May 17th, 2015, 7:30 and 9:30 PM, FOX
Two episodes – separated by an hour and a half of airtime – close out this season with all the laughter and mayhem you’d expect from the Belchers.
First, Bob and Louise meet Shinji “Koji” Kojima, their favorite action movie star, at a farmer’s market. After chasing him down and begging him to come eat at the restaurant they soon discover that in contrast with his child-loving onscreen image he’s estranged from his real-life daughter and co-star, Yuki, and it’s quietly breaking his heart. The duo haven’t spoken for thirty years, since Koji divorced her mother; Yuki chose to move to America and become an accountant in response to her father’s marital infidelity and love of the celebrity world, and Koji’s in town to track Yuki down and mend their relationship. That sets in motion a plan by the Belcher clan to engineer a reunion between Koji and Yuki by putting on a Hawk and Chick film festival at a local movie house. Bob and Louise run into opposition on nearly every front, from Yuki’s happiness with the mundane nature of her life to the theatre owner’s reluctance to let them rent the facilities to the fact that Bob thought they could get away with playing their VHS tapes of the Hawk and Chick trilogy on the big screen at a movie theatre. But they persevere, and not only does Yuki agree to attend, their connection at the theatre finds an original 35 millimeter print of one of the Hawk and Chick movies. After dubbing the whole movie over in English, the big night finally happens, and the Belchers and their guests are forced to outrun the theatre owner, deal with power issues and dash about madly to keep Koji and Yuki from seeing one another before the movie can move them. Can the clan bring dad and daughter back together, or will they end up driving them further apart…and in jail for hosting an illegal assembly without permit?
Hawk and Chick is an adorable episode that manages to be a sharp satire of cheesy 70’s Japanese action cinema – while being loaded with feeling, a lovefest about family determination, growing apart while staying together, acceptance, living your own life and the danger of letting hundreds of Meg Ryan fans rent your movie theatre. Yeah, in case you didn’t guess there’s a ton of frenetic comedy ladled in over the show’s typically quirky heart, and it works brilliantly. Koji and Yuki are legitimately relatable, enjoyable characters – you really root for them, want to see them overcome the odds and get over their issues and be a dad and daughter again. There’s a sweet and beautiful moment between Louise and Bob that tugs at the heart that’s immediately followed by a heart-rending moment by Koji and Yuki, and both work in concert to make the audience sit and applaud – it’s one of the best emotional climaxes Bob’s Burgers has ever given us.
Aside from all that emotion the episode manages to be wickedly funny as well. It’s always fun to watch Louise lose herself and have a fangirl moment and this episode is loaded with both that and her manic determination – a less-mellow version of her mother’s enthusiasm, which is also on full display. Bob is his stalwart self but he gets completely wrapped up in making the movie happen, and in enjoying his big moment as a voice actor; it stands alongside Turkey in a Can and Carpe Museum as one of Bob’s best dad moments. Gene gets a bunch of great lines, and Tina gets fewer but her role in the episode still works; and she’s given a funny mini-plot in which Linda’s jealous that her daughter’s scored the plum role of the mayor in their dub. Thus overall “Hawk and Chick” is one of the show’s best and easily earns a 100/100 from me.
Then, Bob and the rest of the residents on Ocean Avenue organize a strike in response to a steep blockwide rent increase. Deciding to ‘listen’ to their arguments, Fischoeder invites his tenants to his palatial estate, and after plying them with mojitos sets them against one another in a water balloon fight to the…soaked shirt. The last survivor experiences a rent decrease (it’ll be cut in half), the rest an increase, with anyone living at an address acting as an agent in favor of that decrease/increase. Bob, aghast that his blow for unity has turned into a free-for-all, but the rest of the family bellies up to the water balloon trough, and thus must avoid ending up on the porch of losers, among the refreshments and amenities of the house. With Fischoeder reporting on Bob’s every move from on high, the family tries to find a safe space for him to deliver his message of peace; in time, Tina splits off from the group and makes a tempting offer to both Jimmy Pesto Jr. and Zeke when they get trapped in a hedge maze with no more ammo, Louise and Gene try to take a tree fort from Muriel and her husband and discovers that the house holds a special resident, and Linda enjoys the fancy catered grub. But when push comes to shove and it once again comes down to the Pestos versus the Belchers, who will reign supreme? And when the contest ends, can Bob regain his faith in humanity and his fellow neighbors or will they decide to make him a target for their frustrated rage?
If the first episode is a sum of humanity at its best, The Oeder Games gives us humanity at its hilarious worst. Bob’s episode-long quest for unity costs him none of his dignity but turns him into a Katiniss figure, crawling around Fischoeder’s woods looking for a sense of unity his friends refuse to supply. The episode ties two of Bob’s biggest adversaries into the plot with glee, but in the end Bob’s values are upheld while he’s called upon to be a bigger man. Meanwhile, Gene and Louise get to conduct a guerrilla fight in the woods, Tina must choose between the two boys who’ve been gunning for her heart since the series started and Linda must contribute her bra to the cause. The end result is a quest that’s slightly less epic in scope than last year’s Wharf saga but still amuses and touches.
A cockeyed salute to what makes Bob’s Burgers so great, the season five finale leaves us waiting excitedly for what season six could bring.
- ”Hawk and Chick” is obviously a parody based on the manga series “Lone Wolf and Cub”, created by Kazo Koike and Goseki Kojima. It revolves around the travels of a disgraced executioner falsely accused of murdering his wife and the rest of his family who travels with his infant son in pursuit of revenge against those who have wronged him. Lone Wolf and Cub has been translated multiple times, had a sequel series, been made into several motion pictures and even turned into a video game; it’s also set for an American remake soon. Captain Obvious Notice: Shinji Kojima obviously takes his last name from Goseki Kojima.
- Louise’s love of Japanese media has been explored in previous episodes; she’s been shown to be a fan of anime.
- This week’s credit gags: HAWK AND CHICK: Building Next Door: The Seven Year Itch: Couple’s Dermatology. Truck: Abraca-Dead-Bug! Pest Control. Chalkboard: Take a Leek Burger (with sautéed leeks). Credits: A mock commercial for the Hawk and Chick DVD box set. THE OEDER GAMES: Building Next Door: Unavailable (no opening credits). Truck: Unavailable (no opening credits) Chalkboard: Unavailable (Not visible during restaurant scene/episode takes place elsewhere for the majority) . Credits: A version of ’99 Luftballoons’ plays to the sight of characters getting pasted upside the face with water balloons.
- “We don’t print our photos, they live in the camera.”
- Gene’s plan for worldwide rock stardom features Linda living out of his trailer.
- “We’ve gotta make this samur-right!”
- “It’s so gross to see her behind a desk! She should be slicing up a snow monster!”
- “We had a Meg Ryan film festival and it was disgusting afterward.”
- “I don’t think you can force people into reuniting.” “Not true! That’s what they did for Mel Gibson and Danny Glover on Lethal Weapon 3!”
- “And here’s some tissues – it’s good for when something life-changing happens.”
- “You’re ruining my haircut! And I’m the mayor!”
- There are apparently fourteen Hawk and Chick movies, though we only hear the titles to six.
- Calvin Fischoeder’s estate was last seen during “An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal” in season three.
- “Thanks for Coming, Sal.” Heh.
- Features at Fischoder’s house: a garden he never tends to; a burying yard out back ‘for all his brides’.
- “We’ve gotta stay together! Like the batteries and the stuff that goes with the batteries!”
- “The Bazonga Bazooka! Use it!” Linda and Gene have actually doomsday scenario prepped for this situation.
- “People are the worst! Coming together is the worst!”
- ”C’mon sandwich man! You wanna dance?”
- See you next season!
Hawk and Chick is legitimately one of the show’s best episodes, and it’s a shame Fox chose to bury it in the 7:30 death slot. The Oeder Games provides a darker look at humanity and is delightfully ludicrous, with an ultimate message about treating your fellow humans like true people. If I had to rate it individually it’d get around a 91, but together they earn a solid hundred.