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God, the Devil and Bob: The Complete Series [Import]
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Frankly God expected more from humanity, and his patience is wearing a little thin. The Devil, on the other hand, is simply delighted. Together they have a plan: one man will be given a chance to prove whether or not mankind is worth saving. But there's just one catch... The Devil gets to pick him. Enter Bob An ill-tempered, melodramatic, paranoid icon of mediocrity. Caught between the forces of divinity and deviance, with the weight of the world on his shoulders, there's nothing left to do but laugh.
South Park aside, the eternal struggle between good and evil may be too heady a subject for a primetime animated series, but God, The Devil and Bob certainly gave it a run for its money, and did so with irreverent humor. Unfortunately, the laughs didn't translate for some sections of the country, and complaints from affiliates caused NBC to pull the show after just four episodes; viewers that missed G/D/B during its initial run in 2000 can now explore the entire series on this two-disc set. The premise (courtesy of creator Matthew Carlson of Malcolm in the Middle) has God (voiced by James Garner) striking a wager with the Devil (Alan Cumming): if just one person can convince him that the world is worth saving, he'll spare humanity from destruction. The Devil is allowed to choose the candidate, and true to form, he picks the least likely person to determine the fate of the world--self-centered, slow-witted autoworker Bob Alman (French Stewart from 3rd Rock from the Sun). Reluctantly, Bob accepts God's challenge, and tackles Hollywood ("There's Too Much Sex on TV"), free speech ("Bob Gets Involved"), adultery, and even the Almighty's love life ("God's Girlfriend"), while trying to avoid the temptations of Satan.
Though often clever and well-voiced by its all-star cast (which included Laurie Metcalf from Roseanne and The Simpsons' Nancy Cartwright as Bob's wife and daughter, respectively), it's difficult to say if G/D/B might've survived its initial season, had it been allowed to show all 13 episodes; the scripts are often as glib as they are provocative, and lack the overall quality of similarly "grown-up" cartoons as South Park and Family Guy. At final glance, G/D/B is an interesting failed experiment for animation fans. The two-disc set includes commentary on five episodes by Carlson and executive producers Harvey Myman, Neil Thompson, and Gary Murphy; digital storyboards and a 20-minute making-of documentary are also featured in the extras. --Paul Gaita
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While I directed on this show I was amazed to meet a person who still stands out to me as the most professional and gifted writer/creator I ever had the pleasure to work with; Matthew Carlson. While the show suffered from a number of problems, it was held together by a core of very dedicated people like Matthew, Carsey & Warner, Margot Pipkin and Jeff DeGrandis. By the end of the series, everyone believed we had made a very good family sitcom, with a core of excellent writing and acting. Unfortunately it was met with middle of the road ratings, legal troubles and finally, religious activists. 4 episodes were shown on NBC in 2000 before it was torn off the channel.
The crew, from producer down, always felt the design choice for the characters was a mistake, seriously hindering the ability to animate and express fully. But, there is a kind of scratchy charm at the best of times. My favorite episode was 'Bobs Father'. Pity it was never shown on prime time.
As GDB ended, I was asked to direct and produce 'Invader Zim' where I took a good number of the GDB crew in order to do something very different with far more technical aspects. But, GDB still stands as the best experience with writer/creators, writing, and producers in the business.
Now I have bought this DVD set of all 13 episodes, and I am thrilled to have it. It is sad that this show didn't make it. I think it is just as funny, if not more so, than The Simpsons and Family Guy.
In a nut shell, the plot is that God if tired of the direction that man kind is heading in, and is thinking about destorying the universe and starting over. But he decided that if one man could prove it is worth saving, he would spare it. He lets the Devil choose that man, who ends up being Bob. It is a very entertaining show. I particularly recommend the 4th episode in which the Devil hires Martha Stewart to redecorate his place of origin, and she ends up taking the place over.
Not that it really matters, but there is a sticker on the outside of the shrinkwrap that says it contains 10 unaried episodes, when in reality 9 of them didn't air (4 episodes aired, 13-4=9). Either way, all 13 episodes that were made are on it, so it makes mo real difference.
The only real negative, in my opinion, is that the theme music is different than when it originally aired. If you get this dvd set, you will notice that the various parts of the title "God, the Devil, and Bob" are bouncing around during the opening title sequence to some instrumental music. Originally, there were lyrics to that music in which they would sing the title of the show (i.e. when the word "God" is in the middle of the screen, they would be singing that part of the title, etc). I know its not a big deal, but that opening theme really sort of set the mood of the show, and for someone who hasn't seen it before, the words bouncing around seem kind of random and pointless without the lyrics to go with it.
***EDIT: Prior to writing this review, I had not watched the second disc in its entirety, and discovered that the original theme song is on the 12th episode.***
Sorry about the little rant about the theme, just something I noticed that was disapointing. But the episodes themselves are intact, and that is what really matters. I highly recommend checking this out.
The cast feature a tonne of amazing actors from sitcoms of the past, Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne), French Stewart (3rd Rock), and the queen of animation Nancy Cartwright herself, who voiced Bart Simpson and a tonne of random voices on the Simpsons. There were a lot of antics along the way but the lessons Bob learns are truly strong Christian values. Perhaps it was just very much ahead of it's time.
Fans of the show will be pleased with this two-disc collector's edition which comes with great extras. Chief among them is "Let There Be God, The Devil and Bob!" Making of God, The Devil and Bob featurette (23:00). Here the creators discuss everything you'd want to know about the show, from the pitch to NBC, the production schedule, how the voices were cast, to their final thoughts about the show's cancelation. Very informative and insightful, as are the audio commentaries on select episodes.
"God, The Devil and Bob Revealed" Character Interview featurette (4:00) is a humorous Q&A with the title characters. The menu is nicely designed with all 13 episodes set up with a sub-menu screen for smooth, problem-free navigation. First-rate treatment all around for this DVD collection.
1. In the Beginning
2. Andy Runs Away
3. Date From Hell
4. The Devil's Birthday
5. Neighbor's Keeper
6. God's Favorite
8. Lonely at the Top
9. Bob Gets Greedy'
10. There's Too Much Sex on Television
11. Bob's Father
12. God's Girlfriend
13. Bob Gets Involved
My son was 14 at the time it originally aired. He was in confirmation class and hated it. G/D/B was a conversation opener for us to discuss the business of the Lord. In my house we are not holier than thou. We do believe in God and many aspects of the Christian religion but with an open mind and heart. When our son showed total disdain for the Christian religion, it hurt. When this show came to us, it was God-sent. A way to discuss religion without an arguement or slammed doors. God, The Devil and Bob opened communication to areas we never thought possible. Then the network shut it down. THAT brought more conversations about people's fears and big business decisions. NBC inadvertantly taught my son about things I could never get across to him; disappointment in tv decisions and small minds.
Approximately four years later, I was one of the many proud new owners of the "God,The Devil and Bob" dvd. My family has been savoring it by watching only two or three episodes at a time. We've been trying to watch it together and not get ahead-too much. I can forget my problems and just throw myself into this show. I'm laughing and searching my soul all at once. My favorite episode, that had me sobbing, was "Bob's Father". I lost my mom 8 years ago and it still hurts.
My college student son is more of a cynic when it comes to religion than the 14 year old who hated to learn or talk about it. (The irony of life: he now attends a Catholic College that requires him to take religion.) The outstanding quality that he possesses that I am very proud of is his ability to feel another person's pain and to be there for them. Isn't that what life's about? Wasn't that what "God, the Devil and Bob" was about?