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Bob’s Burgers - Brunchsquatch/Silence of the Louise - Review: "Old Yellow"

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One of the great things about animation is the creativity it allows both writers and artists to display. Bob’s Burgers has always made the most of its medium. Although the house style favors simplicity, it has always managed to create rich worlds for its characters using the “less-is-more” philosophy.

In the premiere for Bob’s Burgers new season, the creative team has chosen to do something different with the animation style. They’ve turned it over to the fans!

As the opening caption reveals, sixty-two different fan artists were invited to participate in the premiere, and it led to a technicolor explosion. The credits incorporate all different styles, which creates a bit of viewer whiplash until the episode settles into its groove.

Some fans use an anime style, others experiment with stop-motion. The shifts are expertly timed to scene changes that make each scene in the script feel like a mini-movie.

While the art is definitely the showcase of the episode, the story is no slouch either. The episode starts with one of the most basic of family arguments- whether or not they should get a dog. The kids are fresh off of seeing a dog that rivals both Shirley Temple and the kid from Jerry Maguire in cuteness levels. Both Bob and Linda, as parents have since the beginning of time, understand that if the kids get a dog, the parents will be the ones that end up taking care of it. The kids have drawn some pictures to prove their points, a nice callout to the concept of the episode itself. When words don’t make the cut, sometimes only a picture will do.

The dog issue becomes quickly forgotten by the parents when Bob spies the line in front of Jimmy Pesto’s restaurant for brunch. Linda and the kids imagine putting on their own brunch with Sex in the City banter and mimosas. Bob points out that they would actually be serving the brunch, but it can’t diminish their enthusiasm.

Bob also can’t diminish Louise’s determination to get a dog. First, she tries to show her dad she can be responsible by taking out the trash (that she chose not to take out the night before). Then, she agrees to hide Felix Fischoeder from his brother for $250 (Felix is under the impression that she owes a dog money).

The kids decide to hide Felix in their basement, but quickly realize that Felix isn’t in actual danger from his brother. Felix just wants to win a nineteen-day game of hide and seek. The rules include not being able to kill anyone to keep it secret and, contrary to Gene’s belief, Felix can’t hide in the Upside-Down.

Felix nearly catches hypothermia by hiding in the walk-in freezer, and the kids have to distract the parents while they sneak him warm clothes. Gene puts a new spin on a classic Bob’s Burgers character with “Brunchsquatch” and it actually attracts “understaffed drugstore” lines of customers. It also attracts a brunch blogger (what an age we live in!) who goes by the name “Dame Judy Brunch.”

The Belchers are excited that they’ve finally attracted a crowd, but grow worried when everyone focuses on the mimosas (or mom-osas, as Linda calls them) over the food. Bob is upset that he can’t show off his amazing frittata skills, and Linda decides to ask Dame Judy Brunch for help.

The Dame warns Linda against Brunch Skunks, who show up only for non-watered-down mimosas. It’s nice to see a food critic on Bob’s Burgers actually give helpful advice, and the Dame tells Linda that the Brunch Skunks are only going to get worse. Bob tells Linda that they’re going to have to start cutting people off, and it leads to a stampede.

Meanwhile, Calvin shows up again still sniffing around for his brother. He informs Louise that he doesn’t have to pay her to betray his brother, because he already knows exactly where Felix is. The kids manage to trick him for a second with the Sasquatch costume, but Calvin goes crazy when he figures out the truth. It ends, as all brunch brawls end, with the cops being called. The kids try to prove that they’re responsible enough for a dog because they managed to take care of Felix. The parents don’t buy it, but the brunch blogger is nice enough to bring his own dog over while Bob treats him to a private brunch. The kids warn him that they may have to stab him with pitchforks to keep his dog, but he, just like the viewers, manages to find the thought both creepy and adorable at the same time.

The next episode of the season puts a bit of a spooky spin on things. Halloween may still be a few weeks away, but a Silence of the Lambs inspired episode is just what viewers need to get into the spirit of the season. The family may have had many enemies over the years that could have served as the “Hannibal” of the episode, but who better than Louise’s own arch-rival, Millie? During a previous Halloween, Millie showed her psycho side when the kids and their friends got trapped in a Halloween fort. She’s one of the few characters who can match Louise’s own intense energy, and her annoying behaviors never fail to get on the entire family’s nerves.

The episode starts with Louise learning a hard life lesson – Old Yeller dies in the end. After completed the classic children’s tale, she’s scarred for life, but at least the school has reached their Read-a-thon goal.

They now win a trip to a very sketchy waterpark. Before they can celebrate, a grisly crime is discovered. Someone has torn apart Mr. Frond’s therapy dolls and arranged them in an elaborate yarn-murder tableau. Louise declares that the scene is too “cray-cray-cray” even for her, and Mr. Frond forbids the trip to the waterpark.

Louise immediately suspects Millie, who is just the right mix of psychotic and creative. She’s been surprising Louise for months with cross-stitch gifts and collages featuring the twins from The Shining. Mr. Frond tells everyone that Millie has been recovering from an orthodontics procedure and is the only person who couldn’t be the doll killer.

Louise decides to catch the culprit herself and tracks down someone who could get in this twisted mind. The kids find Millie in her bedroom, which just so happens to be a perfect recreation of Louise’s own room. Millie is in a serious piece of neck-gear, but that doesn’t stop her from gleefully offering her help – as long as Louise pretends to be her friend.

In between karaoke and cat’s cradle, Millie offers a few hints. She tells Louise to follow the yarn, which leads the kids to the art supply shop and its grumpy owners. In between yelling at them for shoplifting, the owners helpfully point out that the yarn in the dolls wasn’t cut, but unraveled.

As the case continues, Louise, as in most of these types of detective stories, is getting in over her head and actually enjoys spending time with Millie. When Zeke incoherently confesses, the two have a fight that sounds a lot like the kind friends have. Louise ends up actually worried that she’s hurt Millie’s feelings. She offers an apology via trampoline, which is a major step for her. Louise isn’t the type to often admit she’s wrong, and especially not to Millie.

Millie is pacified and gives Louise the clue needed to figure out that Mr. Frond himself is the culprit. He unraveled his own dolls to cover up the fact that the teachers spent all the waterpark money on coffee pods.

Meanwhile, Teddy announces a new business creating and selling inspirational posters. He’s teaming up with Jeanine from the stationary store to make the perfect posters. Now, he’s determined to sell the thousand “Today is Tomorrow’s Yesterday,” posters he’s already printed up. Linda is so enthusiastic about her friend’s enterprise that she orders two.

Bob hates it at first and is very happy when Teddy is forced to shut down the business, but he finally ends up getting it in the middle of a hectic lunch rush. Bob was inspired to be incredibly productive, and it gives him an epiphany about Teddy’s business. He urges Teddy and Jeanine to keep up their good work.

It’s nice to see two episodes in a row end on a win for the Belcher family. They impressed the food blogger, got to play with a cute dog, were inspired to be more productive, and successfully blackmailed a group of teachers into taking them to the waterpark. We’ll have to see if the streak continues!

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