Bob’s Burgers star visits TECCS to inspire children to pursue their dreams

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Bob’s Burgers star visits TECCS to inspire children to pursue their dreams

Sean Quinn, Op/Ed Editor

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“Bob’s Burgers” is one of the most popular animated shows on TV. It’s eccentric characters of a family running a burger restaurant and offbeat humor have become revered by both young adults and even children. While not as crude in its humor as shows like “Family Guy” or “South Park,” it has amassed a large following. It’s closer to “King of the Hill” with a heavy dose of endearing awkwardness and less realistic artwork.

The FSA Performing Arts Program invited “Bob’s Burgers” cast member John Roberts, the voice of matriarch Linda Belcher, to speak to a group of 7th and 8th graders at The Ethical Community Charter School (TECCS). The FSA hopes to inspire children to take up the arts and find passion in them. Several students are developing a film titled “Like Us,” which is being written by ten students. An interesting fact is that NJCU professor Ann Wallace is the assistant director of FSA’s student film, and the co-founder TECCS. When asked about the film, Wallace said “It’s been pure joy to watch students grow as writers and actors. I worked with the schools screenwriting team, and they made a powerful, timely script. The characters and story are sharp, and the actors bring a new depth to their roles. There was a quiet connection between writer and actor that couldn’t be planned. It brings right to the pain and vulnerabilities of the main characters.”

Linda Belcher is an outgoing and flamboyant woman with a love for performance art and socializing. Her heavy Brooklyn accent (Which Roberts says came from his mother) and catchphrase “Alright!” has made Linda a fan favorite. John Roberts is also a lover of theater and performance, having gotten his start in theater and comedy at a young age in middle school. He also dabbled in rap at a young age, rapping with his friends over the B Side of a Pink Floyd track. He said his rap name was Kid Whiz (Not to be confused with 80’s kid’s show “Whiz Kids”). He also intended to have a voiceover role in “Like Us,” but couldn’t due to SAG limitations. So his visit was intended to support the student film.

I got the opportunity to interview Roberts, a New Jersey native, before the event in a small room inside the TECCS cafeteria. When asked about about how FSA got in touch with him, he said that one of his friend’s children attends the school and agreed to come visit. He hopes that he’ll be able to inspire young children to pursue their dreams and find their voice to connect with others. Roberts advises people to find inspiration in things close to their heart, getting their voice to be heard. I asked of how the character Linda came to be, to which he explained that his mother was a huge influence of Linda and characters he developed in his YouTube videos.

Students got a chance to hear Roberts discuss his life and career, what goes into the making of “Bob’s Burgers,” his experiences with bullying in his youth by a peer who questioned if he was a boy or girl (Wallace told me that the students wrote a character who is asked the same thing in the film) and the value of having one good friend in your life. It was an inspiring and wonderful event, with my favorite moments being when he serenaded a girl in the crowd in the voice of Linda. Her reaction was priceless.

I too was serenaded with the sound of Linda. After I finished my interview, I took a selfie and video with him. I announced that I got to meet Linda Belcher, and when I turned the camera to him I was greeted with “Sean Quinn, he’s gonna win, Sean Quinn, alright! In Linda’s voice. This year has already peaked for me, and I hope that it was as much of a highlight for everyone else involved.

The film “Like Us” is slated to be completed in Spring. The FSA can be reached on Facebook and Instagram with @fsaperformingarts.

 

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