Yes, that Mr. Frond, from the popular animated series Bob’s Burgers.

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Animated shows like Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, etc., all exist outside of the regular space-time continuum. Time does pass in these shows, but no one ages. That’s why 13 year old Tina can have her “last trick or treat Halloween” year after year, and everyone remains the same age forever. Yes, they continue to have holidays and the seasons continue to change, but their bodies do not. This is a common storytelling tactic in such shows in order to maintain continuity. This actually gave rise to a popular fan theory that Bob’s entire family is actually dead and they only exist in his delusions. In response to this theory, show creator Loren Bouchard said in an interview with Huffington Post that he “gets it,” and elaborates on how time passes in the show:

“In a way, what we have to do is tell a Groundhog’s Day kind of story, where these people are going to live the same year over and over again. You know what I mean? We have a couple of birthdays in there, but basically, they’re going to stay the same age, they’re going to live in this ever-present now, and yet they’re going to have more than one Christmas, more than one Thanksgiving, and so on. So, I get it. I get that it feels a little bit like limbo. They’re not supposed to be dead, but obviously there’s something going on here. It’s not quite the way we experience time.”

And this applies to all characters in many shows, excepting a few deaths here and there. Except for Mr. Frond. He alone seems to be beholden to the passage of time, and is therefore an anomaly in this universe where people exist in a kind of stasis.

How do we know Mr. Frond is subject to the laws of aging? Because of King of the Hill.

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In season 7, episode 7, titled The Texas Skilsaw Massacre, Hank Hill has to attend a court-mandated anger management class after he accidentally saws off Dale’s finger. The nameless teacher of the anger management course is voiced by David Herman, the voice of Phillip Frond (and a host of other Bob’s Burgers characters). The two both sport brown pants, a white shirt with a green sweater vest, and glasses.

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They also share a familiar love of puns.

This episode aired in 2002, about 9 years before the first episode of Bob’s Burgers. While the two characters are clearly similar, it’s obvious some time has past. Frond’s hair and body have both changed: he now has a receding hairline and a paunchier build, both common for someone in their middling years. In The Frond Files (season 4, episode 12), he even alludes to having gotten certified in another state while explaining to the Belchers why he confiscated their children’s short stories: “The school superintendent is here, and I’m already on thin ice with her because my ‘credentials’ aren’t ‘valid’ in ‘this state.’” So we can easily make the argument that 9 years before he worked at Wagstaff, he worked in Arlen, Texas, and may even have received some form of certification in children’s counseling while there.

However, the rules of time are the same in King of the Hill as they are in Bob’s Burgers: the show ran from 1997 to 2010, and Bobby, Joseph, and Connie were all still in middle school, and none of the adults had visibly aged. Phillip Frond is the only character who seems to have an aging, ailing, and dying body.

A possible explanation for this is that Phillip Frond is not human. He is an alien, and not just any garden-variety alien either. In actuality, he is a timelord. Yes, like the the Doctor from the BBC classic, Doctor Who. The timelords are an advanced extraterrestrial race who have the ability to travel through space-time, and even to other dimensions, using the TARDIS (which stands for “time and relative dimension in space”), a time machine and spacecraft. While navigating the time stream, Frond’s TARDIS could have malfunctioned and stranded him in an animated universe that was ruled by Groundhog’s Day logic, as Bouchard put it.

This very thing actually happens in Doctor Who. The third regeneration of the doctor (portrayed by Jon Pertwee) crashed in the UK during the 1970’s and was stranded there until his fourth regeneration — this was for budget reasons, but nevertheless, Pertwee’s doctor was a stranger in a strange land for his entire iteration. The main difference here is that the titular Doctor eventually fixed his TARDIS and wenton his merry way. While Frond is a timelord, it’s probably safe to assume he’s still not the most capable fellow in the galaxy, and doesn’t possess the Doctor’s chaotic genius. He may lack both the resources and knowledge necessary to return to normal space-time. And thus, he is permanently marooned.

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However, being a timelord, Frond’s body is already operating under strange rules: when a timelord dies, they don’t become a corpse. Instead, they regenerate into another version of themselves, and sometimes even David Tennant. It makes sense that Frond would still age normally, despite being trapped on an animated Earth. To avoid suspicion (and perhaps the heartbreak of being an aging man surrounded by friends and coworkers who are semi-eternally trapped in stasis), he would have to move every decade or so, and maybe even change his name. It also explains why he is such a bad school counselor: human emotions are literally alien to him.

This sets a strange precedent: David Herman, the voice of Frond, is a prolific voice actor. He’s been in dozens of animated shows since the 90’s, including Adventure Time, Bojack Horseman, and (most importantly) Futurama. You may recognize him as the even-tempered Scruffy, the janitor.

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Timelords don’t die. They regenerate into new versions of themselves, containing all of their previous iterations’ knowledge and abilities. In this way, they can live for centuries. I propose that not only is Phillip Frond a timelord: he and Scruffy the janitor are the same person, and that Bob’s Burgers and Futurama take place in the same universe.

It actually makes sense that Frond would be an early iteration of Scruffy. Besides both being mediocre to bad at their respective jobs, where Frond is anxious and fretful, the wiser Scruffy takes stressful situations in stride and lives in mindful peace.

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But you may be asking: if time doesn’t work normally, how can the Bob’s Burgers universe even progress to the point in time where Futurama takes place (the year 3000)? It’s important to remember that in all these shows, time still marches forward. The Hills live through Y2K, and the Simpsons go from having a tube television and a landline in the 90’s to smartphones in the 2000’s. World events take place and technology continues to advance normally. The seasons even change. The only real difference is how the characters themselves are affected by time. They are trapped in a temporal purgatory.

This may seem like a stretch, but there is another set of characters from Bob’s Burgers that solidifies the theory. In The Hurt Soccer (season 8, episode 12), we see a couple of familiar faces from another Bouchard creation.

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In this soccer-focused episode, we see Brendon and Melissa from Home Movies, who are about 8 years old. The Adult Swim show ended in 2004, 14 years before The Hurt Soccer aired. Brendon and Melissa should both be in their early 20’s, and yet here they are, still playing soccer. Does this mean that the Belchers still exist in some capacity in the year 3000? Outside of plot-related deaths, that seems to be the only way out in this animated universe.

Except for Phillip Frond, the loneliest timelord in the multiverse.

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Written by

Queerdo. Writer. Gamer. Witchy. She/Her. https://linktr.ee/eewchristman

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