Bernard Derriman continues to bring an Aussie flavour to ‘Bob’s Burgers’, ‘Central Park’

'Central Park'.

The last weekend of May played host to a box office match-up of true David and Goliath proportions — Tom Cruise vs Bob Belcher.

The Bob’s Burger Movie may have finished second to Top Gun: Maverick, but Australian co-director Bernard Derriman was philosophical about the film’s first frame.

“It got absolutely destroyed by Top Gun: Maverick, as we all imagined it would,” he laughed.

“It makes me feel a little better that Top Gun is going to be basically the biggest blockbuster of the year, so that helps.”

Bob’s Burgers is the second of what Derriman claims are the two jobs that his career has consisted of so far.

He started out as an animator at Sydney’s Walt Disney Studios fresh from high school, staying at the facility for nearly 15 years until its closure in 2006, during which time his credits included 101 Dalmatians: The Series, An Extremely Goofy Movie, and The Jungle Book 2, among others.

After picking up “bits and pieces” of work from overseas, Derriman was eventually brought on board to work on the first season of Loren Bouchard’s animated comedy about a third-generation restauranteur who runs his dream venue with the help of his uptight wife and three underachieving children.

The animator would relocate to LA for the program’s second season, going on to serve as a producer and supervisor director for the series across the next decade, while also co-directing The Bob’s Burger Movie.

It’s led to further opportunities within Bouchard’s stable of titles, including being a consulting producer on Apple’s Central Park, a musical comedy about park manager Owen Tillerman (Leslie Odom Jr) and his family life within the iconic New York location that was created with Josh Gad and Nora Smith.

While listed as a consulting producer for the series, the third season of which landed last week, Derriman directed the pilot episode and was involved in the design of characters, which he described as “a lot of fun to work with”.

“It’s a good feeling [to get to the third season] because we all came from Bob’s Burgers, which we’ve been doing for 13 seasons, and know the characters so well,” he said.

“Working on a new show is challenging and fun but can be a bit harder because you are still feeling the characters out.

“With season three, it felt like we really got to know the characters.”

(L-R): Gene Belcher (voiced by Eugene Mirman), Louise Belcher (voiced by Kristen Schaal), and Tina Belcher (voiced by Dan Mintz) in 20th Century Studios’ in ‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Aside from Central Park, Bob’s Burger creatives have also expanded to Alaska with the Great North, a Fox adult animation sitcom on which Derriman is again consulting producer that will have its third season premiere later this month.

Developed by Bob’s Burger writers Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux, alongside Minty Lewis, the series follows single father Beef Tobin, voiced by Nick Offerman, who lives in the fictional town of Lone Moose, Alaska with his four children, Wolf, Ham, Judy, and Moon.

Derriman said having animators and writers working together under one roof at the Bento Box Entertainment studio in LA prior to the pandemic had helped him balance his commitments on each of the three titles.

“Not all studios do that; very often the writers in animation will be totally separate from the artists,” he said.

“Unfortunately, most of the third season of Central Park had to be done virtually due to COVID but usually we’re all in there together.

“It’s great for guys like Loren, who are involved in everything and can just jump from one chair to another, or go up a flight of stairs.”

Derriman is continuing to develop projects with Bouchard outside of his current slate.

He has also left the door open for another animated feature, after a “satisfying and wonderful experience” on The Bob’s Burger Movie.

“I always say we’d love to make every episode look like a movie, but of course, we’re doing 22 episodes a year so there’s a huge amount of work and only so much you can do,” he said.

“But the beauty of working on the movie was all of a sudden we had four years to do the 100 minutes of animation, which was just an incredible luxury for us.

“Both Loren and I had that opportunity to get in there and really nail down every little bit of acting in every scene and every frame, which we never get the option to do.”

Central Park season three is now streaming on Apple TV+.