Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Bob and Linda have a life, one that doesn’t always revolve around their kids or the burger shop. Like all busy parents they need some ‘us time’ and “Adventures in Chinchilla-sitting” explores their kooky, cute relationship whilst setting the stage for the kind of shenanigans that children get to when not under their parent’s ‘watchful’ gaze.
Recap: It’s Date Night and Bob’s planned a surprise evening out for he and Linda, leaving Tina in charge of her younger siblings. Louise has forged a permission slip that’s put her in charge of the 4th Grade class pet, a Chinchilla dubbed Princess Liddle Piddles, an act that leads into a night hunting down an escaped pet led by Louise’s overbearing classmate Wayne. Bob meanwhile is struggling to recoup a night marred by his poor venue/entertainment choices.
There are some interesting plays between character pairings in this episode, with highlights on the love hate relationships between Louise and Wayne and Tina and Tammy. For the most part Gene gets a little bit overlooked and when not being used as a decoy doesn’t deliver his usual zinger lines. There are some strange references, notably in regards to Japan and anime characters, Louise introduces her favourite nightlight Kuchi Kopi seen in the “Crawl Space” episode to the Chinchilla whom she’s now renamed Shinobu and exclaims that they’re both Japanese and should talk about what they have in common. Gene takes this further by advising the unlikely pair not talk about Nixon or Radiohead. Comments which could be interpreted and appreciated for their obscurity or fizzle out on the audience.
Whilst Louise shows initial disdain for Wayne who’s paranoia about the Chinchilla’s welfare leads to it’s escape, they bond in their mission to retrieve it, agreeing that ‘Princess Liddle Piddles’ is a stupid name and that 4th graders should a) never name anything and b) not be in charge of sex determination. Here there’s a surprising glint of maturity and adult humour from the pair that’s quickly taken down by Louise’s reference to testes as ‘butt boobs’. Tina and Tammy carry on their frenemy dynamic when the gang end up at a high school party looking for Jonas, the Reggie’s Delicatessen delivery boy who had the Chinchilla last. Here the two girls grab some well earnt hilarity as they try to cope with the awkwardness of suddenly being thrust into a hormone fuelled teen environment (‘high school butts are higher up, I’m noticing’). The fart scenes in particular provide some great visual cues and well expressed casual banter between the two.
Linda and Bob who have had some great moments when previously left to their own devices, “A River Runs Through Bob” springs to mind, seem to have missed an opportunity here. Given the initial boredom and disappointment of their date turns to a bit of fun post-booze, there’s a lot of focus on their juvenile behaviour which nothing clever is made of gagwise. The gems of “Adventures in Chinchilla-sitting” come in the last few minutes, Louise has one of her rare moments where she gets a conscience and does something nice for someone else which is a sweet plot point, quickly counteracted by her usual jabs at her father for being a simpleton.
As per previous episodes such as “The Gayle Tales” Louise and Tina’s fears of being caught out by their parents seem unfounded, the kids pretty much do whatever they want most days anyway or at least talk themselves out of trouble. It would be good to see them really push their parents and see what kind of reaction they could get, especially since Bob and Linda are pretty nonchalant a lot of the time. This episode comes across once again as pretty loose and nonsensical, but without anything laugh out loud funny to redeem itself, one of the lowlights of the series.
Review Score: TWO STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Watch out for
The store to the right of Bob’s Burger joint in the opening scenes is called ‘Lady and the Clamp – Hardware for Her’
The pest control van which pulls up outside the store is emblazoned with ‘Spray’s Anatomy – Exterminators’
Listen out for
Tammy’s spiel on how to triangulate a teen’s location using social media
Bob’s Burgers airs on FOX43 Sundays 7:30pm EST