Bob’s Burgers, “Lil’ Hard Dad,” (5.14) - TV Review


Bobs Hard

March 8th, 2015, 7:30 PM, FOX

Bob buys a remote-controlled helicopter version of the craft from the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Jamie Lee Curtis movie True Lies (Complete with hanging-in-mid-air Jamie Lee Curtis) that shatters on its first use. A furious Bob demands his money back, and when the seller he snagged it from won’t give him a refund he’s sent on the warpath with Gene at his side. Gene, meanwhile, soon worries that he doesn’t have his father’s ‘man of action’ attitude after watching a squirrel nibble through shoelaces keeping a pair of boots tied over an electric wire, nearly resulting in Tina getting a boot to the head, and overcompensates in his idol worship of his father in response. But both man and kid learn that they have a much bigger challenge ahead of them in the form of Sheldon, who tries to claim revenge on father and son by using his fleet of professional-grade remote-controlled drones, forcing Bob and Gene to amass an army of their own to claim their refund – at ridiculous lengths that soon make Gene question his admiration of Bob and stretches Bob’s physical abilities and wallet to the limit all for the ‘principle of the thing’ which ends in an air battle to settle the score – with a little help from the guys from the Hobby Hole. Meanwhile, Linda and Louise help Tina prepare for her oral book report on Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. Tina’s panicked because she forgot to read it – she wrote the due date on her arm and kept taking a shower, thus erasing it constantly – and now she only has one day left to finish off the entire tome. After all concentration efforts fail and things seem their most hopeless, Linda suggests Tina craft a razzle-dazzle presentation that’ll cover up her lack of knowledge about the book’s true nature, but the creative process might just be more of a hassle than finishing off the book.

The good news about tonight’s episode: this is Bob at his frazzled best, demanding justice with a fervent, impassioned fist thrust to the air. We’ve seen him behave this way before – my personal favorite example of this side of his personality comes to light in ‘Lobsterfest’ – but there’s something extra wonderful about tonight’s show of stubborn insistence; perhaps it’s because he never surrenders against his obnoxious opponent, even when the odds seem to be against him. The ultimate battle has an appropriate number of twists and turns, but the crux of the plot – Gene’s rationality versus Bob’s sense of fairness – doesn’t quite have enough time to congeal in the flurry of darts and ridiculousness. The last act circles around to save the entire production with a really smart moral and a good moment from , but by then it’s nearly too late.

As for the subplot, while it’s always fun when the stage mom side of Linda’s personality shows itself, it’s surprising that Tina would even consider cheating on her book report in the first pace – canon has, after all, spent so much time painting her as the ultimate straight arrow. Naturally her true nature kicks in by time she accidentally karma houdinis herself out of the situation, but the ultimate ending feels like deus ex machina. Yet, regardless of all that, Linda’s attempt at choreographing a dance number is a lot of fun to behold, and that, plus the majority of the Bob and Gene plot, makes the show a fun watch.

The Roundup

  • The original title of this episode according to production covers and the like was the (in my opinion more clever) “Heli-bobter Dad”.
  • “Call of the Wild: is that about a telemarketer?” “Or Gene in the bathroom?”

  • This week’s credit gags: Building Next Door: Baby Got Back Problems Physical Therapy Exterminator’s Truck: Killing Fleas Softly (With Our Spray) Pest Control Chalkboard: Sweet Chili of Mine (a rare non-burger special, with no hint that it’s a chili burger) Credits: Linda performs her ‘Call of the Wild’ number in the restaurant.
  • People from the past who don’t agree with Bob on the ‘principle of the thing’: a dry cleaner, a mechanic, a movie ticket seller, a priest and a waiter.
  • “I once did a report on the Catcher in the Rye using just a loaf of rye bread and a catcher’s mitt!”
  • “Three hundred dollars? Of money?!”
  • “You win best parent of the week!”
  • Next Week: Bob tries to romance a disappointed Linda. Then the school’s chinchilla, which the family was set to sit for, disappears in the midst of the date – sparking a wild goose chase in “Adventures in Chinchilla-sitting.”

A decent, perhaps average, episode of Bob’s Burgers. It’s not pedestrian but not distinguished – except for a few good laughs sprinkled throughout.

  • GREAT 8.2

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.