It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me in real life or has listened to my podcast that I am a huge fan of the Fox show Bob's Burgers. While every single episode has its merits, I particularly love the holiday episodes, and I find myself rewatching every year to celebrate.
Of course I have *opinions*, so please enjoy my personal ranking of all the Bob's Burgers Valentine's Day episodes!
7: bed, bob, and beyond (s9e13)
I love the episodes where the kids get to each tell their own stories, and this one is super fun. Bob and Linda are fighting on Valentine's Day, but the kids need them to be in a good mood so they can break the news that they broke Gene's bed jumping on it. So the kids take turns describing the plot of this ridiculous movie, a combination of love story tropes, to lift their spirits.
This one isn't my favorite because the plot is super all over the place (lol kids amirite). The tone is also not incredibly romantic with the fighting and the guilt about the bed. However, it's hilarious as all episodes are. I love when the kids team up together for something like this. It's definitely worth a watch, and try to catch the Notting Hill, Speed, and Titanic nods.
6: romancing the beef (s11ep11)
In another not-very-romantic Valentine's Day episode, Louise convinces Bob to capitalize on the holiday by hiking up prices and taking walk-ins for those sorry couples who failed to make dinner reservations. The B plot follows Tina attending Tammy's Anti-Valentine's Day party, then panicking as it quickly devolves into a make-out party.
This episode is fun entirely because of the kids. The eighth graders (particularly Tammy and Jocelyn) are fucking hilarious always, and Tammy's flimsy excuse for a make-out party is so classic her. Meanwhile, Louise and Gene are giving their all at the restaurant. The highlight of this episode is Gene creeping up on couples, wearing only a diaper and wings to portray Cupid, and singing "It's okay; we're just children watching you."
5: the gene and courtney show (s6e7)
In classic Bob's Burgers Valentine's Day fashion, this episode is a shit-show. Gene and Courtney take over the morning announcements because they're hilarious together--until they rekindle their romance and lose their touch. Meanwhile, Tina is (for some fucking reason) in charge of the carnations program at her school, and she tears all the valentines apart desperately trying to see if someone has sent her one.
I'll admit, it's nice to see Tina stress about fucking up for once! She's always doing dumb shit like this and never seems to care, really. Louise and Linda come to her aid in her moment of need, which is a group of characters we don't often see in this series. Girl power! Gene and Courtney are so fun to watch, not because they're actually funny, but because they're actually pretty good together. This one is super fun to watch for the kids' take on Valentine's Day.
4: Bob actually (S7e9)
This episode follows every single romantic subplot it could possibly find in the world of Bob's Burgers! So if there's one plot line you're not into (*ahem* Keira Knightley's plot in Love Actually) it's no big deal, because you can just wait for a better plot line to roll around (the prime minister and his employee, anyone?). The two main story threads involve Bob learning to dance to impress Linda and Tina having diarrhea all day while Jimmy Jr. is trying to get romantic with her at long last.
While I don't love the gross plot lines (this isn't the only episode centered around diarrhea lol), this episode still has a ton to offer. I mean, who wouldn't want to see Bob do a dance routine for Linda? Plus, you'll get to see lots of minor characters getting short moments to shine. Definitely don't miss this one!
3: v for valentine-detta (S8E8)
Jimmy Jr. has asked another girl out on a date, and put her photo in the picture frame Tina made him! (The audacity of men, right?) So Linda forfeits her "romantic" date (in a hot pink Hummer limo) with Bob to take her daughters out for a night of forgetting all about boys! The B plot literally only features Bob and Gene getting stuck in a ridiculous situation together (about 20 feet up in the air) and then bonding over it.
Of course we all love this episode, because . . . NAT! Everyone loves Nat Kinkle, the legendary limo driver etc., the "yes" gal, the only person Louise has ever truly respected. The night goes absolutely sideways at her egging on, and I love this episode for that. Plus, we almost never get to see Bob and Gene truly bonding, so that's nice as well. In the end, this episode is a great homage to all the non-romantic relationships in life that don't get their own special day.
2: can't buy me math (s5e11)
Who doesn't love a fake dating gone wrong trope? Tina and Darryl pretend to date so they can catch the attention of their actual crushes. Of course, Tina loses sight of the endgame and tricks herself into thinking she's into Darryl--when in fact, of course, she's only really into the concept of having a boyfriend. Meanwhile, Linda has planned several full days of Valentine's Day activities for her and Bob to take the pressure off the big day. And none of those activities are particularly . . . good, or fun, or romantic.
Y'all know by now I love the eighth graders, and this episode is no exception. The ridiculousness of Aziz Ansari's Darryl comes out in full force in this episode, and the kids are all over their charade. Watching two nerds fall in love gives all the rest of us hope. Besides that, it's fun to see Bob and Linda sort of fail to get in the Valentine's Day mood, just like every other year. Their activities end with a bang! (Not that kind of bang!) You simply gotta watch this gem of an episode.
1: My fuzzy valentine (s3e13)
This episode is particularly absurd, as the kids manage to convince Bob to let them skip school to help him track down Linda the perfect Valentine's Day present--a "love test-o-meter" that he remembers from their first date. The B plot in this episode is funnier than the A plot, as Linda is left alone in the restaurant all day and decides to host speed dating. Police Chief Bosco crashes the whole thing and turns it into a grim affair in which the participants confess terrible things about themselves to find someone who can stomach the worst of them. In classic Linda fashion, she doesn't let go of being in charge easily, and it ends with her stealing a cop's gun. Because, you know, she's just passionate.
There are a ton of reasons My Fuzzy Valentine makes the top of my list. It's the first Valentine's Day episode the show ever aired, so it has that really charming early-Bob's quality. I honestly think the earlier episodes are more absurd as well, which makes for excellent storytelling. Absolutely ridiculous, hilarious, and classic, this is by far my favorite Valentine's Day episode.
I absolutely adore the Bob's Burgers holiday specials, and the Valentine's Day ones are no exception. I plan to also compile a list of my favorite non-V-Day romantic episodes to help you get in the mood! (What mood? I certainly couldn't tell you.)
Which episode is your favorite? Let me know in the comments! And
The Linguistic facts of life
Facts from Rosina Lippi-Green (in bold); embellishment by me.
All spoken language changes over time.
Language is constantly changing in so many ways. Slang comes and goes; industry jargon has to be expanded to accommodate new industry. Society is always shifting, and language must change with it. Can you imagine trying to have a conversation about your computer issues in Latin? You'd be hard pressed to convey the problem clearly and directly. Don't resist this change; instead, celebrate and embrace it!
All spoken languages are equal in linguistic terms.
From your perspective, you speak "normally" or maybe even "correctly." But from someone else's perspective in another location or culture, they are speaking "normally." Far in the northern United States, people speak differently from how they speak down south. Beyond that, certain age, gender, interest, ethnic (etc.) groups speak differently. Some individuals even speak differently in different situations (codeswitching). All of these different methods of speaking--these different dialects--are equally valid in linguistic terms. They all have grammatical systems (even if those systems don't match what you were taught in school), and they are all shared among a community. It's wrong to judge someone based on how they speak because it's wrong to consider one dialect as subordinate to another.
Grammatical and communicative effectiveness are distinct and separate issues.
In school, you (hopefully) learn some grammar to hone your writing skills. What you may not have learned is that the grammar of how you speak is completely different, and oftentimes spoken grammar is more creative with greater opportunity for variation. A great example of this is a classic from some African-American Vernacular English varieties: "Let me aks you a question." You may have learned the correct spelling "ask" for this word. It's important in writing to have this coded system of spelling to avoid large-scale miscommunications in industry, etc. But if someone were to say this sentence to you, you'd understand what they meant. That's all you need for "communicative effectiveness"-- to be understood.
TL;DR: It's not cool to be pedantic about how people speak if you understand them.
Written language and spoken language are historically, structurally, and functionally fundamentally different creatures.
Language is a biological imperative; all humans seek it, and if they're not provided it, they make it up. Writing is a learned skill. Why does this matter? While the brain is hardwired for language (like it's hardwired for eating), it is not hardwired for writing (like how it's not hardwired for algebra). Some people will be naturally skilled at writing and pick it up easily, but some other people might struggle with it their entire lives. Some people may even have a learning, physical, or other disability that prevents them from writing in some way or another. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself or anyone else about your writing skills. Furthermore, don't apply the same rules you've learned for writing to the spoken word. They're not the same at all! If you listen closely, there are a ton of tiny differences and some pretty major differences between the two.
Variation is intrinsic to all spoken language at every level.
Variation in language is the norm, not the exception. When a language stops changing, it dies. Remember Latin. Remember its fate, now relegated to high school classrooms as reluctant children prepare for their SATs. Celebrate language's change around you, and be part of its journey!