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  • 20 Minutes into the Past: Contrasting other Whole Episode Flashbacks in the series which usually have a gap of 10+ years between past and present, season 3's "The BoJack Horseman Show" takes place in 2007, just a few years before the series started.
  • Abandoned Area: Usually as a sign of times changing or someone has left the tin machine.
    • Cuddlywhiskers' house looks derelict and wrecked after he mysteriously disappeared, especially after it became a haven for recovering addicts. BoJack and Diane being there when one of them falls off the wagon and overdoses kicks off "BoJack Kills"'s plot. As it turns out, this was invoked by Cuddlywhiskers himself: wanting to leave it all and just live frugally, apart from the society that had made him so empty.
    • BoJack's house devolves into this during the year and a half he's missing from Hollywoo after the season 3 finale. Since he left the window broken and open to the public as revealed in "See Mr. Peanutbutter Run" when Diane walks in without any problemnote , the living room has become full of leaves and trash.
    • The Sugarman Summer Cabin in Michigan shown in the next episode "The Old Sugarman Place" when BoJack arrives. The cabin is in decay, the sink collapses, the floor has cracks and the front door's visages break at the first pull.
    • Princess Carolyn finds her childhood home (the guest house of the Wallace family) back in Eden in a derelict condition when she returns to meet a prospective birth mother to adopt from. What's more, the main house is in ruins as well, signifying the ruin of the wealthy family that used to live there.
  • Abandon the Disabled: BoJack attempts to leave an Alzheimer's-ridden Beatrice to rot in some dumpy old apartment. He stops dead in his tracks when she finally recognizes him and calls out his name.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • Early on season 1, Mr. Peanutbutter was played as a subtle Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, in ways that made him a much more simplistic foil to BoJack: He was much more materialistic and dismissive of others' feelings, seemed to have been at fault for his two previous divorces, had questionable "photos" in his room about a possible other woman, his relationship with Diane was barely explored initially beyond the superficial love, which because of their wildly different personalities and approaches to life gave every indication that it was a relationship meant to tank, setting PB as the Romantic False Lead up to the point where BJ and Diane would get together because of the former's Hidden Depths compared to PB. Unlike the troublesome horse, there were no indications that beneath his cheerful façade laid the ditzy, nice yet insensitive labrador of later seasons, which throws a curveball when he's revealed to be a Sheep in Sheep's Clothing and the entire "secret douchebag" plot is dropped.
    • In-Universe, during "Prickly Muffin", Todd mentions stepping on a needle during one of Sarah Lynn's raves at BoJack's house and suggests a possible heroin addiction "might be a thing now". It's never mentioned or shown afterwards.
    • Despite the pictures of BoJack having sex with Sarah Lynn being given some build up from "Prickly Muffin" to "Say Anything", they were mostly used for a few comedic moments before being resolved very simply without much thought given to them. See Comically Small Demand below.
    • Likewise, in "Old Acquaintance", Judah secretly meets with Charley Witherspoon to discuss a potential merger between VIM and Vigor, done behind Princess Carolyn's back. Since VIM is closed down two episodes later, this never comes to fruition and the deal falls through. Of course, Judah remains reticent to talk about it and even encourages Princess Carolyn to look something else in her life instead of work, so it may be left for another time, especially since VIM has reopened in the season finale.
      • Subverted in Season 4: In "Ruthie", Princess Carolyn learns of the meeting from Charlie, which results in her firing Judah.
    • Through the last third of season 3, it's revealed Bradley, BoJack's co-star in Horsin' Around (he played Ethan), is trying to greenlight a Sequel Series named Ethan Around, centered on Ethan raising three kids on his own. After a lot of back and forth, BoJack joins the project, only to back out due to a Freak Out! he suffers on set because of Sarah Lynn's recent death. Since Bradley used most of his savings to get the series going, including moving his family to L.A., and the only reason the series went ahead was due to BJ's presence, it's unknown how it all panned out of him since "That Went Well", although it didn't look hopeful.
    • Played for Laughs when Todd gets $8 million at the end of season 3. He starts wondering what interesting adventures that could lead to, but in the very next scene, he accidentally gives it all away, making him poor again.
    • Sarah Lynn was supposed to die as early as season one!
  • Absentee Actor: In-Universe examples.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • BoJack's parents, Beatrice and Butterscotch, resented him his whole life and frequently took out their anger about their own miserable lives on him (it's implied at one point that BoJack's mother tried to drown him. At age 22, nonetheless!), resulting in the difficult person he grew up to be. Beatrice was overly judgmental of him and derided him as a failure no matter what he did and Butterscotch would often make him cry alongside him to Cole Porter records and would tear apart anything he has done if not done in the proper "American way".
    • Season 4 in particular takes a closer look at what Bojack's parents went through, particularly his mother Beatrice. Not only did her older brother die in World War II, but her mother's grief became too much for her father to want to deal with, and he eventually had her lobotomized to keep her "womanly emotions" in check, and encouraged young Beatrice to keep her emotions under a tight leash as well. Since then, her father spent much time trying to groom her so he could marry her off to another wealthy family as she got older, and had no qualms with having all of her belongings, including her favorite doll and other comfort objects, burned at the request of doctors when she came down with scarlet fever to contain the disease. When she cried in protest, her father only hung her mother's surgery over her head as a means to convince her to control herself. In other words, while BoJack certainly had a terrible childhood, it seems like it runs in the family.
    • Diane's relationship with her family oscillates between neglect and outright bullying. Papa Nguyen delighted in seeing her daughter fail and her mother would treat her with derision and coddled the brothers to near useless levels.
    • Princess Carolyn's mother was a happy drunk who'd often fail at her job as a maid for a rich family, forcing Princess to often step up to the role and cover for her if the family wished to not be kicked out on the street. Her father was implied to be too meek to do anything about his wife's problem. In season five, we also learn that Mama Carolyn was more excited about the prospect of PC’s Teen Pregnancy than seeing her off to college. When PC miscarries, she decides to go to college after all, and her mother tries to guilt her into staying home instead
    • Sarah Lynn has a Stage Mom and a stepfather who is implied to have sexually abused her.
  • Accidentally Accurate: In-Universe, Season 3's "Brrap-Brrap-Pew-Pew" had a panel of white men in bowties discussing youth abortion, with one panelist claiming that teens deemed it "No BD" - presuming that "BD" stood for B.D. Wong, who is a big deal, thus "No BD" means "No B.D. Wong" means "No Big Deal".
  • Actor Allusion:
    Tom: Ring the Alarm! Irreplaceable pop icon and Independent Woman Beyoncé has been injured! What more can you give us?
    Reporter: Well, details are sketchy at this point, but we do know Beyoncé is a Survivor and, presumably, she will keep on surviving.
    Tom: But what happened?
    Reporter: Well, Tom, I'm being told that she slipped on All The Single Dollars.
    Tom: ALL The Single Dollars?
    Reporter: ALL The Single Dollars!
    Tom: ALL The Single Dollars?
    Reporter: ALL The Single Dollars!
    Tom: (despairingly) Bills, Bills, Bills...
  • Actor/Role Confusion: Used as a Black Comedy gag in The Horsin' Around Christmas Special:
    Todd: And I still don't believe Goober ended up molesting all those Laker Girls.
    BoJack: Goober did not molest those Laker Girls, the actor who played Goober molested those Laker Girls.
  • Adaptation Decay:
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Mr. Peanutbutter's Hollywoo Heist has Diane devolving into a troubled woman who ends up using most of her screen time to give long speeches about her numerous mental illnesses.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: While not plain and quite beautiful on her own, Diane's not exactly attractive in an astonishing way. In Mr. Peanutbutter's Hollywoo Heist, she's played by Naomi Watts.
  • Adaptational Badass: While Secretariat was (and is still remembered) as one of the grand racers in the sport, his later life was stumped by increased legal problems, addictions, mental issues and family trouble which lead to his termination in disgrace. Furthermore, while he was characterized by media as a patriot, he was never involved in any particularly important race against the Russians. Post-hiatus of filming Secretariat: A Biopic, one of the changes made to enhance the "all true" story of the tragic racing horse is... repair his broken life and train until being able to go toe to toe against the Commie racers at a time when he already should be dead. WHAT. The movie's Secretariat, due to eliminating internal turmoil from the equation, not only doesn't run out of steam at any point in his life, he's still particularly in his prime when he enters a race against the still-URSS strong Russian competitors.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: In "Horse Majeure", BoJack's part in the movie "Mr. Peanutbutter's Hollywoo Heist" as Mr. Peanutbutter himself is drastically reduced to this. Given his co-stars' lines involve world-conquering, mental illnesses and philosophical gibberish, his repetition of the phrase "True Dat" is intended to be funny.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: In the documentary mentioned below, Mr. Peanutbutter's intelligence is downgraded (if that's even possible) to a borderline retardation with the only thing he can say is "True Dat" over and over. Especially egregious since he was supposed to be the main character of the movie in the first cut, as revealed by the title.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Probably the biggest departure from the source in terms of accuracy for Secretariat's biopic. Secretariat was far from a bad guy himself, being a good chap that would be humble enough to make public appearances in talk shows, had a pretty biting wit and was nothing but accommodating to his fans, even agreeing to do a Q&A on-air in The Dick Cavett Show of letters. But that was only one of his sides, by other accounts, he was a rather shady persona himself: there were rumors about his excesses in everything including addiction to all types of drugs and Conspicuous Consumption of all kinds of extravagances. He was also very difficult to work with, in no small part due to his changing moods and frequent bouts of depression; his fame was so important to him that there's a very well-documented infamous deal that involved reaching to Richard Nixon himself and discussing an exchange in which Jeffretariat, Secretariat's brother, would be send in his place for drafting while he would become Nixon's Propaganda Machine; not to say about betting in his own races, ultimately leading to banning from any competition. In the film, Secretariat is portrayed as a rather amiable guy who has no mean bones in his body, treats everyone respectfully, often offers to teach Latin wannabe-gangbangers to give them a better future and is basically a Commie-bashin' patriotic bloody-national hero with no hangups.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: PB's fictional counterpart in Mr. Peanutbutter's Hollywoo Heist played by BoJack amps up the gift of speech as well as the form of expressing oneself in flowery metaphors regarding his relationship with Diane, contrasting with the real PB's more colloquial terms of approaching the subject with her.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Downplayed. In Mr. Peanutbutter's Hollywoo Heist, BoJack retains his name. It's not so much that he's given a new one rather than it is added a suffix: BoJackitron. Yep, it's that kind of movie.
  • Adaptational Species Change: For Mr. Peanutbutter's Hollywoo Heist.
    • BoJack is a horse (or horseman) in Real Life, yet he’s portrayed as an alien antagonist in the second-to-last product of "Mr. Peanutbutter's Hollywoo Heist".
    • As the adaptation continues going downhill, Diane's origin is changed into that of an alien form whose real body is that of an all-knowing floating orb of light.
    • Making matters even more confusing, BoJack - the character within the movie, not the actor BoJack - is played by Wallace Shawn, a human in a horse costume, while BoJack - the actor, not the character - plays Mr. Peanutbutter, a dog, even though the real Mr. Peanutbutter is on set. What.
  • Adaptational Villainy: BoJack switches from a minor character into the Big Bad, an alien Evil Overlord in control of the planet.
  • Adaptational Personality Change:
    • "Mr. Peanutbutter's Hollywoo Heist” makes Diane's character go from a reasonable woman to a deranged, mentally-ill person who claims to be Hearing Voices and rambles about her mental issues.
    • Mr. Peanutbutter is simple-minded, not daft. The movie treatment transforms him into a Flat Character that spews a single catchphrase of dialogue over and over.
    • Secretariat: A Biopic 's long-term development problems sees BoJack's portrayal of the horse descend from a Real Life Tragic Hero with brooding qualities who ended up his life in misery to an eternally optimistic, inspirational-cliche spouting, invincible hero who ends up his life with no regrets.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Far from the initial pitch, since general interest in Secretariat's story at least from BoJack Horseman and Kelsey Jannings' perspective was to retrace step by step the plights of a well-beloved figure from early ascension to stardom to Shakespearian fall and demise in realistic, down-to-earth way which of course would involve showing Secretariat's less than noble traits and deplorable actions in a humanizing light. After creative differences lead to Jannings's dismissal, several tweaks are made to its subject's personality:
    • He's nothing but personable to anyone Explanation  and seeks to repair his mistakes without blaming anyone for his setbacks Explanation .
    • He's more open to love, mushy, romantic and willing to show his more vulnerable side to a lover Explanation .
    • He's shown doing charity work and acting as a sage master to guide people toward a better path in lifeExplanation .
    • Since he's no longer stressed out and has a better grasp on how much more precious relationships are to his life, Movie!Secretariat has no Kick the Dog and no Kick the Morality Pet moments and is portrayed as much more balance person as a result.
  • Adaptational Ugliness:
    • Downplayed. Due to being played by BoJack (by request of PB himself), Movie!Mr. Peanutbutter has a gut instead of his usual Heroic Build.
    • Secretariat, when alive, was the living embodiment of well-groomed social etiquette, the closest an anthropomorphic horse has been to being a Pretty Boy which in tandem with his gracious personality made him exude an irresistible charm. Secretariat in The Movie is played by BoJack Horseman, who is 20 years older than Secretariat at the time of his death and in addition to his eyebags, has a gut and several wrinkles which clearly are signs of someone older than his late 30s.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Eventually, BoJack both as a character and as an actor playing Mr. Peanutbutter is completely written out of the movie adaptation when the concept is changed to that of "a bi-monthly pack of snacks".
    • Diane is written out of the movie as well much to the displeasure of actress Naomi Watts and replaced by a ball on a stick.
  • Adam Westing:
    • Character actress Margo Martindale appears as a manic version of herself.
    • Naomi Watts plays herself as a creepy, obsessive diva.
    • In the same episode, Wallace Shawn (better known as Vizzini) is strong-armed into playing BoJack because he needs to fund his Rothko painting habit.
    • Most of the self-cameos throughout the series have elements of this, though Jessica Biel might take the top spot for encouraging the writers to be meaner, leading to an expanded role in Season 4 where she goes Ax-Crazy when trapped underground, murders Zack Braff and then runs for Governor of California. All this while all the other characters refer to her as washed up, B-list, just barely a celebrity etc.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • Happens quite often, but usually with Tom Jumbo-Grumbo.
    Tom: For to me - there is nothing the least bit funny about stealing a meal from Neil McBeal the Navy Seal. (Blows water out of his blowhole in anger)
    • Season 4 takes this Up to Eleven with Courtney Portnoy.
      Princess Carolyn: This was supposed to be Courtney's crossover coronation, but that's sort of been thwarted, unfortunately, 'cause Courtney's purportedly falling short of shoring up four-quadrant support!
      • Word of God is that the 4th season is filled with these because the writers love Amy Sedaris' delivery of them, even though she personally hates them.
  • Adult Fear:
    • When Hollyhock first appears, she's a teenager fresh out of high school and eight Overprotective Dads worried about her going to Hollywoo to meet her biological father they know little about. BoJack tells her up front that he is not a good role model, and if she is a Horseman there's a good chance she will have some of her family’s dysfunctions, and he's constantly watching her for self-loathing, the self-sabotage, the addictions, the unhappiness. Hollyhock eventually collapses in a cold sweat and after rushing her to the hospital he learns it was a drug overdose. The only explanation he could determine was his medicine cabinet, he throws them down the toilet while collapsing in a panic attack. He learns it was his senile mother Beatrice spiking Hollyhock's coffee with amphetamines to lose weight, which only makes him feel worse for not being more attentive. Her eight dads’s fears were only confirmed, and refuse to let Bojack see her.
    • Charlotte in "Escape from L.A." reunites with Bojack, who was looking for time away from the spotlight and she lets him into her home and interact with her family. He gets too close, to the point of taking her daughter to prom and charming her friends. He eventually tries to rekindle their relationship, and she politely asks him to leave. Immediately afterwards she finds him in a compromising position with her daughter, and her fury is tangible.
  • Aerith and Bob:
    • The animal characters in the show, some have human names while others have names someone would give to a pet. The reigning champ is "Officer Meow-Meow Fuzzyface." Another example is BoJack's mother and father: Beatrice and Butterscotch respectively.
    • Surnames are usually either normal or containing an animal pun, but every so often there'll be a character with a really weird double-barreled surname such as Jumbo-Grumbo, Jackson-Jackson, Hitler-Smith, or Hollyhock's infamous octuple-barreled one.
  • Aesop Amnesia: In-universe. Part of what makes BoJack such a tragic character is how, for all of his Character Development, he continues to be selfish and narcissistic.
    • This deconstruction hits its peak in Season 3's "It's you". Todd finally gets to their limit on Bojack's incessant cycle of committing mistakes, apologizing and committing the same mistake again that they cut connections with him.
    Todd: You can't keep doing this! You can't keep doing shitty things and then feel bad about yourself like that makes it okay! You need to be better!
  • Age-Gap Romance:
    • Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter have an age gap minimum of 15, she is at 34 in the beginning of the series and he is in his early 50's. As everything else, this does ends up with them facing troubles in their marriage as she is facing her last chances to try new things in her life while he is already used to a certain lifestyle and has a hard time adapting to her younger way of thinking.
      • After their divorce, Mr. Peanutbutter quickly attaches himself to 25-year-old Pickles. Diane points out that this is a pattern of his: he dates “fun” women in their 20s, who grow up over the course of their relationship, and in the process, they outgrow him. This doesn’t stop him from impulsively proposing to Pickles shortly after.
    • BoJack and Sarah Lynn briefly sleep together in Season 1, the age difference is around 20 years. He knew her when she was a child actress before she hit puberty. They get together in episode "Prickly Muffin", but their relationship is a short one.
    • Penny and BoJack at the end of Season 2, in which she falls for him and they try (though fail) to have sex together. She is 17 and he is in his early 50's. Although nothing ends up happening, the event severely made them feel guilt ridden.
  • The Alcoholic: Everyone drinks in Hollywoo, some more than others. Even the most straight-laced teetotalers often succumb after a few years of being in the system.
    • BoJack, to the point where him getting drunk happens at least Once per Episode.
    • This quality runs in the Horseman-Sugarman family, as both his father, Butterscotch; his mother, Beatrice and his grandmother Honey turn to alcohol seeking emotional numbness as well.
    • Diane sinks into depression after her disastrous run in Cordovia and crashes with BJ, becoming (briefly) a stereotypical Hard-Drinking Party Girl.
    • Her family, the Nguyens, have a pub as a Local Hangout....that is when they're not slacking around the house or watching old game replays. The men seem to do it more often, with the women accompanying them.
    • Katrina, Mr. Peanutbutter's ex-wife, often drank to forget she was married to PB.
    • Maddy Ginsberg, Penny's friend, ends up developing a liking for alcohol after a tiny taste. She quickly becomes wasted and suffers from alcohol poisoning.
    • Princess Carolyn succumbs to this after her fifth miscarriage and a fall-out with Judah and Ralph. Disturbingly, like BoJack, it may run in the family, since her mother, Mama Carolyn, was an irresponsible drunk.
  • All Just a Dream: In-Universe, the season of Horsin' Around where the Horse became president
  • Alliterative Family: The Horseman family: BoJack, Butterscotch and Beatrice.
  • Alphabet News Network:
    • The local newsletter, MSNBSea, led by always "impartial" Tom Jumbo-Grumbo.
    • MBN: Major Broadcasting Network, introduced early in season 2. It's even involved in several major sub-plots through the season.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees:
    • Sexist websites like "Titpuncher" really do exist, and their followers are sometimes worse than how they're portrayed here.
    • One of the gangs Todd joins in prison, the Latin Kings, is a real gang.
  • Always Murder: Two episodes so far see the death of a character trigger the investigation of a presumed murder. Ultimately subverted, as both deaths turn out to be accidental In particular:
    • When the inevitable occurs and Herb passes away in a car crash right after his cancer had gone into remission, a treasure hunt uncovers a mysterious conspiracy concerning one of the funeral guests which happens to be not a murder plot, but a plan to steal the manuscript to Herb's book and destroy it, since it would have destroyed his legacy. Despite the suspicious nature of the crash, by all means, it really does seem like it was an accident.
    • After looking for an old acquaintance of BoJack's, he and Diane find Nadia, a stripper killer whale, dead at the guy's pool, and then BoJack gets the blame pinned on him, so he's forced to investigate in order to clear his name. In the end, it turns out Nadia died from a drug overdose, with the Arc Words "BoJack kills" referring to a particular brand of heroin called BoJack.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: BoJack's two sex scenes that ended with Immodest Orgasms in episode 4, despite not penetrating Princess Carolyn either time (the second time, she hadn't even come to bed yet!)
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • Mr. Peanutbutter is a serial monogamist who's only dated women, and is totally devoted to his wife, but he's perfectly happy to passionately make out with another man under the guise of restoring their friendship. He also has a considerable amount of Ho Yay with Todd. And let's not forget his complicated relationship with his Frenemy, BoJack himself.
    • BoJack himself, although more subtle. He's a serial womanizer who sleeps with a lot of women. Yet, when Herb, friend of his, was outed during The '90s, he asked him with all the sincerity he could muster if his friends have ever done a "party train" or a "fun circle" since he would be into that. Then, there's also his (slightly reluctant) kiss with Mr. Peanutbutter.
    • Sarah Lynn's sexuality is not brought up enough to get a clear picture; two things stand out though, she dated Andrew Garfield on-off for a while during season 1 and she's of the Anything That Moves attitude.
    • Skinny Gina, the stripper whale working in Whale World agrees to talk with BoJack and Diane about Nadia, a recently deceased co-worker...but it's working hours, so they'll need to buy a lap dance. BoJack and Diane agree and Skinny Gina proceeds to tell everything while servicing BoJack.....and Diane.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • Initially, Herb Kazzaz has no traits of stereotypical flamboyance, having Charlotte Moore as a girlfriend and keeping a squeaky clean appearance. This made people simply assume he was straight, reinforced by the harsh attitude toward homosexuals back in The '90s, especially if they handled a sitcom like Horsin' Around. Still, Herb having the exact same enthusiasm as Charlotte when it comes to hanging out with BoJack was telling, especially Charlotte leaving L.A. arguing she's not "[who] Herb is looking for". This comes crashing down when Herb is caught redhanded getting it on with a guy in a public restroom and he's fired.
    • In-Universe, Kelsey Jannings is a lesbian, but her ex-wife is never seen on-screen. The only tell-tale signs are her daughter Irving, her own word and her constant complaining of being the "breadwinner" of the family.
    • Klaus and the Latino gang leader treat prospecting like a courtship. Including the Not Good with Rejection aspect.
    • A client at Vigor (might) have covered his erection when seeing a naked BoJack.
    • The Dog Hairdresser often dresses in colorful shirts, has a rather groomed style, effeminate nature and has worked constantly in the business for over 30 yearsnote  without seemingly getting married.
  • Ambiguously Jewish:
    • Lenny Turtletaub, based on his accent, his surname and his Yiddish-esque phrases. BoJack, however, thinks he's faking it.
    • Sarah-Lynn as well due to a throwaway line in "That's Too Much, Man!" regarding sobriety; "Why would I want my body to be a temple? I've been to Temple, it's so boring!" Also, her (real) last name is Helmutfalb.
    • Rutabaga Rabitowitz, since his surname is an amalgamation of a Jewish last name and the Obligatory Joke.
    • "Jill Pill"'s real name is Jill Filipowicz, a performance artist and playwright; although like most, it's never really commented on.
    • Woodchuck Coodchuck Berkowitz, Mr. Peanutbutter's rival competition for governor counts as ambiguously as possible, since the last name is all the possibility can hang on and his personality and arc do not touch upon his upbringing in any way.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: It's Dysfunction Junction time, ladies and gentlemen!
    • Narcissism:
      • BoJack has textbook compensatory narcissism with a deep rooted entitlement and high need of appreciation coming from an inferiority complex, with his actions being attempts to live up to who he thinks he should be for others and falling short of it. He also has Borderline Personality Disorder due to his disgust and craving of affection from even people he despises — like Mr. Peanutbutter — or knows are just trying to use him — like Angela and Ana. He's been also often interpreted as having clinical depression due to his lack of motivation and positive emotions as well as his self-defeating behavior and occasional suicidal ideation.
      • His mother, Beatrice, has a more complex case of narcissism with a pot full of different shades of the spectrum: "amorous" (clingy attitude and territorial attitude even to those she dislikes just because they're hers), "elitist" (haughty, believes appearance and status to be everything, derides everything short of her image of perfection), "compensatory" (behavior largely out of insecurity, compensation) and even "fanatic" (she just can't let go of grudges, keeps any emotional actions as proof of her own beliefs) fit her to some degree.
      • While nice about it, Mr. Peanutbutter fits the description of the shy, covert/compensatory narcissist: he wants people to be happy and often goes out of his way to make it so but rather than finding out what would make them so, he forgoes that in favor of his bases of what he assumes would make them happier. He also tries to be the cool guy so that people will feel comfortable around him and don't leave him at all, something which has happened in the past and has created him a complex. Not that he would come out and say it; better try passive-aggressive remarks in the form of concerned thoughts. There's also how much he wants things exactly as he envisions in spite of his carefree attitude, which he masks with niceness hoping that will make things go his way. His grandiose sense of projects without any backbone or purpose and insecurity about Diane also make him rather needy with his expressions of love being Grand Romantic Gestures.
      • Secretariat was just as much as a Crowd Pleaser as Mr. Peanutbutter and just as miserable as BoJack. He would often bask on the public's adoration while secretly falling apart because of how little he saw of himself in his audience's expectations. Fame, glory and love meaning everything for him, he was eternally fearful of falling into obscurity to the point of selling out his brother to the army as a replacement during The Vietnam War. Tripping into disgrace once he was found out betting in his own races, he was banned from racing, the only thing that made him feel alive and allowed to forget his problems, and as such he finally committed suicide. Forget BoJack, Secretariat is the embodiment of compensatory narcissism as well as a chilling reminder of what can happen when such disorder is allowed to run rampant.
      • Sarah Lynn is an example of the "unprincipled"/"amorous" type: willing to exploit others for her own gratification, feels little to no remorse over it and always uses her sexuality and devil-may-care attitude as an excuse to get away with horrid actions.
    • Generalized Anxiety:
      • Diane Nguyen has certainly a lot of stress over where her life is headed to, the future and her standing on it, often ignoring the matters in which her present is unfolding; her overanalyzing and exhaustion over the possible routes life can take her make her pessimistic, emotionally guarded and eternally nomad in spirit; likewise, if her concerns take major precedence in her mind, she'll ensure any step necessary for some insurance of relief, not letting her guard down until the problem has gone away. She also briefly suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after returning from Cordovia in season 2, like the depression-masking indifference, the attempts to numb herself with TV or beer and the Bad Dreams.
      • Pinky Penguin is a fidgety mess whose paranoia and bad luck have led him to be secluded in his office and resort to desperate measures to achieve a hit with BoJack's book. Such is his need that he constantly uses for it, even at times when the most sensible thing would be to sit back and reflect on life. He's constantly nervous and fearful of what might happen and often tries to find a safe bet.
    • Princess Carolyn has most likely Dependent Personality Disorder: attachment to toxic people despite her independence due to a desire of love, becoming nosy in every aspect of others' lives to the point of taking over, fear of Dying Alone and desire for a family.
    • Judah has a strict adherence to routine, lampshades his lack of humor, always well-organized, highly effective, can take words as literal as possible, stoic to a T, highly empathic and doesn't take let any detail escape his grasp. As such, he might be on the autism spectrum.
    • Anti-Social Personality Disorder:
      • Hank Hippopopalous is a high-functioning case: at first glance, he can appear as a grandfather-type of celebrity, which he often exploits as a way to gaslight people into believing his hype to cover his disgusting actions toward his secretaries. He also has a distinct Lack of Empathy, rampant promiscuity and an uncanny ability to lie without a hitch, even rewriting his internal reality even if it doesn't suit him. Should anyone attempt to call attention to his actions, he'll retain his affable behavior adding a tinge of menace that at no point is questioned.
      • Margo Martindale is a borderline example. She meets some of the criteria to qualify, except she's far too calculating and cautious to count. Her hysterical fits and desire for cheap thrills, even with how she intentionally screws up every mission she has just for the sake of seeing violence erupt, does see her tip-toe through the edges.
      • The patriarch of Gentle Farms is superficially charming, has a good sense of acceptable behavior and has no qualms over his farm's business (butchering chickens) despite being a chicken himself. He's also groomed his kid to follow his every command and carry on the family business. Finally, he's way too eager to shoot trespassers, even letting out an Evil Laugh while searching them with his shotgun.
      • The kid in the Gentle Farms has no conscience and has learned from a young age how to handle a shotgun and kill his own species (in a complicated carnivore situation) with the help of his father, seeing nothing wrong with such dissonance. Still a budding one, since he can occasionally be troubled when confronted about it.
      • Joseph Sugarman is a borderline example. He has a genial vibe to him and is the living embodiment of the Standard '50s Father; that is, a complete evisceration of the trope: his deep belief in old-fashioned values has made him devoid of any sort of empathy for his family, describing emotions as "woman's feelings" and happy that he may suppress his. This is not going into how easily he shown to be willing to harm his family and abuse them emotionally and physically if he deemed necessary or to keep them safe (e.g. Honey's lobotomy, conditioning Beatrice to occupy a woman's place in society and destroying her psyche in any way he could.)
      • Vance Waggoner has made a career out of making this disorder seem marketable as a rinse-and-repeat ploy: he's a rude, violent asshole with a willingness to harm anyone who crosses him in any way (including his own family) and a complete lack of shame about the things he does other than how they've damaged his job offers. A repeat offender, he's made enemies out of many people and refused to even comprehend he did something illegal, let alone wrong. Still, his infamy makes him seem like a "bad boy" in the eyes of Hollywoo who often bails him out to cast him...up until the inevitable happens and Vance screws up again.
    • Borderline Personality Disorder
      • Sarah Lynn fits almost all of the diagnostic criteria for this disorder: (1): Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment: Her first appearance as an adult features her acting out following a breakup with boyfriend Andrew Garfield, downing pills and stabbing herself with a rusty bayonet in the middle of a home improvement store. Andrew claims that he wanted to do it in a public space so she wouldn't make a scene, to which she replies "You think I won't make a SCENE?" In a later episode, she's shown visiting Andrew in the hospital, implying a case of splitting. (2) A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation: Although frequent idealization has died out, her relationship with BoJack is extremely volatile. One minute, she goes back to seeing him as the surrogate father he acted as in her youth; the next, they're yelling at each other... then fucking. (3) Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self image or sense of self: In the season three episode, 'That's Too Much, Man!' she has some small moments that imply this, such as doodling pictures of herself and wondering through them if it's time to get another boob job, plus some graphic ones. However, the real identity disturbance comes when she wins an Oscar while she's on a month-long bender with BoJack and comes to the realization that she doesn't like anything about herself, offering a shaky, horrified speech about it all. (4) Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating): Oh god, the drugs! It's almost like she's immune to their negative effects up until her death via overdose. She gets so high during Herb's funeral, she completely forgets that Bradley was her costar, in spite of him having tagged along for the entire scavenger hunt Herb put together for the cast at the end of his life. She forgot to publish his manuscript because she was so high while he was requesting she do so. She's also of the Anything That Moves attitude regarding sex. At one point, it's revealed she's sobered up (although she claims it's just so she can have a post-sobriety high which are apparently awesome)... and, while she's informing BoJack, she's driving while painting her nails. (5) Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior: Again, in her first adult appearance, she stabs herself with a rusty bayonet and tells Andrew she'd bleed for him. It's unknown if this is a 'regular' type of occurrence, but it was certainly both a suicidal threat and self-mutilating behavior. To go off of this, she seems perfectly content with the fact that she'll "surround [herself] with sycophants and enablers until [she] dies tragically young," which winds up being a self-fulfilling prophecy, as of 3x11. In addition, although it's purely hypothetical, due to the heavily implied abuse she suffered at the hands of her bear stepdad (described a little more below), what she suggests Penny is doing in response to BoJack could have been projecting what she did with some Gallows Humor: looking up ways to kill herself. (6) Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood: Oh man, does her mood flip like a switch! One minute, she's celebrating an Oscar win just to be directly followed by a What Have I Become? crisis. On the drive to the hospital following the rusty bayonet incident, she thinks it's all quite amusing and is no longer experiencing the terror she was only minutes before. (7) Chronic feelings of emptiness: Although there are no incredibly stick-out moments with this – no moments with direct evidence – diving right back into her previous mood, before a horribly anxious one, right after she wins an Oscar is indicative of this. In addition, she repeatedly states that she's bored during her bender with BoJack. It can be picked up on by the viewers that, essentially, the only thing that would make her feel fulfilled would be becoming an architect, a childhood dream shot down by her mother. She expresses genuine knowledge of it in spite of having never gone to college and her final words are "I wanna be an architect." (8) Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger: See: rusty bayonet. You may also refer to her reaction to Joelle using her Country Matters in retaliation to Sarah Lynn's own You Are Fat joke. She also expresses extreme resentment towards BoJack when he doesn't let her do various things while in his home, at one point giving him a The Reason You Suck speech which is, in truth, justified. Cont. The 9th involves paranoia and dissociation, of which we haven't seen her express. Other: Other common traits she has with most Borderline sufferers is trauma, sexual abuse via her bear stepdad heavily implied. She was forced to deal with the pressure and manipulation her mother put her through, pressure and manipulation that crushed her architectural dreams. Her unexplained Disappeared Dad explains why she looked up to BoJack as a surrogate father when she was a child and idealized him to the extreme. Even when she was roughly 23 (in 2007), she looked to him as her only friend... just to be used by him, but that's a totally separate matter. Finally, she also developed shades of an Electra Complex.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • In "Escape from L.A.", when Charlotte's daughter Penny in bed with an undressing BoJack. Were they just talking, did he just no longer care, or was he intentionally trying to burn a bridge with Charlotte so he wouldn't be tempted to woo her again? The fact that Charlotte and BoJack kiss shortly before only serves to muddy things even more. Bojack comments on this in season 3, admitting he's kidding himself and probably would've gone through with it, and even when he briefly meets up with Penny again, we don't get a straight answer.
    • For that matter, when he finds Penny, all she can say is "I didn't know what I was doing," which could either mean that she was too naïve to turn down his advances or too young to know any better than to come on to an older man.
  • Ambiguous Syntax:
    • Is Neil McBeal a seal who's in the Navy, or a Navy SEAL?
    • Discussed in "The Judge" when BoJack is confused as to his purpose in "FHBA: L.A."note , specifically his role as "booty judge".
      BoJack: So are we judging who has the best booty?
      Felicity Huffman: Whoa, BoJack, no. That is so degrading.
      BoJack: So if it's not about their butts, then why is the other judge Sir Mix-A-Lot?
      Sir Mix-A-Lot: Because I'm an honest and impartial judge. And if there's one thing I'm famous for, it's that I cannot lie.
      BoJack: Yeah, I guess that would be the one thing.
    • In Season 4, Governor Woodchuck Coodchuck-Berkowitz receives hands from a convicted pedophile/murderer.
      Tom Jumbo-Grumbo: Well, if you gotta murder somebody...
      Katrina: No, Tom. Not a pedophile-dash-murderer. A pedophile-slash-murderer!
  • Animal Stereotypes: In spades. Every other joke or Funny Background Event in the show shows an animal character stereotypically behaving like their real life non-anthropomorphic counterparts.
  • Animation Bump: Not a huge difference, but the AfterEffects puppets, most notably Diane's, have a wider range of expressions than they did in season 1.
  • Anti-Climax: The photographers' attempts to blackmail BoJack are built up to be a significant plot arc... only for them to be unable to get in touch with BoJack to actually make their demands. When they finally try contacting his agent, he's switched to Vanessa Gekko, who shuts them down in less than five minutes.
  • Anti-Hero: Quite a lot, actually. The main point of the series is to tear down any notion of a completely innocent person involved with show business, charities, agencies, etc. so it stands to reason some of the so-called "heroes" would have some less than savory characteristics.
    • BoJack is an abrasive, lazy, bitter older man that resists any attempts to change himself for the better when he can help it. But deep down, especially when he's sober, he's a surprisingly intelligent and thoughtful guy that really does care for the few people he can consider friends.
    • Princess Carolyn is a self-involved agent who will not hesitate to throw someone under the train if the person can be used as a scapegoat, not above using dirty tactics to get what she wants or attending funerals to fish some possible clients, but deep down, she's not a bad person. She'll handle you and get you jobs any way she can, even if she's keeping most of the fee and kind of mooching off you. You might call her an heroic Svengali.
    • Diane is a writer with a strong sense of morality, a no-nonsense attitude willing to fight for the overlooked, and apologize when she has gone too far. Nevertheless, she'll overstep personal relationships and privacy in her search for the truth embodied in her books, she tries to hype up her sense of worth through stories because of the crushing drudgery of everyday life, and she has an underlying fear that she may be part of the problem instead of the solution, or worse, that her work may not be important in the grand scheme of things.
    • Mr. Peanutbutter, opposite of BoJack, is outwardly friendly, has a nice disposition, loves to give money to new projects and tries to be a good friend to anyone he meets as well as a good boyfriend/husband to Diane. If taken at face value, he'd be an Ideal Hero. However, he's only willing to be generous to those willing to play it nice and easy like him, doesn't like to think about any sort of philosophical question and is jarringly dismissive of any talk about real problems.
    • Todd is a lazy slacker mooching off BoJack's wealth and loneliness to eat and sleep in his couch and who's first appearances could put Jeffrey Lebowski to shame. He's also plagued with indecision, guilt and a lack of direction in his life which often results in him jumping at the first opportunity to do something he deems good. Surprisingly, he's also the character with the biggest moral compass in the series.
    • Kelsey Jannings is a grumpy, cynical director whose passion for directing and writing in her projects has cost her by way of a divorce and custody battles with her ex-wife for their daughter Irving. Caring for the job and passionate about the projects, she nevertheless has adopted a darwinist approach to her career, especially in "director-for-pay" gigs such as the Secretariat biopic. When push comes to shove, she's one of the most honest people in the business as well as the one you might want got have in your team should you choose to try to go against the studio for the sake of making a good movie.
    • Ana Spanakopita is a Hollywood Hype Machine incarnated: promotion and PR mean everything to her since her job demands an Oscar winning assured for her customers. To get there, she's willing to twist arms and crack as many heads as possible without any hint of remorse. Insult and brutal honesty are just part of her world, yet she's shown to make a serious attempt at a serious professional/romantic relationship with BoJack and always stands up for her clients....as long as they're her clients, of course.
    • Officer Meow-Meow Fuzzyface is a cop dedicated to justice and police work in any way, jumping form scene to scene to catch his man. His methods often include screaming at people, pulling out his gun for little to no reason, making any kind of puns he can think in the moment and just generally being too Hot-Blooded to be considered nothing but a "loose cannon". Actually, the entire Hollywoo PD is this, spending more time bickering, arguing over the nature of its police officers and obsessed with image than doing the kind of police work they're good at.
    • Sebastian St. Claire is a Gentleman Adventurer who does charity work partially to feed his own narcissism and partially to shut up the "phantom cries" of the sick and dying that haunt him. That said, he is actually doing some good work, but his inability to reconcile his philanthropy with his egotism is what drives Diane to quit her job as his biographer.
  • The Anti-Nihilist:
    • Todd is aware his life matters very little and nothing he'll ever do will mean that much to anyone, but he still moves on, hoping to do the best out of it. Now, if only he wasn't a Destructive Savior...
    • Cuddlywhiskers escaped his Hollywoo home and took shelter in his Ojai hut to get a moment of peace. When BoJack and Diane find him, he simply admits he's become miserable with the awards and stardom so he just decided to skip town and simply find new meaning in a simpler life. Even when asked about this ehe's left behind, he simply admits he had to take care of his own happiness first.
    • BoJack might be on his way of becoming one of this as of 'What Time Is It Right Now?'.
  • Anti-Villain: Much like heroes, villains as figures of hatred don't really exist as much as simply oppose the protagonists in any capacity, be it because they're obstructive, irrational, petty or simply have a different opinion. Rarely are any of them irredeemable and any could switch back and forth in any direction if motivated by interest, morality or simple curiosity.
    • BoJack and Princess Carolyn easily tick this box as well, being Lighter and Softer versions of Villain Protagonists from time to time. BJ's not a bad guy but he can just as fill the role of protagonist and antagonist within the same scene by his rather twisted reasoning, damaging vices and asshole behavior. PC, on the other hand, leans more toward this alignment as time goes by, as she's not above crushing people if it creates some benefits for her client and earns her more money, be it lying, manipulating or betraying loved ones; not to say, her Control Freak nature and refusal to accept defeat.
    • Neal McBeal, the Navy SEAL? is a petty high-ranking fella who believes his rank entitles him to respect from civilians and stars, even if he's out of duty and not hot shit material, no matter how much he screams about it on national television. He's right on one thing: Stars shouldn't be above judgement, even if stars and stripes shouldn't be, either.
    • Angela Diaz is a cold and stoic executive who's primary motivation is to earn money for the network. She frequently dishes out Breaking Speeches like candy and thinks nothing of destroying people's lives. Her decision to fire Herb, however, comes out of professional necessity: Herb was caught getting it on in a public restroom with another guy at a time where gays were hated by the general public. The worst thing Angela does is keep BoJack from signing his career death sentence by standing up for Herb. BJ's decision to demonize Angela for what happened comes partly from an inability to accept the complicated situation and his part on it.
    • Lenny Turtletaub is a business-savvy producer who doesn't care about any of his movies's quality or budget as long as he gets his investment back and is honest about seeing each crew member as a commodity. Oddly, he's a strangely sympathetic jackass who can be reasonable, pragmatic and willing to work again with problematic celebrities. Not to say, he embodies some of the pros and cons of executive approach to film.
    • The two bird paparazzo fit the bill only because of their ineffectual attempts at blackmail don't even amount to Poke the Poodle.
    • Tom Jumbo-Grumbo – cushy mouthpiece for Hollywoo's grand and powerful, dismissive of genuine issues in the industry, an ass to his crew and a rather gruff father figure to the people who work in his newscast. Not to say his zigzagging on hating and loving his ex-wives. He also deeply cares about the people he works with, shows genuine concern when Randy passes out on his keyboard, and admonishes the other newsroom workers for not treating each other as a family.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: The blind executor who presents Herb's disk to the Horsin' Around cast. He soon lampshades this.
    Executor: Still, Herb thought me wise for some reason. Perhaps it is my overly formal manner of speech. I bid you good day.
  • Anyone Remember Pogs?: All of the Funny Background Events in the flashbacks to the '80s, '90s, and 2007. All of them.
  • Anyone Can Die: Despite being an animated sitcom, the show embraces this as much as a live-action drama or an action show, if in a bleakly deterministic way: everyone dies, their legacies a husk for everyone to pick apart or do as they feel like and it could happen at any moment, in any way and anywhere.
  • Apple of Discord: Wanda's second joke involves a girl who finds old love letters and decides to respond. The letter she sends to her previous boyfriend ends up as a fuse for a fight with her current boyfriend. It's less the fact that she send it and more that she acknowledges some lovey-dovey details included that could be misinterpreted.
  • Arbitrarily Large Bank Account:
    • Bojack lives in a spacious mansion overlooking Los Angeles and is certainly not frugal otherwise, buying restaurants and small yachts on a whim, but has done very little work since "Horsin' Around" ended. Somewhat Truth in Television, as lead television actors in such insanely popular sitcoms often top out as the highest paid actors in Hollywood period, between the money they get per episode they also get royalties for every rerun worldwide, making them so financially stable that any other projects they do is purely for their own amusement.
    • Mr. Peanutbutter had similar spending habits, but his accountant had to approach him and explain that dropping $50,000 a piece on random business ideas Todd came up was actually driving him broke and he HAD to pick up a new gig or he would lose his house. At the least he does seem to be busier than Bojack, more often seen doing commercials and smaller tv projects.
  • Arc Symbol:
    • Throughout "Time's Arrow", there are three books being read by Beatrice with covers saying the duration of the Time Skips. Then, near the end, those three books appear in Young Beatrice's room and are burnt in the fireplace by Beatrice's father's servants, due to her illness. This is meant to represent the effects that dementia has on the person, it destroys the passage of time.
    • Through her life, Beatrice was never allowed to eat ice-cream, claiming it was a food for boys. During her youngster years, Beatrice met Corbin Creamerman, one of her suitors, who was the heir to Creamerman Industries (dairy products of any kind, ice-cream as well) and sympathized with her due to their mutual daddy issues. Just when it seemed Beatrice was starting to come around to him, she ends pregnant and elopes with Butterscotch in a vain hope he'd make it big with his novel and she'd still have the luxuries she was accustomed to. Several years later, she regrets everything in her life. In other words, Beatrice was denied ice-cream and when she had the chance to have it, it was ruined by youth mistakes.
    • In season 5, especially in "The Showstoppers", the floating Philbert balloon. In the episode, it was more or less used to represent whenever Bojack was worsening his connection to reality. When he fully loses it, he climbs the stairs that keep re-appearing in his hallucinations and finds nothing but the balloon there, staring back at him.
  • Arc Words: Several per season, and some even carry on through the series depending on the context.
    • Season 1:
    • Said in the same episode, but during a flashback, Sarah Lynn says, "I want to be an architect." This sentiment carries on into later episodes.
      • "Say Anything" has BoJack ask Princess Carolyn "What are we doing?" multiple times.
    • Season 2:
      • Variations of "You wanted this." Comes back in a season 4 flashback when Butterscotch tells Beatrice, "You wanted that baby. Never forget that."
      • "What are you doing here?" It originates in the first episode as a line BoJack is given in the Secretariat movie that he repeatedly fails due to his newfound optimism and happiness. It takes until his mother's brutal phone call at the end of the episode for him to speak it with the correct inflection. After that, it reappears all throughout the season. The line also comes up in a season four flashback to when a pregnant Beatrice tracked down Butterscotch.
    • Season 4: "Time's arrow neither stands still nor reverses, it merely marches forward." starting in "The Old Sugarman Place". Just "time's arrow" and other references to time are used as well, as the season contains many flashbacks, and a big theme of season 4 is leaving the past behind.
      • Across the whole show, there are slight variations of "you destroy/harm everything you touch." In Season 4, this develops into "your poison/sickness is in everything" most prominently in Bojack's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to himself and Joseph's explanation of why Beatrice's toys have to be burned. It's referencing The Chain of Harm in Bojack's family: each member "infects" the others (plus everyone else around them) and the problem is so deep-rooted that there is no escape from it.
    • "The best thing that ever happened" crops up a lot. It's usually in reference to Princess Carolyn and Bojack's relationship, as the latter always says it to PC when bad things happen and he needs her love and comfort, thus why it acts as the title of the season 3 episode focusing on their relationship. It also pops up in the Horsin' Around Christmas episode when the Horse tells Sabrina her parents' death was the best thing that ever happened to him, and in the season 4 episode "Underground" when Diane calls Mr. Peanutbutter the "best thing that ever happened" to her (and we see later in the season that, just like with Bojack and Princess Carolyn, that belief can't prevent their relationship from falling apart).
  • Armor-Piercing Question: The Closer's M.O. in episode 7 of season 3.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In "That Went Well" one of the orcas can briefly be seen vaping through her mouth, and the exhaling the smoke through her blowhole, an anatomical impossibility.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Played for Laughs in Season 4, when California spends billions of tax dollars to construct a highway to Hawaii. LA is roughly as far away from Hawaii as it is from New York, so this would be a 40-hour drive, assuming no stops or traffic (and in what we see of the drive, the traffic is bumper-to-bumper).
  • Artistic License – History:
    • It goes without saying that Secretariat was not Driven to Suicide at the age of 27 after getting caught betting on his own races. In fact, the scene with Secretariat specifically take place in 1973, when the real Secretariat was three years old.
    • Nor did Richard Nixon ever made a deal behind curtains with Secretariat to send his brother to 'Nam in his place or had a (possible) illegitimate son who works at the museum. Nor was Checkers his bodyguard.
    • And of course, J. D. Salinger really is dead. Not alive or working in game shows.
    • In this universe, Laika (the first dog to go to space) is still alive, giving interviews. Putting aside her age, the real Laika died because there were no precautions to ensure her safety and no way to get her back from orbit. How did this Laika survived is a mystery.
  • Artistic License – Awards: BoJack wins a Golden Globe for his memoirs. Lampshaded by BoJack himself in that it is neither a comedy or a musical... or even a movie. Bonus points in that BoJack didn't even write his memoirs, they were ghostwritten by Diane. note 
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Diane's handling of a pistol in season four is atrocious. It's hard to know how much of this was intentional, given the role firearms play in that episode's plot. She literally doesn't realize she's holding the gun half the time!
  • Art Shift: A few.
    • The Shout-Out to Peanuts during BoJack's Mushroom Samba.
    • During Princess Carolyn's Imagine Spot in "The Shot" It shifts to a Thomas Kinkade-esque style.
    • Wanda's jokes are illustrated with still storybook-esque paintings.
    • Bojack's internal self-talk in Season 4 is illustrated with simplistic high-speed sketches
    • Season 4 features a scene showing Princess Carolyn's ancestors done with cut outs of real cats for the faces
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: "Chickens" makes it clear that yes, there are omnivores in-universe despite every animal being a person, meaning people are eating each other with the only ethical boundary being that the people bred for food are rendered too mindless to protest.
  • Asexuality: Todd discovers that he's asexual over the course of the third season. It's hinted at when he repeatedly turns down Emily for sex, clearly terrified at the thought of it, and he all but states it by the season finale.
    Todd: I'm not gay. I mean, I don't think I am, but... I don't think I am straight, either. I don't know what I am. I think I might be nothing.
    • His initial discomfort with the label and eventual embrace of it are dealt with in season four, at the end of which, he enters a romantic relationship with an asexual woman.
    • Yolanda Bienaventura, an axolotl and Todd's aforementioned Implied Love Interest. She's not aromantic, though, and expresses a fondness for Todd, which impulses her to ask him out.
  • Author Appeal:
    • In-Universe, Sarah Lynn's music video for "Prickly Muffin" (from the episode of the same name) takes place in a planetarium, it makes more sense in "That's Too Much, Man" when it's revealed that she really likes planetariums.
    • Diane Nguyen's preferred subjects are equines, grand figures and important humane subjects. As such, her bibliography consists of biographies (Secretariat: A Life) or tell-all first person portraits of equine celebrities (One Trick Pony).
    • Kelsey Jannings's movies, while critically acclaimed and getting her the director chair for Secretariat, are mostly biopics/have environmental messages and have lesbians in them (e.g. Women Who Love Women Who Love Recycling, Billie Jean King Is Not My Lover). Doubles as Write Who You Know since she is a Butch Lesbian and a Soapbox Sadie. Because of the limited audience for her movies, however, she takes the job as director of the biopic.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Most of Hollywoo has a policy of look over practicality, so it makes sense some examples may pop up.
    • BoJack's lifestyle, personality and home are this at the core. His lifestyle is partying and drinking (which is genuinely fun) to forget his problems (not so fun) which turns him into an unreliable person, his personality is charming and honest but also self-loathing and self-destructive and his house has an elegant yet simple braggart of a Nouveau Riche: quick to acquire the best of the best, but with little thought or care for how well it fits together.
    • VIM Agency, Princess Carolyn's new agency at the start of season 3, turns into this quickly. It's a great concept in paper and with PC at the helm and her good leadership skills and responsibility, managing a bigger agency looks like an easy task; however, it soon becomes clear that going from agent to chief doesn't necessary mean that such skills might translate well to PC's new position as compromised boss instead of a more free-wheeled agent. True to form, VIM becomes a burden to handle in between the budget, the constant losses of clients and PC's Wrong Genre Savvy approach, with a disastrous focus on bigger expansion stretching any quality work, not helped by the boss's Hands-On Approach. It's kept barely afloat with the mutual collaboration of PC and her Hyper-Competent Sidekick Judah.
    • The bridge California-Hawaii from the legislation "I ♡ California" in season 4's governor arc is this personified: It's supposed to be a faster alternative to an airplane trip to Hawaii (although its inclusion was part of a False Flag Operation on Katrina's part) and the masses love it, but its construction leads to problems all through the season: there might have been resources to rescue certain fracking victims if it had never been constructed....and the trip takes about 40 hours, all day with traffic as Mr. PB and Diane find out in "What Time Is It Right Now?".
    • Speaking of that bridge, Mr. Peanutbutter's gubernatorial campaign is this as well –– through season 4, Mr. Peanutbutter precedes his claims with statements about "being in the side of facts", freedom and feelings with his natural likability selling the audience on this. His actions say otherwise: there's the legislation "I ♡ California" which now allows governors to be chosen through bogus contests as collateral, his horrid handling of the "Underground" situation which almost cost everyone their lives, his stupid belief he might do better than the experienced incumbent just because he's always gotten what he wanted. It's almost a miracle he dropped out of the race... shame Katrina had other plans.
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    B 
  • Bald of Awesome: Herb Kazzaz, with a touch of Cool Old Guy. Cancer has done little to stop his ventures...or his sharp sense of humor.
  • Bald of Evil: Richie Osbourne (Goober in Horsin' Around) is as shiny as a cue ball, molested some Laker girls and ran a strip joint named "Whale World", doubling as a drug smuggling operation.
  • Bat Deduction: When Todd is helping BoJack sabotage Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter's wedding.
    Todd: Let's see: Mr. Peanutbutter likes having his tummy scratched, and Diane's family is from Vietnam, which is where Vietnamese food come from, and since that goes in your tummy...
  • Bait-and-Switch: In "Still Broken", the once-stars of Horsin' Around are trying to remember the password to Herb's computer, when Joelle has a flashback to her days on the show after Herb was fired, where Herb tells her very clearly that "family is the most important thing". Back in the present, she excitedly remembers the password: password.
  • Batman Gambit: Princess Carolyn pulls one off against Vanessa Gekko in "Prickly-Muffin".
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • More than once, this is one of BoJack's foibles. For all of his talk about his rotten luck and what could make his life worthwhile, when he does get what he thinks he needs, it's in a way to show why that's not the answer he's looking for. One might argue his life is a constant cycle of "expectative-disillusionment", rinse and repeat.
      • He admired Secretariat when he was younger and wished to be just like him? He's now and wants to get out because it's not all it's cracked up to be. Later, he stars as his hero in his biopic, only to observe how similar their lives are and how failing to change himself might lead him down the same route.
      • He wished to be in a normal family, surrounded by loved ones? He got his wish by starring in Horsin' Around, only for his flaws and mistakes to turn everyone into individuals as screwed and unhappy as he is and personally partaking in one of them's self destruction and death. Sarah Lynn, to be precise, who served as a surrogate daughter for him. He tried the same later? He almost sleeps with his old flame's daughter, destroying their relationship.
      • BoJack's biggest wish was to become famous at any cost, thinking this would earn him appreciation and acceptance from the general public and forgiveness from his parents' part. To do so, he abandoned his best friend Herb Kazzaz after a controversy (who was the one who gave him the job in H. A.) and rejected a possible happier future with an old flame Charlotte Moore. Attempts to connect again lead to their friendships ending permanently.
      • He wanted to separate from Princess Carolyn constantly by being a huge jerkass toward her. Once she finally starts dating casually, he realizes how jealous he feels about it. And parting professionally as well, she is unable to tell him about his (possible) illegitimate daughter.
      • His autobiography, which he thought would return him to the spotlight, includes everything from his deepest fears to his personal secrets with no filter to go around it, presenting him as he is: flawed. Being the self-delusional narcissist he is, BoJack suffers a breakdown.
      • After Secretariat faces Executive Meddling after a focus group session gone wrong, BoJack persuades Kelsey, the director, to play a risky gambit involving a crucial (and according to Turtletaub, controversial) scene with Secretariat and Richard Nixon to convince the producers not to change the tone of the movie, instead keeping it gritty. It costs Kelsey her job and ensures the Tone Shift both were trying to avoid in the first place. invoked
      • BoJack calls out Abe, Kelsey’s replacement for directing the Secretariat biopic, for his nonchalance about lousy takes and suggests that they do more. Then, under the assumption that Abe is as self-aware of what kind of movie he's making as he is, casually refers to the movie as shit, Abe makes him do as many takes as possible just to spite him. invoked
      • Once he finally gets what he wanted, a supposed daughter in Hollyhock, BoJack has seen enough in Sarah Lynn and Penny to convince himself he's nothing more than a toxic influence on everyone. So, he tries to simply help her and move on. Subverted when in spite of several difficulties, both end up bonding, even when Hollyhock turns out to be his half-sister.
    • The Horseman-Sugarman family, due to their own issues passed from generation to generation, had this trait as well:
      • CrackerJack wanted to be a patriot and model son and decided to fight in World War II. He was dead by winter.
      • Honey wanted the pain of her son's death to go away. She was lobotomized. Moreover, before that she wanted to feel alive again, which made her do all sorts of stupid, reckless stunts resulting in a car crash in which her only remaining daughter was injured which is what caused her to be lobotomized in the first place.
      • Joseph is perhaps the one most guilty of this: he wanted to have his model family again –– obedient wife, alive son, promising daughter. He lobotomized his wife because he didn't understand her pain and it's the only thing he could think of doing, leaving her an obedient, braindead wife who could no longer take care of Beatrice; Bea, for her part, grew to resent her father and constantly fought him over her future, eventually eloping with Butterscotch. This caused the Family Business to be absorbed by larger corporations and the family wealth to fall in decline.
      • Beatrice grew up believing in the stories books told her and the hope of a better future. Because of her inexperience and desire to escape, she got knocked up with the first scoundrel she found charming and lived an unfulfilled life with nothing but regret and hate in her mind.
      • Butterscotch wanted to be a novelist and be someone of importance. His arrogance and need for attention led him to knock up Beatrice and refuse to compromise anything of his life in a tug-of-war neither was willing to lose. He published a book... without any fanfare and long after failing at everything. The only ones who know him, Bea and Bojay, don't really care that much for him.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: In Season 5, when BoJack starts talking to a therapist, he convinces himself it's okay because he's not seeing her as a dirty therapist, but as a friend he can confide in.
  • Berserk Button:
    • BoJack has amassed a few:
    • Princess Carolyn: Playing with her, at work or intimately. Also, honeydew.
    • Diane: Disrespecting women and suggesting her opinion doesn't matter. She also reacts very strongly when BoJack says they are the same
    • Mr. Peanutbutter: Disrupting his idyllic fantasies and bringing up serious matters. Also, don't call him stupid or suggest people don't love him.
    • Todd: Betrayal, small or big. Not listening to his ideas.
    • Margo Martindale hates when people forget her name due to her "character actress" status or just when they tell her what to do.
    • Katrina, PB's cold ex-wife, is Enraged by Idiocy.
    • Kelsey hates unprofessionalism and do-overs. She does her crossword with sharpies. Sharpies, for fuck's sake.
    • Abe, Kelsey's replacement, doesn't take kindly at having his work referred as "shit", even if it is. He'll fly into hysterics and punish whoever said it.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Averted. See Interspecies Romance.
  • Big Eater: BoJack. One might say he eats like a horse.
  • Big Storm Episode: Season 3's "Old Acquaintance", where most of the episode involves the final day of 2015 and the rainiest. Given that it's a by-design tipping point in the season when things turn to shit, it has shades of A Storm Is Coming.
  • Binge Montage: Hollywoo(d)ites frequently go on benders. This trope is to be expected. Of course, considering the nature of the series, rather than glamorous shows of excess, it also shows its murky reasoning, its shitty effects and all of the Addled Addicts present in every party. Not to say, the reflective phase when something awful has happened because of the usual liquid courage....
    • "Prickly Muffin": Sarah Lynn's "drug-and-sex" party at BoJack's is a long one extended through the episode. It constantly interrupts BJ and Diane's sessions and leaves the house a complete wreck.
    • "Downer Ending": In an attempt to get some inspiration to finish his autobiography after firing Diane, BJ, Todd and Sarah Lynn binge on cocaine and alcohol. Of course, it gets weirder...
    • "It's You": BoJack's Oscar Nomination party is as debauched as it sounds.
    • "That's Too Much, Man!" brutally deconstructed this trope – BJ and Sarah Lynn's binge black-outs blot out several memories, plunge them into deeper trouble and lead to Sarah Lynn's death.
    • "Ruthie": Princess Carolyn, Todd and the Clown Dentists throw a booze fest in PC's apartment after PC miscarries — for the fifth time.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The show is, by design, very anti-catharsis, so every season ends less on a high note as much as a Hope Spot.
    • Season 1: BoJack gets a Golden Globe for his memoir and even lands the leading role in his dream movie, though it's clear he's going to have to work even harder to get the fame and happiness he's not even sure he deserves anymore. Everyone on the show still has their problems with no end in sight, but they've all managed to get just a little happier with themselves after everything they've gone through in the first season.
    • Season 2 even moreso: BoJack is just barely closer to making the big improvement in his life that he hoped for, his attempted comeback in the Secretariat movie didn't pan out like he'd hoped, he's had a falling out with Wanda and completely burned a bridge with Charlotte, but he's at least made peace with Todd, and he's still willing to work hard to get back in shape and turn his life around. And his look in the final shot shows that he's more determined than ever.
    • Season 3 ends with Mr. Peanutbutter on the path to becoming Governor of California after he saves a drowning crew with his strainers, Diane getting a job for a feminist blogging site with a strong implication that she'll end up writing stories about her husband, Todd and Emily settling into becoming Just Friends, and Princess Carolyn in a happy relationship while also considering getting into a career identical to her old one in all but name. BoJack himself just barely gets one: he's driven away practically all of his friends, indirectly kills another, has a panic attack on the first day of his next project and comes dangerously close to committing suicide. But a herd of wild horses running catches his eye at the last minute that inspires him again.
    • Season 4 ends in the most bittersweet way yet: The ending leaves it ambiguous as to whether Bojack has come any closer to forgiving his mother for a lifetime of mistreatment, but at the very least he seems to understand that he missed his chance for a Calling the Old Man Out moment with her forever because she now has dementia, and he chooses instead to take the high road and remind her of happier times. He is not Hollyhock's father, but she has recovered from her overdose, he has done a very selfless thing tracking down her mother for her, and she decides to accept him as her brother. Meanwhile, Mr. Peanutbutter still does not understand Diane's love language and while they still love each other, Diane breaks down in tears, exhausted by the constant exertion required to keep their marriage from falling apart, with the implication of divorce soon to come. Princess Carolyn has miscarried again and separated from the first man who has ever treated her with respect, but is encouraged by her friends who tell her she would make a good mother and that she should consider adoption. Todd has decided to embrace the label of asexual and begins a relationship with Yolanda, who is also asexual.
    • Season 5 ends on quite the bittersweet note as well: After half a season of spiraling downwards due to his personal issues and his growing addition to painkillers, Bojack finally has a complete breakdown while filming Philbert and winds up strangling Gina, his co-star and love interest, on-set, permanently destroying their relationship. He genuinely wants to admit to his guilt in a PR interview, but Gina begs him not to due to how it would ruin her career, which forces him to relent. Left with no alternatives other than try to improve on his own and failing again like he's done for all his life, Diane instead suggests he go to rehab, which he accepts. Meanwhile, Diane is still divorced and living in squalor, but manages to assert her independence by rejecting Mr. Peanutbutter's attempts to get back together with her, and reaffirms her friendship with Bojack and desire to help him in spite of learning of what he did with Penny in season 2. Mr. Peanutbutter cheats on Pickles with Diane, and instead of coming clean with her about it and coming to terms with how he still loves Diane, decides to propose to her, meaning she's likely on the same doomed trajectory as the rest of his failed relationships. Princess Carolyn finally gets the baby she wanted, but names her as 'Untitled Princess Carolyn Project', implying that having a child really hasn't solved her personal issues like she'd hoped and that she's now got a long road ahead as a single mother. Todd winds up losing his job when Mr. Fondle is ousted from its position as CEO of WhatTimeIsItRightNow, which also results in Philbert getting cancelled, and his two romantic pursuits both end unsuccessfully. He's ultimately forced to destroy Mr. Fondle to stop it from hurting anyone else.
  • Black Comedy: The show's is damn near vantablack when it comes to its comedy. Some examples include:
    • The series' constant down-to-earth depiction of everyday misery, clinical depression, consumerism in an increasingly spiritual empty world and use of philosophical Kafka Komedy can get like this when coupled with the normal absurdism of Hollywoo.
    • The series finale of Horsin' Around apparently has BoJack's character dying of a broken heart due to his three adopted orphans not appreciating him enough, who are in turn handed over to the child protective services.
      BoJack: We might've gone too dark on that series finale.
    • Most, if not all, of BoJack's flashbacks to his Abusive Parents:
      Beatrice Horseman: (dryly) Here's your omelet. (throws it on the table) I'm sorry it's not as good as the omelets your secretary makes, but then you're not married to your secretary, are you?
      Butterscotch Horseman: (bitterly) Well, maybe if my secretary also refused to get an abortion, I would be!
      (camera pans to reveal a young BoJack sitting at the table)
      Young BoJack: Mommy, can I have an omelet?
      Beatrice Horseman: You're the birthday boy.
    • The many, many examples of Bloody Hilarious in the series. See below.
    • Any mention of Sarah Lynn's family life (especially her Stage Mom with Casting Couch tendencies and her...ahem, stepfather) is bound to loaded with Gallows Humor, at least until the end.
    • The meat industry/competition between Chicken 4 Days and Gentle Farms and its explanation In-Universe. Carnivore Confusion indeed!
    • Then, there's what happened during the dinner party for Mr. Peanutbutter's governor campaign in season 4. Poor Zach Braff. May his meat have pleased those starving.
  • Black Comedy Burst: Nothing is beyond reach, but some jokes are dark even by this show's standards.
    • Cordovia's situation, with armless citizens getting their arms badly reattached, kids hungry enough to try to eat someone and daily bombings killing millions, should be depressing; yet it's hilarious by the over-the-top way it's presented and Sebastian St. Clair's narcissistic handling of the disaster.
    • In "That's Too Much, Man!", BoJack, drunk, confuses a kid with Todd, which the parents confuse as an attempt to kidnap their son. Then, they remember BoJack's rich and they try pimping out the little boy.
  • Black Comedy Cannibalism: Zigzagged depending on who's doing it and whether it's justified or not.
    • The meat industry in this verse is treated the same way it's treated in the real world: living beings are bred and cooked for the evolved ones to eat, mostly mentally retarded animals who are even tenderized by their civilized counterparts. The humor comes from how hilariously wrong it is to see people treat this as normal, even if it's also Played for Drama by showing how inhumane the process is, regardless of any argument.
    • Zach Braff's death is pure comedy-horror personified, because nobody expected it. Still, since several celebrities were trapped underground and Sanity Slippage was running amok, most of the deranged accepted it as necessary as a sacrifice to the "Fire". Everyone except Braff himself.
    Zach Braff: WWWHHHHYYYYYYY??????
  • Black Comedy Rape:
    • When the Horsin' Around cast reunites in Herb's post-funeral gathering and attempts to find Herb's "gold", Sarah Lynn reveals she can taste bear fur since "[her] stepfather was a bear", earning an uncomfortable look from everyone there. In a flashback, a younger Sarah Lynn mentions to Joelle of her bear-stepfather's "insistence on taking pictures of her". It's mostly Played for Laughs, since she seems nonplussed about it at least until the end.
    • Then, there's what Richie Osbourne (Goober) did to those Laker girls.....
    • Henry Fondle is a constant source of black comedy sexual harassment. Part of its humor is hearing a sexbot say the most outrageous porn Stock Phrases and see him go all the way up the hierarchy ladder.
  • Black Sheep: Literal example. Diane has a brother who is (literally, taxonomically) a black sheep. Diane herself fits the actual definition of the term.
    BoJack: So you were the black sheep?
    Diane: No, Gary's the black sheep. He's adopted. I'm just the member of the family nobody likes.
  • The Blank: Most of the attendees at Beatrice's debutante ball
  • Bland-Name Product: Girl Croosh seems to be a hybrid of Buzzfeed and Cosmo.
  • Bloody Hilarious: For a satirical Black Comedy about life in Hollywoo(d), blood does surely tends to pop up a lot. When it happens, expect people to either react nonchalant about it or appearing in such a ludicrous and over the top way that it ends coming across as funny.
    • Sarah Lynn does it in "Prickly Muffin" when she finds out her boyfriend Andrew Garfield is leaving her. What does she do? Stab herself with some rusty bayonets with some High-Pressure Blood...in order to draw attention from the public to their breakup, precisely what Andrew wanted to avoid.
    • During Todd's lockup in prison in "Our A-Story Is A D-Story", one fella tries to calm him down, telling him to stay with him and everything will be fine just in time to be brutally stabbed to death. Multiple times. With quite amazing skills. Todd is left a bit traumatized by the whole thing.
    • An In-Universe example occurs in season 3's "Love And/Or Marriage": Ralph Stilton, Princess Carolyn's (3rd) blind date, tells a funny story in which he somehow ended up caught in a mousetrap and ran like a madman "splattering blood everywhere".
    • Season 5's "Planned Obsolescence" has Yolanda rip her twin sister Mindy's arms off during a fight. Being an axolotl, it doesn't slow Mindy down.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three orphans in Horsin Around.
  • Bonding Over Missing Parents: With Abusive Parents and Parental Abandonment rampant, BoJack loves this trope.
    • BoJack and Diane's close friendship is sealed when both come clean about their crumbling families: BoJack, because he wants to cheer Diane up and Diane, because she lied to BoJack and she can't keep her uncaring façade anymore. This gets twisted when BJ falls hard for Diane with both having different conceptions of their "relationship".
      • Same happens with Princess Carolyn, since she had a drunk mother whose irresponsibility led her to take over her job and become a workaholic; and Sarah Lynn, who's negligent mother and perverted step-father led her to seek happiness through fame. Of course, unlike Diane, this trope is subverted as neither of them manage to get to BoJack during each of their time together, due to both parties' (BoJack's mostly) dysfunction. It's especially relevant in Sarah Lynn's case where precise timing could have been important in reaching out, leading to much heartbreak and unspoken hurt in the process.
      • Happens again with Hollyhock, his (supposedly) illegitimate daughter, only this time due to BJ being wary of his previous failures and Hollyhock already knowing of his rapport, their relationship works on a healthier level.
    • In her youth, Beatrice bonded with Creamerman heir Corbin Creamerman over their similar broken households (Bea having lost her mother Honey to a lobotomy and her brother CrackerJack to World War II) and oppressive remaining parents (Bea was left with a sociopathic father as her jailor until her ripening; Corbin had an abusive father who tried toughening up and rejected every one of his ideas for the company). This after failing to talk about anything despite their clear engagement. Unfortunately, Beatrice was already pregnant with BoJack around that time, which made their growing connection pointless.
  • Book-Ends:
    • Adult Sarah Lynn's first appearance is in a planetarium doing a music video. Her last appearance, also her last moments alive are in a planetarium. Additionally, she foretold her death quite accurately and succinctly in her first appearance, predicting that she would surround herself with sycophants and enablers until she died tragically young.
    • Mr Peanutbutter and Diane's marriage starts and appears to end with Mr Peanutbutter making a grand showy gesture, the type that Diane hates. When Diane accepts his proposal it turns into a huge surprise party that Diane immediately bails on. When Diane breaks down and accepts her marriage is failing, it was because Mr Peanutbutter turned part of their new house into her fantasy "Belle" library, having failed to understand that it was a symbolic fantasy and not literal.
    • One of Kelsey's first appearances in "Later" has her talking with BoJack through the phone about gaining the role of Secretariat (the beginning of their relationship). By contrast, her last appearance in season 3, "Old Acquaintance" has Kelsey at her wit's end berating BJ and PC over the phone due to their requests screwing her project, before hanging up on BoJack (the end of their relationship).
    • BoJack and Princess Carolyn's relationship's up and downs begin and end (series wise) in the restaurant Elefante between season 1 and season 3. Adding some ironic flavor to the mix, their roles are inverted: PC is the one breaking up with BoJack at the beginning due to their dysfunctional relationship, not respecting her and him not wanting to have children with her; at the end, it's BoJack who's breaking up with her professionally after causing him to lose 3 deals (and let down someone he cared about).
    • In the season 1 finale, "Later", BoJack's last scene shows him at the observatory, Golden Globe in hand, gazing into the distance unsure of himself after achieving everything he could ever dream of. Season 4's finale, "What Time Is It Right Now?", ends with BoJack looking from his poolside into the distance with the biggest smile he's ever had.
  • Boredom Montage: In "Live Fast, Diane Nguyen" when Todd's left home alone in BoJack's house while he goes with Diane to New York and later, to Boston. Also used in "Downer Ending" when BoJack is trying to write a book after firing Diane as his biographer and finds himself with writer's block, using excuses like nonexistent noises from Todd and crumbles on the floor.
  • Bottle Episode: "Free Churro" only features one location and one character: BoJack giving Beatrice’s eulogy at a funeral parlor. Unfortunately, the wrong one.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: With J. D. Salinger.
    Princess Carolyn: As one of the 20th Century's most celebrated authors, J.D. Salinger has inspired countless dreamers, eighth-graders, and occasionally assassins.
  • Breather Episode:
    • After the intense, trippy and heartrending "Downer Ending", "Later" is a lighthearted (for the most part) episode with things going right in BoJack's life and career for once, Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter's wacky shenanigans, and, while ending the season on a melancholy note for our hero, everyone is better off than they were at the start of the season in some way.
    • Following suit, Season 2's "Out to Sea" isn't the cheeriest episode ever, but it's far less emotionally devastating than "Escape From LA".
    • Season 3's finale "That Went Well" starts out as this, with Bojack agreeing to do the "Horsin' Around" reboot and effectively Passing the Torch to Bradley, but then dives right back into tearjerker territory by the end of the episode.
    • Season 4 has "Hooray! A Todd Episode!", which is very needed after the heavy events of "The Old Sugarman Place". To a minor degree, "What Time Is It Right Now" is a darker example than the rest in this list, but it's a light breeze after the dizzy, heartbreaking events of "Time's Arrow".
  • Brick Joke: There are very, very few throw-away gags. Nearly everything that happens in the show either comes into play or is somehow relevant in future episodes, most notable being the "Hollywoo" scandal eventually being made into a movie which ends up somehow being turned into a bi-monthly snack basket, which also comes up again later.
    • In the second episode there's a joke about getting drugs at a Halloween party from some guy named "Doctor Who". In the second to last episode, when BoJack needs drugs, he gets to meet Dr. Hu in person.
    • "After the Party" actually references the Trope Namer with a two-part joke told by Wanda. The first part involves a farmer who always knows the exact amount of mulch for a job, but ends up with a left-over bag of mulch once, and throws it off a highway. The joke seemingly ends there, leaving BoJack underwhelmed by the payoff. Later, she tells an apparently unrelated joke about a woman sending an old love letter to an ex-boyfriend of hers, which worries her current boyfriend. Her boyfriend drops her home but then realises that there's a presence from the backseat of the car. He checks, and finds... the bag of mulch from the first story. The punchline connecting the two jokes encourages BoJack to have patience in their relationship, because some things are only understood with time.
    • The spaghetti-strainer subplot that spans the entirety of Season 3. Lampshaded in episode 7.
      Mr. Peanutbutter: I figure the longer they're there, the bigger the payoff. And they've been sitting there for months now. So you can bet the payoff's gonna be pretty huge.
    • Also in Season 3, "Halloween in January" is apparently still unlocked and allows people to enter.
    • Season 2 has "QueefBurglar69" act as "leader" on a web forum discussing how much they hate Bojack on "Let's Find Out" — and he's one of the cited reviews for "Cabracadabra" in Season 3.
  • British Brevity: A Transatlantic Equivalent version. A normal season of BoJack Horseman (excluding the Christmas Episode) lasts around 12 30-minutes episodes, normal for a regular season of a TV drama, unusual for an animated series whose seasons last around 22 episodes. On top of that, its number of episodes is short even for an adult cartoon, yet probably too long for British Television. However, since it evokes this trope in spirit, it counts as an example.
  • Butt-Monkey: Oh, boy. And keeping with the tone, it's less the ones at the top of the system who'd often deserve but rather the people lower at the totem pole who suffer the misfortune of getting the short end of the stick.
    • It's all but stated that interns and other meager workers in Hollywoo are nothing but this: besides being underpaid, they all have to be dogs bodies and handymen for whatever task they're assigned all without any reward or acknowledgement from higher-ups, stars or co-workers. Lora, Debra, Miles and Veronica, boy, they could tell some stories about their great jobs...
      • Lora often suffers with being Princess Carolyn's secretary, especially when she has to deal with BoJack, constantly being tossed around and rarely thanked. By far and large, not getting a promotion was the last straw for her. Later, when things are going well, she discovers through Vanessa Gekko PC ensured she wouldn't be promoted to keep her around. This breaks Lora and ensures she cuts ties with PC.
      • Debra ends up in a fatal accident on set. Even when she recovers, her face ends up scarred and burned.
      • Miles discussed this as the reason why he can do whatever he wants: he's already an unpaid whipping boy, so why not wander around the place, giving him a wannabe Almighty Janitor vibe.
      • Veronica does most of the work around MBN, but nobody bothers checking if she might be behind a door. The stress is also making her lose her feathers.
    • Todd seems to get this the worst, often being involved in side plots that have little to do with the main episode's conflict, which never get noticed by the main cast as he's usually managed to dig himself out by episode's end.
    • BoJack, as well. Part of his character is to feel miserable and find that every way out of it (or at least, those known as cliches to escape the sinking feeling: y'know, temporary solutions) are just ways of avoiding it instead of confronting it directly. He's been humiliated, corrected, called out on everything he's ever done, used by people, etc. Practically, he hardly ever wins and when he does, he often wonders if it was worth it.
    • Pinky Penguin, none other. As sad-sack as a character can get to the point of reaching Gil-like levels of rotten luck, Pinky's life is a long parade of humiliation and near wins followed by a string of losses each taking a bigger toll on his anxiety and whatever shreds of self-respect he's got left. Cheated on and divorced, threatened by loan sharks, lost custody of his children, living in constant poverty, Kicked Upstairs as head of a sinking network. It's almost a guarantee whenever he appears that he'll end up worse than before, with no rock bottom in sight.
    • Diane is often ignored because of her personal views on several subjects (feminism especially), had a horrible childhood, grew to see herself become a social pariah in Boston and Hollywoo, suffers from depression and feels utterly miserable even when she wins. There's a reason she's BoJack's Distaff Counterpart.
    • Princess Carolyn zigzagged through this in seasons 1-3, only to fall into it in season 4: after losing Judah, miscarrying again and breaking up with Ralph, her alcoholism slowly takes over as she constantly makes a fool out of herself, becomes pitiable, anxious and transparent to the point of losing her touch, yanked from meeting to meeting and overall despairing over her bad luck and a good project coming her way that she even fakes BoJack's signature to get green light on a pilot, all while guessing this will break her reputation and career. She gets better after BoJack agrees to do it as a favor to her.
    • Kelsey just can't catch a break: She took directing Secretariat to help with the bills and pay for her daughter's education (since her divorce is bleeding her dry). However, being a passion director, she feels unfulfilled and apathetic toward the film until BJ convinces her to resist the executives and do the film true to life, which gets her fired. Returning to indie film, she fails to get much recognition until she pitches Jellie Belle as a movie role to BoJack, who accepts....only for a backstage war between PC and Vanessa Gekko to destroy her project, leaving her in a worse position than before.
    • Charley Witherspoon is supposed to develop a strong leadership aura and be ambitious enough to climb his way up the ladder. Instead, he's ill fit to even be an assistant to Princess Carolyn, messing up calls, getting stuck in the copy machine, destroying everything with his clumsiness and generally earning the scorn (at worst) and pity (at best) of his co-workers. Even when he becomes the boss, he's so clumsy, nervous and awkward no one takes him that seriously.
    • Bradley Hitler-Smith (Ethan) had a turbulent childhood with his parents divorcing after her mom slept with BoJack (something he doesn't remember) and being the least liked cast member/character of Horsin' Around. As he grew up, he found success outside Hollywoo as a tool retail salesman, but could never let go entirely of his stardom dreams. This leads to disaster when BJ hears about his proposed Horsin' Around spin-off and encourages him to do so (using his lead role as a draw for the budget), only for Bradley to go overboard in pursuing his dream to the point where he ends up heavily in debt. Once BJ gets cold feet with his filming schedule, he tries to dissuade him without confronting him. It goes as well as you'd expect. Finally, after much fuzz, shooting for the show starts until BJ suffers a panic attack and runs out the studio, with Bradley's dreams and efforts being for naught.
  • Butch Lesbian:
    • Kelsey Jannings. Of course, it only comes out of her mouth when she asks Diane if she's "[her] ex-wife's lawyer" but otherwise, she fits the look, if not attitude.
    • Karen, one half of the lesbian soon-to-be-wed couple in "Love And/Or Marriage".
  • Byronic Hero:
    • BoJack is the modern Trope Codifier. He'll rarely behave like a decent horse(man), but he wants to be good and is full of self-loathing for all of his failures. Not to say his uncalled snarky attitude. It's gradually deconstructed as for all of his Hidden Depths, people remember all too well every bridge he's burned and how little he has changed over the years.
    • Diane - intelligent, stubborn, condescending, selfish and running from a bad childhood. Her inability to accept society's status quo if she has something to say contrasts with her realization that she's just a nameless drone in Hollywoo.
    • Secretariat is a rare paragon example. Hollywoo venerates his story and he inspired several people to become the best they could be. He was depressive, quick to anger and often put his reputation above everything and anyone, loved ones included. Still, he sought to keep a friendly, calm image to maintain good will and popularity, as well as occasionally help any troubled individual.

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