The ‘Shared Delusion’ At The Core Of Bob’s Burgers And The Great North

Despite their characters understanding one another, the families in “Bob’s Burgers” and “The Great North” … kind of don’t understand each other. If one moves from character to character in either series, one finds each person to be sealed-off, cultivating a bizarre set of carefully curated interests and attitudes. While Linda, for instance, is quick to encourage her son Gene to wear costumes and play music, she herself would never think to become Beefsquatch herself. So while their passions never directly intersect, the characters all recognize one another’s capacity for strangeness. That, it seems, is what forms a clan. That, Wendy Molyneux says, is one of the keys to her and her sister’s humor. In her words:

“I think sometimes comedy can come from shared delusion, right? […] People who are weird in the same way. I think that’s where a lot of ‘Bob’s Burgers’ and ‘The Great North’ family vibes come from. They’re all in agreement that they like each other and that they like all the same weird stuff. They’re all participating in the same game.”

Beef Tobin has a deep, shared abiding regard for his daughter, and the Molyneux sisters talked about how their main objective for “The Great North” was to forge a relationship between two comedians they admired, Nick Offerman and Jenny Slate. Their relationship is warm and close, but only one of them has Alanis Morissette (playing herself) as an imaginary friend who appears in the aurora borealis. Judy is alone in her obsessions, and yet Beef is there to obsess with her. 

Anyone with a weird family — and that’s likely most of us — can take a great deal of comfort in the fact that the Molyneux’s characters are equally weird … and always find a way to make their family function. 

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