Human Flesh

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"Human Flesh"
Human Flesh - Bob's Burgers promo.png
The restaurant being labeled as having food containing "human flesh."
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 1
Directed by Alan Chun
Written by Loren Bouchard
Jim Dauterive
Production code 1ASA01
Original air date January 9, 2011
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Human Flesh" is the pilot episode of the animated television series Bob's Burgers. "Human Flesh" originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 9, 2011.

The episode was written by Loren Bouchard and Jim Dauterive, and directed by Anthony Chun. According to Nielsen ratings, it was viewed in 9.41 million homes in its original airing, making it the most viewed episode of the series. The episode featured guest performances by Andy Kindler, Ron Lynch, and Sam Seder.


After a number of unsuccessful openings, Bob Belcher and his family re-re-open their fast food burger restaurant, 'Bob's Burgers', in the hope of success because Wonder Warf is getting "mobbed". Shortly after the re-opening, Bob assigns his preteen son, Gene, the job of handing out burger samples to passers-by outside. However, when Gene offends mourners from the crematorium next door, he drops a number of the burgers all over the street, but picks them up and continues to hand them out. This is immediately noticed by Hugo, the visiting health inspector, and his assistant Ron, who are at the restaurant to investigate a rumor that the burgers are made from human flesh from the crematorium.

Upon entering the restaurant, Hugo is shocked to see Linda, Bob's wife, whom he was previously engaged to. Still reeling over how Linda left him for Bob many years ago, and seeing an advantage in Bob's numerous "violations", Hugo plans to close down the restaurant to get revenge on Bob. He begins to rally the public against the establishment by building up a rumor (originally made up by Louise, Bob's youngest daughter) that the burgers are made from the flesh of the dead bodies in the nearby crematorium. As the public begin to protest and antagonize Bob, he is only more distressed when he finds that the day is also his and Linda's wedding anniversary, which he had completely forgotten.

In spite of Bob's claims that the rumor is false, the situation gets even worse when one of Gene's antics ends with a body from the crematorium turning up at the restaurant. Bob finally decides to stand up against the crowds outside, and while he initially appears to be succeeding, he ends up coming off as a supporter of cannibalism thanks to Louise further perpetuating the rumor. As the public continue to berate him, Bob sobs to Linda that he's a failure and she would have been better off had she stayed with Hugo, who she earlier admitted was a better kisser than Bob. However, Linda tells Bob that she left with Bob because he had a dream for the future, whereas Hugo was nothing but a lonely man who never had a dream in the first place. Louise also apologizes for making up the rumor.

Encouraged by his wife's revelation, Bob prepares to start cooking again, just as a van pulls up outside the restaurant. A number of people, members of an exotic eating club who are interested in trying human flesh, climb out to eat, which further encourages Bob's aspiration. He takes advantage of the exotic eating club, charging $50 for every burger with "human meat". At the same time, Ron approaches Bob and reveals to him that he and Hugo carried out a number of tests and are now willing to announce that his burgers contain only legal ingredients.

Pleased with how the restaurant is finally succeeding, Bob takes Linda to the local theme park to celebrate their anniversary, where he demonstrates his new-found 'kissing skills'.


In its original American broadcast, "Human Flesh" was viewed by an estimated 9.41 million viewers and received a 4.5 rating/11% share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49 making it the highest-rated new series premiere of the season.[1]

The episode received mixed reviews from critics. Metacritic gave an aggregate score of 53 or "mixed or average reviews."[2] IGN's Jonah Krakow rate the episode with a 7.5/10, praising the children's performance. Krakow also noted the episode "laid some solid groundwork with the introduction of the awful Belcher children - in particular Louise Belchar [...] who nails every line she's given. However, the rest of the episode felt like an average episode of FOX's other Sunday shows, with the patriarch screwing up and spending the rest of the episode making amends."[3] In his review for TV Squad, Joel Keller said that "for all of it's [sic] irreverence and oddity, there's a sweet tone underneath that makes the show more accessible than most of its [Adult Swim] cousins. Oh, and it's also pretty damn funny, to boot."[4]

Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club gave the episode a positive review, saying "If Bob’s Burgers issued from some writer no one had ever heard of, it might not seem as much like this has the potential to go somewhere interesting. But when you get Bouchard, Benjamin, and Schaal involved, something marginal becomes something worth a very mild recommendation. Bob’s Burgers isn’t there just yet, but it’s trying enough interesting stuff to be worth a look, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if it gelled and became the best show in the animated lineup fairly quickly."[5]


The plot of "Human Flesh" is based on the original premise for Bob's Burgers, in which the Belchers were a family of cannibals who actually did make their burgers from human flesh. This idea was eventually scrapped, and the overall tone and direction of the show changed.[6]


  1. ^ Seidman, Robert (January 10, 2011). "TV Ratings Sunday: With Help from NFL Fox Animations Surge, 'Bob's Burgers' Strong ; 'The Cape' Premieres OK; Housewives, Brothers & Sisters Stable". Retrieved 2011-01-10. 
  2. ^ "Bob's Burgers: Season 1". Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  3. ^ Krakow, Jonah (January 7, 2011). "Bob's Burgers: "Human Flesh" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2011-01-10. 
  4. ^ Keller, Joel. "Odd But Funny 'Bob's Burgers' Is a Good Fit For Fox's Sunday Animation Block". Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  5. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (2011-01-09). "Review: Bob's Burgers". Retrieved 2015-06-04. 
  6. ^ Stanhope, Kate. "'Bob's Burgers' Originally Featured a Family of Cannibals and Other Secrets Revealed in THR's Oral History". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 

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