Keep “me” out of meat – BOB’S BURGERS Episode 1, “Human Flesh”

Bob’s Burgers is a hugely popular animated sitcom that has been running since 2011. It has been renewed for a 12th and 13th season, and has spun off a comic book series, a soundtrack album and a movie which, although delayed by the pandemic, is due for release in 2022. TV Guide ranked it among the sixty greatest TV cartoons. Bob and his family have even appeared in a “couch gag” in an episode of The Simpsons, a show that has had its own cannibal stories. This first episode, Human Flesh, aired on Fox on January 9 2011 and was viewed in 9.41 million homes in the US.

Bob’s Burgers is due to reopen after a series of disasters, staffed by his family – his wife Linda (John Roberts) and three kids. The Health Inspector arrives to investigate reports that Bob’s burgers are made out of human meat from the crematorium next door, a rumour started by youngest daughter Louise (Kristen Schaal from Flight of the Conchords and Last Man on Earth) at her school ‘show and tell’.

The Health Inspector is a jilted lover of Linda and tells Bob (H. Jon Benjamin):

“We’ll test your meat. If it contains human flesh anything above the four percent allowable by the FDA, then your restaurant will be closed, and you, sir, will be going to jail!”

The public response is to run screaming from the door, although one old lady says she’d try it, and at least there’s no waiting line.

An angry mob gathers outside the shop.

Bob addresses them, appealing to them to consider the living, rather than the dead.

“we mistreat the living and no one seems to care, but once that body’s dead, it’s ‘don’t mistreat the dead body, hey, don’t eat the dead body, that’s the ultimate crime, right? Murder, no big deal; cannibal? Whoaaa!

The burger shop is saved when the “adventurous eaters’ club turns up wanting to try human flesh burgers, willing to pay $50 each. The health inspectors return to announce that their test showed “100% Grade A beef” but Bob shouts them down.

The restaurant is saved. But we never get the answer to Bob’s question.  Why is it OK to mistreat each other (and the unfortunate animals who are made into his beef) but not eat the human dead, the only beings in this equation who cannot suffer?

The show’s creator, Loren Bouchard, told The Hollywood Reporter that the original concept of the show was a family of cannibals running a restaurant, but Fox talked him out of it.

Seems like a missed opportunity to me.

Here is the original concept cartoon, with Linda assuming that a ring on a corpse’s hand (from a pile about to go in the meat grinder) is her anniversary present from Bob.

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