I love Bob’s Burgers. It’s perhaps one of my favorite shows of all time and one of my go-to comfort shows.
But the show’s creator Loren Bouchard can’t seem to live up to the continual promises he makes to his fans.
At the recent 2020 Comic-Con at Home panel, Loren addressed the numerous issues with representation that Bob’s, as well as his other show Central Park, face. He said,
“There’s a very healthy conversation going on about representation in animation. Every part of it is good, even the awkward ones, and I’ve been enjoying it in a way because you get better at being in the world by taking part in it.”
Central Park was recently called out for hiring white actress Kristen Bell to voice the main character, Molly, who is a biracial little girl.
Kristen “voluntarily” resigned from the position, trying to “do the right thing” and has since received significant praise from both fans and her co-stars. But guess what, Kristen? You don’t get credit for doing the right thing only after you’ve first been caught doing the wrong thing.
Representation in animation has long been an issue as white actors often voice characters of color (ahem, BoJack Horseman), so for the animation industry to only take notice now is unimpressive.
It was just January, after all, that Loren said that he knew it was problematic to hire Kristen to voice Molly, and yet he did it anyway.
“Kristen needed to voice Molly — we couldn’t not make her Molly, and then we couldn’t make Molly white and couldn’t make Kristen mixed-race. Then you arrive there and keep doing it as best you can to turn around and give someone an opportunity who wasn’t getting it. A commitment to diversity isn’t some odd job, it’s a commitment to making it better.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Loren Bouchard has contradicted himself. Loren has long promised that he would try to hire more female voice actors, considering his penchant for hiring men to voice female characters. (The Belcher family has three female members and yet only one female voice actor).
Back at 2018 Comic-Con, he said,
“We are very aware of casting men as women. Of course, we’re aware — we know they’re men. We’re not proud of taking jobs from women. That’s not what we want as a slugline for Bob’s: ‘Taking jobs from women since 2010.’”
He promised that he would make a bigger effort to hire more female voice actors and yet when he got a fresh start with Central Park, he did the exact same thing (Daveed Diggs voices Helen, Stanley Tucci voices Bitsy). Loren just can’t seem to help himself.
Back in January, he even defended his decision, saying,
“We knew early on it’d be fun to [cast Daveed Diggs as Helen] and we couldn’t look away once you imagine that. And the same for Stanley playing a little lady with white air like Margaret Thatcher glued onto a little dog. Once you think of that, it’s impossible to not get excited about it.”
Loren Bouchard seems like a perfectly nice guy with good intentions. But if you honestly think he actually plans to change his ways in terms of representation, then you’re just plain naive. He clearly cares enough to make a statement but not enough to follow through. And, as we all know, actions speak louder than words.