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Recap / Bojack Horseman S 5 E 01 The Light Bulb Scene

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"Everyone's fine with it but you."

BoJack has misgivings about his new show. Princess Carolyn visits an adoption agency. Todd interviews for a job at


  • The Alcoholic: While BoJack's problems with alcohol were well documented before, this episode shows that he labels a bottle of vodka with days of the week to limit the amount he drinks on a daily basis, presumably in an attempt to reduce his drinking.
  • Almighty Janitor: The job listing for the janitor job includes the task "Solving math problems on chalkboards after everyone has left for the day."
  • Badass on Paper: Lampshaded during Todd's interview, where the manager can't believe that the former governor of California is applying to be a janitor.
  • Bat Deduction: Todd's Wiki Walk while looking for a job leads him to the film Monster so he checks which is an actual job hunting site.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: One of the actresses responding to the "hot and haunted" casting call is wearing a sheet with boobs painted on.
  • Book Ends: The episode begins and ends with a goldfish dancing by a pool set to "Los Ageless" by St. Vincent.
  • Busby Berkeley Number: An Esther Williams number happens in the first scene, where three dancers jump into a pool and proceed to do synchronized swimming.
  • Continuity Nod: Mr. Peanutbutter picks up Diane at the airport holding a sign that says "Blarn", which was Diane's alias when she worked at Starbucks in 2007.
  • Chair Reveal: BoJack tries it twice on Princess Carolyn. The first time Todd walks in instead. The second time he hauls the chair in his car to the parking lot of the adoption agency.
  • Continuity Nod: Apparently, the set designer for Philbert modeled Philbert's apartment on David Boreanaz's house.
  • The Ditz: Emily's new boyfriend, a Stripperific fireman named Steve whose usual response is a confused "uhhhhh."
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: Maybe not rape, but definitely sexual misconduct. It's glaringly obvious that Flip making BoJack film a scene in which he screws in a lightbulb while standing naked on a ladder is a total power move, and that he's meant to be experiencing the usual shame and humiliation that female actresses are forced to put up with by getting type cast as eye candy. However, the whole thing is presented as mildly embarrassing rather than emasculating. When Flip tries to talk Gina into doing the scene, it's presented as slimy and inexcusably perverted. And it never comes up again.
  • Everybody Owns a Ford: In-Universe, doesn't want any clocks or watches visible in Philbert so viewers won't be reminded that clocks exist.
  • Flat Joy: When Mr Peanutbutter gives Diane his divorce papers, they jokingly engage in this in an apparent attempt to dull their mutual pain.
    Diane: Take that, our marriage.
  • Foreshadowing: The party at BoJack's house at the end, which is eerily similar to the party at Philbert's house in the beginning - a major theme this season being how BoJack struggles to separate his own identity from that of the troubled Philbert.
  • Hollywood Beauty Standards: Flip rejects a girl at a casting call. His reason is that she's "hot [enough] for Shakespeare in the Park", but he needs "TV hot".
  • Innocent Innuendo: Princess Carolyn walks through her living room covering her eyes as it appears Todd and Yolanda are having sex, but of course since they’re both asexual, they’re simply grunting while moving furniture around.
  • It's All About Me: BoJack as per usual, to the extent the director of Philbert has to point out he is not just adding scenes or making major changes to what is clearly his passion project just to teach BoJack lessons. Although he says this immediately after forcing BoJack into a gratuitous nude scene as a blatant power move.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Flip says this at the end (consider that this is the first episode of the season):
      Flip: I tell you buddy, this is going to be a sensational season of television.
    • When BoJack asks about the coincidence of the set looking exactly like his house, the writer explains the symbolic meanings of the various elements... and that the set designer happened to reproduce a house he once visited that featured them all.
  • Male Gaze: Philbert includes a Ms. Fanservice-type character Sassy Malone, and a gratuitous stripper scene. BoJack attempts to cut down on the gratuitous female nudity, and is rewarded with being forced a to do a nude scene himself.
  • Medium Awareness: When BoJack says that's function is pointless when there's already a clock on the upper right hand corner of people's computer screens, he points in that exact direction. Considering that this show airs on Netflix, and many people would be watching it on their computers...note 
  • Money, Dear Boy: In-Universe the actresses don't care that they're only there for the Male Gaze. They just want to get paid.
  • Ms. Fanservice: In the Philbert universe, how Gina's Sassy Malone character is written – an attractive female cop who "hates bras and loves cold rooms."
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: After spending the episode being bothered by how much he sees himself in his character, BoJack on the advice of Princess Carolyn resolves to be this.
  • Proscenium Reveal: The first scene starts out with BoJack moping at a party before being confronted by a woman with a gun...which doesn't fire properly, and the director calls 'cut'.
  • Shaped Like Itself: When BoJack complains about the show being poorly lit, Flip says that the darkness is supposed to be a metaphor for darkness.
  • Take That!:
    • Todd was director of a Star Wars movie but was fired for creative differences, clearly referencing Chris Miller and Phil Lord's publicly being replaced with Ron Howard on Solo, and Colin Trevorrow being fired from The Rise of Skywalker.
    • BoJack's complaints to Flip about Philbert being confusing, overwritten, and poorly-lit, could just as easily apply to Mr. Robot, which stars Flip's V.A. Rami Malek.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: BoJack questions why Philbert says "bitch" twice.
    Flip: The first bitch is her, the second bitch is your heart.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: BoJack goes to Princess Carolyn and blurts out that he used to be Philbert for real, and is worried he'll regress if playing this role. Princess Carolyn reassures him that he can be the alcoholic asshole only on-set for ten weeks, and he can go back to being BoJack when he takes off the costume. She says that she trusts him to be her friend because he's doing this to repay her for her kindness.


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"The darkness is a metaphor for darkness!"

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