My Favorite Scene: ‘Bob’s Burgers’ Creator Loren Bouchard on the Inspiration Behind Tina’s Horse Obsession

by Stacy Lambe 6:50 AM PDT, May 20, 2016
Photo: FOX

No one loves a great scene more than the person who first dreamed it up -- the writer. We're asking iconic shows' creators and writers to tell ET all about the moment on their series that they most cherished getting to see make it from script to screen.

Ahead of Bob’s Burgers’ 100th episode and season six finale, Loren Bouchard, creator of the Fox animated comedy about the dysfunctional Belcher family running a burger restaurant, opens up about his favorite moment involving eldest daughter Tina (Dan Mintz).

For Bouchard, it’s when she “breaks up” with her imaginary horse, Jericho (Paul Rudd), in the season six episode, “The Horse Rider-er.” Sitting in her room on the morning of her first day of horse camp, Tina informs Jericho that she’s not going to need her imaginary friend now that she’s going to ride a real horse. It comes as a shock to Jericho, who, as Bouchard puts it, is a “super-confident heartthrob black stallion who never thought he’d be left behind.”

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To me, this scene is reminiscent of scenes that we’ve written for Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) in the past, where he gives a voice to an inanimate object and then appears to have an argument with it. I love this idea -- that you’re essentially having a conversation with yourself but you’re disagreeing with yourself and even surprising yourself. I think we all do it far more often than we think. In this case, poor Jericho just didn’t see it coming and he didn’t even have the right outfit on -- Tina had him in cut-off jean shorts for some reason.

Nora Smith wrote this episode and the sad, beautiful fact of the matter is she had an imaginary horse when she was younger. Apparently his name was Oaky, and her friends humored her when she proposed that they all ride their imaginary horses. I thought giving this story to Tina made perfect sense, because she lives so much in her head. And this is what great writing looks like, in my opinion -- a new idea that makes you say, “Of course," as soon as it’s set down. Of course Tina has an imaginary horse named Jericho. Of course she does.

Tina is self-conscious and unselfconscious in a beguiling combination that I think I and our writers and our fans understand in a very basic way. She has a really rich internal life but she’s always being drawn out of her shell by her heart and her sense of what’s right and what’s going to feel good. I like to think that all of the characters on the show follow their hearts, but a 13-year-old girl figuring out what she wants and going after it without any embarrassment is especially poignant, I think.

For instance, why does any girl become obsessed with horses? I’d guess mostly because it’s about a relationship -- and the success of your relationship is revealed in the ring. In theory, if you take the time to understand your horse and build trust, you’ll get the blue ribbon. That’s why I love this episode -- because Tina feels all of this going into it and romanticizes it all, but then she doesn't bond with her horse (and it’s not for lack of trying). And how she deals with that situation is what makes her a great and interesting character, in my opinion.

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The 100th episode and season six finale of Bob’s Burgers airs Sunday, May 22 at 9:30 p.m. ET only on Fox.