Are you a Tina or a Louise? Doesn’t matter! Both the Belcher daughters — not to mention the rest of the family — are getting plenty of fun storylines in the upcoming season of Bob’s Burgers, which returns to Fox on Sunday, Sept. 25.
We recently spoke to series showrunner Loren Bouchard about what the show has in store in its seventh season. The short version: robots, lots of music, and John Oliver. Read on for the longer version — and to find out who Tina will be crushing on this season.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s talk about season 7. What’s should we expect?
LOREN BOUCHARD: Our first goal is do no harm. Make Bob’s Burgers episodes that stack up against any other Bob’s Burgers episode. That’s how we went into this. I’ve said this before, but I never, ever want to be sitting in this seat, doing this job and have somebody say this season’s not as good as the last season. That’s what we keep front and center. Hopefully, this is going to appeal to all our fans, but at the same time we’ve got to take chances, we’ve got to make sure it’s fresh.
The first episode is probably the freshest in terms of we haven’t ever quite done this before. Other shows have done this but it’s our take on the sort of Wizard of Oz construct. Louise is suffering from a fever when the episode starts. She’s clearly come down with the flu. She’s very excited because she’s going to miss school. She gets all her toys together. Then her mother, while helping her gather her toys in her room, drops her favorite toy, the Kuchi Kopi nightlight, in the toilet. Then the family tries to dry it off in a misguided attempt — they put it with a bunch of rice in the oven on low temperature and they melt it.
That’s all in the beginning of the show. Then basically, the rest of the episode is bouncing back and forth between the fever dream that she’s having and the family trying to figure out how to repair or replace this Kuchi Kopi nightlight, neither of which is easy.
Louise, meanwhile, has this dream where basically she meets all of her toys, and they all have the voices of her family, and she has to work through her ability to forgive or not forgive. I should add that it’s also a musical. And it has a cameo by Amy Schumer. There’s this very strange toy store that they visit that opens up late for them, but I won’t say any more about that.
I see there’s an episode titled “Ex-Machtina,” which sounds intriguing. What can you say about that one?
Yeah, there’s this real-life thing where they have tried to come up with robots but not robots — like remote-controlled telecommuters. It’s an iPad on wheels. Theoretically, a kid who can’t go to school would use this to go to school. You could actually walk down the hall. So the school has access to one of these and when Tina sprains her ankle, Mr. Frond, the school guidance counselor, basically jumps in and signs her up to be this tester for this program. So she spends this episode guiding this robot around. But what happens is Jimmy, Jr. — her on again, off again flame — seems to be able to talk to the robot more easily than he can talk to her.
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That’s great. Not to keep talking about Tina but I also see there’s an episode where she becomes a teen witch and I’m wondering if that’s sort of a Sabrina, The Teenage Witch kind of take.
Let’s talk about the holiday episodes. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas — what do you guys have planned?
“Teen-a Witch” is Halloween. It’s an homage to these careful-what-you-wish-for type horror stories. We watched Drag Me to Hell and lovingly referenced that in a couple places, that Sam Raimi movie that came out a few years ago. It’s a curse story basically wrapped in a witch story, wrapped in a Tina story. She gets a little taste of what it might be like to have some witchy power and things kind of snowball from there.
The Thanksgiving story is our take on The Producers. Louise in particular gets this idea in her head to try and sort of put on, write, and produce a Thanksgiving pageant that’s so bad that it’ll get shut down and they’ll be able to get out of school early on the day before Thanksgiving. They have this problem where they’re supposed to have a half-day, but this Thanksgiving pageant always drags on and on and eats into their half-day the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I don’t want to give it away. Basically, she goes to great lengths to try and get the show shut down.
Christmas is “The Last Gingerbread House on the Left.” Nora Smith, who wrote the season premiere, also wrote this one. It’s this great idea that she had that was just kind of a one-liner that we were very attracted to, which was the idea of an underground gingerbread house building competition. That was the germ of it. Basically, it turns out that Mr. Frond is part of this group of other well-off gentlemen who meet around Christmas to see who can build the best gingerbread house. It’s a judged competition, and if you’re hosting, you’re allowed to bring in a guest. He brings Bob in — Bob is pulled into the high-stake world of underground gingerbread house building.
Who’s the best singer among the kids?
That’s a good question! I mean, you’ve got to appreciate each on their own. They each have their own style, their own thing. So in a way, they could never be compared. It’s really apples and oranges. They’re all in their own range. I’ll tell you that.
We’ve got the premiere musical. We’ve got this Thanksgiving Producers-like event and then there will be caroling in the Christmas episode. I’m wondering if there are any other big musical moments this year?
We can’t stop. It’s like an addiction! We just keep putting music into the show. It’s such a pleasure. It’s really a very… we try not to do it too often because we don’t want to get caught. As addicts, we’re hoping to skate by so that no one notices that we’re sneaking music into the show.
Let’s talk about special guests. You already mentioned Amy Schumer. Any other guests that’ll be on this season?
We’ve got Judah Friedlander and Ken Marino, and Robert Smigel comes back as the security guard. He’s so funny. He’s doing that Triumph, [the Insult Comic Dog] voice for us. We go back to Kurt Braunohler, Samantha Bee, Jim Gaffigan. Zach Galifianakis comes back as Felix in the Christmas episode. Oh, Kerri Kenney-Silver is somebody we’ve been wanting to work with since season 1. Now we’ve got her in two episodes!
As for other new people, we have Rhys Darby. We’ve wanted to work with him for a long time. He plays sort of an object of Tina’s affection, a boy who really turns her head when she gets involved in debating. We used Nick Kroll for the first time. He’s also somebody we’ve been wanting to get on for a long, long time. He’s the debate coach, and Rhys Darby’s this kid from New Zealand. Oh, and John Oliver! Linda’s sister gets involved in cat modeling. She has this cat who’s a dead ringer for a spokescat who died and needs to be replaced. One of these Morris the Cat type situations.
So she gets involved with a cat agent who’s played by John Oliver. He did a fantastic job!
A cat agent?
A pet agent. It’s a real thing. Somebody’s got to represent these animals!