The Original Premise For Bob's Burgers Was Much Darker And Incredibly Disturbing

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!

  • So... Cannibals?

    So... Cannibals?
    Photo: FOX

    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." 

  • The Show's Creator Was Used To Darker Shows

    The Show's Creator Was Used To Darker Shows
    Photo: Adult Swim

    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."

  • FOX Execs Weren't Keen On The People-Eating

    FOX Execs Weren't Keen On The People-Eating
    Photo: FOX

    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. 

  • The Crematorium Next To The Burger Joint Could Have Been Important

    The Crematorium Next To The Burger Joint Could Have Been Important
    Photo: FOX

    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? 

  • The Pilot Episode Is Called "Human Flesh"

    The Pilot Episode Is Called "Human Flesh"
    Photo: FOX

    Even though Fox put the kibosh on a cannibalism plot running through the series, some indicators of the Belchers' predilection for human meat made it into the pilot. Just think about the fact that the first episode is called "Human Flesh." That could easily have been the name of a show about a burger joint that supplies its customers with patties made from, well, human flesh.

  • Bob Is Being Investigated For Cannibalism In The First Episode

    Bob Is Being Investigated For Cannibalism In The First Episode
    Photo: FOX

    The health inspector in the pilot declares that he's not there for a routine inspection. No, no - he proudly states that he is there to investigate a troubling rumor that involves Bob and his family making burgers out of dead bodies from the morgue next door. Now this proves to unfounded, mainly because the rumor was started by Louise during one of her class's show and tell sessions. Still, could this plot have been a holdover from the show's original premise? Very, very likely.