Like Bob’s Burgers, But Deeper. How the Creators Lifted the Cult-Classic to the Silver Screen

Like Bob’s Burgers, But Deeper. How the Creators Lifted the Cult-Classic to the Silver Screen
Image: 20th Century Studios

They say you should never meet your idols, but they don’t say you should never meet their “guardians”, so when Gizmodo Australia was given the opportunity to chat with the brains behind the Belcher family – the creators of the long-running TV series Bob’s Burgers – we couldn’t resist chatting about Bob and Linda’s silver screen debut.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie is an animated musical based on the series of the same name. It was first announced back in 2017, and, after a handful of delays, the movie finally hits cinemas in Australia next week.

Bob’s Burgers first aired back in 2011. Yet in 2022, it’s still witty, unique, riddled with relatable characters and a life lesson can be gleaned from each episode. And while we’ll hold off on giving you our review until next week, it’s worth mentioning that the movie is a hell of a lot more than merely 100 minutes of Bob’s Burgers.

“We didn’t want it to feel like a long episode of Bob’s, we wanted it to feel like a movie, a real movie. We wanted it to work for people who had never seen the show before, just as well as it might for someone who has seen all of the episodes – and everyone in between,” said creator Loren Bouchard, who also co-wrote and co-directed the movie.

But to Bouchard, whose passion for the Belchers is more obvious than Tina’s crush on Jimmy Jr, it goes a little further than this.

Bob’s burgers movie
Tina Belcher and Jimmy Pesto Jr. Image: 20th Century Studios

“I was hoping that even if you’ve seen the show, that it feels different, that it’s elevated, and it just fills the screen and really feels – not just bigger, because bigger is easy – but deeper,” he said.

“We wanted it to feel like a deeper episode of Bob’s Burgers.”

That said, it’s safe to assume that many of the people who attend The Bob’s Burgers Movie will already be Bob’s Burgers fans, something producer and movie co-writer Nora Smith acknowledged.

“It was definitely important to keep it very Bob’s. We didn’t want it to feel like we were all of a sudden breaking out of the mould of the show and going into a different type of world that didn’t feel comfortable to people that love the show,” she told Gizmodo Australia.

Bouchard would argue the characters themselves were the ones keeping the crew in-check throughout the process.

Bob’s burgers movie
Image: 20th Century Studios

“The characters, they’re our guiding light and they keep us honest, we’re the guardians of those characters, but they tell us when it’s not right, when a line’s not right, or an attitude’s not right, it just feels….. yucky,” he explained.

“You can go bigger, you can go smaller, you can do your 100th episode, or your 200th, or your movie, but if you’re doing a character-driven comedy, you have a sort of religious faith that your characters will have to be themselves in every version.”

Bouchard has also addressed something that Bob’s Burgers fans have wondered: what is the timeline of the show exactly – and adding onto that, how does the movie fit into its continuity?

“I like this question because it’s, you know, it’s not any kind of linear timeline that we can understand using our own lives. This is sort of a circular space where this family seems to be going through, roughly, a year over and over again with different permutations, and then some things we’ve pulled through,” he said.

“So you can’t call it continuity, really, and certainly not for somebody who’s watching early seasons and late seasons … for them it must be doubly weird [when] Louise is on her on her green machine in one episode and then she’s riding a bike in the next episode. And so that’s not continuity, exactly.”

He explained further: “But we have made a deal with the fans, I think, that as long as it feels right, that as long as there’s this sort of — it’s not narrative growth over time, but it’s kind of these layers that build up this depth. So for the movie, it’s got to fit in there.”

What was interesting to learn was that as work on the Bob’s Burgers Movie was underway, directing partner Bernard Derriman said it was business as usual for the TV show – both were being developed simultaneously.

Bob’s Burgers has run for 12 seasons — the season finale was on May 22 — with a 13th on the way, in addition to the new feature film. The show’s impressive longevity isn’t something that Bouchard takes for granted.

“Ultimately, we felt so lucky to even get a pilot and we kind of lived there and really still do feel so lucky to be able to do this,” he told Gizmodo Australia. “When we meet people who have seen the show I truly – I’m not just acting surprised, I’m still surprised. I do not expect it, I’m just stunned that more than a handful of people have seen it.”

There’s a lot of character growth in the Bob’s Burgers Movie (spoiler: Louise’s bunny ears are addressed) but there’s also the exploration of horror. I asked Smith, Bouchard and Derriman if the horror element was something we could expect to see fleshed out a little more in the future. They laughed off the suggestion of an R-rated Bob’s, but Bouchard said he would love to make another movie. Actually, he said, “I really hope we get a chance to do this again”.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie hits cinemas in Australia next week, May 26.