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Bob’s Burgers: The show’s original plot was about the Belchers being cannibals

Production still from Bob's Burgers.
Bob’s Burgers has a much darker original concept. Pic credit: Fox Broadcasting Company

It turns out that Bob’s Burgers and the Tim Burton musical Sweeney Todd were supposed to have a lot more in common than it currently does. The original concept of the animation series Bob’s Burgers on Fox originally involved the beloved Belcher family being cannibals. 

This information grew to popularity in 2016 when The Hollywood Reporter published an article detailing the oral history of this show, from this sparked the uploading of various demos being released on YouTube.

While the descriptions of the videos state that the content is “impossible” to find, it has been stated that the “proof of concept” and “test video” can be found on the DVD of the show’s first season. 

In this proof, Bob and Linda Belcher are seen grinding up meat in the back of their restaurant while arguing over their wedding anniversary — which Bob forgot. Beside them, a garbage can is notably filled with human limbs. Linda notices that a hand in the garbage can is donning a large ring and she assumes that Bob planted it there for her to find.

In this proof and other demos, Bob also tends to take a favoring to not wearing a shirt underneath his apron, something that isn’t common in the current series. 

Since 2016, this information regularly sparks conversations online as new fans discover this shocking information and post about it on fan forums, Reddit, and other social media.

What was the original concept of Bob’s Burgers? 

As teased in the series’ debuting episode, Human Flesh, the show was originally about the Belcher family’s burger joint serving meat made out of people. The characters were more cruel and harsh to one another, and the show’s overall tone was less bright and cheery, and more depressing.

The eldest Belcher daughter Tina was also a boy named Daniel; however, that was changed as Fox felt as though there wasn’t enough “distinction” between Daniel and the middle Belcher child Gene.

Commenting on the cannibal aspect of the series, the show’s creator, Loren Bouchard, told Hollywood Reporter, “I originally thought the show should be about a family that runs a restaurant who are cannibals.” 

However, in response, Fox questioned them about that creative choice, asking if it was necessary and if it would benefit the series in the long run.

Reciting the story, Bouchard added, “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.”

Prior to Bob’s Burgers, Bouchard was the writer, executive producer, director, and composer of the dark comedy series Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil, which premiered on Adult Swim for a single season.

Illustration-wise, the series also made many large changes.

In an interview with Animation World Network, Bob’s Burger’s illustrator Jay Howell shared his original ideas for the Belcher matriarch, Linda. He said, “I used to have Linda wearing an apron all the time that was covered in blood like she’d been in the back cutting up meat. I really wanted her to have a really violent apron but a funny personality. I thought that would be a cool thing to have, but you know, you can’t have blood on TV.”

Where is Bob’s Burgers now? 

Ditching the cannibal aspect of Bob’s Burgers did the series great justice as now, it is a popular comfort show for people around the world. The Emmy-award-winning series has been nominated for many accolades and recognized as being a top animated series.

Since its premiere in 2011, the series has been on for 11 seasons and is still going strong, recently securing a renewal contract for two more seasons. 

Coming soon will hopefully be a Bob’s Burgers musical movie which was expected to be released in the summer of 2020 but has been delayed indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, it’s been announced that the movie has been removed from the schedule because the distributors are holding on for a theatrical release — so not all hope is lost. 

Bob’s Burgers is currently airing on Fox.

Raven is an entertainment and culture writer with bylines in Game Rant, Small Screen and Netflix Life. She has a degree in Communications from Penn State and has done additional studying in Media...read more

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