Bob’s Burgers The Complete 1st Season

| May 1, 2012

There’s a new restaurant in town, and its original menu included Soylent Green. Don’t’ believe me? The first clue is that Loren Bouchard’s family-centered animated workplace comedy launched with an episode titled “Human Flesh.” And the funeral home is right next door. Coincidence or convenience? Hmmmm.

Of course that inaugural episode of Bob’s Burgers said it was all a big misunderstanding. They weren’t really serving human meat. People just thought they were. But now we know the truth.

The first season of Bob’s Burgers is on DVD and ready for takeout. There are some delectable morsels like the original short film created to pitch the series and the subsequent demo pilot (particularly fun to see), proof that the original concept was indeed a cannibalistic family. Of course, for prime time television, they no longer were. And they got nose jobs. But that kind of irreverent humor is still at play, and if you ever wondered how creators pitch a concept to networks and how it develops from there, here’s a great example.

More amazingly, there is commentary on every single episode, sometimes by the creator/writers and sometimes by the talent. And talent is the right word. The voice actors include Kristen Shaal from The Daily Show, 30 Rock and Flight of the Concords, H. Jon Benjamin from Archer, Eugene Mirman (Flight of the Concords, Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1) and Dan Mintz (Crank Yankers, Human Giant).

One of the nice elements of all these DVD extras is that the menu lists exactly who is in the room for each of the audio commentaries, and you get the inside scoop on the process of making each episode. There’s even a music video and audio outtakes, both of which allow you to see some of the real people behind the scenes as well as a bit more of the process of making this series. My only quibble is that the audio outtakes might be even funnier if we could see video footage of the actors delivering the lines. We instead see some general footage of them in a recording session and then still photographs and animation cells to help orient us to who’s speaking (both in terms of the actor and the animated character). But that’s a small quibble. This seems like one of the more generous DVD extras packages for a TV series that I’ve seen in awhile.

The writing is sly – in “Human Flesh,” the burger joint is squeezed between the funeral home and a PETA storefront with a “meat is murder” poster in its window. Of course, that particular storefront is constantly hosting some new (and evidently struggling) business – a briss anyone? Fertilizer? And daughter Louise (Schaal) finds disturbing names for the day’s special burger on a blackboard that she also treats as if it were a magic mirror.

Season 2 is currently airing on Fox Sunday nights, but you owe it to yourself to sample all the dishes, and with Season 1 now on DVD, you can do some Sexy Dance Fighting in the Crawl Space while enjoying Hamburger Dinner Theater’s production of Spaghetti Western and Meatballs. Bob’s Burgers finds the right recipe to mash up family, workplace and animation humor into a nice pink slime that you actually want to eat. More please.

About the Author:

Josef Steiff Joe Steiff would gladly spend his days and nights watching movies and TV with a little writing on the side. Oh, and teach at Columbia College in Chicago. And maybe play Mass Effect. But sleep gets in the way. He's made a few films. edited Popular Culture and Philosophy volumes on Battlestar Galactica, Anime, Manga and Sherlock Holmes for Open Court Books, wrote The Complete Idiot's Guide to Independent Filmmaking and is a co-author of Storytelling Across Worlds: Transmedia for Creatives and Producers.

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