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YMMV / BoJack Horseman

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  • Acceptable Political Targets: Conservatism of any kind is depicted as wholly wrong and perpetuated exclusively by straw misogynists. Any jokes or opinions that would come off as politically incorrect to conservatives are presented as "necessary" by the show.
  • Acceptable Targets:
    • The most obvious example is the American film and television industry, especially the toxic celebrity culture.
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    • The honeydew melon is referred to with disgust, loathing and hatred as a Running Gag.
    • People who enjoy sex. Any character who has a sex life that's better than toxic or wasn't a victim of sexual abuse is a depraved weirdo, a total doofus or a loser. Compare Todd and Yolanda's rational, articulate asexual friends to, say, Yolanda's sex positive family, who can't seem to ever talk or think about anything but sex or Emily's Dumb Muscle firefighter boyfriend. Even Emily herself, while not ridiculed, is still depicted as desperate.
  • Accidental Aesop: Values upheld by general society aren't always right. Joseph Sugarman has his wife lobotomized without a second thought to deal with her "womanly emotions," which is clearly depicted as being utterly cruel and is a key factor in setting off a chain of trauma that effects the Horseman family for generations to come, but medical research and public opinions on mental health circa the early 1940s would have considered it the most rational option.
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  • Anvilicious: This show has yet to meet a political matter than it can't take an iron-fisted leftest perspective on, and the results are... a bit tactless to say the least, especially when the matter has nothing to do with showbusiness (and when it does, it depicts Hollywood is pure evil). It also won't hesitate to use the characters as mouthpieces for shameless, unapologetic proselytizing about feminism often in the form of hastily spat-out Anti-Humor, make even worse when it uses other, more controversial topics (gun control, whales in captivity) as a springboard specifically for feminism, or that said topics never come up in the show again once they've served their purpose.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Season 4 seemed to be a direct response to the criticisms that Season 3 was too depressing by throwing BoJack some bones and spending more time on the other characters' drama.
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    • Beatrice's arc in Season 4 was criticized for using her dementia to downplay her history of abuse to Bojack. As a result, Bojack's monologue in the following season's episode "Free Churro" is almost entirely about how he still doesn't see either of his parents as anything but sad failures taking their resentments out on each other and their child, and assumed that her dying words were probably one last swipe at him.
  • Award Snub: Kristen Schall was nominated for a Creative Arts Emmy for her voice-over work in "That's Too Much, Man!", only to lose out to (another) win for Seth MacFarlane.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Since the show's main draw are morally ambiguous characters, this should come as no surprise.
    • Invoked and downplayed with its title character. Most of the fanbase agrees that BoJack is a difficult character to like (it's his shtick) and to this day, people can still sympathize with him despite (or because) of his actions. The real point of contention from fans is whether BoJack should be sympathized with after all he's done. The New Mexico incident is an especially sore subject for the character's detractors, since it marked a point of no return for many fans, who either stopped watching the show afterwards because of how despicable BoJack was becoming or kept going out of sheer determination to see if BoJack could redeem himself.
    • Downplayed with Princess Carolyn – she's still well-liked by critics and fans, but her reception during Seasons 3 and 4 has been mildly divisive: her problems with VIM Agency and the way she handled BoJack's affairs, not to say the way she screwed Lora as well were just the tip of the iceberg, with her relationships with Ralph and Judah only adding to the fire. While fans still acknowledge her rough life and retains her Sympathetic P.O.V., some have started wondering whether some of her problems are some of her own doing and her refusal to admit it.
    • Diane. While BJ and PB's detractors were present from the beginning and have come and gone during seasons, Diane's have grown over time. For starters, her strong personality, adorability and sanity made her a favorite in season 1 (and even today), only for her actions and motivations to open a rift between fans, with some arguing she's a believably flawed protagonist with both ideals and biases regarding life and others thinking she's a stick in the mud who's bad attitude exceeds her moral authority. Her relationship with others (Mr. Peanutbutter, Princess Carolyn and BoJack) have sparked debate as well, especially regarding the questionable way Diane treats the people in her life. There's also her political standpoint: while some fans appreciate her stable mindset compared to the lunacy around her, others are offset by the fact everyone who disagrees with her is portrayed as Strawman Political to the point their portrayals come off as completely unrealistic (especially on when it comes to firearms advocates)
    • Mr. Peanutbutter is seen as a complex character with believable flaws that still serves as the Plucky Comic Relief, a selfish oaf who's attitude masks an unpleasant personality, both or just a poor foil for BoJack whose optimism can be grating and uncalled for. Notably, how charitable you feel toward PB depends on how much you buy into the Misaimed Fandom surrounding him or how little you care about putting him on a pedestal. There's also the controversy regarding whether how much is he responsible for the shaky state and eventual divorce of his marriage with Diane. After cheating on his new girlfriend Pickles twice with Diane, he cowers out of telling her the truth and immediately proposes to her instead, which caused a lot of disappointment and anger from fans.
    • Pickles herself is either a sweet, adorable (and even attractive) welcome ray of sunshine whom the fans adore or a deeply obnoxious, sickeningly perky Adult Child with a grating voice.
    • Todd is by far the most (genuinely) friendly character in the show and his Nice Guy status has earned him most of the fans' love. On the other hand, the way his screw-ups and laziness can screw up other characters has rubbed viewers the wrong way. The way he accidentally gave away millions of dollars that would have let him live his own life free from the influence of others didn't help.
  • Bizarro Episode: "INT. SUB" is an episode whose Framing Device is a conversation between Diane's therapist, Dr. Indira, and her wife, corporate mediator Mary-Beth, talking about a situation their clients are going through, because they can't disclose their identities, the show becomes bizarre as all characters assume new identities: Bojack becomes Bobo, the Angsty Zebra, Diane becomes Princess Diana of Wales, Mr. Peanutbutter becomes Mr. Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Todd becomes Emperor Fingerface (a man with a hand instead of a head) and Princess Carolyn becomes A Tangled Fog of Pulsating Yearning In The Shape Of A Woman, as well as Priscilla Crustacean. Even secondary characters such as Flip become a dolphin called Flipper. Meanwhile, the plot has to do with Bojack becoming close with Indira while Diane tries to get some space from him while they try to figure out what they're meant to do with the giant submarine on set.
  • Broken Base:
    • There's a moderate argument in the fanbase over who is more at fault for Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter's failing marriage: long story short, is Diane ungrateful for Mr. Peanutbutter's Grand Romantic Gesture and unsympathetic to his deep-seeded abandonment issues, or is Mr. Peanutbutter too obsessed with getting his wife to like him to know what she actually likes and dislikes?
    • Similarly, there have been debates over BoJack ending his relationship with his mother on a positive note: was it big of him to not make a senile old woman cry and show her empathy for her own Dark and Troubled Past despite a lifetime of abuse, or was the show trying to brush off that abuse by making Beatrice too sympathetic?
    • The art style of the show, a hybrid of Adobe Flash puppet and hand-drawn animation, is a subject of debate. Some say that it doesn't allow for expressive visual acting and that it falls into the "illustrated radio" form of Limited Animation. Others have said that a show like Bojack needs especially subdued animation and that it's at least better-looking than most other animated shows for adults (dialogue-heavy animation itself is a whole other topic of debate and personal taste). Others still simply don't like Lisa Hanawalt's art style, let alone feel like it looks appealing in motion.
    • Princess Carolyn and her reaction to Judah failing to inform her about a takeover bid for her agency. In particular, was firing Judah an over-reaction or was the firing justified because Judah could no longer be trusted after making a decision that he had no right to do. Also, was he forthright in his belief that he only did so to protect Princess Carolyn from feeling 'like she had to take the offer', or was it a subconscious desire to avoid having to go back to working in a huge agency filled with people, which he made clear he did not like doing.
    • While most of the show's audience share it's staunchly leftist views, the sledgehammer level of subtlety of the more overly-political episodes is a topic of debate. To most fans, Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped and anything less than Black and White Morality on the issues would be a disservice to their progress. To others, they're tactless, unentertaining and don't do much more than preach to the choir by trivializing the issues themselves by making them a conflict-of-the-week rather than something relevant to the plot. See also "Don't Shoot the Message."
  • Can't Un-Hear It: Watch anything with Will Arnett after seeing this show and just try to not imagine BoJack saying everything. This is especially awkward with his guest spot on The Magic School Bus Rides Again, as a guy who's perpetually upbeat even as his home is being destroyed by monster plants.
  • Cliché Storm:
  • Crazy Awesome: Todd. Unlike the vast majority of the cast, he's just fine with who he is, doesn't have many hang-ups, and attracts all kinds of weirdness. Who else could click so well with Mr. Peanutbutter, change a documentary into a B-movie alien flick re-imagined as a box of bimonthly packaged snacks, host an impromptu party for a drug cartel, get away with suing Disney for copyright violation and win because they spelled Disneyland with two I's, and reinvent himself as Toad Chavay, a guy so cool he can steal people's motorcycles?
  • Critical Dissonance: The first season received mediocre reviews from critics, but did great with audiences, leading Netflix to announce a second season. Which mirrors the reaction to Horsin' Around in-universe. A contributing factor may have been that critics were only sent the first six episodes of the first season, which was before the main dramatic arc kicked in. Reviews covering the entire seasons were much more positive. Compare the AV Club's reviews for season 1 to those of season 2 and season 3.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    "Imaginary friends are freeloaders invented by communists to rip off welfare. Why don't you do something productive like bang your head against the wall until your brain isn't so stupid."
    • BoJack's early critiques on Todd's Rock Opera:
      "That was, and I don't say this lightly, worse than a hundred September 11ths."
      "Imagine if the Holocaust happened every four years like the Olympics. I would rather THAT happen than your rock opera."
    • Wanda's pitch for a show where David Copperfield makes the World Trade Center disappear... which the network turns down only because David Copperfield isn't really popular anymore.
    • The traditionally bleak eleventh episode of season 2 starts with a redone catchy theme song about how Charlotte now has a family and their life is perfect.
    • Sextina's abortion song. Also incredibly catchy. Taken Up to Eleven during the bridge, where she wishes that the unborn fetus has a soul just so it'll feel pain during the abortion. And taken even further by Tom Jumbo-Grumbo's reaction:
      Tom: "Has the concept of women having choices gone too far?"
    • Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter arguing on the news about women's right to have a gun, and then immediately heading home to have loud, angry sex while the entire campaign staff is still in the house.
    • BoJack proposing that he should do a live episode of Horsin' Around on stage at the nursing home in front of his mother... just so when she remembers, he can finally tell her "Fuck you!". Made even better by how sudden it is.
    • The ending of "Underground."
    Mr. Peanutbutter: Let's go ho- oh...
    (Suddenly remembers that they're standing inside the rubble of what used to be their house)
    • "Time's Arrow" has an extremely dark Historical In-Joke from Beatrice, when she laments the assassination of Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers.
      Beatrice: At least Evers' death means no one else will be assassinated this year, 1963. The FBI is on too high alert to let anything like that happen again.
    • PC's doctor's method of announcing her miscarriage:
      Doctor: "As Charles Lindbergh would say, sometimes you fly an airplane and sometimes you lose a baby. In this case, you didn't fly the airplane."
    • Joseph Sugarman, on the cause of WWII:
    "If anyone's to blame, it's the Jews, for peeving off Hitler so bad."
    • "Free Churro" is an entire episode of Bojack giving a eulogy for his mother, with half an hour of laying out his complex feelings in a tour de force performance by Will Arnet. Then it turns out he was at the wrong funeral.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Though it otherwise receives glowing reviews, the series's refusal to take any Acceptable Breaks from Reality when it comes to people's worst nature, morally ambiguous characters and fearlessness' in exploring sexism, dementia, self-destruction, addiction, narcissism, nihilism, and the very grim nature of depression, coupled with the soul-crushing Vicious Cycle reality of Hollywoo's rinse-and-repeat nature can leave viewers tired and emotionally drained. While most would agree that it makes the characters' finally achieving their goals all the more satisfying, the fact that their progress is so minimal has earned criticisms that this show relies just as much on drama for drama's sake as any less-critically acclaimed melodrama, and despite Diane's line that everyone is capable of good or bad, the lack of any sort of Straight Man to balance out the more abundant flaws of the regular characters or straw characters places the show in a Crapsack World where everyone is a lost cause. The show's particular brand of uber-meta comedy also doesn't always blent with the heavily grounded drama, making it hard to tell exactly what's intended to be a joke and what's not unless it's spelled out to the letter, if the comedy and drama aren't "taking turns" rather than acting as a cohesive narrative. This became an especially big complaint after the debut of the crew's next show, Tuca & Bertie, which is not only considered much funnier but also better at balancing comedy, emotion and social commentary.
  • Don't Shoot the Message
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Character Actress Margo Martindale, for the sheer violent insanity she exudes.
    • Kelsey Jannings, the snarky director who works with BoJack in season 2. While she's abrasive and not the most pleasant person to be around, she's fair to those that earn her trust and is one of the few Hollywoo higherups that isn't Only in It for the Money. Fans took a liking to her and were sad to see her subplot abruptly cut off after she was fired and has never appeared in the show since season 3.
    • Wanda Pierce and Ralph Stilton are among the most popular Love Interests of the show. The former due to her perky attitude, her voice actress and being seem as the closest thing to a healthy romantic relationship BoJack ever had. The latter is liked for his funny and sweet dialogue with Princess Carolyn and again, being the best relationship PC was shown to have.
    • As of season 5, the upbeat and eccentric Pickles got a lot of popularity for being Mr. Peanutbutter's Distaff Counterpart and being a generally sweet person. Many were upset when he proposed to her instead of telling her the truth about Diane.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • A significant portion of the fanbase were convinced that a huge part of Season Four was going to deal with Charlotte returning to the show and trying to either kill BoJack and/or ruin his life as a response to him and Sarah Lynn going to Penny's college before Sarah Lynn died. Though this has died down since Season Four came out and had no such thing happening, some were still counting on it to be a semi-major part of Season Five, and while the events in New Mexico did factor into the plot, it didn't really involve Charlotte or Penny and the information doesn't go public. Though some are still expecting this to be one of the main plot of Season 6 (which at least has more fuel this time since the show acknowledged what happened in a stronger fashion than Season 4 and had Kyle briefly appear, albeit obviously oblivious to what almost happened between BoJack and Penny).
      • A rough half of these theories often have it be incredibly dark, with Charlotte becoming a murderous specter of immeasurable power who will hunt BoJack to the ends of the Earth, have BoJack become a paranoid lunatic who'll murder anyone just to stay one step ahead of Charlotte's wrath, and/or end with a bleak ending that sees BoJack kill himself due to the trauma brought upon by his epic final battle with Charlotte. Yes, these theories think this show is/will become a blend of Sin City, John Wick, and Kill Bill. The other rough half of them see Charlotte driving BoJack to suicide by making him the biggest social pariah in the US by going to the press and revealing that BoJack nearly slept with Penny before he left for good, which is at least a bit closer to the tone of the show. There are outliers of course, like those who think Charlotte doesn't want to do such thing, those who think it'll be ignored, or that it will lead to an anticlimactic end.
    • Also, many fans appeared to believe that Stefani Stilton was going to maliciously slander Mister Peanutbutter using GirlCroosh as an anti-man Propaganda Machine and was going to use Diane to make it hurt even more for him. This ended up not being the case and it was shown that her website was more like a normal website that includes a variety of stories, with notions of them all being man-haters being squashed by seeing that some of their articles are about male celebrities' attractive features.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Although minor, there are some who believe that half of the cast being made up of anthropomorphic animals is supposed to represent how some people can let themselves become animals in a metaphorical sense. It's actually just because the show's lead artist liked drawing animals without tails.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: This trope may soon get it's own page.
    • "The Telescope" has the moral that apologizing does not automatically make everything better, and, if done for the wrong reasons, is sometimes the height of selfishness.
    • In "Love And/Or Marriage," BoJack tells Tanisha that it's okay to settle for a marriage to someone who, at worst, tolerates you, because that's just as rare as finding true love.
    • "It's You" has one of the "sad but true" variety: even if your self-destructive habits are the result of trauma or illness, the damage you cause and the people you hurt are still your responsibility.
    • As BoJack's troubles with the Secretariat biopic show, achieving your dream probably won't be as rosey as you envisioned — in fact, it might make you downright miserable. So don't throw your loved ones under the bus to get there.
    • Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter's portion of “What Time Is It Right Now” has the moral that sometimes, no amount of patience or listening or therapy or make-up sex can eliminate the main source of tension in a relationship, even when the people in that relationship want very much for it to work. Or, more broadly, sometimes adapting and making the best of things never pays off; it just leaves you "tired of squinting."
    • "The Stopped Show" points out that sometimes there is no good way to bring abusers to justice without getting innocent people — sometimes including the original victim — caught in the crossfire.
    • A theme that's returned to many times is that awareness of a problem and feeling contrite about it are not enough to redeem you as a person, particularly when they don't stop you from making the same mistakes over and over again. The show is also not shy about insinuating that redemption, as far as Hollywood imagines it, may not be possible for some people.
    • Bojack's "troops are jerks" gives out that just because someone is in the military doesn't automatically make them heroes and that they can be jerks just like anybody else.
  • Fandom Rivalry
    • Despite being mostly on friendly terms, with Rick and Morty, due to some of Bojack Horseman's fans believing their show to be the superior one in drama, character and writing. This was intensified when the latter show's got a third season and the fans became infamous for a number of memes and a few incidents of bad attitude.
    • Similar to the above, there's a mostly-amicable but steadily growing rivalry between fans of Bojack and fans of it's short-lived sister series, Tuca & Bertie, mostly over which show has a better balance of comedy, drama and social commentary, the dour, bitter Bojack or the more upbeat, cheeky T&B, especially when it comes to feminism (despite it's extremely feminist leanings, Bojack is still a show with a male creator/show runner while T&B was created by an almost entirely female cast and crew). The former's cancelation shortly before the premere of Bojack's sixth season created a narrative that it didn't last for being "too happy."
  • Fanfic Fuel: BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter's kiss.
  • Fetish Retardant: Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter's graphic hate-fucking in "Commence Fracking." As it turns out, watching a human woman being penetrated by a humanoid dog is a lot more disturbing than the implications might have you believe.
  • First Installment Wins: Not with the series itself (it got better during season 2), but out of Netflix's original animated series, BoJack is easily the most critically acclaimed and popular.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • With Rick and Morty, another animated show for adults that blends dark and surreal comedy with even darker drama and reflection on the human condition.
    • A burgeoning one with Aggressive Retsuko, whose second series was, like BoJack, distributed by Netflix, and stars talking animals, including protagonists with very skewed, simplistic views of the world having that shattered, and a very unapologetically frank look at the difficulties of some aspect of the real adult world.
    • Also with fellow Netflix original F is for Family due to both shows being adult animation that breaks the common adult animation stereotypes as well as both being dark comedies with a lot of character development and covering similar themes such as feminist issues, abusive parents, dysfunctional families, and drug abuse.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In the season one episode, "Prickly Muffin", Sarah Lynn humorously mentions how she feels she's at a point in her life where she doesn't feel she has to grow as a person and, due to enablers, is free to continue her drug fueled lifestyle till she dies tragically young. Well, come the end of season three episode, "That's Too Much, Man!", let's just say perhaps she was a bit too prophetic. Considering BoJack's reaction when Sarah says that statement this scene also counts as example of Harsher in Hindsight. For similar reasons, the cast assuming BoJack himself would be the next funeral they'd all attend after Herb's.
      • The end of that episode has BoJack twisting Diane's advice as Society Is to Blame, finishing with "Hooray! Everything is meaningless! Nothing I do has consequence!" Wrong Genre Savvy doesn't begin to describe that.
      • In the same episode, Sarah Lynn says 'The only drug I need is horse.' before kissing BoJack. In season 3, the drug that kills her is named after BoJack.
    • The fact that Sarah Lynn's old catchphrase, "That's too much, man!" Is used as the title of the episode in which she dies of a drug overdose.
    • BoJack flipping out at the idea of Princess Carolyn wanting a baby and Princess Carolyn's frustration about it was funny in the very first episode. Come season four, she's desperately trying for a family before she gets too old and goes into a depressive spiral after her fifth miscarriage which also causes her to lose her boyfriend.
    • The season 4 episode "Underground" features a mini-earthquake trapping everyone in Mr. Peanutbutter's house underground without electricity and other resources. Season 4 premiered in Septemper 2017, the same month hosting a series of devastating earthquakes and hurricanes struck Mexico, the United States, and the Caribbean, one of which left Puerto Rico completely without electricity.
    • In the Horsin' Around Christmas episode, the Horse talks to Olivia about attending her prom, meeting her friends, and dancing in front of everyone, obviously embarrassing her a little. In "Escape from L.A.", BoJack attends similar daughter figure Penny's ends up being far more than just embarrassing.
    • In "BoJack the Feminist", BoJack impresses an audience of women by saying "Don't choke women!" on a feminist talk show, in reference to the actor Vance Waggoner violently choking his wife. The incredibly low bar set for men in this episode is Played for Laughs, but in "The Showstoppers", BoJack (while high and paranoid on drugs) almost chokes his co-star/girlfriend Gina Cazador to death...
      • In the Season 2 premiere "Brand New Couch", Princess Carolyn gives an off hand joke to Vincent on the Phone.
    And she had no idea her boyfriend was the Strangler!
    • An example within two episodes. The audience finds out in "Free Churro" that Bojack's father Butterscotch died in a duel regarding his book (kind of—he tripped and bashed his head instead of actually getting shot), the whole situation being so ridiculous that it serves as one of the episode's only humorous moments. In "Mr. Peanutbutter's Boos", we see the night that Bojack finds out about his father's death, and his lack of reaction to it.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • In episode 3 of season two, Henry Winkler has a conversation with a ferret lady at Herb's funeral, politely telling her off for trying to pitch something to him before finishing with 'I'll let you get back to your business', and she walks off to join two other ferrets on screen. A group of ferrets is known as a 'business'.
    • Many of the pictures in Mr. Peanutbutter's house are of dogs' butts. Dogs sniff each other's butts to greet and get to know one another, and also have poor eyesight compared to their amazing senses of smell, so of course Mr. Peanutbutter would have pictures of dog butts rather than dog faces.
    • Mr. Peanutbutter and Todd's whiteboard of made-up Oscar nominations is loaded with references to the actual nominations from the 88th Academy Awards. Most notably they have the exact same nominees for Best Supporting Actor, only as animals (Mark Buffalo, Sylvester Stallion, Christian Snail, Shark Rylance, and Tom Hardy (who is a cat)), as well as four-fifths of the same Best Original Screenplay category, just with different names (Feely Feelings, Sexy Robot, A Rivers Runs Through It: The Weezer Story and Spy Bridge '57).
    • Most of the jokes involving J. D. Salinger reference his lesser known works, as opposed to The Catcher in the Rye, which most audiences would be familiar with.
    • At one point, Mr. Peanutbutter exclaims how New York City makes great salsa. This is a reference to an old series of Pace Picante Sauce commercials from the 1990s, in which cowboys would become disgusted that the Brand X picante sauce they're about it eat comes from New York City instead of San Antonio.
    • Many of the stripper/prostitute orcas occasionally showing up have floppy dorsal fins, which one of the in-universe advertisements even highlight as an "appeal" to the whales. In real life, orcas with floppy dorsal fins is a phenomenon generally found with orcas in captivity, and is theorized to result from their being unhappy with their living state.
    • Bojack and the other horse characters in the show are not colored randomly; their colors are based off distinct real life horse colors. Bojack is a bay horse, Beatrice Horseman is a palomino horse, Butterscotch Horseman is a Grulla horse, Secretariat is a Chestnut with chrome, Honey Sugarman is another Chestnut, Joseph Sugarman is a Buckskin, Crackerjack Sugarman is a Liver Chestnut, and Hollyhock is a Red/Strawberry Roan.
    • In "Free Churro," the lizards that make up the entire funeral audience are mourning geckos.
    • Princess Carolyn is handed a list of clients who were represented by a recently-deceased agent: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, and Mr. Peanutbutter, who's the only one among them not crossed-out. That's not just a random list of real-world people—they're the still-living big-name actors from Jurassic Park.
    • Gina's favorite musical, A Kernel of Truth, is about Sybilla Masters. Based on a True Story!
  • Growing the Beard: Many fans agree that the first few episodes, while funny and fairly decent, they're a bit slow and leave little impact. The Character Development strongly hinted at really starts to get delved into after episode 4, the show really gallops out of the gates. It wound up being the best-reviewed show of 2016 after season 3 debuted.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • BoJack originally let Todd stay at his house because he thought he was a troubled gay teenager, probably to make up for selling out his best friend who was blacklisted for being openly gay.
      • We also find out that the Halloween party that Todd stayed after was the same night Bojack found out about his father's death. Todd is clearly concerned for Bojack even though he had never met the guy before.
    • In "Later," Mr. Peanutbutter reveals that his Anti-Nihilist personality is a result of him just distracting himself from the harsh realities of life until he's dead, which Diane thinks is the reason he doesn't want her to leave for Cordova. In "After the Party," he tells her that he doesn't want her to go because he's terrified of losing her, and wants nothing more than for both of them to be happy until death do they part.
      Mr. Peanutbutter: Okay, you got me! Maybe I don't want my wife - whom I love - to go off on a terrifying six month tour of the most war-torn, disease sputtered corners of the planet, with a charming, handsome billionaire bachelor!? What could I be thinking??? I'm such a terrible husband!!!
    • In "After The Party", Mr. Peanutbutter dedicates a room to Starbucks; in "The BoJack Horseman Show" it's revealed that he first met Diane when she was working in a Starbucks.
    • The Season 3 finale reveals why Diane is able to put up with BoJack - Horsin' Around is what helped her make it to adulthood while putting up with her awful family. If not for that half-hour a week of Glurge, she may very well not have made it.
    • In "The Shot", Mr. Peanutbutter explains his character on Mr. Peanutbutter's House left the office of president because he doesn't want it to distract him from his family. In Season 4, Mr. Peanutbutter stops running for governor because Diane helps him realize he isn't really fit for the position, and because it's better for their relationship for him to stop and have down time with her.
    • Season 2 ends with the jogger telling BoJack "Every day, it gets easier, but you gotta do it every day. That's the hard part." The next seasons would prove to be the show's darkest, ending with BoJack losing almost all of his friends and inadvertently killing one. However, the season after that showed him finally develop into a nicer person, even regain several of his friendships as a result and even welcome a new one into his life. He got past the hard part.
    • Season 4's "Ruthie" reveals that Princess Carolyn's treasured family heirloom was a simple piece of costume jewelry, which is depressing. What's uplifting, though, is that she was from a family of 9 children, and this means that either her mother or father still cared enough about her to give her both the necklace and the inspirational lie to begin with.
      • Season 5 reveals it was her mother that told her the lie, just after P.C. had learned she had gotten pregnant by Cooper and was in serious need of support.
    • Just two years after the show's vicious attack on the machine that enables sexual predators in positions of power in "Hank After Dark," the New Yorker's report on Harvey Weinstein's long history of sexual assault opened the floodgates to all kinds of victims coming forward and being taken seriously, and the abusers quickly losing much of their support.
    • Bojack and Diane's friendship, flawed as it may be, becomes this when we actually see their first interaction in "Mr. Peanutbutter's Boos".
      • Similarly, for those worried that Diane claiming to have been a fan of Horsin' Around in Season 4 was a Motivational Lie, that episode dispelled the idea entirely, as she made it clear that the show was what kept her going through her childhood.
    • Gina's growing success because of her role in Philbert could be this because at the same time, Rami Malek who voiced the creator of the show Flip McVicker was also gaining alot of popularity after his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. The similarities between these two are that they both started off their careers playing supporting/one-bit characters and later received a lot of recognition and popularity in their mid to late 30s.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • "Live Fast, Diane Nguyen" had a few jabs at Derek Jeter. The same year the show premiered, Jeter played his final season before retiring.
    • The Critical Dissonance to "Horsin' Around" is near identical to that of BoJack Horseman's first season.
    • Towards the end of Season 2, Todd joins a cult-like improv group. Not long after, Aaron Paul starred in cult drama The Path.
    • In "Later", BoJack wins the Golden Globe for "Best Musical/Comedy" for his book, "One Trick Pony", which he's upset with, as the book was more of a Drama, than a Musical or a Comedy (and for the fact that it's a book, whereas the Golden Globes are to acknowledge movies and television). Just two years later, the Golden Globes fell under real life scrutiny for nominating (and awarding) The Martian in the same category, despite many (including the film's own director) arguing that the movie was more of a drama.
    • In January 2017, about two and a half years after "Our A Story is a D Story", someone actually vandalized with the Hollywood sign. Unfortunately, the name "Hollyweed" didn't last the same way "Hollywoo" did.
    • While Cuddlywhiskers and Mr. Peanutbutter never interacted, one wonders if there was some awkward meeting backstage between Jeffrey Wright and Paul F. Tompkins considering the latter's comic routine lambasting the former's IMDB bio and performance in Source Code.
    • The subplot regarding the clown dentists is even funnier when you consider how Season 4 came out the exact same day as It (2017), how intentional it was however is unclear.
    • Mr. Peanutbutter and Todd paid $50,000 to kindergartners for the film rights to the game of tag. In 2018, Warner Bros. made a real movie based on the game of tag.
    • Ms. Taken's spirit lives on in the movie Peppermint which happens to star a woman with a gun. It's even from the director of Taken!
    • Ethan Around is written to include Bojack despite his character's death at the end of the original series. Not long afterward, the revival of Roseanne was announced, with John Goodman as part of the cast, despite the show's infamous Sudden Downer Ending which states that Dan died of a heart attack before Season 9.
    • The concept of animals and humans living in the same hierarchy might remind one of a certain Nintendo franchise that’s also known for it’s emotional relatability.
    • In "Bojack The Feminist", When Bojack talks about Philbert, he mentions that the viewers shouldn't idolize the protagonist and glamorize the things he does. A few months later, Penn Badgley would give a similar warning to the viewers about glamorizing his character Joe Goldberg and his actions in You.
  • Hollywood Pudgy:
    • Hollyhock's got a bit of a girth, but considering her type of body, it's barely noticeable. Doesn't stop her from becoming self-conscious about it among all the skinny Hollywoo girls. Nor did it stop Beatrice from secretly slipping her some weight-loss pills. By the end of the season the pills have resulted in her visibly losing weight and her clothes not fitting properly along with eventual amphetamine addiction.
    • Young Beatrice is said to be overweight by everyone from her classmates to her father, but due to Generic Cuteness and the fact that most of the people in that time period have unreasonably high standards for women, she doesn't look like it.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Hey, ain't you the horse from Horsin' Around?"
    • Horsin' Around in general. Reciting the characters' catchphrases, linking to the theme song, and claiming to have have watched it in the 90s.
    • "I have no self-control and I hate myself."
    • "I know I'm smiling right now, but the light inside me is dying".
      • "That's too much, man!" gets used to sum up any of the usual reactions to the show by fans.
    • "Piece of shit. You're a stupid piece of shit." Lines from the episode have become popular quotes coupled with the song "Blood in the Cut".
      • "These are cookies. This is not breakfast."
    • "What are YOU doing here?!"
    • Pickles be thicc, or Thiccles for short.
  • Moe:
    • BoJack was very cute as a little kid. It's too bad that his parents never cared.
    • Sarah Lynn (as Sabrina) is genuinely adorable in the Horsin' Around segments.
    • Mr. Peanutbutter sometimes crosses into this territory as well.
    • In-Universe, Kelsey Jannings finds Todd to be inexplicably adorable.
    • Charlotte also qualifies with her big, soft eyes and flicking ears. Her daughter Penny has these features too.
    • Hollyhock is one of the cutest characters in the show. Her face, voice, even her chubbiness just screams of Adorkable.
    • Season 4 shows that BoJack's mother Beatrice was very sweet and adorable as a child, until she too was corrupted by her own broken family.
    • Pickles! From her cute name, to her soft and airy voice, her ditzy but kind personality, and her adorable mannerisms, she's definitely Moe.
    • Ruthie definitely counts. She's basically a younger, cuter version of Princess Carolyn but more cheerful and also very bright. Her appearance and likeable personality only makes the fact that she's just a figment of Princess Carolyn's imagination that much more tragic.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • Fans have taken to believe the series is a tragedy with comedy elements and such, it can only end with BoJack or someone else in the cast killing themselves. While this is far less jarring than other examples (the series is a dramedy and a very dark one at that), it ignores the underlying message of life being cruel and uncaring, but still worth living by going for the cliche of "Tragic Hero ruins everything and dies". Of course, it's not unanimous, as this poll and this post reveal.
    • A surprisingly big number of fans have taken Mr. Peanutbutter's attitude to be the ultimate example of how to be, with his Anti-Nihilist tendencies and love toward everybody winning people over. This has led some to even refer to him as someone who can do no wrong and is clearly superior to BoJack in every way. What people forget however is that while the show portrays Mr. Peanutbutter as being way happier than BoJack because of his way of being, it doesn't make him any less unhappier or functional. Rather, when something bad happens, Mr. Peanutbutter is less than prepared to deal with it, with any negative emotion or response being shoved to a corner. His excessive forgivingness also makes people think of him as an idiot and can often bring bad consequences, his whimsical behavior has caused friction with people, his wife Diane especially, and bad investments which drain him of money and trust from others, his passive-aggressiveness can reach Kick the Dog status at points where the objects of his ire don't really deserve it and he can be overbearing in his desire for everyone to be happy. Granted, like BoJack, Mr. Peanutbutter has enough shades to present this in a more sympathetic light, but like him, his attitude is not an answer, just another example that neither extreme (cynicism or idealism) is healthy.
    • A number of fans have taken to using the show to help rationalize their awful behaviour instead of improving themselves. This is actually mentioned throughout Season 5.
    • There are a minority of fans who believe that BoJack should have gotten together with Penny, arguing that she was technically old enough to consent (at least by New Mexico law), although it died down after "That's Too Much Man" revealed how much the event traumatized her.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • BoJack crosses it at the end of "Escape From L.A.": first he enables a teen's drinking and abandons her at the hospital with very probable alcohol poisoning, then tries to convince Charlotte to run off with him, and then comes dangerously close to sleeping with her daughter. Word of God is that they tried to build a character who crosses the line over and over, but they still have discussions about how far is too far before BoJack becomes impossible to care about.
      • Some fans who could still root for BoJack even after the above incident considered him truly irredeemable after he nearly strangled Gina to death on the Philbert set while strung out on painkillers. Counts as an in-universe example as well, since BoJack himself considers this to be his ultimate lowpoint.
    • Beatrice and Butterscotch Horseman's years of being Abusive Parents towards their son Bojack and turning him into the broken horse everyone knows today could be considered the show's longest and most stretched out line crossed. It`s also been implied and explicitly shown that despite knowing how their behavior is hurting Bojack, both parents simply refused to change their ways or improve for the better.
    • Hank Hippopopalous crossed this line before the beginning of the series, considering what he did and has kept doing to his assistants is just the tip of the iceberg in how much of a despicable scumbag he really is.
    • Princess Carolyn crossed it way back in-between season 1 and 2: as it turns out, she intentionally blocked Lora from getting a promotion by requesting Mr. Witherspoon not to ascend her to keep her around. Predictably, when she requests her help a good two years later and she finds out, PC's downfall is portrayed as both tragic and Laser-Guided Karma.
    • Deliberate Values Dissonance aside, if Joseph Sugarman didn't cross it by having his wife lobotomized to keep her emotions in check after their son's death, he definitely crossed it when he threatened to do the same to his young daughter.
    • Jessica Biel crosses it when she burns Zach Braff to death during the crazy events in "Underground" and proclaims herself a priestess to worship fire as a god.
  • No Yay: Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter having sex. Turns out that seeing sex between a human woman and a humanoid dog (seriously, we see everything but the actual penetration) requires a lot more Brain Bleach than just joking about it.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • This isn't even the first Black Comedy-Drama produced by ShadowMachine. The first would be season 3 of Moral Orel.
    • An animated work about humans and anthropomorphic animals coexisting in a story of how difficult and ruthless the celebrity life of Hollywood can be? Turner Entertainment did a more child-friendly version 17 years prior with Cats Don't Dance.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Anjelica Huston as Angela Diaz, the TV executive who convinced BoJack not to walk out on his show when Herb is fired for being gay.
    • Lin-Manuel Miranda as Beatrice's kind older brother Crackerjack, only seen briefly before going off to die in World War 2. This incident completely shook up her family and set the stage for the tragedy and abuse that would plague the family for the next 70 years.
  • One True Threesome: Shippers (as rare as they are in this particular fandom) actually enjoy a Bojack/Diane/Mr. Peanutbutter polyamorous relationship.
  • Popular with Furries: Obviously given the show's universe where humans and anthropomorphic animals coexist, Interspecies Romance is socially acceptable, and a handful of Seldom-Seen Species are anthropomorphized as well. That being said, there's a decent amount of furry fans who like the show but have criticized the lack of detail with the animal characters' anatomies (most of them are just animal heads tacked onto normal human bodies) and wish they had more animal features like tails.
  • Self-Fanservice: Mr. Peanutbutter seems to get the most positive feedback when it comes to fanart. His cheerful attitude towards every character basically means it's free range as far as shipping goes.
  • Signature Scene: The final scene of "The Telescope" is widely agreed to be where the show found it's voice and solidified it's themes of challenging the idea of simple redemption, closure, and unearned forgiveness, as well as kicking off the Myth Arc of whether Bojack is truly capable of change, and becoming a better person. It also establishes the show's deliberate restraint on the word "fuck" to one use per season when and only when Bojack has permanently ruined a friendship.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: It's generally agreed that the first three episodes are mediocre at best and that things really start picking up when the character development and reoccurring arc jokes kick in around episode four.
  • Straw Character: For a show that thrives off of complexity, political issues don't really go beyond depicting everyone and anyone who disagrees with Diane as being, at best, in need of education and, at worst, a reckless idiot.
    • "Brrap Brrap Pew Pew" includes scenes in which Diane is forced through several degrading examinations meant to dissuade her from from getting an abortion (listening to the baby's heartbeat, watching videos of puppies) as a harsh criticism of pro-life. This doesn't make sense for a show set in northern California, which is known for being extremely liberal.
    • "Thoughts and Prayers" also has the punchline of male politicians reversing their position on gun ownership once women start carrying guns for protection from street harassers. This practice is universally encouraged by firearm advocacy groups. It also has the same problem of being set in California; the state, and LA especially, has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country and Diane is shown breaking quite a few..
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Sara Lynn's hit song "Prickly Muffin" is this for the Britney Spears song "Toxic."
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Throughout Season 5's takes on "Me Too!", we never get an update on Hank Hippopopalos, after his episode was noted to have been made an unusually fast Unintentional Period Piece by the rise of the movement.
  • True Art Is Angsty: Everyone in the show is either miserable, cruel, stupid, or all three, and all of their lives suck. Season 3 alone features episodes about the death of loved ones, multiple broken friendships, and sexual trauma, ends with a suicide attempt, and was the best reviewed show of 2016.
  • Ugly Cute: Because of the show's art style, none of the characters look very appealing, but there are exceptions. BoJack himself is a strange-looking horse with a body of an overweight middle aged man, but some of his expressions and the fact that he is such a Jerkass Woobie can make him look pretty cute. That's not even mentioning the smile he makes at the end of Season 4. Just look at that goofy face.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The anthropomorphic insects; yes, they retain their bug-eyes.
    • Whenever real-existing celebrities appear in the show, they tend to have added laugh lines, dimples, wrinkles, etc., all in bold black lines. Daniel Radcliffe and Jessica Biel, in particular, are two very attractive people in real life, but their good looks don't translate into the style of the show very well.
  • Unexpected Character: Nobody expected Katrina to return at the end of season 3.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • While Sarah-Lynn is at first presented as a parody of washed-up former child stars, she ends up being the closest this show has to a completely tragic character: forced into a career by an overbearing Stage Mom at the expense of a normal childhood, molested by her stepfather and then scared by BoJack's Anti-Advice into being exactly the kind of Attention Whore celebrity that everyone wanted her to be, eventually becomes a junkie to cope. And just as when it looks like she'll (begrudgingly) kick her habit, BoJack gets the two of them back onto hard drugs, which eventually kill her.
    • By season 3, BoJack has gone from a morally ambiguous Jerkass Woobie to full-blown punching bag. Sure, he's hurt enough people and burned enough bridges for it to eventually come back to bite him, but at this point he's less a victim of his own faults and more of Karma Houdinis: he's shamed for having sex with a consenting adult simply because said adult wasn't responsible enough to break it off with him herself, is screwed out of a major part and the opportunity to make amends with Kelsey by his oldest friend, and is blamed for his failure to get an Oscar nomination by the person whose job it was to ensure that he did, all of whom get off scot free by the end while BoJack himself is literally Driven to Suicide. And while he was partially responsible for Sara Lynn's fatal drug overdose, it doesn't change the fact that he's grieving his best friend.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • When looking at Herb and Bojack's fallout, from a different persepective, Herb doesn't come out of this completely sympathetic. Bojack, at the time, was still a rising star that didn't have the kind of pull to walk out of Horsin Around. So Herb requesting that he did came off a little selfish on his part because he never once considered how much it could have damaged Bojack's career. As far as being mad at Bojack not contacting him after the fact, there's no indication he tried contacting Bojack and given Bojack's fear of loneliness, had he thought Herb wanted to see him he would've contacted him.
    • Todd doesn't really have the right to shame BoJack for sleeping with Emily, an act between two consenting people of age. Even worse is that two episodes later, Todd eventually realizes that he couldn't give Emily the sexual relationship she wants because he doesn't experience sexual attraction. Granted, given all the shit that BoJack has done to him and everybody else, Todd most likely assumed the worst possible scenario when he found out about it, but still.
      • While Todd later admits that while he overreacted regarding Emily, and it was just The Last Straw in a long line of legitimate grievances he had with BoJack, he can still come off as this in general being a lazy mooch who sponges off of BoJack and later Mr. Peanutbutter and tends toward being an Unwitting Instigator of Doom without getting called out on it.
    • Emily, who wasn't responsible enough to break it off with BoJack face-to-face and wouldn't outright tell Todd what had happened, making it seem as though BoJack had taken advantage of her.
    • We're expected to empathize with Princess Carolyn when BoJack fires her in spite of their history, but she's lost him multiple parts, as well as a chance to reconnect with Kelsey (in the process screwing her out of her movie's ability to be made), and is perfectly willing to play dirty to keep her assistant from getting promoted. And yet she's insulted when she feels that BoJack doesn't appreciate her.
    • Hollyhock comes off kind of pushy and annoying in Season Four when she pesters BoJack into taking Beatrice to live with him because "she's his mother" and seems to utterly disregard BoJack's obvious discomfort with the whole thing, blowing off his attempted explanations of her abusive treatment of him because she's just a senile old woman now and rubs salt in the wound by telling Beatrice she's "a great mom". It's obvious she's just assuming that any mother is better than none at all, thanks to her own Missing Mom. As a result, when she suffers an amphetamine overdose via heavily spiked coffee thanks to Beatrice, it seems like a massive case of Laser-Guided Karma, because she was too self-righteous and pushy to listen to BoJack, who actually knew what Beatrice was like and what she was capable of doing.
    • "After the Party" tries to write Mr. Peanutbutter and Diane's fight as Both Sides Have a Point, but many felt that it instead painted Diane as being ungrateful and selfish. While her discomfort with her husband throwing her a huge party despite knowing that she wouldn't like it is understandable, it quickly devolves into a lot of pettiness on her part. For example, Mr. Peanutbutter being unsure of Diane's assertion that a certain actor has already died "humiliated (Diane) in front of all of (her) friends" and shows that he "doesn't believe (she) could be right about something". Then when she realizes that Mr. Peanutbutter doesn't want her to go into a war-torn country for a journalism opportunity, she tries to make him seem controlling. Given, Mr. Peanutbutter makes her see reason to some degree, pointing out that not wanting her to go to a far-off country destroyed with war and disease with a flirtatious stranger isn't unreasonable on his part. And even still, Diane turns it into Mr. Peanutbutter being unable to accept change in their relationship. While the episode might have been trying to give merit to both Mr. Peanutbutter and Diane, it ultimately flubbed, and Mr. Peanutbutter came off like a Henpecked Husband.
  • What an Idiot!: The people in Mr. Peanutbutter's party is stuck in the underground. When Woodchuck appears, he is able to settle the people, especially Jessica Biel, who has gone Ax-Crazy and wants to resort to cannibalism as soon as possible and creates a working community in the underground.
    You'd Expect: Everyone to see that their situation is grim and focus on their work to keep everyone alive and satisfied as long as they can.
    Instead: BoJack tries to take more food than what was given him, and Katrina takes this opportunity to put Mr. Peanutbutter on the control again, so as him to not lose popularity, despite she knowing that he is unfit to rule and within a day, Jessica takes over and places Fire as their new god, demanding human sacrifices for others to feed on their flesh as Mr. Peanutbutter ended all their food in a day by offering everybody a feast to uphold his popularity.


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