TV Review: Bob’s Burgers (5×17) – “The Itty Bitty Ditty Committee”

itty bitty ditty committee

“The Itty Bitty Ditty Committee” has one of Bob’s Burgers’ most self-aware jokes in recent memory: Louise referring to Bob and Linda as “the B-team” and the kids as “the A-team.” Considering how often the kids drive the show’s humor, and how Bob and Linda are often left to merely watch the kids’ stories, this line is funny and accurate, regardless of whether the writers intended it to be a meta observation. By the end of the episode, even Bob admits, “Wow, they really are the A-team.”

This episode isn’t exactly the right one to make that joke, though, because it’s one where both stories take up a pretty significant amount of time. Meanwhile, Teddy is the one sitting off to the side, observing, cracking one-liners, and nearly stealing the episode.

In the main plot—main because it’s the one with an arc and it’s referenced in the title—the kids start a band, with Gene playing his keyboard, Tina and Louise playing squeaky straws, Regular Sized Rudy on cymbals/drums, and Peter Pescadero on recorder. They bring in Darryl on vocals and he promptly begins controlling the band. After they book a gig at Lenny DeStefano’s birthday party, it’s revealed that Gene doesn’t know how to play in different keys. The Belchers are booted from the band, leading Gene to question his love of music.

The secondary plot finds Linda with an armpit rash, which her doctor tells her to air out by not shaving and wearing a tank top. Bob reacts to Linda’s gigantic amount of armpit hair as you’d expect: amazement and eventual support. This plot does take up a bit too much time, and never really goes anywhere. At one point, Hugo and Ron come in for an inspection, which seems like a major obstacle, but they leave within a minute and never come back. The plot only really exists so that the characters can comment on Linda’s armpit hair, but it works, largely because the response to it isn’t overwhelmingly negative or mean-spirited. If anything, they’re impressed.

Gene rediscovers his love of music by the end of the episode, of course, but it’s much sweeter than it could have been. He tells his sisters to burn his keyboard and, when they bring him back its supposed ashes, he flashes back to all the time he’s spent with the keyboard, beginning with him receiving it as a Christmas present as a toddler. This causes him to realize he doesn’t want it burned—luckily, Louise planned for him to have this revelation and didn’t actually burn it.

This is an effective moment because, since the show began, Gene has always had his keyboard. There’s rarely been an episode where it doesn’t make an appearance, and yet it’s easy to just think of it as a background prop. But it’s not. It’s a major part of Gene’s character, and put into this context, it’s enough to remind you of your passions as a child, or your passions now. Gene may not be able to play in other keys. He may never become a famous musician, but that doesn’t make his passion any less real. And that is what Bob’s Burgers is about. People chasing dreams, whether they’re dreams of becoming a famous musician, running a successful restaurant, or merely getting the attention of a crush, without worrying about practicality.

Rating: 8/10

“We’re pretty strawsome. That’s awesome, but with straws.”

“It’s like my grandma used to say. Starve a fever, feed a cold, and air out a festering rash in a tank top.”

“Is that one of those improv groups? My cousin was kidnapped by one of them.”

“You know how when you only know how to play in one key, and the other people want to play in different keys, and you’re like, ‘What’s a key?’”

“Now I can focus on my solo straw stuff, like drinking liquids.”

“What? It’s well past dinner time! Sorry, just… feed your children.”

“It’s not gross, it’s scales!”

Matt is 23 years old, and lives in Ypsilanti, MI. He recently graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a double-major in Journalism and Women’s and Gender Studies. He is a pop culture geek, obsessively consuming music, film, and T.V. Since he was 16, he has wanted to be a cultural critic, and he spends most of his free time listening to music, watching films, researching, and writing. Tumblr: http://memorize-your-lines.tumblr.com/
  • Bobstradamus

    They nailed how egotistical lead singers mess stuff up.

  • Low Mileage Pit Woofie

    I’m glad that they didn’t stray too far into insulting Linda’s underarm hair, which has become such a neurosis among so many modern Western sensibilities.