Mar 14, 2015

Bob's Burgers: The Most Gay-Positive Sitcom on TV

Since 2011, Bob's Burgers has been airing on Sunday night, in the company of Family Guy and American Dad.  But it is quite different from those programs.

1. The father and mother in the nuclear family are not insensitive jerks.
2. They accept their children's idiosyncracies, instead of berating and belittling them (on American Dad) or maiming and murdering them (on Family Guy)
3. There are no sociopaths (like Roger Smith and Stewie Griffin), who kill, maim, and express same-sex interests all in the same scene, as if they are all equally disgusting.
4. There are few if any jokes involving menstruation, masturbation, vomiting, golden showers, diarrhea, or body fluids in general.
5. No one ever collapses in a pool of blood.
6. No one ever expresses hatred of blacks, Asians, Native Americans, Jews, Muslims, women, gay men, lesbians, or transgender persons.


In short, you never think you're watching a Nazi recruitment film scripted by potty-mouthed third graders.

It's about a small, struggling burger joint in a resort town in New Jersey, run by aspiring chef Bob Belcher (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin, top photo) and his New York accented wife, Linda (John Roberts).  Plotlines generally involve restaurant problems, such a visit from the health inspector, competition with the pizza place across the street, or buying a food truck -- and the problems of the three kids:



1. Shy, socially-awkward teenager Tina (Dan Mintz).
2. Chubby preteen Gene (Eugene Merman), an exuberant nonconformist who may be gay.
3. Preteen rebel Louise (Kristin Schaal), who always wears bunny ears (no one in the family seems to care).

Heterosexism appears on occasion.  A boy band has only female fans, and when Gene gets a secret admirer, everyone assumes that it must be a girl.  But not often.  Usually same-sex desire and relationships are seamlessly integrated into everyday life.

Bob gets a part-time job as a taxi driver, and finds himself driving a group of drag queens home from the bars.  Does he:
a. Freak out, but learn tolerance.
b. Rescue the drag queens from homophobic harassment.
c. Invite them to the restaurant.

Answer: C.  Invite them to the restaurant.

At Christmastime, Bob decides to reconcile with his estranged Dad, Big Bob.  They meet in a gay bar called the Junkyard.  Why?
a. Neither of them realize that it's a gay bar until they get hit on; then they freak out but learn tolerance.
b. Big Bob tells Bob that he's gay and closeted; that's why he withdrew from the family.
c. Big Bob likes hanging out there with his gay friends.

Answer: C.  Big Bob just likes hanging out there.


Gene announces that he is gay.  What happens?

a. The family freaks out but learns tolerance.
b. The family goes overboard with acceptance,
c.  Nothing.

Actually, this episode hasn't appeared yet, and it's not likely to, because stories require conflict and, at least on Bob's Burgers, there wouldn't be any.  Being gay is perfectly ordinary; the family wouldn't have a reaction to it.

By the way, John Roberts, the voice actor who plays Linda, is gay.