TV Review: Bob’s Burgers Season 5 Episode 16 “The Runaway Club” (USA, 2015)

bobs burgers march 23

From the minute the opening theme rolls into the bass lines to Simple Minds anthem for The Breakfast Club ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ it’s apparent that this episode’s going to be something special. In hindsight the title really says it all, meshing elements of the play on The Breakfast Club, the fashion runway themes optimistic teacher Mr Frond introduces to the plot and the runaway tendencies Belcher kids usually exhibit with every problematic situation they’re trying to get out of.

Recap: The three belcher kids have been given Saturday detention for being evolved in what Mr Frond aptly dubs a ‘Fashion Thrashin’, Tina has decided to shake things up with a new accessory, a sparkle jelly bracelet. Unfortunately her frenemy Tammy has made the same decision, resulting in an all-out brawl in the classroom hallway (vastly improved by Jocelyn pulling the fire alarm and Jimmy Pesto Jnr spraying everyone with a fire extinguisher). Bob and Linda on the other hand are trying to explain to young Sally who’s walked into their shop to canvas for magazine subscriptions to fund her Floridian communication camp trip, that it’s all a big fraudulent scam.

There’s a return to a few oldies but goodies in this episode, what had seemed to be a hopeful new tangent to Tina and Tammy’s knife edge relationship has swung back to its original position. If anything, it’s a lot more fun this way and Tina really gets her claws in something fierce, busting out a few abrasive and extremely entertaining comeback lines (‘why don’t you staple your mouth shut, cos your face keeps falling open and dumb words keep coming out’). Her character’s transition from shy passiveness to quietly confident/outright ballsy is highlighted throughout the plot which was good to see. A black and white ‘horses on the runway’ daydream sequence springs from Tina’s mind, an enjoyable return to a classic gag reference that never fails to gain a chuckle or two. Tammy’s farting habits once again surface a la last week’s episode ‘Adventures in Chinchilla-Sitting’ and Louise’s biting back handed support of her elder sister’s life decisions in particular her new fashion sense, at times hits the mark but usually doesn’t bring out the desired audience response.

Bob and Jimmy Pesto Snr’s ongoing feud is back in hilarious full force, having lied dormant over the past few episodes. As per usual Bob isn’t as quick witted in his rebuttals as his eldest child, but he does get his happy ending. Even though the couple get screwed over by magazine scam organiser Trish, Bob takes comfort in the fact that Jimmy P Snr is getting screwed twice as hard, a rare moment where Bob’s quick thinking and Jimmy Pesto Snr’s gullibility come into play. The competitiveness between the two shop owners is one of the series best comedic pivot points and in this instance extends to how many kids each one has in detention. It would have been interesting to see what dynamic Jimmy Pesto Snr’s air headed but adorable twin boys Andy & Ollie would have brought to the table.

Besides Jocelyn who adds great value as Tammy’s mean girls side kick (and we learn can creepily sleep with her eyes open), a few more side characters get their heyday in this episode. Mr Frond enlists three judges in the form of paper pusher Ms Schnur, P.E teacher Coach Blevins and janitor Mr Branca. Ms Schnur wins in the minor character stakes, her dry monotone dialogue particularly in reference to her chinese delivery guy ‘Enrique’ being forward with her and her penchant for ‘David Schwimmer’ marathons cinching unexpected laughs. She’s only seconded by Mr Branca who’s love for classic silouhettes and clean lines reveal a bit more about his character’s fashion sense, intelligence and ability to tell a good story, maybe this is a jab at preconceptions of immigrants holding down menial positions due to unrecognised qualifications? There seems to be more that could be done with Mr Branca’s character as the season progresses.

“The Runaway Club” is just the helping hand needed to pull a flailing season 5 up from that cliff ledge, sure Linda and her overbearing molly codling ways go unregistered in this one, but everything else seems to be back to it’s snappy, zingy self including Gene’s well timed one liners. The additional characters don’t overcrowd the plot (although Coach Blevins doesn’t really add anything to the mix) and the kids make it to Wonder Wharf’s Cotton Candy festival, just in time to scoff down their Chimichurri and Lasagne flavoured specials.

Oh and the icing on the cake/fluff on the stick? Putting a cotton candy spin on ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ lyrics and having the kids perform classic 80’s moves from the film in the background. Priceless!

Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Watch out for
The store to the right of Bob’s Burger joint in the opening scenes is called ‘Shelfies – Pictures of Shelves’
The pest control van which pulls up outside the store is emblazoned with ‘Bugs Done-y’ (nyeeeh what’s up folks!)
The burger special of the day: ‘Let’s Give Em Something Shiitake Bout Burger’

Listen out for
All of the awesome Breakfast Club references, in the opening scenes it’s apparent which characters ‘the jock’ and ‘the princess’ parallels are meant to be drawn to.
Bob’s Burgers airs on FOX43 Sundays 7:30pm EST