Bob’s Burgers, “Tina Tailor Sailor Spy,” (5.7) - TV Review


BB Tina

December 14th, 2014, 9:30 PM, FOX

After quitting her troupe, Tina rejoins and infiltrates her Thundergirls group (think the Daisy or Campfire Scouts) at the request of Jenny the scout leader, who’s absolutely convinced that their competitors have a mole in their den. Jenny thinks that one of the girls is sneaking information about their cookie selling locations to troop 157, a cutthroat and tough as nails group of girls. This has left Jenny humiliated every year at large troop conferences and she wants that leak plugged. But Tina’s old-fashioned scouting wisdom sets her at odds with the rest of the troop, and things only get more difficult when Louise joins up to assist her sister and ends up working as a double agent, faking a fight with Tina and infiltrating #157 when Tina’s tactics come off as too nicey-nice for her taste. Meanwhile, thanks to an overzealous highlighting incident at the salon while trying to cover up her newly-discovered grey hair, Linda goes blonde and experiences an attitude adjustment, fulfilling every single stereotype about blondes in the process, and Gene takes to making outfits from the castoffs of others.

A truly amusing cloak-and-dagger parody of adult-pleasing sky capers, BB does a good job of both playing to its strongest theme (a quirky family surviving long odds through utter devotion) and mocking stereotypes and expectations. Tina and Louise plots are always great, and this episode is no exception; Tina’s tendancy toward civility and kindness unless riled and Louise’s thirst for power and vengeance. Louise’s biggest social strength is that she knows how to manipulate any hierarchy to get her way; it’s something Tina hasn’t figured out to do yet, causing her great dismay. But Tina is, in a lot of ways, the Belcher’s moral compass, and here she both manages to get Louise to do the right thing and suss out the right suspect before they can pull off the Ultimate Betrayal with Louise onboard. They make the episode worth watching.

Sadly, the subplots are what suffer this week. While the idea of Linda going blonde and then automatically falling for every single blonde-related stereotype is amusing, it feels pat and underdeveloped. We needed more scenes like the one where Linda tries to seduce Bob. The rest of the plot felt weak, and her return to life as a brunette only mildly explicable. Bob actually feels like a nonentity this episode except for the very funny seduction scene.

Gene’s subplot lasts less than the space of a scene, but it is at least funny and Gene-typical in its goofiness. In fact, he feels somewhat underused, but I’m willing to endure that in Louise-and-Tina heavy episodes.

With only an ounce or two of meat more on its bones, this might have been a feast for the eyes. Instead we’re left with a good but slightly weak outing that entertains but doesn’t nurture the soul the way your average episode should. Still, it’s pretty funny on its own, and works well. The main plot, in general, saves it and makes it a worthwhile episode, but if you don’t like Tina or Louise you might want to watch another installment.

The Roundup

  • Tina’s troop is #119. Their archrivals are troop 157.
  • Tina’s use of her Equestranauts figurine as a mole-sussing-out device was terribly funny.
  • The suspects include Katie (in honors math), Julie (kind of a motormouth), Lena (a little on the short side), Molly (double-jointed) and Jodi (a major germaphobe) . Jodi appeared in the season four episode “Slumber Party” as one of Louise’s guests.
  • How did Louise manage to NOT take violent revenge on troop 157?
  • This week’s credit gags: Building Next Door: Rude A-Bakening: Cakes for People You Hate. Exterminator’s Truck: This Old Mouse Exterminators. Chalkboard: Blondes have more Fun-gus Burger (comes with mushrooms). Credits: Bob in a Gene-created outfit, with spyish montage music to the tune of troop 157’s raspberry call.
  • Next Week: Bob’s Burgers begins its winter hiatus! See you soon!

Scouting is serious business, but Bob’s Burgers isn’t. May it always be so.


About Author

Staff Television Critic: Lisa Fernandes, formerly of, has been watching television for all of her thirty-plus years, and critiquing it for the past seven. When she's not writing, she can be found in the wilds of the Northeastern United States.