Bob Johnson is a music teacher who lives on Sesame Street. He has been on Sesame Street since the premiere episode. His many songs on the show include "The People in Your Neighborhood", "Believe in Yourself", and "I've Got Two". An affable and low-key fellow, Bob was introduced as Gordon and Susan's neighbor.
While Gordon and Susan (and to some extent, Maria and Luis) function largely as surrogate parents to the Muppet characters, Bob is more of a surrogate teacher, seldom assuming a disciplinary role. He lives in an apartment above Hooper's Store with his cat (seen in Episode 0456). Occasionally, Oscar the Grouch makes a point of addressing him as "bright eyes."
Bob's family consists of a sister named Jane who lives in the mountains and has written to Bob on occasion (as in Episode 2129). His brother is Minneapolis Johnson, an archaeologist who comes to visit in Episode 2687. Other relatives include Uncle Wally and his deaf niece named Samara. His birthday is August 15.
Beginning in Season 37 (2006) Bob's role on the show began to diminish, and by season 38, he typically appeared in no more than one episode a season. Bob, along with most of the other human characters, was phased out of the show in season 46. He has been seen in reused material and made new appearances in a 2018 web video, reading Goodnight Numbers to Elmo, and in Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration.
Although he shares a name with the actor who portrays him, the character was originally going to be named Bobby before anyone was considered for the role. McGrath requested shortening it to Bob.
Bob's last name is often listed as Johnson (as seen in Sesame Street: A Celebration - 40 Years of Life on the Street and various CTW archive materials). Sesame Street Unpaved (a book known for a multitude of errors), incorrectly lists the name of the actor in the biographical data for the character.
Relationship with Linda
Bob has a close, romantic relationship with Linda (having previously resisted the advances of Molly the Mail Lady). Bob and Linda started dating each other in the 1970s. In Season 9 during Episode 1093, while Bob was in Hawaii he called home to Linda. Luis interprets for them and at the end of the phone call, Bob explains to Luis to hold his hand up and drop his 3rd and 4th fingers to Linda and give the sign for “I love you” and Linda signs it back. During Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, Linda surprises Bob by teaching his students how to sign "Keep Christmas With You" as a gift to a delighted Bob.
During the wedding of Luis and Maria, Bob and Linda wondered about marriage. The wistful bachelor and best man, Bob, turning to maid of honor Linda (“Sometimes I wonder how I would feel being married. If I were married, would it be to someone like you?”), the longtime girlfriend, Linda, dreamily responding in sign language through a video thought balloon (“Sometimes I wonder how I would feel being married. I wonder if you wonder, too."). They both think "I wish I knew.”
At an Eternal-Con panel in 2019, Bob McGrath acknowledged that he was responsible for the two never becoming an official couple. He was concerned that it would affect his personal appearances and concerts, where he would often bring his own kids onstage; he feared this would create a dissonance between his screen and real-life personas.
- In Episode 1703, Bob mentions having played football at Marquette High School in Indiana.
- Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake
- Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
- Don't Eat the Pictures
- Sesame Street, Special
- Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting
- Elmo Saves Christmas
- The Street We Live On
- Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration
- The Sesame Street ABC Storybook (1974)
- Big Bird's Busy Book (1975)
- Frazzle's Fantastic Day (1980)
- The Count Counts a Party (1980)
- I'll Miss You, Mr. Hooper (1984)
- It's Not Fair! (1985)
- Elmo Saves Christmas (1997)
- People in Your Neighborhood (2019)