The Belcher family in Bob’s Burgers almost had a lot in common with Hannibal Lecter.

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1. In the original pitch for Bob’s Burgers, the Belchers were a family of cannibals who served customers human flesh in between two buns.

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Before he tried to sell the show to Fox, creator Loren Bouchard worked for Adult Swim, a network known for its dark and off-kilter adult animation. When executives asked him if the show really “need[ed] the cannibalism,” Bouchard realized he included it in the first place because at his old job, the “darker, more shocking aspect seemed like what you needed in order for an animated idea to cut through the noise.” So the eating people aspect of the plot was dropped, though it remained in spirit in the pilot, entitled “Human Flesh.” 

In that episode, a health inspector visits the restaurant after hearing a rumor that the meat in the burgers is supplied by the crematorium next door. Luckily for both the show and its characters, it’s not. 

2. NBC wanted Parks and Recreation to be a spinoff of The Office, but creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur ultimately decided the show would be stronger as its own series.

NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

Rashida Jones, who played Karen in The Office, was cast in Parks and Rec while it was still a spinoff. Executive producer Paul Lieberstein recalled that one idea to connect the two series involved a broken copier from The Office being returned, fixed, and sent to the Parks and Recreation department of Pawnee, Indiana. But even that tenuous connection was severed during the development process. 

3. Oh, and Nick Offerman auditioned to play an unnamed love interest of Ann Perkins, before everyone realized he’d be better as Leslie’s boss.

NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

Offerman auditioned for The Office and didn’t get a part, but Schur wrote down his name on a Post-it Note and stuck it on his computer. Years later, he remembered the note and decided he wanted Offerman for Parks and Rec. According to Offerman himself, NBC saw his original audition and said something to the effect of, “This guy is going to have to kiss Rashida Jones at some point, and we don’t think Nick is visually in that category.” Thus, Ron Swanson was born. 

4. Justin Roiland voices both titular protagonists in Rick and Morty, but he was almost replaced as Morty’s voice actor when Adult Swim creative director Mike Lazzo raised concerns about the direction of the character.

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Lazzo liked Rick a lot, but couldn’t bear watching Morty for more than a few minutes at a time. Other voice actors were brought in to audition before Roiland, Lazzo, and Dan Harmon realized that what needed changing was Morty’s character, since according to Lazzo, he was “designed to be a stupid machine” at first. Morty was rewritten to have a little bit more of a backbone, and Roiland got to stay on as his voice. 

5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Amy Santiago wasn’t going to have children until her actor Melissa Fumero stepped in and convinced creator Dan Goor that it was the right step for the character.

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Goor was initially resistant to any of the characters having children (or more children, in Terry and Charles’ case) since Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a “workplace show,” and Amy and Jake’s relationship “exists in the workplace.” But after Season 6 of the show wrapped, Fumero pitched the pregnancy storyline as one with a lot of comedic potential, since Amy is a “person who wants to get an A on every test” but can’t “study” for pregnancy. Goor was convinced, and Amy got pregnant in Season 7. 

6. Speaking of that Brooklyn Nine-Nine pregnancy storyline, at first Goor planned that Amy and Jake wouldn’t have any trouble conceiving. In another version, she wouldn’t get pregnant until the very end of the season.

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Ultimately, Goor and the rest of the writers decided to put some roadblocks in the couple’s way, but end the season with the birth of their first son, Mac. The episode that centers around their failed attempts to conceive, “Trying,” ends on a somber note as Amy receives yet another negative result on a pregnancy test; this replaced a joke, which was cut at Andy Samberg’s request. 

7. Insecure originally focused on its main character’s work at “‘We Got Y’all,’ a very white, though well-meaning, non-profit focused on education.” But the writing team soon realized that “the heart” of Insecure was actually the friendship between Issa and Molly, so they decided to reorient the show around it.

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The show, which was created by and starred Issa Rae, became a hit and a critical darling. Its first season earned a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

8. The janitor in Scrubs was supposed to be a figment of J.D.’s imagination.

Abc / Courtesy Everett Collection

Creator Bill Lawrence figured that Scrubs would be cancelled early in its run, and he intended for the reveal that only J.D. could see the janitor to be a memorable twist on which to end the first (and possibly only) season of the show. But it became a hit, and the actor behind the janitor, Neil Flynn, asked to be allowed “to interact with the rest of the cast.” The concept was dropped before the end of Season 1, though at first, the janitor really does only spend time with J.D.

9. During its season finale, Silicon Valley nearly confirmed that Jian-Yang murdered Erlich.

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Showrunners Mike Judge and Alec Berg confessed they considered this reveal, but decided to make Erlich’s fate ambiguous, because the alternative felt “ghoulish” and incongruous with the show’s tone. They also thought that not telling the audience what really happened to Erlich was just funnier. 

10. Jada Pinkett Smith was cast as Will’s love interest Lisa Wilkes on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but she was replaced by Nia Long after producers decided that Pinkett was too short for the role.

Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

Pinkett’s audition was actually the first time she met her future husband, Will Smith, and they started dating less than a year later. Long noted that there were no hard feelings over the recasting, and that she often joked with Jada that “I got the job, but she got the husband.” 

11. The writers behind Seinfeld considered several different versions of the series finale, including not having one at all.

NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

Another idea had the cast sitting silently at a coffee shop, having finally run out of things to talk about. And in another, Jerry would simply declare, “That’s it.” The ending they eventually chose saw Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer being sentenced to a year in prison for violating a “Good Samaritan” law. Another scene, of Jerry doing stand-up for his fellow inmates, was added after the series officially wrapped. 

12. Dan Levy considered ending Schitt’s Creek with more than one wedding. While David and Patrick ended up with the big finale ceremony, Levy thought about a double wedding with Alexis and Ted, too.

Pop / Courtesy Everett Collection

Levy decided against Alexis and Ted getting married because Annie Murphy “gave such depth” to Alexis that he realized, “[Marriage] wasn’t what her character needed at the end of our show.” Instead, he prioritized showing off Alexis’s autonomy and liberation. Schitt’s Creek still ended with a wedding, but it was just David and Patrick’s. 

13. Dan Harmon envisioned pairing Troy (Donald Glover) and Pierce (Chevy Chase) together on Community, since “they both shared a kind of juvenile energy.” But the chemistry between Troy and Abed (Danny Pudi) was too good not to focus on.

NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

Harmon tried to prioritize Troy and Pierce’s antics for the first few episodes of Season 1, but when he saw that Glover and Pudi became “best friends within a couple days of meeting each other,” he pivoted to making Troy and Abed the most dynamic duo in the cast. This was probably for the best, considering Chase’s racist and all-around shitty behavior toward Glover on set. 

14. Here’s how the original ending for Veep played out: After not getting enough support from delegates to be the presidential nominee, Selina would ask Jonah to be her running mate. But he takes so long weighing the pros and cons of it that Selina’s “former running mate and on-again, off-again lover” Tom James gets the nomination. The final moments of the finale would be a flash-forward to eight years in the future, when Selina would once again be asked to run as vice president (this time to Richard Splett).

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However, watching the progression of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy and ascent to power made showrunner David Mandel wonder, “In a world where Trump and a lot of these other people have risen to power without paying the price for their mistakes and miscues, why exactly is Selina Meyer the only one paying the price?” So it made sense that President Meyer would end the series in power and then obscurity, after sinking lower and lower (and losing everyone around her in the process) to win the Oval Office. 

15. In the unaired pilot of The Big Bang Theory, there were two female leads who were later written out, Penny, Raj, and Howard didn’t exist yet, and the opening song was “She Blinded Me With Science” instead of “The Big Bang Theory.” Also, Sheldon was more “sexually adept.”

CBS / Courtesy Everett Collection

Creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady reworked the pilot at CBS’s request, since according to Lorre himself, their first attempt “sucked,” and its only redeeming qualities were the presence of Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki. 

16. Speaking of unused pilots, 30 Rock‘s one had a completely different actress in a major role. For that single (and unaired) episode, Jenna is played not by Jane Krakowski, but Rachel Dratch.

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Jenna’s surname changed, too, from DeCarlo to Maroney. Dratch was recast when the show changed direction from being centered around sketch comedy to a more traditional scripted format, meaning that the cast needed a “sitcom actress, as opposed to a character actress.” Dratch was actually excited for the opportunity to play a bunch of different characters as opposed to one main one, but said that the media reporting it as a “demotion” bummed her out. 

17. And finally: At least one proposed joke didn’t make it into Broad City‘s series finale. The show ends with a FaceTime call between Abbi, who’s attending an artist’s residency in Colorado, and Ilana, who stayed behind in New York. But in one version of the script, Ilana would show up in person during their call and announce she’d changed schools to be with Abbi, only for Abbi to inform her that her residency only lasts for four months. But Ilana Glazer said that she thought her character should stay in New York, and everyone immediately agreed.

Comedy Central / Courtesy Everett Collection

Glazer said removing the beat did justice to the show and character, and that when the idea was first pitched, “There was like three seconds of silence, and I was like, ‘Nope! Never mind! JK! Totally kidding, never would do that to them or us.'” 

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