Being recognized by one’s peers is an honor and all, but the fact that Bob’s Burgers garnered its first Emmy nomination this year means a little more to the fledgling Fox comedy.
“The best thing about it is that it makes it slightly harder for them to cancel us,” creator/executive producer Loren Bouchard tells TVLine. Don’t get him wrong; he greatly appreciates the peer-reviewed love. “But much more important is the survival benefit of just trying to accrue enough value to the network, through ratings and other means, so that they want us to stick around.”
Fans who’ve stuck with the animated sitcom will be rewarded with a guest-star heavy slate of episodes full of Belcher family celebrations… and, of course, mishaps. Read on to hear about the series’ first holiday episodes (which feature a nasty Halloween “trick” and a Mannequin-inspired Christmas tale) and the well-intentioned (though poorly executed) parenting decisions ahead in Season 3, which bows Sunday, Sept. 30 at 8:30/7:30c.
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TVLINE | Let’s talk about Season 3. You get to do holiday episodes this year, because for the first time, you know the dates when the shows will air.
That is correct. We are doing all of the holidays. Where before we did none, now we’re doing every single one… We’ve got a Halloween episode that I think is going to be the second episode that airs. It’s called “Full Bars.” We’re kind of excited about it. It’s got the potential to be our Warriors episode. I don’t know if you remember this movie, it might be before your time. There was this schlocky gang movie. It was in the ’70s. Anyway, the [Belcher] kids go to an island, which is where the rich people live. They kind of lament the fact that Halloween sucks in their neighborhood… It turns out there’s this dark tradition on the island about what happens after the adults get too drunk, and the teenagers kind of go wild in the streets. And [then] our kids have to get off the island.
TVLINE | I assume everyone weathers that storm OK?
The risk is high, because if they catch you, they throw balloons at you full of pee. Yeah. Pee balloons. I’m not going to say what happens. By the way, two great guest stars in that, two guys who aren’t huge names, but they’re really funny: [The State’s] Joe Lo Truglio and Paul Rust.
TVLINE | Kevin Kline shows up again this season.
He just continues to surprise us by being willing to be a recurring on the show. It’s like a strange prank that somebody’s playing on somebody, but we can’t quite figure it out if he’s playing it on us and at some point he’s going to say, “What, are you kidding me? Of course I’m not going to be a recurring character on your show.” Or, possibly we’re playing a prank on him. And if that’s the case, that’s not very nice of us. We are really very glad to have him.
TVLINE | He’s super versatile.
He’s really, really good. And this year, he’s going to sing, too. He plays the landlord, Mr. Fischoeder, and he’s going to sing this musical that Gene writes but that Louise conceives of for her fourth-grade science fair. He sings a duet with Gayle, Linda’s sister… They’re kind of amazing together.
TVLINE | What’s the name of the duet?
The whole episode is called “Topsy,” and the duet is called “Electric Love.” It all has to do with the execution and electrocution of Topsy the elephant, which is a real event that took place in history. Louise becomes sort of fascinated with it, but for her own nefarious reasons. She’s at odds with her fourth grade science substitute teacher because she basically goes on a mission to take down Thomas Edison. Mr. Fischoeder and Gayle figure in prominently and sing an original composition that is, strangely, a love song between a scientist – Edison — and an elephant.
TVLINE | I see that you have Zach Galifianakis in your Christmas episode, because nothing screams “yuletide” like Galifianakis.
That’s right. He’s almost Father Christmas now. He’s obviously really, really funny and also obviously a really talented improviser. And he knows a lot of people in our cast and on our writing staff; he’s a friend to a lot of those guys going way back. He did a fantastic job as this guy that Bob basically inherits along with a storage unit when an uncle dies… It’s kind of like a Miracle on 34th Street, Christmas-magic thing going on. We don’t claim that there’s any real magic, but [it’s] in the great tradition of those movies where you go for the sweetness of “what if” this man could be reunited with his mannequin love?
TVLINE | Are there any Mannequin references?
We ended up, instead of going at the movie, we had the character say, “Like in that movie…”
TVLINE | So no Jefferson Starship anthem?
Not yet, though we haven’t hit post yet. If we have any money left over come Christmas, we’ll pony up for Jefferson Starship. [Laughs]
TVLINE | In an episode called “Bob Fires His Kids,” Parks and Recreation‘s Nick Offerman and Will & Grace‘s Megan Mullally play pot farmers?
[Bob] realizes he didn’t have a good childhood himself because he worked too much. He suddenly realizes he’s become his father and he’s working his kids too hard over the summer. So he fires them and tells them to go out and have a childhood. They kind of hate it. [Laughs] They hate all the freedom and they don’t know what to do with themselves. They stumble into what turns out to be a pot farm, and they get jobs. They go from one family business to another, and [real-life couple] Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally play the husband and wife [running the farm].
TVLINE | You’ve got Bob Odenkirk playing a crooked insurance adjuster. And he’s a crooked lawyer on Breaking Bad…
I know. We didn’t go far from the Breaking Bad character, and I feel kind of bad about that. But we’ve been looking to do something with him for a long time, and this does sort of scream out for him… You know what I think it is about him? It’s his hair. It looks so straight that he has to be crooked.
TVLINE | Jeffrey Tambor is in the Mutiny on the Windbreaker episode, correct?
Jeffrey Tambor is the ship’s captain on a cruise ship that docks in town, and he has a burger while they’re docked — at Bob’s Burgers — and he likes it so much that he wants Bob to be guest chef on the cruise. And Bob’s like, “We can’t take a cruise. We’ve got to run the restaurant.” And his family is disappointed. The captain says, “How about just one night? Cook for me while we’re in port, I’ll get you back to your home before we leave…” and then they set sail while Bob is cooking. His whole family gets shanghaied.
TVLINE | You’ve teased that the Thanksgiving episode is going to be really eventful and that it’ll involve booze, a shooting and a stolen bird.
Yeah. That episode, we hope it will be like our Peanuts Thanksgiving special, but [with a] slightly more adult-farce feel. But we want that one to be our contribution to the genre of Thanksgiving animated specials.
TVLINE | So maybe in 20 years, little kids will stage Thanksgiving school plays where they’re getting shot at while on absinthe and running away with turkeys.
Then we’ll really have done something.