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- Laser-Guided Karma: Diane's abusive, neglectful father's last wishes were for his body to be chummed and poured over Derek Jeter. At the end of the episode, as the barrel is rolling through the streets of Boston, Derek Jeter is helping an old woman across the street. The barrel runs over her and barely misses him. And then he steals her purse.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: During Mushroom Samba BoJack notices that all of his "outlines have vanished" when the black line art disappears from his animation.
- Season five includes two instances. When beginning work on Philbert in the first episode of season five, Flip comments that this is going to be a sensational season of television. Later, at the Philbert premiere party, Diane is issuing a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to BoJack and asks how he could possibly be the victim and main character of the Sarah Lynn story
- Let No Crisis Go to Waste: Diane accidentally tweets out "I'm having an abortion" on the Sextina Aquafina Twitter account that she runs. While she and Princess Carolyn anticipate a massive blowback only for Sextina to be praised for her bravery by others and become the public face of the Pro-Choice movement, which Princess Carolyn is all-too eager to exploit while Diane, who's the one actually having the abortion isn't.
- Let's Meet the Meat: The Gentle Farms ad in "Chickens".
- Line-of-Sight Alias:
- In "Yes And" when Diane is pretending to still be in Cordovia while on the phone with Mr. Peanutbutter. While pretending to be a child refugee, she glances at the coffee maker in BoJack's kitchen and uses "Coffee Maker" as the name. Mr. Peanutbutter falls for it and assumes it's a foreign name pronounced "Kofie Mercure."
- In "It's You", Diane challenges Bojack to name a single one of his "friends" at his Oscar nomination party.Bojack: Tes...ley?Diane: You're just looking at the Tesla!
- Season 4 has BoJack make up a name so that Hollyhock won't leave yet, eventually coming up with "Carla Mercedes Benzbrown".
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: In the world the series is set in, Funny Animals coexist with humans and and can even be in relationships and have children together. Some real life celebrities also have Fictional Counterparts who are animals, such as Quentin Tarantulino and Ethan Hawke (who's literally a hawk). (On the other hand, Cameron Crow is a raven, Matthew Fox is a wolf, and Scott Wolf is a fox, so non indicative and ironic names also apply in the logic of this verse.)
- Lipstick Lesbian: Taneisha, the other half of the lesbian soon-to-be-wed couple in "Love And/Or Marriage".
- Living Emotional Crutch:
- BoJack has a tendency to latch on to anyone who's even remotely nice to him this way. At first it's Princess Carolyn, but after they break up it's Diane, whom he thinks he's in love with only because she's hired to listen to him talk about himself. Charlotte's family briefly become this to him in "Escape From LA," but after that gets Ruined Forever, he realizes that Todd is very much this, seeing as he's always stuck by him in spite of how toxic he is.
- Diane later becomes this to Mr. Peanutbutter when he reveals how terrified he is of death and losing her.
- After Diane divorces him, he quickly latches onto Pickles, a cute twentysomething pug with whom he has little in common due to their age gap. Early on, she has some misgivings that they might be moving too fast, but by the end of season five, just as he is about to confess that he slept with Diane, she assures him that she will love him no matter what and he responds by impulsively proposing to her
- Literal Metaphor: In "Yes And", Abe, the director hired after Kelsey Jannings is fired for objecting to Executive Meddling remarks that one take's enough because "hey, we're not making Casablanca". Later in the episode, BoJack calls the film a piece of shit and Abe takes offence.BoJack: I mean, you're the one who said we're not making Casablanca.
Abe: Right, because Casablanca is a movie about a club owner named Rick. This movie's about Secretariat, a racehorse.
BoJack: Wait, you literally meant we're not making the actual movie Casablanca?
Abe: That movie already exists. Why would we make Casablanca? This is a different movie.
BoJack: I think there was a misunderstanding.
- In Season 1, Mr. Peanutbutter steals credit for a crime BoJack committed.BoJack: That son of a bitch... that literal son of a bitch!
- In Season 1, Mr. Peanutbutter steals credit for a crime BoJack committed.
- Local Hangout:
- For season 1-3, Elefante was the go-to elegant restaurant, moreso after BoJack buys it in a whim in "Our A-Story is a D Story". During season 3, Elefante slowly breaks down, symbolic of BoJack's collapse, until it's a shell of what it used to be. When BJ goes on the lam at the end of season 3 and returns one year later, Elefante's fate is left unanswered.
- Bellican's, the bar where BJ and co. usually mingle. PB and Diane even host their wedding there in "Horse Majeur".
- In season 4, "Sandro's Place" takes Elefante's place as the usual restaurant, with everyone but BoJack going there frequently.
- Long-Lost Relative: In the fourth season Hollyhock shows up believing Bojack is her father, and much of the season is trying to track down her biological mother, since Bojack slept with A LOT of women. As it turns out, she is actually the daughter of Bojack's father Butterscotch and the family maid Henrietta, making them half-siblings.
- Long Title: A Running Gag is characters saying long names for things with no abbreviations, such as J.D. Salinger's new game show: J.D. Salinger Presents: Hollywoo Stars & Celebrities: What Do They Know? Do They Know Things? Let's Find Out!.Wanda: I can see it on the marquee already!
Princess Carolyn: Boy, that must be a long marquee.
Wanda: It's long.
- Taken Up to Eleven in "After The Party", where both Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter constantly give the full title to a feminist symposium they'd attended to celebrate Diane's birthday - specifically, Women on the Wall: An Exploration of Gender in Text and Media: Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer in conversation with Helen Molesworth. Also falls under Colon Cancer
- Love Cannot Overcome: As much as they've tried over the first 3 seasons and even with a few Hope Spots in season 4, Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter have in his words "become roommates" rather than wife and husband. Despite their attempts in the season 4 finale and love for each other, they finally explode toward each other and their situation at the end indicates they know what about to come.
- Love Martyr: Though she has a comprehensive understanding of his multitude of flaws, Princess Carolyn can't stop herself from looking out for BoJack, even when she's no longer his girlfriend or agent.
- Love Triangle: Between BoJack, Diane, and Mr. Peanutbutter, especially in Season 1. Downplayed in Season 2, at least until "Let's Find Out." To get into specifics, see below.
- Lower-Deck Episode: "A Quick One, While He's Away," the season 6 mid-season finale, follows four storylines that don't feature any of the main characters: a reporter named Paige Sinclair tracking down the story of Sarah Lynn's death, Kelsey trying to score a profitable directing job, Gina working on a new show despite her trauma-induced snappy attitude, and Hollyhock attending a Wild Teen Party in New York City.
- Lyrical Dissonance: After BoJack learns that Charlotte has a family in "Escape from L.A.", an '80s-style opening plays with tauntingly cheerful music.Kyle and the kids! Kyle's a dad, and Charlotte's married to him!
And they've got some kids! There's Penny, she's going to high school.
She's got a brother. Her brother's name is Trip! They're the perfect family!
Kyle and the kids! He loves his wife and there's nothing you can do.
Kyle and the kids! Nothing's gonna be alright, be alright, oh no.
- Mad Libs Catch Phrase: The eponymous Horse's catchphrase was "I've heard of (X), but this is ridiculous!"
- Mailman vs. Dog: Mr. Peanutbutter has a problem with chasing the mail truck with his car. In "Horse Majeure" he gets pulled over for doing this and later loses his license. Even just mentioning the post office makes him growl.Diane: Were you chasing the mailman again?
- Malaproper: A shared one between three different characters regarding the "Fool me once..." line.
- Mature Animal Story: Don't let the Funny Animal cast fool you; it is NOT a kids' show.
- Meaningful Background Event: The jogger seen throughout the second season approaches BoJack after making it up the hill to give him some advice laden with metaphor.
- Meaningful Echo: In "Prickly Muffin," Todd attempts to organize a house meeting, to which BoJack, in an effort to shut him up, replies that his "proposal has been submitted and is currently pending approval. Proposal denied." Cut to BoJack's fever dream in "Downer Ending" where, after his daughter asks if they'd have been friends if they were the same age, he makes the same remark, with her "proposal approved," in an effort to make her laugh.
- In the same episode, there's a flashback to a six-year-old Sarah Lynn who tells BoJack she wants to be an architect when she grows up, just to immediately be shut down by her mother. Over twenty years later, her final words are: "I wanna be an architect."
- Mega-Corp: Phillip Morris-AT&T-Disney-Fox-AOL-Time-Warner-Pepsico-Viacom-Halliburton-Skynet-Toyota-Trader Joe's is the parent company of MBN, Manatee Fair, and Sextina Aquafina's record label. In season 6 they are acquired by the even-larger megacorp Whitewhale Consolidated Interests.
- Milholland Relationship Moment: A mild version, Princess Carolyn had foolishly forged Bojack's signature for her first producing gig "Philbert" to get the ball rolling, even though her relationship with Bojack was strained and their schedules were really off-center at the time. Bojack had gone through his own humbling experiences at the time and when Princess Carolyn had gotten incredibly desperate and finally managed to ask him, he agreed before she could even explain what the project was, saying that she does so much for him he can do this for her.
- Mind Screw: "Downer Ending", due to the Mushroom Samba noted below taking up about half of the episode.
- The penultimate episode of season 4 is a downplayed example, but subtly creepy, as most of the episode is told in flashback, but filtered through Beatrice Horseman's dementia.
- Continuing the tradition, S 5 E 11 mirrors Bojack's increasingly tenuous grip on reality, blurring the lines between the filming of Philbert and Bojack's real life.
- A Mistake Is Born: BoJack was conceived when his upper-class mother had an ill-advised fling with a literal workhorse. She has never let BoJack forget this.
- Mistaken for Thief: In "Int. Sub", Todd thinks Carolyn stole his string cheese and nearly forces her into arbitration.
- Mr. Seahorse: The literal version pops up in Season 3, when BoJack has to act as the Delivery Guy to a pregnant seahorse who handed him a book called "What To Expect When You're A Male Seahorse Expecting... which is a thing".
- Motif: A major one across the show is the act of and the feeling of drowning. It seems to mainly being used as a metaphor for BoJack's feelings of self-loathing and depression, and how they always threaten to overtake him and drag him down no matter how much he struggles. It is right there in the intro sequence, which with BoJack falling into his pool and looking up at people from under the water, a recurring image is the painting that BoJack owns, which depicts a horse that looks suspeciously like himself drowning in a pool while another horse (that also looks like him) watches him, BoJack himself mentions that he the way he wants to die is by drowning himself when he gets too old to take care of himself, he indirectly admits that he associates his parents with the feeling of drowning, when he ruminates on how he fears that he is a bad influrence on Hollyhock his psyche responds by conjuring up a image of her drowning in his pool, and finally when he attempts suicide in the penultimate episode of the show, he does so by trying to drown himself.
- Money Dumb:
- Mr. Peanutbutter ends up hosting Hollywoo Stars: What Do They Know! Do They Know Things? Let's Find Out! when it's discovered that he's broke from throwing his money at all kinds of dumb ideas that never sold, such as catcher's mitts to catch bagels out of the toaster.
- Bojack himself is only narrowly better than Mr. Peanutbutter, being prone to having sufficient money he doesn't has to work since his late 20's, he is prone to waste money without thinking of it twice. One of his most frivolous purchases is buying an entire restaurant just because, later seasons show that he has even forgot to manage said restaurant and the staff has been taking care of itself.
- In a flashback in Season 4, Princess Carolyn reveals that her family was this. Wealthy in Europe, her family moved to America and quickly lost all the money they had by trying to hold on to their high-class European lifestyle, while being simply working class in America.
- Money to Throw Away: BoJack throws cash off a rooftop to distract people from Mr. Peanutbutter disposing of the D from the Hollywood sign. Everyone loses interest when they see it's only $1 bills, but Beyonce slips on them, making for a perfect distraction.
- Mood Whiplash: While energetically doing regional promos for HSACWDTKDTKTLFO Mr. Peanutbutter reaches Waco, Texas: "Hey, Waco, Texas! [Somber] Terrible tragedy. [Energetic] What does Ethan Hawke know? We'll find out tonight. [Somber again] So sorry."note
- Morality Kitchen Sink: The show has people all over the spectrum. From the optimistic and hopeful Mr. Peanutbutter and Hollyhock to the pitch-black people like Hank Hippopopalous. The titular protagonist is very much in the grey: a Hollywood washout who has hurt others with his self-centered behavior, but we learn he has a lot of baggage in his life, and an earnest desire to be better, so we end up rooting for him.
- Morality Pet: Played with, in that for Bojack several characters blend the line between this and Living Emotional Crutch, and that ends up making him do horrible things to them in a form of self-sabotage. Hollyhock ends up being the first person he is desperate to protect in every way, and that in turn forces him to confront his bad habits.
- Mr. Alt Disney: Jeremiah Whitewhale, owner of Whitewhale Conglomerates, introduced with an instruction video featuring some cutesy animated shapes and a sparkly magic wand and animation reminiscent to old cartoon shorts. Except instead of parodying the creative aspects of Disney, he's a parody of its shady monopolistic business practices.
- MST3K Mantra: In-Universe. At the abortion clinic, Diane chats with a young woman about to terminate her pregnancy about Sextina Aquafina's highly-commercialized and low-brow pro-choice campaign when she "hijacks" Diane's announcement about her own abortion. Diane asks the young woman if she finds it tasteless that Sextina isn't treating the subject delicately and that it might give women the wrong impression about how serious it is. The woman reassures Diane that Sextina helped her have a sense of humor about an otherwise terrifying procedure and is genuinely confused as to why Diane is taking it so seriously.
- Mushroom Samba: BoJack, Todd and Sarah Lynn all take an excessive amount of drugs to help them focus on writing BoJack's autobiography in "Downer Ending." The results range from absurd to nightmarish to heart-wrenchingly somber.
- Mythology Gag: In universe, Sara Lynn's character was nicknamed "Prickly-Muffin" by BoJack's character in Horsin' Around. Years later when she becomes a pop singer, she has a hit single titled "Prickly-Muffin". This phrase was used as a cutesy nickname on Horsin' Around, while Sara Lynn's song uses it to refer to her private parts.
- Nepotism: Charlie the intern, then agent, got his job because his father's the President of Vigor. By season 3 his father has passed away, making him the new President of Vigor... and for some reason he wears a Napoleon outfit because of this
- Nervous Wreck: Charlie the intern. Usually because everything he touches sticks to his hands. After season 2, he's now an agent.
- In Season 5, Flip becomes this after BoJack suffered an injury while performing a stunt, blaming himself for the whole debacle.
- Never My Fault: A recurring theme on the show, whether or not they are called out on it depends on the character.
- Never Say "Die": In Season 5, we learn that Mr. Peanutbutter has never lost a loved one. His mom went to a farm in the country so she could have room to run around. Gina and BoJack accidentally trigger an emotional crisis when they point this out.BoJack: Why would she want to run if she's old?
Mr. Peanutbutter: You know, I never really questioned the logic. My brother set the whole thing up, I-I haven't been able to visit but everyone in my family goes to that farm eventually.
- Never Trust a Trailer: Subverted. Promotional art for Season 5 showed Bojack being shot in the heart by a lizard lady, implying Bojack really got shot in real life and the lizard lady was going to be a major threat to the upcoming season. In fact, it was all part of his show and the lizard lady was merely a unnamed actress who only appeared for a few seconds the season premiere.
- The original trailer for the show was strictly humorous and sold the show as a typical raunchy adult animated comedy. It took some word-of-mouth advertising for people to realize the harsh dramatic elements of the show, which were better highlighted in later trailers alongside the comedy.
- Nice Guy: Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter
- Bojack appeared to be a empathetic, nice guy in his early days of Horsin Around. The effects of his later life and the impact of Horrible Hollywood mixed with his past of his Abusive Parent s, he has gotten worse with age. Even though Bojack Took a Level in Jerkass he tries hard to be a good person and change for the better.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: In the most general sense Bojack and "Horsin' Around" reflect Bob Saget and Full House, primarily in the dad in a sitcom trying to distance himself from the Tastes Like Diabetes Typecasting he got, being previously known as a comedian who uses Vulgar Humor. From that, Sarah Lynn is a combination of the Olsen twins with the likes of Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan.
- In the broader sense of the show, it's averted in that it's tricky to do a show set in Hollywoo without mentioning any real-life celebrities, and often resort to soundalike names or also anthropomorphizing celebrities into animals with animal-centric names. In a meta-example, any celebrity not voiced by themselves (and some who are, such as Margo Martindale and Zach Braff) will meet a bad end in some way. Season 3 starts up a tradition of giving goofy pronunciations to regular celebrity names, such as "Jurj Clooners". However, the next season lampshades the inconsistency of this practice, as a character who mentions George Clooney is questioned if they really meant Jurj Clooners.
- No Ending: Wanda tells two jokes; the first joke ends with an Anti-Climax and the second one adds a layer to the first one, while leaving the main conflict of the second one unsolved. To be fair, that's part of the joke.
- No Name Given: Bojack's character on "Horsin' Around" is always referred to as "The Horse."
- Non-Indicative Name:
- Princess Carolyn's archnemesis Vanessa Gekko is not an actual gecko, despite the existence of all the anthropomorphic animals seeming to make this a given. Bonus points for Princess Carolyn's bait-and-switch description right before we actually get to see Vanessa in person.
- The same episode features Cameron Crow... who's actually a Raven.
- "Hank After Dark" features Scott Wolf (a fox) and Matthew Fox (a wolf).
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: Played straight throughout. Be it a nonhuman mammal, reptilian, avian, or an arthropodic being. As long as the character in question is an anthropomorphic female, chances are she has visible breasts or cleavage.
- Noodle Incident: BoJack answering a call from Princess Carolyn:BoJack: I told you I don't know where it is, don't put things in my butt if you want them back!
- "And.... hold for Princess Carolyn."
- BoJack's sneeze on Marisa Tomei is this for most of Season 1 until we finally see it during a drug-induced flashback in "Downer Ending".
- While it's implied that he sexually harassed them, we never find out exactly what Hank Hippopopalous actually did to those eight secretaries.
- Not So Different: BoJack and Sarah Lynn. Both are washed-up, self-absorbed D-list celebrities who bury their deep-seeded parental issues and resentment towards Hollywoo under heaping mounds of substance abuse as a way to run from their problems. Lampshaded by BoJack:Diane: [Sarah Lynn] is the one with substance abuse problems and daddy issues.BoJack: Hey, we BOTH have substance abuse problems and daddy issues!
- BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter, with the main example being 'Our A-Story Is A 'D' Story'. While most of the time, Mr. Peanutbutter is perfectly pleasant, he competes in all sorts of petty challenges with BoJack to impress Diane and even passes off BoJack's stunt to impress her (Stealing the D from the Hollywood sign) as his own.
- BoJack and Princess Carolyn are both lonely and desperate for a significant other, the major difference being that, while Carolyn is too busy with her career to let it drag her down, BoJack spends most of his time out of work and wallowing in self pity.
- Bojack and Diane seem to be complete opposites, but early in the first season established that Diane had a fairly miserable home life with a slacker family that harasses her for being more ambitious. While Diane appears to be more confident and has her life together, she has similar insecurities and self-destructive tendencies as Bojack. They share a few quirks as well, such as leaving a long voicemail and ending it with "This is Bojack... Horseman, obviously" "This is Diane... Nguyen, obviously."
- Now Which One Was That Voice?: The cast is listed by name, but not associated with the character(s) they play. Some of the cast are celebrities (e.g. Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins) with distinct enough voices.
- Odd Friendship: BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter since the former hates the oblivious latter, but he lets him hang around because he is just that desperate for love and companionship.
- Oh Wait!: "My life is full of exciting adventures. I should write a book. Oh, wait. I did."
- Older Than They Look:
- Lenny Turtletaub, being a turtle, is old enough to remember the première of "The Great Train Robbery", which was released in 1903, making him well over 100 years old.
- BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter both look like their in their 30s but they're actually in their 50s.
- In mid season 5, it's revealed that Bojack has been dying his hair black for years. He decides to finally embrace the ageing process and reverts to his now grey hair, making him look much more like his actual age (mid-50s)
- Diane looks like she's in her late 20s but she's in her mid-to-late 30s.
- On-Again, Off-Again Girlfriend: BoJack and Princess Carolyn are portrayed as this before focus shifts more to BoJack and Diane's relationship.
- Once a Season:
- The show generally doesn't shy from harsh language, but uses a Precision F-Strike for one particularly brutal moment each season.
- Usually the second to last episode each season is a surreal Mushroom Samba, typically the result of drugs though the fourth season was a look into the fractured memories of Bojack's senile mother.
- There is a Time Skip of varying degrees, sometimes just doing a surprise "two months later" while a fourth season episode shows what Bojack was up to for eight months.
- One Steve Limit: Averted a few times, usually for comedy. The Wild Teen Party in "A Horse Walks into a Rehab" apparently has multiple Jamesons in attendance, and Pickles often references her two friends named Ilana, one being her best friend while the other is dismissively known as "other Ilana."
- Only a Lighter: BoJack's gun-shaped lighter, shown in one episode. Another episode reveals he has a lighter-shaped gun, as well.
- Only Sane Man: BoJack's the only one that recognizes that Vincent Adultman is actually a Totempole Trench.
- Oscar Bait: In-universe, some of the nominees for Oscar in Season 3 appear to parody it by title alone, which include "City of AIDS" and "The Nazi Who Played Yahtzee".
- Overly Long Gag: BoJack after discovering that Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter are dating.BoJack: You two are dating?Mr. Peanutbutter: Yeah!BoJack: (to Diane) You're dating him?Diane: Yes.BoJack: This is your boyfriend.Mr. Peanutbutter: That is correct.Diane: Uh huh.BoJack: You (Diane) are going out with you (Mr. Peanutbutter).Diane: Uh huh.BoJack: But in a sexual way, not just as friends.Mr. Peanutbutter: That's right.BoJack: You have seen her naked.Mr. Peanutbutter: Many times, yes.BoJack: You are attracted to this (Mr. Peanutbutter).Diane: Yes.BoJack: This penis has been inside this vagina.Mr. Peanutbutter: Yep!BoJack: But in a sexual way?Mr. Peanutbutter: Oh yes!BoJack: Huh.
Ethan: Cue the water works in thirty, twenty-nine, twenty-eight, twenty-seven, twenty-six...BoJack: *groans and hits fast-forward*Ethan: ...four, three, two, aaaaaand...
- Followed immediately by another of BoJack puking cotton candy over his balcony for a good minute.
- In "Downer Ending," there's a lengthy gag about how Dr. Hu (Ken Jeong) sounds like Doctor Who.
- There's also a minor one in the first episode, where Princess Carolyn berates BoJack for not respecting her enough to have a baby with her. Cut to a scene where BoJack attempts to flee for thirty solid seconds after Carolyn mentions a cute baby.
- In the Horsin' Around Christmas Special:
- Overshadowed by Controversy: In-universe when Herb is publicly outed in an incredibly embarrassing way, upsetting many Moral Guardians, but averted in that BoJack doesn't come to defend him for the sake of keeping the show going.
- While on the book tour for the paperback edition of "One Trick Pony," Diane's passing comment about Uncle Hanky's deviant sexual past with his female assistants draws all attention to her and her feminist activism.