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Recap / Bojack Horseman S 5 E 06 Free Churro

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"My mom died and all I got was a free churro."
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BoJack delivers a eulogy at his mother's funeral.


Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: All of the characters, save Bojack himself and his father Butterscotch, meaning Will Arnett is the only voice actor in this episode. There are uncredited noises and murmurs from the other funeral attendees, but they might just be stock sounds. Diane and Todd are mentioned indirectly.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Invoked. Bojack spends a lot of time pondering on why his mother (and his father) behaved the way they did, and his futile attempts to try to better understand his horribly dysfunctional relationship with them.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Invoked with the actual meaning behind Beatrice's final words, "I see you." Was it her final and only act of kindness towards her estranged son by acknowledging him as a person, one last petty and mean-spirited shot at him, or just a neutral statement? At the end, Bojack concludes that she must have simply been reading the sign for the Intensive Care Unit, but even then we don't know for sure and likely never will.
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    • Another case would be Beatrice's eulogy at her husband's funeral, which she opened by saying "My husband is dead, and everything is worse now". A way to say that for all they hated each other for decades she still had some lingering feelings towards the man she shared a life with, or just a way to voice her displeasure in regards to Butterscotch leaving her crippled with his debts?
  • And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt: Or, in this case, this free churro.
  • Audience Murmurs: The audience can be heard whenever Bojack cracks an inappropriate joke.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Bojack intentionally lies about a story in which his mother supposedly gave him a jacket that he really wanted for a talent show at the last minute, before admitting that he just lifted that reference from an episode of Maude. He says that in all his life, he wanted his horrible bitch of a mother to show some true kindness to him, but it never happened.
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  • Behind the Black: BoJack doesn't notice anything odd about the audience until the viewers do, even though he's looking at them all episode.
  • Bottle Episode: Aside from a flashback to BoJack's childhood at the beginning, the entire episode takes place in the front of the church where BoJack delivers the eulogy for his mother's funeral.
  • Call-Back: The events in the cold opening (the first shot after soccer practice to be more specific) was first alluded to in the episode "Downer Ending".
    • Butterscotch mentions that Beatrice went to see A Doll's House, which somewhat explains the recurrence of BoJack and Beatrice comparing Horsin' Around to Henrik Ibsen. ("It's not Ibsen.")
    • Another reference to "Downer Ending" is when BoJack recalls his mother making him sing "The Lollipop Song". The organist then proceeds to supposedly play said song over BoJack's description of Bea's parties.
  • Character Death: BoJack's mom has died, presumably in between the last episode and this one.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Bojack's eulogy is full of rambling anecdotes, but also offers some philosophical insights on his inner feelings.
  • Continuity Nod/Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When BoJack says that real life is not like television, he notes that "You can't just screw everything up and then take a boat out into the ocean to save your best friend, or solve a mystery, and fly to Kansas. You need to do it every day, which is so… hard."
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Played for laughs. After trying to come to terms with his complicated relationship with his mother during his monologue, BoJack learns that he was at the wrong funeral the entire time.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: BoJack struggles to think of anything nice to say about his mother at her funeral, because she was just such a horrible mother to him throughout her whole life.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Every once in a while, BoJack asks his mother to knock once if she agrees with his statement.
    "I gotta say, I'm really carrying this double act. At least with Penn & Teller, the quiet one does card tricks."
  • Dear Negative Reader: In-Universe More or less what killed Butterscotch as he challenged one of his critics to a duel for slamming his novel.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Beatrice Horseman.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: BoJack mentions that Beatrice's old parties always included an ethnically insensitive vaudeville routine.
  • Due to the Dead: BoJack's eulogy veers closely to Speak Ill of the Dead, yet he also gives Beatrice a pass for some things, remaining ambivalent about her as a mother and as a mare.
  • Duel to the Death: BoJack reveals that Butterscotch died after someone challenged him to a duel of the classic Ten Paces and Turn type. However, Butterscotch didn't actually die during the duel itself, but instead by tripping over a root while taking the ten paces and hitting his head on a rock.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Bojack acknowledges that his family was this. Reminiscing about the few, lovely moments he had when both he and his father watched his mother dance, he realizes that those moments were an acknowledgment that they were all drowning together, even though none of them knew how to stop drowning or how to save each other.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Conversed, at one point BoJack mentions that a Horsin Around fan once asked him if a coffee cup in one episode was a symbol for faulty memory, and rather than telling them it was a Blooper he went along with it. Then comparing closure with his mother to the coffee cup, wondering why we try to give insignificant things significance?
  • Famous Last Words: Beatrice's were "I see you" (or possibly "ICU").
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": Most of the humor in this episode is very dark but it does have some wacky hijinks, like the cartoon sound effects from the organ player and The Reveal that Bojack was at the wrong funeral the whole time.
  • The Ghost: The electric organ player, who occasionally gives the wrong sound effects at the wrong moments.
  • Giftedly Bad: Butterscotch's book, or so we're told. The one review it got slammed it, and BoJack refuses to read it out of spite. In the flashback, Butterscotch thought his writing was going really well after writing a single sentence that went on for several pages, until he realized that BoJack needed to be picked up from soccer practice.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In a very meta-sense. According to BoJack in the previous episode, TV shouldn't have a lot of dialogue because it's a visual medium. This episode is entirely dialogue-focused.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Why this trope exists is summed up - "You can't have happy endings in sitcoms, not really, because if everyone's happy, then the show's over! And the show... has to keep going. There's always more show."
  • Minimalist Cast: Will Arnett provides the only speaking roles in this episode, as Butterscotch and then Bojack. The only other characters seen are a nameless lizard family that says nothing.
  • Nightmare Face: The main reason why BoJack refused an open casket, since before her death, Bea made a rather gruesome looking face, which he imitates throughout the eulogy, to the disgust of the mourners.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: A Running Gag has BoJack asking his dead mother to "knock once" if she agrees with his statement.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • BoJack initially thinks his mom's final words were intended as this. He's actually kind of mad about it because he never expected her to show kindness to him. Subverted in that she was only reading a sign (or at least, BoJack thinks she was.)
    • BoJack says Butterscotch hated Beatrice's Supper Club parties, often shutting himself in his office and banging on the walls so they'd keep the noise down, but he would always come out to watch Beatrice dance.
    • In the Cold Open Butterscotch initially complains to BoJack how Beatrice didn't bother making him a sandwich. After calming down, he dismisses it and says she tries her best. This is the only kind word we've heard Butterscotch say to or about Beatrice since BoJack was born.
    • BoJack deconstructs this trope in reference to "flawed TV characters", where in real life, single nice gestures from flawed people sometimes aren't enough. They need to be consistent and done every single day, no matter how difficult it is.
  • The Reveal:
    • BoJack comes to the conclusion that his mother wasn't saying, "I see you", but reading a hospital sign, ICU (Intensive Care Unit). Her final words were either completely meaningless or containing some meaning that will forever have escaped him.
    • More humorously, it takes Bojack the entire length of the episode to realize that he's giving a eulogy at the wrong funeral, as a confused group of lizard people watched him talk about a woman they don't know about.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Bojack's relationship with his parents and the effect it's had on his life, which has been part of the story since season 1, ultimately ends with them both dead and Bojack having gained no closure from it. Beatrice's final words, the significance of which Bojack spends most of the episode agonizing over, turn out to be completely meaningless, denying him even the chance of believing that his mother was capable of kindness in her final moments, no matter how late they were to him.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To the Maude episode "Maude Bares Her Soul", which BoJack admits he stole his jacket anecdote from. Structurally, this episode is also quite similar to that one, in that it is effectively an episode-long monologue delivered by the main character.
    • BoJack also remarks that his mother "did not go gentle into that good night", referencing the Dylan Thomas poem.
  • Silent Snarker: The unseen organ player, who occasionally sasses BoJack with ill-timed sound effects.
    BoJack: Whatever I'm paying you, it's too much.
  • Something Completely Different: Other than the flashback at the beginning of the episode, this entire episode is essentially a monologue from BoJack about his mom, dad, childhood, and himself.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: Bojack wastes no effort in explaining just how much his deceased Abusive Parents sucked, and even calls his mom a "huge bitch". Despite this, he does offer a (little) bit of sympathy for them, as well as his own guesses as to why they both turned out the way they did.
  • Status Quo Is God: Conversed by BoJack when he talks about the sixth season finale of Horsin' Around when Olivia's junkie birth mother appears in her life and has cleaned up and the episode ends on a cliffhanger when Olivia decides to move to California with her mother. But the next season premiere, her mother starts using again and she returns home to be with the horse.
  • Subverted Punchline:
    • A very subtle one.
    BoJack: You can't have happy endings in sitcoms, not really, because if everyone's happy, the show would be over, and above all else, the show... has to keep going.
    • Another example comes when Bojack makes jokes about his mom, all relying on switcheroo puns until the last one.
    BoJack: What's the difference between my mother and a disruptive expulsion of germs? One's a coughin' fit and the other fits a coffin! (...) What's the difference between my mother and a bunch of Easter eggs? One gets carried in a basket, the other gets buried in a casket! Ready for one more? Last one. What's the difference between a first-year lit major and my mother, Beatrice Horseman? One is decently read, and the other's a huge bitch! note 
  • Take That!: BoJack compares his Abusive Parents to Becker, saying that both his parents and the show had everything they needed to be good, and he kept waiting for them to improve, but they never did.
  • Taught by Television: After the Maude anecdote, BoJack admits that he learned everything he knows about how to be a good person from television.
  • Title Drop: The title alludes to BoJack's anecdote about how a server at Jack in the Box gave him a free churro after hearing that his mother had died. BoJack notes that by giving him a free churro, she'd shown him more kindness than his mother ever had in life.
  • Waxing Lyrical: During his eulogy, BoJack says: "Back in the nineties, I was in a very famous TV show called Horsin' Around", paraphrasing the first line of the show's theme song.

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