Bob's Burgers was a series I decided to give a chance to one day while I was cleaning up my room and thinking over my future as my anxiety did its thing and ran wild. The time was shortly after what I'll call a "mental breakdown" and a move back home to go to college there instead of hours away from therapeutic opportunities and accountability. At the time, the series was wrapping up the fourth season and the previous ones were ready to view on Hulu. I started from the beginning, I'm a stickler in that sense.
It took me a moment to get into the series, but once I did I was able to take a moment and sit down to actually take it all in. There was an odd but incredibly loving family on my TV, reminding me of laughter and distracting my mind. As I viewed the seasons, catching up as best as I could alongside starting college later than some former classmates, I found myself smiling again. I would have difficult days, those filled with adjusting to new meds or anxiety in finding the right therapist for me…or finding peace in my identity as a bisexual individual.
I was expanding my views on life and taking in the world around me through a healthier mindset as an adult whose deconstruction of toxic fundamentalist thinking had such a hold for so long. Bob's Burgers was in a way doing something similar, they were expanding what adult animation storytelling could be and how an impact could be made on their audience.
The physical symptoms from medication side effects, the ups and downs of anxiety and depression, and more didn't simply disappear because of Bob's Burgers…life doesn't work that way. But the series saved my life, from times where I needed that laugh to remind me of joy or the representation of sexuality as something to embrace. I love the Belcher family, they recognize the opportunities to grow and open their minds. The growth in writing and animation, season by season, is something parallel to how we can grow as people and as a society. Bob's Burgers shows me how life can be fun, even with the smaller joys or accomplishments and that's so incredibly helpful for mental health.
Bob Belcher is a father who loves his family, through their shenanigans and his own, he dedicates a lot to continue doing what he loves while supporting those around him. His parenting alongside Linda is an example of embracing the odd doings of children while keeping them safe and sane. Tina's favorite toy horse being swindled by older fans of the series she loves became no match against Bob as he went into learning and becoming a fan himself to go undercover. With the ability to let loose but remind Louise of what is right and wrong or dismantling toxic masculinity with Gene, Bob is able to embrace it all. Bob's Burgers becomes a series that shows me what being a good parent, a good person, can be when put into practice.
There isn't room to shame people, to look down on others, or become high and mighty for any reason in Bob's Burgers. It brought adult animated shows up a bunch of levels by rejecting toxic tropes from relationships to how we see those different from us. It gave me laughter and companionship at times where I felt like the reality of life was bringing me down a negative path along with any creativity I had in my bones at the time. Re-watching episodes and seasons of Bob's Burgers can be soothing, and although I know what will happen I still find it worthwhile and a gentle reminder of how far my life has come and how much good television can impact us. So, thank you Bob's Burgers, for everything.