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Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl

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Covid-19
Directed by  Jennifer Coyle
Production code  4ASA14
Written by  Nora Smith
Original air date  October 5, 2014
Episode no.  Season 5 Series 68 Episode 1

"Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl" is the first episode and season premiere of the fifth season of the animated comedy series Bob's Burgers and the overall 68th episode, and is written by Nora Smith and directed by Jennifer Coyle. It aired on Fox in the United States on October 5, 2014.

Contents

Plot

The episode opens with the Belchers and Courtney Wheeler and her father, Doug, arguing their case to Mr. Frond in his office. The story unfolds through a series of unreliable narrator flashbacks:

Wagstaff is set to put on its annual musical and is interested in producing an original student production. Gene feels this is the perfect time to pitch his long-simmering musical adaptation of the 1988 action film Die Hard. Courtney asks Gene if she can be in his musical, having liked it when he shared it with her while they briefly dated. Gene refuses and Courtney instead pitches a musical adaptation of the 1988 romantic-comedy Working Girl with the heavy assistance of Doug's musical resources. Gene accuses Courtney of intentionally ripping off his idea, calling Working Girl the "sassy sister-film to Die Hard." Doug manages to seal the deal by promising to Ms. LaBonz that if they produce Working Girl: The Musical, he will pull strings to get Carly Simon to attend, since Simon sang the film's theme song "Let the River Run."

Louise proposes to Gene that they put on a "guerrilla/protest production" of Die Hard: The Musical on the same night as Courtney's Working Girl: The Musical in the school boiler room. They fill the Die Hard cast with the students who were rejected from Working Girl and begin rehearsals. However, Gene is dissatisfied with the others' performances and decides last minute to perform every role as a form of one-person show.

On opening night, Louise covertly distributes fliers to Die Hard to the audience during the Working Girl performance, which stars Courtney, Jimmy Jr., and Tina in the lead roles. Bob and Linda split up to support both shows, but eventually, the crowd watching Working Girl thins out, attracted by Louise's fliers. Stopping the production, Doug investigates with Courtney, who is delighted to see Gene performing the "Holly McClane-Gennero number." Doug is furious and throws one of Courtney's shoulder pads at Gene to stop him, hitting him in the face.

The episode returns to the present, revealing that it is still opening night and the subsequent fight between Linda and Doug and the chaos of the competing musicals is why they have all been called to Mr. Frond's office. Frond decides that musical theater is "too dangerous" and resolves to cancel both performances. Seeing his classmates' disappointment, Gene relinquishes the stage to Courtney's production, stating that he shouldn't ruin musical theater for everyone just to get what he wants. Courtney confesses that she did Working Girl precisely to get back at him and wants him to do his production. The two decide to work together and put on a last minute hybrid production called Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl. All the students have roles in the production, which features Working Girl secretary Tess McGill's (Courtney) corporate office taken over by Die Hard terrorist leader Hans Gruber (Gene). Though Hans and Tess fall in love due to their shared ambition, Gruber is thrown to his death from the building by John McClane (Zeke), ending the musical with a heartfelt ensemble number. The audience loves the production, Gene and Courtney share an unscripted kiss, and Ms. LaBonz slaps Doug when it becomes clear that Carly Simon was never going to show up.

The episode credits end with the Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl cast singing and dancing to the titular song accompanied by Carly Simon on stage, who guest stars in the episode as herself.

Reception

Alasdair Wilkins of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B, pointing out weaknesses in its structure, and comparing it to the previous season's premiere episode, "A River Runs Through Bob," but stating that both episodes "represent the show trying to stretch beyond its normal storytelling structure and attempt something we haven’t quite seen before. The fact that neither episode quite pulls off what it’s going for isn’t such a big deal, especially when the jokes remain sharp enough to compensate for the less effective delivery mechanism." Ultimately, Wilkins enjoyed the episode, stating that "“Work Hard Or Die Trying, Girl” makes some mistakes, but these are the mistakes a show damn well ought to be making, at least occasionally. And anyway, that final musical made me just so freaking happy, because I can’t imagine a better way to announce that, oh yes, Bob’s Burgers is back!" Robert Ham of Paste gave the episode a 9.5 out of 10, saying "Loren Bouchard and the gang certainly delivered the goods by emphasizing the show’s remarkable musical talent, the whip crack wit of the scriptwriters, and the strange charm of all the characters within."

The episode received a 1.4 rating and was watched by a total of 3.14 million people. This made it the fourth most watched show on Fox that night, losing to Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Simpsons and Family Guy.

References

Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl Wikipedia


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