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Characters / BoJack Horseman - The Horseman Himself : Tropes L To Z

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Main Character Index | Main Characters | BoJack Horseman (A-D, E-K, L-Z) | Princess Carolyn | Diane Nguyen | Mr. Peanutbutter | Todd Chávez | Hollywoo Residents and Other Stars | L.A. Residents | Stilton Family and Associates | MBN | Horsin Around Cast And Crew | Sarah Lynn | Secretariat Biopic Cast And Crew | Vigor | VIM Agency | Gekko-Rabbinowitz Agencies | One Shot and Bit Characters | The Main Group Family Members | The Horseman Family | Hollyhock | Beatrice Sugarman-Horseman | Butterscotch Horseman | Other Characters | Tesuque, New Mexico | The Moore-Carsons | Charlotte Moore-Carson | Historical Characters | "Horsin' Around" Characters | "Mr. Peanutbutter's House" Characters | "Secretariat" Biopic Characters

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  • Ladykiller in Love: Deconstructed. BoJack sleeps with numerous women to temporarily escape his own sadness. And in the moments he wanted a real romantic relationship with someone (i.e., Diane, Wanda, Charlotte) it doesn't work out for a number of reasons - the woman already being in a relationship (Diane), differing personalities (Wanda), or already married and not having a romantic interest in him anymore (Charlotte). And besides those other reasons, it's BoJack's own subconscious drive to destroy his close relationships in the belief that he doesn't deserve them.
  • Lamarck Was Right: He inherited several fears, neuroses and flaws from his parents. Almost to perfection.
  • Last of His Kind: As far as we know, Bojack is the last living member of the Sugarman family as he is his mother's only child and it's unlikely that she had any cousins who may have had children of their own. Unless Bojack has any children, the Sugarman line is most likely going to end with him.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: During "Downer Ending", he starts to note and comment on several of the weird things happening, such as Todd and Sarah Lynn changing clothes.
  • Leitmotif: "BoJack's Theme" by Patrick Carney, a deceitfully upbeat Blues Rock song with underlying sadness and hopelessness, used as the opening theme for the show and in a Dark Reprise montage at the end of "Escape From L.A.".
  • A Lesson Learned Too Well: A Flashback to 1973 shows little BoJack watching his hero, Secretariat, answer his letter in TV, about what to do if you feel sad. Secretariat, relating to this feeling, tells him what he did: he found out he was good at racing, and he kept doing it, just running... It didn't turn out so well for Secretariat OR BoJack.
  • Let the Past Burn: As part of his "change of attitude" in the season 2 opener, he gets rid of several items of furniture, particularly the stool that was burned when Sarah Lynn stayed in his house and he never bothered to replace.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Overlaps with A Lighter Shade of Grey, since BoJack isn't a bad person, at least intentionally. When asked about whether BoJack is the worst Hollywood personality ever, Diane says that there have been ''way'' worse celebrities than BoJack: Hank Hippopopalous being one of them.
  • Like Parent, Like Child: A tragic case. Like his parents, BoJack can be abusive, hurtful jerk who pushes his problems onto his past life while having an All Take and No Give mentality. Unlike them, BoJack slowly, but surely gets better.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Gray jacket, blue knit sweater, jeans and red sneakers are usually a good way to recognize him in a crowd. Only occasionally does he wear something different: smoking, his Horsin' Around wardrobe. Nowadays, he's more known by his current look.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: As it turns out in season 4's "Underground", Diane drunkenly admits BoJack's one for her, as she is to him, and was devastated when he left without a trace for 6 months. Of course, she kind of flip-flops on this when sober.
  • Lonely at the Top: Despite having everything a person could want from life, BoJack is shown to be very lonely and desperate, with the relationships that mattered him the most virtually destroyed and alienated by circumstance and his own flaws and the few friendships he's got left being constantly put to the test.
  • Lonely Together: In a romantic (and disastrous) way with Princess Carolyn, and in a platonic sense with Diane.
  • Loner-Turned-Friend: A twofer example in his relationship with Diane, since while they have companions and contacts (BoJack with Princess Carolyn and Todd; Diane with Mr. Peanutbutter, Wayne and Roxy), neither of them has true friends in Hollywoo or at least not as close as they are.
  • Longing For Fiction Land: Given how his life was much easier and happier in his fictional sitcom home, it's no surprise that he truly wants to invoke its rules in real life.
  • Loose Lips: See In Vino Veritas above. He isn't exactly proud of it.
  • Lost in Character: Happens to him in Season 5, where he gets increasingly caught up in his role as the titular character of the Show Within a Show, Philbert. A set designer who unintentionally designs Philbert's house as looking exactly like BoJack's, a relationship with the actress playing Philbert's love interest, Meta Casting elements getting written into the character as a plot to Catch the Conscience, a gruelling schedule of endless night shoots, BoJack's difficulty handling his mother's death and his becoming addicted to opiate painkillers after an accident on set makes matters increasingly worse, and BoJack's decaying mental state eventually causes him to have a invoked Creator Breakdown in which he increasingly perceives the world as a gritty police procedural. The most blatant sign of this process taking place is the fact that he starts to wear his Philbert costume constantly off-set and even in his everyday life.
  • Lovable Jock: Implied. Some flashbacks into BoJack's childhood show him wearing a soccer uniform as a child and a football uniform as a teenager and this was before Horsin' Around when he was a relatively decent, friendly person. It's revealed that he actually went for school tryouts in the latter, much to his mother's disapproval.
  • Love at First Sight: BoJack and Wanda met each other through Pinky and fell in love the first time they talked and laid eyes on each other, which only increases when BoJack finds out that Wanda might be the only woman in all Hollywoo who doesn't know who he is, believing her to be a chance to start anew, since they clearly love each other. This instead blinds them to each other's flaws and different personalities, which only exacerbate the other's life. Eventually, they realize that although they still care about one another, they rushed things and can't be together anymore.
    Wanda: It's funny. When you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.

  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase: Back in Horsin' Around, his catch phrase was "I know (x), but this is ridiculous!"
  • Made Out to Be a Jerkass: In "BoJack Hates The Troops", BoJack's attempts to defends his actions with Neal McBeal only result in the media manipulating his words to make him look as he hates the U.S. army.
  • Malicious Misnaming: In "Let's Find Out", guest Daniel Radcliffe constantly confuses BoJack's name, calling him "Chadwick Boseman" or "Jock-Jack Door-slam", despite having met before. Then, at the end, comes the time to say the name of the star of the Harry Potter franchise and the turn is for BoJack and...well...
  • Manchild: One of the major issues holding him back is that he's got the mindset of a teenager.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He intentionally sets Todd up so he can mess his meeting about the rock opera with executives and comes back crawling at him.
  • 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.
  • Men Don't Cry: BoJack has problems when it comes to tears flowing, especially in front of others (which is a problem for an actor). See Unable to Cry below.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: At his worst, he seems to have a hatred of everything and everyone. The few lasting exceptions seem to be his friends like PC, Todd and Diane.
  • 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.
  • Morality Pet: Hollyhock in Season 4. After her introduction, BoJack sees Hollyhock as the one thing in his life that he hasn't screwed up. Until she overdoses, at which point he thinks he's ruined her. Even after it turns out that wasn't his fault, BoJack still has trouble talking to her. However, late in the season, he finds a way to help Hollyhock while expecting nothing in return, even going to great financial and emotional expense for her.
  • Must Have Lots of Free Time: Indeed, he has. Being a constant unemployed actor and having a fortune in royalties from his former sitcom is not a combination for productiveness. Adding to that is his isolation from everyone, loneliness, not-friendly attitude, Dismotivation tendencies, constant grumpiness and desire almost to the point of obsession of wanting something, be it just a drink, a vacuum or a companion with whom he can have a normal conversation. This attitude only makes him even more miserable since all his free time has made him dwell on everything he's seen, done, been and achieved. He's concluded he doesn't like it one bit.
    • Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize that out of the main cast, there's not a single completely happy person, but BoJack stands out as the one who proclaims it because unlike the rest of them, who happen to have some form of distraction in the form of love or work, BoJack's loner status means he has had more time to look at himself introspectively. Hmmm...
  • Must Make Amends: Upon finding out Herb has rectal cancer, he travels to his house to reconnect with him. It fails.
  • My Greatest Failure: Depressingly, he gets one once a season.
    • Season 1 - His betrayal of Herb and its consequences, culminating in the Rejected Apology.
    • Season 2 - Almost sleeping with Charlotte's daughter, Penny, after being rejected by Charlotte herself.
    • Season 3 - After going on a months-long bender with Sarah Lynn, she dies of an overdose while they're at the planetarium. This, notably, is what pushes BoJack over the Despair Event Horizon.
      BoJack: The funeral was huge. There were so many people there. I kept thinking "I did this to her." And everyone was just standing around like "Well, this was bound to happen," but... it wasn't bound to happen.
    • Season 4 - This is actually averted, as he manages to avoid irrevocably ruining anything or anyone. Though he is still haunted by the failures of previous seasons, particularly Sarah Lynn's death.
    • Season 5 - Nearly choking Gina to death on-set of his TV show because of being hopped up on drugs. It's this incident that convinces him to enter rehab for drug addiction after he realizes that he can't beat this on his own.
  • Mysterious Middle Initial: A quick moment in "Stop the Presses" shows the first letter of his middle name is "F", but it's left a mystery what the "F" stands for.

  • Naked People Are Funny: The incident with "John Stamos", as told by Princess Carolyn in "Say Anything". Made funnier by the fact that BoJack did it inside Vigor while drunk and crying with people watching and Princess Carolyn trying to cover her face.
  • Narcissist: As a horseman, he is often portrayed as a self-absorbed individual, with a very inflated opinion of himself combined with an inordinate need for tribute from others, as well as a constant search for others' love and respect, envy of those who are better than him and contempt toward those who he feels are beneath his attention. Overall, his attitude fits more with those of compensatory narcissists, due to his objectives being less of an intricate sense of entitlement and more of a need to establish some self worth courtesy of his lack of self esteem and deep insecurities. Nevertheless, BoJack deviates from the rule in that, in a similar vein to Tony Soprano, he realizes that his actions and personality are damaging to the people around him and, unlike Tony, he actually has the sense and capacity to make a turnaround.
    Princess Carolyn: Remember that book you're pretending to write? Well, Penguin wants an update on your progress. Does Tuesday work for you, or are you gonna be too busy this week masturbating to old pictures of yourself?
    BoJack: I told you, that's not what was happening that time. I was masturbating to what the picture represented.
  • Narrating the Obvious: Back in the Horsin' Around days, BoJack's voice was in charge of announcing to people that the show was filmed in front of a live-studio audience, right before the audience started laughing.
  • Near-Rape Experience: It's revealed that during a particularly bad evening when he was 8 in which he gave a mediocre choir performance, Beatrice left without picking him up and he had to carpool with the music teacher who enjoyed touching more than notes. Returning safe, BoJack told Beatrice - who simply derided it as an example of nobody loving BoJack.
  • Never Grew Up: BoJack is, and has always been, a teenager at heart, having stopped growing at a certain point in his young adulthood. This is one of the reasons why he's able to understand Sarah Lynn's plight and why he starts bonding with Charlotte's daughter, Penny. One of the central conflicts of his arc is having to grow out of this stunted emotional state.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Downplayed example In-Universe. The Horse, BoJack's character in Horsin' Around is a saccharine Nice Guy, Wide-Eyed Idealist. In between scenes and in Real Life, BoJack, while not a bad guy himself, is as far removed from that image and ideal as possible, being grumpy, cynical, sad and quite a hard person to approach.
  • Nice Guy: Back in The '90s and before getting his gig in Horsin' Around, BoJack used to be a decent guy with no real baggage other than the occasional mishap or cowardice towards possible connections. Then, he got the part and everything changed.
  • Nice Hat: As a child, he wore a sailor's hat.
  • 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!
  • No Hero to His Valet: If you know him, you'd certainly be more frustrated and depressed than amazed.
    • To the people and Horsin' Around fans, he's the beloved horse. To Princess Carolyn, he's the screwed-up, selfish, inconsiderate, needy ex-boyfriend and client.
    • Pre-biography, he was a somewhat stable has-been. Once Diane's glimpse of his character appears in bookstores, he's known as an oafish, self-centered, delusional yet lovable has-been. Even she admits she doesn't see anything wrong with him, he's just fucked-up.
    • Besides PC, her most intimate lovers surely have some stories about him being a real moody gentleman and asshole rather than the somewhat charmingly honest everyman he appears to be.
  • Nostalgia Ain't Like It Used to Be: As a result of his Nostalgia Filter, BoJack's memory tries to focus on the good times, forgetting often the anxiety he or others still lived about their lives and the future, as well as simplifying friends and people in his life to certain roles he feels comfortable with.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Deconstructed. His perception and remembrance of the '90s does involve a few embellishments, often being held by BoJack as the peak of his career and life. However, as the first season begins and progresses, it becomes all too clear that even then, he was far from happy, stable and mature; something that has carried on toward his middle age in the present with the problem of it all being something within himself. As of the end of season 2, his rose tinted version of this early part of his life has been shattered as well, with BoJack realizing that his young adulthood was in some part self-denial at his increasingly clear issues. It only get worse in season 3 when Sarah Lynn's death and the misfortunes he faces forever taint his memory of the show, to the point of running out of the set of Ethan Around after one of his co-stars mentions how she wants to be famous, reminding him of Sarah Lynn's destroyed life.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: While BoJack knows better, Penny believes that if she and BoJack want to have sex, all that's necessary is to give him consent to do so. Never mind that Penny is BoJack's good friend Charlotte's daughter, that she is only 17 years old, that she is trying to romanticize a relationship that has just started, that a girl like her is asking a stranger like him to have sex with her and so on...
  • Not Me This Time: Despite Princess Carolyn's suspicions and warnings, he's not the one who ends up derailing the tour of "One Trick Pony" by controversies. Diane is.
  • No True Scotsman: A variant. He starts to wonder if he's a good actor after his new attitude clashes with his role of Secretariat. It only gets worse when in season 3, people start badmouthing Horsin' Around and his reaction to not being in the final print of Secretariat. Eventually, he decides he is an actor, but prefers being part of programs like Horsin' Around. Well, at least until Sarah Lynn dies.
  • No Respect Guy: Granted, he often overestimates how much is his due. But it's clear, especially in episodes like "BoJack Hates The Troops", "One Trick Pony", "Brand New Couch" and "Let's Find Out" that he doesn't command any, even when he should deserve it.

  • Obfuscating Stupidity: To an extent. Despite acting like (and well, being) an airheaded celebrity most of the time, Bojack has shown to have good knowledge about subjects like philosophy, politics, history, and current events. However because of his countless vices and extravagant lifestyle, especially with his substance abuse problems, he regularly behaves like a boorish fool anyways.
  • Obliviously Evil: Most of BoJack's actions in "Escape From L.A.", including almost sleeping with Charlotte's (technically legal) tween daughter Penny weren't, according to Raphael Bob-Waksberg, done with malicious intent since he has the mind of a teenager and doesn't realize that he's doing something wrong.
  • Odd Friendship: BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter fit the bill, since the former hates the oblivious latter, but he lets him hang around because he is just that desperate for love and companionship.
  • Oedipus Complex: He's less about finding an equal romantic partner and more of a "mommy (he) can slide (his) dick in and out of" who gives him space when he can't be bothered.
  • Official Couple: With Wanda in season 2. At least until episode 10. He's also this with Ana in season 3. Again, until episode 10.
  • Old Media Are Evil: He uses this as a reason in his break-up with Wanda, arguing that she's part of what caused him to be this way, reflecting his feelings on his and Herb's superior on the Horsin' Around days, Angela Díaz.
  • Old Shame: Two In-Universe examples.
    • BoJack's relationship with Horsin' Around, the show that made him famous, is complicated to say the least. It's a great source of nostalgia for him, despite his understanding that it was really just schmaltzy schlock. He wants to distance himself from it, but he'll defend its merits whenever someone other than him criticizes it.
    • A much straighter example was The BoJack Horseman Show. While the original concept would have been a successful comeback for him, after a night of drunken rewrites with series creator Mr. Cuddlywhiskers, the end result became a show that people only remember for how hilariously shitty it was, to the point that BoJack practically excised it from his memory.
  • One of the Kids: Deconstructed. BoJack has an uncanny ability to bond with younger characters because of his own mental immaturity. However, this makes him much more susceptible to screw up instead of behaving like a responsible adult should. "Escape From L.A." just drives this home: He's still his usual self, but by interacting with people closer to his emotional age; a.k.a. teenagers, he comes off less as a lovable loser and more as a creepy, pathetic old man.
  • Only Child Syndrome: Yes. A bad thing in this case, since his parents weren't really expecting (or wanting) a child, and thus they resented him for it.
  • Only Friend: Most likely Herb. Nowadays the closest thing he has to this are Todd and Diane, and even then they have limits.
  • Only Sane Man: Zigzagged through seasons 1-3.
    • He can certainly be this most of the time, at least when it comes to matters that don't directly involve him in some way. The most notable instance is that he is the only character that sees that Vincent Adultman is literally just a couple of kids stacked on each other in a trench coat.
    • Played straight in season 4. While still self-centered and insecure, he’s steadily improving and is able to mend most of his relationships in friendly terms while remaining some sort of voice of reason. Moreover, he’s the only one who’s not pushing for a position he’s wily unprepared for (like Mr. Peanutbutter); he’s not questioning his relationships and being in denial about his unhappiness (like Diane); he’s not going through emotional turmoil and destroying his relationships (like Princess Carolyn) and he’s not messing up in any major way through good intentions (like Todd).
  • Operation: Jealousy: He and Penny plan for him to go as her prom date as a way for her to stick it to her crush, Diego Mendoza, for not going with her, as well as not losing out on having a great time. Predictably, this is only the first of many terrible choices that will occur during the evening.
  • Opinion-Changing Dream: After reading "One Trick Pony", he disowns and refuses to allow its publication out of fear and self-denial, claiming he can do it better. After a night of drug-binging and postponing, he goes into a journey of self-discovery and psychological scars, culminating in the happiest moment he has ever lived, only to have it yanked away. By the time he regains consciousness, not only has he failed to present an alternative to the autobiography and convinced himself that Diane should publish the original, but he has realized what an utter wreck he is and worse, how bad it can affect him and others. He spends the last portion of the episode asking Diane if he is a good person.
  • Opposed Mentors: Along with Opposing Combat Philosophies, BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter also have different approaches toward life that affect Diane one way or the other, with Mr. Peanutbutter embracing the inherent pointlessness of it and doing everything with the most energy possible; and BoJack looking long and deep at the despair and darkness of it all, including himself and taking full swings to the bottle of poison known as "cynicism", "logic" and "misanthropy".
  • Opposing Combat Philosophies: As part of their Foil status, BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter have this. They're both former sitcom stars from the '90s, but while Mr. Peanutbutter faces the challenge with distractions and half-full methods, BoJack somewhat grasps and confronts the truth of the situation, realizing his past mistakes in the more harsher ways possible.
  • Opposites Attract: BoJack falls head over heels with Wanda. This is later deconstructed as they both come to realize and resent their polar opposite personalities, until they finally break up.
  • Out-Gambitted: By Mr. Peanutbutter, no less, on the matter of the "D" from the Hollywood sign in "Our A-Story Is A D-Story".

  • Papa Wolf:
    • In "Fish Out of Water", while trying to return a lost baby seahorse to his father and siblings, BoJack becomes fiercely protective over that baby, doing his best to navigate him out of harm's way.
    • Crops up again in Season 4, when he becomes convinced that his mother had (un)intentionally poisoned Hollyhock to hurt them both. His rage at his mother may not quite be Nightmare Fuel, but it's close. Very, very close.
  • Parental Substitute: Even though they were just actors playing characters on television, BoJack was viewed as being like a surrogate father figure to Sarah Lynn, due to playing her stepdad when she was very young on that show. But when BoJack and Sarah admit that they're not even real family, it changes into a more sexual relationship.
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: When put to the test of sacrificing his career to save Herb or throwing him under the bus and continue making the show, he initially goes for the former; but after some convincing (read: coercion) by a female executive of the network and the kind of support the show is receiving from fans, he forgoes Herb.
  • Perpetual Frowner: It's hard to see BoJack with a smile on his face. Most of the time, you will most likely see him with a miserable, depressed frown. Then again, it's hard to blame him.
  • Pet the Dog: Several times:
    • He comforts Diane after the crappy reunion with her family.
    • He finally gives Todd his own closet to store his "shit", although it comes after ruining his dream project.
    • He supports Wanda on her new project in "Let's Find Out".
    • He takes Diane in after she returns earlier than expected and has nowhere to go.
    • He saves Todd from a cult and finally admits that he cares about him.
    • He spends an entire episode trying to get a baby seahorse back to his father and rejects any reward for doing so.
    • Remains supportive of Diane through season 3 and reminds her that she's too good to sink to the level of writing tweets for celebrities.
    • In "Time's Arrow", after his mother recognizes him in one of her rare moments of lucidity, he takes a moment to help her imagine a happy memory together with her brother.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Aren't you/Isn't that the horse from Horsin' Around?"
  • Platonic Life-Partners: After a few bumps on the road, BoJack and Diane become this. It only becomes more evident in season 2, when Diane stays at BoJack's, having nowhere to go after bailing out on Sebastian St. Clair.
  • Playing Hamlet: In-Universe. Winning the role of Secretariat means that BoJack, a horse in his middle fifties, is playing a racing horse who died in his early thirties.
  • Poisonous Friend: He considers himself one in the wake of Sarah Lynn's death in Season 3.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: BoJack has said some rather unpleasant things about people from Alaska and France.
    "Please, we're going to Alaska. How am I going to offend a bunch of inbred Eskimo blubber-munchers?"
    "Hey, I stand by my critique of Sartre. His philosophical arguments helped tyrannical regimes justify overt cruelty. Also, the French smell and I hate them."
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: The reason why BoJack starts dating Wanda (who's been unconscious for about 30 years) is because she doesn't know who he is.
  • Porn Stash: With the clever "NOT_PORN" and "NOT_PORN 2" names on the files of his computer.
  • The Prima Donna: As the eventual success of Horsin' Around starts to inflate his ego, BoJack becomes demanding and selfish towards the cast and writers, arguing that his wishes should be the order and he is the star, after all.
  • The Protagonist: A depressed, jerkish horseman with a shit-ton of neuroses. Our main focus, ladies and gentlemen.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Deconstructed Trope. He thinks this trope is at play and is confused when others hold him to a higher standard. This is explored in "Free Churro" when Bojack explains that his family did not provide any guidance to him as a child, so all of his moral standards came from watching TV shows where Easily Forgiven, Rule of Romantic, and Status Quo Is God were all in effect.
  • Protagonist Title: He is BoJack Horseman, after all.
  • The Punishment Is the Crime: Not that BoJack doesn't feel shitty and bad already, but Herb makes sure he will never get closure about what happened between them, having to live the rest of his life knowing that he failed as a friend and as a person.
  • A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil: He and Herb shared a true mentorship and friendship until BoJack sacrificed him (albeit reluctantly) for the sake of his career.

  • Radish Cure: In a Flashback, BoJack tries smoking after seeing Secretariat doing it on television. Beatrice comes in, watches him and as punishment and as she doesn't want to waste a good cigarette, forces him to finish it. It appears to have backfired.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: He often gets ticked off over small things. Honeydew, for example.
  • Reality Ensues: Season Four shows semblances of proper Character Development for Bojack becoming a more responsible person, including his bond with his half-sister Hollyhock and rebuilding his friendship with Todd. Season Five however shows that, even with those moments of Bone Throwing remaining unnegated, Bojack still has a long way to go to a fully stable life, as he's still making enormous mistakes and plenty old ones are still coming back to haunt him.
  • Really Gets Around: Deconstructed. BoJack sleeps with different women a lot. One episode has a list of statistics mention that he's had sex with over 100 women. But, it's mentioned time and time again that one of the main reasons he has random sex with random women is to fill his loneliness, which doesn't.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He's given some, gotten some.
    BoJack: First of all, we're not roommates. You are my houseguest.
    Todd: Well, we don't need to put labels on things.
    BoJack: You sleep on my couch, and you don't pay rent. I've had tapeworms that were less parasitic. I don't even remember why I let you stay with me in the first place.
    • In the same episode, he receives small ones from Princess Carolyn as they're breaking up, which culminates in her snapping and finally saying what she sees in him.
      Princess Carolyn: BoJack, can you please just listen for a second?
      BoJack: You have my undivided attention.
      Princess Carolyn: I think we should see other people.
      BoJack: Were we not seeing other people?
      (After a brief discussion over him cheating on her)
      BoJack: What is the problem here? Are you embarrassed of me because I'm a has-been? Because you know that I'm writing that book that is gonna make everybody love me again.
      Princess Carolyn: You're not really writing a book.
      BoJack: Well, I already spent my advance, so that's a first step.
      Princess Carolyn: Look, this has been a lot of fun, but I need to start thinking about my future. I mean, you don't even respect me enough to have a baby with me.
      BoJack: Whoa, what? I never explicitly said that.
      Princess Carolyn: You said it with your actions.
      (After yet another discussion over BoJack's distaste for a baby and how little respect he gives to Princess Carolyn)
      Princess Carolyn: Oh, face it. You're afraid of commitment.
      BoJack: I'm not afraid of commitment. I commit to things all the time. It's the following through on that commitment that I take issue with.
      (Then, as Mr. Peanutbutter arrives and intrudes into the situation, BoJack asks Princess Carolyn)
      BoJack: Why are you making conversation?
      Princess Carolyn: Oh, let's see, it's the English word... It's called being polite, BoJack. Would it kill you to be civil? This is why we're breaking up.
      BoJack: So it's not because of the thing with the baby?
      Princess Carolyn: It's because of a lot of things! Waiter, could we please have the check? Thank you.
      BoJack: We haven't even ordered yet.
      Princess Carolyn: I have wasted so many dinners on you, BoJack Horseman. I don't know how you can expect anyone else to love you when you so clearly hate yourself.
    • "BoJack Hates The Tropes": BoJack gives one to a dumb blonde girl who picks on him at a bar one night. Or at least he attempts to.
    • Receives one from her former co-star Sarah Lynn, which considering the situation and in retrospect is both justified and not at all justified:
      Sarah Lynn: You sit up here in your little house and feel sorry for yourself? Ugh, guess what, BoJay: in order to be a has-been, you actually have to have, y'know, BEEN!
    • He receives two from his former friend Herb when he tries to pressure him into forgiving him:
      Herb: I'm not gonna give you closure. You don't get that. You have to live with the shitty thing you did for the rest of your life. You have to know that it's never, ever going to be okay! I'm dying! I'm not gonna feel better! And I'm not gonna be your prop so you can feel better! Do you know what it was liyke for me? I had nobody. Everybody left! I knew all those showbiz phonies would turn on me, sure. But you? I don't care about the job! I did fine! I had a good life, but what I needed then was... a friend. And you abandoned me. And I will never forgive you for that. Now get the fuck out of my house!
    • The second one is far more bitter, right before BoJack leaves.
      Herb: You know what your problem is? You want to think of yourself as the good guy. Well, I know you better than anyone, and I can tell you that you're not. In fact, you'd probably sleep a lot better at night if you just admitted to yourself that you're a selfish goddamn coward who just takes whatever he wants and doesn't give a shit about who he hurts. That's you. That's BoJack Horseman.
    • In "It's You" he gets two in one episode! The first when he's visited by Diane after receiving an Oscar nomination and they talk about their happiness.
      BoJack: I don't know why it's so hard for you to believe that I could be happy. I'm not like you, okay? I don't fetishize my own sadness.
      Diane: I don't fetishize my own sadness.
      BoJack: Sure.
      Diane: You don't know anything about me.
      BoJack: Hey! I know that you can tweet for a living in a house in Beverly Hills that your husband bought, or you can think you're better than everyone, but you can't do both.
      Diane: I don't think I'm better than everyone.
      BoJack: And again, I say, sure.
      Diane: You know what's gonna happen? You're gonna win that Oscar, and you're gonna go up on that stage and give your little speech, and then you're gonna go home. And you're gonna be so miserable, you'll want to kill yourself. And you're gonna have nobody left to stop you.
      • He gets the other at the end of the episode from Todd, who demolishes the various form of Freudian Excuse that he uses to deflect blame.
        Todd: You can't keep doing this! You can't keep doing shitty things, and then feel bad about yourself like that makes it okay! You need to be better!
        BoJack: I know, and I'm sorry, okay? I was drunk, and there was all this pressure with the Oscar campaign, but now that it's over-
        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 the shitty things that happened to you in your career or when you were a kid, it's you. It's you.
        (A long, thoughtful pause)
        Todd: (disheartened) Fuck, man. What else is there to say?
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: Slowly through season 4, BoJack makes amends the way most comfortable to the victimized party.
    • He's the first one (besides Emily) that accepts Todd's asexuality. While Todd's still not comfortable in being friends again, he senses a change in BoJack's attitude and welcomes him back.
    • He chats amiably with Mr. Peanutbutter during the doll search, even trying to tolerate the Labrador's quirks, planting the seeds of a tentative friendship.
    • He finally talks with Diane during PB's campaign fundraiser and both reaffirm their tight bond.
    • He gives comfort and sympathy to Princess Carolyn when she comes clean about her failures and agrees to appear in her new project.
  • Reclusive Artist: In-universe. In season 1, he rarely gets out and when he does is to appear on talk shows or cause trouble. As it turns out, he doubled down in this department after another failed comeback in 2007.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Cynical and sarcastic Blue, with both Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter alternating as his fun-loving, energetic Red counterpart.
  • Redemption Quest: Starting in season 2 and continued through the series. Needless to say, the individual in question being BoJack, this road finds a a few bumps down the road, most notably: if he isn't this horseman that starred on that 90s sitcom or the curmudgeon that destroy anything that touches or even the rising movie star that was always misunderstood, then who is he?
  • Regretful Traitor: Arguably deconstructed. BoJack was this to Herb, as he was reluctant to betray his friend and felt terrible about it... but not so reluctant that he wouldn't do it, and not so terrible that he wouldn't continue to ignore Herb for twenty years afterward, until Herb was on his deathbed.
  • Rejected Apology: After visiting his old friend Herb, who he had stabbed in the back when he promised to support him when he came out of the closet, BoJack apologizes to him, only for Herb to say he doesn't accept it. Seeing BoJack is confused, Herb clarifies: He's not going to forgive him, he's not going to give him peace of mind, and BoJack is going to have to live with the horrible thing he did for the rest of his life.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: BoJack and Princess Carolyn are always going back and forth between seemingly breaking up for good and returning to give it one more shot. Justified since, as he explains himself, they're not really in love, just craving to communicate with someone, basically hanging onto each other since there's no one better around until around midway season 1 when they both agree they don't belong together. Then, again, there may have been some actual love in-between the masochism and hurt, but it has clearly become too toxic by the time season 3 nears its end.
  • The Resenter: To Mr. Peanutbutter, for being happy and comfortable in his own skin.
  • Retargeted Lust: During "Escape From L.A.", BoJack increasingly bonds with Penny Carson, Charlotte's daughter, because of their similar thought process, problematic issues that no one seems to understand or help them with, impulsive yet innocent behavior and hidden vulnerabilities. Moreso from BoJack's part, as Penny looks exactly like her mother and gets along with her as her previous relationship with Charlotte starts crumbling away. After a failed attempt to get Charlotte to elope in a romantic whim, BoJack presumably takes Penny's naive offer for sex as a sort of rebound from Charlotte. As she found them before they would do anything, he's still tormented about whether he would have gone ahead with it.
  • Ridiculous Procrastinator: He constantly postpones writing his memoirs, perhaps because he doesn't really wants to talk about his past. It's so bad that Pinky's company hires Diane as a ghostwriter to complete it.
  • Riddle for the Ages: How did BoJack stole the 'D' from the Hollywood sign without anyone noticing? Did he have help? Did he do it alone? HOW? It's never revealed.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor:invoked Subverted. You would think, BoJack nearly killing Gina would have cancelled Philbert, but it doesn't. What does cancel the show, however, is a sex robot harassing its employees.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: In the Love Triangle between himself and Mr. Peanutbutter for Diane in season 1. Zigzagged the more the series goes on since in spite of failing, he and Diane still form a strong bond bordering in pseudoromantic.
  • Rose-Tinted Narrative: His attempts at writing his long-overdue memoirs, after dismissing Diane, are hindered by this. His significant alteration of his Abusive Parents into Good Parents just for the sake of trading reality with a more comfortable lie shows him as that unwilling to make his dark past public.

  • Schedule Slip: In-Universe, this is the reason why Penguin Publishing hires Diane to ghost-write BoJack's memoirs: He has been promising a preview for a few months and spending the advance money without delivering.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: The only reason why the police lets Diane, Todd and Irving go after breaking into Gentle Farms is because BoJack knows Drew Barrymore.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Famous!: As a Hollywood celebrity, he at least believes he can get away with illegal misbehavior.
  • Sealed with a Kiss: Non romantic example... probably. He mends up with Mr. Peanutbutter this way.
  • Self-Made Man: Throughly deconstructed as BoJack would attest himself, since he could tell people one or two things about how difficult, pain-staking and ultimately hollow such an ideal is, what with all the broken relationships, alienation from any sense of self, pressure from everyone to give your best and how your success relies on the people's opinion of what you do and how marketable it is.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Played for Drama and some dark laughs. He fabricates an alternate vision of his life and actions for the sake of avoiding responsibility or guilt over a problem he has caused. He also applies this logic to his very tragic past and high insecurities in order to appear more well-adjusted than he truly is.
    • This isn't foolproof, though; when his depression gets overwhelming, reality rushes in and he beats himself up over his mistakes.
  • A Shared Suffering: Played for Laughs. BoJack and Princess Carolyn may not agree on a lot of things, but there's an unanimous opinion between them: they both hate honeydew.
  • The Show Must Go On: The reason why BoJack refuses to help Herb is that the show would ultimately be Overshadowed by Controversy and canceled, with the cast and crew and himself getting fired and forgotten by fans and viewers.
  • Shower of Angst: Prone to often taking these.
    BoJack: Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to take a shower so you can't tell if I'm crying or not.
  • Siblings Wanted: In "Live Fast, Diane Nguyen", he reveals that he always wanted to know what it feels like to have brothers. This is one of the only reasons why he bonds with Diane's brothers and defends them somewhat.
    • In Season 4 he finally gets a sibling: Hollyhock, as turns out, is not his illegitimate daughter but his illegitimate half-sister, and the season concludes with her warmly acknowledging him as her brother. As what she said sinks in, he genuinely smiles.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Receives this response from a lot of people. Yes, BoJack might be right about this being a Crapsack World, but his apathy towards it and not caring attitude does nothing but hinder any solution to the problem. Even BoJack concedes it, as he knows too well how wallowing in pity and doing nothing to improve is the worst thing to do.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Having had a pretty horrible childhood and quite a crappy life, BoJack's life Koan involves the certainty that no one cares about him and as such, he should have little consideration for others. And has no problem telling this philosophy to anyone who'll listen. This mindset often makes him have derision for everybody who can be happy with their lives; e.g. Mr. Peanutbutter, since he secretly would wish to be part of such a group.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: With his mother Beatrice in season 4. Short synopsis: BoJack ascends, Beatrice descends.
  • Single-Issue Psychology: A lot of BoJack's problems can be traced down to his parents but his real problem is repeating and constantly being part of a self-destructive cycle, constantly ignoring real chances to make amends or change himself. In short, while his parents are to be blamed by his eventual condition, it's the aftermath and ramifications of the abuse that eventually drove him to be as screwed up as he is right now.
  • Sink-or-Swim Fatherhood: Season 4 has him deal with his illegitimate daughter as he helps her track down her mother. Subverted at the end when he learns that she's actually his half-sister.
  • Sit Comic: The show Horsin' Around was made in part to boost BoJack's and Herb's career from stand-up comedians to actor and writer respectively. Of course, by the end, only BoJack had managed to make his dream come true. And even then barely.
  • Sliding Scale of Unavoidable vs. Unforgivable: Being a full-blown Anti-Hero, BoJack constantly toes the line in this departament. It's highly debated between fandom, critics, creators and the characters themselves where does he stand.
    • For starters, there's his actions regarding Herb's dismissal. Was it really correct to leave out a dear pal out in the sun just for the same of pleasing the network and continue the journey in the money train? Or was it a Necessary Evil that allowed thousands of people to remain in their cushy jobs, stopped the show from being canceled, and was therefore a tough but necessary choice? Then again, the main reason for their fallout was not the firing but that they remained out of touch for the next 20 years, yet exactly how much was in both parties is left up in the air: while Herb is hurt and mad at BoJack for dismissing him all those years without any concern for his health or life out of the business, evidence suggests the horse figured out Herb wouldn't want to see him again, since from his perspective Horsin' Around meant just as much to both of them and his inaction led to his firing, with his refusal to meet implied to include ignoring calls or even mentions of him. Basically, "you abandoned me when I needed you the most, that you can't figure that as the reason why I hate you now makes it even more unforgivable" vs "I thought you were mad at me for what I did to you and you wouldn't want to talk afterwards, that's why I didn't bother", as a brief summary.
    • Then, there is his treatment of Todd that can range from just harmless nudging to plain abuse to even harmful psychological bullying, even if BoJack certainly cares about him. There are two specific actions that cross a certain line, though: in season 1, there's his sabotage of Todd's rock opera to stop him from moving forward in life and stay with him; then, in season 3, he ends up sleeping with his would-be girlfriend Emily when offered an opportunity, although this one stands in a morally grey area: while BoJack's lack of impulse control, as well as subconscious self-sabotage make him the culprit in taking the decision, Todd's reluctance to open up to Emily about his asexuality and Emily giving up on trying to figure out what Todd wants and despondency about it also contributed to the disaster. Nevertheless, his refusal to accept responsibility and admit to what he did lights the petard that kaputts the friendship.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Twice, one in season 1 and again in season 3, all to Todd:
    • He mixes the fake bourbon from the Guten Bourbon commercial in "Say Anything" with real bourbon. When Todd replaces him as the face for the commercial, he ends up accidentally drunk.
    • Accidentally does this again to Todd during the Season 3 premiere with drugged milk. This time, he mixed it directly from the carton.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: deconstructed. His ego is the result of his severely low self-esteem, resulting in often wanting the validation and love of others to valorate himself. Tellingly, he switches between loving and hating himself.
  • Small Steps Hero: At the end of season 2. Deconstructed in season 3. Turns out, he has to make a full change. No half-measures.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: BoJack will usually smoke a cigarette after having sex.
  • Sore Loser: He doesn't enjoy the way he's losing in "Let's Find Out" and acts very bitter about it. There's also his reaction at the end of the episode. Justified since the game seems to be rigged for guest Daniel Radcliffe to win and him to lose.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Very much so. With how assholish BoJack behaves, it's easy to forget that his actions are fueled by resentment, bitterness and deep sadness, mostly due to his lack of any real happiness or purpose outside Hollywoo or stardom.
    • Hinted at more than a little in a Cutaway Gag in the first season, where he holds his hand over the stove's burner while repeating "Nothing on the outside, nothing on the inside".
  • Sour Supporter: He's this to Diane in "Hank After Dark", initially. He does support her, but he's still mad about her writing "One Trick Pony". Once they talk about it and bury the hatchet, he subverts the trope by standing behind her.
  • Species Surname: He's a horse and his last name is Horseman.
  • Spotting the Thread: Figuring out a key body tic on Mr. Peanutbutter with the help of Princess Carolyn is how BoJack starts to gain an edge on "Hollywoo Stars: What Do They Know? Do They Know Things? Let's Find Out!"
  • Squaring the Love Triangle: The fact that this almost happens between BoJack and Charlotte's daughter, Penny, is enough to destroy any last friendlieness between BoJack and Charlotte.
  • Star-Making Role: In-Universe. "Horsin' Around" made BoJack Horseman a household name in The '90s.
  • Stepford Smiler: Back in his early acting career on Horsin' Around he seemed much more cheerful, but he was still really miserable even back then. Now in the present day, he's dropped any pretense and is very open about how cynical and depressed he is.
  • Stepford Snarker: Don't worry, most of his snark is genuine, but it's clear that he uses snark usually as a form of protection and self-defense.
  • Stopped Caring: Years of abuse at the hands of his parents, as well as a long decline into washed-out middle age during which his only credit was to star in a 90s sitcom which, while beloved, isn't that great of an accomplishment, followed by a gradual loss of his circle of friends, some of it his doing, and the realization that the dream machine called Hollywood will just as easily toss him out as receiving him in with open arms has certainly ensured that BoJack not only doesn't care about important emotional or moral issues, but that when he does, he prefers to avoid caring too much.
  • Straight Man: To Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter's antics. Otherwise, well....see below.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: The Wise Guy to Princess Carolyn, Diane and the rest of his acquaintances' Straight Man.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: BoJack bares a bit of resemblance to Butterscotch, his father; specifically, the mane color and the voice are identical. He also inherited his diamond marking from his mother and her side of the family, although Butterscotch said his mother also had a diamond marking.
  • Stubborn Mule: Puns aside, BoJack has often showed disregard toward completely following someone's, anyone's, be it a director, a workmate or even his agent, orders....or at the very least, not in an intended way.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: His first cringe-worthy mistake in the set of the Secretariat Biopic causes Kelsey to Facepalm and Lenny Turtletaub to look with embarrassment.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: BoJack is a cynical person with many issues but deep down wants to be loved.
  • Supporting Protagonist: In season 4. The story is still firmly rooted in BoJack, but a major arc in the season centers around Beatrice's life and family and how her experiences shaped up the woman she'd become and her subsequent abuse of BoJack.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Does this frequently, especially when it comes to the concept of a family.
  • Superior Successor:
    • To Secretariat. Low as he can fall, BoJack just refuses to be kicked to the ground and simply take the easy way out and keeps trying to see any kind of silver lining, unlike his hero who allowed his bottled emotions to drain him out of any will to live.
    • To the whole Sugarman/Horseman family:
      • Beatrice's horrid childhood, rebellious young life and subsequent lack of wealth left her jaded, volatile and self-serving without any concern toward those around her other than the injustices she endured as a result of giving all of herself to her son without any regards for personal choices. BoJack does have a sense of dissatisfaction about the way his life headed and has caused many clusterfucks worthy of being lynched, but has enough sense to know how damaging these are. Recently, he's gotten better at acknowledging his mistakes and mending them, something Beatrice could never figure out how to do.
      • Butterscotch's sense of idealism was broken by being cast out of the life he thought was promised him: the Beat generation dismissed his ideas and his sense of hurt pride made him an uncompromising man whose prose never got better as a result. BoJack has a desire to achieve greatness but has had enough experiences to know how unfulfilled hanging on to aspirations leave you, so he's learned to curb those flights of fancy.
      • Honey Sugarman's feisty and fun-loving nature was traded with her future grandson's depression and mood-swings caused by her son CrackerJack's death. Eventually, such despair consummed her to the point where she agreed to a lobotomy to live in ignorant bliss away from pain. BoJack due to living in the modern era has access to help and while not willing to go to therapy has shown a bigger commitment to fixing himself.
      • Joseph Sugarman, BoJack's grandparent, was a kind, accessible least for the time of 1940. Still, the inability to understand deeper emotions or any sort of nuance from anyone made him a horribly pragmatic person. With the condonation from society, Joseph drifted into outright abuse toward his family through a warped sense of righteousness. BoJack is abrasive, unapologetic and brutally honest, which makes society dismiss his more noble qualities. Nevertheless, BoJack shows a keen understanding of his friends and loved ones' psyche and when push come to shove, he can be there for them.
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: For BoJack, it was his orange sweater filled with apple stamps when he was younger; nowadays, it's his blue sweater with crosses.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: Since he's our protagonist, for a measure of it, he's portrayed with a surprising depth and vulnerability that makes him a complex and at times redeemable character.

  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: He's the tallest of the main cast, has a dark mane and hide, and usually uses strong colored garments; the snark part should be obvious by now.
  • Taught by Television: BoJack's life has always been influenced by TV, even when he was little, and more often than not, most of his knowledge comes from it. Unfortunately, this constant interaction combined with the time he spent working on Horsin Around, has caused him to constantly try to play life like a TV show, seeing as the conflicts and complexities of life can often be portrayed as easier in the aforementioned media; much to the detriment of the people who come into contact with him. He finally acknowledges this in Free Churro, where he points out that so far, it hasn't worked out.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: It's implied that Herb was aiming for this with BoJack when he tried to kissed him. After attempting it, BoJack stops him and tells him he's straight, establishing some limits in the process. When rejected, though, they still remain friends.
  • Team Dad: He tries to act the part when the cast of Horsin' Around reunites at Herb's funeral, but Bradley, Joelle and Sarah Lynn know him better. Still, he is the one who acts as a mediator and stop them from killing each other.
  • The Teetotaler: Before he entered showbiz, BoJack did not drink, possibly due to the effect alcoholism had on his family. This did not last long into his career, as he is seen using booze to cope at most a few years afterwards.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: Heavily played with; BoJack has shades of The Prophet, being the oldest one of the three and the most experienced in a way, nevertheless, he dabbles into The Lord and The Hunter as well, since he desires to change and start a new life despite his old age as well as reign in his knowledge to confront the changing nature of the world.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: As revealed in "Stop The Presses", he seems to hold this opinion. In a bit of irony, the person he's telling this is the closest thing to a therapist he's had and is clearly unaware of it, implying that his reasoning is more out of pride and fear than outright dismissal.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: He's sporting this in the intro credits. Apart from a brief moment when he glares at Todd, the entire intro credits.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After three seasons of unsuccessfully trying to become a better person, BoJack ends the fourth season in a much better place than he was at the end of last season by reconciling with his half-sister Holly Hock and finally forming a genuine relationship with someone that he didn't irrevocably destroy at some point. BoJack's face in the final scene of the season says it all.
  • Token Adult: Downplayed. He's at best 27 years older than the youngest character, Todd. Still, he's the oldest in the main cast, so he still qualifies. His fellows and cast members treat him as such, at least.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Zigzagged. The least moral of the main characters, BoJack's deep exploration of his psyche as well as his (often) sympathetic motives goes a long way in softening and understanding the motivation behind some of his most heinous actions, even if not quite justifying them. The shifting morality and BoJack often ending as A Lighter Shade of Black compared to more amoral characters does its job as well.
  • Took a Level in Cheerfulness: As part of his self-proclaimed change of attitude in season 2, BoJack tries to remain calm and cheerful through his day, even as the cracks start to show. It completely falls apart by the end of the first episode.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After some false starts and failures, BoJack has become somewhat better on dealing with his problems and the people in his life in season 2. He is no saint yet and still has a long way to go, but for the most part, he is willing to consider others' opinions, tries to be more altruistic, treats Todd a little better and actually feels guilty about berating Mr. Peanutbutter once he realizes how much it has hurt him. He takes a harsh dive in the penultimate episode of season 2, but judging by its ending, the best might be yet to come for BoJack. Or not. Or perhaps yes.
    • In season 4, his daughter, and later revealed to be half-sister Hollyhock's visit and influence on his life brings back BoJack's warmer side, especially toward Princess Carolyn, Todd, and Beatrice (to a lesser extent). By the finale, he's still got a long way to go, but there's hope for it sticking yet...
  • Too Much Information: See Ass Shove above.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Unintentional on his part, but if you're one of his friends, don't expect him to be a paragon. He laments this, saying after Sarah Lynn's death that he feels like there's poison inside him that spreads to every one of his friends.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Most of the truly dire situations BoJack finds himself in are caused by his inability to think before acting and incapability to reflect on how it would affect others.
  • Tragic Dream: His only desire, underneath all of the selfishness and deluded philosophy, is to find happiness and fulfillment in his life. Something that becomes complicated and almost impossible by his constant toxic personality and tendencies to drive away the people he cares the most or outright destroy any relationship he has.
  • Tragic Hero: Swinging the full scale from Comedy to Tragedy, often overlapping. There's enough evidence to suggest that should BoJack rise from his neuroses, flaws and egocentrism, he would be a great man. Yet his flaws and misunderstandings of how the world works lead him to fall lower and lower each time.
  • Triang Relations: A major plot line is the evolution of BoJack's relationship with Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter, including how they perceive it to be and how it really is.
    • It starts as a typical example of Type 12: BoJack falls in love with Diane, who's in a committed relationship with his rival, Mr. Peanutbutter—who, for his part, genuinely likes BoJack and is always trying to become his friend, despite the constant rejection.
    • Then, it moves into a bizarre mixture of Type 2, Type 3 and Type 4 when they start working together: Diane's focused on BoJack, whose interest for her is growing, yet only for his biography and is truly in love with Mr. Peanutbutter, who yearns to be BoJack's friend much to the latter's displeasure and annoyance. At the same time, as feelings start coming to the upfront, both the horse and the labrador end up in the same running path to win Diane's heart, putting them in conflict as rivals, all while Diane remains oblivious for the most part, especially regarding BoJack's real feelings.
    • AND THEN it gets really weird. Type 7 creeps in, thanks to BoJack starting to make actual efforts to win Diane over, while Diane remains devoted to Mr. Peanutbutter while at the same time seeing her relationship with BoJack grow as a strong bond of friendship. Followed very swiftly by Type 8 when both of her suitors's relationship evolves from a one-sided friendship to a two-sided rivalry to a reluctant partnership, complete with uneasy civil treatment.
    • Meanwhile, from Diane's point of view, it's more of a Type 10 with a more platonic edge: she's in a committed relationship but has feelings for BoJack in a way (sort of). As if it wasn't complicated enough, PB and BoJack's evolving interactions result in a slow slide into Type 11, with Mr. Peanutbutter's desire of BoJack's friendship turning out to have some possible romantic undertones as well.
  • Tsundere: Rare Male Example. BoJack is abrasive, a stubborn jackass, rude, cynical, brutally honest and an unlikable person in general. He's also dynamic depending in the situation and once the many layers are removed, he's emotionally needy, caring and a big ol' softie.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: Bitter about the way his life has gone, resentful of those more fortunate than himself, takes out his anger on someone who looks up to him....Yep, Generation Xerox has kicked full gear for BoJack, on both parents' sides. The only two difference is that BoJack is not as bad as either of his parents in this department and still has the opportunity to change.

  • The Unapologetic: Part of what makes it difficult to reconcile with anyone he’s hurt: he stands by his choice, but he’s not happy with the results or having hurt someone, yet doing so won’t ensure the relationship will be mended nor that the situation will improve nor that everything will be the same as before. So he does nothing. And time passes.
  • Unbalanced by Rival's Kid: Not that finding out Charlotte being married wasn't a recipe for disaster on its own, but the majority of BoJack's most rash and cruel actions in "Escape From L.A." stem from the desire to bond with Charlotte's daughter, Penny, whom bears a resemblance to her mother.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: In terms of facial structure and hide color, BoJack looks very similar to Crackerjack, his maternal uncle.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: He tries to be this to Wanda in season 2. Key Word: He tries.
  • Unknown Rival: There's no way he could make his hatred of Mr. Peanutbutter any clearer, yet the dog never seems to be the wiser. Or so it seems. As "Let's Find Out" reveals, he knows BoJack doesn't like him, but goes along with it, because he truly believes they can be friends.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Due to Diane, his ghostwriter, having to be the vessel in which BoJack has to pour all of his memories of past and present in order to help her write his memoirs; BoJack often struggles to appear sophisticated, well-balanced and with no baggage or in the case of traumatic and hard experiences, avoid the issue altogether. Diane doesn't fall for it.
  • Unrequited Love: He eventually develops a crush on his ghostwriter, Diane Nguyen, who couldn't be more uninterested or oblivious to it. Also, she's also dating BoJack's rival, Mr. Peanutbutter. Then again, she may not be as unreciprocal to such feelings as she seems..
  • Unstoppable Rage: He literally almost kills Gina because of his painkiller addiction that hurts his sanity.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist:
    • Is it even a surprise at this point? It should be. You’ll still sympathize with him because of his bad actions and even question if you’re that good of a person to begin with. See Deconstructed Character Archetype.
    • The end of season 3 with Sarah Lynn's death and season 4 introduces a Long-Lost Relative in Hollyhock, the trope ended up shattered as BoJack finally broke but as a result was able to confront his problems head-on. The end of season four and throughout season five show him succeeding in treating people better rather than just try to erase his own self-loathing.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Usually, BoJack's actions, well-intentioned or not, have serious repercussions for everyone around him. Some examples go from accidentally making Corduroy fall Off the Wagon and return to Erotic Asphyxiation, which causes his death and getting Kelsey fired for trying to invoke Doing It for the Art in the Secretariat Biopic as well as (indirectly) causing another one of her movie projects to fall apart through Princess Carolyn .
    • He surely has a hand in Sarah Lynn's issues: he spend her entire childhood giving her awful life advice, by 2007, when they meet again with her on the edge of starting her current self-destructing personality, when they meet again, she is happy, but he reveals that he just went to see her to ask her to guest star on his show, ultimately, in the season 3, he calls her to a bender doing hardcore drugs, which leads to her overdose and ultimate death.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Oscillates between this and Upper-Class Wit. He constantly overestimates himself and can be quite condescending.
  • Upper-Class Wit: Oscillates between this and Upper-Class Twit. At his best, he can have a better grasp of society and can be quite intelligent and even charming on occasion. His put-downs are also quite witty.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Child: Really used to be one. In Flashbacks to his childhood, little BoJack is often shown to be kind, considered, well-behaved and a decent kid, almost the complete opposite of how he is nowadays, which makes it even more heartbreaking knowing what happened to him.
  • Used to Be More Social: Considering his more outgoing attitude in The '90s and his close circle of friends, this is certainly a major contrast to his current attitude.

  • Vanity License Plate: Two of them: "HORSINA" on his black SUV and "WOAHBOY" on his red convertible.
  • Villain Protagonist: Enforced, zigzagged and constantly explored. As hard as it is to not sympathize with BoJack's horrible past, his desire to be a good person, and his struggle (and usual failure) to reign in the more toxic parts of his personality, he's arguably one of the main driving forces for some of the most catastrophic events in the series. These events have resulted either from some sort of selfish desire on his part or are side effects of his obliviousness to his bad advice.

  • Warts and All: He mentions in several occasions to Diane that this is the way he wants his memoirs written, though he not-so-subtly implies that he doesn't want it to actually be the case, he just wants to believe it to be the case.
  • Was It All a Lie?: He starts to question whether he can truly act after failing to convey Secretariat's emotions properly.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: At the end of season 1, BoJack looks back and realices that despite gaining the role for Secretariat, not only he's still not happy, he has caused most of his relationships to crumble.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Even at his adult age, he can't stop wanting his parents to be proud of him. The 2nd season premiére reveals that he invited Beatrice to attend the taping of Horsin' Around 's pilot. When his father, and later his mother, died, he was saddened both times not because he actually loved them, but because it meant the slim hope that his parents would ever show kindness towards him died with them.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: Invoked and done In-Universe with The BoJack Horseman Show. BoJack's motive for creating it was to break his former squeaky-clean image as a sitcom dad from Horsin' Around, and tried to make it the edgiest comedy show possible. This ended up backfiring in a big way, leading to his reputation as a has-been hack of an actor at the start of the series.
  • We Used to Be Friends: BoJack and Herb had a falling out after he was fired from Horsing Around and BoJack failed to support him. Years later, they meet again and it seems like they will bury the hatchet, only for BoJack to demand Herb in a passive way to forgive him. Things just escalate from there. Sadly, they never reconcile and Herb passes away hating BoJack.
  • White Sheep: Calling BoJack this may sound weird, but considering that his grandmother Honey went mad with grief and was lobotomized as a result, his grandfather Joseph saw nothing wrong with this and was a pretty sexist guy with retrograde ideas that twisted Beatrice, his uncle Crackerjack was killed in the war, his mother Beatrice was raised to be a Baby Factory and rebelled by eloping with a hopeless dreamer like Butterscotch, only for both to end miserable due to her unplanned pregnancy with BoJack and failed dreams; BoJack is by comparison a guy with depression and narcissism. Not to say he’s completely functional, just slightly less screwed up. He shares this role with Hollyhock, who actually plays this straight as an arrow.
  • When He Smiles: At the conclusion of Season 4, as Hollyhock tells him that she doesn't need a dad... but she's never had a brother.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: He started as something akin to this in Hollywood, before he went off the deep end.
  • What Have I Become?: His frequent opinions of himself and depression speaks volumes about his unhappiness in terms of lifestyle.
  • What Is This Feeling?: He expresses confusion and bafflement when he experiences the desire to spend more time with Wanda after what appeared to be one night stand, implying that he may not understand how love works and if so, he may not feel it often.
  • Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Whenever something good or helpful or someone with heavy empathy happens upon BoJack, his own problems, egocentrism or plain bad luck will cause that person to be alienated or the good luck streak to be undone. Several characters, and even BoJack himself, lampshade it in more than one occasion.
  • Worst Aid: In "Escape From L.A.", BoJack, acting as chaperone, decides to leave one of Penny's friends at the entrance of the hospital after suffering an alcohol poisoning, fearful of having to explain where the bourbon came from.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: His defining characteristic, as well as the reason he keeps screwing up his professional and personal lives, is his impression that real life operates on the same principals as a sitcom, with easily-resolved conflicts and zany schemes that actually work. He's been called out on this more than once.

  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: In their first meeting, none other, Diane gives one such speech to BoJack regarding his work in Horsin' Around by comparing his career to Robert Reed from The Brady Bunch. Although BoJack being BoJack, the analogy backfires.
    Diane: Hey, do you know the story of the dad from The Brady Bunch?
    BoJack: Do I know his story? If I recall correctly, he was bringing up three boys of his own.
    Diane: Right, but—
    BoJack: They were four men living all together, but they were all alone. That is profoundly sad.
    Diane: No, the story is that the guy who played the dad hated being on The Brady Bunch because he was a real actor, and he considered it beneath him. Sound familiar?
    BoJack: That's not all that was beneath him. Gay joke. Sorry, I'm better than that.
    Diane: Most people don't even get to do The Brady Bunch version of the thing they want to do with their lives. You're actually in a really good position now, because you can pretty much do anything you want. You're responsible for your own happiness, you know?
    • In return, when Diane's family has driven her to breaking point, BoJack calms her down by giving her a letter from her pal "Leo".
      Diane: (reading) "Dear Diane, it's me, your old pen pal Leo. This definitely isn't BoJack Horseman writing this."
      BoJack: Keep reading.
      Diane: "You're a good person, Diane, and that's the most important thing. Even if no one appreciates you, it's important that you don't stop being good. I like how you always bring your own bags to the grocery store, and how you're always organized to go places. I like how you chew gum on the airplane so your ears will pop. A lot of people might not appreciate that about you, but I do. Yours forever, Leo." That's the best letter he ever wrote me.
    • And again in Season 3 after Sarah Lynn's funeral and BoJack's Despair Speech about being poison to everyone.
      Diane: When I was a kid, I used to watch you on TV. And you know I didn't have the best family. Things weren't that great for me. But, for half an hour every week, I got to watch this show about four people who had nobody, who came together and became a family. And, for half an hour every week, I had a home, and it helped me survive. BoJack, there are millions of people who are better off for having known you.
    • And he returns the favor by telling her what she's been trying to deny the whole season.
      BoJack: I know you don't want to hear this, but you're too good to be writing Instagram captions for celebrities. (Diane tries to make it seem a little more important than it is) I'm sorry, but you are. You know you are.
      Diane: Okay. Thank you.
      BoJack: And I wish you didn't get so distant after you moved out.
      Diane: I'm sorry.
      BoJack: You know me better than anybody, and you can't not be a part of my life.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Once BoJack starts getting his act together after talking to Diane for his biography in Season 1, getting Secretariat's role in Season 2 and being nominated for an Oscar in Season 3, BoJack hasn't had as much time as in the early episodes to just slack off and wander around his house doing nothing, becoming less and less accustomed to it the more time passes. By the end of Season 3, when Horsin' Around and friends have stopped being part of his life, especially after Sarah's death, he returns to his home once more, now completely broken and messy, to find out he doesn't want to be there either and the effect it had on him of soothing his pain or distracting him from real problems no longer works. In other words: there are no more placebos to distract him from real life.
  • You Remind Me of X: He says to Penny, Charlotte's daughter, that she looks just like her mother.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The very first episode has BoJack casually admit to his then-girlfriend, Princess Carolyn, that he cheated on her. No wonder she broke up with him.
  • Your Other Left: BoJack on moving a sofa: "A little to the, HOUSE right. That's an acting term. It means left. I'm an actor."

  • Zany Scheme: Has one nearly Once per Episode. The reasons to put it in action vary, usually when BoJack tries to overstep or avoid a harsh fact of life, event or action to obtain a more comfortable reality. His determination towards these have proven to be pointless, since whenever they work, it's not in an intended way.

Alternative Title(s): Bojack Horseman The Horse Himself Tropes L To Z


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