Bob’s Burgers 5×01 ‘Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl’: I’d be an incredible stapler!

Bob's Burgers

Bob’s Burgers isn’t the type of show that you expect to get a 5th season. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s quirky and full of odd characters getting into really specific weird conflicts. But it works, aided by strong comedy and an excellent voice cast.

The fifth season premiere had a lot of the standard elements we’ve come to expect from the show. Gene putting on a musical, Louise manipulating everyone and finding a way to make money on the endeavor, and the parents just trying to make sure the kids don’t cause any lasting damage. I would be slightly disappointed that we’re not entering new territory character-wise if it weren’t for the strange and wonderful concept of dueling musicals, both adaptations of 80’s hit movies – Die Hard and Working Girl.

I admit that I’ve only ever seen Die Hard, but I’ve seen enough 80’s movies to know why certain details are funny and well-parodied. Choosing those films is a risky move by the writers. They’re relying on enough viewers knowing enough of the references to fully appreciate the strangeness of the musicals separately and, at the end, grafted together as the sublimely absurd Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl. The writers walk a tightrope here, but it strangely works.

Bob's Burgers

Source: Fox

The retelling of the conflict in Mr. Frond’s office takes up most of the episode, and the tried-and-true “characters retell it with their own spin” is used here, but in a way that’s so true to the characters, it’s hard to complain.

Some highlights for me:

  • Gene’s one-man Die Hard, complete with fight scene, was packed with great stuff. “I’m Grubin’!” “I’m Hans Gruber, consider yourself Grubed.”

  • Gene’s audition, in which he just chants “Nakatomi!”

  • Louise: We’re here because this room happens to be under the very auditorium where Working Girl: The Musical is going to be performed.
    Gene: Then this is where I wanna die!

  • The running gag of Courtney’s father promising Carly Simon and not delivering

  • Linda: Oh my god, our kids in competing musicals! I always dreamed this night would happen, aww!
    Bob: That’s your dream?
    Linda: Yeah. Tina’s the president and this.

  • “I’m a Die Hard freak. Check it out, Bonnie Bedelia. (shows them a tattoo.)”

  • Louise charged her parents $5 each to attend Gene’s show.

Overall, the episode was Bob’s Burgers in strong form. It was no “Topsy,” but it produced plenty of great laughs and it’s good to see the show back.

Finally, with my coverage of Bob’s Burgers, Extant, Archer and Hostages, I am officially your Terrible CBS Drama/H. Jon Benjamin-Voiced Animated Comedy Correspondent. Until next week, my fellow Bob’s Burgers fans.


J.P. Laub

is a pop culture connoisseur, politics wonk, sometimes gamer and consummate nerd. To give you some idea, he is an avid reader of Wikipedia entries about fictional and theoretical faster-than-light drives. Seriously, he once saw a random Dune reference on a website and spent 45 minutes reading about the Holtzmann effect and related entries.


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