Kristen Schaal and Loren Bouchard

'Bob's Burgers' Interview

Moody Foodie - Bob's Burgers
Moody Foodie - Bob's Burgers. FOX

Bob's Burgers is becoming a mainstay in FOX's Animation Domination block of cartoons on Sunday nights. About a family man who owns a hamburger joint, Bob's Burgers is more about the hilarious characters and their screw-ups than about pop culture references or goofy antics.

Creator Loren Bouchard and actress Kristen Schaal, the voice of Louise, talk about the second season of Bob's Burgers in an interview with the press.

Kristen, despite there being many female characters on the show, you seem to be the only woman in the regular cast. Could you talk about what that's been like for you?

Kristen Schaal: "Well, it hasn't been abnormal in any way. They're all my friends so it's just like going to work with my friends. I don't feel any gender equality or any special treatment, unfortunately."

Loren, in the season opener there's a Cyndi Lauper song that's a parody of her Goonie's song called "Taffy Butt." Could you talk about how that came about?

Loren Bouchard: "Yes. We were developing the episode and it was getting to feel more and more like a Goonies kind of a risk. It's not explicitly a Goonies like parody or anything, but there are so many Goonies elements that I think it was our an executive at the time who suggested we use that song and try to get Cyndi Lauper. Usually those things don't work out. There is every reason for someone to say, 'No,' to that kind of thing, but she said, 'Yes,' I think because her son watches the show.

She was very game and she came in and sang 'Taffy Butt' over the tune of her original song."

Do you have any fun guest stars coming up in Season 2?

Kristen Schaal: "We do have some fun guest stars. I'm going to let Loren take this one. I was also told we couldn't mention the gentleman from ."

Loren Bouchard: "On Golden Pond?

People are anxious to work with our cast, I don't know if they're anxious to, but they're happy to when we reach out to them."

Kristen Schaal: "No. There's anxiety in Hollywood."

Loren Bouchard: "We've got a nice collection of guest stars. We're not a very guest star driven show. We're too lazy to really go out and do any kind of casting or anything like, so a lot of these are just kind of people we wanted to work with and who also wanted to work with us."

Kristen Schaal: "We could tell them who didn't do the show, which was Tom Selleck."

Loren Bouchard: "He's not in the show."

Kristen Schaal: "But we wrote a part for Tom Selleck and he just dissed us, didn't he?"

Loren Bouchard: "Had no interest."

Kristen Schaal: "Yes. He pulled a Shaq."

Loren Bouchard: "Yes."

Loren Bouchard: "We could have a separate call of all the people who have said, 'No.' I'll give you some names and a brief description of what they're doing. Very quickly, in the early episodes of the season you'll see Bill Hader and Jerry Minor. You probably saw them in the screener, right?

"They did a fantastic job. I thought that was really nice and we're going to have both of those guys back. Aziz Ansari does a 12-year-old kid in an episode coming up called 'Burgerboss' and it was like a revelation to hear his voice without looking at his body because he is a perfect 12-year-old boy.

Kristen Schaal: "He is though. You're right."

Loren Bouchard: "Yes. It's an amazing voice. It's like we pitched it up but we didn't. He's so funny. He did a great job as a kid named Darrel who's going to come back on the show. In 'Burgerboss' he's sort of a video game expert who helps Bob. We have Bob Tompkins is coming back. He was fantastic in our first season and was this guy Randy the Dutchman..."

Kristen Schaal: "Oh, yes."

Loren Bouchard: "We decided he should come back, but he's given up filmmaking and now he bought a food truck. Todd Boswell is a food critic who maligns Bob's Burgers and then kind of gets into a situation with Bob as a result.

"Ken Jian plays the family dentist, Dr. Yap. He was briefly mentioned in Season 1 as this like throwaway joke that Tina has a crush on her dentist and that resulted in we brought him in as a real character.

He's briefly in Season 1 because she draws him nude and the father's upset and he says, 'Why is he nude?' She says, 'I took some artistic license.' He says, 'We're getting a new dentist.' He's not inappropriate at all. We brought him in and also brought back Linda's sister Gayle, who is played Megan Mullally and Tom Lennon are in an episode called..."

Kristen Schaal: "Tom Lennon, not John Lennon. Alright. Who's next? Come on."

Ever since you guys started last season there have been a lot of animated shows coming out. What makes your show unique from other animated shows? (I did not ask that question; it's horrible.)

Kristen Schaal: "I said this before and I realize it's perfect. I would say that our show is sort of the Citizen Kane of cartoons but funnier. Don't you agree, Loren?"

Loren Bouchard: "Yes. I don't know what that means, but it sounds great."

Kristen Schaal: "I don't want to say that other cartoons don't have this, but what I like about Bob's Burgers is that the characters are very well-rounded and accessible. As much as they are funny, I don't think they're over the top or unbelievable. I think that they are people that you could sort of come across, so in that regard I think the relationship that they're going to have with viewers is eternal."

Loren Bouchard: "That sounds nice. Eternal sounds nice. I agree wholeheartedly with. I would add that I don't whether the other shows would agree or disagree and I don't want to take anything away from them, but Bob's Burgers is specifically character-based. It's character-driven in the extreme. We are really committed to that. It's more important than being satirical, which we are not. It's more important than jokes even. We like jokes, but being character-driven and protecting the characters is probably the guiding principle for us."

Kristen Schaal: "Yes. That was an awesome couple of answers, a couple for CNN."

What can we expect? Is Louise older and wiser this season?

Kristen Schaal: "No. I think she's pretty much the same this season. I think she's maybe slightly more vulnerable but definitely has a lot to learn, right? I don't think she's any nicer this season."

Loren Bouchard: "Yes. We don't want to have characters growing too fast."

Kristen Schaal: "Yes. It's only Season 2."

Loren Bouchard: "Yes."

Kristen, is there a story behind how you got this part, and what is it specifically about your character that blows your skirt up? (Ugh, again, I did not ask this question.)

Kristen Schaal: "Okay. That's disgusting, first of all. I don't wear skirts. She's nine. No, I wear dresses. I got the part because I would give all the credit to Holly Slessinger - good luck spelling that German name - who is Loren's assistant. Now she writes on the show. She told Loren to come and see me perform at a comedy show. He came to this hole in the wall and then he put me in the show. Isn't that right, Loren, that's how I got it?"

Loren Bouchard: "Yes. That's it but there is this terrible lag time. I saw you years ago. Holly Slessinger, what Kristen said was true. She was emphatic. She's good at this and she identified people we should work with before. She said, 'Oh, we've got to work with Kristen. She's got a voice that's natural for animation and she's incredibly funny.' That was like five years ago and I just don't know why we didn't put you in about two or three other things before Bob's Burgers, but that is just a tragedy."

Kristen Schaal: "I could have used the money. I'll say that. I was working some other jobs I'm not too proud of."

Loren Bouchard: "You could have been rolling in cable TV money."

Kristen Schaal: "I know, man. I could have had so much blowing up my skirt."

Loren Bouchard: "You could have been spending some of that adult dough, but instead, maybe we were sort of destined to wait for this project because it does feel perfect.

It's nice that we're finally able to do something together."

Kristen Schaal: "Yes. In answer the second part of your question, Louise is the only reason I get out of bed in the morning is just to play her. Otherwise, I'd probably just stay in bed under a deep depression in my own tent of a comforter and just wish the world away."

For both of you, what's your idea of the perfect burger? How do you dress it and who makes it?

Loren Bouchard: "I like weird things on burgers. I have to admit I'm not a fundamentalist when it comes to burgers so that's sort of why I'm on Bob's side that putting strange toppings on burgers is okay. I don't think there's anything wrong with it. I had a burger in San Francisco with a piece of pineapple on it that I still think about every once in a while."

Kristen Schaal: "Ah, that sounds delicious."

Loren Bouchard: "That might be my like perfect to beat. I don't know if it's perfect, but it's my burger to beat. I bit into that and I got really excited about pineapple on burgers but then I forgot to ever get one again."

Kristen Schaal: "Yes. I have to say I still haven't found the perfect burger. In and Out, it's alright, take it or leave it. I'm still on the hunt.

I had a burger cooked in duck fat that ruined my life because it was so gross. Someone needs to show me a good burger. I'll say that."

Loren Bouchard: "You're going to get people taking you up on that offer, by the way."

Kristen Schaal: "Fatburger is pretty good in L.A. I remember that from years ago, right? That's pretty good, Fatburger?"

Loren Bouchard: "Yes. They're really good. Corner Burger near you on the west, isn't that worth going to? I remember going there and getting that burger being-."

Kristen Schaal: "What burger?"

Loren Bouchard: "Corner Burger. It's that bar."

Kristen Schaal: "That fancy hole in the wall?"

Loren Bouchard: "Yes."

Kristen Schaal: "No. I'm not going to have my shoes stick on the floor and then pay like $20 for a burger. Come on."

Loren Bouchard: "Wear different shoes."

Kristen Schaal: "True."

What's in store for Season 2? Do you think we'll be able to see something outside the restaurant this season?

Kristen Schaal: "Yes. You know you will. What? There are a lot of episodes where we play with taking the characters outside of the restaurant this season. The premier we go to an abandoned taffy factory. Shut up, Kristen. I know. Kristen's like chewing me on my own show. Now I'm drawing a blank. What else, Kristen? Loren?"

Loren Bouchard: "There's an amazing almost James Bond-like eAdventure, not really James Bond-like, but it's a disappointing trip to their dentist's ski timeshare condo. It's on a little small ski mountain in the episode Dr. Yap."

Kristen Schaal: "There is a bank. We go into a bank."

Loren Bouchard: "Yes. We go to a bank. Bob's family gets a food truck and takes it far and wide, including to a food truck festival."

Kristen Schaal: "Yes. That's pretty cool."

Loren Bouchard: "Yes. Bob gets a spot on a local morning show doing a food-"

Kristen Schaal: "Gosh, this is a walk down memory lane. Forgot all about all of these."

Loren Bouchard: "I know. Let's see, it may air in the fall, but there is an episode where Bob and his family get kind of shanghaied on a cruise ship because the captain likes Bob's burgers so much."

Was there a surprise direction that Season 2 took that you had no idea was going to but obviously was destined to ride?

Loren Bouchard: "That's interesting. That's funny you describe it that way. It does feel that way. Decisions don't get made super consciously. Once you're in production it's such a big operation that's moving quickly and the days are full, so in a funny way, yes, you get these small decisions that add up. Then when you look back it does feel like it was all somehow predestined. You described the feeling really well.

"Were particular decisions? I think that getting the scope of the show to kind of push past the restaurant and the immediate area was one of those. We've talked about that a little bit already, but in terms of how that happened, it was one of those things that we knew the network always wanted because that's just what's nice about a show as it matures is you get to see these other locations. You get to have these sort of they call them bottle episodes sometimes when the characters are stuck in one place.

We haven't done explicitly a bottle episode where we don't leave one room or whatever like they have done famously on other shows.

"We have done this kind of like take the characters and put them on a cruise ship type story. It is something that we would have maybe almost avoided in Season 1. It feels too soon. You know what I mean? You can't kind of jump to that too quickly. It sort of feels like cheating, but it's nice when you get there and you feel like you've earned it. You can take your characters and shift to a new location that would have felt a little out of place when you hadn't grown the world, but it sort of feels well worn, this world now because we've been living with it for a couple of years, those of us who worked on the show, and the audience too, hopefully.

"Just getting outside the restaurant was one of those decisions, not just outside the restaurant. That's a funny way to describe but to the farther flung locations.

Seeing Bob on skis I wouldn't have predicted and yet when you see how because he really doesn't ski well and he's being pursued by Linda's sister, who's in kind of a heat and thinks she and he are having an affair, that's the kind of thing that would have felt broad if you'd described it to me in Season 1.

It feels perfect in Season 2.

Kristen Schaal: "You sound like a G. D. artist, Loren."

Kristen, what do you find most challenging about voicing an animated series?

Kristen Schaal: "I think just being sure to protect your vocal chords and also keeping the energy up, to be honest. It's a lot of energy that people don't realize just making the character come alive with just your voice. I think you have to preserve it to get through recording and to keep the integrity all the way through. I'm like an athlete and a lot people don't understand that. It's really starting to get under my skin that I don't have an endorsement deal yet."

Okay, Miss Animated Olympics (no kidding, some idiot interviewer said that), what do you do to maintain the integrity of your voice? Do you do any vocal exercises, or do you just keep quiet for a few days sometimes or a couple of hours?

Kristen Schaal: "I can't keep quiet. I've got too much to say. No, I don't do anything, but I don't smoke cigarettes and that's about it."

Loren, back to you, what do you think for you personally do you want the legacy of Bob's Burgers to be?

Loren Bouchard: "I like where we are in terms of the heart of the show. I do think in the end making cartoons could be a worthwhile thing or a really silly frivolous thing to do.

I don't want to get to the end of the road and have it be the latter. I want to make sure that somebody out there somewhere connects to the show in a way that's not just amusement. They don't just find it funny and then they turn it off an forget about it.

"I'm hoping the way to do that is through characters that, like Kristen said at the top of the call, feel well-rounded and real and relatable in a way that characters should I think. The stories will come from that and the jokes will come from that and the energies will come from that."

Kristen Schaal: "Yes. I think you could conceivably have Bob and Linda in the flesh over for dinner and it would feel like those were real people at your house as opposed to the cartoons. Thank you. Good night. I'm out of here."

I want to ask you both what experience did you take from Season 2 that you incorporated into your own personal lives?

Kristen Schaal: "Well, probably none. Loren?"

Loren Bouchard: "Let's see."

Kristen Schaal: "Well, you know there is an episode where Louise sticks up to a bully and I took that empowerment that I learned from Louise and I've been standing up to everybody. Even if they're being really nice, I've been sort of sticking it to them."

Can you please go into detail a little bit more about the food truck and the morning food show? Also, can you give us a glimpse of Season 3 since obviously there are a lot of episodes or several already in the can?

Kristen Schaal: "Hit it, Loren."

Loren Bouchard: "The food truck episode is kind of a natural. We've been talking about this one since Season 1 because there is such a fad right now that food trucks are everywhere. Bob being a brick and mortar place is obviously negatively impacted. He's got these trucks all up and down the street in front of his restaurant when we begin the episode.

"Then things take a turn. He decides that the best defense is a good offense and he gets a good truck. It's not a pretty site. He's got limited financial means, so this thing is barely functioning. Then they kind of are chasing their tail because I think in real life it's really hard to make money with these trucks, so he sort of keeps digging deeper trying to compete with these other food trucks and trying to just break even with his own. They end up kind of overreaching and the whole family gets involved.

"Louise, in particular, gets online because that's a big part of these food truck episodes. We made up a website called Chow-ster where she updates where they're going to be and then when they go to the food truck festival she takes it to another level and starts viciously slamming the other food trucks at the festival. They don't like that and bad things happen as a result.

"We don't have our seasons divided as neatly and cleanly as we would like. It's a little complicated. We think of them as Season 2, but they're going to be hold overs and air in the fall.

There will be a Season 3 that will butt right up against that. You will see episodes in the fall that we're working on now and then they'll roll right through spring. Our season next year will be fall through spring, if all goes well. Barring disaster-"

Kristen Schaal: "No."

Loren Bouchard: "We'll premiere in the fall and we'll run 22 or so episodes like the other shows do. As a result, you'll get to see episodes like Kristen mentioned where there's the bully. Not only is he a bully but worse than that he takes her ears."

Kristen Schaal: "Yes."

Loren Bouchard: "Big deal. Not a hair on the top of her head will be visible. Her reasons for wearing the ears are not entirely divulged, but we respect them so we don't show the audience Louise completely hatless but she does put on a hoodie for the rest of the episode and she goes on a rampage.

"There is also an episode where Bob fires his kids not out of malice but out of love. He thinks anyway that he's stealing their childhood, especially during the summer when they should be out doing fun summer kids things. He fires them in an attempt to give them back their life but of course, it doesn't go well.

"I think I mentioned that mutiny episode. A cruise ship episode is going to air in the fall. We've just recorded now the Halloween episode. That will be fun. That's called "Full Bars" referring to full bars of candy. Yes. The kids go far and wide in search of places where they give out full bars of candy."

One more thing, give me a vegetarian burger. What would put in it, on it? (I really can't stomach my own kind.)

Loren Bouchard: "You'd start with a vegetarian cow, right?"

Kristen Schaal: "Yes. Good one, Loren."

Loren Bouchard: "Thank you. That's very …."

Kristen Schaal: "That's it."

Loren Bouchard: "Yes. I'm sure for burger aficionados, they don't exist but I'm open to the idea. I'm married to a vegetarian, so I'm up to my [expletive] in veggie burgers. What about you, Kristen?"

Kristen Schaal: "Like what's a good veggie burger?"

Loren Bouchard: "Yes."

Kristen Schaal: "I don't know.

I like when they take black beans and sort of pound them together in a patty shape but that's not a burger. That's black beans in a patty shape."

Are you going to do a live show at SXSW?

Kristen Schaal: "Yes, sir. Well, most of the people involved in Bob's Burgers, in fact, all of them who are actors are also standup comedians, so you're just going to see a slice of our standup comedy, which probably isn't anything like our characters at all."

Loren Bouchard: "It is. Don't let her convince you of that. These guys were doing their standup years before we roped them into doing voices, all of the characters are informed by their onstage personalities and antics. These guys can get together at a comedy show like nobody's business. They've done it a little bit. We did kind of a quiet but really nice night here in L.A. last year and they're going to do one in Brooklyn. We're hoping they can do more of this. We can just loosely call it a Bob's Burgers thing, which is really just a way of hanging the name around what these guys are doing anyway, which is great live comedy."

Kristen, how did you get your start?

Kristen Schaal: "Well, you know, I was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had three kids. I was on my fourth husband and I was just like, 'You know what?

I'm 57 years old and is this really what I dreamed of with my life?' Then I just packed it up and I moved to New York. I wanted to audition for stuff but I didn't have the look. I didn't have the look and my voice was a little weird, so I couldn't even get an agent or any auditions so I just started doing standup. After that standup was very appealing to certain folks and I clawed my way up and go into the Aspen Comedy Festival and from there got . Now as a 75-year-old woman I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I took the plunge."

Well, you look fantastic for 75.

Kristen Schaal: "You know, people have been saying that but I disagree. I'm going to get some work done. I think I am. I'm going to try that poison in your face."