November 15th, 2015, 7:30 PM, FOX
Gene, Louise and Tina land themselves in a world of trouble when a mall Santa threatens to put them all on the naughty list after they disrupt his time in a massage chair. Louise, the resident Belcher cynic and long-time attempted Santa trapper, finds herself spiraling into anxiety when she worries that the mall Santa’s report will land them nothing but coal come Christmas morning. They try making it up with milk and cookies, only to end up soaking him, with Gene trying to mop the man’s crotch up with cookies (a “Code Blitzen“ according to his panicked elf assistant). To turn around their fortune Louise decides to put on a musical/skating performance she dubs ‘the Nice-Capades” at the mall’s skating rink. Enlisting Mister Fischoeder’s assistance and talents (and the talents of his erstwhile and showy brother Felix), they also write exaggerated songs about their own good deeds throughout the year (for instance, Tina’s story about throwing an overturned hermit crab into the ocean becomes a long epic in which she’s far more heroic than she was in actuality; Gene’s story about heroically giving Regular Sized Rudy the last taco and ate chicken nuggets instead becomes a heroic battle in which he fights off a flight of evil pieces of processed meat). Unfortunately in the middle of the production, Santa disappears. Are their efforts too late? Are the Belcher kids doomed to stay on the naughty list forever? And will Louise learn that there’s something more important than getting your own personal shark for Christmas?
Nice-Capades is a slightly weaker Christmas episode than the last two Bob’s Burgers Christmas editions (The touching “Father of the Bob” and the immortal “Christmas in the Car” will perhaps never be topped for quality), but remains entertaining. The show’s smart enough to ground its observations and concerns in Louise’s hidden faith, the true believer lying under her tough exterior. And the greedy and selfish side of her surfaces as well, to stop the treacle from becoming too overwhelming. Tina and Gene are somewhat less concerned about their status on Santa’s bad side then they are about helping their sister out, which is nice. Bob and Linda each have a moment to shine, though they mostly do supporting work. The episode MVPs are the Fischoeder brothers, whose ridiculous ice dancing and terribly inappropriate outfits and jokes are so very wrong, and so very them. You will likely never be able to forget the sight of Felix Fischoeder skating about in a skintight leotard any time soon.
Henry Winkler puts out a good performance as the Santa in question, muted but warm-hearted, just the right mix of crust and soft-spoken tenderness. Indeed, the episode itself also manages to maintain that mix of crustiness and gentle humor, mixing silliness, tenderness, and sass with the right . You might wonder why Bob and Linda just don’t tell the kids there’s no such thing as Santa – but that’s the kind of question that would only rise to the lips of a curmudgeon. For everyone else, this episode will likely touch the heart even though it roams in the shadows of past greatness.
“Shirts that Say Stuff”.
A very cute and decently funny Christmas folly from Bob’s Burgers, with heart and humor. It’s not quite as punchy as previous editions but still gives off a cheery holiday glow.