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Bob's Burgers

A Case for The Awkward Glory of Tina Belcher

Over at The Mary Sue, they’re making a terrific case for the fantastic complexity of Bob’s Burgers Tina Belcher

In a Sunday Night lineup marked by Seth McFarlane‘s xenophobic, sexist, racist, tongue-in-cheek brand of ironic humor — for some of us, H. Jon Benjamin‘s family comedy is an underrated reprieve. Viewers can tune in and count on seeing a quirky, lower-middle class family taking on their small east coast town in all their awkward glory. You’ve got Linda, who’s willing to cheer on anything that makes her family happy. Gene, a musically gifted pre-pubescent boy obsessed with all things gross. Louise, a snarky evil-genius in the making. Bob: the burger-cooking, ever-supportive but slightly exasperated patriarch. And then there’s Tina, the awkward teenage girl with a refreshing spin: she’s got a vivacious confidence most 13 year old girls can only dream of having.

Louise
“Louise, a snarky evil genius in the making”
Bob's Burgers
“Bob, the burger-cooking, ever-supportive but slightly exasperated patriarch.”

Where Mcfarlane’s Meg of Family Guy is consistently made the butt of the joke, Benjamin’s Tina is allowed to display her awkward glory with full family support. The Griffin’s laugh at Meg; The Belcher’s laugh with Tina. After 13 seasons of Family Guy? Bob’s Burgers could not be a more welcome change. Over at TheMarySue they’re make an even more eloquent case for why.

As Katie Schenkle puts it,

Bob's BugersAs the seasons have progressed, [Tina’s] been more and more unashamed about being physically attracted to boys. She flirts with them … it’s usually really awkward, but you’ve seen her level of confidence grow (props to her voice actor Dan Mintz for walking that line of awkward and confident perfectly). Along with zombies, she really, really likes sometimes-love-interest Jimmy Jr.’s butt. She really likes boy butts in general. Heck, she listens to the traffic reports because she likes the phrase “bumper to bumper.” We’ve also seen Tina’s volumes and volumes of erotic fiction — both fan fiction and stories based on her classmates and almost all of them involve butt touching as part of the sexy activities… I can’t think of a show (especially a comedy) that has so expertly handled a teenage girl’s desires in all their awkward glory. If we do see a teenage girl having desires on other comedies, it’s either being mocked as something trivial and stupid…But in Bob’s Burgers, the writers (several of whom are women, surprise surprise) have allowed Tina to express her budding sexuality, weirdness and all, without putting it through the lens of what others would feel comfortable with. She has weird fetishes. She writes erotica. She enjoys expressing her feminine side in the form of unicorns and pretty horses while having a thing for zombies, too.

Schenkle’s editorial is a phenomenal stance on the refreshing spirit of Tina’s character and we can’t recommend it enough. Check out the article in it’s entirety here!