‘Bob’s Burgers’ and Hollywood’s Problem with Thanksgiving

It happens every year; stores are covered in red and green Christmas decorations before Halloween celebrations even start. Commercialism overtakes commonsense.

I don’t know if the early saturation of Christmas décor works for sales since it actually seems to make everyone mad, but it seems to happen earlier and earlier every year. And yet, I haven’t seen many advertisements for Thanksgiving. Some grocery stores are starting to advertise their deals on turkeys for Thanksgiving, but many other stores seem to have forgotten that important holiday. Sure, a turkey decoration isn’t as cute as a snowman for Christmas, but that doesn’t mean that Christmas can overshadow Thanksgiving. It’s an important holiday that celebrates thankfulness and family, something the United States should probably do more of.

Thankfully, not everyone has forgotten about Thanksgiving, especially the Belcher family on Bob’s Burgers. If you’ve never seen Bob’s Burgers, it’s a show about a quirky family and their absurd antics, and it can be quite weird at times. But most importantly, it celebrates how united their family is, no matter what. As one fan puts it, Bob’s Burgers is great at “effortlessly blending the weird and the warmth.” At the end of the day, the family will do anything for each other. Bob will even dress up as a purple horse to infiltrate a convention just to get his daughter’s toy horse back for her. Even though it’s a cartoon, it’s definitely one of the best shows about family on TV nowadays.

Bob’s Burgers has episodes for all the holidays, but they put special emphasis on Thanksgiving. It’s Bob’s favorite holiday, and he always goes all out for it, picking out the perfect turkey by talking to it (I warned you, it’s a quirky show) and trying to make the best meal possible. He values Thanksgiving so much that in one episode, he pulls his wife’s injured sister on a sled (yep, a Bob sled) through a blizzard to make it back for dinner with his family.

The family values on Bob’s Burgers are so admirable that Bob even has a special tradition with each of his three kids on Thanksgiving. And in one Thanksgiving episode, Bob is so worried about his oldest daughter growing up that he almost ruins Thanksgiving dinner with some sleepwalking antics. Even though something always goes wrong (it is a TV show after all), the family always comes together in the end to celebrate Thanksgiving as a family, which is hard to find on today’s TV shows. How I Met Your Mother did feature Thanksgiving (or “Slapsgiving”) episodes, but Thanksgiving was rarely the center of an episode. In Season Seven, the friends gather for Thanksgiving, but the focus of the episode is on Robin; they don’t even show a Thanksgiving spread.

Hollywood could stand to learn something from the value that Bob’s Burgers’ creators place on Thanksgiving. Television is saturated with Christmas specials and made-for-TV holiday movies; why not commit the same resources and attention to a holiday that celebrates family, gratitude, and togetherness, not merely presents?

Yes, Thanksgiving isn’t as glamorous as Halloween and Christmas, nor does it offer as many opportunities for commercial excess, but the family values it promotes are in short supply these days. Instead of preparing for Black Friday shopping or thinking about Christmas presents, we should remember the importance of Thanksgiving and celebrate with our families—even if you have to fight an army of crazy turkeys or pull a sled through a blizzard to do it.

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  • Bob

    Thanksgiving deserves more societal attention and Bob’s Burgers is a fantastic show. To say otherwise is in-American!

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