'Bob's Burgers' review: Simultaneously tasteless and appetizing
This makes the debut of "Bob's Burgers," sandwiched between "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy," somewhat auspicious.
On paper, it seems to fit the model that's worked for the network so far. "Bob" follows the proprietor of a less-than-successful restaurant, which employs his wife and three young children. The dysfunctional family dynamic is right at home here.
And if the show maintains the kind of humor established in its first outing -- with cannibalism, pedophiles and autism all fair game for laughs -- it will likely be the lineup's biggest boundary-pusher, a title previously held by "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy."
But where "Bob" deviates from its more established neighbors is tone. The delivery is decidedly deadpan, thanks in large part to H. Jon Benjamin's signature dry fashion. It's a stretch from his other current show (FX's "Archer") but quite similar to his role of Coach John McGuirk during the 1999-2004 run of "Home Movies."
This has a lot to do with "Bob" creator Lauren Bouchard, who previously helmed "Home Movies" with Brendon Small. The two series share more than cast and crew. Just as with "Home Movies," "Bob" draws its biggest laps from the somewhat gratuitous back and forth between characters, each starved for attention and frustrated with their family.
Bob and his family don't ever seem to really be listening to one another, though, so much as using conversation as an excuse to take pleasure in the sound of their own voices. Those voices are all familiar in their own right. In addition to Benjamin, comedians Kristen Schaal (Louise), Eugene Mirman (Gene), Dan Mintz (Tina) and John Roberts (Linda) all make up the other members of the Belcher clan.
The results are funny -- very funny, actually, if you don't mind unabashed tastelessness and a lack of plot. The latter might be "Bob's Burgers" biggest disadvantage. FOX's other animations are all tight and confident in their identity, where "Bob" sort of stumbles out of the gate, unsure if its trying to be to fit in or aspire to the more nonsensical 'toons over on Adult Swim.
If you're all intrigued by the series, then it would probably serve you to watch. It's nothing extraordinary, but it's certainly worth checking in on throughout the 13-episode run.