NexTv's Web Series and Short Film Competition: In Search of Tomorrow's Television

Andrew Cochrane - Psycho Bob

The Television Series it could Inspire

“Psycho Bob” follows the adventures of the quiet, unassuming ‘man next door’ who just so happens to spend all of his free time murdering, torturing and causing mayhem. While never seen moving or talking, he inexplicably manages to be a prolific serial killer.

This is a satirical horror-comedy series in the visual style of a newspaper comic strip, following the psychopathic Bob as he exacts his revenge on those who have wronged him (or just found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time). Each bite-sized episode is told using a panning series of vignettes that show what Bob just did or is about to do to his latest victim. Mixing pop-culture references with misdirection and plot twists, the story never ends exactly as the viewer thinks it will, often saving a final twist for the last panel.


“Psycho Bob” is a very dark comedy, featuring twisted, evil and horrifying acts set against the backdrop of mundane suburban life. If you take away all of the murdering, Bob is actually quite boring, and his life is unexceptional; his deranged activities go completely unnoticed in the fast-paced isolation of modern life. The victims that he chooses are usually the socially unacceptable: nosy neighbors, loud talkers, prostitutes, even other serial killers, but he also picks on the completely undeserving. The punishments that are dished out are creative and unexpected, and sometimes the true victim is not clear until the end, but sometimes it is the manner that the victim is punished that catches the audience by surprise.

The series takes conventions from gore films and dark comedies and mixes them to create a show that often leaves the audience simultaneously amused and disgusted with themselves for being amused. Using the horror genre’s ability to break taboos in order to shock the viewer without alienating them completely, this show is able to go places that are normally off limits for a comedy. At its core, “Psycho Bob” is an attempt to wrestle the definition of what is and is not funny from the claws of the radical Political Correctness movement of the 1990’s. There are terrible people in the world, society does have an ugly underbelly, but sometimes humor is a more effective way of addressing this than sweeping it under the rug and declaring it off-limits.


Bob - he never moves, speaks, or visibly emotes as far as the audience can see. It is assumed that he does all of these things just before or just after each time he appears on screen, but his life is portrayed as if it were a series of still-life portraits. The world and characters around him continue to speak and move as normal, turning Bob into a menacingly static presence that somehow goes unnoticed until it is too late. He is a monster, quietly preying on anyone he can get to without being noticed.

Nick - Bob’s coworker and only buddy, he has somehow managed to land on Bob’s good side and avoided the fate that falls to almost everyone else. Nick has a selfish and crude side that makes him more unlikeable than his mass-murdering friend while also preventing him from noticing that a whole lot of people die around Bob.

Bob’s Mother - A cold-blooded killer wrapped in a loving, motherly exterior, she is every bit as twisted as her son, and obviously the reason that he turned out the way he did. Any time that Bob needs a home-cooked meal, someone to listen to his woes, or some help with body disposal, Mom is there for him.

Kill Of The Week - each episode features a new guest character, who Bob dispatches in a unique and often unexpected manner. They are usually annoying, mean, or otherwise detestable characters, but sometimes Bob picks a victim that has done absolutely nothing wrong.


“Psycho Bob” is extremely well suited for the fast-paced, narrow attention span of Internet and mobile video audiences, and much of what makes the show unique and draws viewers in does not work well in a longer format. The constant horizontal panning becomes dizzying if it is viewed for much longer than a few minutes, and a lead character who is essentially a mannequin creates some serious storytelling difficulties in structuring longer episodes. This does not mean that there is no place for the series on Television, but it does mean that it fills a very specific and non-traditional niche. Short, episodic, and darkly comedic, this is the perfect interstitial/recurring piece for sketch comedy shows or in programming blocks such as “Adult Swim”. In the same manner that “The Simpsons” filled in between sketches on “The Tracey Ullman Show” and how “TV Funhouse”, “The Ambiguously Gay Duo”, and the “SNL Digital Shorts” have added variety to “Saturday Night Live”, Bob has a lot to offer more traditional programs. The easily-digestible nature of the episodes allows them to move easily across platforms, from broadcast to web to mobile to podcasts and even video game systems with video capabilities, broadening the audience and reach of the larger program it is included in.

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