Bob's Burgers to unveil pinworm epidemic episode... written before pandemic
Creator Loren Bouchard and the cast discussed upcoming episodes and the big-screen movie at their Comic-Con At Home panel.
Bob's Burgers will not be sidelined by the pandemic. The underdog animated family comedy returns to Fox right on schedule, unveiling its season 11 premiere on Sept. 27 at 9 p.m.
In March, Hollywood shut down as the country went into lockdown mode due to the spread of COVID-19, but animated shows were able to resume production rather quickly. In fact, Bob's was up and running only three days after the lockdown by working remotely, which is how creator Loren Bouchard and the stars held their Comic-Con panel (above) on Friday. (Working from home has its challenges, of course. “I really don’t like that the most acoustically favorable place in my house is this tiny closet that I have to stand in between a bunch of jackets for an hour," said voice cast member Dan Mintz, a.k.a. Tina, of the recording process.)
The show's second episode of the new season might play a little differently than originally intended. Penned before COVID-19, “Worms of In-Rear-ment" deals with pinworms and will likely resonate in our current pandemic times. "It’s about a pinworms epidemic," said executive producer Nora Smith. "Two people in my life have gotten pinworms in their butts, so it just seemed like a fun pandemic story, back when those were wild and fancy free. And then this happened and I was like, 'Oh no, people are going to think we’re joking about it.'... They take it seriously, but hopefully it’s more fun because it’s about anus stuff... There’s a lot of hand-washing. I'm hoping that people think of it as an escape to a more fun pandemic."
The producers also revealed that the season premiere, titled "Dream a Little Dream of Bob," reminds fans of the season 7 premiere, "Flu-ouise." "We’re inside of Bob’s dreams for a lot of that episode," said Bouchard. "In a way, it’s an epic quest." The Halloween episode will take you inside a place you might have noticed: the hotel at the end of the street. "The kids try to deliver a burger to the hotel on Halloween night," teased Bouchard. The Thanksgiving episode, titled “Diarrhea of a Poopy Kid," is a "big adventure trapped inside the minds of our kids," he hinted, while the 200th episode, which airs this fall, is a "bit of a Rashomon story" with "three levels of guilt that pertain to a disastrous event." Plus: music!
This season's guest roster includes a lot of familiar faces, many of them who have already appeared on the series. Among the celebrities who will be lending voices: Megan Mullally, Jillian Bell, Natasha Rothwell, Jenny Slate, Stephanie Beatriz, and Pamela Adlon. Maya Erskine, Brooke Dillman, Betsy Sodaro, Sarah Baker, Jessica Lowe, Suzy Nakamura, Sarah Silverman, Lauren Silverman, Naomi Ekperigin, Akilah Hughes, Laraine Newman, and Melissa Galski also will be heard.
If you notice a lot of women on that list, that's intentional. During the panel, Bouchard talked about his commitment to increase the number of women in animation, noting that his writing staff was now roughly half-female. "Every part of that conversation is good, even the awkward parts," he said of conversations about representation. He gave voice cast member Kristen Schaal (Louise) credit for "challenging us to hire more women." Schaal gave him another proposal during the panel: "Maybe it would be a nice challenge – I know we have Andy and Ollie voiced by Sarah and Laura Silverman — but to create more characters voiced by women and try it out and see how it goes. Because it is about the pitch and the tone and everything, and maybe you could create some really fun things that have never happened before in animation, if you really want to play with reversing.... " Bouchard agreed, noting that "it is a fun challenge.” Bouchard also praised Smith for her work in raising the profile — and context — of female voices on the show. Smith elaborated that her goal with female characters was simply "to write them a lot of funny lines. I think sometimes other animated shows just kind of go, 'Okay, you’re a woman, so you’ll do the women stuff.' And every female character we have, we try to make them as funny as possible, just like some real women," she deadpanned before adding: "Lots."
And you might be wondering about the long-gestating Bob's Burgers movie, which was first slated for release in 2020 and then moved to spring 2021. With theatrical releases currently experiencing unprecedented delays, are there any updates to share? "We don’t have movie theaters to go see it in at the moment," chuckled Bouchard, who reassured that the movie will be released. "Are we talking about now all investing in a drive-in? Loren, is that what you're saying?" quipped Eugene Mirman (Gene). "It’s gotta come out. We have to stop working on it at some point," added Bouchard. Summed up Schaal: "It’s gonna be next level – can I say? — just really pretty. Worth the ticket price."
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