And it’s a special one, too: The Fox animated series will reach its milestone 100th episode this season. Mazel-Tina to them!
So what fun stuff should Bob’s fans expect this year? According to showrunner Loren Bouchard, a lot, including: Ice capades! Two-butted goats! Steve Buscemi! And … mustache baldness?
That last one serves as the basis of Sunday’s premiere, which delves into the story of how Bob and Linda first met. Bouchard gives us the scoop on that episode and much, much more below.
LOREN BOUCHARD: The premiere is called “Sliding Bobs.” It’s our take on the Sliding Doors type story. The premise is that Bob seems to be losing his mustache. This is a real thing. You can actually go mustache bald! And it’s a mystery as to why that’s happening. This is a mystery that’s solved by the end of the episode, but that is not the heart of the episode.
The heart of the episode is Linda reveals to her kids that Bob’s mustache is how they met. It’s this little detail that the kids didn’t seem to know, which was that when they met in a bar, Linda, who was engaged to Hugo the health inspector back then, got her engagement ring snagged on Bob’s mustache hair by accident. So the kids get totally fascinated with this, and they basically come up with a theory that if Bob didn’t have a mustache, they never would have been born.
Each kid takes a crack at how it would have gone down. Gene tells a story in which Bob basically ends up as RoboCop, which is called RoboStache. Louise ends up telling a story in which Bob gets cursed, where he tries to grow a mustache, and as a result, grows hair all over his body like a freak. Then Tina tells a version where basically we end with a real Twilight Zone-y experience where Bob and Hugo really live each other’s lives.
Special guests, including a Key & Peele reunion
BOUCHARD: Joining us for the first time this year is Paul Rudd. He’s in an episode we have in the spring where we get to meet Tina’s imaginary horse, Jericho — and Jericho will be voiced by Paul Rudd. I’m excited about it — it’s called “The Horse Riderer.” It’s a Tina story. The real plot of this story is that she’s going to ride a real horse for the first time, and of course, it’s not exactly what she hoped it would be. I’m looking forward to that one a lot.
Steve Buscemi, we’re using him for the first time as a lawyer.
Oh, Henry Winkler, he plays a mall Santa in our Christmas episode. It’s his first time as well. He was really, really fun to work with! He’s kind of a special guy. He’s a real sweetheart, really nice.
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele both return, and finally, we’re using them together. We used them each half a dozen times, and we never had them in the same episode. Finally, I think we have them [together] at least in one! Wanda Sykes, who’s new to us, is in one of those episodes, too — it’s called “Sacred Couch.” Linda is very attached to the family couch, but the rest of the family thinks it’s time to get a new couch. So they want her to go to the Sofa Queen, who is a woman who runs this furniture store, and Linda idolizes through her commercials. Peele plays a guy who works at the Sofa Queen, and he and Key both play these teenagers who are in a band who show up at the end. Their band is called the Couch Burners.
We’re bringing back a lot of our favorites. Gary Cole comes back as Sergeant Bosco. Zack Galifianakis comes back as Felix. Kumail Nanjiani comes back as Skip Marooch, the guy we invented for him in last year’s “Best Burger.” Ken Jeong comes back as Doctor Yap. We’ll also have Rob Huebel. And Ben Garant and Tom Lennon — they’re also together for the first time. Samantha Bee is returning, but she’s playing a new character. She plays a school nurse, a crazy school nurse in the episode we call “Like Things Are Lice.” That’s kind of our own little bit of a riff on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Oh, and Max Greenfield comes back as Boo Boo.
We also bring Nathan Fielder back. We loved using him way back when we did “Beefsquatch”. So he played the boy that Gene gets to know in kind of a forbidden … she’s drawn to a graffiti artist character in this episode called “The Land Shift.”
And of course, Aziz Ansari is back as Darryl for several different episodes!
The annual Christmas episode
BOUCHARD: This year’s Christmas episode is especially musical. I mean, of course, we try to put music into every show, especially over the end credits of every single show. But in this one, the kids will stage a kind of an Ice Capades — all for the benefit of a mall Santa that they are afraid that they pissed off. That’s Winkler. So there’s this little, little rink down at the mall called the Rinky Dink, and they stage an Ice Capades in an effort to kind of get his attention and demonstrate how nice they’ve been all year. They’re calling them the Nice Capades.
The annual Halloween episode
BOUCHARD: It’s called “The Hauntening,” and I think it’s cool. It’s a little unusual for us. It’s really kind of … it’s got twists to it, and it’s a surprisingly scary story. There’s sort of a haunted house story where we went as big as we could, and it also features an entire Boyz 4 Now music video.
But that’s not even the episode where Boyz 4 Now returns! This is just kind of a freebie. We just decided that Boyz 4 Now releases kind of like a “Thriller”-type song around this point in their career, and that’s what we feature during the episode. And then over end credits, we kind of give you the whole thing.
The show’s 100th episode
BOUCHARD: In the middle of this season is our 100th episode, and we decided to keep it entirely in the restaurant while making it as eventful as possible. Bob gets glued to the seat of the toilet in the restaurant as a result of a prank gone wrong, and it’s a big deal because it’s on the day that they were going to be profiled in a magazine. So we kind of like bring the whole world to Bob in a way. He’s stuck there, but Fischoeder and Doctor Yap and Teddy and all the others come to him. He’s not happy about it.
A “two-butted goat” episode
BOUCHARD: We have an episode called “Stand by Gene” where the kids go on this kind of extended Stand By Me-type journey to go see a two-butted goat that they heard is on a farm outside of town.
On the prospect of doing episodes centered on non-Belchers
BOUCHARD: You know, my urge is to say no, but I don’t know why. Why am I so conservative? I think there’s like … it would be so much easier to think of stories if we could just switch and follow somebody else, and early on, we started thinking about stories like that. And you know, I don’t remember exactly who it was at the network, but somebody said something along the lines of, basically, “Wait. Don’t do it yet. Don’t do a story in which one of the main family members doesn’t have something powerfully important at stake.” And I was glad for that advice, and I have sort of lived by it ever since.
But at the same time, it’s nice where it’s a little later in the process, and in the life of the show now, we care more about people like Teddy or Gayle. And of course, it’s like possible and even pleasurable to start writing to those characters. So you know, I think we’ll do it, but we’re going to do it very carefully.
Want more? EW’s Fall TV Preview mega-issue has the scoop on 115 shows! While the issue has left newsstands, you can still buy it here.
Bob’s Burgers premieres Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET on Fox.