‘Bob’s Burgers’ And Mental Health: The Tale Of Gayle


‘Bob’s Burgers’ might seem like a funny show, but they touch on deeper topics such as mental health with Linda’s sister, Gayle.

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As funny as Bob’s Burgers is, the show is extremely heartfelt and different from other animated shows for adults. Unlike Family GuyAmerican Dad and ArcherBob’s Burgers discusses sensitive issues with dignity including mental health. There’s no bigger example of mental health than Linda’s sister, Gayle. There will be spoilers from the latest Bob’s Burgers episode, “There’s No Business Like Mr. Business Business.” 

Before fans even got a proper introduction to Gayle, the show set us up for an eccentric and extremely weird character. “Art Crawl” is the first episode Gayle appears in and we find out Gayle painted something. A few minutes later, we find out she painted animals’ butts or anuses as Bob repeats throughout the entire episode.

While it might seem weird at first, the paintings eventually grow on Bob and he defends his sister-in-law. Despite how weird and off-putting the paintings may be, Gayle’s family comes to her defense every time someone says something negative. Season 1 might not be the most shining example of political correctness, but it starts the show’s relationship with mental health early.

The next three episode Gayle appears in feature her in romantic situations. In “Dr. Yap”, we find out Gayle loves every guy Linda does and tries to steal him away…even Bob. Her mental illness does end up being the cause of some of her failed relationships. However, most of it comes from her extreme clinginess and paranoia. That might go hand-in-hand with her mental health, but she has maintained a relationship with Mr. Frond despite that.

She is also portrayed as extremely fragile, throughout the series. Her fragility is such an essential part of her character too. The family gets scared to confront Gayle or tell her certain news, but she tends to recoil each time. In “The Kids Run Away,” Gayle helps Louise overcome her fear of the dentist and points out that she’s afraid of a lot of things, but still, does them.

Throughout the series, it seems like Gayle has worked to improve her mental health. She is no longer as fragile like in previous seasons. She might not be as put-together as other characters, but she has worked on herself. Her mental health is definitely something she struggles with, but the show has developed her into a more well-rounded character. Yes, she might be strange but she isn’t just some walking mental patient like in earlier episodes.

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In “There’s No Business Like Mr. Business Business,” Gayle still has her moments but you can see she truly cares about her family and her cat. She wants to make her cat famous, not because she wants to be famous but because she cares about him. I know that might sound strange, but that’s just who Gayle is.

Everyone in the family wants in it for the money, but she’s more worried about her cat. The conclusion of the episode proves that point perfectly. She would rather have her cat be happy than be rich. She might not have the best history with mental health, but she doesn’t let that stop her from being happy. She lives her life the way she wants and the show doesn’t make a mockery of it anymore. Gayle is embraced because of it.

Bob’s Burgers airs Sundays on Fox at 9:30/8:30c.