tek's rating: ½

God, the Devil and Bob, NBC
Carsey-Werner; Great but Forgotten; IMDb; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Only like four episodes of this originally aired in 2000, out of the 13 produced. But the whole series was rerun on adult swim in 2011, so it was nice to have a chance to refresh my memory of the series, as well as seeing "new" episodes.

Anyway, the premise is that God was feeling disappointed with how things were going in the world He had created, and was thinking of destroying the whole thing. But He was reluctant, and wanted to give the human race one last chance. God decided that if just one person could prove to Him that the world was worth saving, He would spare it. However, He made a deal with the Devil (who wanted the world to end, naturally), in which the Devil got to choose which human would be the one to prove to God that He shouldn't destroy the world. The guy who the Devil chose was Bob Alman, who wasn't that great a guy, really. Not a great husband or father or much of anything. Kind of an everyschlub, who's mostly interested in himself. Still, he's not a particularly bad guy, or anything, and not a complete idiot. At least he has sense enough to know that the Devil can't be trusted, but that doesn't always stop him from almost giving in to temptation....

Anyway, um... Bob has a wife named Donna, a 13-year-old vaguely goth-ish daughter named Megan, and a 6-year-old son named Andy (the only one who actually believes God and the Devil are talking to Bob). And he has a few friends who seem a bit more loutish than Bob. But his simple life has become more complicated and frustrating now that God keeps showing up, giving him vague instructions for making the world better in small ways, while Bob has no idea how to go about doing whatever God has told him to do. Meanwhile, the Devil also continues to show up, trying to tempt him, so he'll fail at whatever he's supposed to be doing (as if it wasn't hard enough without the Devil's interference). Of course, ultimately Bob always figures things out, even if his solutions tend to be... inelegant. But he does seem to learn little lessons about his own life, based on the things he's forced to do for others.

I should mention that the Devil has a little minion demon named Smeck. Anyway... the show was kind of weird and rather sacrilegious, but also pretty funny and clever. And it was very much like some of my own ideas of the casual relationship that I imagine developing between God and the Devil after all their thousands of years of animosity (a theme I'll explore somewhat in some of my writing). And I should say I like the voice cast, with James Garner as God, Alan Cumming as the Devil, and French Stewart as Bob. And I guess that's all I can think to say. Kind of a shame the show didn't last longer, but whatever.


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