March 15th, 2015, 7:30 PM, FOX
Bob and Linda embark on a date night – and when Bob chooses to drive them to trivia night at Stoolz Linda is less than enthused by Bob’s lack of romantic sensibility. Especially when Bob’s unable to answer their more complicated than anticipated questions, turning their night into a major snooze. Linda decides to spice things up by stealing an answer sheet from the ladies’ room, sending them both on a quest to win.
While the elder Belchers wrestle with their lack of a spark, the kids sit for the school’s chinchilla, Princess Little Piddles – Louise’s idea, natch. But then Wayne, the duty-obsessed, chinchilla loving classmate who competed with Louise for the chance to sit for the animal , bursts into the Belcher apartment, and the threesome are distracted for long enough to let it escape to the street outside. The chinchilla is there scooped up by Jonas, who drives off with it on his motorcycle – sparking a wild goose chase that forces the pre-teens to enlist Tammy in a search to track down the older kids, who’ve congregated at an illicit house party. But Jonas doesn’t have the chinchilla – instead, he gave it to a girl he has a crush on, who took it to the roller rink. The result is a wild goose chase that takes the siblings and their coterie of friends across the city, bonding rivals Tina and Tammy and leaving the group to dodge Teddy as he roams the city behind them. Can they make it home before Bob and Linda, with Princess Little Piddles intact?
The a-plot definitely belongs to the kids this time out, with a terrific little adventure that’s somewhat reminiscent of the earlier Taffy Butt-related sojourn to the abandoned candy factory. It has more to do with the way the characters interact than with the writing (which is still amazingly solid); it’s fun to have Louise on a mission with Tina trying to keep her moral code and Gene throwing in daffy space-cadet opinions now and again, but if they weren’t as well-formed as they are it’d be about as much fun as watching paint dry. So while no matter the source plot, watching the Belcher kids roam their quasi-innocent hometown, where the biggest threat that might come to them is missing curfew, what really makes these stories that much more interesting and rich is that that the show often lets these excursions become an exploration of the lives of their friends, plucking people they’ve had one-time encounters with out of the plot ether to flesh them out and show us an unseen side of the main kids. The richness of character humor mixes with the salty silliness of the scatological (Tina and Tammy, who rarely see eye to eye on anything, manage to bond over their extreme fear of embarrassing themselves in front of the partying seniors and try to cover for each other’s nervous ticks) where the retro (roller skating rinks where people still do the whip) unites with the modern. While Wayne doesn’t make himself distinctive via vocal uniqueness, he certainly adds another colorful, oddball character to the Belcher universe, and he’s fairly entertaining even with his chinchilla obsession providing the only sense of personality he has. Who does prove a surprising new asset to the show is Princess Little Piddles, who’s animated with great character and fluidity and expression.
As for Bob and Linda’s adventure through trivia night cheating, we certainly don’t learn anything fresh about how the two of them tick as a couple or individuals (Bob’s muddled inability to remember what his wife likes and Linda’s need for wild adventure have long been staples of the character’s behavior), but it’s still fun to watch, if a little thin compared to the kids’ plot.
AIC works pretty well, stays pretty funny and manages to even be sweet (with a little kick of narrative spice, of course). A good episode all around.
- Interestingly they show the store to the right of the restaurant as being completely vacant.
- “Belcher residence! Both of my parents are here and they know karate!”
- This week’s credit gags: Building Next Door: Lady and the Clamp: Hardware for Her Exterminator’s Truck: Spray’s Anatomy Exterminators Chalkboard: The Six Scallion Dollar Man Burger Credits: Linda performs her ‘Date Night Tonight’ number in the restaurant as Princess Little Piddles dances in the foreground.
- Tina re-names “Princess Little Piddle” “Shinobi” during their overnight; it turns out Wayne’s nickname for the chinchilla is ‘Atlas’ – both of them having recognized, unlike the fourth graders who named him, that Princess Little Piddles is a boy.
- Wayne, the obsessed wannabe chinchilla sitter, is voiced by actor Andy Richter.
- ”Um, why is the door open?” “Maybe God closed a window!”
- Jonas, Tina’s one-time crush from season 4’s “Uncle Teddy”, makes his first appearance this season.
- “Anything that’s not a dog is a cat to me.”
- “Everyone thought they were butt boobs!”
- The Belchers get three date nights a year, if they’re lucky.
- “You smoke weed?”
- That traumatized chinchilla point of view was perfect.
- Next Week: All three Belchers, alongside Zeke, Jimmy Junior, Tammy, and Jocelyn are stuck doing Saturday detention. They’re willing to do anything to get free in time to attend the Cotton Candy Festival, including sneaking out of the school. Meanwhile, Bob and Linda grow suspicious of a teenage girl who seems to be cheating them at the restaurant in “The Runaway Club”.
A funny, twisted adventure, Bob’s Burgers style, with a sweet moral and a sense of adventure in the main plot.