I love Linda Belcher, the mom on of our favourite shows, Bob’s Burgers. To me, there has never been a more family friendly, loving cast of colourful characters. The jokes and the writing has never failed us, even after watching eleven seasons over the past few years. I’ll admit, sometimes Scott and I look at each other during episodes in disbelief because it’s as though the writers have been watching us for inspiration.
Linda is hilarious, she loves to sing and loves her family fiercely. She and her husband Bob own and run a burger place. She has names and stories for the raccoons in the alley behind their restaurant and the apartment above where they live. She doesn’t care if anyone else likes her, as long as her family is relatively happy and healthy. There is one episode in particular that I have watched with my boys on my birthday for the past few years. And last night, at the end of my 45th birthday, we watched it again.
It starts with Linda waking up alone in bed, it’s her birthday too. She tries to say how old she is but can only say the first part – ‘forty’ – but can’t quite get the second one out. She hates her birthday, unlike me. Her three kids come in with a crummy breakfast of burnt toast and eggs while her husband is in the kitchen mixing mayonnaise and lemon juice in hopes of making her an at-home spa. The kids are sort of helping, Bob can’t quite get things to work. They keep Linda in her room but she’s getting stir crazy. Read already, I always say but sadly, Linda is not a reader. She asks them if she can sneak out to go shopping because no one picked up any milk so they let her go, happy for the extra time.
What follows is a horrible day for Linda. She has to stand in line behind an inconsiderate woman with takes forever at the cash register and then locks her purse, keys and phone in the car. She gets gum in her hair and splits open the back of her pants. She goes back into the store but the clerk won’t let her use their phone. She grabs a plastic bag and makes a diaper to wear over her ripped pants.
She gets on the wrong bus, ends up walking through a field miles from home, gets sprayed by a skunk twice. Meanwhile, her crew at home gets worried when she doesn’t answer her phone and goes off in search of her, realizing that something must be wrong and with every minute she is having and worse and worse birthday. They find her car at the grocery store, worry about the melting chocolate popsicles and also think they are already forgetting what she looks like – it really is hilarious.
While Linda hikes towards home, her children take Bob to the places she goes with them often but he doesn’t know about – a bakery where she’s recently been banned for taking too many free samples, a pet store where the parrots mimic her, and a hotel with a fancy bathroom where everyone who works there loves her and doesn’t mind that she comes in once a week or so to use the facilities because she loves the potpourri. It’s fun seeing Bob’s amazement as he learns new things about his wife, no matter how crazy.
Our heros finally make it home and the spa is a success! The show ends with Linda in the bath they’d planned for her, the only difference is it’s in tomato juice and not the flower petals they’d collected. Her son dips his grilled cheese in the bath while they apologize for the terrible day she had.
But she loved it, she says it was the best birthday ever! She kicked it’s butt and wants to have a challenge like this every year. Bob tells her how amazing it is to keep being surprised by her. It ends with her telling the kids to get Mom the vodka! And that’s the show I watch every year.
I don’t want that challenge, I’m happy to end my birthday just by watching but I love her spirit, her family and I think what I love most is how my love for Linda Belcher is just mine and not something trending online. Something that I love, something my family laughs at when she reminds them of me, and a show we can share and see the love we have for each other reflected back at us.