[7.6/10] This one started slow, but really grew on me as it went. There’s legitimate stakes here, with OceanFest being one of the restaurant’s biggest days of business of the year, a fire being serious shit, and the kids potential role in it creating a real crisis for Bob in how to be supportive and loving to his kids when they’ve all done something reckless and terrible. It pulls on the characters and the audience in the right directions.
I’ll admit that the situation with the paper mache mermaid, and the kids’ contributions to how it caught on fire, is a little contrived, but I did appreciate the gags about how grotesque Linda’s arts and crafts creation is. The “It’s all my fault” song isn’t the peak of the show’s musical output, but the chorus is catchy, and I especially like Louise’s admission being more slippery than her siblings’.
It’s also a good Teddy episode, with his well-meaning but over-earnest attempts to console and help the family reflecting the characters’ usual enthusiastic bent. I like the twist with Hugo being the actual cause of the fire, with Ron nudging him to apologize. Plus, the funny line of the episode was Bob fretting over using a portable grill on top of his regular grill and comparing it to having an affair with another woman on top of his wife, only for Linda to reply, “I am a sound sleeper.”
But the real winning element here is “I love you, but you’re terrible” emotional throughline between Bob and the kids that goes back to the series’s very first episode. The kids thinking they’ve done bad, nearly going to extreme lengths to try to make up for their mistakes (smashing a window to try to steal their dad the part he needs), but then being unable to do it because of their morality is some great storytelling. It shines a light on the kids’ weirdness and occasional recklessness, but also their essential goodness and love for their dad. Bob’s reaction is very sweet, and the proprietor of “A Shrimple Plan” providing Bob with the part after being moved by Tina’s sweet note is a great way to go out.
Overall, this one takes a bit to get going, but once it does, it touches on something sweet and true to who the Belchers are as a family.
Oh my, this one immediately becomes one of my favorite episodes. I love these sweet shenanigans involving the kids, like when they try to break the window to the shrimp place but realize that they cannot actually do it. It`s so adorable! Probably on my Top 3, with the original Hawk & Chick (what a powerful duo on Bob and Louise) and "Large Brother, Where Fart Thou?"
This episode really stands out for me.