Bob’s Burgers has thrived because of its ability to speak truth hilariously while keeping a lighthearted tone. However, according to a video posted today by Court of Source, Bob’s Burgers creators Loren Bouchard and Jim Dauterive originally pitched the show as a dark comedy about a family-ran restaurant that made burgers from human meat.
Cartoonist and writer Bouchard has a great history of working in mature-themed animation, and even helped launch Adult Swim in 1999 with his series Home Movies, an animated comedy about basement-filmmaking kids amid adult life. He also created another cartoon, Lucy: The Daughter of the Devil, for Adult Swim and it was after the premiere of that series that Bouchard met with Jim Dauterive, executive producer and staff writer for King of the Hill.
The pair developed the idea for Bob’s Burgers with the intent of pitching the show to Fox. The show, inspired largely by Hannibal Lecter and Sweeney Todd, would revolve around the lives of a family of cannibals who owned a restaurant where they cooked and served human flesh, unbeknownst to their customers. Liking everything but the human-eating part, Fox gave the green light to Bouchard and Dauterive to write the pilot for Bob’s Burgers, sans cannibalism.
“I’m coming off 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,” Bouchard said after Fox sent him back to the literal drawing board.
Bouchard and Dauterive returned to Fox with something extremely close to the pilot for Bob’s Burgers that eventually aired. If you’ve seen it, you’re probably having a big “OHHH” moment about now. The pilot was a devilish nod to the original idea, titled “Human Flesh” and about false rumors that were spreading that the menu at Bob’s Burgers contained bits of human remains.
Another carry-over from cannibal Bob’s Burgers is the presence of Mort’s funeral home and crematorium next door to the restaurant. It is speculated that the idea was for Bob and Mort to have a Sweeney Todd/Mrs. Lovett type partnership, especially when considering Louise’s statement to her classmates when she brings one of her dad’s burgers to show-and-tell: “It’s made from human remains from the crematorium next door.” Court of Source also points out that the business to the right of Bob’s Burgers is always something different, perhaps a clue that its owners later become ingredients?
Watch the video below for the full explanation, and to get a glimpse at “Daniel,” the original Tina, which explains the casting choice of Dan Mintz.