On January 9, 2011, Animation Domination introduced the world to a new dysfunctional family, Bob’s Burgers, and Bob was the cook who aspired to be better but had to settle for less. His wife Lisa, his three kids, Louise, Gene, Tina are essentially two Barts and one Millhouse. The show was a success had remained one of the top programs on Fox since its debut. The show received multiple Emmy nominations and wins, with the most notable being a 2021 win for best animated program. After being on television for over a decade, the animated series will officially release a feature film during Memorial Day weekend. Now, it’s not uncommon for animated shows to get features, with The Simpsons and South Park getting their due in theaters throughout their lengthy runs. Both turned out to be box office successes, and the Bob’s Burgers feature could turn out the same; however, when comes down to it, did the show really need an animated feature in the first place?
After examining the teaser and official trailer for the popular animated series, the buzz for Bob’s Burgers feature is…meh. The animation looks crisp and smooth, but when it actually comes to the plot of Bob’s Burgers, its nothing that demands a feature-length movie. Granted, this film could ultimately turn out to be one of the greatest animated features to be made, but from the outside looking in, it surely seems as if this could’ve been an ordinary episode of Bob’s Burgers. What’s even harder is that there’s not much you can do with the characters. Tina, Gene, and Louise will remain exactly the same characters as their television counterparts. Sure, the trio will likely learn an important lesson or two, but the show’s bread and butter is the misadventures of the three kids, why would that change? Bob is still going to be Bob. In fact, the story of him trying to save his diner isn’t anything new.
Take a look at The Simpsons movie. Exactly what changed in the television series since that 2007 feature? Does Homer still have the same job as he did before the film? In fact, what the hell happened to his pig? And has Ralph started dating boys since his admission to being gay? I know it was meant as a joke, but the point is that the characters just haven’t changed much since their feature debut.
There’s plenty of interesting directions that filmmakers could’ve went with a Bob’s Burgers film: Maybe some weird story about why Louise always wears a bunny ears hat that could’ve ultimately served as strong character development? Or perhaps Bob is going through a mid-life crisis because he hasn’t done the things he wanted to do in life? Or maybe Tina is murdered! Ok, that last one was extreme, but the purpose is to showcases stories that could’ve breathed new life in the series as a whole. Again, the upcoming film will likely have some sort of development because it’s essential in screenwriting 101, but the outlook of it having a major impact on the series is slim to none. Features from the television series works best when it’s a finale that ties everything together in a nice little bow.
Granted, The Simpsons Movie and South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut were both good films in their own right, so it’s not impossible to make a good feature that doesn’t mark the end of a long going series. The Bob’s Burgers trailer just doesn’t inspire confidence that it would be better than what audiences would see on a weekly basis on Sunday nights. Perhaps it’s not fair to instantly judge a book by its cover? Agreed, but at this moment, all we can simply go by is the trailer, which isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t inspire much confidence that it would turn out to be a great feature. It’s not impossible to make a bad trailer out of a great film, though given the fact that a trailer is supposed to sell you on the overall product, it usually means a lackluster or bad film if the trailer doesn’t seem promising. Of course, hopefully the film proves douchebags like me wrong and comes out with an incredible movie that audiences will remember from years to come. There’s enough material in the Bob’s Burgers canon to make something truly memorable, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if that turns out to be the case here. However, at the end of the day, a Bob’s Burgers feature was never necessary, even though the possibility of something great is there.
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