This fall, Bob’s Burgers enters its eighth season. That’s a lot of special recipes and body rolls! We got to talk to Supervising Director Bernard Derriman, who’s been with the show since the beginning, for some inside information on how Bob’s gets its Bob’s on!
For the Looters at home who may not know, what does a Supervising Director do?
Every episode of Bob’s Burgers has a director, and we have 4 directors working on different episodes all at the same time. Sometimes, a director might even be working on two episodes at once, at different stages in production. As the Supervising Director, I oversee all these episodes – I work closely with the directors, Loren Bouchard, and the writers to ensure that each
episode’s creative vision is being met in Storyboards and beyond.
How did the visual style of the show come to be?
Loren had a very specific idea for the visual style of the show from the outset. Our environments take inspiration from a New England landscape, a New Jersey-style waterfront, and San Francisco’s Victorian architecture. No one knows Bob’s apartment better than Loren – it’s based on his home in San Francisco, where he developed the show. Loren is very detail oriented – he
likes everything to be true to life and relatable. We look at a lot of reference, whether we’re designing a building or a toothpick. And for the characters, Loren took inspiration from the Muppets, which is why our characters have floppy arms and no teeth.
There’s great details in the animation like facial expressions and the way you can see their tongues move on words with L’s in them. Do you reference the actors’ recording sessions or is it primarily adhering to the visual style?
We primarily adhere to the visual style – we have a set series of mouth shapes for all our characters that the animators follow.
How does one animate the perfect body roll?
Using a lot of reference!
There are a lot of visual gags in the show, like the ever-changing store next to Bob’s Burgers. How many of those are in the script and how many of those are added by the animators?
If it involves a pun, like the storefront or the pest control van, the artists always leave it up to the writers. I’m not sure Loren envisioned Bob’s Burgers going for 8 seasons and beyond when he first started the show – if he had, he might have thought twice about having to come up with a different storefront and van every episode. Loren is presented with as many as ten storefront and van ideas for every episode before he picks one – over 160 businesses have now started and failed next to Bob’s since the series began.
What’s your favorite Bob’s Burgers episode and why?
I have a bunch of all time favorites and it’s hard to pick one – but if I had to pick one, I think it might be “The Horserider-er.” Just a very funny Tina episode with the perfect ending.
Which character do you relate to the most?
Probably Bob, because I’m about his age, I’m a dad and I say “Oh God” a lot.
What is your favorite burger pun? Any favorites that didn’t make it into an episode?
Papaya Was A Rolling Stone Burger – and nothing appropriate for print!
What other shows are you watching right now?
I’ve just been re-watching Arrested Development which is one of my all time favorites, and Stranger Things would have to be my favorite show of the last year.
What animated shows did you grow up watching? Which influenced you the most?
Like most kids, I watched everything animated growing up. From a drawing and animation perspective, Chuck Jones and The Bugs Bunny Show influenced me the most. And I can’t think of another show that has created as much excitement as The Simpsons did when it first came on the air.
Archer famously featured Bob’s Burgers in the episode “Fugue and Riffs.” What other shows would you like to crossover with?
Tina in The Bachelorette.