– billed as a “musical comedy-mystery-adventure” – hits theaters on May 27 and I’m counting down the days. Based on the trailers, the movie looks like it will capture everything fans love about the hilarious animated comedy series, now in its 12th season.
According to the plot summary from 20th Century Fox, Bob and his chaotic yet lovable family are prepping for what they hope will be a busy summer. As luck would have it, a ruptured water main opens a giant sinkhole in front of the eponymous burger joint, derailing the Belchers’ plans. As Bob (voiced by H. John Benjamin) and his wife Linda (John Roberts) fight to keep the business afloat, their kids — Louise (Kristen Schaal), Gene (Eugene Mirman) and Tina (Dan Mintz) — take a less traditional approach to help their parents.
Check out the official trailer here:
Fans who watched the trailers likely spotted a slew of familiar side characters and callbacks to previous episodes that you can stream on Hulu. I have no doubt that everyone will enjoy the Belchers on the big screen, even without having seen a single episode, but it never hurts to bone up on Bob’s. Here are a couple of things to remember and key episodes to watch, before you see the movie.
Bob’s Burgers 101: Human flesh
For a crash course to Bob’s Burgers and a taste of just how chaotic things can get, look no further than the very first episode, Human Flesh.
The episode syncs up almost chronologically with where the title sequence ends. Bob Belcher’s restaurant is about to have its “grand re-re-re-opening” on Labor Day weekend when the health inspector shows up and accuses Bob of using human remains in the food. The rumor, of course, was started by Louise, the youngest Belcher. Fun fact: If developer Loren Bouchard’s original show concept had been kept, the beloved Belchers would actually have been cannibals.
You’ll also get a look at the iconic burger suit that Linda accessories with a bikini in the trailer. That burger suit, which the family uses for sidewalk advertising, makes multiple appearances across the seasons. The trailer marks the first time we’ve actually seen Linda wear the suit though.
The Belchers’ fraught finances
For the Belchers, burgers pay the bills, but barely. In the trailer, we see Bob and Linda at First Oceanside bank where the manager tells them they have seven days to make their payment — possibly for one of their past-due loans. This isn’t the first time Bob has run afoul of bankers.
In Bob Day Afternoon (season 2, episode 2), Bob tries to negotiate several past due loans with the bank manager, who only makes fun of his rock-bottom credit score. After Bob leaves in a fury, the bank is taken hostage by a robber named Mickey (voiced by SNL alum Bill Hader). When law enforcement sets up headquarters at Bob’s restaurant, Bob gets tasked with delivering burgers to feed the hostages across the street.
There’s likely an instance of the Belchers’ strapped finances in almost every episode, but this one is my favorite. Also, this episode introduces the surly and jaded Sergeant Bosco (voiced by Gary Cole), who fans may have spotted in the movie trailer.
Tina’s obsession with horses and boys
Tina Belcher reminds me of what I was like as a pre-teen girl — awkward as hell, constantly daydreaming and crazy about boys. Just One of the Boyz 4 Now for Now (season 9, episode 1) is Tina at her boy-crazy best.
She bumps into a boy named Damon outside the restaurant and is convinced he’s her soulmate. He’s headed downtown to audition for her favorite musical group, Boyz 4 Now, which recently put out a casting call to find a new fourth member. Girls are barred from the audition, so Tina disguises herself as a boy to infiltrate it and convince Damon they’re meant to be. The plan quickly spirals out of control when Tina gets to the convention center, which is packed with boys.
In addition to channeling her hormone-fueled feelings by filling notebook upon notebook with “erotic friend fiction,” Tina also adores horses.
In The Horse Rider-er (season 6, episode 17), Tina finally convinces her parents to send her to horse camp. Unfortunately, she has to leave her imaginary steed, Jericho (voiced by Paul Rudd) behind. Jericho, whom Tina manifests as a full-size physical horse, does not take the news well.
Jimmy Jr. and Tina: Star-crossed lovers
Tina, who loves horses and boys, tends to favor one boy above the rest, and that’s Jimmy Pesto Jr. The only trouble is that Jimmy Jr.’s father is Jimmy Pesto, Bob’s archnemesis and the owner of Jimmy Pesto’s Pizzeria.
In the trailer, Jimmy Jr. makes an appearance in what looks like a daydream. He and Tina are riding horses — one of which is Jericho — across the beach. When Tina says Jimmy Jr. will be more “aerodynamic” if he takes off his jeans, he sheds his pants mid-gallop.
I have no idea how close Jimmy Jr. and Tina will get in the movie, but this “relationship” timeline is wild to follow. Some of the best episodes to get a feel for this hot-and-cold duo are Sheesh! Cab, Bob? (season 1, episode 6), The Belchies (season 2, episode 1), Two for Tina (season 3, episode 17), and Bob Actually (season 7, episode 9).
In the trailer, we see Louise crowdsourcing ideas from a group of colorful creatures. This ragtag group made their first appearance in season 7, episode 1, Flu-Ouise.
In the episode, Louise comes home from school with the flu and her parents promptly tuck her into bed with all her toys. When she realizes her favorite toy and nightlight, Kuchi Kopi, isn’t in the bed, she requests Linda retrieve it from the bathroom. A comedic series of mishaps cause Kuchi Kopi to become damaged and Louise is furious. Swearing to never forgive her family, she falls asleep and proceeds to have a Wizard of Oz-esque fever dream where all her toys are life size.
The trailer doesn’t elaborate on how Louise is seeing her toys this way, but it’s possible she dreams of them to help get ideas to save the restaurant.
The kids have a band
The trailer shows a quick scene of the kids on a stage, decked out in rockstar garb in front of a big audience. While Gene and his sisters take center stage, fans will notice familiar schoolmates Darryl (voiced by Aziz Ansari), Regular-Sized Rudy (voiced by Brian Huskey) and Peter Pescadero. It’s most likely the kids are imagining this concert, but the siblings do in fact have a band.
In The Itty Bitty Ditty Committee (season 5, episode 17), Gene plays his keyboard while Louise and Tina accompany him by sliding straws through lids of to-go cups. When Gene recruits Rudy, Peter and Darryl to the band, creative differences clash.
Wonder Wharf and the Fishoeder brothers
The Belchers’ restaurant is located near the town’s amusement park, Wonder Wharf (think Santa Monica Pier). The trailer shows Bob, Linda and Teddy, a handyman and Bob’s unspoken best friend, running a food cart outside the park entrance. The trailer shows a banner celebrating Wonder Wharf’s 80th anniversary. It’s likely the trio are trying to capitalize on the event for their business.
Wonder Wharf is owned by Calvin Fishoeder (voiced by Kevin Kline), the eccentric real estate mogul who owns a number of other locations in town, including Bob’s restaurant. Calvin and his younger brother Felix Fishoeder (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) appear a couple times in the trailer.
To see the Fishoeder brothers in action, the best episodes to watch are Wharf Horse (Part One) and World Wharf 2: The Wharfening (Part Two) at the end of season 4. Calvin and Felix are also heavily featured in episodes like The Oeder Games (season 5, episode 21), The Last Gingerbread House on the Left (season 7, episode 7) and Brunchsquatch (season 8, episode 1).
Bonus: The scruffy dead-eyed dog appearing around the trailer’s 1:04 marker is Dizzy Dog, Wonder Wharf’s mascot.