Nat the limo driver returns to take Bob’s Burgers on a delightful road trip
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If there could possibly be a Bob’s Burgers spinoff collection specializing in one of many many misfits and oddballs that populate Ocean Avenue and its outskirts, I believe I’d have probably the most enjoyable watching one about Nat Kinkle the limo driver. That is likely to be a daring assertion to make a few character who’s solely appeared in two episodes earlier than tonight, nevertheless it speaks to what an impression she’s made in these outings. Between Jillian Bell’s assured efficiency, and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin and Wendy Molyneux writing each her earlier episodes, Nat’s already a totally fashioned particular person who turns into extra likable the extra time you spend with. She’s an agent of chaos with a uncommon (for Bob’s Burgers) stage of competence, sport for each scenario and somebody who all the time is aware of somebody that may assist in that scenario.
It already felt like a bonus to get two Nat episodes in a single season, however “Simply The Journey” goes the space to cement her place as an all-time nice Bob’s Burgers character. As soon as once more she’s concerned in a Belcher household journey, however this time there’s no vital aim to it: no loopy revenge scheme like “V For Valentine-detta” or desperate attempt to find a lost anniversary gift in “The Ring (But Not Scary).” This time, it’s just a simple road trip with the entire Belcher family along for the ride. And somehow, those lower stakes keep it on par with those earlier outings—and make it one of the best episodes of the season.
What also separates this episode from prior Nat episodes is that while previously she was pulled into the family schemes, this time she’s literally driving the action. She’s running an errand out of town to her ex-girlfriend’s animal sanctuary to return an item, and she offers to let the Belchers join her. The kids and Linda immediately say yes—because honestly, who’d turn down a chance to go on on adventure with Nat, leak in the ceiling or no?—but Bob hesitates beyond simply the financial concern of closing the restaurant. Mainly because he recalls the last time the family took a road trip together and they had to ban those trips, because it ended with everyone vomiting in or out the car and a big bottle of pee. (Great flashback scene by the way. The bottle of pee was Gene, because of course it was.)
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That teaser lets you know what we’re in for this week, as “Just The Trip” is one of those Bob’s Burgers episode that’s all about Belcher family interaction. Episodes that focus on the five main characters are always some of the best installments of the series, ones that are able to fall back the heaviest on the lived-in rhythms of the family. We get an early taste of that energy as Bob tries and fails to have a private conversation with Linda—and then tries and fails again. (Bob: “Kids, can we have some privacy?” Louise: “No way. You had us. That’s not how having kids works.”) A road trip is a perfect setting for that dynamic, taking it outside the familiar confines of the restaurant and the apartment while still contriving to keep them in a confined space. And even the predictability of Bob’s ground rules isn’t to its detriment, but rather a series of footballs that you’re just waiting to see yanked away at the last minute: Tina reading in a car and throwing up, Louise making them stop at a roadside attraction, Gene peeing in a bottle.
Only one of those winds up not happening, but it’s because instead of a bottle of pee we get something even better from Gene: his reaction to seeing what Nat’s transporting to her ex-girlfriend. I’m glad I rewatched season three’s “It Snakes A Village” a few weeks ago because it’s the first time we learned that Gene has a crippling fear of snakes, so potent he even put it to music. (Although to be honest, there’s nothing Gene gained’t put to music. Even breaking up with music.) If a discouraged Gene paid dividends as soon as or twice this season, a terrified Gene is even higher comedian potential, bolting from the limo sooner than he’s ever run earlier than and screaming on the high of his lungs. It’s a hilarious early curveball that offers “Simply The Journey” some early momentum, that even when you’re anticipating the journey to go incorrect it gained’t go incorrect within the methods you’d count on.
And the predictable methods issues go incorrect are excused due to simply how satisfying it’s to see Louise execute her plan. Going again to this household understanding the whole lot about one another, Louise can set the precise proper honey entice for her sister, writing up a pretend journal belonging to Man Handsometeen. (I believe she has a number of of those written up for simply such events.) And she will time the entice completely, giving Tina 5 exits for her ethical sense to be overwhelmed by butts, get absorbed in studying about butts, after which shedding the contents of her abdomen simply as they’re pulling as much as the entrance of Insanity Fort. Whereas it’d be simple to see Louise because the dangerous man right here, the low stakes to everybody concerned preserve it from being as upsetting because it was when she cast a $1,000 verify a couple of episodes again. And really, Tina has nobody in charge however herself (and her hormones) for letting it get so far as it does.
Louise timing her scheme is simply half the comedic payoff, as Molyneux-Logelin and Molyneux (holding their Nat monitor report going) simply preserve knocking over comedic dominos. As soon as Linda makes Nat roll down the window to tug over the automotive, you flash proper again to her promise to Gene that he’ll be protected within the entrance seat—after which her extra half-hearted promise that Steve sleeps by means of highway journeys. Seeing the snake crawl over Gene and him desperately making an attempt to extricate himself from the limo is gold, a way of mortal hazard with none hazard that even Bob will get caught up in. And the payoff is a brand new taste of Gene in “numb with terror” Gene, a collection of Eugene Mirman deliveries which can be hilarious and unsettling to listen to: “I’m nice. I’ll simply by no means go in a automotive, take a look at a automotive, or go away the home, or get away from bed once more.”
After that comedic outburst, “Simply The Journey” settles right into a extra snug vein of heaping additional indignities on Bob and proving all of his worst-case situations for the journey right. He has to pay for overpriced garments to switch the whole lot lined in vomit, after which overpriced tickets to allow them to enter the Insanity Fort and discover the snake. He has to maintain stated snake round his neck as a result of it’s fallen asleep, and stay that means for the remainder of the drive—a drive that goes from 90 minutes to 5 hours. After which on the finish, he doesn’t even get the monkey and child lion he was promised, as all of the Shaw-Shank-Tuary Animal Sanctuary has to supply is extra snakes. (“So that is simply how it’s now, huh,” Gene says in the identical distressingly numb tones.)
It’s lots to dump on Bob even by Bob’s Burgers requirements, nevertheless it’s essential to get him wound as much as the extent he’s—solely to be deflated by the reveal that everybody form of loved how off-kilter the day went. “Simply The Journey” shows a real understanding of why we as a society proceed to romanticize the idea of the highway journey, that the truth that you’re getting out of your consolation zone with the folks you’re probably the most snug with. The odor of the vomit/cinnamon air freshener and the chilly panic of the snake pores and skin will fade away, to be romanticized as a “Do not forget that loopy day?” story, and everybody within the household is ready to admire that. Even Bob will get a reminiscence all to himself, the novelty of driving a limo and having a dialog with Nat’s garter snakes after everybody else falls asleep.
Nat fades a bit into the background for a lot of the highway journey—paradoxically taking a backseat whereas she’s driving—however the climax of the episode brings her again in power. What’s distinguished Nat a lot in her prior appearances is her stage of equipoise, assured in her quirks and prepared to roll with no matter path Linda or Louise was prepared to go in. Now Nat’s off her sport, uncomfortable round Theresa (Akilah Hughes) in a means we haven’t seen her be earlier than, going right into a spontaneous proposal and awkwardly backing out of it. It’s an excellent efficiency by Bell, and it winds up including to the character even because it removes a few of her pure mystique. And a few stage of her equipoise stays as she’s grounded in her quirks, right here her perception that “scorching canine with extra-dry crust” is an actual form of pizza.
It’s a barely down observe to shut the episode on with Nat driving away in tears, however the truth that Nat’s now confirmed as single simply signifies that there’s room for Bob, Linda, and the youngsters to play matchmaker on a future episode. Hopefully, it’s one that can come before later. “Simply The Journey” is an extremely stable episode of Bob’s Burgers, proof that regardless of all logic and cause the Belchers are all the time higher once they’re collectively. And regardless of the cohesion of that household unit, if it’ll make issues somewhat extra fascinating, they’ll all the time make room for yet another weirdo.
- Burger of the Week: The Hollandaise Ro-O-Oh-O-Oh-O-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oll Burger (comes with Hollandaise sauce on a Kaiser roll)
- Retailer Subsequent Door: You Walkin’ To Me? Bodily Remedy.
- Pest Management Truck: Sorry Gnat Sorry Pest Management.
- All of this doesn’t even contact on the equally hilarious motion again on the restaurant, the place that gap within the ceiling shouldn’t be getting fastened. Teddy takes benefit of being left alone to dwell out a couple of fantasies, starting from cooking his personal burger to imagining a life the place he marries Linda and adopts Bob. It’s an exquisite one-man present by Larry Murphy as Teddy goes deeper and deeper into his inside fantasy world, enjoying a number of roles and strolling the nice line between an excessive amount of and means an excessive amount of. And Linda agreeing to let him sleep on the sofa after catching him sleeping of their mattress one way or the other makes the candy ending all of the sweeter.
- Shoutout to H. Jon Benjamin’s other currently airing iconic animated role, as a result of when I learn this episode’s title the primary time, my first thought was “What, are we not doing ‘phrasing’ anymore?”
- Once more, the little particulars about Nat throughout the episodes matter a lot to fleshing her out. Her love of reptiles, the consistency of her limo’s horn, the way in which she calls Bob by something aside from his identify, right here going with “Robert” or “Large B.” (He reciprocates by calling her “Natalie.”)
- I obtained some critical Gravity Falls vibes off the Insanity Fort, particularly the triangle within the window on the finish of the Hallway to Nowhere. I’d like to see a highway journey the place the Belchers cease on the Thriller Shack, Louise in awe of Grunkle Stan’s capacity to fleece anybody of their cash. Sadly, Louise and Mabel assembly would most likely cross the streams.
- Nat on Theresa’s sanctuary: “She’s obtained an alligator that one of many Big Bangs saved in a scorching tub. I’m not gonna say which Large Bang, nevertheless it’s not the one you’d assume.” Teddy: “It was the one I believed. Simply trigger they’re good on TV, doesn’t imply they make good selections.”
- “It’s okay, Tina, occurs on a regular basis in limos. It’d be bizarre if somebody didn’t barf.”
- “Britney Spears, give me power!”
- “If he begins to get up, transfer as rapidly as potential or keep nonetheless. One of many two.”
- “It’s a bag of snakes.” “After all it’s.”