Throw on your burger suit because The Bob’s Burgers Movie is here, as the hit animated comedy series joins the ranks of The Simpsons, South Park, and Beavis & Butt-Head with its own big screen event. Many fan favorite characters appear alongside the Belcher family in a tale taking place just before the beginning of summer break, as a sinkhole materializes in front of the restaurant, causing Bob and Linda Belcher to consider creative alternatives to keep their livelihood afloat.
Such a long running series (and now movie) about a beloved family naturally leads to some questions, like which of the Belcher children are the hardest workers, what motivates them, and which are the most creative. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Bob’s Burgers film without some big musical numbers. Luckily, Fandom spoke to the cast and creators about all this and more, including what the expanded budget let them do that they never could on the show.
Employee of the Month
We recently polled fans at Fandom’s Bob’s Burgers wiki asking which of the Belcher children did the best job as an employee at the restaurant. Not too surprisingly, Tina was crowned hardest worker of the Belcher children, having earned a huge 68% of the vote at the time we spoke to the cast. Kristen Schaal, who voices Louise, wholeheartedly agreed, telling Fandom, “[Tina’s] responsible and she follows the rules. And she is always nervous when she’s not doing what she’s supposed to.”
Eugene Mirman (“Gene”) jokingly chimed in, “And if the fans didn’t agree they are wrong!” with Schaal countering, “They’re not watching the same show.” Mirman added, with a grin, “Otherwise, I’d say they’re right in every respect! …but Tina is definitely the best worker child.”
Dan Mintz, the voice of Tina, channeled his character by remarking, “Well, she definitely works the hardest, but sometimes she makes some mistakes…” though John Roberts (“Linda”) wouldn’t allow Mintz to minimize what was clear, simply saying, “Tina is the heir apparent.”
The cast was split guessing who placed second, with Schaal convinced it was Louise, while Roberts argued that Gene’s ability to drum up business by wearing his hamburger costume made him a more valued worker. Schaal was almost swayed when it was pointed out by H. Jon Benjamin, the voice of Bob himself, “Louise is always wanting to get out of work,” but she reminded her castmates, “If Louise wants something, she’s a very good worker.”
The fans ultimately placed Louise in second with 21%, leaving 11% of the fans to vote for Gene. As the voice of Tina, Mintz joked this victory was “humbling.”
Creator, Writer, and Director Loren Bouchard, Director Bernard Derriman, and Producer Nora Smith agreed with the fans picking Tina. Bouchard explained, “[Tina’s] conscientious. But then again, you know, the way we spin it, the kid who does the most damage by the end of any given episode might have just been the one that did the most good.”
Big Screen, Bigger Musical Numbers
During a Press Conference for the film, Bouchard spoke about the Burger of the Day in The Bob’s Burgers Movie, noting, “In the movie, there’s one on the board and then there’s one mentioned in the very first scene that basically gives birth to the entire first number. The first song comes from Linda basically pitching to Bob a very long burger of the day name.”
In our chat with them, the voice cast revealed that the aforementioned first musical number, “Sunny Side Up Summer,” was the one they were most excited for fans to see and hear (you can hear them sing a bit for us in the video at the top of the page), though Bouchard, Smith, and Derrman were more reluctant to pick a favorite. Smith instead shared, “I do get excited when someone will be like, ‘I don’t know if it’s good or bad but it was stuck in my head for a little while.’ Maybe they’re a little annoyed with us… but that’ll work!’
Bouchard joked, regarding not naming a favorite among the new songs, “There’s a chance of hurting the other one’s feelings, and we can’t do that,” though he added, “I really loved seeing the first song come together, not just as we figured out what the song was going to be, but what Bernard did with it in storyboards. When we first saw it, it just had a kind of an energy that I hadn’t dared even hope for… There’s this one shot of the kids dancing, walking towards the camera on the sidewalk, with Tina in the middle and Gene and Louise are kind of like Tina’s ‘hype man’ at that moment, and they all go into this little move. And I just thought, ‘Oh, I think we’re gonna be able to do this!’”
Said Derrman, of the songs in the film, “They were all really good fun to direct and animate. We really went all out with those songs and had an opportunity to sort of do something we don’t do on the show. We had that extra time to just go really hard at the animation. Often if you do dances on the show, you have little cycles or something. Whereas here, you had the opportunity to just do all that animation.”
The filmmakers stressed how much they wanted to lean into the opportunity to animate more dancing in the film than they can on the series, with Bouchard revealing, “Nora would videotape herself dancing in her kitchen and Bernard could take that and draw it so beautifully. All the dancing you see comes from these two right here.” Bouchard and Berrman noted that Smith’s reference videos of herself dancing will be included in the extras for the film’s Blu-ray.
In another recent poll at the Bob’s Burgers wiki, fans were asked what their favorite song was from the series so far. “If you happen to only ask 10 year olds then I guess it could be the fart song,” joked Mirman about Gene’s song from Season 4‘s “The Frond Files.”
Many of the cast and crew, including Roberts, Schaal, and Smith, believed “Bad Stuff Happens in the Bathroom,” from Season 6’s “Glued, Where’s my Bob?” would take first place in the poll, but it actually landed in second with 27%. Bouchard initially agreed with the others but then realized “Electric Love” from the Season 3 episode “Topsy” might be more popular.
Bouchard was correct, as “Electric Love” earned 40% of the votes. Rounding out the poll with 9% each were “Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl”, from the Season 5 episode of the same name, and “Bad Things are Bad”, from the Season 4 finale, “World Wharf II: The Wharfening.” In last place, even after the write in votes, was the Boyz 4 Now song, “I love You So Much (It’s Scary)” from Season 6’s “The Hauntening.”
When questioned as to why more Boyz 4 Now songs weren’t in the running, Bouchard clarified, “We intentionally want them to be not that great!”
Taking a TV show to the big screen gives creators the opportunity to heighten the stakes and elevate the storyline, as well as a larger budget to put together a real spectacle. “There was a moment early on when we met with the 20th Century movie music people. And they gave us some great advice,” revealed Bouchard. “They said, ‘If you want your movie to be big, you have to record a big orchestra.’ They said that’s not always the case. Some people actually want their movie to feel small and for them, they should record fewer players in a smaller room. But they said if what you’re going for is scale and scope and spectacle, then you want as many players as you can afford in the biggest room you can record them in. And at first I thought, ‘Well, I don’t know. You know, you can do a lot with a little these days. There’s digital reverbs. I can put my ukulele in a computer and make it come out the other side. And it sounds like it was in a big room.’ But it’s different.”
Ultimately, Bouchard said he decided, “What they were talking about is real. And it was really exciting to hear in that room; even in the control room hearing it through the microphones. Let’s say it was the string section, playing at the same time… Making all the air in that room move is actually something that the audience can feel when they’re in the theater. I don’t know how it works. It’s some Hollywood magic, but getting to do that was definitely an exciting moment. It’s really nice and I wish we could get a 30 piece string section more often… or just in our daily lives!”
The Bob’s Burgers Movie, like so many films, had a long delay due to the pandemic, and Bouchard spoke about how much the movie had changed along the way. “We were determined to take every moment they gave us and keep working on it… It wasn’t like it drastically changed. It was more like any [extra] time we had, we were excited to take advantage of. Tweak jokes, change picture, fool around with the sound. It was not just the script. Just everything was in our hands until they tore it from our little fingers.”
Like the series, The Bob’s Burgers Movie is a comedy first and foremost, but Smith noted, “There’s a moment later in the movie where we really get into all the emotional stuff. And that can always be tricky, as far as you can get too treacly. I feel like we wrote that part pretty early and every time I watched it, I was still like, ‘Oh, I still really enjoy watching that part’ and it still feels emotionally resonant for me.”
Derrman said they also took advantage of the increased budget from the series in other ways, explaining, “There were a few action scenes that we were able to do, stuff we couldn’t do on the show that were just bigger scale and bigger budget. We wouldn’t have any chance of being able to do it with [the show’s] time or money. And so to work on some of that… There were moments that turned out better than I hoped.”
Reflecting on the success of Bob’s Burgers, which has been a staple on FOX’s Sunday night Animation Domination block for years now and aired over 200 episodes, Bouchard explained how incredible it is to see the international reaches of the Belcher family.
“We went into [the series] with fear and humility and trepidation that we were going to be canceled immediately. And we actually held onto that for many seasons. Once we got to about Season 4 and it seemed like we might make a run, I actually thought it would be better if they lied to us and told us we were about to be canceled. I was afraid that we’d lose our edge, I guess. Or that, somehow, the fear was part of it. We never dared admit it, and I don’t think it would have been good for the show.” He continued, “We were Bob, and you know, in some ways we still are. We imagine failure at every turn. And we just accept success begrudgingly.”
The Bob’s Burgers Movie opens May 27.