Bob's Burgers: "Ex Mach Tina"

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Bob's Burgers: "Ex Mach Tina," season 7 #8 (8 January 2017), episode 115 in through-numbering. Greg Thompson, script.

When Tina hurts her ankle, she is offered a chance to try a new technology that allows her to telecommute to school."[1]

In the more extended Wikipedia plot summary, "Tina wears her new high-heeled shoes to school she bought for the 8th grade bonfire on the beach but she falls and hurts her ankle. The guidance counselor Mr. Frond tells her that a company is looking to test a remote-presence robot, so she can use it to attend classes while recovering at home. While Tina is driving the robot to one of her classes," using a joy stick with her home computer, "the school custodian Mr. Branca mistakes the robot for a TV set and puts it in the AV," i.e., Audio-Visual (equipment) "closet. Jimmy Jr.," the boy Tina has a crush on, "later goes into the closet to be alone and starts talking with robot-Tina. Tina and Jimmy Jr. repeatedly visit the closet to converse during Tina's recovery and he shares his intimate feelings and musical poems […]. When Jimmy Jr. brings Tina her homework, it becomes clear he is more comfortable speaking to Tina via the robot than in person." With this breakthrough in their relationship, "Jimmy Jr. invites robot-Tina to the beach bonfire" while Tina's mischievous younger siblings, "Gene and Louise get the school security guard to help the robot leave the school. On the beach Jimmy Jr. kisses the camera of the Tina robot and reads his poems to his classmates. Tina decides to go there in person and her family joins her." Coming out of the subplot, Tina's father "Bob realizes his banjo moment has arrived and plays along while Jimmy Jr. reads the rest of his poems. Jimmy Jr. and Tina kiss in person while Zeke tries to dump [the] robot into the ocean."[2]

The title alludes to the 2014 film EX MACHINA, a critical and commercial success with a respectable MOVIEmeter rating of 482 on IMDb-Pro on 19 March 2017, when "Ex Mach Tina" was rebroadcast.[3] There may also be some sort of bilingual pun involving "mach" and the German "macht, but there's enough use of a robot/human love story in the episode to accept EX MACHINA as the primary satiric reference. The look of the "robot" in this episode, however, is not at all EX MACHINA but closer to the computer pad on a Segway-like "Wheelie Boy" toy in William Gibson's The Peripheral.

RDE 19/III/17