Bobby's World is a cartoon series that ran on FOX's Fox Kids Saturday morning block (though it sometimes shortened up in the weekday afternoon block) from 1990 to 1998. It was created by Canada-born comedian Howie Mandel.
It was about an imaginative young 4 year-old boy named Bobby Generic (voiced by Mandel) who often misinterpreted things that were said to him.
Other characters include Bobby's parents, Howard (also voiced by Mandel) and Martha (voiced by Gail Matthiusnote ); his older sister, Kelly (Charity James); his older brother, Derek (Kevin Smets; later, Pamela Adlon after Smets hitting puberty); his younger twin brothers, Jake and Al, who were born in the third season; his uncle Ted (Tino Insananote ); his aunt Ruth, and his sheepdog, Roger (Frank Welker).
For a television show that ran for eight seasons, it had very little publicity.
Tropes featured in this show include:
- Big Ball of Violence: In "Beach Blanket Bobby", This happens to multiple food inside a cooler. An apple and a cheese start the fight, and then the rest join in, resulting into one of these.
- Birthday Episode:
- Bobby in "Bobby's Birthday Bash".
- Martha in "Psycho Bobby".
- Christmas Episode: In "Miracle of 34th St and Rural Route 1", the family and unknown relatives go to Bobby's grandfather's house to celebrate Christmas. Lots of arguing ensues until a fire destroys most of the presents, and Bobby gives his obnoxious cousin the present they both wanted most.
- Curse Cut Short: According to Howie, when Roger gets shown his leash (since he associates it with being taken to the vet), he disappears "...like a bat out of— A steeple."
- Dramatically Missing the Point: In "The Music" Abe the crossing guard passes away, and when a different crossing guard tries to tell Bobby Abe's dead, and Bobby says "When will he be back?" and "Will he be back soon?"
- Four-Fingered Hands: Strangely, only Bobby has two four-fingered hands while the rest of his family, as well as most of the other characters, have five.
- Halloween Episode: "The Night of the Living Pumpkin" takes place during Halloween. Bobby is too young to go out trick-or-treating; while most everyone else gets to go out, he and Ted turn the house into "a spook house", with Ted charging kids money to enter and Bobby charging candy, using Kelley's beauty treatments to portray her as a scary monster. It quickly becomes so popular that the entire neighborhood becomes gridlocked and the police have to set up traffic control.
- I Know Karate: Howie takes Bobby to karate class after Bobby got picked on by a kid at school. It later backfires when Bobby lets it go to his head, almost uses his skills on the same bully before, the sandbox kid, and the kid who had cookies.
- Imagine Spot: The show is built off this as Bobby would often misinterpret or try to solve things through his imagination.
- It Is Pronounced Tropay: Everybody mispronounces the family's last name Generic, which is pronounced "JEN-er-ic".
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kelly, despite considering Bobby an annoying younger sibling and makes her life a living hell, still loves him and is (occasionally) willing to stick up for him.
- Karma Houdini:
- Derek is never seen getting any punishment for anything he does to Bobby (e.g. ditching him, saying false things to scare him, insulting him, etc).
- In "Misery Loves Company", Bobby is invited into a sleepover with a friend named Gordon who claims he is Bobby's "number one fan". Throughout the entire episode he blames Bobby for things he didn't do, and he is never seen getting caught for what he does. Subverted when Uncle Ted picks up Bobby bringing Rodger with him and making a dirty mess in Gordon's house. Also when Gordon wanted to plan to have a sleepover at Bobby's house, Bobby's reaction implies that he's getting back at him.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: During gift shopping with his mother in "Promises, Promises", Bobby spots a man step dancing on a musical pad playing the show's theme song.
- Literal-Minded: Bobby.
- Medium Blending: When Howie Mandel interacted with Bobby before and after the episodes.
- Mondegreen: In "Bobby's Girl", when an octopus version of Jackie uses her tentacles to attack a submarine, Bobby says "I thought only boys had tentacles!"
- Mr. Imagination: Bobby.
- My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: After Derek saves Bobby from drowning, Bobby says he saw his life before his eyes but, because of his youth, he still had time to come up with a song to show how much he appreciates Derek for saving him.
- Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Of the three Generic siblings, Bobby is the nicest one, being a playful child and somewhat naive. Derek is the mean one, being the jerk who often picks on Bobby and calls him names. Kelly is in-between, as she is much nicer to Bobby and the most mature, but can also be somewhat of a Bratty Teenage Daughter at times.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: In "Clubhouse Bobby", a child version of Rodney Dangerfield appears as a kid who wasn't invited to Bobby's club just because none of Bobby's friends liked him. After feeling sorry for him, Bobby decides to give him a test to see if he can fix a wagon, only for everyone to realize how funny he is.
- Parental Bonus:
Uncle Ted: You see, a lot of times when a guy and his wife—
- In "I Want My Mommy", Uncle Ted tries to explain the concept of adoption to Bobby.
Martha: Uh, Ted, Ted.
- Ted was well known for the Parental Bonus. In one episode, he even used the word "hell", which was kind of taboo at the time for a kid's show. Martha corrected him after he said it, though.
- In one of Bobby's Imagine Spots, triggered by his Uncle Ted being the "Walk it off" type, The Elephant Man is the last character that Ted tells to "Walk it off" after delivering the memetic line of "I am not an animal! I am a human being!"... while looking like an actual elephant.
- Precision F-Strike: Towards the end of "The World Accordion to Bobby", Uncle Ted asks Bobby about the big bully guy who made Bobby's life "a living hell!". Martha even had to remind him to watch his language.
- Road Trip Across the Street: One episode is dedicated to the drama of Bobby's family moving to a new house. When the time for the move actually happens, Bobby promptly states Are We There Yet? to his father, who immediately replies "Yes".
- There Are No Therapists: Averted in "Psycho Bobby". Bobby decided to build a statue of Martha for her birthday, thinking it'd be the best way to honor how great he thinks she is. However, he keeps his plans a secret from the rest of the family which causes everyone to think he's behaving very strangely (collecting macaroni, wearing his mom's clothes, etc.) and worry something's wrong with him. Bobby's taken to a psychiatrist and explains to her what he was doing (and that he didn't understand that his family was worried about him) and the psychiatrist realizes Bobby has an active imagination and there's nothing wrong with him. She also agrees to keep his statue plans a secret so Martha's birthday surprise isn't ruined.