In the past, one of my few complaints with Bob’s Burgers was how mean Tina Belcher is to Tammy Larsen. Deserved or not, her overtly cold comments undercut what a sweet character Tina is.
Then, this week gave us “Sit Me Baby One More Time.” Early in the episode, Tina tells Tammy, “I’m a good person and you’re horrible.” Later, they both have to babysit the same kid. They have to work together to wrangle a terrifying child. Tina realizes how mean she was to Tammy. Most importantly, she realizes she’s been unfairly seeing herself as the good guy in their relationship.
This hits on a common issue with TV, especially with shows about teen girls. One person gets labeled the mean one, so the other characters have crate blanche to be overtly cruel to them. For a long time, it felt like the Tina and Tammy rivalry was just filling this trope. This episode didn’t just provide a lesson for Tina, it brilliantly commented on the trope.
This is a great example of how cartoons can have genuine character development. Tina and Tammy’s relationship has been an interesting part of Tina’s development since her introduction in “Bad Tina.” This episode was a great and surprising pay off.
Maria Bamford guest starred as the scary Kendra Stokes. She was a fun reminder that Bob’s Burgers portrays weird kids better than any other show.
The episode’s resolution also included Jimmy Pesto Jr. and Zeke showing up for reinforcements. It was refreshing that Jimmy and Zeke were genuinely helpful and kind. Zeke really snuck up on me as a stand out supporting character. Bob’s Burgers isn’t afraid of being uncomfortable. But, it’s at its best when it shows a sweetness that’s rare in adult-aimed cartoons.
In the subplot, the family goes to a new burger restaurant. Bob Belcher discovers that the family has a rule against ordering burgers in front of him because he reacts to intensely. There wasn’t as much of a build up and pay off in this plot as there could have been, but it was enjoyable.