[8.5/10] Bob doing a loose riff on Dead Poet Society is a kind of absurd concept, but I love it. How enthusiastic Bob gets about his students getting into cooking, with amusing resistance in the form of the kids themselves, Frond, and the cafeteria industrial complex, makes for a delightful setup.
What really makes this one though is the fact that every piece of it is funny, and occasionally a little heartfelt. I think my favorite part of it is Zeke, who finds a hidden talent, warms up to Bob, and still has the loose energy that makes him endearing as a character. But my other favorite was the exact opposite -- the caustic lunch lady. Her acid tongue and bitterness at Bob and everyone had an equal and opposite comic chemistry. This one is just so well populated.
Tina has the other emotional angle, hoping that have her dad as a sub would make her a shoo-in for teacher’s pet, only to feel lost in the shuffle. Gene and Louise turning out to be good workers when they’re not working at a “crappy restaurant” (after heckling their dad) is a great bit. I especially like the head of the cafeteria company, who has his own low key approach, and small stakes attempts at intimidation that tickle the funny bone. His effort to kick Bob out of the car especially got me cracking up with the improvisational, conversational vibe of the scene.
The B-story, where Linda teaches Teddy to dance, is pretty silly, but got a lot of laughs out of me. There’s some fun physical comedy in how Linda, Teddy, and the random guy at a booth shake their booties in the restaurant. But there’s also some nice situational comedy with two oddballs like Linda and Teddy teaching/learning a skill. Plus the button with Teddy puking in the bounce house at his cousin’s wedding is a fun coda.
The story of resistance and triumph with the small stakes of an elementary school home ec class makes for a fun backdrop to everything. The one last meal Bob offers before he’s fired for sticking to his principles is a strong note to go out on, and it has good closing beats, like the kids spilling popcorn seeds, Bob apologizing to Tina and affirming their Bob, and Tina even proving useful by fixing their little wheel cart.
Overall, there’s tons of great stuff in this one, at almost every level. A real comic winner.
This episode was AMAZING! A Bobs Burgers classic