The Bob’s Burgers Movie is set to hit theaters on May 27th. In production for nearly four years, it will be the first film adaptation of series that has run over a decade. As a result, it may be hard to place the film clearly within the show’s extensive and complicated timeline. Thankfully, franchise creator Loren Bouchard doesn’t seem to think it matters much when the movie’s story takes place in regards to the animated series. In fact, after being asked about it at a recent press conference, he explained that it’s been left vague almost purposefully:
I like this question because it’s, you know, it’s not any kind of linear timeline that we can understand using our own lives. I mean, this is sort of a circular space where this family seems to be going through this, sort of roughly, a year over and over again with different permutations.Loren Bouchard
He continued to elaborate on the nature of cyclical storytelling and it’s apparent lack of continuity, including the way the show’s writers and animators are allowed to play with some elements of time but not others:
And then some things, we’ve pulled through. So you can’t call it continuity, really. And certainly not for somebody who’s watching early seasons and late seasons, you know, in the privacy of their own home streaming. And for them, it must be doubly weird. Louise is on her green mean, you know, mean green machine one episode, and then she’s riding a bike in the next episode. And so that’s not continuity exactly, but we have made a deal with the fans, I think, that as long as it feels right, that as long as there’s this sort of, it’s not narrative growth over time, but it’s kind of this layers that build up.Loren Bouchard
The director concluded his anecdote by stating any installment of Bob’s Burgers, including the film, could take place at any time in the life of the Belcher family:
It is depth. And so for the movie, yeah. I mean, it’s got to fit in there. And we are just, you know, now starting to think about these episodes that are gonna air after the movie, and they’re gonna air in the shadow of this event. But of course, they also kinda happen before. I mean, in a way, the movie happened before the first episode, so this is a weird game to play. But it’s fun.Loren Bouchard
A separate question during the conference asked if recent episodes of the series had any references to the film’s events, which received an answer revealing that a giant crack had been forming slowly in front of the Belcher’s restaurant that would eventually become the giant sinkhole present in the movie. So, if any fans out there aren’t happy with Bouchard‘s take on the Bob’s Burgers timeline, then perhaps they could use this as their own measure of continuity.