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How The Bob’s Burgers Movie is So Much More Than Just a Long Episode

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The Bob's Burgers Movie poster with the Belcher family

The Bob’s Burgers Movie has finally arrived in theaters. Bob’s Burgers premiered on Fox in 2011 and after a rocky start with critics, has grown into a critical and cult favorite with a passionately loyal fanbase. The basic premise of the series involves the Belcher family, with Bob (Jon. H Benjamin) running a local restaurant alongside his fun-loving wife Linda (John Roberts). The couple has three children, the socially awkward 13-year-old Tina (Dan Mintz), the loud and carefree spirit Gene (Eugine Hirman) who is the middle child, and 9-year-old Louise (Kristen Schaal) who despite her age is rather cunning, mischievous, and always working on schemes.

Originally announced in 2017, the film had long been delayed due to the acquisition of 20th Century Fox by Disney and the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney and Fox released the film on Memorial Day weekend as counter-programming against Top Gun: Maverick, but also the summer nature of the story made the holiday weekend appropriately fitting. The film earned a respectable $14 million over the holiday weekend.

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Similar to other adult-orientated animated series to make the leap to the big screen like South Parker: Bigger, Longer and Uncut in 1999 and The Simpsons Movie in 2007, The Bob’s Burgers Movie is tasked with drawing in audiences who are used to seeing the series at home out to a theater and telling a story that justifies a movie. What about the story is so special that a normal episode or two would not do? Aside from an increased budget in animation, including adding shadows to give a level of depth to distinguish it from a standard episode, The Bob’s Burgers Movie crafts a story that feels appropriately large-scale, embracing a classic cinematic genre and offering new insights into the characters that feel too big for a standard episode. This is why The Bob’s Burgers Movie is more than just an extended episode.

Bob’s Burgers is known for its musical sequences, in part due to the fact that both Linda and Gene see themselves as musicians. Music is so closely tied in with the franchise that in 2017, The Bob’s Burgers Music Album was released collecting songs from the various seasons up to that point. With a big cinematic outing, the creators decided to lean into the musical aspect, invoking the long associated connection between animated feature films and musicals.

Related: The Bob’s Burgers Movie: Why Now Is the Perfect Time for Its Release

With four brand-new songs, the opening song ‘Sunny Side of Summer’ acts as what composer Lehman Engel described as the ‘I Want’ song, one where the main characters sing about how they are unsatisfied with their current life, and what they are searching for. In this case, it gives an insight into the five members of the Belcher family. Bob is worried about the extension on their loan while Linda tries to stay optimistic, Tina pines for her crush Jimmy Jr. and how she wants to reveal her feelings, Gene desires to express himself artistically, and Louise shares insecurities about the pink bunny ears she wears. This acts as both a great introduction to these characters for audiences who haven’t watched the show, but also provides a much-needed look at the arc each member will go on in the film while also being incredibly catchy and clever lyrically.

One of the most difficult tasks with taking a television series to a feature film format is justifying the expanded length and making it feel worthy of a big-screen story. It has to be larger than an average episode, and The Bob’s Burger Movie does this by making two distinct plot lines that go beyond a traditional episode.

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