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Things Only Adults Notice In Good Burger

"Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger. May I take your order?"

You might not remember the entire plot of Good Burger, but it's hard to forget the above words, delivered by Ed (Kel Mitchell) in the 1997 comedy. Good Burger follows Ed, a dopey, kindhearted teenager who's the cashier at the Good Burger restaurant, and his work buddy, Dexter Reed (Kenan Thompson). Dexter, who planned on spending all summer sitting by the pool with minimal responsibilities, crashed his car into teacher Mr. Wheat's (Sinbad) vehicle shortly after summer break started. Thus, Dexter is forced to get a job to pay for the damages. Fast forward to the movie's end, and Dexter and Ed have managed to save Good Burger from going out of business by uncovering the secrets of Good Burger's sinister rival, Mondo Burger.

Good Burger is a fun family movie focused on laughs. Despite not being a perfect creation (the critics were not impressed), those who saw it as kids have warm memories of the flick. It's just plain enjoyable to watch Ed, Dexter, and the rest of the Good Burger family get their happy ending while Mondo Burger is forced to shut its doors. Yet along the way, there are certain elements of the story that go unnoticed by younger audience members. Get ready to embark on a journey featuring rival burger joints and goofy hats, because we're here to reveal the things only adults notice in Good Burger.

Good Burger consumes Ed's life

Ed's job has basically consumed his life. Case in point: Ed sleeps in his work uniform. And that's not all — Ed also showers in his work attire, including his jaunty hat. Ed even has burger memorabilia in his room. And when he's not at work, well, he's rollerblading to work.

Good Burger takes place during the summer, which is an undeniably small portion of Ed's life. But during the summer, working as a Good Burger cashier constitutes, apparently, every single aspect of Ed's life. That said, Ed does appear to love working for the fast-food restaurant. In one scene, he even happily floats in the milkshake maker. It's true that Ed eats, sleeps, and breathes Good Burger, but hey, he appears to have found the thing he most enjoys doing in life. Surely, we can all learn from this message: Once you figure out what you want to do, don't take it for granted, and give it everything you've got. That's a message adults can appreciate in full, having already embarked upon their journey to fulfillment ... even if they're a little creeped out by how far Ed takes it.

Dexter Reed points out paltry fast food wages

Dexter Reed works at Good Burger after a brief stint at Mondo Burger. He's got about $3,000 worth of damages to pay off from crashing his mother's car into Mr. Wheat's car — and he only has one summer to come up with the money. Even more unfortunate is that this endeavor appears to be a lost cause after Dexter subtly shines a light on how poorly fast food workers are paid.

Dexter mentions only making five bucks an hour, working six hours a day and five days a week. He tries to total up when he'll be able to pay off his debts ... but stops counting when he realizes it would take him another lifetime to come up with the money. For those who are wondering, it would take Dexter 600 hours — before taxes — to make $3,000. If he worked 30 hours a week, it would take him 20 weeks (once again, before taxes) to pay off his debt. Likely, this means he'd have to work much longer than his high school summer break. As a more seasoned viewer, it's hard not to notice how poor that pay is — and how brutally it reflects the real world.

What does Kurt Bozwell have on his employees?

Mondo Burger owner Kurt Bozwell (Jan Schweiterman) is a classically horrible boss. He's demanding, unreasonable, lacks empathy, and acts like he owns his employees. He tells his workers they don't have lives outside of working at Mondo Burger, and declares there will be no comedians at his restaurant in response to Dexter's humor, all but abolishing joy while on the clock.

The job market, especially for teenagers, can feel like an endless saga of shuffling through applications, but still: Braving this treatment to avoid job hunting seems like a bit much. Leaving is possible — Dexter, after all, is fired early on in his Mondo Burger career. He gets another job working for Good Burger on presumably the same day. Good Burger, which appears to have an open hiring period, is just across the street from Mondo Burger. So the question emerges: If Kurt is such a horrible person to work for, which all signs point to, why don't disgruntled employees quit and take advantage of their apparently decent local job market? Kurt doesn't actually own his employees, even though it sometimes seems like it. Is the pay amazing? As that seems unlikely, could fear be keeping Kurt's employees stuck in place? The adult mind can't help but wonder ... what does he have on these people?

Good Burger employees vs. Mondo Burger employees

Whether it comes to playing sports or working at a company of 50,000, teamwork is a key ingredient to achieving success and keeping morale high. Having everyone on the same page and sincerely involved in the task at hand is significantly more important than one person standing out and taking credit for everything. Anyone who's old enough to hold a job gets this: A good environment can make or break pretty much any sort of work. 

Good Burger and Mondo Burger have different philosophies when it comes to teamwork, to say the least. Everyone, including the manager, pitches in at Good Burger. Kurt, on the other hand, uses fear tactics to get his employees to work harder. Mondo Burger is a combination of an assembly line and a dictatorship: Workers aren't allowed to laugh, they take orders from the top without argument or input, and, well, there's a literal assembly line. Mondo Burger, for better or worse, even has security ... because Kurt is up to some sketchy practices and doesn't want anyone to uncover his secrets. Mondo Burger sends a shiver down grown-up spines, as it brings to mind the worst jobs one has ever had. Good Burger, in contrast, proves that quality teamwork wins, as the fast food restaurant is triumphant in the end.

Roxanne's attempt at seduction

Although Mondo Burger briefly crushes the competition upon opening, the business declines after Ed shows Dexter his secret food sauce at Good Burger. Upon trying it, Dexter comes up with the idea to put the sauce on the burgers. Good Burger's sales hit an all-time high and Mondo Burger's customer base tanks. Kurt will stop at nothing to get the recipe for this sauce, as he wants to be so successful that the competition goes out of business.

Thus, Kurt sends in his secret weapon to get the sauce recipe from Ed: The attractive Roxanne, who's played by Carmen Electra. As a younger viewer, this whole affair might seem harmless, but to an adult watcher, this seduction is full of (pretty creepy) innuendo. After all, Roxanne tells Ed she'll do anything in return for the recipe, insinuating all sorts of PG-13 acts. Kurt even drops a groan-worthy double entendre, by saying if anyone can get the sauce out of Ed, it's Roxanne. Ew. Although Roxanne attempts to seduce Ed, he doesn't realize what she's trying to do, and the ploy fails. Ed doesn't give up his brilliant recipe, and Kurt is forced to resort to even more drastic measures to bring his competitor down.

Everything wrong with the Demented Hills Asylum subplot

Ed and Dexter eventually discover Mondo Burger's dirty secret: They're using an illegal food additive (Triampathol) to artificially make the burgers larger. Kurt catches them, and has Ed and Dexter committed within Demented Hills Asylum. Although Kurt appears to have connections and resources in spades, it's hard for the older viewer not to notice how ludicrous this plot point is. Dexter and Ed are teenagers and their parents would have to commit them — not to mention, there would have to be a reason to have them committed at all. Otis (Abe Vigoda), an elderly Good Burger employee who works as the fryer, is also committed after he catches Kurt poisoning Ed's burger sauce.

At the asylum, a presumably dangerous and unsupervised patient sits next to Ed in a straitjacket. In stereotypical asylum fashion, every patient appears to be drugged and unresponsive. Basically, everything about the asylum is absurd, and bears no resemblance to any real psychiatric facility. Another question looms large over this part of the movie: If Kurt has this much clout, why has he opened a burger restaurant to become even more rich? Wouldn't fast food profits be small potatoes to a dude who can have people involuntarily committed? Mondo Burger could be a front to launder money, but that's just a guess. The absurdity continues when Ed, Dexter, and Otis escape Demented Hills with ease.

A young Linda Cardellini makes an appearance

There are a few cameos in Good Burger, including the one and only Shaquille O'Neal playing himself. One cameo, however, was unintentional: A younger and almost unrecognizable Linda Cardellini pops up in Good Burger. Cardellini plays a mentally ill girl named Heather, committed within Demented Hills. Heather has a crush on Ed and eventually helps him, Dexter, and Otis escape from the asylum.

Cardellini would, of course, go on to star in countless movies and shows, most prominently Freaks and Geeks, ER, and Dead to Me. Though a kid likely won't recognize her at all, her Good Burger appearance is hard to miss for a seasoned viewer — at least, it is today, as Good Burger was her feature film debut. Although this was Cardellini's first silver screen role, Heather is a favorite among her family. In an interview with The AV Club, Cardellini said, "That's my sister's favorite role that I've ever played! It was so much fun. It was my first film, and it was a fantastic part. I got to play crazy! Nobody knew who I was, and I got the part from the table read."

Kurt goes to bizarre lengths to jeopardize Good Burger

Kurt, as previously evidenced, will stop at nothing to take down Good Burger. Yet he appears to have all the necessary resources to run a successful fast-food franchise on his own. Given this fact, it's hard for an adult not to question his methods. It seems like it would be easier to hire a professional to duplicate Ed's secret sauce, although copying the competition might come with legal ramifications. Still — aren't there chefs out there who could get close enough? Maybe Mondo Burger could even come up with a better and more unique product and stop pursuing the secret sauce all together? Or, heck, if he insists on doing this through the courts, couldn't Kurt hire someone to craft a well thought-out legal plan?

There has to be an antagonist of some kind in a movie like this, of course, but it appears that Kurt is playing down to his competition to try to achieve success. Good Burger, to its credit, is an established restaurant that inspires genuine devotion in people like Ed. But Mondo Burger has enough resources (AKA cash and power) to not have to go to bizarre lengths to jeopardize Good Burger's future. And jeez, it would be far easier to take down Good Burger with a simple health code violation — such as, say, Ed swimming in Good Burger's milkshake maker.

Where's the health inspector?

There are different laws for each town, city, state, and country. But surely a health inspector would closely monitor Mondo Burger, as it's a brand-new restaurant with a gargantuan spotlight on it, thanks to its red carpet opening. Perhaps the initial food health inspection was passed, or maybe Kurt bribed the authorities. Even so, Mondo Burger has illegal chemicals out in the open that the workers inject into the burgers to increase their mass. Surely an inspector would question this process, as Mondo Burger makes the burgers bigger and bigger over the course of the film, yet doesn't change the price.

As a lighthearted comedy, it's easier to leave the question of health inspection out of the movie entirely. Checking boxes doesn't exactly make for pleasant, let alone entertaining, storytelling. But inspections are an important and common part of opening and operating a restaurant, making it tough to overlook as an adult — especially one with any experience in food service. But no: Ed and Dexter save the day by injecting Mondo Burgers with more chemicals, causing the burgers to explode and the authorities to come to the rescue. At least they got there in the end?

Ed steals a baby

Slapstick comedies aren't really supposed to be taken at face value. Mild violence, therefore, can work as a reoccurring theme within them, for funny purposes. But as an adult, it's hard not to cringe at some of the physical comedy in Good Burger.

Ed rollerblades through a group of children on his way to work and unintentionally drags a helpless girl attached to a jump rope on the street. He continues blading into a woman and her baby, then skates  on with the baby, who is now in his possession. He then runs into a pick-up basketball game. The players shoot the baby into the hoop before realizing that they're playing basketball with an infant.

Sure, everyone is okay, and no one is remotely hurt. But the movie shrugs off the fact that Ed steals a baby. These cringe-worthy moments are a little tough to overlook in a PG film, whether Good Burger is a slapstick comedy or not. Thank goodness it is, though, or Ed would be headed for a much longer stay in Demented Hills — or a far worse place.

Ed shows symptoms of autism

In 1997, it was okay to make Ed seem spacey for the sake of comedy. Fast forward to today, though, and it's hard for an adult not to notice that Ed displays symptoms of autism. Most noticeably, he takes what people say literally and displays inappropriate social interaction. For example, a customer asks for a burger with nothing on it. Ed gives the customer a bun and nothing else. This is also why Ed doesn't realize that Roxanne is trying to seduce him.

Notably, Ed isn't unintelligent — a fact made clear when Ed unveils his genius plan in the aftermath of taking down Mondo Burger. He dumped the chemicals into the meat grinder instead of taking a bottle of it to the police, because the authorities might not believe him if he had. Even if they did believe him, a trial might drag on, and Kurt and Mondo Burger might get off regardless. Dexter is surprised by this brilliant approach, given Ed's behavior throughout the movie. But Ed isn't stupid — he's just unique.

Ultimately, of course, Good Burger keeps things simple. All ends as it should: Mondo Burger is shut down, Kurt is arrested, and Ed and Dexter get a hero's welcome from their coworkers at Good Burger. Ed, like the movie as a whole, can be appreciated with the keen mind of an adult or with a kid's easygoing joy. It's all good in Good Burger.