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God, the Devil and Bob (2000) was a short-lived American animated series with only 3 episodes out of 13 shown in its first run; it was Too Good to Last.
The show opens as God decides that Humans Are Bastards and he's going to end the world; The Devil, of course, is delighted with His decision. God eventually has second thoughts about the idea, though — saying that He's "not that kind of God" — and He decides to give the world one last chance: if a single person can somehow prove that humanity as a whole is worth saving, God will put off smiting the entire world. The Devil is none too happy about this, so God decides to make things fair by letting The Devil choose the person. Enter the third titular character: Detroit's own Bob Alman, an under-educated, beer-drinking, swearing, selfish person who — by his own admission — downloads a lot of porn from the Internet. In the first episode, Bob manages to redeem humanity, and for the rest of the series, he becomes God's "go-to guy" for new ideas on how to help humanity further redeem itself — all while The Devil tries to interfere with God's plans.
Side characters include Bob's wife Donna, their kids Megan (a teenager) and Andy (a six-year-old), Bob's work buddies (a white pervert and a black guy/occasional Deadpan Snarker), and Smeck (The Devil's demon henchman/Chew Toy).
The show touched on many family issues, including a family member dying, bullies, and puberty (amongst others); it also caused a good deal of controversy due to its presumed mocking of the Christian faith, a largely inaccurate accusation leveled almost entirely by people who had never actually seen — and indeed refused to watch — the show (see also Monty Python's Life of Brian and The Last Temptation of Christ). Ironically, the show's creator was an ordained clergyman with a not-surprisingly favorable attitude towards the faith. It eventually made it to DVD in the US, several overseas markets did air the full series, and in 2011, the show's full run made its way into the Adult Swim lineup.
Contains examples of the following tropes:
- An Aesop: Delivered at the end of every episode. It was surprisingly good at showing a message without getting overly Anvilicious.
- All Girls Like Ponies: When Bob mentions how he can't deal with the idea of Megan dating, God suggests getting her a pony. Bob asks what that would do. "I dunno, I thought girls liked ponies..."
- All There in the Manual
- Ambiguously Gay: The Devil is rather flamboyant, incredibly prissy, and prone to occasional crossdressing and singing showtunes, as well as being very physical when talking to Bob. On the other hand, he also dated Megan and tried to sleep with Donna (both in disguise, of course).
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The title.
- Black Best Friend
- Black Cloak: The Devil wears one.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: The Devil.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Megan.
- Bumbling Dad: Bob.
- Card-Carrying Villain: The Devil.
- Cheerful Child: Andy.
- Children Are Innocent: Apparently the reason why Andy can see God.
- Completely Missing the Point
Bob: Okay, you've got some explaining to do. Right now, my daughter is ice-skating with the Devil!
- Cool Car: The Devil's car.
- Cool Shades: God has a pair.
- So does the Devil, occasionally.
- Crapsack World: Probably slightly justified in that the episodes generally take place in Detroit.
- Cross Dresser: The Devil and Smeck in a couple episodes.
- Deal with the Devil: Bob (and inadvertently his wife) makes one of these involving a palm pilot.
- The Devil Is a Loser
Bob: Get out! There must be somebody else that you can annoy.
- Drunken Montage: Subverted.
- Everything's Better with Bob.
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: God makes a double rainbow appear over Detroit to cheer people up without making the atheists feel left out.
- Evil Brit: The Devil has an English accent and is voiced by a Scottish actor. Everyone else is American, including God.
- Figure It Out Yourself: Inverted: God gives clear instructions most of the time, yet Bob doesn't get the point.
- Sometimes, but often his instructions are at least somewhat vague. Also, his clear instructions in "Bob Gets Committed" may have been part of a Batman Gambit to get Bob into the insane asylum.
- Fire and Brimstone Hell
- Except for the Fourth Circle, which got turned into a giant golf course when the Devil wasn't paying attention.
- Fluffy Cloud Heaven: How heaven is depicted.
- Flying Car: God's driving it, so...
- Forgotten Birthday: "The Devil's Birthday." God apparently forgets every year. Which hurts the devil more because God is supposed to be omniscient (know everything about everything everywhere)
- Go Among Mad People: "Bob Gets Committed."
- God Is Good: Of course.
- Godly Sidestep: Bob asks God why he allows evil to exist. God takes a deep breath and explains to Bob, just as a train passes between them and the audience. Bob is impressed and accepting of God's answer, but we only get to hear the very last part.
"...like a cork caught in whirlpool."
- God Karting with Beelzebub: Many episodes begin with the two hanging out together.
- Go Into the Light: Parodied. Turns out it's God's porch light. Which he only left on once.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: God and the Devil certainly look like this at times.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: The Devil is Alan Cumming, God is James Garner, and Bob is French Stewart. Seems that Phil is the voice of Bob's son.
- Humans Are Bastards: Why God wants to destroy earth in the first place.
- Humanity on Trial
- Incredibly Inconvenient Deity: Neither God nor the Devil is above popping into Bob's bed when they want a word.
- Ink Suit Actor: Both Bob and the Devil bear a resemblance to their respective voice actors. God, however, is more based on Jerry Garcia.
- Invisible to Adults: God can be seen by "innocents," which includes children like Andy (but not teens like Megan). At least some mental patients also have this trait.
- For what it's worth, Andy apparently could not see through the Devil's disguise when he imitated Bob, but still realized right away that he was some sort of an impostor.
- It might have to do with the deal God and The Devil struck long ago; as God put it: "I get 'em until they're 12, then he gets 'em until they're 20."
- The Internet Is for Porn: Talked about - if people had no porn on the television then they would have to find it on the internet instead.
- Jerkass God: Sort of.
- Jumping Out of a Cake: Parodied in "The Devil's Birthday". A world without evil means the cake contains an eldery married couple who give advice ("Never go to bed angry"). Bob is horrified.
- Minion with an F In Evil: Smeck.
- Moral Guardians: After an assload of blasphemy complaints in the United States, NBC canceled it there after only four episodes, and it was not shown again in the U.S. until a decade later on Adult Swim. The whole series was aired overseas earlier though.
- Multi Character Title
- New Media Are Evil
- Nigh Invulnerability: Bob thinks he has this, so much that he decides to wrestle a robber with a gun and skydive without a parachute. God tells him he's not and it's just a fluke and the Devil is pretty vague about it, but God could be lying, being an in-universe cross between Lying Creator and Unreliable Narrator.
- Noodle Incident: Satan once comments that he "promised [Smeck]'s mother" to take care of him, though further circumstances are never explained.
- Parting Words Regret: In "Bob's Father" just before Bob's father dies he tells him to go to Hell. Then he's afraid he damned him to Hell just by saying that.
- Playing Against Type: In spite of Bob's animation model even resembling him, this role is quite a departure from the kinds of roles French Stewart is best known for.
- Odd Friendship: God and the Devil, of course.
- Pals with Jesus
- Rebel Without a Cause: Megan.
- Record Needle Scratch: In the pilot when Bob asks "What's in it for me?"
- Take Our Word for It: When Bob demands to know why God allows evil to exist, the sound of a train going past prevents the viewer from hearing God's answer.
- Though, in another episode, God reveals that the reason he allows evil to exist is because he believes being good is pointless without evil to balance it out.
- The Renfield: Smeck.
- This Loser Is You: Bob, of course.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: The Devil is on the receiving end of this more than once. When he hires Martha Stewart to help him redecorate the fourth circle of Hell, he ends up completely pushed aside. When he pretends to be an ordinary teenager to get close to Bob's daughter, he realizes he's forgotten how depressing teenagers can be and abandons the scheme halfway through their date.
- He also point blank refuses to take Richard Nixon.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife
- The Un-Reveal: Right when God is about to reveal why he allows evil in the world, a train comes by and its toot censors out everything he says.
- Unwitting Pawn: Again in "Bob Gets Committed", the Devil thinks God's instruction for Bob are arranging at least 4 moves, so he decides for 5 (he actually just does one, the one that mattered). His action that puts Bob in the looney bin turns out to be part of God's plan.
- Villain Song
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Devil does this, and to a lesser extent, so does God.
- Weaksauce Weakness: In the episode "Bob Gets Committed" the devil is defeated by Bob singing a Tony Orlando song.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: In one episode, the Devil starts being nice to Smeck, which disturbed him greatly.
- Your Favorite: For God - Poptarts and Space Food Sticks.