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Bob's Burgers
by yo go re

More than a decade ago, creators Loren Bouchard and Jim Dauterive had an idea for a new TV series: inspired by Sweeny Todd, it would have centered around a family of cannibals running a restaurant. Fox liked the "family" and "restaurant" parts of the pitch, but told them to lose the cannibalism. The result was Bob's Burgers.

(Hints of the original premise still exist, of course - the pilot episode was all about the restaurant mistakenly being accused of serving human flesh, they grind their own meat by hand, Mort's funeral home is next door because he would have been a source of ingredients, the builing on the other side seems to have a new tenant every week... the clues are all there if you know you're looking for them.)

Bob Belcher is the owner of the show's titular restaurant and the head of the family. He grew up working in his father's similarly small-time burger restaurant (Big Bob's Diner), but they had a falling out when Big Bob stiffled his son's culinary creativity: Little Bob wanted to express himself in the kitchen, to make more than just plain burgers with a slice of cheese on them, but Big Bob had no interest in Junior's jokey gimmick burgers. So "our" Bob quit and started his own place and his own family.

Bob is interesting in terms of character design - the whole family is, really. Apparently there's some question about what ethnicity he is - beinga boring white guy, I looked at Bob and assumed he was the same thing. But other people watch the show and think he's Latino, Mediterannean, Middle Eastern... basically, Bob can be any of us.

This figure was released by a company called PhatMojo, which we've never heard of before. They did great work on the sculpt, though. Bob is just standing there, wearing his sweatpants, T-shirt, and apron, but the shapes are just as we see on the cartoon every week. In particular, the head looks stunningly like the 2D drawings! Remember the World of Springfield line, where the figures would definitely look like the characters they were supposed to be, but there was still something just slightly "off" about them? Maybe it's Bob's Burgers' different artstyle, but the translation from drawing to plastic is uncanny. Like, you can look at the face from pretty much any angle, and it looks spot-on.

The limited articulation is something else this line has in common with the Simpsons toys. You'll recall that the "Springfield Four" meant swivels at the neck, shoulders, and waist; Bob's got that, plus swivel ankles for some reason. It's not much. Frankly, it's not enough. Would adding elbows and swivels at the shirt sleeves really have ruined the look of the toy? Or swivel/hinge shoulder? Making the neck a balljoint since it's already sitting down inside the shirt collar? Bob's not very active or dynamic himself, but this is going to be disappointing once we get to the kids.

His paint is fine, mainly thanks to there not being much of it. Most of the pieces are molded in color, though the arms of his shirt and its body aren't quite color-matched (and neither of them are far enough away from the color of the apron). They painted on his arm hair, and the pen in his pocket, and while he has paint lines for his chin and eyebrows, the pupils in the eyes are a little wonky. Turn him around, though, and his bald spot looks great - they actually sculpted that and the few little combover strands.

This figure has two accessories: a spatula, and a burger on a big tray. Not on a plate on a tray with fries on the side, just on a tray by itself. Despite the limited articulation, he can actually hold both of them and still look mostly okay doing it.

The Bob's Burgers figures only seemed to be sold at GameStop, where they were $12.99. As great as the show is, the toys didn't find a place in my budget at that price; but when there was that mega sale where a bunch of stuff was randomly dropped to $5? I jumped on them! At seven or eight dollars, these would have been immediate buys.

Gene | Linda | Bob | Tina | Louise

-- 07/22/20

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