Why Tina is my Icon

Get it? Because she’s my .. profile.. icon – nevermind!

I’ve finally been able to binge-watch Bob’s Burgers now that it’s available through Disney+. Bob’s Burgers is what I classify as my ‘wind down’ viewing; I put it on about an hour before I go to bed to wind down, which helps after a stressful day or stressful movie viewing. To be honest I don’t need an excuse to watch it.

Of course, my girl Tina is as relatable as ever, and last night I remembered that I said on here I would someday explain why I have her as my icon, so why not do it now?
Even though in the first episode Tina’s sister, Louise, did mention Tina maybe-maybe-not having autism, and while show creator, Loren Bouchard hasn’t confirmed if she’s autistic or not, that’s okay with me as, through her unique special interests and battle with social norms, I relate to her more than almost any other character I’ve seen in media.

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh-“

Tina’s “uhhhhhh” has so much behind it. It’s uncertainty, nervousness, fear, sadness, overwhelming verklempt, everything but nothing. My dad is actually known for his “uhhhh” which I think some people have thought he’s slow to come up with an answer. As his child and someone that does something similar, I can tell you we are thinking of every scenario and answer. If you ask me something simple, like “what is better: oranges or apples?”, I will either explain my process to a decision aloud or give an “uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……uhhhhhhhhhhhhh” as I try to navigate my answer.

Similarly, if it’s something to do with a social cue, maybe like getting your hair cut and someone asking you where you want it up to, it gets to be a mix of the above along with whatever social component. See, not just a sound!

Driving

My stupid, stupid crux.

Driving is something I’m still trying to conquer in my 30s, but I recently passed my driving learners test (again) so I mean… I’m gettin’ there!

Seriously though, my sister and I screamed with laughter at the opening scene of Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks when Bob lets Tina drive the car in the car park. After a quick look around my home to see if the writers were spying on me, I showed my dad who, empathetically, cracked up laughing at his real-life daughter somehow appearing in an animated show.

I mean the idea of possibly autistic characters and cars has come up before, but to see it done so simply, just a girl going slowly in an almost empty car park and still hitting the car was magnificent.

Coordination

Dream A Little Bob of Bob was another episode where I just stared at the screen in shock before messaging my sister telling her I’ve been attacked onscreen. The second storyline in the episode involves Tina attempt a children’s handclapping game, something even Teddy and Mr. Fischoeder can do with ease.
Naturally this was incredibly fun to figure out in primary school. I always went last in the circle after concentrating as much and a tactical ‘bathroom break’. I was okay!… As long as it only involved the hands and nothing too wild.

Then I began acting a few years ago in musicals. You know, the genre that involves dancing? Yeah, I wasn’t great. It was like a goat possessing a human. I was usually in the back, and the only time I wasn’t was because we had multiple delays and I was able to put all the dance moves into long-term memory – I actually still remember some of them!

Remember the driving thing? Yeah. Coordination ain’t mine (or Tina’s) thing.

Fan/Friend Fiction

I was not expecting Tina to be an erotic fan and friend fiction writer. Believe it or not, a lot of women around my age write fanfiction, including me! It’s actually how I met my best friend when I was eighteen.
It’s something that I haven’t seen in any media! I couldn’t believe I was seeing what I was seeing. It was just one of those things where my sister and I were jokingly saying Tina was like me, but this was on a whole other level!

A lot of young, autistic women seem to gravitate towards fanfiction as it helps us try to exercise our creative muscles through already established characters and settings. After Tina does all the fanfiction she can, though, she goes onto friend fiction, which includes butts and zombies, something that’s not usually my thing to write.

Closeness to Parents

I’m pretty close with my family, especially my mum, and seeing a family dynamic full of love and support on tv is so refreshing.
I think it’s one of the core reasons people come back to Bob’s Burgers; no matter how chaotic or strange the characters can seem, they are always supportive of each other’s hobbies, quirks, and personalities. In fact, they’re a family that appears quite insular in that they’re usually shown hanging out with each other or in as a unit.
When something irises they all work together, even if it’s sometimes begrudgingly, but what I love the most is any little initiative taken means the world to one another, like The Love Machine in My Fuzzy Valentine or when Bob shaves off his iconic moustache for Tina.

Lying and Holding Back Information

I am.. not a good liar. I always want to be honest but I know that isn’t necessarily kind or actually wanted by other people. I really hate lying though, and when I have to lie, I keep thinking about it. Obsessively. Depending on the magnitude of said lie, I can actually start to feel ill and funny enough, do a noise close to Tina’s panicked sound. If I find it justifiable, I’m better than dealing with it but it’s still not.. great.
Holding back information is a whole other matter; I feel like I’m holding in a sneeze when I’m holding back information. It’s so bad that I can’t shop for people’s presents and not tell them immediately; my family know that presents from me have to be opened ASAP. The thing is, though, I research and purchase Christmas presents in September/October, so imagine how insane I feel. I just can’t help it!
Some anecdotes from other neurodivergent people online have given me comfort with their “all or nothing” approach when it comes to divulging information, something I very much relate to. I will either tell you the whole story of something or just a “yep” or “okay”, nothing in between, much to my mum’s frustration. To start explaining then stop, that sneeze starts building up, and up, and up

While Tina doesn’t withhold information, she is very open to saying absolutely anything, sometimes to Bob’s discomfort. The scene in the picture above illustrates Tina’s desire to be honest and open, even if it’s not ideal. Bob dent/dings a car after an impromptu car lesson and both him and Tina are trying to play it “cool” at the insurance agent’s house.. only it was Tina that was driving.

Sociability

I feel like I don’t have to explain this, but we’re all differing degrees of awkward at being sociable around here! Outside of the family, Tina doesn’t really have a best friend but a group of regulars she’s friendly with (she does refer to them as her friends, though), including her big crush, Jimmy Jr. Outside this circle, she remains friendly to everyone she meets and is incredibly eager to maintain those relationships.
While I did have a big group of people in high school that I was friendly with, my core group was small. Now as an adult, I don’t have many friends as I find maintaining friendships difficult.
When it comes to social cues, Tina and I are more on the awkward side, with small talk not being our forte but able to talk about our interests easily.

Literally Literal

While I always knew what “raise our glasses” actually meant, I’m very quick to do something like what Tina is doing in the above photo in a joking way because, as many autistics would tell you, we think of the literal meaning almost immediately.

I’ve got another post I’m going to write after this talking about it, but let me just say when a pathologist tells me to have “a glass” of water before a blood test, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Push Over

Poor T. It’s quite common for people on the spectrum to be exploited through social vulnerability. In Bob’s Burgers, Tina is always at the mercy of her younger siblings, especially Louise, the mischievously manipulative but ingenuous youngest Belcher. Usually, an episode can start with Tina babysitting or something happening where soon enough, Tina is being dragged into the adventures of her younger siblings, who easily persuade her that what they’re doing is ultimately the “right” thing.


Little sisters, huh? Yep, got one of those. While we didn’t hang out as kids, my sister as a toddler was definitely one to test the limits of what she could get away with, while I was comfortable it doing the exact opposite. As we got a bit older – my sister in her late teens and me in my early twenties – my sister could easily bend me to her will before I ever noticed. I mean we weren’t investigating abandoned places we shouldn’t have been… actually, nevermind.

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