The Very Best Of

Best Bob Belcher-Jimmy Pesto episodes

The best of Jimmy Pesto
In recent seasons, Bob's Burgers has taken the main family's exploits beyond the restaurant more regularly, all but leaving the Jimmy Pesto rivalry behind. But the privileged pizzeria owner had a worthwhile run while his role in the series had legs. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)

Has Jimmy Pesto run his course as a Bob’s Burgers antagonist?

In short, yes, but he has had a worthwhile run.

This past Sunday marked the cross-street pizzeria owner’s first appearance in Season 9. He had sat out the previous eight episodes, and another eight prior to the series’ 145th installment.

After showing up in 17 of the first 56 episodes, Jimmy has returned 12 times in the last 98. His role has concurrently diminished while a gush of other supporting characters voiced by higher-profile actors rotate storylines. His restaurant rivalry with the title character has also taken a backseat to frequent plots beyond the title eatery.

But when Jimmy was a staple, his presence lent a quality element to a rising show. He (presumably still) enjoys more privilege than Bob, as evidenced by his more formal attire and atmosphere. In addition, he is a beneficiary of bias from the likes of health inspector Hugo.

Despite that, he is anything but rich in maturity or wit. In turn, while sometimes the rightful lightning rod of laughs himself, Bob is that much easier to root for.

Time will tell whether Jay Johnston, who turns 50 this Monday, will get a bona fide leap back off the shelf as his signature Bob’s Burgers character. Perhaps something is in stock for the 2020 movie.

Until then, here are the top memories Johnston helped enliven as the bane of Bob’s professional existence and beyond.

Honorable mention: “Best Burger”
As with a higher-ranked storyline, Jimmy competes more directly with Bob by crossing into his food forte. But the AV Club’s Alasdair Wilkins summed up his role in the episode succinctly. “Jimmy Pesto puts in an appearance here where he doesn’t technically antagonize Bob, instead getting to mistreat his sidekick and remind everyone just how awful his food is.”

That last aspect effectively opens the door to a dramatic moral victory. Bob wins over even conquering foe Skip Maroosh (Kumail Nanjiani) with his entry at the Best Burger competition. As for Pesto’s subpar quality, that comes into more crucial play in this list’s top-ranked episode.

5. “Burgerboss”
Jimmy is liable for one of Bob’s uproariously petty tirades when Linda removes the episode’s title game from the restaurant. Upon dislodging the longtime champion under the pseudonym BOB SUX and setting him off on a relentless quest to regain the throne, Jimmy has all but won on one level.

Unfortunately for the equally petty antagonist, the feud spills over to yet another venue. When an eager Linda, a drug-impaired Bob and three mischievous Belcher children converge on an exclusive sailing club, Jimmy happens to be present.

At that point, his differences with Bob cost him his bid to join while dashing Linda’s hopes as well. Come what may, Bob does get expert assistance in striking the slight from his beloved game. This outcome falls somewhere in the overlapping range of draw and moral victory.

4. “Bob Day Afternoon”
Neither side deserves what they want considering the circumstances and their priorities. With that said, laid-back bank robber Mickey (Bill Hader) delivers a twist blow by trying, then rejecting Jimmy’s pizza.

An opportunistic Bob fills the seam and carefully delivers his burgers as Mickey’s chosen alternative. From there, he does his part to ensure a safe, successful end to the standoff. It is somehow difficult to envision Jimmy doing the same.

3. “The Runway Club”
Jimmy’s pointless taunt early on meets overdue, unexpected payback by episode’s end.

As far as having offspring in Saturday detention goes, it is all a numbers game for Jimmy. With only one of his three as opposed to all three of the Belchers’ there, he declares himself the winner.

But while the A-plot unfolds at Wagstaff, Bob and Linda are engrossed in a classic, complicated magazine-sales ruse. Taking partial pity on the understudy, they eventually turn the tables on Jimmy.

Keeping their own scoreboard, Linda declares the outcome “a good day.” Bob agrees, elaborating that “We got screwed, but Jimmy Pesto got screwed more.”

2. “Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks”
While Jimmy does not stay in the core storyline, his property sets the plot in motion. In turn, his gleeful call stokes Bob’s motivation to restore order, even if it means deviating the truth.

It is safe to assume Jimmy roots for Bob’s financial crumble, with his damaged car making the scenario a worthy tradeoff. But for Tina, who was behind the wheel when the Belchers’ auto struck the Pestos’, the tension spikes when she later feels liable for a fire.

Fortunately, the family catches the claims handler in his pyro ploy and other schemes. For Jimmy, presumed repairs on his car practically mean the accident never happened. That notion is fine for him tangibly, but it also robs him of a win in the cross-street rivalry.

1. “Burger War”
Late in the first season, Bob is in the 11th hour as he tries to extend his lease. Adding insult to urgency, failure will entail Jimmy taking over his territory. Doubling the affront, the Italian food specialist looks to hasten his victory by branching out and beating Bob at his burger game.

Pathetically, the rest of the Belchers are lured to Pesto’s and distracted from their crucial assignments. Bob’s ensuing anger boils over to a brawl on the dividing street before the neighborhood converges to hear landlord Mr. Fischoeder’s (Kevin Kline) final word.

At that point, the comical but bleak buildup pays off. Following his nose to a taste of Bob’s patented Meatsiah, he has a timely change of heart.

Punctuating the tasty twist, Fischoeder squashes Jimmy’s four attempts at interruption before Ollie and Andy burst out. The young Pesto twins’ ludicrous antics grant Bob a laugh at Jimmy’s expense.

Al Daniel

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