Midway through its seventh season, animated series Bob’s Burgers has gained veteran status on Fox. Though it’s never served up blockbuster ratings, the show keeps churning out the laughs, thanks in large part to a dedicated fan base that turned out in droves to find the secrets behind their favorite burger shop at the show’s 2017 PaleyFest panel.
Here are six things they learned about the underdog series.
On its face, Bob’s Burgers is a show about a struggling burger joint and the kooky family that runs it. Misfortune befalls the Belcher family often, and you find yourself rooting for these guys to just catch a break once in a while.
But at its heart, the show holds optimism as one of its highest values. No matter what happens to Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene, and Louise, they always look on the bright side of things — and, apparently, so should we.
“We’re in a moment when you have to sort of make a choice to be optimistic,” showrunner Loren Bouchard said. “The characters themselves, they choose to be optimistic.”
Said H. Jon Benjamin, voice of the titular character, “I think … the heart of the show is that they’re, like, a struggling family that can see the good out of things.”
Added John Roberts, voice of Linda, “Yes, the glass is always half full on Bob’s.”
Kristen Schaal, who lends her iconic squeaky voice to youngest daughter Louise, said she finds the relentless positivity of Bob’s Burgers refreshing amid the sprawling TV landscape.
“I think that there’s a real golden age of TV right now where you can write any story, pessimistic or not, but I think the optimism of Bob’s Burgers is something that’s been missing,” she said.
School even uses the show as an end-of-night sorbet to calm her mind before bed.
“I watch all kinds of dramas on TV, and so I don’t have nightmares, I watch an episode of Bob’s Burgers,” she said. “It’s become sort of the best medicine in these tumultuous times.”
It may not be Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but Bob’s Burgers has its fair share of song and dance in every episode. Whether a quirky ditty Linda sings behind the counter or a fully orchestrated musical interpretation of the movie Die Hard, original songs play a central role to both the comedy and story of Bob’s Burgers.
“I love to sing; singing in the shower, taking a poop,” Roberts joked in response to a fan question. “And Loren loves to sing,” he said, adding that Bouchard even has a recording studio in his office.
Said Eugene Mirman, who voices son Gene, “I don’t think I expected there to me as much singing. At first I feared it, but now I love it.”
Fans have been asking for years when those tunes would be available for download all in one place, and finally their prayers have been answered: A 107-song Bob’s Burgers album will be released on May 12, Bouchard announced.
The cast tour that began in 2013 and returned to mark the series’ 100th episode last year is having a one-night-only reprisal on June 17 at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles. At Bob’s Burgers Live, superfans can expect plenty of what they got at PaleyFest: behind-the-scenes discussion, clips and animatics, and a table read of an upcoming episode.
But since all of the cast are comedians in their own right, the show will also include standup routines and maybe even improv and skits, Bouchard said.
It’s no secret that Bob’s Burgers was never the ratings hit that other Fox animated series such as The Simpsons or Family Guy have been. But fans have been turning out in support since before the Emmy-winning series’ first episode.
“I think you guys are the lifeblood of the show, and it’s been such a pleasure to grow together — to grow with your support as fans from the first Comic Con in 2010, when we weren’t on the air and nobody knew what the show was, ” co-executive producer Jim Dauterive said.
Added Bouchard, “Our fans are extraordinarily important to us. We wouldn’t be here if you guys hadn’t decided early that this was a show for you. … We felt you at Comic Con and we felt you online, and Fox did too. The reason we survived is because we had passionate fans.”
The creators of Bob’s Burgers held a challenge on the show’s social media channels asking fans to design and draw an episode of the series. The result of that call to action will serve as the season 8 premiere this fall.
“We truly asked the question, ‘Could the fans basically design the show, and if we switched designs maybe roughly every scene, would it be horrible to watch?’” Bouchard said. “And we don’t know the answer to that! But that’s what we’re doing; it’s too late to go back now.”
Fans of the show there’s one thing youngest daughter Louise is never without: her pink bunny ear hat. She wears it to bed, when she’s synchronized swimming, and she nearly destroyed a boy’s life when he stole it from her. But why are the ears so darn important?
“Thanks for asking, and I can’t tell you,” Schaal joked in response to a fan’s question.
She’s not hiding anything though. The woman who plays Louise hasn’t been let in on the secret behind the character’s signature style.
“The writers haven’t told me; Loren hasn’t told me,” Schaal continued. “I do feel like it is her version of a security blanket… it just happens to be cooler than a ‘blankey.’”
But Bouchard picked up on that theme and ran with it. “I like where you’re going with the security blanket stuff,” he said. “It’ll be interesting to go into that, when the time is right, when we have the right story,” Bouchard continued, adding that maybe, just maybe, that may be perfect fodder for a Bob’s Burgers movie one day.
Bob’s Burgers airs Sundays at 7:30 p.m. on Fox