Tina Belcher, Bob’s Burgers

Sophia White-

Tina Belcher is the eldest child in the Belcher family from the animated American Sitcom, Bob’s Burgers. In the show, Tina is characterized by her many crushes that come out of nowhere, her ability to fantasize deeply to create worlds in her mind about nearly anything, and her general awkwardness towards social situations with her peers. She is incredibly relatable. That being said, I feel like I relate to her more than most, especially with her family members who act incredibly similar to my own. I have had many in-depth discussions with my family as to who is who within the show, and it fits almost perfectly aside from the fact that there is one more person in their family than mine. Even in that situation, the other character usually applies to other aspects of my family’s personality and dynamic in some way. It is the reason my family often watches it because the dynamics and behaviors feel so similar to ours. I do not know if this is true of other families when they watch this TV show, but it (almost) perfectly encapsulates my family.

Tina is generally described on Wikipedia as someone who comes off as shy and reserved around her peers and in comparison to her siblings but actually has an active social and romantic life. That is, she is thought to be shy, but her inner life and her off-and-on romances make her almost mysterious. She is obsessed with horses, boys, and buttocks. All of that is very relatable. Even the fact that she writes fanfiction in her journal about TV shows and movies is something that I fully understand. Whether I do that in my head or write a full-out story about a romance that exists between Gandalf and my friends and try to publish it on Wattpad, remains to be seen (I will not disclose whether that example is true or not). In my early teens, I was very romantically obsessed with 20 people at once and tried to identify as Kelly Clarkson. These small details that create the character of Tina Belcher really make me feel connected to her.

Sure, I don’t look anything like her, but it is more about the way I act and think that I am incredibly similar to her. Her ability to create very vivid images in her mind of scenarios, whether delusional or not, is something that I do every single day. When I was 13, like Tina, I was dreaming up stories with horses and men too. I was also a ninja, pirate, power ranger, and queen. Never was there a better time to daydream than car rides where I was a ninja flipping over cars or when my Little Pony characters were slapping each other because one of them stole the other’s jewels. Tina experiences the world through a set of adventures and imagines herself in a position of authority or vibing with animals, which I do on a daily basis walking to class. Are you even cool if you don’t talk to the campus squirrels and imagine a whole thought-out conversation with them about the state of the world’s political ecosystem? I don’t think so.

Another point that I feel deeply connected with Tina is her rule-following tendencies. Tina is often prompted into precarious situations by her siblings who want to cause chaos in some way. Tina simultaneously feels incredibly uncomfortable with breaking the rules but wants to be seen as cool and do something bad for once. That is me to a T. I have a set of rules that I adhere to in my mind, even though some of them have never been stated out loud by others. Sometimes I want to go to parties, but my brain says no even though my parents want me to go. I would look so cool dancing at parties, but the closest I have ever gotten to one is wedding receptions or dancing alone in my room in heels. Often, the only way for me to break those rules is by being pushed into it by family members. Like Tina, I want to break my own rules but it is so tied to my personhood that it is the cause of a lot of anxiety. Similarly, like Tina, I have told on myself so many times to my parents. I can’t bear the weight of dishonesty for long and blurt it out from the pit of guilt in my stomach. This comes out of a strong understanding of my own morals and personal rule set.

With all of these things said, I really feel for Tina when she goes through hard things because of the way I relate to her character. Even if she is just an animated character, I understand that 13-year-old girl who is trying to find belonging – even if she does things a little weird and understands the world a little differently. As a 19-year-old version of Tina with more nuances, I am trying to get out there a bit more and share some of my awkwardness with the world because there is nothing wrong with being a little awkward and owning it. Owning it is the hardest part of being awkward in social situations, but it is something that I’ll keep pushing toward so I can meet good people. That is who the character Tina is: thriving in the awkward. That is something I desperately need and want to bring back into my life, and I wonder if others feel the same way about this. Especially students who are in their first year of college like me. I hope others can resonate with Tina’s character in that way, and you should all watch Bob’s Burgers if you haven’t yet.

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