Bob's Burgers' Writers Try Not To Think About How The Series Will End

For all the great gritty and realistic television that's widely available these days, sometimes you're feeling down and find yourself in desperate need of something that's just nice to watch. "Bob's Burgers," which hit an elusive sitcom milestone when they released a feature-length movie in May of this year, is a show that is nice.

The show follows the wacky Belcher clan, a family of misfits who run their titular diner. "Bob's Burgers" avoids some common tropes for animated adult comedies with its insistent optimism and the lead family's capacity for loving each other. It's not only the quality writing and dynamite voice cast (which includes H. Jon Benjamin, Kristen Schaal, and John Roberts) that keep people coming back to order more "Bob's Burgers" after 12 seasons. People have developed a genuine love for the characters, who maintain a love for each other and a dynamic optimism despite their constant pitfalls. The family all knows each other as the freaks and weirdos they truly are, and they love each other anyway.

With the show's 13th season due to arrive in September, people are starting to wonder just how long the show could go on. With the momentum it has right now, having navigated the tough balance of creating and releasing their movie while simultaneously making the show's next season, the end doesn't seem to be in sight. And for show creators Loren Brouchard and Nora Smith, the show's ending isn't even something they want to think about right now.

An unclear end

In a recent interview with Skwigly, an online animation magazine, the show's creators looked into the future, but reminded themselves not to look too far. When asked directly how they think they'd end the show if they considered doing so, Brouchard was direct at first. "I know we all want for them to be happy and successful, for sure, to the extent that we're optimists. I think we're all optimistic about what's likely to happen to these characters," he said, clearly reflecting the positive attitude of the show he helped to create. But Brouchard, who also created "Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil" and "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist" before breaking out into the mainstream with "Bob's Burgers", was also hesitant to distract himself by considering the show's future.

"But we also want to honor the moment, that this story is about a restaurant that is on the edge of failure; it is on the edge of success, too, but it's on the edge, regardless. In a way, the second we start thinking past that moment I don't think we'll write as well. You really have to sit with it, you have to stay there in this moment, this time." 

Additionally, Brouchard was resistant to the idea of considering aging up the characters, specifically the Belcher children, for risk of losing track of what the characters are about. Brouchard has been consistent in interviews for years saying the characters will never grow up.

Staying optimistic

For a show like "Bob's Burgers" that's in such a great spot, I can understand not thinking too hard about how all of it will end. If you have a specific ending in mind, everything you create from then on will be in some way in service of that ending, and that's a story-telling albatross that the show doesn't need on its back. For a show like "Bob's Burgers" that excels in silliness and letting the characters interact and take the story in the direction that feels natural for them, having too much structure could easily be a downside.

Ultimately, however, the most important thing the show has to do is maintain its ethos. And Nora Smith puts that extremely well later in the Skwigly interview. "You have to have faith and optimism. The movie is, of course, a lot about optimism. And we try to tell a story where it's actually mathematically, maybe better to be an optimist, which is hard for me as a pessimist to hear. But if you see it worked out in the end, I feel like you lose the faith aspect of it. You have to have faith that being hopeful is going to have this energy that takes you there."

So maybe the exact story beats of the ending aren't clear. Maybe we aren't sure if Bob's restaurant will be a long-term success, or what Tina's job will be when she grows up. But while those specifics don't need to be clear for a long while, the fact that the creators are sure of the positive tone of the inevitable finale should make viewers, in a word, optimistic.