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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Bobs Burgers: “Uncle Teddy”

Illustration for article titled iBob/i’is Burgers/i: “Uncle Teddy”
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Oh, Teddy. This adorable, longwinded, simplistic handyman is my favorite non-Belcher on Bob’s Burgers. Sure, the town is littered with an abundance of lovely and unique characters—Wagstaff Elementary is home to most of them—but Teddy stands out. His rambling, never-ending stories are always a delight but mostly I love that he’s a selfless character. He’s a big teddy bear (sorry) and has no ill will toward anyone. He’s eager to help out the Belchers because they’re his friends (especially Bob, which is important because Bob barely has any other friends) even if he may not be the best at the job, like when he got himself trapped trying to help in “Christmas In The Car.”

“Uncle Teddy” has Teddy stepping up and offering to be the children’s babysitter while Bob and Linda go on a much-needed mini vacation to a burger convention. Teddy isn’t the Belchers’ first choice—they briefly debated leaving the kids with a cult member or the checker at the grocery store who once said the kids were cute—but he quickly volunteers the second he learns that they are in a bind.


Bob and Linda’s plot at the burger convention is full of inspired silliness and, perhaps more importantly, full of puns that are equally impressive and groan-worthy (something that the Bob’s writing staff really excels at). Bob doesn’t share this gift for clever wordplay; his username on the online burger message board is “Burger Bob” (”Just went with the first idea, huh?”) whereas others go by “Beefer Sutherland.” Bob is childishly excited about meeting all of his online buddies and bonding with likeminded restaurant people but this “meating of the minds” doesn’t go as well as Bob hopes. The members of the message board dislike Bob because they seem him as a braggart with a huge ego and a fancy restaurant. It’s the opposite of the Bob we know: an occasional sad-sack with a barely-surving burger place and an empty wallet but it’s interesting to watch him in this position. It’s a role he isn’t used to—being hated for being successful, especially because he’s not exactly successful—and it’s not even entirely true; Bob’s lack of internet skills (not knowing what “LOL” means or how to use emoticons, etc.) makes him seem different than he actually is. It’s an amusing plot that culminates in an hot tub war between Bob/Linda and the rest of the convention attendees, but the real golden moments of “Uncle Teddy” are back at the Belcher house.

Tina has a new crush so this main story is guaranteed to delight. Jonas, the delivery guy at the sandwich place, has flowing hair and a motorbike and Tina is immediately smitten. She’s in those early stages of having a crush, where she obsesses over this new guy and tries to find any excuse to be near him—in this case, she visits his restaurant to order delivery and then has Jonas give her a ride back to her house. Unfortunately, it’s also the stage where Tina is too blinded by his looks (especially his hair) to really notice his shitty personality and his poor melodica skills. Jonas is using Tina, for the empty restaurant and for the free burgers, and she has no idea. Instead she reluctantly lets them in and fires up the grill, basking in the idea that these guys think she’s cool and that Jonas is interested in her. It’s rough, because Tina is such a wonderful girl, but it works for a great episode.


“Uncle Teddy” also has shades of “Bad Tina” in it, though this time Tina is rebelling against her fake Uncle’s temporary rules. Teddy rightfully grounds her for the “gathering” she threw at the restaurant, causing Tina to sneak out the house to go to the lighthouse. When Tina gets stuck in the lighthouse, abandoned by her new “friends,” and ends up in the back of a cop car (well, a ranger car). 

Teddy, meanwhile, has proven to be an adept babysitter. The show doesn’t have Louise and Gene torture him as I thought they would (especially Louise; there was something a little sinister about the line-reading “No checkers for me tonight” but that could just be because of what I’ve come to expect from Louise’s characters). Instead, the younger Belchers like Teddy or really, like the power tools and the gross stuff he pulls out of the sink’s pipes. When Teddy learns that Tina’s gone, all three of them successfully search for her. The best moments come at the end of the episode, when Teddy loses his cool and throws Jonas’ motorbike into the water. Teddy seamlessly transitions into the role of a concerned, protective guardian (and really earns the “Uncle” title he’s been gunning for) for Tina. Bob and Linda would’ve given Tina a pep talk that makes her feel better, but Teddy’s immediate go-to is to punish the boy who hurt her. It’s funny and warm, like all of my favorite Bob’s Burgers episodes, and it’s comforting knowing that Tina—and the rest of the Belcher kids—have so many people who care about them.


Stray observations:

  • Months and months ago, my DVR mistakenly had this episode title/description mistakenly describing an entirely different Bob’s Burgers episode and, because of my love for Teddy, I have been slowly going crazy waiting for this one to finally air.
  • “Somewhere there’s a convenient store parking lot worried sick about these missing teens.”
  • Most adorable line of the light: “We need our sleep. We’re so little.” 
  • This Teddy/Bob exchange is how I imagine most parents on vacation: “You wanna talk to the kids?” “Eh, not really.”
  • I would watch The Mentalist with Teddy.
  • “She’s too good for you, but good enough for a lot of guys.”
  • I love the episodes where Tina rebels, even in the smallest ways, and I like how they combine her typical teen behavior with Tina’s unique personality.
  • On Jonas’ melodica skills: “Sounds like an accordion, but worse.”

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