The Bob’s Burgers Movie is the first feature film to spawn from the long-running TV series of the same name, and proves to be a treat for fans. Packed with the original cast and the same humour that viewers have grown to love over the years, the highly anticipated musical is finally out in cinemas. We spoke with Dan Mintz and Eugene Mirman, who voices Tina and Gene Belcher in the film, to celebrate the release.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie sees the Belcher family, have to solve a murder once a skeleton in a sinkhole is found outside their restaurant. However, on top of the mystery, we also see the characters having to face their own insecurities along the way. Tina is torn between her fantasy and the reality version of Jimmy JR as she struggles to ask him to be her summer boyfriend. Gene, on the other hand, is dealing with questioning his artistic ability as he prepares for a summer performance at the Wharf.
In our interview with Mintz and Mirman, we discuss the ins and outs of their characters in the film, how the flick ties into the series, and unpack why viewers love and identify with the Belcher kids even after ten years.
The Digital Fix: Hi, guys, it’s so nice to meet you. I love Bob’s Burgers, so watching this movie as a fan was a huge treat. What do you think this movie brings to the table that we haven’t seen from the series yet?
Eugene Mirman: I think the story is sort of heightened. You know? It’s a story that you couldn’t tell in episodes. It’s a story that needs to be told as a movie. But I think it also very much is rooted in the world.
You just see the sort of like some new environments and some new places that when you watch the show are like, ‘oh, yeah, that’s of course there. This totally makes sense.’ We just have never seen it before. So, I think the writers actually did just such a great job of heightening the whole thing, while making it very much set in the world of Bob’s Burgers.
It’s funny how you said this film is heightened because we did get a sense of that with both of your characters. We got to dive deep into things such as the Jimmy Jr. obsession for Tina, and the musical insecurities of Gene. What was it like reading that expanded view of your characters in the script?
Dan Mintz: Yeah! It didn’t just like heighten the stakes of the story but I feel like the movie kind of let the characters add more layers. It had the time to add more layers to the characters and more vulnerability. And, you know, like seeing Gene worry about his music not being good: it had never occurred to me before that he would ever think it might not be good.
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And like seeing Tina, she has this dilemma over does she want Jimmy Jr to be her summer boyfriend or not? And as opposed to, you know, even wondering if he will accept her proposal in the first place. Like she has the confidence to not even worry about that, and just about what she wants and that new kind of anxiety.
Now that we’ve seen these plot threads, it really makes you wonder, okay, what’s going to happen in season 13? Can you give us any hints as to what your characters will be up to? Are we going to see continuity from the discoveries that they made from the movie coming to the series?
EM: Well, I think in general, everything that happens in the show stays as like, a part of the show. But in the same sense, the year repeats. So I think, though I don’t know if season 13 has any of the new settings that are in the movie.
I can’t remember and don’t know for sure, but I think that the reality of everything that happened in the movie will be part of the reality in the world of Bob’s Burgers moving forward. So, whether you see it in the next season or some other time, I don’t know.
DM: Like not to spoil anything, but none of the characters die in the movie. So it’s, like, pretty easy to keep the same continuity going. (laughs)
So, for Tina, are we going to see that beret on the chain she made in the movie as a symbol for her summer boyfriend appear again?
DM: Oh, well, that? That I can’t spoil. (laughs)
Both of you are also stand-up comedians. How different is it telling jokes onstage versus telling jokes in a booth recording a voice-over.
DM: It’s definitely much easier to do it in a booth. And also, someone else wrote them, I guess Eugene improvises a lot, but for me, a lot of times, someone else wrote the jokes. So, there’s less pressure on you.
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I guess, I have noticed kind of in table reads, which we haven’t been doing since the pandemic, but we would read the script in front of an audience, and every time I get a laugh, I would be like pretty proud of that. And if it wouldn’t get a laugh, I just blame the writing.
EM: I also think for stand up, you know, you’re performing, you’re like a version of your own self. I guess like it’s, you’ve as an audience has written a bit for me, and then we’ve written it together. So, stand up is more like you talking also with an immediate ability to either succeed or fail in front of people.
While with the show, you know, I’m playing an 11-year-old boy, and I have as many takes as you need to get what it is because you’re just recording. It’s not even like a film where there’s lots of people and things moving about. You can do the line as much as you need.
And then they’re like; we got it, we got the thing we like. And then if they listen to it later with everything, and they’re like, actually, we need you to sound like 10% more sad, we’ll just go in and record it. And we’ll do seven takes of it, trying to be 10% more sad. And they’ll be like that one, number four. And so, you can redo stuff in a booth in a way that, you know, once you’ve told a joke on stage, it’s either worked or not.
DM: Right? I’ve tried telling the same joke three times in a row, and it did not go well.
EM: Yeah, yeah. The third take is rarely the best.
Whenever we talk about Tina and Gene, I feel like those two characters, people tend to relate to them the most. I have seen ‘Tina, is my spirit animal’ posted on social media for years, same with Gene. Why do you think people gravitate towards both your characters so much?
DM: With Tina, I think it’s a little bit aspirational. Because even though she comes across as someone that you know, is like, so different in so many ways, most people are very insecure about how they’re different, and how they like different things. And she’s so upfront about that bit. She likes what she likes, and she never tried to change or hide that. And I think people are kind of inspired by that.
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EM: Yeah, and I think Gene is sort of like similar. He’s like, a little jokester, and he seems kind of comfortable with who he is, you know? As a little kind of oddball kid and he loves the things he loves. So I think that there’s just something about the idea of kids that are, kind of, okay with being these sort of little weirdos.
This movie is a celebration too. I mean, you guys have been doing Bob’s Burgers for what, like 10 years now? So, watching the film back must have been quite a nice experience. What was your favourite moment in the movie after seeing it?
DM: My favourite moment? (laughs) You’re asking people who have seen the movie so many times. So, it’s hard to remember back to our kind of first time seeing it. But I think probably my favourite moment was the flashback to Bob as a kid, with his mom and how that tied into to Louise and their relationship.
EM: Yeah, I’m going to stick with Dan’s answer as well.
Yeah, it’s not a case of copying homework at all, right? (laughs)
EM: [laughs] But also, like, I feel like some the of the great moments… there’s like a lot of stuff at the end but I think that they’re a little bit of a spoiler. I don’t want to give too much away. But I also do think that moment with Louise, or that flashback with Bob and his mom is really sweet.
Like I said, season 13 is coming out. This is more just a fun question, but if you got free range on the script, what would you like to see from your characters in the future?
DM: I mean, I’m very everyone says it would be a terrible idea. But I’m just very curious about what Tina will be like, as an adult. Like, oh, we never want to see what they are at any other age. But, although I know it would be kind of be jumping the shark if they got older, I still would love to find out what happens to her. Yeah.
EM: Yeah, I feel like the writers are so good at coming up with stuff that I don’t know that I have, like, a thing that I really want for Jean. I feel like they keep coming up with very fun things. And the things that come to mind that are like maybe incorporating our world or something… I don’t know, outside of what happens in Bob’s world. So yeah, I don’t know. Dan’s answer about Tina was excellent.
Great. Thank you both for getting to talk to me. It was lovely.
Both: Thank you very much.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie is out in cinemas now.