TikToker Explains Why ‘Bob’s Burgers’ Will Never Be As Bad As Modern ‘Simpsons’
As we approach Sunday’s Season 14 finale of Bob’s Burgers, long-time fans may fear that decades of wear-and-tear on the core characters will eventually turn the show into a self-parody, à la late-season The Simpsons. Thankfully, that eventuality is easily avoided with two simple words: character development.
Many modern Simpsons fans say that, three and a half decades into the show’s historic run, the show’s secret formula has seen gradual degradation due to a phenomenon The Simpsons helped name – Flanderization. The term was coined by TVTropes, who define the concept as, “The act of taking a single (often minor) action or trait of a character within a work and exaggerating it more and more over time until it completely consumes the character.” In Ned Flanders’ case, that is his devout-turned-fanatical faith in Christianity. This process has happened to numerous Simpsons characters and their central traits, like Homer and his piggishness or Lisa and her insufferable sanctimony, but the many character collapses of The Simpsons are all symptoms of the same problem – lazy, self-referential writing.
Popular movies and television TikToker cinema_singularity recently went semi-viral for contrasting the character arcs of The Simpsons with the more successful evolutions on Bob’s Burgers.
Of course, The Simpsons was on the air for much longer than Bob's Burgers' current run before devolving into self parody – plus, when The Simpsons was at this point in its lifecycle, seasons were more than twice as long as those of Fox' burger-flipping family. One of the main drivers of Flanderization that cinema_singularity did not touch upon is the expectation of unsustainable volume, so, until Bob's Burgers hits 750 total episodes, it may be too early to declare that the series has escaped the dull, depressing eventuality of character over-simplicity.
Additionally, The Simpsons canon sits atop a floating timeline wherein the overarching plot and character developments within episodes are forgotten as soon as the credits roll. Simpsons fans have long been complaining about continuity changes and canon contradictions, frustrations that grow more intense each time modern Simpsons writers introduce a new wrinkle to Homer and Marge's early relationship. While the Belcher children in Bob's Burgers are similarly stuck in a pre-teen time loop, the world itself does, occasionally, change, grow and evolve along with its characters.
All that being said, cinema_singularity's central argument for why Bob's Burgers has yet to go stale while The Simpsons plods on with yet another ChatGPT-generated season every year remains compelling – the writers of Bob's Burgers treat their characters like they're people who can grow and change into more complex beings, while today's Simpsons showrunners see theirs more like animatronics with a fixed number of crowd-pleasing tricks. “You're the birthday boy or girl!”