If You Like ‘Bob’s Burgers,’ You’ll Love ‘The Great North’
In dark times, audiences seek out laughter as an escape. But when so much TV comedy relies on cynicism, cheery sitcoms like Bob’s Burgers meet the moment with their ability to entertain without veering into meanness. Such shows are rare, but The Great North is one of them.
This new animated sitcom debuting on Fox offers a whimsical escape to Alaskan wilderness, transplanting many of the qualities that make Bob’s Burgers great into the great outdoors. Here are 4 reasons fans of the long-running sitcom should check out this new one.
Both have silly, heartwarming humor
The Great North was created by the Molyneux sisters (Wendy and Lizzie), a writing duo who won an Emmy for their work on Bob’s Burgers. They’ve brought their signature sense of humor to the Tobin family, basing their episodes around wacky adventures that force the family to unite to overcome some obstacle.
This dynamic plays out in Episode 2, when the Tobins must work together to deliver an oozing, cadaver-shaped cake to a town festival. By infusing the sitcom with the hijinks-collaboration-resolution formula (as well as plenty of puns), the Molyneux sisters replicate the playfulness that makes Bob’s Burgers such an endearing show.
Both share a quirky visual language
Fans of Bob’s Burgers will recognize the cutesy animation style that characterizes the Belcher universe, but The Great North’s scenic setting offers unique opportunities for cartoon visuals. Two highlights: the Northern Lights morphing into Alanis Morissette to give Judy advice and a gag with a wayward Moose that is too funny to spoil.
Both focus on family
Superficially, the Belchers and the Tobins are not similar. While the Belchers are a cookie-cutter American family, the Tobins are led by a single dad who is still reeling after being left by his wife. But both shows feature tender relationships between oddball family members — like Judy and Ham (the “Alaskan Twins,” as they call themselves), who mirror the odd couple pairing of Tina and Gene.
Both maintain a wholesome tone
Avoiding two-dimensional sitcom tropes, both Bob’s Burgers and The Great North create comedy that doesn’t rely on stereotypes, snark, or bitter conflict. This sets the show apart from other adult animated sitcoms. No one is a caricature — even Beef Tobin, the rugged outdoorsman father, has a soft spot for his children (and for binge-watching Gilmore Girls).
Like Bob’s Burgers, The Great North is held together by a sincerity that underlies even its wackiest hijinks. Even as it goes for a punchline, it never strays from its sweetness. And in these uncertain times, what more could an audience want?
The Great North, Sundays, 8:30/7:30c, Fox
Bob’s Burgers, Sundays, 9/8c, Fox