Series / Mr. Bill

"HO HO! Kiddies! Oh boy are we gonna have fun today!"
Mr. Bill right before things go horribly wrong

The Mr. Bill series is proof that we enjoy the misfortune of others.

Mr. Bill was a character who started off on Saturday Night Live as a result of a prompt by SNL to send in home movies. Created by Walter Wiliams, 'The Mr. Bill Show' was a parody of bad animation and children's shows in general. Mr. Bill was a little play-dough man who would start the show wanting to entertain the kids until things would ultimately take a violent turn with the 'help' of Mr. Hands, a set of talking hands who manipulated everything on screen, and Sluggo, the silent antagonist who Mr. Bill would always fear was 'going to be mean to me'

Every episode would end with Mr. Bill and his dog Spot horribly mutilated, crushed, maimed, or in some other way destroyed, only to come back next episode to do it all over again.

Williams was hired to be a writer and the shorts became a regular part of SNL. The old series is gone, but Mr. Bill and friends still manage to pop up now and then.

In the 90's, there was Mr. Bill Goes Hollywood, which was a series of all new shorts featuring Mr. Bill dealing with life in the Hollywood Hills being an ex-SNL star. There was also the special Mr. Bill Does Vegas in which he travels to Vegas and meets some celebrities, and the obligatory Christmas Special. He also appeared on a short lived Fox Family Channel show called "Oh No Mr. Bill Presents" where he hosted short skits from a variety of British comedians including Mr. Bean, Hale And Pace, Russ Abbott, and Freddie Starr.

In 2004, Mr. Bill was part of a campaign to save the wetlands in Louisiana, the home of Walter Williams.

Most recently he's made an appearance on the show Medium, and has done commercials for Master Card, Ramada Inn, and Burger King.

Williams later created a Spiritual Successor in the form of "The Pizza Head Show," a series of Pizza Hut ads, the title character of which was more or less Mr. Bill as a slice of Pizza (with Steve the pizza cutter in the Sluggo role).

This series provides examples of:

  • An Arm and a Leg: Played literally a few times
  • Baby Sitter From Hell: According to Mr. Bill's family album, his first baby sitter was Auntie Sluggo, who crushed baby Bill under a hot iron, fed him baby food with needles in it (and feeding Spot poison), and brushing his mouth clean off while his mother watched in horror from outside the window
  • Big Bad Friend: Mr. Hands is a very not-at-all subtle example.
  • Big OH NOOO!: by Mr Bill when he gets hurt.
  • Black Comedy: Possibly the king of this trope. All of the humor of this series derives from the misery and dismemberment of Mr. Bill and his friends at the hands of well...Mr. Hands and Sluggo. To the point where you either find it hilarious or you just feel sorry for him
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Refer to the Story Arc entry.
  • The Chew Toy: Mr. Bill, Spot, and by extension Ms. Sally
  • Comedic Sociopathy: In spades.
  • Dartboard of Hate: During the Christmas Special, one of Sluggo's kids is throwing darts at a board with Mr. Bill's photograph on it.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: Mr. Hands.
  • Domestic Abuse: Possibly the darkest joke in the entire series. In Mr. Bill Goes to Court, Mr. Hands calls Mr. Bills mom to the stand. When she speaks in his defense, District Attorney Sluggo 'cross-examines' her alone in the back room. All we hear is beating sounds and Mr. Bill screaming in horror. When Ms. Bill returns, both of her hands are missing, her arms are wrapped around her torso and she sports two black eyes, and now speaks against Mr. Bill right before she falls off the witness stand.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The pilot episode had Mr. Hands with a higher-pitched voice.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Sluggos hate the Bills, for whatever reason.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. In a parody of A Space Oddessy, Mr. Bill travels to Jupiter (Getting blown up and melted along the way) and gets his own 'baby bill' floating in a glass orb, only for it to be disintergrated by a meteor.
  • Karma Houdini: Sluggo and Mr. Hands, they pretty much make life hell for Mr. Bill and friends and never get any comeuppance for it.
  • Minimalist Cast: Bill, Mr. Hands, Sluggo, Spot, and (sometimes) Sally and Bill's mom are the only characters in the series.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Mr. Hands poorly disguises himself whenever he takes up a new profession. Mr. Bill falls for it every time.
    • It doesn't work on Sluggo, though. Mr. Bill always spots him right away, but he's powerless to stop his and Mr. Hands' abuse.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: At one point, an attempt was made to make a live action Mr. Bill series. In this, Mr. Bill, Sally, and their son Billy were humans who were the size of their clay counterparts. Sluggo was the Nosy Neighbor who used to bully Mr. Bill when they were younger (and still does)
  • Sadist Show
  • Silent Antagonist: Sluggo. Mr. Hands does all the talking for him
  • Status Quo Is God
  • Story Arc: Over time the original SNL series had a storyline going where Mr. Bill starts to realize Mr. Hands isn't the good friend he thought he was, and does everything in his power to avoid him which ends with his house getting destroyed, living on the streets, trying to report him to the police and gets framed for armed robbery and ultimately gunned down after a forced prison break
  • Stylistic Suck: EVERYTHING!
  • Subverted Kids Show
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Mr. Bill always comes back after being destroyed, including being eaten by a dolphin, being run through a wood chipper, and being disintergrated in a toxic river
  • Voice for the Voiceless: Sluggo (and by extension every other incarnation of him) hated Mr. Bill, but Sluggo himself never seemed to speak, so Mr. Hands would tell Mr. Bill what Sluggo says, as well as carry out whatever harm Sluggo wanted to befall on Mr. Bill.