Thurston
The Simpsons – C
Marge is sent to prison (…again, something that’s not acknowledged) when she lets Bart go to the playground without supervision, a national conversation we were having before Trump was the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party and we were arguing about who is allowed to use which bathroom. She finds prison a respite from running the family, and the rest of the clan misses her management…another thing that’s been done before. What happens week after week when the source is accused of #SimpsonsDidIt? As Marge relaxes, her inmates are abused by guards and murdered by their peers, adding to the missed opportunities in the episode. America’s prisons need to be changed–and real women are imprisoned while their families await their release at home. When is lazy too lazy?
– Katherine M. Hill