This past run of episodes should cement the consensus: Bob’s Burgers is the best animated show on the air, probably the best sitcom, and a comedy that in its best moments has all the heart and savage satire of a classic scene from The Simpsons. Last night’s Season Three finale, “The Unnatural,” reminded us that it would be a long, painful wait for Season Four, and here’s why.
1. Tina’s elaborate fantasy world. Only the tragically canceled Enlightened could get us so deeply into a character’s conscious (and sub-conscious, and sub-sub-conscious) so gracefully. But cartoons have the advantage of outlandish visuals, and Tina’s trippy journey through the world of espresso addiction was one of the best so far. (See also: her first kiss with Jimmy Pesto Jr.)
2. Linda’s annoying songs. This was one of those character choices that at first was as odd and irritating as it was to the rest of the people on the show. But as the writers doubled down on the tic it has come to seem an integral and hilarious part of the entire family dynamic. "Thank you for loving me! Thank you for being there!"
3. The music overall. Going back to Lucy, Daughter of the Devil and Home Movies and even Dr. Katz, the cartoons of Loren Bouchard have universally included some of the sharpest, catchiest, most patently tuneful but funny songs, and Bob’s Burgers is turning out to be no exception. The bit of Broadway pop that Gene orchestrates in “Topsy” is actually so good that Bob remarks with impressed surprise: “Gene wrote this?”
4. The budding sociopathy of Louise. Bob and Linda Belcher are always too busy to really take into account just what is going on with their children, and with Louise that means overlooking some troubling (and amazing) behavior. Witness season highlight “Boyz 4 Now,” in which she funnels an undesired crush on a boy band superstar into the bewildering desire to slap him across the face, hard. Which she does.
5. His majesty H. Jon Benjamin. While I hated to see the offbeat Jon Benjamin Has a Van get canceled a while back, one has to admit that voiceover work seems to be his calling. And while he’s a fantastic one-liner delivery system in Archer, this show lets him indulge a looser, more improvisational style that imparts a wonderful naturalism to the haywire plots. Even his concerned little ums and ahs are flawlessly deployed. Truly, a master among baritones.