10 Tantalizing 'Bob's Burgers' Fan Theories
By Kristin Hunt
After more than a decade on the air, Loren Bouchard's beloved animated sitcom Bob’s Burgers has finally gotten its own movie. And while it’s sure to build on the show’s wider story in cinematic grandeur, there are already 12 seasons worth of material there, which fans have naturally used to spin all sorts of bizarre theories around a very strange, yet very sweet, series. Ever wonder why we’ve never seen Ginger? Or why Bob talks to his food? There’s an answer online. Just ask the show's most dedicated viewers, who have concocted these 10 fascinating fan theories.
1. Bob Belcher is the only sober person in Seymour's Bay.
The residents of Seymour’s Bay, the place the Belcher family calls home, are a quirky crew, to put it mildly. As a group, they love to sing, dance, make weird noises, and crack jokes that don’t always land. Amidst all that chaos, there’s Belcher family patriarch Bob, who’s much more subdued—or is he just stone cold sober? Some fans theorize that Bob is the lone lucid member of his perpetually sloshed community. It’s why everyone is always talking over him, and why Bob tends to fit in best when he’s had a few himself.
2. The characters are stuck in time because of a painting.
Like most cartoon characters, none of the Belcher kids (or adults) seem to age. It could just be a convenient universe rule, or it could be something more sinister. As one Reddit theory goes, the Belchers, specifically youngest child Louise, have been stuck in time since the season 3 holiday episode “An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal.” After winning the kid contest, Louise receives a painting from Mr. Fishoeder (the Belcher's landlord) and declares, “Now this portrait will grow old for me, and I’ll stay 9 forever.” It’s easy to write the statement off as just another weird Louise comment, but then again, she hasn’t aged a day since.
3. Linda Belcher's best friend Ginger doesn't exist.
Throughout the series, mom Linda is constantly name dropping her best friend Ginger. Sometimes she’s on the phone with her, or planning a ladies night in with her, but we never actually see or hear Ginger, which leads us to the obvious question: is she real? Many Redditors have speculated that Ginger could be a ghost, or some kind of Fight Club situation. Though, to be fair to Linda’s mental stability, we have seen the back of Ginger’s head on more than one occasion: in the season 6 episode “Sliding Bobs” and season 12's “Clear and Present Ginger.”
4. The Belchers are all cannibals.
Have you ever wondered why Louise is so into death, or son Gene is so open about his bodily functions and fluids? Both could be a natural extension of their family’s habit of killing and eating people, at least according to this fan theory. There’s actually some merit to this cannibal idea, as crazy as it might sound, since Bob’s Burgers creators Loren Bouchard and Jim Dauterive pitched this exact concept. The show was originally a sitcom about a family restaurant that serves burgers ground from human meat—a sort of Hannibal Lecter-meets-Sweeney Todd comedy. But perhaps unsurprisingly, Fox made the pair drop the people-eating storyline from the Bob’s Burgers pilot.
5. Jimmy Pesto, the Belchers' restaurant rival, is just jealous.
Why does Jimmy Pesto, owner of neighboring Jimmy Pesto's Pizzeria, hate Bob so much? He has more customers at his pizzeria, ergo more success, and also more hair, so his constant ragging reads as petty bordering on nonsensical. But there is one thing Bob has that Jimmy doesn’t: an adoring family. As multiple fans have noted, Jimmy appears to be going through a divorce and seems pretty disconnected from his kids’ lives. Watching Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene, and Louise across the street probably bums him out. Rather than work through these feelings privately, he just takes his frustrations out on Bob.
6. Linda is a genius who keeps the family afloat.
At first glance, Linda Belcher seems like a sweet, silly mom who supports her family with love and made-up songs. According to a Reddit theory, however, all that whimsy is a smoke screen for a sharp business mind. So it's Linda, not Bob, who is handling the Belchers’ many financial problems. The basic idea is that Linda has a bunch of side gigs that secretly cover the bills, and the kids actually got their deranged brand of intellect from her. She just hides it all to support Bob’s dream because she likes their life, and can still pull the purse strings while crafting an original ballad about Thanksgiving.
7. Bob talks to inanimate objects because of previous trauma.
Compared to the rest of his family, Bob is sort of an anxious square. But he does have one weird tic, and that’s talking to inanimate objects. Whether it’s a turkey, a toy, or a dental tool, Bob gives them a weird voice and has full-blown conversations with them. Could it be an unexplored trauma response? One theorist traces this behavior back to the second episode of Bob’s Burgers, when Bob gets stuck in a crawl space and talks to Louise’s Kuchi Kopi to cope.
8. Allen of boy band Boyz 4 Now is frequently switched .
In the season 6 episode “The Hauntening,” Linda posits her own theory about one of the members of Boyz 4 Now, Tina and Louise’s favorite boy band: “They switch Allens sometimes.” Someone checked the tapes, and she could be right.
9. Gene has autism.
Several characters on Bob’s Burgers could be neurodivergent; nearly every member of the Belcher family displays signs of ADHD or anxiety, but YouTuber The Fangirl has made a particular case for Gene having autism. Gene, like a lot of children with ASD, doesn’t seem to pick up on social cues and speaks with no filter. He also has a meltdown over loud music when his dad takes him to a laser show, and seems to act with little foresight or planning. This diagnosis would also explain why Louise acts out so much (younger siblings of kids with ASD tend to do this for attention). But no one treats Gene differently or tries to “fix” him, which is why The Fangirl thinks the show is a great model for families of children with autism.
10. Mr. Fishoeder is a god.
Mr. Fishoeder’s wealth makes him clueless, omnipresent, and a little eccentric. But what if that had nothing to do with money and everything to do with being a deity? One fan theory argues that Mr. Fishoeder (and potentially his brother Felix, too) is a god among the mortals of Seymour’s Bay, roaming the town at odd hours because he doesn’t need sleep and struggling to understand basic human concerns because he simply doesn’t have them. He uses his status as a landlord to cultivate a following of sorts, and stays close to the sea, which could be part of his mythology. The missing eye almost makes it too obvious—Odin much?