It’s Christmas season, and praise the Lord for this episode. Bob’s Burgers finally introduced us to Bob’s dad, Big Bob (Bill Hader), last night. It’s been almost a decade since Bob has attended his dad’s annual Christmas Eve party at the O.G. burger joint — which looks a helluva lot busier than his place — but this year, Linda convinces the family to go. Some traumatic memories are rehashed and some new ones are created as Bob and his notoriously controlling father cook the holiday away. While their parents (and grandparent) man the restaurant/party, the kids endeavor to create contest-winning Christmas presents for their dad, each with their own lovable twist.
The first person to grace the screen was Bob, affectionately known as Little Bob in this episode. He was cute as hell: We learned that he was effectively a child burger-prodigy and saw where his gimmick-y specials came from. Best of all, we really caught a glimpse of where Tina got some of her wonderfully painful awkwardness from: “Sorry, I got excited, I’m just passionate.” [+1 point to Little Bob for chasing his dreams.]
In a flashback, Bob unveiled his “Baby, Can You Chive My Car” burger to his dad’s regulars (three of them voiced by Carl Reiner, Jordan Peele, and Nick Offerman) right before Big Bob came on and sucker-punched us with a surprise: “That’s the last time I get my prostate checked.” Gross. [-1 for Big Bob killing our appetite, and -1 for not knowing what he was getting himself into.]
Present day: Bob was dreading the imminent reunion while his kids prayed to Dear Lord Santa for the ultimate Christmas presents:
Tina: A calendar of Australian firefighters holding puppies in casual settings.
Gene: A perm.
Louise: An internship at Santa’s company, preferably in the flying-animal or breaking-and-entering department.
[+1 for Tina branching out of her comfort zone and trying something not-zombie-related; +1 for Gene keepin’ it real, and +1 for Louise investing in her future.]
Teddy, realizing he wasn’t invited, had to decide between midnight mass or midnight basketball. Gene had a divine solution: MASSKETBALL. [+1 for Gene’s brilliance.]
Gene was an absolute joke hog in the beginning of the episode, but it didn’t matter because the jokes were infused with the best of Gene’s greatness:
Bob: We just went two years ago.
Linda: That was seven years ago.
Bob: You sure?
Gene: I remember. I was still breastfeeding!
[+1 for gross, Gene.]
A montage revealed Bob’s dad to be a dick — Bob can only see him in 15-minute increments. Gene pointed out that the way they hang out is like speed-dating, but with Grandpa. [+1 for accuracy, Gene.]
Teddy tried to relate to Bob’s father issues by admitting he had father issues, mother issues, and beautiful-blonde-cousin issues. [-1 to Teddy for what sounds like a severely taboo mishap.] But then he saved the moment by engaging in a duet with Linda, who was very sing-y all episode. [+1 to both Linda and Teddy.]
In the car ride over to Pop-Pop’s, much was revealed: Linda wanted a hip-hop-yoga dance video for Christmas, Tina has been having a very busy holiday season, and YOU CAN’T PUT SORRY UNDER THE TREE.
[+1 to Linda for having impeccably innovative taste; +1 to Tina for toughing it out; and +1 to Louise for teaching the holiday-themed life lesson.]
At the holiday party (which was at Big Bob’s Diner), we met Big Bob’s friend Pete (Offerman), who revealed what Gene called his “Russian nesting beards!” [+1 to Gene for being so cultured; +1 to Pete for the Santa hat; and +1 to Linda for the sublime singing.]
When seeing their Pop-Pop, the kids got the money they came for, but not before Tina dropped a sly gem:
Tina: Grandpa, you don’t look a day over Grandpa age.
Grandpa: You’re a doll, Tina.
Tina: Thank you.
[+1 to Tina for being a doll and delivering a tragically beautiful thank-you.]
The kids are asked who is their favorite president. Gene gave the best response: Bill Pullman in Independence Day [+1]:
In a twist of fate, one of Big Bob’s kitchen helpers had to leave because his daughter was having a baby. Big Bob blamed the prep guy for being selfish, but Linda blamed the “jerk baby!” [+1 to Linda for judging the heck out of that unborn Christmas infant — seriously, nobody likes you if you’re born on Christmas, unless you’re Jesus. Double presents are not fair, and Linda knows.]
In another flashbac,k we saw how the rift between father and son occurred, Big Bob’s rejection of Little Bob’s gimmicky burgers, and Little Bob’s rejection of his dad’s offer to have him officially added to his diner — the latter notion symbolized by a sign Pete’s cousin was painting: “My cousin’s painting it. He’s slow, he can only do about a letter a day, but he can spell like a sunuvabitch.” [+1 to Pete for being Pete.]
Also, Big Bob’s weird noise [+1.]:
The scenes in which the kids searched for and constructed Bob’s present were gold mines:
Gene: Dad loves to drum on beans, right?
Tina: What about this chair? Dad sits sometimes.
Louise: Boring. He’ll sit when he’s dead, Tina. What if we glue all these mousetraps together and call it a supertrap?
Tina: What if I make my chair a superchair? Like if I tape this pad of paper to it, then he can journal!
Louise: Whoever gives Dad the best present wins a—
[+1 to all three of them; +1 more to Gene for creating the portmanteaux to rule all portmanteaux.]
When Tina was trying to trash-talk, she captured the hearts of Americans everywhere:
Tina: Dad’s chair’s almost done! He’ll never have to stand up again. Dad’s thirsty? He’s got a water bottle. He’s cold? He’s got a box of matches. Now he’s bored? Not anymore, here’s a basketball. And then I can use this dishtowel to wipe the floor with you, because I just won the MistleTony … How’s your present going, Little Drummer Gene? Beans, beans, the tragical fruit, the more you drum it, the more you lose? The contest we’re in right now?
[Wow, +2 to Tina.] Gene responded by taking a bath in the beans. [Double wow, +2 to Gene.]
This moment when Linda tried to make it so Little and Big Bobs weren’t fighting [+1 Linda]:
Downstairs, the bad puns became the Eighth Wonder of the World:
Gene: You can’t hurt me, Tina. At this point, I’m more bean than Gene.
Tina: What could be better than a battery, taped to the back of the chair?
[+1 to both Gene and Tina.]
Bob drove his dad out of his own restaurant after he forced Henry to finally eat the Chive burger. But he got a chance at Christmas redemption when Pete came and told him that his dad was drinking and dancing his woes away at a gay bar next door. Tina was the most encouraging:
Tina: When a mysterious cowboy-slash-Santa says, “Come with me,” you climb on that horse and ride.
[+1 to Tina for widening Bob’s worldview.]
Pete teaching Bob how to boot scoot (“bend your knees, now shake that pudding”) is all you really need for Christmas:
[+1 to Pete and Bob. Also, +1 to Bob’s dad, who, even though he’s a huge dick, is still progressive enough to watch Scandal every week and join his friends at the gay bar for dancing.]
Big Bob’s gay best friend taught us the most important life lesson of the episode, though:
There were many touching moments in this episode (Bob telling Bob Jr. that his mom would have been proud, Gene pretending to be a greased-up pig, etc.), and by the end, all was right again: “Look at your family in there. They really can sling hash when they want to. You got happy kids. Weird, happy kids. That’s nice. You’re a good dad, Junior.” [+1 point to both Bobs for reconciliation.]
Gene. Tina, as usual, put up a good fight, but Gene reigned supreme. He took a bath in beans and then peed in it. Nothing says “Feliz Navidad” like pee beans and an MVP trophy. So Merry Christmas, Gene.
Bob’s Bonus Sliders
- I inexplicably miss Dr. Yap.
- Nick Offerman was really fantastic in this episode. Come back soon.
- Big Bob’s mustache was legendary (like father, like son, clearly).
- It looked like the drug dealer from High Maintenance made a cameo at Big Bob’s Christmas Eve party.
- The first review of Bob’s Burgers, referenced in this episode, was fun: “Unique burgers, good prices, service leaves something to be desired, but worth the trip.”