The Growth of Louise Belcher

Animated shows are supposed to be for children, right? Wrong.

Animated shows are comedies with  a lack of character development, right? Wrong.

Animated sitcoms that feature strong female characters don’t exist, right? Wrong again.

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Throughout the series Bob’s Burgers, created by Loren Bouchard, we see the development of the youngest Belcher daughter, Louise, from a typically annoying yet maniacal younger sister into a character that is fiercely defensive of her family and shows a tendency to maintain a righteous method of choosing her “evil plots” and plans.

Louise starts out the series as more or less the lead trouble maker of the Belcher children. In the pilot episode, “Human Flesh”, the episode is more or less driven by Louise’s inclination for mischief. Firstly, she immediately disobey’s her father’s orders by changing the burger of the day to “Child Molester – come’s with Candy!” When then find out, much to her father’s dismay, that Louise has spread a rumor that his burgers are made from human remains from the crematorium next door.

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In this scenario, Louise is simply just messing with her family for the sole purpose of her finding it as a funny joke.

Flash forward to the newest season, season 6 episode 11 to see Louise in a drastically different light. Here we see Louise initially act in her own self interest to obtain a bouncy house for Regular Sized Rudy’s birthday party to only by the end of the episode, create a birthday party show of inanimate objects to act out Rudy’s play. Louise has grown, she is no longer doing and acting out for the sake of humor. Rather, she is growing and learning to use her mischief for the sake of good.

Why is this character development important? 

Firstly – animated shows aren’t expected to have as much plot development as drama’s or live action shows. By Bouchard writing and developing his characters in a similar fashion to a live action television program, he’s increasing the legitimacy of his show and only establishing it as being more than just an “adult cartoon.” Rather, it has become a staple of it’s own, a difference in a genre of television usually devoted to physical and low brow humor. Bouchard is framing a show which can be light but still be impactful on contemporary issues on which Bouchard is shaping his show to have the right to comment on.

Secondly– animated shows aren’t well known for having strong female characters. Louise’s character development highlights her importance to the show as a staple story driver. She is growing and the audience is given the opportunity to grow with her. We are able to see her as a person beyond her pranks. Her drive has become clear- Louise, no matter what she says, is truly all about her family and will do anything to defend them. She is now a staple and lead in the show. She could be noted as one of the strongest female characters on animated television and very possibly function at the same level as Mallory Archer, from Archer. 

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