Photo Source: Fox

Hi there, this is your friendly LNGFRM correspondent and long-term cynic, and I’m here to tell you that your favorite off-white animated family is taking advantage of your affection. But ya know, deep down, I think you’ve known it for a long time. You’ve had your suspicions, and I want to be the external voice that validates your worst fears.

I’ve spent much of my young adult life loving Bob’s Burgers. I caught on in college, after they’d already been putting out some quality content for a couple years. I fell for it hard, skipping more than a few classes so that I could hide away in my dorm room and watch about 7 episodes a day (via a totally legal streaming outlet that definitely did not involve piracy in any way). I was hooked, my friends. What hit me especially hard was that each character didn’t remind me of someone else I knew; instead, each character reminded me of a part of myself. A lot of us spend whole days being Bob, or weekends as Linda. And don’t get me started on pop-culture powerhouse Tina Belcher, voice of a generation.

The show was different, in a time when it’s hard to stand out in the world of entertainment. Something about the onscreen dynamic captures the very specific joys and profound frustrations of living with (and dealing with) family. Then, just yesterday, I watched the most recent episode, “Boywatch.”

Time of death: 7 PM Pacific Time.

From a distance, it looks like a regular episode of Bob’s. Pun-based title, all the lovable, wacky characters we know so well, and a song during the credits that has some vague connection to the storyline. But don’t believe it. This is not the same show. You have been fooled. But don’t feel too bad, they got me too.

I’ll only waste a couple lines on a quick summary of what I guess we have to refer to as the plot:

Tina, in the midst of an apparently infinite puberty that’s had its grip on her since season 1, wants to join a lifeguarding class so that she can touch some hotties under the guise of wanting to help people. But she’s a fraud and ruins everyone else’s fun. Meanwhile, Linda gives out the Wi-Fi password at the restaurant and then later laments the existence of the Internet. The end.

The biggest problem with the whole thing is they seem to have forgotten a key ingredient in this episode: jokes. I’m serious. It’s objective fact that the episode contains zero humor. The credits roll and all you feel is a poignant awareness of being 30 minutes closer to death. There are two possibilities here.

#1: This a bold experiment in unfunny comedy television, most likely part of a budding avant-garde movement designed to confuse the viewer and force them to question their consumption of media in general.

#2: The show’s creator, writing staff, and television network take it on faith that we will always watch, that we will continue to track along with the mundane lives of characters we love as much as some of our real-life family members.

I’m not 100% sure, but I’m worried that option #2 is in fact the reality of the situation.

Feel free to tell me I’m wrong. You have no idea how much I want to be wrong. Tell me it’s still a great show. Then maybe I can find it in my heart to try again, delude myself into enjoyment and believe once again that good things can last forever.        

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