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Characters / BoJack Horseman - The Horseman Himself : Tropes E To K

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

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  • 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 can’t stand Mr. Peanutbutter or anything related to him and it’s 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, it’s 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.
  • 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.
  • Formerly Fit: Gotten quite a gut, eh, buddy? Not surprising given his overeating and binge-drinking. Especially jarring since flashbacks show BoJack as having once had a pretty muscular build, back when he was young and taping Horsin' Around.
  • 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. Plus, he has an obvious "horse" face. He also mentions seeing a bag in the window once and getting spooked.

  • 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 he’s old enough, letting the water take him in. Todd calls him out on this, since he doesn’t think that would make a good ending for his autobiography.
  • Grumpy Bear: He's not cheery or optimistic, to say the least.

  • 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 Butterscotch’s 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 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.

  • 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.
    • 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:
    BoJack: I don't understand why you two don't just get a divorce.
    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.
  • 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.


Alternative Title(s): Bo Jack Horseman The Horse Himself Tropes E To K


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