‘Crawl Space’: Revisiting the creepiest episode of Bob’s Burgers


Ghost fears, zombie nightmares, sanity slippage and crawl space hiding permeate the classic 2nd episode of Bob’s Burgers!

A Leaking Roof and a Nagging In-Law

When his nagging mother-in-law, Gloria (Renee Taylor), threatens to roll into town, Bob Belcher (H. Jon Benjamin) decides to intentionally become stuck in the crawl space of his house. As Bob confesses to contractor, Teddy (Larry Murphy): “Don’t judge me, Teddy. Don’t judge me. Sometimes a man just needs to be alone with his crawlspace.”

That might be creepy enough, but, before long, Bob really does get trapped in the walls, and his sanity seems to decline in the process. Along the way, a bunch of horror parody moments are stirred up.

Sexual Zombie Nightmares

Bob’s Burgers is known for awkwardness. Still, when Bob’s daughter Tina (Dan Mintz) discusses her sexualized zombie nightmares, it definitely stands among the most awkward cartoon moments ever (though, obviously, South Park regularly gives every cartoon a run for its money).

As it turns out, these Freudian zombie fetishes were planted after Bob left her alone with the movie Night of the Living Dead playing on TV, and her fears and budding sexuality are getting mixed up. On top of all that, when the in-laws finally arrive, Tina actually hears them getting it on while in a semi-sleep state, which only feeds these creepy fantasies.

Tiny and the freaky zombies. (Bob’s Burgers, Fox)

The Speakeasy Between the Walls

As Bob loses his proverbial grip, he starts to hallucinate sequences eerily similar to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. He even see’s his daughter Louise’s nightlight, Kuchi Kopi, as a man-sized figure. It serves him drinks and suggest he outright kills his mother-in-law for changing their daily special, or bringing “an outside protein” into his establishment. Of course, Kuchi-Kopi refers to the would-be murder as a “correction.”

A Mistake or an Intentionally Expanding Crawl Space?

It’s often noted that, in reality, there’s no way Bob’s Crawl Space could be as large as it’s depicted. It probably is a mistake, or the creators thinking, “Hey, it’s just a cartoon, who cares?” Still, part of me thinks the ever-expanding crawl space could be considered another connection to the horror themes.

As Dr, Channard says in Hellraiser II, “The mind is a labyrinth.” It could be that Bob’s emerging psychotic state threatened his perception of spacial dimensions. Or, if you’re feeling really freaky, you might theorize that he somehow tapped into a parallel world, and the event expanded the crawl space’s dimensions somehow.

Still, you’re probably fine with just saying, “It’s only a cartoon. It’s only a cartoon. It’s only a cartoon….”

Next: Top 8 surreal animal moments from horror films

What do you think about this creepy episode of the show? Let us hear about it in the comments below. To see this episode and more from Bob’s Burgers, you can watch the series on Hulu.