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There's never been a major character like her on the small-screen.
May 6, 2014 10:16 PM   Subscribe

Why Tina of Bob's Burgers Can't Be Ignored
"The eldest Belcher child is a unique character in the world of modern television. And this is a very good thing."
posted by davidstandaford (71 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great piece and right on the money w/r/t to Tina, but also this: "the Belchers are a family of creatives stuck in a class/culture that's not built to recognize or encourage any of them."

Nailed it.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:23 PM on May 6 [41 favorites]


Yeah, I hadn't thought of the Belchers like that but it's quite accurate.

Though a society that recognizes and encourages Louise's creativity might be a terrifying one. She'd make a truly excellent supervillain.
posted by NoraReed at 10:35 PM on May 6 [10 favorites]


Her use of The Game as a practicing PUA w/ the boys never fails to entertain. "Hey, did you see those chihuahuas fighting outside?"
posted by Lukenlogs at 10:35 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Shame there weren't any women available to play Tina. Or the mother.
posted by one_bean at 10:47 PM on May 6 [7 favorites]


Oh hey, MovieBob. I've occasionally thought You are wrong about Sucker Punch (part 2) might make a good FPP, but I couldn't come up with a framing that wasn't antagonistically contrarian. There's plenty of good stuff amongst his videos and columns at the Escapist, especially for comics enthusiasts.
posted by figurant at 10:50 PM on May 6


Did Daría not air in this author's timeline?

What do you mean, fifteen years ago?

Is this what it feels like to be old?
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 11:00 PM on May 6 [31 favorites]


Did Daría not air in this author's timeline?

I had the exact same thought. Actually went back and searched on each page to make sure I hadn't missed a crucial paragraph somewhere.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:04 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Shame there weren't any women available to play Tina. Or the mother.

Yes, similar to how there were apparently no men available to play Bart Simpson, Rocky the Squirrel, Barney Rubble, Bobby Hill, Tommy Pickles, Dexter, or for that matter, Ollie and Andy Pesto from Bob's Burgers.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:22 PM on May 6 [71 favorites]


Did Daría not air in this author's timeline?

He even mentioned "Roseanne" but is also apparently unaware of the Darlene character on that show.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:22 PM on May 6 [8 favorites]


He even mentioned "Roseanne" but is also apparently unaware of the Darlene character on that show.

I don't think anyone is pretending those characters don't exist and aren't important. I kind of think this piece was perhaps a victim of having a low word-count to work with.

I actually think this piece that made the rounds today does a better job of catching some of the nuances that make Tina in particular such a special character and one that is show doing things positively in a way that that neither Daria (which I loved at the right age) or Darlene (from what I can recall of Roseanne) ever were.
posted by sparkletone at 11:37 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


What stands out to me about Bob's Burgers is that so many of the characters are shamelessly exuberant. They get excited about things (almost everything, really). In an age of ubiquitous sarcasm and cynicism, where no one is allowed to enjoy things unironically, it’s refreshing to see characters that actually possess some joie de vivre without it being a point of mockery. Tina’s adolescent angst is funny, but her moments of precocious confidence are even funnier, and not in a way that seems overtly derisive.
posted by dephlogisticated at 12:38 AM on May 7 [32 favorites]


One of the great things about Bob's Burgers is the lack of sibling rivalry.
posted by Pendragon at 12:49 AM on May 7 [13 favorites]


I don't think anyone is pretending those characters don't exist and aren't important. I kind of think this piece was perhaps a victim of having a low word-count to work with.

It kinda does though. It spends more than a bit of its word budget in the first couple pages setting up the premise that every other show has never had a character like this and handled girls in one of three ways, bla bla bla. That was when it really should have mentioned you know, other shows that have done this.

It qualifies what exactly it's saying later on by giving examples of stuff that yea, i really haven't seen or heard of being done before that's pretty progressive. But it kinda puffs itself up a little more than it needed to by just going "there's never been anything remotely like this!"
posted by emptythought at 1:24 AM on May 7


How about Sailor Moon? A lot of the girls I grew up with saw those characters as role models. From what I understand it was chock full of strong female characters, adolescent angst, and budding teenage sexuality.
posted by foobaz at 1:30 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


and yea i mean, if anime is fair game there's tons of material.
posted by emptythought at 1:36 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


I think the trouble with that comparison is that strong female characters in animé, despite being granted a good amount of agency and individuality, are often (usually?) still subject to being used for fanservice - and so certain aspects of them are sanded and polished into the template of the 'perfect female' who is suitable for that use. These characters also often embody wish fulfillment, throwing off the shackles of mundane reality to live in an exciting world of fantastic adventures.

In many ways Tina is the exact opposite of that... despite being so different from the idealized lives and selves that inhabit TV, magazines and her dreams, despite so frequently displaying 'anti-fanservice', she sporadically puts herself out into the real world and tries to make something of it and herself. What a great character.

And then of course there's Louise, who don't GAF what's real or not as long as it's awesome. :E
posted by Drexen at 2:44 AM on May 7 [7 favorites]


I have friends who've gotten a lot out of stuff like Sailor Moon, but I think--well, we need a lot of things. We need strong female characters who are pretty to establish that attractive women need to not be written off as airheads or as only existing for the male gaze. Those aren't words you know at thirteen, maybe, but they're concepts you identify with. On the other hand, we need strong female characters who aren't pretty for the reminder that the value we have is not tied to our looks and that it still exists even when we don't fit conventional models of being attractive. We need all those things.

On the whole, I think this is just an article that is, like most, based on the author's experience of media, which, like most, does not include every piece ever produced. It's got some good content. Honestly, what really pleases me is that I'm used to these pieces needing to be written by women, so for an effort by a guy who doesn't seem to be used to addressing these things to address these things, and at the Escapist to an audience who doesn't hear about these things often... I'm pleased. For most of that target audience, yeah, this probably is unique.
posted by Sequence at 2:52 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


Tina is the best. And I get the criticism about not mentioning Daria or forgetting about Darlene from Roseanne, but I think that Daria was not quite on the same level as Tina. Daria to me was always the idealized snarky version of what teenagers were supposed to be like, and despite her positioning herself as better than the cool kids, or at least indifferent, I never quite bought it.
posted by Kitteh at 3:55 AM on May 7 [10 favorites]


Having recently mainlined Daria, I don't think she really buys it, either--there are definitely points where she does things that get more socially acceptable and ends up retreating just because they don't really fit with her chosen identity. But it was definitely a chosen identity. She wasn't unpopular, she was just not Popular.
posted by Sequence at 4:17 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


In the original pilot / short, Tina was a boy named Daniel. I don't know who made the decision to gender-swap the character, but watching the first episodes with that in mind you can see that the writers probably just kept the jokes the same (written for a boy) because it was funny to have a girl say them, then over time made more female-specific variations on them, because as it turns out, it works. And I agree with the piece, makes them better.

Daria and Darlene are both important characters of girls at that age, but I don't think either of them ever did what this article is praising - have an adolescent sexual fantasy life in all its messiness. There was no Darlene-equivalent episode of Rosanne to go with the one where DJ discovered masturbating, for example. She was a funny, healthy, nuanced character, and she was very real, but they never let her play in that sandbox. She dated, and had sex, but as far as I can recall the messy finding yourself parts were all left out (when Darlene got her period it was all about the scariness and not being like the boys anymore, which was a great way to approach it, but it definitely left the feminine side of Darlene's character off the table).
posted by Mchelly at 4:31 AM on May 7 [8 favorites]


In an age of ubiquitous sarcasm and cynicism, where no one is allowed to enjoy things unironically, it’s refreshing to see characters that actually possess some joie de vivre without it being a point of mockery.

what its been like ten years of people writing about how irony is over
posted by atoxyl at 5:05 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


what its been like ten years of people writing about how irony is over

nine-eleven. Nine. Eleven.
posted by vitabellosi at 5:12 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


nine-eleven. Nine. Eleven.

Whoa dude, too soon.
posted by Phssthpok at 5:35 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


Tina's zombie friendfiction never fails to crack me up.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 5:43 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


despite her positioning herself as better than the cool kids, or at least indifferent, I never quite bought it

I'm a little fuzzy on the details this far on from the show but I know there were at least a few episodes where the lesson was something like "you don't need to compromise yourself, but you need to not be such an insufferable snob all the time too."
posted by sparkletone at 5:44 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


The final 30 seconds of every episode of Bob's Burgers is better than 90% of everything else on TV, and that's just the credits.
posted by echocollate at 5:45 AM on May 7 [11 favorites]


The final 30 seconds of every episode of Bob's Burgers is better than 90% of everything else on TV, and that's just the credits.

Aunt Gayle's poetry set to music at the end of the most recent episode killed me even more than it had in context.
posted by sparkletone at 5:50 AM on May 7 [5 favorites]


Having recently mainlined Daria, I don't think she really buys it, either--there are definitely points where she does things that get more socially acceptable and ends up retreating just because they don't really fit with her chosen identity.

There are moments when Daria has realizations that her chosen identity/social role contains some of the same elements that she dislikes from the 'popular' crowd and sometimes is hypocritical, but the show doesn't don't take it further. Daria seemed to make a rational choice at some point earlier in her life that the social position she identifies with most is simply the one that gives her the most freedom to be who she wants to be. Tina, on the other hand, seems to have decided that she will be herself first, and then consider how that works with the rest of the world as a secondary priority. Tina seems to see these social roles as kind of a take-what-you-want salad bar as the moment requires. Tina's is a tougher road in the years ahead, I think, but perhaps with a chance of it being much more satisfying reward in the future than Daria's choice.
posted by chambers at 5:52 AM on May 7 [5 favorites]


In an age of ubiquitous sarcasm and cynicism, where no one is allowed to enjoy things unironically, it’s refreshing to see characters that actually possess some joie de vivre without it being a point of mockery.

All you can eat burgers and fries and still being the same size as the day before would fill me with the joy of life as well.
posted by srboisvert at 6:14 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Pendragon: "One of the great things about Bob's Burgers is the lack of sibling rivalry."

What? There's tons of sibling rivalry. The important part is that they all actually happen to like each other. When was the last time you saw that on TV?

It's somewhat disarming that the most emotionally-honest show on television is a cartoon on Fox; even moreso that one of TV's most interesting characters is a teenage girl voiced by a man on that same show.

The writers clearly love the characters that they've created. They're the sort of people that you'd want to be friends with in real life. We laugh with the characters, rather than at them. They're goofball weirdos that are never, ever mocked.
posted by schmod at 6:17 AM on May 7 [6 favorites]


All you can eat burgers and fries and still being the same size as the day before would fill me with the joy of life as well.

Not just fries -- surprise pocket fries. The best kind of food.
posted by inigo2 at 6:27 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Yes, similar to how there were apparently no men available to play Bart Simpson, Rocky the Squirrel, Barney Rubble, Bobby Hill, Tommy Pickles, Dexter, or for that matter, Ollie and Andy Pesto from Bob's Burgers.

posted by Atom Eyes at 2:22 AM on May 7 [24 favorites +] [!]

When was Barney voiced by a female? He was originally voiced by Daws Butler and then Mel Blanc, both men. What am I missing?
posted by Toekneesan at 6:31 AM on May 7


One of the great things about Bob's Burgers is the lack of sibling rivalry.

What? There's tons of sibling rivalry. The important part is that they all actually happen to like each other. When was the last time you saw that on TV?


The TV version of sibling rivalry has two options: A) they clearly don't like each other (Malcolm in the Middle), or B) they are so different that they have no overlapping interests and have to be forced into situations where they exist together and are moving in the same direction (Brady Bunch) (or both, as in Married With Children).

The Belcher kids like each other and are not only willing to ignore their own interests to help each other deal with whatever problem has come up, but will almost always get just as enthused about it as the person who first encountered the problem.
posted by Etrigan at 7:05 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


What? There's tons of sibling rivalry.

What I mean is that the kids don't always fight. They seem to really get along with each other.
posted by Pendragon at 7:07 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


I was a meh on the show till I saw the episode with the wine-tasting train, oh my god. Tina of course was great in that too. It's a good show, but one of those that hits so many nerves per episode that it's a little stressful to watch sometimes; a little too much cringe-humor can get to me.
posted by emjaybee at 7:07 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Yes, similar to how there were apparently no men available to play Bart Simpson, Rocky the Squirrel, Barney Rubble, Bobby Hill, Tommy Pickles, Dexter, or for that matter, Ollie and Andy Pesto from Bob's Burgers.

And Emperor Palpatine.
posted by grobstein at 7:11 AM on May 7


Not only do the kids actually like each other, but they have one another's backs when something-- anything-- happens.
posted by RainyJay at 7:13 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


When was Barney voiced by a female? He was originally voiced by Daws Butler and then Mel Blanc, both men. What am I missing?
posted by Toekneesan at 9:31 AM on May 7 [+] [!]

The forest for the trees?
posted by bowmaniac at 7:36 AM on May 7 [9 favorites]


A lot of young male characters are played by adult women because adult women can do a more convincing youthful voice than many adult men. Having an adult man play a teenaged girl is an artistic choice, and one I find nonsensical and grating enough to turn me off from the show.
posted by Zalzidrax at 7:49 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Having an adult man play a teenaged girl is an artistic choice, and one I find nonsensical and grating enough to turn me off from the show.

That's a perfectly valid choice on your part. I think the pushback on the original comment is from its implication that the producers are "girlfacing" a character rather than making that artistic choice because it's funny, especially given that the exact same show has male characters played by women.
posted by Etrigan at 7:58 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


I found it jarring at first but it grew on me pretty quickly. I'm at the point where I just hear Tina instead of Dan Mintz doing Tina's voice, like, "Oh okay, that's just what Tina sounds like." It definitely is a little weird but I can't imagine any other voice fitting how awkward and singular the show allows Tina to be.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:59 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


I think the pushback on the original comment is from its implication that the producers are "girlfacing" a character rather than making that artistic choice because it's funny, especially given that the exact same show has male characters played by women.

I think the incongruity between her appearance and her voice also nicely plays to the awkwardness of puberty.
posted by echocollate at 8:12 AM on May 7 [8 favorites]


Having an adult man play a teenaged girl is an artistic choice, and one I find nonsensical and grating enough to turn me off from the show.

That feels like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Tina is my favorite character on TV in a long time. She's ridiculous and as uncomfortable as David Brent except totally lovable. The recent My Little Pony episode should have been creepy except she radiates this craziness that, while it doesn't give her a feeling of control over the situation or her life, it prevents anyone else from feeling in control either. She's an entropy generator.
posted by yerfatma at 8:18 AM on May 7 [9 favorites]


And in case you haven't seen it, Tina's Pinterest page is worth a peek.
posted by yerfatma at 8:20 AM on May 7 [15 favorites]


Lord knows I love Daria, but I think that while Daria explored some aspects of sexuality, etc of the adolecent girl, Tina really goes balls to the wall with it. (Actually, it was more Jane that symbolized that aspect.)

Tina is one big hormone, just like all girls at that age. What I like is that she goes back and forth between wanting to be validated by boys and just going for it and being herself no matter what. Sure, she wants Jimmy Jr to notice her, but she also wants him to like her just the way she is, no changes required. She may experiment with make up, or alternate identities, but in the end, she's perfectly at peace with who she is, and if you don't like it, it's your problem, not hers.

Tina is sort of my idol now. But oddly enough, I'm not driven to write fan fiction about her. Yet.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:20 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


Daria and Darlene are good examples of well written teen girl characters we could relate to, but they were still a trope. TV is full of sassy teen girls who buck against the norms and reject the petty concerns of their peers and whatnot. That could easily have been mentioned in the article alongside the princess and the temptress.

Tina is something else, and I love this article so much because it puts the finger exactly on why. She's HORNY in a vague awkward semi-informed way that's painfully familiar. When I was 13, I might have wanted to be like Darlene or Daria, but what came out was Tina. I've never seen another character on TV (or, now that I think of it, any other piece of fiction) that made me feel such pangs of affection for the fucked up little horndog I once was. Tina is a gift.
posted by Freyja at 8:21 AM on May 7 [18 favorites]


Oh and also. The article mentioning "Boyz 4 Now" reminded me to go read reviews of that episode and from various comment sections, I'm glad to see I wasn't the only person who took Louise's urges in that episode to have particular possible implications for how she might turn out as an adult. I don't know if it was intentional on the part of the writers but if so, I thought it fit perfectly with her established character so far, and also went along really well with a show where Tina is allowed to have dreams about (hazily-defined) trysts with two boys and no one makes her feel like a freak for it.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:36 AM on May 7


" I might have wanted to be like Darlene or Daria, but what came out was Tina. I've never seen another character[...] that made me feel such pangs of affection for the fucked up little horndog I once was."

Yes! It reminds me of Judy Blume books back when I was going through puberty and the books were new and super-relevant - they actually get it.
posted by Mchelly at 9:04 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


When was Barney voiced by a female? He was originally voiced by Daws Butler and then Mel Blanc, both men. What am I missing?

You're missing the fact that I'm a dummy and had meant to write Bamm-Bamm Rubble, who has been voiced by a few different women over the years.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:40 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


And in case you haven't seen it, Tina's Pinterest page is worth a peek.

"Have you played this game? Is it any good?"

That destroyed me due to laughter.
posted by entropone at 9:42 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


"The Belchers are a family of creatives stuck in a class/culture that's not built to recognize or encourage any of them."

I have to push back on this, hard, (mostly because I find the entire creative class thing awful). By buying into the idea of a Creative Class (of worthy individuals) and situating the Belchers as "creatives" (subtext, like us) what is he actually saying, about working class people, about poor people?

Are Tina's artistic inclinations not encouraged? Are Gene's (eg. considerable effort are made by their kin to help him put on musicals?). For that matter Jimmy Jr's dancing (why hasn't Jimmy Pesto crushed this?) Or even Bob's own artistic burger-making? The show makes the point over and over again that Bob is an artist, and he's chosen his art despite his class, his city, or his means limiting his deserved public recognition (although Mr. Fischoeder recognizes it).

No. Bob's Burgers makes a completely much more democratic and celebratory point: that art and creativity is something that is available for EVERYONE.
posted by stratastar at 10:05 AM on May 7 [19 favorites]


I've never seen Bob's Burgers but it looks like it will go in my queue now.

I agree that the author didn't give enough credit to Roseanne. When I was a boy, the episode where Darlene gets to second base was very formative. If y'all recall, Darlene and Forgettable One-Off Boy are watching a sporting event alone at home and Darlene makes a characteristic, subversive snark about cheerleaders and they bond over that. It was a shared click moment. (Unless I totally misread the scene, but I don't think so.)

I'd say that I internalized that idea that bonding, humor and subversion of the mainstream are elements in taking that first step. In retrospect, maybe that's part of why I passed up on my likely first chance to go from first to second base during the theatrical release of the original Stargate movie. (I mean, yuck.) Many years later, I had that click moment on a secluded bench overlooking the Willamette river.

That episode of Roseanne also had an amazing birth control speech where young me learned about the various methods and the idea that you can mix and match two methods for the best result. Decades later, that lesson still resonates as well.
posted by Skwirl at 10:07 AM on May 7


[Darlene] was a funny, healthy, nuanced character, and she was very real, but they never let her play in that sandbox. She dated, and had sex, but as far as I can recall the messy finding yourself parts were all left out (when Darlene got her period it was all about the scariness and not being like the boys anymore, which was a great way to approach it, but it definitely left the feminine side of Darlene's character off the table). - Mchelly

The best part of Darlene's character, for me, as a big ole genderqueer who loves that actress Sara Gilbert grew up to be gay, is that Darlene doesn't necessarily have that much of a feminine side. Having Darlene as a queer icon (and I'm definitely not the only person, at least among my friends, who reads her that way, despite her character's heterosexuality) is more important to me than having her be another Well-Rounded Feminine Straight Teen Girl character.

I totally referenced (and screencapped) the "Darlene Gets Her Period" episode for an essay I wrote on genderqueer/gender fluid identities, which got posted to Metafilter while back.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:11 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


The Belchers are a family of creatives stuck in a class/culture that's not built to recognize or encourage any of them."

I have to push back on this, hard, (mostly because I find the entire creative class thing awful). By buying into the idea of a Creative Class (of worthy individuals) and situating the Belchers as "creatives" (subtext, like us) what is he actually saying, about working class people, about poor people?


I don't think he was saying there's a creative class, just that they're all creative people, and that our society (particularly their part of it) isn't equipped to deal with that.

Are Tina's artistic inclinations not encouraged? Are Gene's (eg. considerable effort are made by their kin to help him put on musicals?). For that matter Jimmy Jr's dancing (why hasn't Jimmy Pesto crushed this?) Or even Bob's own artistic burger-making? The show makes the point over and over again that Bob is an artist, and he's chosen his art despite his class, his city, or his means limiting his deserved public recognition (although Mr. Fischoeder recognizes it).

And yet, instead of being encouraged by their school to explore and develop their creativity, we're shown again and again that the kids are stifled creatively outside the home. Bob works a grueling schedule to provide for his family (barely), and his artistry isn't visibly encouraged in any meaningful manner by anyone.

No. Bob's Burgers makes a completely much more democratic and celebratory point: that art and creativity is something that is available for EVERYONE.

I think that was what Moviebob was actually saying, too. He didn't say it wasn't available, he said it wasn't recognized or encouraged, specifically by their class and culture. They're all perfectly free to be creative, as long as they're willing to do it after they've had to pull a shift on the grill, or as long as they don't do it within the confines of their schoolwork, even when that schoolwork is putatively encouraging creativity. The Belchers encourage each other because no one else does, sometimes explicitly.
posted by Etrigan at 10:21 AM on May 7 [5 favorites]


Fair. TBH it feels like a sentence that should have been built-out more, and was thrown in because it was a good open idea.

The point about poverty is real: Tina is not getting introduced to a wider-array of literature, and Gene should be getting music lessons (and a real keyboard), and Louise should be supplied with a boiler-room of penny stock pushers.
posted by stratastar at 10:29 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


The point about poverty is real

Which is another great thing about this show: the Belchers are clearly hanging on by a fucking thread, but you wouldn't necessarily know it from just any random episode, because their socioeconomic class doesn't define everything they do.
posted by Etrigan at 10:40 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


So I guess I should watch this show eh?

Also, completely aside from any considerations of personality, Tina is pretty clearly differentiated from Darlene or Daria because she's not tall, thin, and attractive. She's also younger. And from what I gather, she is in no way 'cool,' which the other two pretty much were.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:03 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


It gets to a key reason that I love the show, which is that it writes its characters so well.
posted by codacorolla at 11:08 AM on May 7


Oh good, a Bob's Burgers thread. I need to vent about the that FUCKING "ANIMATION DOMINATION" FOX PROMO. I don't know what gets shown during the original broadcast but every episode I get from Amazon starts with that same damn ad--"Are you a fan of animation? No you're a fanimation." I FUCKING HATE IT SO MUCH. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

It's even worse than Fox's promo for Dads (which looks so bad I refuse to believe it exists) where the scantily clad woman says "Stop...filing this away."

Anyhoo, Bob's Burgairs is great.
posted by mullacc at 12:06 PM on May 7


I need to vent about the that FUCKING "ANIMATION DOMINATION" FOX PROMO. I don't know what gets shown during the original broadcast but every episode I get from Amazon starts with that same damn ad--"Are you a fan of animation? No you're a fanimation." I FUCKING HATE IT SO MUCH. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

I have never seen this thing of which you speak. Have you considered professional help for your hallucinations?
posted by Etrigan at 12:08 PM on May 7


Etrigan, I can only wish it were my sick, sick mind creating those horrid promos. That would mean that the evil is inside me and not unleashed on the innocent masses.
posted by mullacc at 12:12 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Minor derail:

Looking at Tina's Pinterest board makes me glad that they're (obviously unintentionally) following my advice about how telefilm writers should depict teens on the internet: Do not, do not attempt to mimic 'chatspeak' spelling (hi how r u???). Every instance I've seen does not even start to fulfil the goal of verisimilitude but instead serves to make the writing look dated, artificial, and out of touch.

I've joked that, if I ever was in charge of a film that had a significant chunk of information conveyed through teenagers texting or chatting on the internet, I'd just run a Hunt For Red October-style conceit where the characters just talk in full, complete, correct sentences through their keyboards in a way that respects and supports the tone of their character's voice.
posted by whittaker at 12:32 PM on May 7


"Did Daría not air in this author's timeline? "

The biggest difference is that Daria wasn't funny. Bob's Burgers is routinely hilarious.
posted by klangklangston at 12:34 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


So I guess I should watch this show eh?

YES. Once it fleshes out the characters a bit, it is every bit as good as people are saying.

Tina's 13 or 14 if I recall. Daria isn't much older. I remember plots built around the fact that she couldn't drive (yet). I very clearly remember a "drunk at 14" episode of Roseanne... or maybe it was Darlene's friend but anyway... They're all roughly equivalent in terms of age at least one point in their shows runs. Roseanne was on for a long time and aged its characters of course.

Not in terms of class though. Daria's parents are doing quite well for themselves. The Belchers and Roseanne's family are both working class.

Tina and Daria are both social misfits (though Daria's seems to be more by choice than not, unlike with Tina). I don't remember Darlene's situation that way.
posted by sparkletone at 3:03 PM on May 7


Tina is a misfit, but she isn't really an outcast. Or, at least that doesn't define her character outside of a few interactions with Tammy. I've always liked the fact that Tina seems pretty happy with being herself, and there aren't constantly plotlines about her being unpopular. Quite the opposite: she is even juggling two boys who are interested in her at the same time at one point.
posted by codacorolla at 3:14 PM on May 7


Also, completely aside from any considerations of personality, Tina is pretty clearly differentiated from Darlene or Daria because she's not tall, thin, and attractive. She's also younger. And from what I gather, she is in no way 'cool,' which the other two pretty much were.

I'm legitimately confused that anyone could watch daria and come to the conlusion that she's supposed to be attractive. She's tall and thin, but she's really just supposed to be gangly and awkward.

Her sister is tall/thin/attractive/cool/popular. She isn't though.

Oh good, a Bob's Burgers thread. I need to vent about the that FUCKING "ANIMATION DOMINATION" FOX PROMO. I don't know what gets shown during the original broadcast but every episode I get from Amazon starts with that same damn ad--"Are you a fan of animation? No you're a fanimation." I FUCKING HATE IT SO MUCH. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

I know what you're talking about. Jesus, that whole thing went downhill fast. ADHD posted a couple of funny videos on youtube, then it became(or was revealed to be?) a fox thing, and now it's just... ugh.

The ads for it are even worse than their actual mostly crappy content now too.

It's like fox wanted to get back at adult swim for stealing their thunder with the family guy reruns and other "animated adult comedy" kind of content a few years ago and developed a skunkworx crack team to try and do so. In reality, what they created was the fucking zune.
posted by emptythought at 3:28 PM on May 7 [3 favorites]


Or, at least that doesn't define her character outside of a few interactions with Tammy.

This is true and I think matters but I also think it matters that this is because of an inherent blindspot of Tina's. She doesn't really notice or care. Daria notices and cares but pretends she doesn't. I don't remember Darlene well enough.

This blindspot is, as is so often the case with comedies, played for laughs because it's funny when characters are a certain kind of unselfaware. One of my favorite Tina scenes to date has been her interaction with another kid when they're forced to pair off with each other both hilariously insist that the other is the weirdo that no one likes.

Side note: One of the things I like best about the show though is that it goes for those sorts of jokes, it does so from a place of sympathy for the character rather than being cruel or mocking. It's always clear that the writers love the shit out of Tina (and also so does her family).
posted by sparkletone at 3:35 PM on May 7 [3 favorites]


The museum episode b-plot was all about Tina's social status in school and her own perception of it not matching the reality. So that's one outside of the Tammy episode. And it was great! Because of course a story about Tina's reputation as a big dork ends in her getting the entire class to jump on Team Dork by sheer force of her earnestness and total security in herself.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:32 PM on May 7


Quite like Bob's Burgers for the characters, and I usually am not fond of shows with lots of kids.

Also loved the Archerization of the show.
posted by juiceCake at 8:24 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


I think that the fact that all of the characters on the show will commit to things is pretty fabulous. As a society we have a lot of cool-training that tells you that in order to be cool, you have to be sort of disinterested and ironic and detached and shit, and Bob's Burgers can really be a breath of fresh air because the characters just don't do that.

The most recent episode-- especially the last few minutes of it-- is a great example of that. Everyone is totally willing to go along with a ridiculous plan to help Louise. Even Mr. Yap.

It's a lot like why the bits of Park and Recreation where Andy and April play secret agent games are some of the best bits on the show. Same with Abed and Troy on Community. There's a lot of vulnerability that you have to show in order to do that kind of thing and have fun with it, and it's really nice to see it in characters on TV. They're willing to be dorks, and look like dorks, because it's fun, and sometimes it's a way to help each other.

It's just one ingredient in the whole "positive comedy" thing that Bob's Burgers is doing, but it's a good one.
posted by NoraReed at 12:22 AM on May 8 [4 favorites]


I'm legitimately confused that anyone could watch daria and come to the conlusion that she's supposed to be attractive. She's tall and thin, but she's really just supposed to be gangly and awkward.

If you compare images of Tina and Daria, it becomes pretty clear that one of them is a LOT closer to an idealized body type than the other.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:50 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


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