Beware of rampant spoilers of season 1 and 2! While the majority of spoilers involving plot points of the current season will be hidden, this is not consistent depending on the situation, with just the presence of certain tropes being spoilers. Enter the subpages at your OWN RISK.
This article is for the main character of Netflix 's original animated series BoJack Horseman.
BoJack: Mr. Peanutbutter...
Mr. Peanutbutter: No, tell me.
BoJack: Because I'm jealous.
Mr. Peanutbutter: Oh. Of what? Diane?
BoJack: No. Of everything. Everything comes so easy for you.
Mr. Peanutbutter: Oh, and it doesn't for you? You're a millionaire movie star with a girlfriend who loves you, acting in your dream movie. What more do you want? What else could the universe possibly owe you?
BoJack: I want to feel good about myself. The way you do. And I don't know how. I don't know if I can. I'm sorry, Mr. Peanutbutter. I can't tell you how sorry I am.
Having starred in the '90s sitcom Horsin' Around, BoJack has seen better days. His 15 minutes of fame are up, he is frequently overwhelmed by frustration and self-loathing, he's grown bitter and spiteful since the show ended, and he often hints at hating what he has become in his later years and the sacrifices he's made to reach his status. At best, BoJack's only relationships with other people are tenuous: his agent of over 20 years, Princess Carolyn, would rather meet with their clothes on and his pest-turned-roommate, Todd Chávez offers him some companionship despite the abuse thrown his way. His productive state leaves a lot to be desired: he spends most of his time getting as drunk as a skunk, eating almost 10 times his weight or wallowing in self-pity. A deal with Penguin Publishing to write a book may be the answer to his prayers as he believes completing his memoir may be his last shot at getting the public to care about him again. There's one tiny problem: he can't write. Or, more accurately, he doesn't want to talk about his past. At all. Having spent his advances without delivering one single page, BoJack seems doomed to face oblivion...
...at least, until he meets Diane Nguyen, professional ghostwriter and willing listener to his bottled-up neuroses suggested by Penguin to write the delayed novel. She's also the girlfriend of Mr. Peanutbutter, BoJack's rival and frenemy. Refusing at first to open up, he and Diane bond after a slight detour in Boston to bury her father. As he starts getting to know her as well as she knows him, BoJack develops a crush, which further complicates their relationship. As the first season progresses, BoJack's past starts to unravel like a ball of yarn: he grew up in a loveless family, where his parents's mutual disappointment with their lives and each other turned towards him; he moved to L.A. in search of fame as a stand-up comedian where he befriended Herb Kazzaz and had a experience similar to the one he's having with Diane, only with Herb's girlfriend, Charlotte, who reciprocated and dropped not-so-subtle hints about it. As BoJack and Herb's big break came with the show, Charlotte left Hollywood, giving some cryptic warnings about how things would change when they got famous. It was true: before long, the once-long-time friends became distant from each other until Herb was outed as homosexual and BoJack, faced with reaching his goal of playing Secretariat or supporting Herb and getting fired as well, sided with the network and let Herb go.
Upon BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter's conflict with Diane boiling to a possible controversy for BoJack over stealing the "D" from the Hollywoo sign, he agrees to stop pursuing Diane in exchange for Mr. Peanutbutter getting rid of the "D", only for Mr. Peanutbutter to use it to propose to Diane. After a disastrous visit to Herb's resulting in undying hatred from the latter's part, BoJack finally confesses his feelings to Diane by kissing her, but gets silence instead of reciprocation. After spending some time apart after a brief falling out due to the book spelling out all of BoJack's flaws and wondering whether he's truly a good person, they re-encounter in a forum for ghostwriters when he outright asks if she thinks he's a good person. Silence ensues. Upon meeting again in the roof, she says that she thinks that a person is what a person does, leaving her answer to BoJack's question an enigma. The surprising success of the biography leads BoJack to the spotlight again and even to land the part of Secretariat in an upcoming biopic and an Oscar nomination for it. Having everything he once thought he wanted, BoJack has woken up and decided to focus on the chimera everyone desires: to find happiness in life.
Misanthropic, bitter, heavily flawed yet surprisingly intelligent and somewhat sympathetic, BoJack has yet to face the profound challenges of his simple goal, especially if he has to face the biggest obstacle: himself.
You remember, right? The many, many tropes concerning the horse from Horsin' Around? C'mon, don't act like you don't know.
- '80s Hair: Back when he was a sitcom actor, he had what seems to be the horse equivalent of a mullet.
- Abusive Parents: His parents were cruel people who were always displeased with everything he did and hated the fact that he existed. BoJack was also a downplayed example towards his surrogate daughter, Sarah Lynn. Flashbacks show the horse being a massive asshole towards her, despite being the closest thing to a father figure in Sarah Lynn's life.
- Adorkable: He is normally a narcissistic loudmouth, but Hollyhock ends up bringing out this side of him. After accidentally insulting her appearance (questioning why a guy would be interested in her, but was more about being protective of her) she asked him point blank if he thinks she is pretty and he manages to stumble through an awkward but sincere "Of course I think you're pretty" that actually makes her blush. Flashbacks also show that Bojack was this in spades as a teenager.
- Affectionate Nickname: When they were friends, Herb called him "BJ".
- The Alcoholic: The biggest one in the series. Despite this trait being a regular sight in Hollywoo, it speaks a lot about the quantities he needs to drink in order to qualify for that title. While a big part of it is because he's in a constant downer mood and hates himself; being a horse, he really needs to drink gallons before feeling the effects of the alcohol.
- The Aloner: One of his major problems and worries is being alone. Being the kind of person he is, he's often alone in his house, in his life and in his private time. Part of his Character Development is to be more outgoing and easy with people as well as being comfortable should this happen.
- Always a Bigger Fish: No matter how much he tries, BoJack can never break into mainstream fame and when he tries, there's always someone more famous or powerful than him. He's no Hank Hippopopalous. According to Jurj Clooners, Bread Poot and Leornerner DiCapricorn are household name, BoJack isn't. He's just the fifth wheel in the Oscar race.
- Ambiguous Disorder: BoJack has several of the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder.
- Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment from people: He frequently expects to be treated differently or be recognized, due to being a celebrity. He is often shocked when people don't know who he is, views himself as the center of attention and even literally said to someone "Remember, I'm a celebrity."
- Continously bullying, belittling and demeaning of others: Whoo boy. If we were to list every single example of BoJack being a Jerkass, we'd be here all day. Probably the best example of this is his poor treatment of Mr.Peanutbutter and Todd.
- Exploiting others to achieve personal gain: Not that he doesn't care about others, but he often only focuses on his needs, rather than the needs of others. For example, he didn't want to be lonely, hence Todd. He wanted to be a better person, hence Wanda. He wanted to forget about his issues, hence his bender with Sarah Lynn.
- Fixation on success, power, etc: BoJack wants to have a happy life and strives to achieve one. He frequently dreams of life in Maine with Charlotte, or having a simpler life, outside Hollywoo.
- Need for continual admiration of others: In spades. Probably the most iconic example is him begging Diane to tell him he's a good person.
- Intense envy of others. His entire relationship with Mr.Peanutbutter hinges on this. He's also jealous of people who are happier and more successful than him in general.
- Anti-Hero: BoJack is an abrasive, lazy, bitter older man that resists any attempts to change himself for the better when he help it. But deep down, especially when he's sober, he's a surprisingly intelligent and thoughtful guy that really does care for the few people he can consider friends. Of course, in BoJack's case, it's given a revisionist spin.
- Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: While Bojack has many problems, finances have never been one of them. It's never been revealed how much money BoJack has, but he made enough from his Horsin' Around royalties that he could live in a gated, mountaintop mansion for almost two decades with any need to work and he could also impulse buy restaurants and yachts without it straining his bank account.
- After starring in Secretariat and restarting his acting career, he donated his Horsin' Around royalties to charity with no obvious effect on his income.
- After entering celebrity rehab, he reacted to the $100,000 entrance fee with all the annoyance of someone being told their fast food order is 50 cents higher than what they originally thought. He then proceeds to reenter rehab an additional five times and would have stayed longer indefinitely if he had his way.
- Ascended Fanboy: A childhood fan of Secretariat, he achieves his lifelong dream of starring in a Biopic about him in Season 2.
- At Least I Admit It: For all of his flaws and unsavory moments, BoJack never hides completely what he is or holds fantasies about what kind of person he is, being open about his addictions, problems and attitude about things.
- Bastard Angst: BoJack was an unplanned child and the main reason his parents ended up together. They each blame him for how miserably their lives turned out. Even to this day, he's still haunted by the very abusive childhood he had.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: More than twenty years ago, BoJack Horseman used to be a caring, somewhat friendly, if still flawed individual who would do his best to help out anyone. In the present, BoJack is a bitter, uncaring and sad individual who seems resigned to the way things are in Hollywoo.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: BoJack latches on to anyone who's even remotely nice to him, due to growing up without love or support. It's one of the main reasons why he becomes romantically obsessed with Diane, since she's the only one who knows everything about him and largely accepts him despite it.
- Beneath the Mask: He looks at first glance like a grade-A douche washout, especially if you're involved with him on some capacity. Once you get past that though, BoJack reveals himself as a far more caring person who's not only undermined by his own flaws and egocentrism, but also by the circumstances and society surrounding him. And he's all too aware of it.
- Big Eater: He can down a whole box of muffins in one sitting.
- Broken Ace: Famous actor with a fancy house, millions of royalties, a great agent and a part on one of the most beloved sitcoms in the '90s. Underneath it all, he suffers from depression, loneliness and big regrets.
- Broken Bird: For a couple of reasons, the first being his Stage Mom and generally emotionally-abusive upbringing and the other being his betrayal of his best friend in order to keep his career. Because of this, he has a pathological need to have the public's approval above everything else. According to his mother, he was born to be a broken mess.Beatrice: You're born broken, it's your birthright. You're BoJack Horseman. There's no cure for that.
- Broken Hero: Deconstructed, in a similar way to his hero, Secretariat. BoJack was born and raised in an unhappy family, so much of the resentment deriving from his birth and the ensuing rushed wedding between two radically different and horrid people who warped his innocence into a major ticking time bomb. However, his ability to remain dedicated to his dreams of stardom and fame gave fruition when he was cast as The Horse in Horsin' Around per his friend Herb Kazzaz's request, becoming an overnight famous and renowned celebrity with all the luxuries, status and reverence anyone could ask. However, this sudden rise gave leeway for him to vent his pent-up anger, unsolved issues and become a rather demanding, entitled person, gone were the days were he was a Humble Hero. As his eventual decline into obscurity happened, BoJack found himself hollow having alienated his closest friends with only the receding public to count on. His guilt and bad string of decisions eventually led him to become a recluse that stayed indoors for more than 18 years up to the beginning of the series.
- Brutal Honesty: BoJack will never filter or sugarcoat what he wants to say, ever.
- Butt-Monkey: Frequently at the end of his rope, receives little to no respect on the few occasions he deserves some, has several Break the Haughty moments, more often than not has a penchant for losing and hits new lows with each passing season. Deconstructed given that some of the bad things that happen to him are hubris of his own making and since his content mishaps (though no doubt partly of his own doing) have led him to develop a deep anxiety whenever something is going his way, fearful of losing it or just being a plain setup for a worse situation causing it to become so.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: BoJack can't remember what Bradley Hitler-Smith's mother looks like, despite the fact that he slept with her and caused his parents' divorce. He had random trysts with a lot of women back then, after all.
- Commander Contrarian: Tell him to do something and he'll do the opposite. He'll argue over it. Even if he doesn't mean to. Or thinks it's a good idea. Maybe he's just bored. Bottom line: try to make a Plan B just in case.
- Commitment Issues: At first it's just hinted, given his reaction to Princess Carolyn's (mild) suggestion that they have a baby. It's finally confirmed in season 2 as his first steps to get close to Wanda involve having to open up and, even then, he continually self-sabotages unconsciously to drive her away.
- Condescending Compassion: Whenever BoJack expresses empathy and understanding towards someone else, it's hindered by his desire to overcompensate as well as his bitter cynicism and fatalistic attitude, resulting in coming off as arrogant, smug or entitled when doing a favor or being done a favor.Wanda: BoJack, this is our first show and it is very important that things run smoothly tonight. I mean, do you even care about this at all?
BoJack: (with an understanding smile on his face) Sweetie, no. I think this is stupid and a waste of everybody's time. But you're my girlfriend and I care about you.
- The Corruptible: As a kid, he was exposed to several negative influences, such as his parents fighting while he tries to watch his tv show, often resulting in him turning up the volume, being forced to finish smoking a cigarette after being caught and being pushed into being the best by his mom. As an adult, he also became susceptible to alcohol and drugs while living in L.A. and constantly shows weakness when it comes to addictions.
- Crazy Jealous Guy:
- When he had a crush on Diane, he had a Cock Fight with Mr. Peanutbutter in order to impress and then tried to sabotage their wedding.
- As reluctant as he is to admit it in the first place and correct as he is about Vincent, BoJack eventually admits in private that one of the reasons why he so desperately tries to break Vincent and Princess Carolyn's relationship is cause as much as he doesn't take their relationship seriously, he does feel hurt he can't recur to her anymore for comfort.
- When Alex, a guy, shows interest in Wanda due to their similar background, BoJack goes berserk with jaundiced eyes.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He doesn't like to talk about his childhood or his parents.
- Determined Defeatist: For a guy who certainly believes the worst of everything and has little hope about improving his broken life, he still shows an inordinate amount of energy and determination to keep going, even if he bitches or complains all the way through.
- Dirty Old Man: BoJack is in his 50s, yet he often tends to sleep with women who are half his age.*
- Does Not Like Spam: Professes an undying hate for honeydew melon on "Hank After Dark". Later on the episode, he finds some support from Princess Carolyn in their mutual hatred of the fruit.
- Doom Magnet: If you go near BoJack Horseman, do not be surprised if you end up dead, injured, traumatized or have your life completely ruined due to his self-destructive behavior. And he's all too aware of it.BoJack: I come from poison, I have poison inside me and I destroy everything I touch. That's my legacy
- Don't Explain the Joke: He had a propensity for doing this up until Herb talked to him over it in their standup days, which stemmed from his childhood. While he doesn't do it constantly anymore, it still pops up from time to time.Dick Cavett: (Reading BoJack's letter to Secretariat) "When I grow up, I want to be just like you, and I think I'm on the right track. Get it? Track, because horses run on tracks, and you are a horse, and I am a horse. Do you get it? Do you get my joke about the track?" Okay, there's a whole page of this.
Secretariat: Should I write him back, and tell him I get it?
- Drives Like Crazy: BoJack has no scruples about driving under the influence or while watching videos. As a result, he is a terrible driver who causes traffic accidents on a near daily basis, and his Cool Cars tend to pretty quickly be reduced to The Alleged Car.
- The Eeyore: He could give the Trope Namer a run for his money. BoJack has an uncanny ability to make people around him depressed.
- Empty Shell: He sometimes seems to be falling apart. The cocktail of drugs and booze haven't done any favors to his spiritual state. Nor has his inability to achieve any sort of peace with himself and his actions."Nothing in the inside. Nothing in the outside."
- Emotionally Tongue-Tied: Has a hard time expressing his emotions, particularly love or guilt.
- Enraged by Idiocy: Already a bitter person, BoJack has little patience for people with interesting ways of looking at life, plain stupid or just irrational. This extends not just to people like Todd or Mr. Peanutbutter, but also to media, celebrities and people he encounters. Telling them is just part of his Brutal Honesty.
- Entitled Bastard: Several times, sometimes openly, others more subtly. One of the worst was his stubborn demand to Herb that he forgive him for not supporting him, as if his forgiveness was a natural outcome rather than an earned result.
- Ephebophile: Bojack's lust for younger women reached its extreme conclusion when he attempted (though failed) to have sex with 17-year-old Penny Carson, exploiting the fact that it was legal in New Mexico, and Penny was willing to do it with him. Though when Penny's mom Charlotte puts a stop to it, Bojack is immediately shamed as a pervert and kicked out of their home.
- Establishing Character Moment: His first scene involves an interview on The Charlie Rose Show about his show Horsin' Around, its Critical Dissonance and Critic-Proof status, as well as being a staple of '90s culture. BoJack, then proceeds to walk toward Charlie, drunk and parked in a handicapped space. Followed by a long rant about how life can be shitty and why people would prefer ''Horsin Around''.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Subtle, but its there, whether he wants it or not. Just ask Herb, Mr. Peanutbutter and that one guy in Vigor who saw him naked.
- Evil Pays Better: This is how BoJack was convinced by Angela that standing for Herb was a bad idea around the 5th season of Horsin' Around: Everything he's worked for up to this point would be taken away, plus being chased by the public as a result of the ensuing controversy, getting him fired as well as the people in the show; cast and actors included. Playing nice and letting his friend be fired would ensure the prizes would remain and everything would continue flowing smoothly and even allow him to get what he wants. 20 years later, it turns out she was right: he got everything he wanted out of life, but as luck would have it, his conscience and guilt for all of the horrid things he's done to reach that spot have kept him from enjoying it.
- Exhausted Eyebags: One of the glaring signs he's getting old. That and less expanding hair.
- Experienced Protagonist: Unlike newcomer Diane, obliviously functional PB or ruthlessly victory-assuring PC, BoJack knows the drill of how everything goes in Hollywoo and can safely play it cool if his mind is clear. Of course, because of his intelligence and tendency to play friends with everybody, he may be too outstanding, clever and self-destructive to be a successful player of the fame game.
- Expressive Ears: He pins them back tightly whenever he's distressed and perks them forward when alert or interested.
- Fair Weather Friend: He seems to prefer such, given he dislikes getting close to people. Surprisingly, he subverts it by being a loyal, if reluctant, supporter of Diane's, Todd's, Princess Carolyn's and even at times Mr. Peanutbutter's causes and dreams.
- Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: BoJack cant stand Mr. Peanutbutter or anything related to him and its not hard to see why: his good luck, better social skills and great life serve as reminders of his inability to be the same despite having the chance to do so. Gradually, its downplayed as BoJack (reluctantly) accepts PB as part of his life one way or another, even if he still prefers to spend as little time with him as possible.
- Feigning Intelligence: As a strategy to avoid showing his true self to Diane, his biographer; he tries to pretend to be an intellectual, often musing nonsense about some of his possessions, such as paintings, like the one in his office, or sculptures he owns.
- Feeling Their Age: And he's not happy about it.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Kelsey during and after the events of "The Shot". While initially hesitant to desobey Turtletaub's orders, Kelsey ends up being persuaded by BoJack to do so and finally earns her respect by showing an extreme commitment to the movie.
- Fish out of Water: When out of Tinseltown territory, it becomes clear why BoJack has never been able to subsist in normalcy.
- He's this in "Escape From L.A." He's the Only Sane Man in Hollywoo, but when it comes to fitting in normal everyday life in Tesuque, he's at a loss about what to do or how to behave.
- A more literal example occurs in the appropriately named "Fish Out Of Water", when BoJack ends up promoting Secretariat in the Pacific Ocean City Film Festival. Not only is he lost when it comes to money, customs and direction, he also ends up causing a major controversy when he gives the "okay" finger to people, which basically means Flipping the Bird underwater.
- When in fugue state during season 4, BoJack has trouble keeping his head down and passing as someone else, especially when annoying fans pick at his crest with innocuous comments about "this BoJack Horseman" and any stupid comment they make. He's also useless as a handyman, which is quite an inconvenience when the dilapidated Sugarman summer house is used as temporary residence.
- Five Philosophy Ensemble: The Cynic of the group. Curiously, he can also fit The Apathetic or The Conflicted depending on the situation.
- Fleeting Passionate Hobbies: Be it memoirs, a dream role or just plain trying to be friendly with people, BoJack clearly knows he won't find peace and happiness with any of them.
- Foil: Let's see...
- BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter are both stars that peaked in The '90s and as such, they're Not So Different, but Mr. Peanutbutter chooses to occupy himself in every project he can get his hand on, while BoJack has absolutely no desire or energy except for things he truly cares about.
- Both Princess Carolyn and himself are unhappy about their love lives and try to fill the void in different ways. Princess Carolyn has her job and can focus her energy unto something productive, while BoJack just wallows in self-pity.
- Most notably, BoJack and Diane are pretty similar: Terrible childhoods, intellectual, quite cynical and Determined Defeatist attitude. Diane, cynicism aside, still believes in ideals and a better world. BoJack has Stopped Caring and has a huge case of Bystander Syndrome.
- While both are slackers, Todd's somewhat comfortable with who he is and can still make his own thing, while BoJack loathes himself for not being productive in any sense and staying indoors, regardless of whatever he's doing outside.
- To Secretariat himself in a Spiritual Successor way. Both came from really shitty conditions to become famous superstars in horse racing and acting, respectively. Like Secretariat, BoJack has done a lot of sacrifices for his career, including leaving a loved one out to dry: in Secretariat's case, getting his brother Jeff drafted to 'Nam in his place; BoJack's, selling out his mentor Herb for a chance at playing Secretariat, and both are constantly haunted and feeling incomplete about their lives. The only difference is that while Secretariat allowed his fears and failures to consume him, BoJack has constantly bounced and learned from his while continuing walking in an uncertain road.
- To HANK HIPPOPOPALOUS of all people. Both are quite beloved figures from The '90s due to their respective shows and just as well both have an underlying dark side that can be cruel. Unlike Hank, BoJack's bad actions aren't done intentionally and are often the result of coping or just plain misguided good intentions and when putting his mind to it, he can do genuine good things with nothing to be expected in return.
- To his mentor, Herb Kazzaz. Both went into stardom in The '90s, working together on Horsin' Around and achieving notoriety. BoJack failed (in a way) to support Herb when he was blacklisted from Hollywood to achieve his dream project of playing Secretariat. Herb went to better things like charities, staying in touch with several people and generally living his life. BoJack has remained stuck in his past and has done nothing of importance besides H.A.. (at least in the beginning of the series).
- Fool for Love: When love's involved; BoJack has a track record of making stupid and rash decisions: he stole the "D" from the Hollywood sign as a symbol of love towards Diane and later tries to sabotage her wedding with Mr. Peanutbutter, stalks, sabotages several job opportunities and fires Princess Carolyn just to have a chance of dating again and spouts needy, jealous behavior towards Wanda at the beginning and end of their relationship. This can also blind him to the reality of the relationship in its current state; namely how fragile it is, how sometimes manipulation runs on both sides or simply how much he can affect with his gestures.
- Fond Memories That Could Have Been: His Imagine Spot in "Downer Ending" hints at the life that he could have had with Charlotte. Later on, he expresses sadness and remorse at not having given it a try when he could.
- Forgotten Birthday: In January 2nd 2018. He's not happy about it.
- Formerly Fit: In the years following Horsin' Around, BoJack developed a pot belly due to his excessive eating habits, a far cry from his muscular build in the 90s.
- Freudian Excuse: Several — and there's more than a hint that these continued piling up even during his adulthood.
- To start, there were his parents, who resented him for the simple reason of being alive, with his mother, Beatrice, creating his Inferiority Superiority Complex. His father, Butterscotch, would constantly shame him for doing things incorrectly no matter how affecting it was, even forcing him to start from square one if he didn't approve of the process. Thus a sense of dread in messing up as well as disappointing people counting on him was instilled. What was born out of such abuse was his desire to prove his value to other people whose approval he desperately seeks.
- He also took to heart the lesson Secretariat gave him in how to become a Broken Hero: never be deterred of your goals by other people even if it means only finding solace, support and comfort within you.
- Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: In season 3, Todd calls him out on the fact he keeps blaming his very Dark and Troubled Past for his faulty behavior and expects everyone, especially Todd, to just forgive his actions based on it. While his story is bleak and BoJack himself is suffering from depression, Todd is right that having that story doesn't make him unaccountable for the damage he causes to others, no matter how self-destructive he has become because of it.Todd: You can't keep doing this! You can't keep doing shitty things and then feel bad about yourself like that makes it OK. You need to be better! (BoJack tries to apologize) No! No. BoJack just... stop. You are all the things that are wrong with you. It's not the alcohol, or the drugs, or any of the shitty things that happened to you in your career, or when you were a kid. It's you, alright? It's you. ...Fuck, man. What else is there to say?
- A Friend in Need: Several times:
- "Prickly Muffin": When Sarah Lynn almost kills herself in a store, he lets her stay with him.
- "The Telescope": He decides to visit Herb just for the sake of trying to mend the bond they had.
- "The Shot"/"Yes And": When Diane returns from Cordovia earlier than expected and is afraid of returning home defeated with Mr. Peanutbutter, BoJack offers her his house to stay in.
- Friendless Background: Implied in "Downer Ending" when a Flashback shows teenager BoJack sitting on a bench alone and feeling pretty miserable.
- Friendly Enemy: With Mr. Peanutbutter, although it's more vitriolic on his part.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Deconstructed. BoJack does have noble qualities, but a combination of his childhood and past mistakes, led him to be an emotionally troubled person who often takes his frustrations out on the few people who genuinely like him, causing them to feel a mixture of anger and pity towards the horse.
- Friendship Denial: No, he's not friends with Mr. Peanutbutter and he won't admit that he cares for Todd. At least until the 2nd season finale.
- Friends with Benefits: Enters one with Ana, but he wants more from their relationship then sex.
- Friend to Psychos: His relationship with Character Actress Margo Martindale. It speaks volumes of how unhinged Martindale is that BoJack comes across as the sane one in the relationship.
- Functional Addict: For a definition of "functional", at least. He's snorted, drank and porked every substance he would encounter, but he's one of the most level-headed characters in the series, which says a lot about the chaotic world he lives in.
- Furry Reminder: While having sex with Sarah Lynn, he neighs in arousal. He also mentions seeing a bag in the window once and getting spooked. However, he gets noticeably fewer of these moments than many of the animal characters around him, and eventually, we learn the reason why...he has a deeply internalized resentment of other horses.
- Grand Romantic Gesture: Of the overly exaggerated kind. The reason why the "D" of the Hollywood sign is missing is because BoJack stole it as a "symbol" for Diane.
- Grass Is Greener: One of the problems he constantly faces. BoJack always has to idealize the unobtainable for him, craving an idealized version of what he thinks he needs...and always being let down when reality sets in.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: How did BoJack stole the 'D' from the Hollywood sign from under everyone's nose shall remain The Un-Reveal.
- Green-Eyed Monster: After decades of snidely denying it, he ultimately admits that he's this to Mr. Peanutbutter during "Let's Find Out."
- Glory Days: The '90s were this for BoJack. He seems to hold them above the rest due to his participation in "Horsin' Around", his life being balanced, and his friendship with Herb going great. Of course, this being BoJack, it becomes clear that he's letting out several untidy aspects out.
- Goal in Life: To feel good about himself. The trouble is that BoJack is His Own Worst Enemy in this regard, as his self-destructive behavior, rampant abuse of alcohol, and spiteful mean streak prevent him from making any sort of meaningful change. In his more lucid moments, BoJack may admit as much to himself, but won't to anyone else. By the end of Season 5, he's caused enough trouble in his own life to willingly check himself into rehab to this end.
- Good Counterpart: As detailed in Foil above, he's this to Hank Hippopopalous, due to their similar background and personalities yet how different BoJack is portrayed compared to how Hank is.
- A Good Way to Die: Living the rest of his life in Maine and when hes old enough, letting the water take him in. Todd calls him out on this, since he doesnt think that would make a good ending for his autobiography.
- Grumpy Bear: He's not cheery or optimistic, to say the least.
- Guilt Complex: Sarah Lynn is an Addled Addict? His fault, he could have been a better influence on her. Hollyhock overdosed on weight loss drugs? His fault. He thought it was a good idea to give his mom "one more chance". He also thinks he's "ruined" the lives of the people he hurt, such as Penny, when in reality, she was fine. In fact, she only showed signs of trauma again after she saw BoJack again. He also goes on and on about how he's a poison and how he destroys everything.
- Happy Place: His Imagine Spot of a quiet lakehouse in Maine in "Downer Ending".
- Harmful to Minors: His bad advice and lousy treatment to the cast of "Horsin' Around" and his actions towards Penny's friends in "Escape To L.A. show that he isn't the best around children.
- Has a Type: BoJack has a thing for strong and driven women given the specific women he has had a romantic interest and/or relationship with.
- Hates Being Alone: Pathologically so - see Broken Bird.
- Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: He wants fame and recognition, but despises having to deal with showbiz minutia and the whims of others. Best exemplified during the opening minutes of Season 3 when he finally gets popular enough to be regularly approached for interviews only to grow increasingly frustrated and sarcastic towards the nigh-identical questions asked of him.
- Heel Realization: Spent much of his youth trying to avoid this and only now in his middle-age are all of his mistakes and inadequacies starting to utterly manifest in undeniable detail.
- Hero with an F in Good: So very, very much. It's really saying something that the more BoJack tries to do good unambiguously or with his heart on the right place, the more he slides into Nominal Hero mode.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: He often engages in this, usually as a consecuence of his self-loathing.
- Hero-Worshipper: He adores Secretariat, although he doesn't put him on a pedestal and acknowledges him as flawed.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: He used to be best friends with Herb.
- Hidden Depths: Best represented in Season 3, when Ana says he can't go to Cannes to promote Secretariat.Ana: Apparently, the French people do not care for you ever since you said that thing about them in the press.
BoJack: Hey, I stand behind my critique of Sartre. His philosophical arguments helped tyrannical regimes justify overt cruelty. Also the French smell, and I hate them.
- When asked a question obviously intended to provoke a controversial response Bojack gives a surprisingly nuanced and diplomatic answer right off the cuff with minimal umming and erring, showing he knows enough about Middle Eastern politics to intellectually shoot from the hip on that topic, so he must follow world events to some degree.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Zigzagged. In the first season, BJ's memories of his horrid childhood are darkly comic with Beatrice and Butterscotchs insults and abuse of him being Played for Laughs. However, later seasons take the dysfunction, dread, melancholy and domestic violence of his memories and play it for drama.
- His Own Worst Enemy: BoJack both has serious problems with keeping his uglier impulses in check, but is also the first to endlessly beat himself up mentally for his failures in doing so. The end result is that he is stuck in a constant spiral of self-loathing and self-destructive behavior.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: The catalyst for BoJack to hire Diane as a ghostwriter is this happening to him. Twice. On the same day.
- Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis: Deconstructed Trope. BoJack is pushing his early 50s at maximum and has pushed back any desire or effort or realization of wanting to change his ways. Only after having (two) panic attacks does he start to question whenever any of the choices he has made have been for the better and if it's possible to change the route his life is going. What starts as a typical middle age crisis is revealed to have been showing up way, way before this event until one thing becomes clear: BoJack hasn't been postponing this change for a few years, he has been postponing it for his whole life and only now that he's knocked on death's door has this hit him with full effect. Not only does his life and decisions have gravitas, but any attempt to shrug it off or cover it with temporal changes is depicted as self-destructive and just makes things even worse.
- Homosocial Heterosexuality: Most of the interactions and fights BoJack has with Mr. Peanutbutter over Diane are done with only them in the knowledge of what's going on. She's not present in most of their fights and wasn't even aware of both of their emotions until BoJack kissed her. The more details are given, it seems less like a fight over a girl and more like a battle of egos. It's taken even further when in "Let's Find Out",BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter get into a heated discussion sparkled by Diane's mention that slowly drifts to a discussion about their...."complicated" relationship.
- Hope Crusher: He destroys Todd's chances at success, just to keep him from moving.
- Hope Is Scary: Season Three reveals that this is why he'd only ever done Horsin' Around.Princess Carolyn: Why won't you do this? Give me one good reason.
BoJack: Because his show sounds incredible and what if... I'm not? What if there's a reason the only thing I'm known for is Horsin' Around?
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: Back in the '90s, BoJack used to be a famous TV star with fans, money and prestige. Nowadays, he's drowning in depression, self-loathing and booze, and he's lucky if he gets some kind of work, mostly commercials, at all.
- I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: BoJack never fails to be surprised whenever someone expresses sympathy or compassion towards him, especially when knowing his backstory. He often can't help but believe himself not deserving of that kind of attention.
- Ignorance Is Bliss: During his first encounter with Diane, he takes one look at Mr. Peanutbutter and calls him an "idiot who doesn't realize he's miserable" ... and he envies that.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: He really wants to. Hell, that's the reason why he tries to publish his memoirs.
- I Just Want to Be You: In "Let's Find Out", BoJack admits that he envies and wishes that he could be just like Mr. Peanutbutter.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: This should go without saying.
- Immune to Drugs: Mainly because his metabolism processes high quantities slowly, so he has to consume monstrous amounts for anything to kick in.
- Important Haircut: Gets one from Sharona before taking a job as new position as an acting professor. He also stops dying his hair, making him appear significantly older and more mature.
- Incompatible Orientation: During the excitement of a network picking up "Horsin' Around", Herb tries to kiss BoJack. He declines, citing that he's heterosexual.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Best encapsulated in a Deconstruction-filled line in "Chickens".Kelsey: Can we have one conversation that isn't about you? I don't understand why you need me to like you so much.
BoJack: I don't need you to like me! It would be fun if you liked me, because then I could prove to myself that my parents were wrong to never support me, because I'd now earned the admiration of a surrogate-authority figure, thus proving that I have intrinsic worth, but it's not like it's a big deal or anything. Jeez.
- Insecure Love Interest: He's this to Wanda in season 2. And Princess Carolyn. And Ana Spanakopita. And every woman who considers giving him a chance.
- In Harm's Way: He often throws himself into dangerous or plain illegal situations, just because.
- In the Blood:Beatrice: Your father and I, we — well, you come by it honestly, the ugliness inside you.
- Intergenerational Friendship: His relationship with Diane and Todd. On a more plot related case, after not starting with the right foot, BoJack develops one with Charlotte's daughter, Penny. This last one is broken after Charlotte's intervention during a horrifying incident and a Time Skip in which Penny is now wary of BoJack.
- Interspecies Friendship: All of his relationships in the show, past and present. Special note goes to his friendship with Diane and Todd (humans), f(r)iendship with Mr. Peanutbutter (a dog) and complex interactions with Princess Carolyn (a cat). In Season 6, this is lampshaded by Dr. Champ, which forces Bojack to admit that he can only form relationships with people of other species due to his Abusive Parents giving him an internalized hatred of horses, himself included.
- Interspecies Romance: With Princess Carolyn (a cat), Wanda (an owl), and numerous human and animal women. He also wonders What Could Have Been with Charlotte (a deer). As stated above, he's never slept with another horse due to his own self-hatred.
- In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: Despite his best intentions, BoJack's entire raising and constructing of character have made it all but difficult to not only make a fully turnaround, but also to repair himself and others' relationship with him. In many occasions, it has been stated that BoJack's biggest fear is that he may be beyond help in this account.
- In Vino Veritas: He has a tendency to spill the beans and drop the act when drunk, such as the time when he sent via message specific instructions to Diane in case he would forget their date due to hangover, or more plot relevant, confessing to Mr. Peanutbutter through message that he stole the "D" from Hollywood.
- It Meant Something to Me: A platonic example. After nearly losing Todd to an "improvisation" cult, BoJack recounts a previous anecdote of how they met, with great attention to every detail showing how much that meant for him, even when he previously had denied remembering it.
- It's All About Me: His mindset and cause for every unsavory thing he has done, ranging from the very scathing speech he given Diane in "Downer Ending" to his actions in "Escape From L.A.". Justified since BoJack has shown to have a very fragile ego that he tries to counterbalance, and Deconstructed by the fact that this mindset has done nothing more than damage to everyone close enough to him. He seems to slowly be getting better, though.
- It's All Junk: He gets rid of several pieces of furniture in the Season 2 opener, arguing that they stand in for the past and the way he used to be and he has to get rid of them. Including the couch where Todd used to sleep in, causing him a brief crisis.
- It's All My Fault: BoJack blames himself for Sarah Lynn's death, and disappears for a year in response to stew in his guilt.
- It's What I Do: He confesses to Charlotte his awareness and loathing of his constant way of screwing good things, when he doesn't find what he's looking for in that specific thing. She finds out this herself a few minutes later.
- Irrational Hatred: BoJack has this towards Mr. Peanutbutter. Sure, he starred on a rip-off of his Sit Comic Horsin' Around, but other than that, he's a Nice Guy. As it turns out, BoJack is a bit jealous of him.
- I "Uh" You, Too: When he accidentally spills the word "love" to Wanda, he starts acting really uncomfortable around her, which doesn't help the situation.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: While how much it was true love or just attention what he felt for her is up for interpretation, BoJack finally decides to let go of Diane after she's engaged with Mr. Peanutbutter, although it takes Todd calling him out on his plan to sabotage her wedding to do so.
- I Was Quite the Looker: In his youth, BoJack was far more attractive-looking, mainly because he had muscles, no wrinkles, shinier fur, and was much more physically fit and healthy.
- Jaded Washout: As the credits song states, back in the '90s he was in a very famous TV show.
- Jerkass: Petty, self-absorbed, hardassed on anything he doesn't like and a tough person to like in general.
- Jerkass Has a Point: In between some of his bile spilling monologues or awkward attempts to interact, he can make some pretty insightful observations.
BoJack: I don't understand why you two don't just get a divorce.
- As petty as BoJack was being about the situation, he did have a point that Neal McBeal the Navy SEAL could've hid his muffins better. BoJack later makes a Backhanded Apology about how his "apology" to said seal is ridiculous. The seal is left in Stunned Silence.
- He bluntly tells Diane that wanting the approval of her abusive family is stupid, and that she doesn't need those assholes in her life. Since all of them treat her awfully, she never has to come back now that she's done what she came to do and buried her father. Diane just smiles and says "Thanks, BoJack," signifying that he got through to her.
- While he was definitely being cynical about it, BoJack ended up being right about how Diane trying to expose Hank Hippopopalous's criminal behavior will backfire and make her life miserable. He still supports her in her quest all the same, but Diane eventually admits BoJack was right about it.
- Firing Princess Carolyn may have been harsh and even ungrateful, to an extent. But BoJack did make some good points about why she was fired — friend or not, Princess Carolyn screwed up badly and lost BoJack three major acting opportunities that he'll never get back. Breaches in trust like this and the need to maintain a professional relationship is part of the reason why trying to do business with friends is generally not recommended. And he pointedly assesses how she has a need to want to fix messy or broken people in order to have control. Princess Carolyn is taken aback, but concedes the point.
- His description of his mother to Hollyhock may be blunt and bleak, but her abuse towards him is true. And whether or not Beatrice has dementia now, BoJack is still within his right to hate her for what she did. Hollyhock does eventually come around on this, but she's clearly not happy about it.
- BoJack's suspicions of Miles the Intern turn out to be correct as the latter was willing to dump Hollyhock just to get his name out in Hollywoo.
- A flashback into Beatrice's mind has this conversation between the two:
Beatrice: Oh, sure, that's the Hollywood way! "We're out of mustard. Let's get a divorce!" "I'm a little sad. Divorce!" "We've grown apart over the years and our adult child has moved out out of the house and there's no reason for us to stay together. Divorce!"
BoJack: That actually is a legitimate reason to get a divorce.
- Jerkass Realization: He really does, deep down, want to be a good person. His problem is that he gets so many of these moments and they never seem to stick.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Or, as the Netflix description would put it, "maybe a heart of copper".
- This trope is later deconstructed, when BoJack begins to rely on this self-perception to justify his actions, and ends up outright begging to be told that he's a good person at heart. He has shown signs of being genuinely good at heart; it just takes a lot of effort to bring it out of him. In Season 1, when BoJack travels to Boston with Diane for her father's funeral, BoJack tells her that she's way too good of a person to deal with her family if they're just going to treat her like crap. Also, after accidentally donating money to a charity, he renames it in honor of his friend Herb Kazazz.BoJack: I know that I can be selfish and narcissistic and self-destructive but underneath all that, deep down, I'm a good person and I need you to tell me that I'm good... Diane... tell me, please, Diane, tell me that I'm good...
- Reconstructed in season 4. As much as a narcissist as BoJack still is, he's realized that the only way to live and find a path to be happy is to take good opportunities, be a friend to those he cares about and try to curb his enthusiasm regarding life. Likewise, his selfish tendencies slowly start to take a backseat to his new commitment to making amends in ways that are most comfortable to those he has hurt, even helping them stand in their feet again and being a bit more supportive of them. By the end of the season, it's safe to say BoJack has really matured while still staying true to his nature.
- This trope is later deconstructed, when BoJack begins to rely on this self-perception to justify his actions, and ends up outright begging to be told that he's a good person at heart. He has shown signs of being genuinely good at heart; it just takes a lot of effort to bring it out of him. In Season 1, when BoJack travels to Boston with Diane for her father's funeral, BoJack tells her that she's way too good of a person to deal with her family if they're just going to treat her like crap. Also, after accidentally donating money to a charity, he renames it in honor of his friend Herb Kazazz.
- Just Eat Gilligan: As Princess Carolyn points out, most of BoJack's problems could be easily solved if he didn't insist on making them worse with convoluted sitcom antics and stopped obsessing over whether or not people like him.
- Just Friends: He finally settles into this with Diane, although it's hinted he still holds feelings for her.
- Karmic Trickster: At the end of "Let's Find Out". See The Dog Bites Back, Collateral Angst above and Sore Loser below.
- Kavorka Man: Despite his abrasive personality, he enjoys quite an active sex life including a fling with his own television daughter.
- Kick the Dog: With everybody dumb enough to get close to him and almost literally with Mr. Peanutbutter.
- Kick the Morality Pet: Tortured and sympathetic as he may be, BoJack shows little in the way of berating, browbeating or outright insulting the people he may care about, often at the risk of isolating or outright drifting away from them.
- The most common example is every interaction he has with Todd. Despite the latter being one of BoJack's Living Emotional Crutches, BoJack constantly insults him at every point, demeaning him at every turn.
- Other important people in his life aren't exempt either, be it Diane, Mr. Peanutbutter or Princess Carolyn. It all depends on his mood and how much does he want to blow some steam off.
- His actions in "Escape From L.A." are purely this. After escorting a date with Penny, Charlotte's daughter, and her friends, he gets them a better quality booze than Red Bull & Vodka, which causes one of them to have alcohol poisoning, requiring a trip to the hospital. Being the responsible adult in charge, BoJack panics and instead of leading her to the emergency room and taking responsibility for his actions, leaves the poor girl at the entrance along with her date with instructions to not incriminate him. Then, when he and Penny arrive at her home, he kisses Charlotte and tries to subtly coerce her into eloping with him, her family not withstanding. When she refuses, BoJack, at the end of his rope, accepts the request of sex he had rejected previously from Penny, ''a 17 year-old legal girl'' in Tesuque. When Charlotte finds this out, she warns him not to come back here again.
- Finally deconstructed through season 3, when everything BoJack has done wrong to people he cares about and hasn't fixed comes back to bite him in the ass: first, his mistreatment of Todd reaches a boiling point when he sleeps with his previous girlfriend Emily and lies about it in an attempt to keep their friendship intact (when it seemed to have finally been mended); Diane distances herself from him to try to stop herself from sinking into the same route she was at the end of season 2 (not really anyone's complete fault, just mutual toxicity); his attempts to mend with Kelsey after season 2 and push his career forward hit a dead end when deal complications result in Kelsey's movie being rejected and the horse is blocked from being cast for the blockbuster Pegasus; he fires Princess Carolyn due to boiling resentment on both parts and is revealed to not having been nominated for an Oscar in the first place, due to Mr. Peanutbutter losing the envelope and making the nominees' names on the spot. Worse of all, his actions in "That's Too Much, Man!" including a drug bender with fellow addict Sarah Lynn lead to BoJack screwing Penny up even further with his attempts at apologizing and to Sarah Lynn's overdose and death after having an epiphany and deciding to turn her life around, leaving him completely alone.
- 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.BoJack: STOP!! SENDING!! MESSAGES!!
- 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 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.
- Love Revelation Epiphany: After spewing the "L" word to Wanda and trying to reverse the situation, he realizes, while attached to an autoerotic asphyxiation machine, that he does love Wanda and she loves him back.
- Love Triangle: Between BoJack, Diane, and Mr. Peanutbutter, especially in Season 1. Downplayed in Season 2, at least until "Let's Find Out" and continued through season 3, especially in "BoJack Kills", "It's You" and "That Went Well".
- Love You and Everybody: He tries this attitude, as part of his proclaimed change, in the season 2 opener. It doesn't last.
- Loving a Shadow: Love Interests are not what they used to be for him, especially when they encounter again.
- More tellingly is the way he tends to romanticize or idealize the people who are either nice to him or allow him to focus and solve some issues, often forgoing knowing the person and believing him/her to be the solution to all of his problems...and going into a self-destructive bender when that illusion breaks completely.
- Charlotte, a doe BoJack met twenty years ago in a party, has become this in his mind, with BoJack often being tortured and regretful of letting her go and wondering What Could Have Been if he had gave the relationship a shot. Of course, his opinion and desire have elevated her from a part of his life into an idea of the unattainable, of the happiness he could have had, filtrated through his recollection.
- Lying to Protect Your Feelings: His unreliability when explaining his childhood, his past as a stand-up comedian and his parents, especially to Diane as a ghostwriter on his memoirs and unintentional therapist in their interactions, is initially because he's trying his hardest not to open old wounds, despite his failure to confront them hindering him and any progress he might make.
- 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.
- The Masochism Tango: In the early episodes, he used to go back and forth this way with Princess Carolyn.
- 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.
- Meet Cute: How he meets Wanda in "Yesterdayland". She was celebrating her promotion at a San Furnando roller skating rink, he was hiding in the same. Held Gaze, talking until dawn and semi-long sex ensues.
- 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.
- Never Got to Say Goodbye: To Herb, at least not in the way he wanted. He dies hating BoJack.
- 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!
- "And... hold for Princess Carolyn."
- BoJack's sneeze on Marisa Tomei for most of Season 1 until we finally see it during a drug-induced flashback in "Downer Ending".
- 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.
- Not What It Looks Like: When Charlotte catches him with Penny.
- 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.
- Older Than He Looks: Given his Funny Animal biology, style of dress and especially the way he acts, it's easy to forget that Bojack is in his early 50s. By the middle of Season 6 he finally starts looking closer to his age due to him no longer dying his grey hair.
- 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, hes steadily improving and is able to mend most of his relationships in friendly terms while remaining some sort of voice of reason. Moreover, hes the only one whos not pushing for a position hes wily unprepared for (like Mr. Peanutbutter); hes not questioning his relationships and being in denial about his unhappiness (like Diane); hes not going through emotional turmoil and destroying his relationships (like Princess Carolyn) and hes not messing up in any major way through good intentions (like Todd).
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The resident narcissist who is desperate for any kind of praise and will sleep or flirt with any cute woman who does give him said praise ignores this opportunity when given the chance as a flashback in "Mr. Peanut Butter's Boos" shows. The girl was Diane Nguyen before she and BoJack got better acquainted and why was he not interested? He received a phone call from his mother that his father passed away.
- 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.
- "The Bojack Horseman Story: Chapter One": When Todd tries to cheer him up, BoJack follows up with this:
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.BoJack: Maybe because you're skinny and maybe 'cause you're pretty you're used to getting away with things, but I want you to know that your actions have an effect on others, and I hate you, and you are a HORRIBLE person! And you not understanding that you're not a horrible person doesn't make you any less of a horrible person!
Blonde Girl: You think I'm pretty?
(Gilligan Cut to BoJack's house where the two have just had wild sex)
- 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.
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?
- 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.
- 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 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: 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.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Even with the great competition.
- 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 Necessarily 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 person...at 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...
- After his (for him at least) ultimate low point, in season 6 BoJack, thanks to rehab and therapy, takes genuine strides towards becoming a better person with him being far more amicable and considerate to the people around him and actually being a positive influence on them, along with him finally remembering all the terrible things he's done and how to begin forgiving himself for them.
- 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.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Toaster Strudels, cotton candy, and apple fritters.
- 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.
- Unable to Cry: In public, at least. In private, however
- The Unapologetic: Part of what makes it difficult to reconcile with anyone hes hurt: he stands by his choice, but hes not happy with the results or having hurt someone, yet doing so wont 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. Youll still sympathize with him because of his bad actions and even question if youre 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.
- The Rotating Protagonist angle and the Gray and Grey Morality of the series only makes his posture way more complicated, since it can shift from comedic (e.g. his abuse of Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter, the way he complains and insults just about everyone he meets, his more harmful Zany Schemes, his cynical attitude towards people, media and Hollywoo in general and his constant dismissal of the people in his life) to serious (e.g. his laundry list of spiritual losses and failures; his recurring depression/ self loathing and how they influence his actions; the fact that people around him can be morons or false friends; the resentments of his few friends when he crosses a line and his constant search for happiness and true understanding of life).
- If anything, he's a more complicated and human take on a Villain Protagonist: one who may not actively try to hurt people, but still does because he's a flawed person.
- This is played even straighter and deconstructed in "Escape From L.A." when all of BoJack's previous excuses and lovable asshole traits become more obvious as he poisons and destroys the lives of Charlotte's family during his stay in New Mexico, all unknowingly. It only worsens in season 3 when his drunken and high-as-a-kite antics causes a more mature Penny to freak out and leads to Sarah Lynn's overdose.
- Surprisingly, this later manages to turn the tides around since hitting this particular Rock Bottom forces him to confront reality and realize that he can't continue being this way towards anyone. How much BoJack is still this as of the end of season 2 is debatable since as the series has progressed, BoJack has slowly stepped away from this role and become a rather more amiable, if still antagonistic horseman who can and will try his best to improve himself and be nice to the people he cares about. As of the end of season 2 and seasons 3 to 4, he seems to be as determined as he has ever been to change.
- 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 hes 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.
- 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".
- 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 right...no, 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.
- Zen Survivor: Through Character Development in season 4, BoJack is on his way to becoming a Zen Survivor in-training.