March 1st, 2015, 7:30 PM, FOX
One fine Saturday evening, Gayle bursts into the restaurant in a hail of tears; it seems her date’s stood her up to their date to “Yarnival” (“Like Cirque du Soleil with cats!”). Alone and with an extra ticket, Gayle’s not sure what she’ll do, until each of the kids – all interested in seeing the event because they’ve been grounded by Linda for an unmentionably awful incident – all volunteer to go. Linda threatens to pick a kid at random, but to make things more fair they eventually set the kids to writing creative essays.
Gene’s story is about a country music singer named Joe Gene, who’s in a partnership with a woman named Lynette. When a big-time agent sees them at a gig and is only interested in Lynette, Joe Gene‘s life hits the skids – until he stumbles upon Gayle, a waitress in a dive (soda) bar, and molds her into his new partner. Will Lynette’s jealousy and the interference of a rattlesnake ruin the show?
Tina’s story, “Lady Chatterteeth’s Lover”, is an Austenian romance tale in which Lady Tina’s happiness (and the happiness of her other sisters, all of whom wish to marry) depends first upon the marriage of their eldest sister Gayle, who can’t find a proper suitor among the small field of men available. Unexpectedly, they meet Lord Bob, heir to the Burger fortune, and are invited to a ball. But when it turns out Bob’s got a fiancé Gayle collapses into a faint, and when nothing will rouse her all hope seems to be lost. But is it?
And in Louise’s story, “Gayle of Thrones,” Queen Gayle of Catsteros, queen of the largest of the nine Catlife Kingdoms and mistress of the world’s only cat dragons (which she apparently breastfeeds). Gayle’s sister, Lyndarian, presents her with a magician who steals her cat dragons, leaving Gayle to team up with Knight Louise to travel to Literboxiar to rescue the cat dragons. But can the twosome battle their way to the castle, and when it comes down to a battle to the death between Lyndarian’s giant and Gayle’s knight over a pit of rabid china dolls, who will come out on top?
Ultimately we get a flash back to five hours earlier and the prank that so upset Linda – and we discover the reason why the kids have been punished. But does the grounding fit the crime?
It’s unfortunate that Bob’s Burgers has been shifted back to its 7:30 timeslot, for this proves to be one of the best episodes of the season, and perhaps of the entire series. Each story is infused with properly ridiculous lampoonery of the well-worn tropes the kids use in their stories, and each tale is amusing and engaging in its own way. My personal favorite was Tina’s Georgian romance parody, with its balls and fainting virgins and secret relationships, but each segment provides more than one laugh-out-loud moment.
Episodes with Gayle as a central figure usually result in either hilarious mayhem (the best of these include “Purple Rain-Union”) or cringeworthy secondhand embarrassment (Dr. Yap being primary among these). This episode handily falls on the good side, unveiling something more playful in Gayle that’s been previously unknown before now. The kids are all at their loopy, bratty best, with Linda being the loving but tough mom. Bob plays the voice of reason here, more than he has in any recent episode, and it proves a nice change of pace after his.
Ultimately, “The Gayle Tales” is a fine example of a trilogy episode, and shall likely reside among the topmost tier of episodes once the season is completed.
- Annd we’re back at 7:30 thanks to The Last Man On Earth’s premiere. The show will apparently be in this slot through its season finale, unless TLMOE tanks.
- Aunt Gayle, voiced by Will and Grace Alum and Children’s Hospital co-star Megan Mullally, made her first appearance in season 1’s Art Crawl, which for many Bob’s Burgers fans is a top ten episode. She’s made at least one appearance per season since then, and was last seen last season in “The Kids Run Away.”
- This week’s credit gags: Building Next Door: A Ton in the Oven: Big and Tall Baby Clothes Exterminator’s Truck: Ants NOT in your Pants Pest Control. Chalkboard: Curd-Efect Strangers Burger (Comes with Cheese Curds) Credits: Gayle and Stacy perform the butt dance from Tina’s story to the music from Gene’s and Louise’s.
- ”Wait, men can be named Stacy?! I LOVE AMERICA!”
- Suggested competition ideas before Tina suggests an essay contest: A fight to the death (Louise), a penis measuring contest (Gene).
- Gene apparently dislikes nachos.
- ”Sir Bob and Linda were also married, and then they had a baby with a tail because they were cousins. Then end.” At least Bob and Linda aren’t actually cousins. That they know of.
- Gayle’s demands for the essay contest: “love, drama, and Scott Bakula!” Bakula is the well-known star of action properties such as Quantum Leap, NCIS: New Orleans and Star Trek: Enterprise.
- Next Week: Bob buys a remote-controlled helicopter that shatters on its first use and is furious when the company won’t give him a refund, sending him on the warpath with Gene at his side. Meanwhile, Linda and Louise help Tina prepare for her oral book report in “L’il Hard Dad”!
It’s unfortunate that Bob’s Burgers has been shifted back to its 7:30 timeslot, for this proves to be one of the best episodes of the season, and perhaps of the entire series.