Baby Bob (partially lost CBS sitcom based on advertisements; 2002-2003)

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Babybob.jpg

A printed advertisement for the series.

Status: Partially Lost

Baby Bob was a relatively short-lived sitcom that aired on CBS from March 18th, 2002 to June 20th, 2003. The series was derived from a series of commercials featuring the titular baby advertising "freeinternet.com" that started airing in early 2000. The popularity of these commercials caught the attention of CBS and encouraged the network executives to commission a series based on the baby.[1]

The series was critically panned at its launch, and, despite it being ranked as the 14th worst television show of all time by TV Guide,[2] the series managed to get renewed for a second season of eight episodes. Although the series was a rating success at one point, it has faded into obscurity.

Premise

Baby Bob (played by two female infants and voiced by Ken Hudson Campbell[3]) is a baby with the capabilities of adult speech. When Bob's parents, Walter and Lizzy Spencer, find this out, they are shocked.[4] Walter wants to keep this discovery a secret, while Lizzy wants to spread the word of Bob's ability.

Production

When the series was still on the air in April 2002, Michael Saltzman, the series' creator (or "father" as the news article puts it), told the Santa Cruz Sentinel of his experiences creating and working on the series.

Around the fall of 2001, Saltzman was asked by CBS to brainstorm a sitcom about a baby that has "the gift of a gab." Saltzman was initially not wanting to go through the idea, stating that although he would attend the meeting with CBS, he was not interested in creating a sitcom about a talking infant.

However, after discovering that the series was destined to succeed in its then-six episode run, he decided to take up the idea. When creating the show, he asked himself about how he could make a show that he would watch. He intended to not make a show that would be nothing but "high-concept, high-fluff" (though the series was criticized by critics for being just this). So he decided to make the show, not just about Bob, but also focus on his family and how they deal with him.

At this point, Saltzman was hopeful for the project, claiming that with these adjustments, Baby Bob could finally become a "real baby," but one with the "world view of a baby, the vocabulary of an adult, and the emotional level of a 3-6-year-old" (at the time, Saltzman had two daughters who were aged three and six).[3]

Reception

In terms of reviews by audiences and critics, the series was panned. It was named "the worst show of the midseason" by Ethan Walter, and was called a "bad idea made worse by lousy execution." [5] One critic claimed the series' cast was wasted on a "lame" sitcom.[6] One less negative reviewer, however, praised the series and claimed it was a throwback to previous situational comedies with a certain gimmick in them, like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. Baby Bob was compared to Bruce Willis in the Look Who's Talking series of films.[7]

Despite the scathingly negative reception of Baby Bob, the series was initially a great success. The first episode earned a 5.2 adult 18-49 rating, while the episode premiering the next week got a 5.1 rating.[5] The series' successful six-episode run helped it get a second season of thirteen episodes to air in 2003; however, after deciding to shift focus to the television version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, CBS decided to trim the amount of episodes in the second season to eight, with the first episode of the season premiering on June 6th, 2003.[8] The series ended only three episodes into the season on June 20th, 2003, leaving five episodes unaired. After the series ended, Baby Bob started to appear in commercials for the sandwich shop, Quiznos.[9]

Availability

Even with the initial success of Baby Bob when it first aired, it has fallen into obscurity nowadays. On December 20th, 2019, LMW user SpooferJahk uploaded all of the episodes of the first season, and the three aired episodes of the second; the pilot and the five unaired episodes remain lost, however.

Episode List

Pilot

Episode Name Plot Status
Baby Bob and Hunter's Excellent Adventure When Baby Bob is kidnapped, a man named Detective Hunter has to solve the case and rescue Bob.[10] Lost

Season One

# Episode Name Plot Status
1 First Words When six-month-old Bob starts speaking clearly, his parents are shocked. They begin to think about whether to keep Bob's ability secret or to reveal it to the world.[11] Found
2 Mommy and Me Lizzy's sister, Karen, starts to brag about her daughter, tempting her to tell Karen about Bob's ability. Meanwhile, Sam, Walter's father, using a newspaper column, attacks Walter's poor parenting skills.[12] Found
3 The Tell-Tale Art In a scheme to find out the lowest asking price for a piece of art, Bob's parents place Bob next to the owners of the gallery, where he is interrogated for the price.[13] Found
4 The Other Side Bob is left with his grandparents while Lizzy and Spencer go run errands. During this time, Bob reveals his secret in front of his grandparents, causing his grandfather to ask if babies remember their lives before they are born, and if Bob has seen his grandmother, Roberta on "The Other Side".[14] Found
5 House of the Rising Son In a plan made to help his wife be better prepared for sex each night, Walter starts to spend his mornings taking care of Bob. This plan, however, fails miserably.[15] Found
6 Talking Babies Say The Darndest Things Walter tracks down an "off" guest speaker, Crystal Carter, in order to get her to appear at a banquet that promotes mental health.[16] Found

Season Two

# Episode Name Plot Status
1 Rush Lim-Bob Sam's job at the radio station is in trouble when he leaves Bob at the phone during a radio interview. Bob says things like "let's get rid of all the vegetables", and these comments are interpreted as "cruel" and Sam is accused of making these statements. He now has to clear his name, at the same time still having to keep Bob's ability a secret.[17] Found
2 Don't Pass Me By Walter attempts to get Ringo Starr to sign his copy of the Beatles' self-titled album at a concert, while Bob tries to get a girl named Teala to be his girlfriend.[18] Found
3 Reality Bites Bob discovers that the characters from books he reads and shows he watches are not real, causing him to wonder if there is anything else in his life that is fake.[19] Found
4 Boys Will Be Girls Bob is mistaken for being a girl by a passerby, prompting Bob to say he wants to grow up to be a "pretty girl". Walter vows to be a more masculine role model for his child due to this.[20] Unaired
5 Footloose, Infancy Free Walter and Lizzy take a vacation in an attempt to clear their minds of their baby for a while, but they cannot seem to stop thinking about him.[21] Unaired
6 Vegas Baby This episode's plot is not known as of now. Unaired
7 You Don't Know Jack This episode's plot is unknown as of now. Unaired
8 Let's Go To The Videotape This episode's plot is not known as of now. Unaired

External Links

References

  1. An Internet News article on the popularity of FreeInternet and the announcement of a series based on Baby Bob. Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  2. TV Guide Book Of Lists. pp. 180. Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  3. 3.0 3.1 An excerpt of the Santa Cruz Sentinel where Michael Saltzman describes his experiences creating Baby Bob. Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  4. A list of the most hated television series of all time. Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  5. 5.0 5.1 An article on the "puzzling" success of Baby Bob. Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  6. An SFGate article on Baby Bob. Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  7. A review of Baby Bob. Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  8. A Futon Critic article on the renewal of Baby Bob. Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  9. An article on Baby Bob's appearances in Quiznos commercials. Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  10. A plot summarization of "Baby Bob and Hunter's Excellent Adventure". Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  11. The TV.com page for "First Words". Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  12. The plot for "Mommy and Me" on TV.com. Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  13. The TV.com page for "The Tell-Tale Art". Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  14. A plot summarization of "The Other Side". Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  15. A TV.com page for "House of the Rising Son". Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  16. The plot for "Talking Babies Say The Darnedest Things" on TV.com. Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  17. A plot summarization for "Rush Lim-Bob" on TV.com. Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  18. A TV.com page for "Don't Pass Me By". Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  19. The plot page for "Reality Bites" on TV.com. Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  20. A plot summarization of "Boys Will Be Girls". Retrieved 19 Dec '19
  21. A TV.com page for "Footloose, Infancy Free". Retrieved 19 Dec '19