Louise might be the most regular megalomaniac on Bob’s Burgers but Tina is usually the most entertaining. A lot of that is probably down to the fact that when cutthroat Tina does appear, it results in a near-catastrophic turn of events, a sure sign that even when she tries to be mercenary, Tina still can’t quite get anything right. Her inherent, slightly dim decency will always be a barrier. But isn’t that a better way to be? Well, not if you want to make money.
This week, the kids are embarking on the sure-to-end-in-disaster ‘Tweentrepeneur’ programme under the tutelage of Mr Frond (obviously). From a range of exciting products that includes Louise’s Pointy Pal (a knife), Zeke’s Hot Nut Sack (a bag of spicy nuts) and Regular-sized Rudy’s Inhaler Hider (an inhaler taped inside a baseball mitt), the class chooses Jimmy Jr’s Wood Chuck, a lump of wood with googly eyes and a smile on it. The Wood Chuck is an instant success and the money starts rolling in, creating a divide between management (Jimmy Jr and Zeke) and sales (Tammy and Jocelyn) and the workers (Rudy, Tina, Gene and Louise).
While management enjoy the soda maker and two different kinds of chocolate almonds bought with the profits, the workers aren’t even getting their most basic of requests (a dust mask for Rudy, who is getting wheezier by the minute). Tina is sent to present their case to management and is easily won over by a new title, a desk and an imaginary intercom button. Her big business plan is to increase production, which Gene and Louise decide means they’ll have to quarter ass things, resulting in a drop-off in sales. Tina’s next plan is to try and strong-arm their googly eyes supplier (Harold and Ethel), which ends up with her buying a bulk shipment of googly eyes on credit.
When her final plan – the smaller, crappier Wood Chuck II – fails to catch on, Tina and the rest of the class are facing bankruptcy and an F. Louise inadvertently gives her the idea of getting Teddy to invest, which he does eagerly, despite all the warning signs and Tina, Gene and Louise’s eventual attempts to dissuade him. “Everybody was staring like they’ve never seen three kids holding a crying man down shoving money in his pants,” Louise says. Lesson learned, conscience recovered, Tina comes up with a plan that just about saves their bacon and gets them a B- (“That’s a Belcher A,” according to Linda).
Back at the restaurant, Bob and Linda are dealing with a dine-and-dasher. It’s kind of amazing that a show set in a restaurant took until season nine to get around to this storyline, but it’s executed so brilliantly that no complaints are necessary. Any restaurant can get ripped off once by someone, but it’s the dasher’s repeated visits that make this so entertaining. Visit one is a straight run, the second one is in disguise (a hat) and the third involves a twin brother hoax followed by a change scam that bamboozles Bob.
At the start of the episode, Bob drones to the kids about the importance of never compromising on quality, much to their eternal boredom. But when Tina does just that, the whole thing crashes down around her. And in the end, the guy who has ripped Bob and Linda off three times, comes back and agrees to pay, just because the food was so good. The episode doesn’t labour this point, but it’s a neat conclusion and a rare minor victory for Bob. If you always do your best, someone will notice. Cut corners and nobody wins. Especially if you’re Tina.
Burger of the week: Two! The ‘Turmeric-a the Beautiful’ Burger and the ‘Cops And Rabe-rs’ Burger (with broccoli rabe)
Store next door: Whole Lotta Shaker Furniture Going On
Pest control van: The Weevil Dead