Welcome to Midweek Trivia I actually had a different topic planned. But then I saw this over on Reddit and figured it would be of interest to Kinja folks since I know this show as a large following, so why not kill two birds with one stone and make it my Midweek Trivia.
The thread was about a video discussing how the show Bob’s Burgers was going to be about cannibals. According to the video creator Loren Bouchard pitched the show about a family of cannibals who work at a burger joint. The video comes courtesy of Court of Source. They talk about the idea might have been an homage to Sweeney Todd since like how Todd has his victims made into pies by Mrs. Lovett. The connection is that the restaurant is right next to a funeral home where Bob might have been getting his body. Fox didn’t like the cannibal idea but liked the rest so asked for a pilot. They made the pilot called “The Demo” that can be viewed on the Season 1 DVD. The episode has a lot of homages to the original idea but in this case the family has to convince the town their food is not made of human flesh. The plot is the same as the aired first episode “Human Flesh” but there are some differences in animation as well as a totally different character.
Before the show was aired, the team created a proof of concept so Fox Broadcasting Company knew what to expect if they bought the show. Jay Howell had his art featured in a test animation based on Bob forgetting about his and Linda’s wedding anniversary. The actual show has never used a word that needed to be censored by the network. The proof of concept eventually turned into the pilot episode. It had the same synopsis as the official pilot (aired in 2011) but had both cosmetic and substantial differences. These included:
- Cruder animation
- Character models having longer noses
- Bob wears a white tank top/singlet (in the series he wears a white T-shirt)
- The eldest child is male, and called Daniel. In the broadcast pilot, Tina’s dialogue is almost the same as Daniel’s and the voice characterization by Dan Mintz is the same, despite being changed to a female character.
- The intro had slower animation due to budget
- Extra dialogue and plot elements were added to the pilot: a scene where the community reacts badly to the restaurant’s health safety alert and Bob confronts Hugo about it, and a denouement wrapping up plot elements.
- This extra material expanded the running time from thirteen and a half minutes to twenty-one and a half minutes.
Yes that’s right, Tina wasn’t in the pilot but was instead a boy named Daniel.
Imagine how different the show might have been without that change. Here is the full video from the Reddit thread.
Now you may be a skeptical since this comes from Reddit and a random YT video. I was as well. Luckily my super hero identity it “Primary Sources Man!” whose power is the ability to find a primary source on any random gibberish the internet shoots out. It’s a really lame power. But it has served me well in writing here on Kinja. I found this interview from May 19th with Lorne and Fox executives on The Hollywood Reporter website promoting the upcoming 100th episode. This part is Loren and Suzanne Makkos, Fox Executive VP of Comedy
LOREN BOUCHARD, CREATOR I originally thought the show should be about a family that runs a restaurant who are cannibals. Very early on, [Fox] said, “Well, do you need the cannibalism?” I had really put it in there because I thought they would want it. I’m coming off of working for Adult Swim, and the darker, more shocking aspect seemed like what you needed in order for an animated idea to cut through the noise.
MAKKOS I said, “Loren, do you want to do 100 episodes’ worth of cannibal jokes?”
BOUCHARD Fox took a long view.
They also discussed the change from Daniel to Tina with Bouchard, Makkos and Jonnie Davis, Fox TV President of Creative Affairs and Jim Dauterive, Executive Producer.
JIM DAUTERIVE, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER We had a meeting with [then-Fox entertainment chairman] Kevin Reilly. It was in the early stages of production, and Reilly said, “We love it, but we want to differentiate between the kids a little more.” In the original presentation, there were two boys and Louise. The older sibling was a boy called Daniel and he was 13; they thought Gene and Daniel weren’t distinct enough.
BOUCHARD I didn’t disagree, but I really liked Dan Mintz’s [Daniel] voice.
MAKKOS Loren came back and said, “We want to change it to a girl. Her name is Tina, and she will be stuck in puberty forever.” We were like, “That’s a really funny idea.” And he said, “But I’m still going to have Dan Mintz do the voice.” I was scared to tell my bosses.
JONNIE DAVIS, 20TH CENTURY FOX TV PRESIDENT OF CREATIVE AFFAIRS It may sound crazy on paper, but when Loren is explaining it — because he’s worked with all these amazing voice actors before — he has this symphony in his head of how all these characters are going to interconnect. You just trust him.
I know this isn’t usually the kind of show I write about in this column. But I thought it was an interesting bit of trivia and I also knew there were a lot of fans of the show here on Kinja. I thank you for reading and I will see you next week, for more Midweek Trivia,