Bob's Burgers has evolved from a cartoon that wasn't discussed much beyond its cult following to a bona fide crossover hit. GIFs from the show are endlessly reblogged and fans love to share the numerous Bob's Burgers puns. The cast has even performed live table readings at sold-out fan events. But would the show have garnered such an adoring fanbase if it had stuck with its original premise? You may not know this, but Bob's Burgers was almost a very different show.
The original Bob's Burgers concept had the Belcher family running the burger joint, but with one twist - they were cannibals. Not many people would draw comparisons between the Belchers and Hannibal, but if the original plot had gone forward, people would, no doubt, be compiling listicles about the cutest cannibals on TV. To learn more about the insane Bob's Burgers cannibalism that almost was, read on!
That's right - cannibals. The Belchers were originally supposed to be people-eating, burger flippers who served their customers human meat. Series co-creator Loren Bouchard's original vision for the show was a lot darker than the Bob's Burgers the world knows and loves. Bouchard told the Hollywood Reporter, "I originally thought the show should be about a family that runs a restaurant who are cannibals."
Before pitching Bob's Burgers to Fox, Bouchard had worked for Adult Swim, a channel that specializes in dark-humored, more adult animation. Bouchard's back catalogue includes Home Movies, a show about a boy who makes his own films and has a weird father/son relationship with an alcoholic soccer coach. Bouchard also worked on Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil, which was about the titular devil's daughter being forced to fulfill her destiny as the Antichrist.
Bouchard's past experiences with Adult Swim had him leaning into darker themes when it came to pitching an animated series. He talked to the Hollywood Reporter about the differences between pitching for Adult Swim verus Fox, saying, "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."
It seemed like the Fox executives were into Bouchard and his characters, but they weren't all in on the cannibalism angle. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Suzanna Makkos, the executive VP for comedy at Fox, asked Bouchard, "Do you want to do 100 episodes' worth of cannibal jokes?" She had the series' potential longevity in mind. Bouchard acknowledged this, saying that "Fox took a long view" and he changed the show's premise accordingly.
Viewers that have paid attention to the opening credits of the show might have noticed that Bob's burger joint is right next door to a funeral home, the aptly named "It's Your Funeral Home & Crematorium." Was this intentional? And was it meant to imply that Bob and his family get their meat from the funeral home next door?