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Checking In with 'Bob's Burgers' Halfway Through Season 3

2012 was a big year for Bob's Burgers, as slowly but surely people found it on the air, on Hulu, and streaming on Netflix until, almost incredibly, the show emerged from hiatus as a rare and prized television commodity: a returning new hit comedy.

It’s really been quite a nice run for Fox development in recent years. Thanks to shows like the grower-favorite Raising Hope, the unqualified smash New Girl, and the inexplicably indomitable Seth MacFarlane Ratings Juggernaut, Fox has quietly positioned itself as perhaps the new network standard for high-quality comedies (especially given NBC’s ongoing long, slow fade to black). And perhaps no network sitcom has been so immediately and completely embraced by hardcore comedy fans than Bob’s Burgers, packing panels at Comic Con and South and By Southwest, begging constant coverage on the comedy news blog circuit, and being strongly touted in the ever-growing “Animation Domination” web campaign.

Heck, one Google image search for Bob’s Burgers Halloween costumes” confirms what you already know as a devoted fan: This show has a serious following, perhaps becoming as beloved a program as anything that Fox has put forward since Futurama.

Given this fact, perhaps the biggest challenge facing Bob’s Burgers in its third season would be trying to continue to achieve creatively with the new weight of expectations bearing down upon it. It’s one thing to plaster an animated menagerie of animal anuses across America’s televisions when you think nobody’s watching, but how does a show like this go about broadening its appeal and growing its audience while satisfying an already devoted fan-base? This was the question facing showrunner Loren Bouchard and his writers in 2012. READ MORE

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Bob's Burgers Recap: "Torpedo"

Maybe I have a vested interest in this show being good, being an early advocate of its virtues and writing about it every week as I do, but over the course of the last several months, I’ve slowly begun to consider Bob’s Burgers as being amongst the best comedies currently running on television. And judging by the general response to its second-half run, many of you out there seem to agree as well. That might have made for some higher-than-necessary expectations for the season finale, but this week the show delivered in its own way: with a comfortable, lived-in, funny and entirely satisfying episode that spoke to many of Bob’s Burgers’ greatest strengths and that left me hugely optimistic at the promise it shows for season two. READ MORE

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Bob's Burgers Recap: "Lobsterfest"

The show most commonly mentioned in comparison to Bob’s Burgers before it premiered was King of the Hill, and while I certainly understand and agree with many of the sentiments that critics and press expressed when invoking the Hill family, I’ll go ahead and add another show to the Bob’s Burger’ RIYL list: Futurama.

Obviously both shows are heavily indebted to The Simpsons; such is its legacy you that you don’t need to share a creative team in common for that to be true. But the tone with which Bob’s Burgers has employed its ever-expanding cast and setting in season 1 has consistently brought to mind the total-immersion viewers experienced when they joined Phillip J. Fry in the 31st century, much more so than the relatively closed-focus family comedy that typified King of the Hill in its earliest incarnation. KotH soon expanded its scope as the writers realized what kind of fun they could have in the sandbox of greater Arlen itself, but Futurama hit the airwaves with the inborn knowledge that there was, quite literally, an entire universe to play with, and wasted no time showing us all the new, bizarre things and characters of New Earth from day one. READ MORE

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Bob's Burgers Recap: "Weekend at Mort's"

I’ve spent a bit of time in these recaps discussing the concept of “worldbuilding” as it’s appeared in the first season of Bob’s Burgers, and especially how the show has made excellent use out of its outstanding cast of recurring characters to fill out the odd little beach community that surrounds our new favorite greasy spoon. This week we spend a fair amount of time with another series regular whom we’ve seen in an awful lot of episodes, yet who has nonetheless been relegated to sideman status thus far: the Belchers’ next-door neighbor and local mortician Mort (voiced by comic’s comic Andy Kindler). What follows in “Weekend at Mort’s” is a comfortably average episode of a certainly above-average show, one that disappoints only due to its timing and perhaps the heightened expectations that Bob’s Burgers’ growing fanbase (myself included/especially) are bringing to every new installment. READ MORE

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Bob's Burgers Recap: "Burger Wars"

After a week off, Bob’s Burgers returns to air with another strong outing, this one penned by series creator Loren Bouchard himself (his first writing credit since episode two). And, despite its being weighed down a bit by set-up in the early going, “Burger Wars” builds up momentum quickly and ends up a fine addition to a late-season run of episodes that have contributed to the show’s growing (if still modest) reputation as something worth paying attention to. In fact, just this past week fans were greeted with the happy news that Fox has picked up the show for a full second season, and if it can continue to build on the foundations laid in episodes like this one, Bob’s Burgers could well have a long and fruitful lifespan ahead of it. READ MORE

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Catching Up with Bob's Burgers

Welcome back to Bob’s Burgers, everybody, the freshman animated series on Fox that Bradford Evans so ably discussed when it premiered way back in a January. After its first few episodes failed to set the comedy world aflame, the show fell by the wayside around these parts but has been quietly airing ever since. And that’s where I come in.

Hi. I’m Brendan, and I’m pleased to be picking up Splitsider's weekly coverage of Bob’s Burgers for the final five episodes of this season’s back half.

Full disclosure: I was an early adopter of this show, and lately I’ve found myself thinking and talking about it quite a bit more than most folks seem to be doing. And that’s a shame, because I’m now of the opinion that, nine episodes in, Bob’s Burgers has started coming together in a way that indicates real potential to become something pretty special.

But before we get into this week’s “Spaghetti Western and Meatballs”, let’s start with a few general thoughts on the show to date: READ MORE