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Western Animation / Bob's Birthday

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There are two people hiding in the trunk under that naked butt.

Bob's Birthday is a 1993 short film written and directed by Alison Snowden and David Fine, an Anglo-Canadian couple.note  Fittingly, it was an International Coproduction between the National Film Board of Canada and Channel 4. The film is set in the United Kingdom and features British voice actors despite being largely produced in Canada. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1994, in between the two Wallace & Gromit shorts to receive that honour (The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave).

Bob Fish is a dentist, and it's his 40th birthday, and he's going through a midlife crisis. Bob's wife Margaret has told him they're going out to an Indian restaurant to celebrate, but actually she's planning a surprise party at home. The guests are all hidden and waiting to spring out when Margaret yells "surprise", but Bob walks straight through the living room into the kitchen in the back. A highly embarrassing (yet very comedic) conversation ensues.

This short film later became the pilot for the successful Cult Classic animated sitcom Bob and Margaret, which aired on Comedy Central in the States, Channel 4 in the UK, and Global Television Network in Canada from 1998 to 2001. Snowden and Fine were involved in the production of the TV series, but animation duties were assumed by the famous Nelvana studio (one of their few adult-oriented works and their first adult-aimed TV series). You can also check out the short on the NFB's official Youtube channel here.


  • Bait-and-Switch: The severed human leg on the kitchen floor at the beginning of the short goes unnoticed for a few seconds until Margret steps on it and it squeaks, revealing that it's one of the dogs' chew toys.
  • Birthday Suit Surprise Party: Bob walks into the living room where all the guests are waiting, naked from the waist down.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Bob doesn't really pay attention to his wife on the phone because he's busy ogling his dental assistant.
  • Gag Censor: When shown on Cartoon Network's O Canada program in the late '90s, Bob's penis was censored with a maple leaf.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: The close-up of the icing tube spitting out icing makes the act of icing a cake look scatological.
  • Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis: Bob has a standard one, worrying about how he's getting fat and losing his hair, thinking his wife doesn't find him attractive, ogling his pretty assistant, wondering if it isn't too late to have children.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Hey, there's a cartoon penis!
  • Right Behind Me: Bob actually never does find out that the guests are listening to his whole rant, as he talks about how boring they are and how he doesn't like them, then muses about how Margaret used to like it when he walked around naked and played "elephant" with his penis, then wonders if Margaret doesn't find him attractive and if she wants another man...
  • Shock Party: A shock for the hidden guests, anyway, as Bob starts ruminating about how they're all boring and he doesn't like them, except for that one wife who's kind of slutty. (Her husband scowls at her.)