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Questionable Things We Ignore In Bob's Burgers

"Bob's Burgers" has been on the air for 12 glorious seasons now. Over a decade worth of Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene, and Louise, and we still aren't tired of the Belchers yet. In fact, the "Bob's Burgers" movie is finally bringing the Belchers to the big screen on May 27, 2022.

Over the years, we've had a lot of questions about the show. Some — like how did Mr. Fischoeder get his eyepatch? — get small answers here and there. Others, like the mystery of who exactly Bob's mother is, are still shrouded in mystery. While "Bob's Burgers" is largely child and LGBTQ-friendly, time has reflected poorly on a handful of episodes and jokes. It is time to dive deep into the past of "Bob's Burgers" and look at some questionable decisions and lingering questions fans still have about this family's business.

How does the Belcher family have any money?

Throughout the run of "Bob's Burgers," there are constant mentions of and examples pointing to one indisputable fact: the Belchers are very poor. Whenever Mr. Fischoeder stops by, for whatever reason, there is always a mention of Bob and Linda being late on rent. The characters straight up say it all the time, even the kids. But after watching the show for years, you start to wonder how this family has any money at all. How are Bob and Linda keeping this business open, let alone raising and feeding three kids?

Most episodes show that the status quo for the restaurant is vacancy, especially compared to the more successful — yet much less delicious — Jimmy Pesto's across the street. Surely, the lack of patrons outside of Teddy and one or two stray customers an episode is concerning. There is the occasional boom, like the fan-animated "Brunchsquach" episode, but a rare busy night is surely not enough to feed a family. The fact that the kids stay in the same grade and never age means that none of these questions really matter, but adult viewers still have to suspend their disbelief just a little bit.

The price of food never changes

Some of the best parts of "Bob's Burgers" are the little details and recurring gags. Like how real fans know to look out for the storefront next to the restaurant and the moving van in each opening credits sequence. Another consistently funny bit is the burger of the day, which always changes and is always a pun. But whether it's the Texas Chainsaw Massa-Curd Burger or the Poutine on the Ritz Burger, there is one thing that never changes on the board, and that's the price.

For 12 seasons now, the burger of the day has remained $5.95. Regardless of the ingredients or the absurd amount of work Bob must put into coming up with a new idea and product each day, it remains the same price. The rest of the menu has stayed the same, too — from Season 1 to Season 12, burgers remain $5, while fries and soft drinks will run you $2 each. These prices were a bargain in 2011 and are even more unbelievable today. Oh, and if you pay attention, you can see the Belchers still have beer on the menu for $4, despite the restaurant never selling any beer.

The Belchers break a lot of child labor and safety laws

It's well established that the Belchers are poor, which explains why they never hire any employees from outside the family. Instead, all three of Bob and Linda's children are put to work. Maybe Bob wants to keep it a family business, but more often than not, it seems the kids cause more harm than good in the restaurant. But, wait a second, children aren't allowed to work, right?

Well, technically, minors in the United States (even 9-year-old Louise) are legally allowed to work in a business owned by their parents as long as they aren't missing school. By this standard, the Belcher kids putting in a few hours of work each night after school isn't illegal. However, safety is another concern. There are laws and precautions that apply specifically to restaurants employing children that say they cannot operate or be near dangerous equipment like a fryer or grill. Basically, every time we see the Belchers have a family meeting in the kitchen while Bob cooks up burgers and fries, that is probably breaking some kind of child safety law. Which is to say nothing of all the restaurant hijinks the kids get up to behind Bob and Linda's back.

A majority of the women characters are still voiced by men

This has been an ongoing issue since the show's start that has never really been addressed, and at this point, it can't be changed. But the fact still remains that two of the three women in the lead voice cast of "Bob's Burgers" are voiced by men. Linda is voiced by John Roberts and Tina by Dan Mintz; Louise (Kristen Schaal) is the only member of the family voiced by a woman.

Although this isn't a dealbreaker by any means, it is a frustrating aspect to female fans of the show. Even more frustrating is the fact that, as recently as 2020, creator Loren Bouchard doesn't seem to see an issue with the casting (via Uproxx). It isn't too taboo to cast a role as someone who doesn't match the character's gender, especially on children's shows, but it is prevalent on "Bob's Burgers." In addition to voicing Bob, H. John Benjamin will often voice minor characters in episodes, including a major recurring female character, Louise's teacher Ms. LaBonz. It isn't problematic, just a little questionable.

There is no hope this will change now, though. If any of the main voice cast left, it would likely spell the end of the program.

Aunt Gayle's obsession with Bob is a bit creepy

It's been played for laughs over the years, but it's time to start thinking about Gayle's obsession with her sister's husband. It's no secret that Gayle (Megan Mullally) has the hots for Bob. This awkward pairing has led to some of the series' best episodes, like the Thanksgiving classic "Gayle Makin' Bob Sled" and feline fest "There's No Business Like Mr. Business Business." But seriously, Gayle's burning passion for Bob is getting a bit creepy, don't you think?

Gayle is Linda's awkward, single, cat person of a sister, and she has a bit of a crush on Bob. It's an awkward situation that would definitely need some serious working out in real life. Thankfully, "Bob's Burgers" is a cartoon, so Gayle can still be sympathetic and not some kind of home wrecking monster. Plus, Bob isn't the only man in her life. At a certain point in the show, Gayle and Wagstaff counselor Mr. Frond date. Perhaps we can still have hope these two will reignite the spark and end up together, finally setting Bob's and Linda's minds at ease.

The episode where Bob drives a cab and picks up trans sex workers is outdated

The first season of "Bob's Burgers" is definitely the most raunchy, which unfortunately means that some moments hold up poorly. In finding an identity that would keep it on FOX for over a decade, the show wasn't always quite as family-friendly as it is now. In particular, the episode "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?" contains a plotline that reinforces negative stereotypes about trans people, and the whole idea for the episode definitely wouldn't fly today.

In this episode, Bob becomes a cab driver to make some extra cash and ends up picking up a group of trans sex workers. In a Reddit post, a trans woman called the episode transphobic, detailing the issues with the depictions, including how it reinforces negative stereotypes about both sex workers and trans people. Throughout the episode, there are jokes that get a laugh out of misgendering these characters. So much so that the line between whether the show is saying the characters are crossdressers or actually trans is blurred. It is a very messy episode that is honestly not worth revisiting.

The show's first episode has a very inappropriate joke

Actually, the pilot of "Bob's Burgers" contains a series of the show's most offensive and inappropriate jokes, all in a matter of a couple of minutes. Notably, "Human Flesh," an episode based on the show's original premise, contains some pretty distasteful material about child abuse. The part where this episode is about the Belcher's potentially being cannibals is actually the aspect that holds up the best.

It all starts with the burger of the day. When Hugo and Ron come to inspect the restaurant, Louise asks them if they want to try the burger of the day. "I call it the child molester. It comes with candy." You can see she has erased the board and instead written this crude joke burger. This joke is pretty edgy, but the worst part comes later. That's right — this isn't the worst child abuse-related line in the episode. In a later conversation in the back of the restaurant, Bob says a customer "looks like a child molester" and tells Gene to serve him his food. Gene refuses, but Bob reassures him, telling Gene he "won't get molested." Why? Because he is heavy. Somehow the worst part of the whole ordeal comes at the end, making a fat-phobic joke at Gene's expense. And it doesn't end there.

There's an ableist joke in the very same scene

The scene decides to double down on offensive humor in its first episode, perhaps in an attempt to get attention. And though none of these issues were as highly scrutinized back in 2011, it is surprising this joke made it through. For a show that became beloved as a comfort show for the whole family, the characters of "Bob's Burgers" started off being pretty mean-spirited in "Human Flesh."

The conversation from the scene continues with Gene trying to get out of running the burger by pawning it off on Tina. She is the oldest, after all. But Bob insists Gene do it because Tina is not good with the customers. "She's autistic, she can't help it," Louise says in a backhanded defense. This casual ableism is made worse by Bob confirming Tina does not have autism, but her siblings continue to mock her anyway. It is played off for laughs when they make Tina guess how many toothpicks are on the floor (she says a hundred when it is obviously three), but in retrospect, there isn't anything funny going on here. This is a socially awkward teen being bullied by her family, and it is pretty questionable.

Bob gets high and tries to beat up children at the arcade in Burgerboss

The Season 2 episode "Burgerboss" features Bob at his most obsessive. When he recovers an old arcade game he used to be the master at, Bob starts spending every waking moment trying to top the machine's high score. He plays until he develops carpal tunnel syndrome and is prescribed painkillers for his wrist. The weird part comes when Linda sends the machine to a local arcade.

First, Bob tries to enter the arcade without his children but is told he needs to bring them. So, in a bad abuse of parental power, Bob brings the kids along and immediately starts ignoring them in favor of the Burgerboss machine. That's bad parenting strike number one. His second mistake is to team up with Darryl (Aziz Ansari). Now Bob has abandoned his kids to ... go play a video game with their classmate. Darryl's comment about how you need to "press your wiener against the game" only makes the situation more uncomfortable.

Eventually, Darryl offers to help in exchange for Bob "taking care" of the bullies that terrorize him. This leads to an extremely awkward scene where Bob, extremely high on painkillers, attempts to beat up the bullies and fails. It is great he doesn't hurt the kids, but Bob's actions in this whole episode are bad parenting 101.

What's the deal with Bob's mom never being mentioned?

In the Season 5 episode "Father of the Bob," we get our first big glimpse into Bob's childhood home life. He never had the greatest relationship with his father, Big Bob (Bill Hader), especially after a traumatic burger-related event when Bob was a boy. The two reconnect in the episode and reach a resolution, but there is a huge missing link that is only briefly explained: Who is Bob's mother, and where is she?

In the episode, there is a line that implies Bob's mother died when he was a young child, and this is part of the reason his relationship with his father became so strained. She is only mentioned one other time — in a later episode, "The Last Gingerbread House on the Left," Bob recalls that he used to build gingerbread houses with his Mom before she passed.

Tina ends up befriending her bullies

In the early seasons of the show, Tina yearns for the love of Jimmy Jr. and his sweet cheeks. This pushes her to try and be included in his friend group of popular teens, despite their constant berating and bullying of Tina. Still, they manage to get up to plenty of hijinks together, and over the course of the show, Tina's relationship with her bullies changes into something more resembling friendship.

Tammy and Jocelyn are the meanest to Tina, as evidenced in an episode like "Broadcast Wagstaff School News," where Tina is excluded from the school news while Tammy succeeds as anchor. In episodes like this, Tina is the odd one out of the group, and even Zeke and Jimmy Jr. aren't her friends. But in recent episodes — like Season 12's "Beach, Please" and "FOMO You Didn't" — she is treated almost like one of the group. Time does not progress linearly in "Bob's Burgers," insofar as nobody ages, but it seems that as we watch the show, Tina seems to be forming actual bonds with her peers and does indeed consider them friends. They still aren't the nicest friends, but for middle schoolers, they aren't the worst.

How does Fischoeder own the entire town legally?

It seems like Calvin Fischoeder is the richest man alive, at least compared to every other character we meet in the still-unnamed town "Bob's Burgers" is set in (although we bet it's somewhere on the East Coast). Fischoeder is a property owner, a narcissist, and probably a billionaire. While we don't have a list of everything he owns, his attitude — along with the evidence presented from 12 seasons of the show — points to the conclusion that FIschoeder is more or less the most powerful man in town.

For starters, he is the Belchers' landlord, implying he owns many retail and housing units. He must, because the Belchers can barely make rent. We know he owns the Wonder Wharf amusement park and baseball teams, and we know (thanks to "The Oeder Games") that his mansion is immense. What we don't know is how Fischoeder is legally allowed to own so much property in such a seemingly small community. He is definitely breaking some anti-competition laws here, and "Bob's Burgers" isn't afraid to make Fischoeder a villain and put him up to some scummy stuff. But the worst of it all likely happens behind the scenes. How else could he get so wealthy?