Release Date: April 17, 2012 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Color / 2011
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 13
Running Time: 286 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. 33 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles and Captioning: English, Spanish, and French Subtitles; Closed-Captioned
Special Features: Audio Commentary (all episodes); "Lifting Up the Skirt of the Night" music video; Audio Outtakes; Original Fox Demo; "Louise and the Chalkboard" featurette
It's time to get together to work in the good old fashion family burger business in Bob's Burgers - The Complete First Season. The animated comedy debuted on Fox as a midseason contender in 2011, and though it hasn't been the breakout hit that the network was necessarily hoping for, it has slowly assimilated into a part of the Sunday night lineup, even if it may not necessarily be a permanent one. The series focuses on Bob Belcher, a man who runs a family hamburger business which has one big problem standing in the way: his own family. Though they are supposed to be there to help, daughters Tina and Louise and son Gene are always causing problems in the restaurant, which he is forced to clean up with the assistance of wife Linda. This two disc set, containing every episode from the first season of the series, arrives on DVD just a few weeks after the debut of the second season on Fox.
The series begins with "Human Flesh," where Louise starts a rumor about the burgers at school which raises the suspicions of the health department. Bob pretends to be trapped in the wall when Linda's parents visit in "Crawl Space," but too much pretending can cause real consequences. A filmmaker causes a real nuisance for Bob in "Sacred Cow." In "Sexy Dance Fighting," Tina finally gains a little bit of personality when she takes a capoeira class. A murder mystery is staged at the restaurant (at the same time the restaurant gets robbed) in "Hamburger Dinner Theater." In "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?," Bob goes out of his way to make Tina's 13th birthday extra special. NBC Thursday night celebs Jack McBrayer and Oscar Nunez play transsexual prostitutes in this episode. Linda's creativity leads her to starting her own bed and breakfast in "Bed & Breakfast."
Linda's sister (voiced by Megan Mullally) hangs some of her artwork in the restaurant, and creates chaos which Bob isn't interested in having in "Art Crawl." In "Spaghetti Western and Meatballs," Louise feels left out when Bob and Gene bond over classic western films. Bob is on the verge of losing his business to rival Jimmy Pesto in "Burger Wars." A mold problem forces the family to spend the weekend in Mort the mortician's home (which is also the mortuary) in "Weekend at Mort's." Bob takes advantage of a storm that shuts down a town festival in "Lobsterfest." The first season ends with "Torpedo," where Bob finds out that his baseball hero is a cheater... and does his dirty work using burger grease.
The episodes are unedited and presented as they were originally broadcast, with runtimes as follows:
8. "Art Crawl" (21:42)
9. "Spaghetti Western and Meatballs" (21:41)
10. "Burger War" (21:40)
11. "Weekend at Mort's" (21:23)
12. "Lobsterfest" (21:40)
13. "Torpedo" (21:41)
There isn't anything really fancy about the packaging. It is just a standard Viva case with a picture of the family on the cover (Bob front and center with one of his burgers), and a home snapshot of the family on the back. There is also a very brief description of the series on the back. Inside the case--oh, and by the way, it is (unfortunately) one of those flimsy Eco-Box cases--you'll find the two discs. Disc 2 sits on the right-hand side of the case, and Disc 1 sits inside of a tray inside. For some odd reason, they decided to print all of the episode information on a chalkboard on the right-hand side of the case. It would have been much more logical to print that on the left-hand side of the case where there is no disc blocking it. The disc artwork is very clever, with Disc 1 being designed with pickles, lettuce, and tomato, and Disc 2 looking like a fresh off the grill burger. Disc 1 contains seven episodes, and Disc 2 contains six episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on this set are very nicely done. On the main menu of each disc, there is a series of animations of the characters playing, on a white background, with a chalkboard giving options of Play All, Episodes, Set Up, and Extras. Selecting Episodes takes you to a menu where all of the titles of the episodes are listed. In a somewhat rare move for a Fox series, once you select an episode, it plays right away, without the pretense of submenus. Honestly, this is a little bit strange, since there are audio commentaries on the set for every episode, but you can access those (and all other special features) from the Extras menu. Set Up allows you to turn on the subtitles, which are available in English, Spanish, and French. And, even though there are no scene selection menus, chapters are in fact placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
I honestly can't find anything to really nitpick on with the video and audio quality of the episodes on this set. It is really hard to botch a recent series, particularly an animated one, and thus, there are no problems here. The episodes are presented in widescreen, with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound audio. Certainly, everything would look nicer on this set if it were on Blu-ray, but unless there is some sudden jolt in popularity of this series, we'll probably never see that. Each episode is also subtitled in English, Spanish, and French, and the episodes are also closed-captioned.
This set shines quite a bit on special features, but in particular, it shines on commentaries. There are, in fact, commentaries for every single episode in this set, from those actively involved in the series. In fact, two of the episodes even have two separate commentary tracks. Commentators for each episode are as follows:
1. "Human Flesh" - Loren Bouchard, Jim Dauterive, H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Eugene Mirman, Dan Mintz
2. "Crawl Space" - Loren Bouchard, Mike Benner, Nora Smith, Jon Schroeder, Kristen Schaal
3. "Sacred Cow" - Loren Bouchard, Nora Smith, Holly Schlesinger, Jon Schroeder
4. "Sexy Dance Fighting" Scott Jacobson, Kelvin Yu, Steven Davis, Nora Smith, Jon Schroeder, Mike Benner
5. "Hamburger Dinner Theater" - Loren Bouchard, Mike Benner, Nora Smith, Jon Schroeder, Kristen Schaal
6. "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?" - Loren Bouchard, Jim Dauterive, H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Eugene Mirman, Dan Mintz
7. "Bed & Breakfast" - Loren Bouchard, Nora Smith, Holly Schlesinger, Jon Schroeder
8. "Art Crawl" (Commentary #1) - Loren Bouchard, Jim Dauterive, H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Eugene Mirman, Dan Mintz."
-- "Art Crawl" (Commentary #2) - Lizzie Molyneux, Wendy Molyneux, Dan Flybel, Rich Rinaldi, Kit Boss, Greg Thompson
9. "Spaghetti Western and Meatballs" - Loren Bouchard, Jim Dauterive, Kit Boss, Nora Smith
10. "Burger War" - Loren Bouchard, Jim Dauterive, Nora Smith, Holly Schlesinger
11. "Weekend at Mort's" - Scott Jacobson, Steven Davis, Kelvin Yu, Holly Schlesinger, Nora Smith
12. "Lobsterfest" (Commentary #1) - Loren Bouchard, Matt Beville, John Dylan Keith
-- "Lobsterfest" (Commentary #2) - Loren Bouchard, Jim Dauterive, Jon Schroeder, Kit Boss, Greg Thompson, Nora Smith
13. "Torpedo" - Steven Davis, Scott Jacobson, Rich Rinaldi, Dan Fybel, Lizzie Molyneux, Wendy Molyneux
For the remainder of the special features, on Disc 1, we begin with "Audio Outtakes" (7:08) are exactly what they sound like... a series of audio takeouts from the series. Actually, these come from two of the episodes, "Bed & Breakfast" and "Sexy Dance Fighting." They are somewhat interesting to listen to, but be aware, they do contain some adult language within them.
There is also a music video on the set, "Lifting Up the Skirt of the Night" (1:52), which is the song from when Bob was driving the taxi in the episode "Sheesh! Cab, Bob?" Really, all we get here is the clip from the episode, interspersed with some really, really, awful singing talent.
On Disc 2, we have "Bob's Burger Original Demo with Introduction by Loren Bouchard" (21:28), which is the original pilot, but is actually much more than what it sounds like. I was expecting to just see the original demo here with a brief introduction, but the introduction for this is over eight minutes long. The animation in this looks significantly different than what we saw in the finished product, but it is very much a full demo project, and not just little clips from it.
"Louise on the Chalkboard" (2:04) is a very brief featurette where Louise plays around on the chalkboard (as she does in some of the episodes on the series), then starts drawing the entire family on the chalkboard and explaining each character. It isn't that exciting to watch, but it is nice to have at least.
One thing that I was a bit surprised to not find was deleted scenes. I'm sure there have to be some, so why not include some?
To be honest, I'm not completely sold on this show yet, and I think that the same can be said for many viewers out there. Still, there are some decent episodes in the series, and it is great that they have put out a very nice DVD release for this series despite the naysayers (myself included as a naysayer). It is kind of surprising that this series returned for a second season, and it would be even more surprising if it makes it back for a third season. But in any event, the series certainly has some sort of potential, but it just hasn't quite reached that so far. For those who are fans of the series, this DVD release is certain to be appreciated. Fans of the animated comedies on the Fox Sunday night lineup may want to look into this, though it certainly is not really anything like the remainder of the lineup.