Bob Belcher IS God
…Let me explain…
Escapism is my tactic of choice whenever I’m feeling down about myself. It’s just nice to console myself with the fact that no matter how bad things may seem right now, no matter how stupid or clumsy or pathetic I might feel, there’s someone dumber, clumsier, and more pathetic by choice.
So, for instance: when I’m frustrated with family or friends, I binge The Simpsons. When I’m frustrated with my job in a restaurant, I binge Kitchen Nightmares.
Bob’s Burgers is the perfect combination of the two I never asked for, because I didn’t realize how much I needed it.
On a different note, I stumbled the other day across a fascinating thought about the nature of sin. I love it when people talk openly about sin, give it some substance we can see and feel; because, as human beings, once we can sense it, we can figure out how to deal with it efficiently. I feel like we, as Christians, like to treat sin like it’s one of those light-up signs you buy at Target. We pop in the batteries, set it on a shelf to liven up the place, and then forget about it. The word is always lit up, but collecting dust and mostly ignored. We forget why we even bought it, and what we meant to do with it.
It just sits there, mocking us menacingly from its perch, where we never touch it because it’s not really meant to be touched. You don’t play with a light-up sign. It doesn’t feed you or keep you warm or entertain you. It’s just always there, and you just deal with it. Most importantly, you don’t ask questions like, “What is sin, anyway?”, “Where did it come from?”, or, “How do I make it so its something I can manage, rather than a sword looming constantly over my head?”
Shush. Its sin, you’re sinful, and if you aren’t in church praying and tithing, you are sinning. That means that God probably hates you. I mean, I know we all say that our God loves all people like His own children no matter what, but… Um…
ITS SIN, DAMMIT
It’s like trying to grab fist fulls of air, which has no shape, form, or volume. No dimension you can consider. No corners or angles to fit properly into the puzzle of our lives. Its just kind of surrounds us like a cloud we can never escape, threatening. Mocking. Intimidating. Who wants to worship a God who holds something like that over your head on purpose? BDSM enthusiasts, one could argue…
What sin was simply the desire to be self-sufficient, without the guidance and support of God The Father? Give it a solid definition that anyone can understand, intellectually and emotionally? Everyone wants to be self-sufficient — I struggle with a longing to run away from home and make my own way, the hard way, nearly every day, just to see if I could make it. But it isn’t scornful command I’d be missing out there; we’re not Sims, after all.
I’m deliberately walking a path I know The Lord has laid out for me. I know it, because I asked Him what He wanted from me, and He showed me, so I followed without asking questions. Any time I’ve deviated from that path, things fell apart. The feeling of an invisible safety net is always distinctly missing when I do this. I always get frustrated and confused, and keep forcing myself into dead ends and corners. But once I start to backtrack, looking to get back my own path, all the support and guidance of my Father comes looking for me, too. It always takes a long time to get lost down those winding roads, paved with sin, before realized how badly I’ve donked up; it only ever takes seconds to get back on the road.
Sin is nothing more than deviating from your very best life — a life The Father has already planned out for you, so you don’t have to think too hard about what that is.
God doesn’t want you to never get drunk. He set aside specific times just for people to get drunk and enjoy themselves; He just doesn’t want you to live your whole life in a drunken stupor, because you can’t live your best life when you’re only living for your next drink.
God doesn’t want you to never have sex, because He clearly made us to create new life and experience the most intense pleasure while doing it; He just doesn’t want you to waste your heart on cheap thrills, like $20 at the mall. Your best life can’t be lived if you are constantly burdened with heartbreak, or exhausted and broke from living up to the world’s standards.
The slight-up SIN sign on the shelf tricks us into thinking that any sort of pleasure, happiness, or even contentment deserves to be punished. All it really is, is a moment of youthful rebellion. All children rebel against their parents from time to time. But that makes it forgivable — not permissible, but forgivable. That also makes sin recognizable, which makes it preventable.
No good parent would advise their kid to do anything to access. Neither would God.
Wow, Emily, you’re so eloquent. Can we get back to Bob’s Burgers, now? That show is hilarious!
Hehehe, I agree, Bob’s Burgers combines a bunch of my favorite things in one convenient package. No matter how people grate on my nerves, no matter how untrainable people at work may be, no matter how backward my city may look, I can always find solace in Bob’s Burgers. At least there’s no part of my life I can point to can call a dumpster fire.
Meanwhile, all five of the Belchers are their own separate raging dumpster fires, running a restaurant somehow. There is no way DHEC would allow that.
And then, last night, I had a moment of clarity:
Bob Belcher IS God.
Or, at least, he is comparable to God…
Finally, what you came in here for, right?
The Belchers are somehow more dysfunctional than the Simpsons and the Griffins combined; in spite of that, everything Bob ever does, ever dreams of, ever looks ahead to, includes his family. He’s a level-headed guy, albeit with a temper, who just wants to make a simple but honest living doing what he’s passionate about, surrounded by the people he loves.
But his wife has an overly addictive personality and a drinking problem. His oldest is 13 and going through… that phase. His son has no filter, and literally blurts out whatever comes into his mind — usually making things worse for the fun of it. And his youngest is never happy unless she is deliberately causing career-damaging mayhem for her family’s livelihood. Also, Bob’s only real friends come into his restaurant every day and are willing to help him out in small, convenient ways; but when the going gets tough, they always bail.
If Bob sounds familiar, that’s because he is God, just like I said. He’s got it all: a bride who is always looking for the next high; out of control children who ruin his business for funsies, who he weirdly never disciplines; fair weather friends who are only there for the food; and a good offering that could be made so much better, if only these yahoos around him would calm the flop down and run the operation according to his perfectly functional plan.
And still, in spite of it all, all of Bob’s fancies include his wife and kids. He can’t even take an absinthe trip without them present in his mind. All the guy wants is to do what he loves: be with his family, and make burgers together while they’re at it.
But if they would listen to him instead of running the business into the ground for once, that would be so much easier to do. Bob wouldn’t end up losing his temper and sabotaging himself in nearly every episode. His business would be booming, and he wouldn’t be behind on his rent every month.
But then, there would be no show, now would there?
Living in sin is something we can’t necessarily help. We all end up prodigal from time to time, because that’s what children do. But it doesn’t automatically mean death and doom for us anymore, just as multiple failed businesses doesn’t mean the end of a career (just ask our current president). Sin no longer comes with a permanent sentence. It’s just a series of way-places on the road, some of which you will find yourself wandering towards and even staying a while; but you can wake the hell up and come on back anytime, and be welcomed home with love and a firm, “Now we know, so let’s not let it happen again.”
Every episode of Bob’s Burgers is like that. The Belchers start in their restaurant, get into their varied shenanigans, have their differences and harsh words with one another, but always come back to the restaurant at the end. To Bob, and his unconditional love, to start again tomorrow. It’s a scrappy path to walk, a humble life to live, littered with bombshells and traps the kids have set; but they are walking it together, and making something of it.
Bob is a safe place for his family, and so is God for us. We ignore, sneak off, purposely wreak havoc — only to realize we should have just listened to our Father in the first place. And we can always come back, make amends, and keep walking a little taller and stronger for what we’ve learned.
So, yeah. I love Bob’s Burgers because it reminds me that my life is really okay. No matter how frustrated, incompetent, or restless I may be feeling; no matter how much my family can be at times, or how annoying my industry is, no matter how the world seems to be burning around us, it’s nice to watch this show and remember that things could be much worse:
I deserve death, but I get to come home to the restaurant, instead.