Bob’s Burgers Review: “A River Runs Through Bob” (Season 4, Episode 1)

bobs burgers s04e01

Season four of Bob’s Burgers opens with an episode far from the burger joint itself, as the Belcher clan attempts a camping trip. The distance from the typical setting and the regular supporting characters works ideally as a premiere, because it allows the characters to be themselves. Nothing to influence them but each other, and that woodsy air.

Further, because Bob and Linda quickly get separated from Tina, Gene, and Louise by the nefarious river, the family is divided into its two most adorable groupings: power-couple Bob and Linda, and the three best-friend siblings.

The episode opens with Bob boasting about his camping skills, and when he eats a tiny, undercooked fish instead of some chili from the survivalist campers nearby, it’s obvious that everything will go horribly wrong. This puts Linda in the unique opportunity to be the one to save the day, putting a fresh spin on the show’s normal forumla.

As Bob hilariously refuses to admit to even his own diarrhea, loving Linda leads the couple back to safety. It’s refreshing to see Linda in a commanding role, as opposed to being a simple compliment to Bob. And as always, John Roberts’ voice work for Linda is spot-on as the frustrated, but empowered, wife.

The siblings Belcher try to rescue their parents, with the help of Tina’s Thunderbird Girls Handbook and some literature from the previously mentioned survivalist campers: “Don’t Survive, Sur-thrive: Apocatips for the Apocalypse.” The three fall immediately into their sibling caste, as Louise commands, Gene encourages, and Tina makes awkward sounds. Their dynamic is as delightfully strange as in previous episodes, continuing to provide the weird foundation for the show’s particular sense of humor.

This premiere also has multiple musical numbers, which is something that Bob’s Burgers always does perfectly. The first is the cute, folksy montage sing-along song that plays as the parents and the kids go in opposite directions to find each other. Later on, the “horny hermits” play a sensual, salsa cover of “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” and the credits roll over one of Tina’s cheery Thunderbirds songs.

While the animated counterparts to Bob’s Burgers occasionally do musical numbers, none of them are as unique, varied, and just plain awkward. The music is one of the aspects that sets Bob’s Burgers apart from the other cartoons, and this season premiere has plenty of it, given the 22 minutes of time allotted.

In the end, the story wraps up when the whole family works together to escape the survivalist campers and then the wilderness reserve altogether, in a scene that is both goofy and heartwarming.

Bob’s Burgers is a great show because it focuses on five very well-defined, strange characters, and the premiere respects them all. Whoever your favorite character is, he or she was granted a variety of idiosyncratic quotes and moments in this episode, ensuring that fans will be pleased with the opening of season four.

What did you think of the Bob’s Burgers premiere? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.