Much like Thanksgiving – and Halloween, and Valentine’s Day – Bob’s Burgers prides itself on often bringing a Christmas episode in most seasons. The Last Gingerbread House on the Left (great name) was the season 7 Christmas episode, and it is hilarious.
The episode opens with Bob being stressed out because of the kid’s Christmas lists. He feels like a failure because the kids want so much, but the family can’t afford it. Linda tries to reassure Bob that the kids will be happy with what they can pull off, but he has doubts. Doubts are further solidified by the kids’ excitement for gifts. Thus the foundation for our A plot has been laid, although it will take a little bit to get there.
Our B plot comes with Linda finding light-up Christmas necklaces and wanting the family to go caroling. Linda is her usual self, overly enthusiastic, and assumes that everybody else will match that energy. The family agrees when she promises them hot cocoa, and Teddy joins because… Teddy.
Bob gets a call from Mr. Fischoeder, asking Bob to bring “five or six foods” to a party he is throwing. When Bob arrives, it turns out that Mr. Fischoeder each year does a gingerbread house-building contest between himself and other wealthy men. Mr. Fischoeder loses each year and wants Bob to join and throw the contest for him. He promises Bob a free month of rent for his troubles. Bob agrees, thinking he has found the solution to his problem of being able to buy the kids gifts.
Linda, the kids, and Teddy start to carol in Mr. Fischoeder’s neighborhood. They avoid a dark, creepy-looking house, with sheets instead of blinds up. The rumor is the owner of the house is a killer. Linda is upset as the more they carol, the more it is clear nobody actually cares about it. Everyone says “thanks” but is clearly in a hurry to see the group leave. Nobody offers them hot cocoa or other drinks, and to Linda’s dismay, no one wants to join them either.
Louise finally convinced Linda they should go to the creepy house because she wants something good to come out of the night. The man answers with a knife, only further scaring them. However, he convinces them to sing for him.
Meanwhile, Bob does his best to lose the gingerbread competition while surrounded by a group of eccentric old men who are also a bit big on the trash talk. At one point, he finds out the prize for the winner, to be able to cuddle with a polar bear cub at the local zoo. He also gets tired of Mr. Fischoeder putting him down. He switches gears and decides to try to win instead of losing on purpose. However, the men keep pushing each other and ultimately draw guns on one another and their gingerbread houses.
When the carolers finish, the man begins to sing in a beautiful falsetto to the family, meanwhile, the gingerbread competition reaches its climax and the men all begin to shoot each other’s gingerbread houses. I have said before, and I will say again, comedy in slow-motion is one of my all-time favorite things. Throwing “Adeste Fideles” (Oh Come All Ye Faithful in Latin) in the background for this one only makes it better.
Bob freaks out once the shooting is done, and the men admit that Bob making fun of the contest is what finally set them off. So the family all learns their lesson. Linda learns she shouldn’t have judged without knowing the man and that the person they were avoiding all night is the only one that shares her enthusiasm and wants to join them with caroling after giving them hot cocoa.
Bob learns that he should be less judgmental of Mr. Fischoeder and his friends. They have found their own way of celebrating the holidays, even if it is a bit weird. He compares them to a family, something they had been making fun of him for obsessing over.
The episode ends even more sweetly when Bob allows the gingerbread group to join his family for the Polar Bear Cub cuddle.
This is one of my favorite Christmas episodes of Bob’s Burgers. While the caroling B plot is a bit so-so, the gingerbread contest is just so damn funny. How into it they all are, and the climax is just so excellent. Also, again, I cannot stress enough the hilarity of the slow-motion destruction of all the gingerbread houses to a beautifully sung Christmas Carol.
It manages to be a solidly funny episode that still manages to deliver a Christmas message. Bob and Linda need to be more open-minded, and the overall spirit of coming together and unity is there. It is solidly Christmas, solidly funny, and solidly Bob’s Burgers. I like when shows do this. Christmas episodes can feel off from the rest of the show or a bit too preachy. This episode manages to bring it all together without losing its personality. Also, the things that Linda and Bob need to be less judgmental about are zany enough that it doesn’t ground the episode too much or feel overdone with the messaging.
So bottom line? This is a must-add to anybody’s Christmas viewing list. It’s funny, sweet, and just a great episode all around. The guest characters are hilarious, and Mr. Fischoeder is always a welcome addition to the Bob’s Burgers lineup. It’s wacky fun which viewers will expect but sweet, which Christmas episodes feel like they should be. Even if you’ve already seen it consider giving it a rewatch. Bob’s is so full of jokes it can be easy to miss a few on the first watch.
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