TV Review: Bob’s Burgers Season 5 Episode 13 “The Gayle Tales” (USA, 2015)

bobs burgers the gayle tales

Midway through the season and episode 13 of the wacky and twisted life Bob Belcher and his family lead doesn’t seem to flow on from any of the other previous episodes. It does reference character traits and plot points from the past and whilst this may stem the laughter of audiences unfamiliar with the show, it definitely could be appreciated in its own random, hilarious and crude way.

Recap: “The Gayle Tales” sees Linda’s unhinged cat lady of a sister show up heartbroken at the burger shop claiming she’s been stood up by her man friend ‘Stacey’ who was meant to attend ‘Yarnival’ with her, a Cirque du Soleil extravaganza with cats. Linda has grounded her three children for a reason that’s not revealed until the episode’s end and as a result they’re all keen to take Stacey’s spot to get out of it. In order to settle the dispute each child is tasked with writing a creative essay about Gayle who will pick the victor.

The children’s essays all carry the same undercurrents, painting their mother as a mean tyrant who punishes innocent children that pull harmless yet hilarious pranks, whilst praising and sucking up to Gayle, who’s affections they’re trying to win. It’s apparent they know Gayle’s soft spot for Scott Bakula; (Quantum Leap, Star Trek) as he makes a well-timed appearance in each story to sweep her off her feet.

Gene’s musical inclinations surface through his tale of country duo ‘Lindette and Go-Gene’. Of course Go-Gene is ousted from the group by Lindette and takes his revenge by discovering Gayle’s talents and winning a sing-off at the ‘Ole Opry’ (references here to Gayle playing second fiddle to her sister’s musical aspirations in previous episodes). There are some crude songs that insight a couple of chuckles and the interesting use of a rattle snake but other than that the story comes out a little flat.

Tina’s tale is definitely the funniest and most inspired of the three. ‘Lady Chatterteeth’s Lover’ certainly calls on the best elements of any romantic period drama and as with any of Tina’s fantasies Jimmy Pesto Jnr and references to butts are a staple. It was disappointing that no unicorns or zombies made the cut though. Turning Gene’s character into sister Eugenia was a nice touch and he/she definitely delivered most of the tale’s punchlines. A few clever quips relating to the period got a few laughs as well (‘if you like her ankles, you should see her shins!’).

Louise being the most violent sibling decides to base her tale around ‘Gayle of Thrones’ complete with action packed journeys on mythical cat beasts and death duels. Pleasantly a few side characters make an appearance and are snarkily made fun of, in line with Louise’s sense of humour. Teddy’s droney voice and monotonous yarns has him cast as a dreaded ‘White Talker’ who will bore you to death whilst Tina’s droll would be friend Tammy Larsen guards the enemy’s door, her knight’s helmet accommodating her side ponytail in an extra chamber (‘like whatever, come in’). The piece de resistance however is a comical tie in with Linda’s love of porcelain babies that whilst completely immature would be one of the more appreciated jokes for the show’s fans.

In the end it’s revealed that the children were grounded for pranking their mother at the grocery store, resulting in her falling backwards into a pile of maxi pads and farting. A bit of a strange disconnected way to hold together a plot but unsurprising from the Bob’s Burgers series. There was no real character or plot development, except that Gayle might have a real boyfriend now. The only niggle from this episode was the unnecessary need to sometimes re-iterate the obviousness of a joke (‘I didn’t know men had names like Stacey!’). Other than that it was pretty entertaining and satisfying way to reach a halfway point.

Review Score: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Watch out for

The store on the right next to Bob’s Burger joint is called ‘Ton in the Oven – Big and Tall Baby Clothes’.

Bob’s Daily Burger Special – Curd-fect Strangers Burger (comes with cheese curds).

Listen out for

The Weekend at Bernie’s reference made by Louise and Gene in the opening scenes..

Louise: ‘But it’s the weekend!’

Gene: ‘Yeah! Everybody’s supposed to go to Bernie’s!’

Bob’s Burgers airs on Foxtel’s The Comedy Channel