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- Early-Bird Cameo:
- One of Ayako's coworkers is apparently targeting a blue-jay, who shows up later as one of the two guys trying to blackmail BoJack. Considering how much he and his partner were asking for, perhaps it's not surprising that he fell for the scam.
- In "Zoes and Zeldas", when Todd mentions how his video game addiction led to his girlfriend leaving him, we get a brief shot of her◊. His girlfriend, Emily, becomes an important character in Season 3.
- Hollyhock makes brief appearance in the third season finale and plays a much bigger role in the fourth season.
- The "Albino-Rhino-Gyno" first appears as a failed date with Princess Carolyn in season three's "Love And/Or Marriage", in season four he returns as her gynecologist when she and Ralph attempt to conceive a child.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In general, the first episodes are a lot more lighthearted than the pitch-black comedy the show would eventually become. This is partially why the initially critical response initially wrote it off as just another Family Guy wannabe.
- For one thing, there's an abundance of cutaway gags, something that would quickly be phased out in the middle of the first season.
- Mr. Peanutbutter and Diane are not part of the main group yet, with the former making a brief appearance during Bojack and Princess Carolyn's first of many break-ups and at the end when he attends the party at Bojack's and reveals himself to be Diane's boyfriend; and the latter appearing near the end of the episode.
- The pilot episode has Mr. Peanutbutter passive-aggressively tease and torment Bojack, which is at odds with his innocently clueless personality in subsequent episodes.
- The human-animal characters would make a lot more animal-appropriate noises in the first season, Bojack would winnie as dismissive scoffs or Mr. Peanut Butter growl after seeing the mailman. Such things do show up later on but is much more rare, with the joke focusing more on their animal-appropriate behaviors (Secretariat was a race horse in the sense of being a track star).
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Both how season one ends and a major theme of the show. The last words said in the season two finale put it best.Jogger: It gets easier.BoJack: Huh?Jogger: Every day, it gets a little easier.BoJack: Yeah?Jogger: But you gotta do it every day. That's the hard part. But it does get easier.BoJack: Okay.
- Easily Forgiven: Mocked with "The Forgivies" in Season 5, an awards show for celebrities who'd suffered a fall from grace and are viewed as contrite enough (or enough time having passed) for them to be forgiven and resume work.
- Easy Come, Easy Go: Todd helps create a successful startup and eventually sells it off for eight million dollars. In the very next scene, he celebrates by having lunch at a diner and accidentally tips the waitress eight million dollars. Even when he's made aware of this, he just laughs it off.
- Eiffel Tower Effect: Parodied in season six via a fictional building. After being at the centre of the plot for a couple of episodes, the Whitewhale Tower is used to show the action's moved to Chicago.
- Either/Or Offspring: The offspring of human/animal couples (or different species of animals) follow this trope.
- When Bojack Horseman dreams about having a daughter with his deer ex-girlfriend Charlotte, their child is a horse. But Charlotte's real-life children with her actual (human) husband are a deer daughter and a human son.
- When Diane (a human) has an (aborted) pregnancy due to her husband Mr. Peanutbutter (a dog), it's implied that she was expecting a puppy at the time.
- When Princess Carolyn (a cat) gets pregnant, she and her mouse fiance Ralph wonder if the baby will be a cat or a mouse.
- There's also Bojack's half-sister Hollyhock, who has a human mother, but she's a horse (because she and Bojack both share the same horse father).
- Sadie, the biological mother of the baby Princess Carolyn is adopting in season five, is a human, and the baby herself is a porcupine, like her father
- Enforced Cold War: When Beatrice moves in with BoJack at Hollyhock's insistence in season 4, he's all too willing to call out the old hag and make what's left of her life a misery as payback for a life of abuse. However, since Beatrice is already senile and Hollyhock has a soft spot for her (being the closest thing to a mother figure she has) and doesn't like it when he insults her, BoJack is content in restraining himself to small, petty comebacks toward Beatrice as a way to keep Hollyhock happy and trauma-free. Of course, that goes out the window when Bea poisons Hollyhock and BoJack, having had enough of her, reignites the feud and puts her in a crummy nursing home.
- Erotic Asphyxiation: The main subject of the episode "Higher Love."
- Erotic Eating: Discussed when in an attempt to convince BoJack to have sex, Penny mentions her ability to put a condom on a banana. Not only is he not convinced, he freaks out even more.BoJack: With your mouth? What kind of health class was that?
- Establishing Character Moment: Everyone of the main cast (and even some of the recurring characters) get this:
- Bojack's first actions on screen after being announced on The Charlie Rose Show, as established above, pretty much tell you all you need to know about him. To elaborate, he was late, he parked in an disabled parking space, is incredibly drunk, is quite crude for what should be a serious interview, states that he's doing a good job at the interview, showing his insecurities, narcissism and need for acceptance. Finally, when Charlie asks him what has he been doing since the show ended, Bojack fails to come up with an answer, proving that he's stuck in his past and hasn't moved forward, and as the series progresses, how much is he at a loss of how to do it.
- Princess Carolyn's first onscreen appearance is on a Flashback, wanting to break up with Bojack while he's completely not paying attention, portraying them as incompatible, with Princess Carolyn putting in most of the work, showing her as a pretty devoted, but uncorresponded romantic partner. Later, when they do break up, Princess Carolyn calls him in a friendly tone as his agent, despite the rude treatment Bojack shoved her way, showing her as professional and pragmatic. Then, it turns out Bojack's one of her less remunerative clients, again confusing love with work.
- Diane's first onscreen apparance is almost unstated, with her coming out behind Bojack during the party, showing her as ''different'' to the rest of Hollywoo. The distance and brief talk between her and Bojack show them becoming pretty intimate with each other, with Bojack being able to open up a little. Then we discover that she's Mr. Peanutbutter's girlfriend, highlighting her odd choice of men and becoming the unattainable for Bojack. Yet, despite hearing Bojack insult Mr. Peanutbutter, she never once calls him out, proving her to be very patient. Plus, she Wrote the Book about Secretariat, Bojack's childhood hero.
- Mr. Peanutbutter doesn't have many appearances in this episode, but enough to to get shades of his character: He interrupts Bojack and Princess Carolyn's breakup by saluting them and then, trying to bond with Bojack and failing because of the latter's despise of the former, while remaining a friendly figure. Then, we find out that he starred in a similar Sitcom at the same time and with the same premise as Bojack, despite looking younger. And he's Diane's boyfriend. Talk about Opposites Attract.
- Todd doesn't do much besides hanging around Bojack's house and mooching off, yet has a high opinion of Bojack and clearly loves him, despite Bojack's dismissal of him. He seems perfectly content with who he is, while being the butt of the joke at every turn.
- Lenny Turtletaub first appears in the restaurant where Princess Carolyn and Bojack are dining with two women, as his status as a top producer becomes evident and his attitude of showing off his wealth. Princess Carolyn mentions him, as they know each other.
- Pinky Penguin is introduced as a publisher with the fortitude of a glass figurine who is in serious need of money and as such needs BoJack's autobiography to be a success. He also passively asks him to pay for breakfast since he's tight right now, y'see. His luck will only get worse as the series goes on....
- Modern (not Horsin' Around, not Teen Idol) Sarah Lynn is introduced in the middle of being broken up with. In response, she downs a bottle of pills that even BoJack thinks are too many and stabs herself with a rusty bayonet. Instead of going to the hospital for it, she just duct tapes it shut.
- Et Tu, Brute?: When Herb was outed as gay, he fully expected the friends he made in Tinseltown to turn on him. What he didn't expect was for his best friend BoJack to not only fail to stand up for him, but also fall out of contact with him for 20 years. Needless to say, when they finally meet up again, Herb lets him have it.
- At the beginning of season five, Mr. Peanutbutter is cast as Julius Caesar in a Little Caesars ad and his catch phrase is Et crudité? However, as he is explaining this, he realizes that Little Caesars does not sell crudités and his part in the ad is likely to be cut
- Everyone Owns A Mac: Every time a character is seen using a mobile phone, it's an iPhone. Except for Wanda. There's also the brief moment we see BoJack working (or trying to work) on his laptop and the window is clearly from a Mac/OS system.
- Everything Is an Instrument: Patrick Carney of The Black Keys, the composer of the opening theme, explained to Song Exploder that the sweeping chords that open the theme song is Pro Tools' built-in metronome being thrown through a Roland Jupiter-4 keyboard.
- Evolving Credits: Every small change to the show's status quo is reflected in the otherwise pretty consistent opening sequence, with one segment specifically changing every season:
- In season 1, with BoJack not having much going on except for his regular interviews with Diane for his book, BoJack is seen in a grocery store.
- In season 2, BoJack is seen on the set of Secretariat.
- In season 3, BoJack is seen outside the movie premiere of Secretariat.
- In season 4, with BoJack not having a project and instead focusing on his relationship with his family, the shot is replaced with a colorful kaleidoscope made of other characters' faces.
- In season 5, BoJack is seen on the set of Philbert.
- In season 6, however, the intro is mostly new and sees BoJack traversing some of the more significant and regrettable moments of his life, with BoJack reacting to them more vividly than he ever did, going along the season's theme of BoJack finally pulling himself together while his past comes back to haunt him.
- Exact Words: Season 4 has BoJack read the label of a Sugarman (Beatrice's maiden name) sugar packet.Family-Owned* for over 100 Years!
*currently owned by the Fukusaka Family of International Conglomerates
- Executive Meddling: In-universe with the Secretariat biopic in season 2. It starts out with the studio vetoing a scene involving Secretariat and Richard Nixon, but then just turns the movie into Secretariat being more of a hero to the lower class and ignoring his suicide by having him go "swimming with Susie Side."
- Expository Theme Song:
Back in the '90s, I was in a very famous TV show (Ooh)
- The closing theme.
I'm BoJack the Horse (BoJack!), BoJack the Horse
Don't act like you don't know
And I'm trying to hold on to my past
It's been so long
I don't think I'm gonna last
I guess I'll just try
And make you understand
That I'm more horse than a man
Or I'm more man than a horse
- The theme even changes on key episodes, to describe Princess Carolyn, a failed series BoJack starred in during the early 2000s or even Mr. Peanutbutter's governor campaign.Back in '07
I was in an unsuccessful TV show
I'm BoJack the Horseman (Goddamn)
What the hell was I thinkin', bro?
When you're an artist
Yeah, it's hard to play it safe
That show stumbled hard
Right out the starting gate
Wonder if I'm ever
Gonna get another chance
Maybe a listicle at best
Yeah, I'm not a horse, I'm an ass
(BoJack!)Keep driving, keep driving
Girl, don't turn the car around
Break your pattern of needing to fix other people
Just keep on driving away
Don't go back to the restaurant, Princess Carolyn
Just keep on driving away!
Back in the '90s
- And who could forget "See Mr. Peanutbutter Run"'s credits detailing PB's....errmm....colorful campaign promises?
I was in a very famous TV show (laugh)
I'm Mr. Peanutbutter (Ooh, yeah)
Now tell me: How can I get no votes?
Yeah, I'm for the future
Yeah, everyone will get a free TV.
I'll put my face on billboards
The entire world will see
Yeah, I promise peace and love
Across this broken land
Yeah, I'm your governor
Mr. Peanutbutter, man
I'm tasty and good-lookin
Cause that's just who I am
- An In-Universe example with Horsin' Around's theme tune: "Three little orphans, one, two, three/Without a home or a family tree/Until this horse said "Live with me!"
- Expressive Ears: Par for the course in a world of animal people. BoJack's pin back whenever he's distressed or ashamed, while Mr. Peanutbutter's perk up whenever he's excited about something.
- Expansion Pack Past: BoJack's past is treated like a thread of yarn: Only by pulling it will it unravel and expose a long string of events and actions that have defined him. Even by the end of season 2, the revelation that BoJack knows Jill Pill and made another show, The BoJack Horseman Show shows how much it's still yet to be known of the character.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: It isn't until the beginning of the final season that Bojack stops dying his hair black and lets it be gray (after so much time it's actually rather jarring). It's a little hard to miss that it's symbolic of him truly growing and improving for the first since we first saw him.
- "Horsin' Around" is clearly modeled after Full House. The retrospective that opens the first episode is taken almost word-for-word from a documentary about Bob Saget. Sarah Lynn is a stand-in for the Olsen twins (with a bit of Britney Spears when she grows up). Mr. Peanutbutter's tacky colored Hawaiian shirt and hair style in his show almost makes him look like Uncle Joey.
- BoJack's career as a sitcom actor parallels Robert Reed's (the dad from The Brady Bunch), as acknowledged by Diane. Reed, like BoJack, felt that his talents as an actor were being wasted on a cheesy sitcom and often demanded that the writers make changes. The major difference is that BoJack is quite proud of his work on Horsin' Around.
- What Time Is It Right Now.com is partially an expy for Netflix and In-Universe, its series Philbert is uncomfortably close to Bojacks own life. In a Call-Back to season one, series creator Flip McVicker notes that the set for Philberts house was modeled after David Boreanazs house, which was actually Bojacks house redecorated poorly by Todd and Princess Carolyn to be more of a tourist draw.
- Family Portrait of Characterization:
- The Horsemans were not a functional family unit. After BoJack was born, his parents Beatrice and Butterscotch couldn't hide their distaste for the situation from the photographers. However, in pictures dating prior to his birth they looked like a happy couple.
- The Sugarmans - BoJack's maternal grandparents - are a happy family until Crackerjack's death, but were given a specific instruction when posing.Photographer: All right folks, this is for posterity, so don't forget to look faraway sad!
- Faux Affably Evil: Hank Hippopopalous.
- Famous Last Words: Quite a few.
- "First day, huh? Well, stick with me. You're going to be just fi--" Black Inmate
- "I'm gonna live forever! #Cancerfree. #Invincible. #TweetingWhileDriving. Oh, no, I'm gonna hit that truck. #HopefullyItsNotFullOfPeanuts. #OhNoItWasFullOfPeanuts." Herb Kazzaz
- "BoJack is going to kill me"* Nadia, the stripper whale
- "I want to be an architect." Sarah Lynn
- "Why, I have half a mind..." Honey Sugarman, in a way
- "Did you read my book?" Butterscotch Horseman
- "I see you." Beatrice Sugarman. (Though they may have actually been "I.C.U.")
- Fantastic Racism:
- As mentioned below in Furry Confusion, anthropomorphic livestock animals that are bred for food are treated with contempt by their caretakers.
- There's also one joke where an elephant takes offense at the popular idiom "Elephant in the Room".BoJack: He is never gonna forget that.
- "Fish Out of Water" suggests that some non-aquatic animals dislike fish people because their language and culture are hard for surface species to understand.
- In Season 4, Princess Carolyn's relationship with Ralph Stilton brings out the worst in his mouse family, who celebrate a holiday that mocks cats, and they don't understand Carolyn's discomfort with their traditions.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The show references real life cultures regularly, especially the Jews who run Hollywoo, but with the animal population they end up a mishmash of references.
- Fiction 500: Very subtle, to the point that it's easy to forget several of the main characters (including BoJack) are rich celebrities, but it's there:
- BoJack at one point buys a boat just to pretend he did not drive all the way to New Mexico just to see Charlotte (said boat later gets stolen by Esteemed Character Actress Margo Martindale in front of BoJack and he doesn't bat an eye), he can barely hold a job, and he struggles with alcoholism and poor mental health, yet his finances never seem worse for the wear. Semi-justified since he did star in a very successful tv show, so he presumably subsists on the money he earned during that time and any royalties the show still generates, plus the few jobs he manages to secure presumably pay him a lot, but still, that's a big bank account BoJack has access to. At least until season 6, when his sordid past fully catches up with him. By the time he's settled all the attendant lawsuits, and the rights holders to Horsin' Around cut him out on account of his bad publicity, he's got nothing left to his name.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Mr. Peanutbutter tries, and fails, to make this happen with BoJack.
- Foil: Mr. Peanutbutter's line about "keeping yourself distracted until you die" to avoid confrontation with life's harsh realities, at first, paints him as a Stepford Smiler, but the more we see of him, it's shown that he uses this mentality to approach every single project he does with unbridled enthusiasm, and almost all of it is to please other people, such as his elaborate party for Diane and especially his showmanship as a shoe store salesman. Occupying himself keeps him from dwelling on the things that make him unhappy, while BoJack, who is selfish and near-constantly unemployed, has nothing better to do except dwell on the things that make him unhappy.
- Follow the Leader: In-Universe with "Mr. Peanutbutter's House", which was a flagrant rip-off of "Horsin' Around" in terms of setup. Season 4 even reveals its working production title was originally "Untitled Horsin' Around Knockoff".
- When Sarah Lynn and BoJack hook up for the first time, she tells him that the only drug she needs is "horse." In season three, Goober explains to BoJack that "horse" is a street name for heroin, which Sarah Lynn eventually overdoses and dies from. Specifically, a variety called BoJack, known for its slogan: BoJack kills.
- At Herb Kazzaz's funeral in 'Still Broken,' Sarah Lynn says they probably won't see each other until the next funeral. Everyone in the room proceeds to look at BoJack due to his old age. Sarah Lynn explains that she's so high, she doesn't know where she's looking. She's actually the next to die.
- In 'Prickly Muffin,' she predicts that she will die tragically young, surrounded by sycophants and enablers, which is exactly what happens. Also in that episode, we find out that she's wanted to be an architect from a very young age, and the "Prickly Muffin" music video takes place in a planetarium. She dies in a planetarium, and uses her Famous Last Words to say that she still does want to be an architect.
- And at the beginning of 'That's Too Much, Man!' (i.e. the episode where Sarah Lynn dies) we see that Sarah Lynn has a painting of herself that references Ophelia, a real life 19th-century painting. At first it looks like an amusing joke about her egocentric streak, but some art-savvy viewers might note the fact that the original painting depicts a character from Hamlet, right after she drowns and dies.
- BoJack's drug-hallucinated dream in season 1 was of him and Charlotte married and having a daughter. In season 3, BoJack develops paternal instincts toward an accidentally abandoned seahorse and briefly ponders if some of the women he impregnated he paid to get an abortion if they just kept the money and not get an abortion. These three hints make more sense in the three season finale when it's revealed he may have a daughter.
- Hollyhock's mother isn't in the list of Bojack's paramours because he isn't her father - he's her half-brother. The aforementioned line about Bojack wondering about former lovers choosing not to have abortions combines with an early line from Butterscotch, who mentions that his secretary aborted their child. In season 4, it's revealed that he wanted Henrietta, their maid, to have an abortion as well, but she decided not to and was convinced to put the baby up for adoption by Beatrice.
- Todd states in "After the party" that many people say he looks like the prince of Cordovia, which later leads to a sub-plot involving him and the prince.
- When Hollyhock went to the hospital for an amphetamine overdose and Bojack discovers Beatrice laced her coffee with fat burner for months this was a culmination of a number of hints that something was wrong. She mentions feeling like she has bugs crawling under her skin, loses her pre-established laziness, starts doing strange tasks to burn off energy like finding and alphabetizing all the loose change in the house, wastes time flipping through tv channels late at night, mentions a lack of appetite a few times despite regularly seen snacking in earlier episodes, gets visibly thinner several times and her clothes don't fit properly. The lack of explicitly pointing all this out was to show how inattentive Bojack was as a father figure.
- Bojacks appearance on The Squawk talk show in season five episode Bojack the Feminist culminates in a chant of Dont choke women which foreshadows Bojack himself choking Gina at the end of the season.
- Relatedly, the first thing most people notice regarding Diane's new hairstyle is that her neck is more prominent.
- When Sarah Lynn and BoJack hook up for the first time, she tells him that the only drug she needs is "horse." In season three, Goober explains to BoJack that "horse" is a street name for heroin, which Sarah Lynn eventually overdoses and dies from. Specifically, a variety called BoJack, known for its slogan: BoJack kills.
- Forgotten First Meeting:
- In "Let's Find Out", when Daniel Radcliffe doesn't remember his name, BoJack reminds him of a time when Daniel was at his house and talked to him about his anxiousness and fears about stardom and BoJack gave him useful advice, which Radcliffe appreciated. This doesn't ring a bell with Radcliffe and he continues to dismiss him through the episode.
- Through the 2nd season, someone named Jill Pill has been trying to contact BoJack to get him to star in her theatre play. As it turns out, BoJack has apparently met Jill Pill before...
- Season 3 reveals BoJack only remembers the third time he met Princess Carolyn. The first time they met, he was passed out drunk and the second time, he didn't bothered looking at her.
- Season 5 reveals Diane first met BoJack at a Halloween party years before the start of the series. While there was an instant connection (BoJack was the only person to understand Diane's costume and Diane loved Horsin' Around as a child), BoJack was too distracted with the news of his father's death to recpricate any interest in her and BoJack clearly doesn't remember meeting her.
- Former Child Star: Sarah Lynn, capped off with a pushy Stage Mom and having several terrible role models (including BoJack himself).Sarah Lynn: Oh, you 'know what I'm going through'? Why? Because you were on some dumb kids' show a million years ago? I had my own fashion line when I was ten. By twenty, I was packing stadiums. I get letters every day from boys telling me that I was the first girl they masturbated to. Literally, someone tells me that every day!BoJack: That is gross.Sarah Lynn: Oh-ho, I know!
- The Four Loves: Explored with BoJack, who is extremely lacking in all 4 departments. In terms of Storge, he was born into a screwed up family and fails to find any parental figure through his life; his stunted development keeps him from forming any possible Philia with any friend he has slowly becoming more and more resistant to actually staying being friends due to his deep flaws; his twisted sense of entitlement in terms of Eros leads him to search for people who will love unconditionally in a place where ephemeral is the name of the game and even when he does, bad luck, bad decisions and failure at understanding will make such relationship collapse; and his constant entitlement causes any Agapia to leave him, Todd and Diane especially.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The reviewers of Sarah's book on Secretariat (as shown on the back cover) are "The New Yorkie Times", "USA Toady", and "Newsbeak".
- There are plenty of visual gags scattered throughout the series, but Season 5 has a flea market with a quickly-folded shirt reading "Stop pausing and just watch the show".
- Freudian Excuse: Beatrice's father instilled her with his sexist beliefs about women's place in the world from a very young age, while her mother became an alcoholic after the death of her son, Beatrice's brother, in World War II. Her father was emotionally distant, and her mother was an emotional wreck who was inappropriately dependent on her, and was eventually forced to have a lobotomy. Both of her parents were cruel to her about her weight, warping her body image and driving her to "pretty pills" - amphetamines. As a young adult, Beatrice was strong-willed enough to stand up to her father on social issues, but in her rebellion, she had a one-night stand with bad boy Butterscotch Horseman and ended up getting pregnant. The jarring shift from riches to rags made her bitter and resentful of both Butterscotch, for not being able to provide, and Bojack, for symbolizing her attachment to his father and for indirectly ruining her body with the pregnancy.
- Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: One of the biggest themes of the series is that having shitty things happen to you does not justify taking your pain out on others:
Todd: No! No. Bojack, just... stop. You are all the things that are wrong with you. It's not the alcohol, or the drugs, or any of the shitty things that happened to you in your career or when you were a kid, it's you! Alright? It's you. [Beat, then Todd sighs disheartendly] Fuck, man. What else is there to say?
- Bojack keeps blaming his very Dark and Troubled Past for his faulty behavior, and expects everyone, especially Todd, to just easily forgive his actions simply because of that. While Bojack's story is bleak and he suffers from depression, Todd finally calls him out on using his story to justify his actions in "It's You":
- Freudian Slip: Once the situation during Sarah Lynn's stay in "Prickly Muffin" becomes unbearable and both Todd and Diane call attention to it, BoJack makes a solemn promise to them about how he's gonna straighten things up and "all she needs is some old fashioned love" and he's gonna give it to her. He's gonna give it to her so hard. Considering what happens later, it could double as foreshadowing.
- Friend or Idol Decision: Although it was rigged anyways, BoJack would have certainly put up a bigger fight to keep Herb in the show if it wasn't because doing so would have crippled his chances of playing Secretariat in a movie.
- Full-Name Basis: Princess Carolyn is always referred to as such, except by Rutabaga, which becomes a plot point late in Season 2.
- Sarah-Lynn (despite not being her real name) has this with everybody.
- Character Actress Margo Martindale is almost always referred to as such.
- In Season 3, it's revealed that Mr. Peanutbutter's full name is actually "Mister Peanutbutter". Likewise, his brother's name is Captain and as far as family names go, their grandma is Nana Peanutbutter.
- Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal: By human standards, most of the animal characters apply this trope. BoJack's usual wardrobe includes a sports coat, blue sweater, jeans and hi-tops.
- Funny Background Event:
- As Todd talks with a gang leader during the cavity search "Our 'A' Story Is A D Story," two similarly-positioned prisoners in the background are joyfully thumb wrestling.
- When BoJack starts shouting at the blonde girl in the bar in "BoJack Hates The Troops," one of her girlfriends, a chicken, lays an egg in shock.
- While more likely just a poor drawing, one of the people in Princess Carolyn's office while BoJack is drunk, naked and crying over the death of "John Stamos" is seen covering his crotch, either intimidated compared to the horse or hiding the erection he is giving him.
- Not exactly an "event" per se, but Mr. Peanutbutter has very poor luck◊ with getting personalised signage◊ made. It's taken Up to Eleven when he has T-shirts made for Diane's 35th birthday.I had a ball at Diane's 35thBirthday and underlineball I don't know whythis is so hard
- Season 2's "Still Broken" has a "Famished Famished Hippos Catering" truck pull into a movie studio's lot.
- When BoJack has his meeting with Jill Pill, a Roach is seen crawling through along the wall to the kitchen area — only to put on his uniform and start cooking.
- The Season 3 finale has a stagehand walk behind Bojack with a Fun T-Shirt reading "Vintage Rock Band T-Shirt".
- Season 4 is rife with them, but in particular is the Running Gag of Todd's outfit being worn by others and the futuristic Framing Device of "Ruthie" showing how bad climate change has gotten.Explanation
- Season 5 continues the trend, including this one that reads: "Stop Pausing and Just Watch The Show".
- Fun with Acronyms: BoJack overloads on this in the first episode of Season Two, although that's largely due to the self help book he's consulting.
- Furry Confusion: Episode 4 has a one-off gag where a man orders a steak... delivered by a cow. Awk-ward. Made all the more awkward in Season 2, where it's revealed Chicken meat is actual chicken-people, given mind-altering hormones and sequestered from society from birth. They act like real chickens... except that's solely due to their isolated upbringing. The creator revealed that all animals are animal-people. So that steak in Season One? That came from a similar situation as "Chickens".
- Furry Reminder: The entire series is filled to the brim with these, including pigeons (and a roach and rat) growling at each other over a piece of discarded food, a gecko having an arm torn off in a purse-snatching only to grow back a new one, to Princess Carolyn thanking BoJack for giving her a box filled with crinkly paper, and BoJack mentioning a bag in the wind that spooked him. Mr. Peanutbutter gets them about every five minutes.
- Gainax Ending: "Downer Ending" ends really darkly with BoJack, near-crying, asking Diane if she thinks he's a good person, followed by a long, painful silence as bird calls and his (hallucinated) daughter is heard giggling. This is followed by:Random Fan: Hey, aren't you the horse from Horsin' Around? (cut to credits)
- Gender-Blender Name: Kelsey Jannings' daughter Irving.
- Genre Deconstruction: Of hackneyed family-oriented hugging and learning sitcoms, especially Full House. Horsin' Around is a direct parody of the show.
- The Ghost:
Mr. Peanutbutter: Erica! When did they let you out of the burn ward?
- Erica, a friend of Mr. Peanutbutter's. Most scenes with him in public end with him greeting her and wandering off to meet her. She has yet to be seen or heard but based on Mr. Peanut's greetings has apparently suffered several terrible maladies.
- Conversely, whenever anything goes wrong on-air, Tom Jumbo-Grumbo immediately blames Randy for it.
- Gilligan Cut: Invoked on Horsin' Around more than once. At one point in the '90s BoJack is utterly oblivious of the trope's purpose.
- Gone Horribly Right: Princess Carolyn wants to be a mother more than anything. She gets an opportunity in "The New Client" with her adoption of a porcupine daughter. Trouble is, now Princess Carolyn is so utterly exhausted from all of the responsibilities of having to be a parent that she can barely keep her eyes open.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion:
- Averted. Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter mutually decide that they do not want to have children and opt for an abortion. The conflict in this plot line stems not from any uncertainty or moral qualms with the decision, but from Diane's work as the writer of pop star Sextina Aquafina's Twitter page, where she accidentally tweets about her planned abortion and it appears that Sextina is the one who plans to have an abortion. Sextina comes to embrace her role as the face of the pro-choice movement, if a little overzealous, but the trope is then played with again when Sextina actually does become pregnant and decides to keep the baby. However, both decisions are treated as valid and neither woman has any regrets.
- Played straight with Beatrice's shotgun wedding with Butterscotch after an affair resulted in BoJack's conceptionnote as well as Henrietta who also had a baby with Butterscotch and put her up for adoption.
- Grey-and-Gray Morality: Every single character is written with abundant pros and cons, some with more of one than the other, but nobody falls into the categories of simply "good" and "bad." A cynical narcissist like BoJack has enough personal baggage to be empathetic, while the much friendlier and caring Mr. Peanutbutter can have his own selfish tendencies to prove that his actions aren't always for the benefit of others. The only exception is the completely unsympathetic TV executive who talks BoJack out of quitting Horsin' Around when Herb is outed.
- Groupie Brigade: Once his book hits stores, tons of women come out to try to date BoJack for the sake of discovering embarrassing secrets, coattail from his fame or simply for thrill and experience. It doesn't sit well with him, since he's trying his hand at a serious relationship.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Mr. Peanutbutter. He is a good boy.
- Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Given the human-animal setting, the show uses this in an especially funny way. Bojack in the 80's and 90's has the approximation of a horse mullet. Princess Carolyn had long, wavy locks in the 00's.
- Hand Wave: Todd questions the confusing Santa's Existence Clause in the Horsin' Around Christmas Special. BoJack simply replies that everyone was on cocaine at the time and really didn't care.
- Happier Home Movie: Done via an old Horsin' Around episode in "That Went Well".
- Happy Ending Override: Season 1 ends on an optimistic, open-ended Bittersweet Ending, which Season 2 tears apart for every main character, being even more depressing than the first season.
- Season 4 is the first season since season 1 to end without BoJack permanently ruining one of his relationships, and ends with him smiling over finding a d half-sister to love. Then season 5 comes along and he becomes more unhinged than ever and eventually ends up crossing the Moral Event Horizon once again.
- "The Face of Depression" actually leaves all the main characters on a happy note for the first time in what seems like forever, especially in BoJack's case as he is moving on from his past, has a new professor job lined up at Hollyhock's college, and finds peace visiting a small town where he can honor his horse heritage. Then the actual midseason finale rolls around, and between a reporter digging deeper into the circumstances of Sarah Lynn death and tracking down the Carsons for information and Pete Repeat revealing what happened at his prom to Hollyhock, it's clear BoJack's happiness once again won't last long without consequence.
- Happily Married: Despite their treacherous ups and downs, Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter prove by season 2's end that they are deeply in love.
- Zig-Zagged the longer the series goes on. All through season 3 they continue to fail at communicating, but are seeing a marriage counselor because they ARE in love and intent on fixing it. In season 4 Mr Peanutbutter's run for governor seems to bring their differences out to a new extreme, Dianne screaming "I REGRET EVERYTHING" during a near-death experience amid her newfound marriage problems gives the first clear sign she might view her marriage as an outright mistake instead of simply challenging, and in their final scene of the season Dianne outright states that while their marriage might be wonderful if they put in the work, she's at the end of her rope and continuing to put in that work has exhausted her.
- They divorce between seasons four and five
- Has Two Mommies:
- Hate Sink: There's no shortage of depravity, excess and assholish behavior in Hollywoo all around, much less unscrupulous opportunists, self-serving characters and the demeaning of any sense of genuine feeling for any grand figure that aims to make a buck. Then again, there are some who unlike most lack any charm, depth or whose horrid cruelty overwhelms any other aspect of them as nothing but figures of pure hatred.
- Beatrice Horseman, BoJack's mother and one of two main culprits for his screwed-up personality, was as far as her maternal side was concerned an abysmal pit. Spiteful, defensive of herself and collecting any kind of resentment and grudge possible to blame for the way her life had turned out, Beatrice would dismiss any accomplishment her son had (football, drama theater, comedy standup, fame and sitcom cred) as well as anything regarding his personal feelings (a possible bad experience with a teacher, feelings of inferiority) to remind him what a disappointment he was to everyone and would often force him to perform for her rich friends's amusement regardless of how he felt, often using her love as bait. Her personality was also unpleasant in contrast to her earlier rebellious, caring attitude due to the loss of her wealthy lifestyle and misery in being a housewife without any stimulating company which would make her furious. Downplayed after her backstory is revealed in season 4: while it's difficult to embrace Beatrice as someone other than the abusive mother she was, she's not a monster; matter of fact, she may not gain sympathy now, but one can't help but weep for the kind, little filly who saw her promising future die a slow death after her brother's death, her mother's lobotomy and her father's antiquated parenting ideas, dismissal of her feelings and critical of her figure for the final nail being having to put aside marrying a Nice Guy and using her degree in favor of a Wide-Eyed Idealist with no talent and being a bitter housewife.
- Butterscotch Horseman, while less featured than his wife, has just as much blame in traumatizing BoJack as a form of education with his stern, humorless personality a major contention with his son's chipper personality who he resented. Excessively patriotic, his high standards ensured her would destroy anything BoJack made if it didn't reach such (his treehouse, his schoolwork, any sign of affection or detail for Father's Day) and would often force him to listen to Cole Porter records and cry with him. Any responsibility with his son would often devolve into him insulting his intelligence in whatever he said. The less said about his chaotic marriage with Beatrice the better: insults, physical violence and deflecting blame. His Pride, parting from his failed career as a novelist made him very touchy regarding any decision he made and unwilling to compromise in anything even if others were suffering because of his actions. And after fooling around with the maid Henrietta, he pleaded Beatrice to convince her of getting an abortion. Low. Just low. Season 4 makes this more murky: while still an asshole in youth, he was far more willing to believe in the revolution of the Beat generation and hoped to be part of them with his pseudo-revolutionary ideas. Not to say willing to own up to his mistakes by marrying Beatrice after impregnating her. Years of failure, rejection from his heroes and forced to cave into a comfy job he despised made him into this. Which still doesn't excuse him at all from his responsibility in carving that future for him and Beatrice or the sheer over-the-top abuse he sent BoJack's way.
- Vanessa Gekko, Princess Carolyn's rival and Arch-Enemy, is basically a more self-serving counterpart for her: while on the surface, she's caring, sharp and rough around the edges while still being loyal to her clients; she shows no empathy or limits when she wants to get something for her clients. Hell, if a client is troublesome, she'll shred their contracts, no problem! As cold-blooded as an actual reptile, Vanessa's strict professionalism, smug attitude, annoying sing-song goodbyes and extreme savviness earn her the disgust reserved for people who have stood in her way. While she has some depth as a loving mother and wife, her redeeming aspects are few and far between in the job (Season 6 DOES give her an excellent pet the dog moment as well as admitting she doesn't hate Princess Carolyn).
- Rutabaga Rabitowitz, while better in a sense than Vanessa and a bit more apologetic than usual, is a Handsome Lech previous co-worker of PC at Vigor whose charm and excitable nature mask deep resentment toward his wife and his job. Having nothing to offer beyond promises and flirting, Rutabaga's confidence can create enough smoke screen to give the illusion he's trustworthy. After an increasingly crumbling marriage, Rutabaga seduces Princess Carolyn and lulls her into an extramarital relationship without any future in addiction to signing her name to the new property of their company. After their breakup, he joins forces with Vanessa Gekko to create a new agency rivaling PC's. While a family man and a better person now, he's still a self-serving coward who'll hide behind a friendly façade if it helps him avoid any fight.
- Jeremiah Whitewhale exists as a biting satire of Mega-Corp monopolies. Having a hand in every industry he can think of, Jeremiah forces other companies to sell themselves to him by driving them out of the market when they refuse. After dominating a market, he works his employees to the bone, having them murdered for things like taking too many bathroom breaks and leaving their bodies on the floor to scare the employees. This is all a plan to be as openly evil as possible so his fellow billionaires will buy into his company to maximize his power, which he uses to do things like getting murder legalized for billionaires.
- Vance Waggoner in Seasons 5 & 6, He represents toxic, abusive and generally reprehensible actors who do or say something controversial and offensive (such as going on antisemitic/racist tirades, committing violent outbursts, and sexually objectifying his 14 year old daughter), publicly apologise, disappear from public life for a while, before being welcomed back to Hollywoo...until they do or say another horrible thing. Despite their laundry list of unpleasant behaviours, they always manage to be forgiven by the public and industry.
- Headless Horseman: There's a Stillborn Franchise Show Within a Show about the Headless Horseman. In the last episode, the viewers are fooled into thinking that BoJack is dead by showing part of a headline saying that the Headless Horseman franchise is dead.
- He Really Can Act: In-universe during BoJack's read for the Secretariat movie.
- High Concept: The credits theme is the plot in a nutshell:Back in the nineties, I was in a very famous TV show.
I'm BoJack the Horse. (BoJack!) BoJack the Horse, but don't act like you don't know...
And I'm tryin' to hold onto my past.
It's been so long I don't think I'm gonna last.
I guess I'll just try and make you understand:
That I'm more a horse than a man
or I'm more man than a horse...
- Hoist by Their Own Petard: Name-dropped by Todd in Season 4's premiere.Todd: Aw, man! I was hoisted by my own petard, the one petard I thought would never hoist me!
- Hollywoo New England: Diane's family consists of thoroughly obnoxious lower-class Boston stereotypes.
- Hollywoo Psych: Averted: BoJack is a textbook case of clinical depression, which is portrayed very realistically.
- Homoerotic Subtext: Todd and the representatives of the two prison gangs he tries to join, in a spoof of the Two-Timer Date.
- Honorable Marriage Proposal: In the backstory, Princess Carolyn got pregnant as a teenager by the son of her mom's employer, and the boy agreed to marry her despite his well-off parents' reservations. Unfortunately, she suffered a miscarriage and the boyfriend's parents immediately cut her off.
- Hope Spot: At the end of "Escape From LA," BoJack looks as though he's going to quit before he gets too far with Charlotte, and at worst he'll go home feeling awkward about their kiss. Then she catches him with her daughter.
- Horrible Hollywoo: The whole show is basically one long depiction of how terrible working in "Hollywoo" can be.
- BoJack was pushed to perform since childhood and is left completely unsatisfied in life after briefly tasting stardom.
- Herb ends up alone and exiled despite having done everything he can to make Horsin' Around a success.
- Sarah Lynn turned to extreme drug abuse after falling out of popularity in her thirties.
- Child actors in general are shown as leading terrible lives or at least being damaged by their time in the spotlight. Sara Lynn's life in particular seems to have been tragic — she had an abusive stage mother (And is suggested to have a rapist stepfather) and was constantly surrounded by fake friends, was exhausted and overwhelmed by her celebrity, and being given everything she wanted meant she never had he feedback she needed to learn basic life skills.Her overdose seems directly related to her lack of genuine support networks and her emotionally neglectful childhood. In addition to her drug habit, she's shown to have extremely low self-esteem and self-harms either as a coping method or a ploy for attention. Joelle also developed an eating disorder after being forced to dress as a pumpkin and repeatedly mocked for her weight and Brad is still so addicted to the spotlight and his childhood memories as the least favourite child actor on "Horsin' Around" that will probably never be content with his ordinary life and ordinary achievements.
- Hank Hippoppolous gets away with terrible crimes simply because of his popular TV show.
- Corporate demands slowly tear at the best parts of The Secretariat, much to Bojack's discomfort.
- Improv groups are depicted directly as a cult (although it's more a transparent example of Church of Happyology than anything).
- Played with regarding the lives of well-known character actors. Characters are constantly shilling Margot Martindale (for the sake of comedy) and talking about how horrible it is that they don't get the recognition their talent deserves, but they are also described as being "condemned to lives of lucrative obscurity" and their work is treated with a lot of respect. Even after Margot Martindale commits a series of serious crimes (including murderous rampages), she's still able to easily land theatre positions and people still take her seriously as an actress. Hollywoo doesn't seem like a bad place for established character actors.
- Hourglass Plot: BoJack's fortunes are inversely tied to Mr. Peanutbutter in season 2. As filming of Secretariat goes on and BoJack pursues his relationship with Wanda, Mr. Peanutbutter learns that Diane reveals that she's unhappy with their marriage and goes overseas to pursue "important" writing, PB Living goes bankrupt, Todd drifts away from him, his agent accidentally kills himself, and when it looks like he's bounced back into a lucrative television role, he finds out that the program has a lot of oversight from the higher-ups who make it clear to him that he is very expendable if he doesn't tow the line. Their attitudes are similarly contrasted with BoJack becoming more anxious and insecure in his newfound station and Mr. Peanutbutter trying to keep a positive outlook amidst all his setbacks. All this comes to a head during "Let's Find Out".
- Humans Are Flawed: Humans or half human half animals. Every character in this show has elements of good and bad in them.
- Bojack's self-pitying narcissism. Despite his multiple attempts to be a good person, he often brings himself back into his horrible state he previously was in, hurting people who cares about him in the process.
- Humans Are Warriors: This trope is a common Animal Stereotype for humans in-universe, usually in the form of comments that humans are obsessed with guns. At one point Mr. Peanutbutter thinks he has to translate the phrase "his bark is worse than his bite" to something about assault rifles when speaking to Diane.
- Humanlike Hand Anatomy: All the anthropomorphic characters.
- Husky Russkie: In "Planned Obsolescence", Laika (yes, that Laika) is interviewed about the lynchpin of the episode, the space station explosion. Since she's anthropomorphic here (and somehow still alive even with the title of first woman in space), she talks with a Russian accent.
- Hypocritical Humor:
Charlotte: We're going to watch Back to the Future again.BoJack: I love that movie, except for all the lame period jokes. We get it, the fifties were different! turns to bartender I'll have a New Coke please.
- A metaexample during an '80s flashback after a barrage of period jokes:
- BoJack might as well be talking to a mirror when he calls out an annoying blonde girl in a bar for being selfish, irresponsible and inconsiderate of others.
- Vincent, the "real man" comprised of three kids in a Totem Pole Trench, tells Princess Carolyn that her desire for a more fun, free-spirited relationship is "for babies."
- A Freeze-Frame Bonus in Season 2 has Herb clipping out a TV Guide review chastising "Horsin' Around" for the Hurricane of Puns used in each episode, while using horse-related puns of its own throughout the review.
- I Banged Your Mom: Discussed. BoJack had sex with Bradleynote 's mother and is one of the many things brought up against him during a cast reunion at Herb's funeral service. Of course, he doesn't remember her: he slept with so many women in The '90s."Your mom wasn't redheaded twins, right?"
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Reminding him of their friendship and of who he is, BoJack manages to get Todd to snap out of his trance after being brainwashed by a cult.
- I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Come Season 4, it seems like this is what Mr. Peanutbutter and Diane's relationship has evolved into, coupled with Slap-Slap-Kiss.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Though how much he actually loves her is questionable, BoJack manages to do this with Diane for her wedding, even if it took Todd calling him out on it to happen.
- Mr. Peanutbutter grants Diane a divorce even though he still loves her and does not fully understand why she was so unhappy
- Iconic Sequel Character: While beloved characters had been already established in season 1 like Beloved Character Actress Margo Martindale, Charlotte Moore and Pinky Penguin, some of the most recognizable characters in the series are introduced from season 2 onwards.
- Season 2 has Wanda Pierce, Rutabaga Rabitowitz, Hank Hippopopalous, Kelsey Jannings, J.D. Salinger, Mia McKibben, The Gentle Farms family, Sebastian St. Clair (who had a small part in the season 1 finale "Later"), Secretariat (whose role and backstory was expanded after being a One-Scene Wonder in season 1), Copernicus and The Moore-Carson Family.
- Season 3: Ana Spanakopita, Judah, Cuddlywhiskers, Ralph Stilton, Stefani Stilton, Jill "Jill Pill" Filipowicz, Captain Peanutbutter, Emily, Jessica Biel, Skinny Gina, Richie Osborne, The Closer and Sextina Aquafina (despite being a Recurring Extra for the first two seasons, she takes a major role in the season 3 episode "Brrap Brrap Pew Pew").
- Season 4: Hollyhock, Woodchuck Coodchuck Berkowitz, Katrina Peanutbutter (after being introduced in season 2 and reintroduced at the end of season 3), Joseph, Honey and Crackerjack Sugarman, Eddie the Firefly, the rest of the Stilton Family, Courtney Portnoy, The Ant Colony, Ruthie, Yolanda.
- Imagine Spot: Used to devastating effect at the end of "Ruthie". Princess Carolyn reveals that when she is sad, she imagines one of her descendants in a long-distant future giving a presentation about her life in school, which had been the framing device for the episode. Since Ruthie does not necessarily exist in the future, the events of the episode no longer indicate Princess Carolyn's eventual success in getting pregnant.
- Important Haircut: Diane gets a bob-style haircut in season five after she and Mr. Peanutbutter divorce, and retains it through the season and in the opening credits.
- BoJack gets a shorter manestyle that shows off his natural gray hair in "The Face of Depression," courtesy of his old Horsin' Around stylist Sharona. This is the style he sports before he heads back to Connecticut to get a new job as an acting professor.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It:
- "BoJack Horseman: The BoJack Horseman Story, written by BoJack Horseman."
- In episode 4 — "Virgil Van Cleef Presents BoJack Horseman Presents Newtopia Rising, Book 1: The Search for a New Utopia, A Todd Joint"
- Come Season 4, we get a fashion show called "Sharc Jacobs - By Sharc Jacobs - For Sharc By Sharc Jacobs - In Collaboration with Sharc Jacobs For Sharc By Sharc Jacobs"
- Inexplicably Tailless: None of the anthropomorphic animals have visible tails. Character designer Lisa Hanawalt explained that she's been drawing anthro animals without tails since childhood.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Todd looks like an animated version of his voice actor Aaron Paul.
- In Memoriam: In-universe, the Secretariat biopic ends with a dedication screen to "Corduroy Jackson-Jackson and Debra's old face". The former being killed in an Erotic Asphyxiation accident and the latter still being alive but having her face disfigured after hot coffee was accidentally splashed on her and never fully recovered.
- Innocently Insensitive:
- The guy at the airport who sees Diane, miserable after her feminist crusade fails, who says "Hey... smile!" Truth in Television, in that telling a woman to smile has recently become seen as very rude.
- BoJack, who is under the assumption that they're as self-aware as he is, casually refers to Abe and Wanda's productions as shit. Needless to say, they don't agree.
- Internalized Categorism: BoJack reveals that he hates being around other horses because they trigger his negative feelings towards his family and himself. The only horse in his life, Hollyhock, is somebody he withholds affection from because he's so scared of letting her down like he let his father down and especially himself down.
- Insane Troll Logic:
- Hollywoo Stars and Celebrities: What Do They Know? Do They Know Things?? Let's Find Out! pretty much runs on this.
- Todd when he figures out that BoJack sabotaged his rock opera. He runs through a free association jumping from tapes (audio and sticky), breakfast cereal, straws, Character Actress Margo Martindale before finally arriving at the (correct) conclusion.
- Interrupted Intimacy: BoJack with Penny. Sadly, combined with Parents Walk In at the Worst Time when Charlotte walks on them in the compromising situation.
- Interrupted Suicide: In the season 3 finale, BoJack is depressed over the death of Sarah Lynn, and he's terrified that the same thing will happen to his new costar. He drives out to the desert, increases his speed, and closes his eyes. Fortunately he opens them and sees a group of horses in the desert. He changes his mind and swerves, just barely managing to avoid crashing his car.
- Interspecies Adoption:
- Most of the Nguyen family is human, but one of Diane's brothers is an adopted black sheep.
- The premise of Horsin' Around is based on this trope. Three human orphans are adopted by a single horse. The rival show Mr. Peanubutter's House follows suit with the titular dog raising three human children as well. The planned spiritual successor to Horsin' Around was going to have the roles reversed with a grown-up Ethan adopting three horse children.
- After a series of devastating miscarriages, Princess Carolyn pursues adoption and at the end of season five she adopts a baby porcupine.
- Up to Eleven with Hollyhock who is revealed to be BoJack's half-sister as a result of his father having an affair with the family's maid, who was adopted and raised by a group of eight gay polygamist men who are a diverse group of humans and animals (five human men, a bear, a lizard and a duck).
- Interspecies Romance: Seems to be socially acceptable in this world where humans and anthropomorphic animals coexist, and it's even possible for couples who are of different species to have children together (children will match one of their parents with no hybrids shown). BoJack has yet to sleep with another horse. This is deconstructed in season 6: the reason BoJack has so few other horses in his life is because other horses remind him of his father and himself, and he wants to distance himself from that identity.
- Ironic Echo: In "Say Anything," BoJack pulls one on himself. He spends the episode asking Princess Carolyn "what are we DOING?" in a jovial tone, meaning that he believes they are obviously in love with each other and asking what are they doing trying to deny it. At the end of the episode after going through a bad experience that shatters his (always tenuous) self-esteem, he cancels a date with her by dejectedly asking, "what are we doing?" This time, he's asking what they're doing pretending that they're really in love when they're obviously just trying to temporarily deny their own crushing loneliness.
- In "A Quick One, While He's Away," Gina panics and has an accident on set because her costar dipped her unexpectedly during a dance, prompting him to ask, "What the fuck is wrong with you?" This parallels Gina's own usage of the f-bomb in Season 5, where she asks BoJack, "What the fuck is wrong with you?" after he seriously chokes her- the incident that traumatized her and caused this panic around unpredictable set behavior to begin with.
- It Makes Sense in Context: Everything that happens in "Our A Story is a 'D' Story." Every. Single. Thing.
- It's Not Supposed to Win Oscars: In-Universe, Played with/subverted. After the studio changes Secretariat from a gritty drama into a saccharine, family-friendly schlockfest, Abe the director seemingly tries to shrug this off to console BoJack by saying they're "not making Casablanca". This ends up bizarrely blowing up in BoJack's face when he refers the film as "piece of shit" at a dinner party when it's made clear that Abe literally meant they weren't making the 1942 Bogart drama and he becomes furious at BoJack for insulting his work.
- It's All About Me: A major key trait in the series. Everyone working in Hollywoo has some ego issues.
- BoJack is the unity by which the others are measured. He really tries to be a good person and has proven to be caring and insightful, but he is also a self-pitying narcissist with entitlement issues, emotional swings and destructive force-of-nature personality.
- Although nicer about it, Mr. Peanutbutter proves himself to be just as selfish as BJ, just in a subtler manner: he prefers younger women because of their fun attitude, doesn't want to date older women and dislikes not getting what he wants.
- Sarah Lynn, probably more so than BoJack: a Former Child Star turned regular drug user, Manipulative Bastard extraordinaire and cared for no one but herself, if even herself.
- Secretariat was all about his fame as a racehorse and so scared of losing it that he was willing to skip draft and even send his brother in his place (and to his grave) to keep it.
- Reconstructed with Princess Carolyn: she has never made it about herself but she has always been selfish as part of her trade, so when she's finally free to pursue what she wants, it leaks into her personal life, morphing into a "finally time for me" type and hurting people close to her.
- Diane believes in her feminist cause, but she prefers it when the world gives her the reason and can be overtly preachy and moralistic about it.
- Hank Hippopopalous loves audience praise and is a full-blown sociopathic rapist, not caring about anyone but himself.
- Todd cares for the people on his life, but he enjoys crashing with other people and mooching off their fridges.
- Courtney Portnoy is entitled, an elitist and is hurt when recent shootings and massacres hurt her movie's premiere.
- Stefani Stilton wants everybody to know she cares about their problems...as long as it doesn't interfere with her media business.
- Beatrice could have been a good mother to BoJack, but why if the world wasn't kind to her?
- Butterscotch complains about having to prepare his lunch and pick up little BJ because Beatrice was too busy crying.
- It Will Never Catch On: In 2007, Princess Carolyn's boss Marv dismisses the scripts for No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood simply because their titles are over two words long.
- I Wished You Were Dead: First thing he said to Herb when they met? "Get cancer, dickwad." Guess what does Herb get later in life?
- Japandering: In 2007, Mr. Peanutbutter did an ad campaign for seahorse milk in Pacific Ocean City, even though he had no idea what it was used for. When BoJack attended the Pacific Ocean Film Festival for the premiere of Secretariat years later, the ads were still being used on local television and in stores.
- Japan Takes Over the World: Obviously not played straight; but the Sugarman Sugar Cubes Company fell victim to this at some point, being bought by Fukusaka Conglomerates.
- Jerkass: Diane's family has no redeeming qualities, or at least from what we have seen thus far.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
BoJack: I know that I can be selfish and narcissistic and self-destructive but underneath all that, deep down, I'm a good person and I need you to tell me that I'm good... Diane... tell me, please, Diane, tell me that I'm good...
- BoJack is set up as an example of this, being portrayed as genuinely sympathetic despite his actions and general demeanour. The show's own Netflix description references this trope, saying BoJack has "a heart of... not quite gold... but something like gold. Copper?" This trope is later brutally deconstructed, when BoJack begins to rely on this self-perception to justify his actions, and ends up outright begging to tell him that he's a good person at heart.
- Princess Carolyn is less of a jerk than Bojack but she can be stubborn, have a bit of a temper, as well as a pretty pragmatic agent. However, she is earnest, fair, caring, and mainly good-natured.
- At her worst, Diane can be this. Kind and genuine, yes, but her methods of journalism can lead many people (especially those she knows) as Collateral Damage.
- Beatrice used to be this in her youth: sassy, condescending, tough, stubborn but caring for social causes, disgusted with the unbalanced riches of the world and willing to stand up for other people.
- Kelsey Jannings is a serious, humorless director who can do cutting barbs, hates unprofessionalism and is impatient with idiocy. Despite all of the above, she takes pride in her work and will do it to the best of her capabilities, even if it is for pay.
- Joker Jury: In the final episode, a Freeze-Frame Bonus of the jurors at BoJack's trial reveals them to be pretty much all people whom the character has had conflicts with or otherwise pissed off in prior episodes. Played with, however, since despite this undeniable skewing of the scales it's also pretty unarguable that the character has had some kind of reckoning coming for a long time, as even they concede.
- Just Eat Gilligan: As Princess Carolyn points out in one episode, most of BoJack's problems could be easily solved if he didn't insist on making them worse with convoluted sitcom antics and stopped obsessing over whether or not people like him.
- Keep the Reward: After returning the baby seahorse to his parent at the end of "Fish Out Of Water", the father offers several compensations to BoJack for his trouble: money, personal thanks, inviting him into the house to eat. In a rare moment of humility, BoJack rejects them all, just content the little rascal is safe.
- Kick the Dog:
- Charlotte seeing her daughter in bed with BoJack and furiously telling him she never wants to see him again is one to Charlotte, who thinks BoJack is sleeping with Penny as revenge for not running away with him.
- In "Let's Find Out" BoJack deliberately throws the final question, thus causing a million dollar payout to charity to be set on fire, solely to spite Daniel Radcliffe for not having remembered his name.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Bojack's treatment of senile Beatrice examines both how two wrongs don't make a right and how having a past marred by tragedy does not excuse Beatrice for the years of abuse she inflicted on her husband and son.
- Kissing Discretion Shot: When BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter kiss in "Let's Find Out," the camera slowly pans to J.D. Salinger, who blocks the shot for most of it.