Shoulder pads have never looked so good.
  • Fox
  • Shoulder pads have never looked so good.

A delayed season premiere isn’t always a bad thing: we’re relatively deep into the fall premiere season and, so far, the offerings are so average that it’s a huge relief to see Bob’s Burgers return. Sunday’s season five premiere was a wonderful “welcome back” for fans of the show, and a solid introduction for anyone who’s been dragging their feet.

“Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl” is a tale of two musicals. When the school opens up the fall musical to student submissions, Gene decides it’s time to bust out his Die Hard adaptation, which he’s been working on since he first saw the film and wondered why it doesn’t have singing or dancing. Unfortunately, his ex Courtney and her father do a better job of selling their Working Girl-inspired production, with the lure of a Carly Simon appearance.

With some help from Louise, Gene puts on a “guerilla/protest play” to counter Courtney’s school-sanctioned show, in the secret boiler room next to the boiler room which Louise posits must have formerly been a faculty opium den. On opening night, things come to a head when Courtney’s father notices the Working Girl audience sneaking away to check in on John McClane at the Nakatomi Tower. School counselor Mr. Frond brokers a peace, though, and the kids put together a hilarious hybrid with exposition-heavy songs and surprisingly sophisticated stage effects.

Though it was a little light on Bob and Linda, “Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl” has jumped into my top ten Bob’s Burgers episodes. It was pretty much perfect from beginning to end. And despite the network nervousness that its time slot suggests (6:30 PM is prime for preempting ), Bob’s Burgers is one of the best shows on TV—not one of the best cartoons or one of the best shows on Fox, but one of the best shows period. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, immensely quotable, but mostly it’s just so damn charming.

Other episode highlights:

—Linda Belcher revealing that her dreams for her children include seeing them perform in competing musicals. Also: “Tina’s the president.”

—Tina as Katharine Parker/Sigourney Weaver. She knew she’d have an easier time snagging the role of the antagonist in Courtney’s production than the female lead in Gene’s play. It was the low-hanging fruit (along with Jimmy Jr.’s butt).

—When choosing between their children’s musicals, Bob calls dibs on seeing Tina in Working Girl; later, we learn that it was the movie that “inspired [him] to be anything [he] wanted to be,” because of course it was.

—At the risk of getting treacly, can I just say I love the fact that the Belcher kids have lunch together, despite being grades apart? You’d think Louise would feel her siblings would lower her “stock” at school.

Bob’s Burgers, Fox, Sundays 6:30 PM