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Life Lessons I Learned from “Bob’s Burgers”

In my family, there is myself, two parents—my mom and my dad—and my two siblings, of which I’m in the middle. We’ve all been huge fans of the Fox TV show “Bob’s Burgers” since the start, which just surpassed its 10-year anniversary this past Jan. Not only are we loyal watchers of the cartoon, we often joke about just how similar our family is to the Belchers. It started when we began to notice similarities in our mom to the mom of the show, Linda, and it only went on from there.

While those two share an optimistic spirit and unending support for their loved ones, Gene Belcher (the middle child and only son) and I relate as the light-hearted and comedic presence in the family; both Bob Belcher and my dad are the hardworking, sensible members of the family; my older sister, Abby, and Tina Belcher are awkward yet confident; and the youngest child, Andy, and Louise Belcher are the troublemakers and most outspoken of all of us. Essentially, if you had asked me to describe my family, I’d tell you to think of the Belchers. 

“Bob’s Burgers” is a wonderful show in its own right, but I think having this emotional connection to it makes it all the more meaningful to me. It seems silly, but all the jokes, plotlines and motifs hit just a little bit harder. This is all to say that “Bob’s Burgers” has taught me a myriad of life lessons in the time it’s been constant in my life.

For one, the show is incredibly positive in its humor in more ways than one. While other cartoon comedies may look to find a punch-line in outrage or offense, the comedy of “Bob’s Burgers” is far smarter and subtler. All characters in the show are generally accepting and understanding of those with whom they share differences, and when they are not, they themselves are the joke. 

And that some things just aren’t worth getting worked up about. As with most TV shows, of course, the scenarios the Belchers often find themselves in are more dramatized than real life; however, it always seems to happen that the characters are able to up and move on.

While the purpose of this pattern is no doubt to keep the show’s episodic structure going, it serves as a reminder that there are very few things in life that are big enough to halt your growth, and you are able to move on from just about anything. Throughout the series, the family faces death multiple times and without fail, the instance is forgotten by the next episode. While a similar situation in real life is unlikely, it keeps me going with smaller situations in my own life.

Finally, that family is everything. In nearly every episode, no matter how far they stray, whatever situations they (often comically) get themselves into or whatever may happen, the Belchers always come back to each other at the end. They spare judgment on each other when no one is threatened with harm and shower each other with unconditional love.

Like when Tina became best friends with a goose, known affectionately as Bruce. It’s just weird—but the Belchers gave no judgment. Some might not feel the same way of their immediate family, an understandable notion, but for me, my family is the groundwork on which I lay my life. I’m very lucky to have a supporting and loving family, a la the Belchers, and this show just reminds me of my graciousness.

If you haven’t yet seen the show, do yourself a favor and give it a try.


Emily Richardson is a psychology and women's studies student at Virginia Commonwealth University and HCVCU's Senior Editor for Fall 2021. She has contributed to a number of independent publications and has a passion for music, writing, and social issues.
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