Over the past 25 years, the Emmy for the Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour) has all but belonged to The Simpsons. The Fox series has won in this category 10 times total, to date. And, as a lifelong fan of the series, I must say: it's time for another show — and not just South Park, which has won four times — to finally get its moment of glory. The show that deserves the Emmy this year, of course, Bob's Burgers .
Bob's Burgers just wrapped up its fourth season (rejoice, fellow Belcher family enthusiasts, they'll be back for a fifth season) and it's been their strongest outing yet. Not only did the series solidify itself as one of the best animated comedy shows out there, but one of the best comedies... period. Last year Bob's Burgers submitted the Season 3 episode "O.T.: The Outside Toilet" for Emmy consideration, an absurd, but hilarious spoof of E.T. that replaced an alien with a talking toilet (voiced by none other than Jon Hamm). Season 4 has multiple episodes worthy of Emmy love, though I would give the slight edge to "The Kids Run Away," not only because it's consistently hilarious (Megan Mullally as eccentric, shut-in, cat-loving Aunt Gayle is a treasure) but because it gave us the heart that makes the show so human.
What made The Simpsons so great in its heyday was the pitch-perfect sincere moments (like when Homer hangs the pictures of Maggie at work as a reminder to "Do It For Her") and Bob's Burgers knows how to strike that perfect balance, as well. In "The Kids Run Away" Louise (Kristen Schaal) must face her fear of going to the dentist and, to calm her nerves, her family turns the visit into a game of fake espionage. Bob's Burgers proved in this episode, and throughout Season 4, that it knows how to be sweet without being saccharine and how to be damn funny, too. (Other Season 4 episodes that wonderfully struck that balance include "Mazel-Tina," "The Equestranauts," and the finale "World Wharf II: The Wharfening or How Bob Saves/Destroys the Town — Part II.")
While Bob's Burgers may not get as political or as outrageous as South Park, they too know how to put on some hilarious, inspired song and dance numbers. This season's music-friendly "Purple Rain-Union" would impress the hell out of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, let alone Emmy voters. And, like both The Simpsons and South Park, they can come up with some pretty memorable holiday-themed episodes. (So far, Bob's Burgers has done their best work with Thanksgiving episodes, like this year's "Turkey in a Can.")
But more than anything, Bob's Burgers features some of the best animated voice work out there. They have a talented roster that includes the likes of Eugene Mirman, Sarah Silverman, Jenny Slate, Pamela Adlon, Aziz Ansari, Zach Galifianakis, and, oh yeah, Oscar-winner Kevin Kline. While it would be a damn shame if Bob Belcher himself, H. Jon Benjamin, didn't earn a nod for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance (especially considering he pulls double duty on Bob's Burgers and Archer), the real star is Dan Mintz who is behind the beloved Tina Belcher. Mintz has made Tina the animated voice of a generation and that voice is saying "Unnnnnnnnnnngggggggggh."
Season 4 of Bob's Burgers proved to be one of the most consistently entertaining and funny shows on all of television. And while other worthy animated shows like Adventure Time will hopefully get their recognition in due time, this year belongs to the Belchers.