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.
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.
Creative people want their hard work to at least be recognized. Both in his career and his efforts to improve as a person, Bojack makes his fair share of good and bad decisions, but even when he knows he makes mistakes or chooses unflattering acting jobs, he does still work at them (and considering his starvation for approval, they're pretty much one and the same), so it makes sense that he'd get defensive about Horsin' Around, even if he finds it cheesy. Similarly, Emily telling Bojack that she absolutely loves The Bojack Horseman Show specifically because she thinks it's awful sends the message that calling something So Bad, It's Good is still an insult to the person who made it.
The importance of being able to articulate your feelings and, to a lesser extent, listen to others. All of the Purple Prose that characters give when pontificating about life, love and relationships is them not understanding their own emotions well enough to identify exactly what they are, and a large part of the show's drama comes from just how frustrating it is to watch characters trying and failing to put the right words to their feelings to communicate exactly what they are to the people they want to listen to them. Meanwhile, the listeners are either apathetic to the person talking, just waiting for their turn to talk (a byproduct of the show's dialogue-heavyRapid-Fire Comedy) or are too inarticulate to give the right response.
Related to the above, another take-away is "It's not about whether or not you put up with other people's issues, it's how you deal with them." The main characters are all terrible at dealing with their own problems, let alone helping others with theirs, and the result is a vicious cycle of drama where every attempt at dealing with either is a total crapshoot. The one time we actually see anyone successfully deal with both their own mental health needs and those of others is when Pete Repeat sees Hollyhock having a panic attack as a party and teaches her grounding to calm herself down, a technique that none of the main characters would have known about, let alone been able to advise others to do (and even that could be seen a positive comment on how much better and readily-available mental healthcare is for the millennial generation verses any of the previous ones).
You can't act like you're doomed, even if you are due to bad genetics or addictions. Otherwise, Self-Fulfilling Prophecy kicks in, and you need to fight for the right to your happiness so as to not hurt people in your life. With Sarah Lynn, she finally has millions in royalties that she can use to go to college and become an architect at 30, and she's beyond the influence of her domineering mother. Instead, Sarah Lynn cheerfully says she's going to overdose one day and die tragically young because someone won't revive her. In her last moments that happens, right when she expresses regret about her life and wanting to pursue her architect dreams. There's also BoJack, who believes he's a broken foal thanks to a lifetime of emotional abuse from his mother followed by betraying his best friend in Hollywood. Every time he believes he's doomed to be the same, his friends call him out and say that bad behavior is a choice, not a destiny.
Emily is self-important, but with enough innocence that she'll gush about whatever idea she comes up with, especially when it involves her crush Todd. Also, don't mention her about any of her Dark Secrets; she'll get flustered and lie badly.
Surprisingly, Gina has her moments, such as when reacting happily to the fact she was even mentioned in a review of Philbert, or when being interviewed during Philbert's premiere party.
Interviewer: Gina, I know it's early, but have you started writing your acceptance speech for the Emmys?
Gina: Oh, stop. I'll probably just repurpose whatever I say at the SAG Awards. (audience laughs) Is that gonna read as cocky? Can you explain to your readers that I'm being charmingly self-effacing?
Lora's easily squeamish about being yelled at or just plain screwing up, but is quite productive on her own and an Hypercompetent Sidekick the size needed for Princess Carolyn.
Corbin Creamerman. He stammers a lot, is interested in vegetable oil, and is very sweet.
Heather is a manatee reporter who sings sea shanties.
Sextina Aquafina finds her happy ending after her abortion campaign; she finds out she's pregnant for real and decides to retire while keeping the baby and pregnancy under wraps, releasing music on a scheduled basis. While the main Aesop is, "A pregnant person should have the right to choose what to do and they won't always do what's expected," the alternative one could be, "Know when your priorities change".
In the final episode, Diane tells Bojack that "Sometimes, life's a bitch and then you keep on living," with the intended message being that you're not limited to just one part of your life to improve as a person and find true happiness, you can continue to try and fail for as long as you live. While that is a good moral, it's hard to apply it to Bojack, who's efforts to improve his life at best go unnoticed and at worst get him into more trouble. It's easy for Diane to say that it's best to "keep on living" when she's Happily Married to someone who's actively helped her through her issues and led her to a better life. Meanwhile, Bojack is bankrupt, he's serving a prison sentence after a suicide attempt and he's the oldest of all of his friends, all of whom have had their own Happy Ending. While the show is open-ended enough to suggest that this is still possible for someone like Bojack, it can be read as even more cynical, saying that "Sometimes, true happiness and self-improvement can only be achieved through sheer dumb luck." On the other hand, it can still be read as the more positive "Success is about being ready for opportunities." Bojack's opportunity still hasn't come, but it still might.
And You Thought It Would Fail: As yet another dime-a-dozen lewd, crude and cynical animated comedy for adults, the show certainly had a stigma against it on release. Coupled with the mediocre to outright bad reviews the first season got and it's a surprise that the show is as successful as it is today. Much of this is chocked up to positive word of mouth, as the initial reviews for the first season only covered the initial six episodes, meaning the main dramatic climax (and by proxy, the Signature Scene of the show in "The Telescope") weren't shown off to the reviewers.
Raphael Bob-Waksberg: Funnily enough, we only sent the first six episodes to critics. Which, looking back, might have been a mistake. (laughs)
Angst Aversion: Some fans who've followed the show since before it was popular have admitted to becoming so tired of its unapologetic depiction of depression and downright pessimistic social commentary by the time the final season came around that they outright avoided watching it out of fear that it would be too depressing.
Also, the show really want you to know that you don't need the approval of your birth family to be happy, as evidenced by the uncomfortably realistic depiction if Bojack's abusive parents and Princess Carolyn's gaslighting mother and Bojack outright telling Diane that family is "a sinkhole" when she fails to gain the approval of her own cartoonishly exaggerated family of bullies. Compare this to the more sympathetic depiction of adoptive parents, especially Hollyhock's eight polyamorous fathers, or dearth of scenes depicting kinder birth parents (the episode with Yolanda's parents deliberately glosses over a pleasant heart-to-heart she has with them then writes her out of the show, as if avoiding showing birth parents in a positive light). While most fans have said that they sadly identify with the depiction of negative parental relationships, this seeming derogatory depiction of birth parents can come off as needlessly grim to those who don't have bad relationships with their birth families, if not more than a little insulting to those who have a legitimately good relationship with them. It also doesn't help that the show consciously deconstructs the Good Girls Avoid Abortion trope at every opportunity, which, when combined with the above, can come off as prejudice towards anyone who bears a child or raises the child they gave birth to, period.
Being such a dialogue heavy show, most episodes have at least one scene of a character, usually Bojack or Diane, giving some flowery pontification about life and relationships, usually with very vivid analogies (Diane's "I'm tired of squinting" speech comes to mind) as if the characters are outright incapable of articulating anything in less that a verbal Wall of Text. At times, it feels like the show is trying to give viewers quotes to mine.
As mentioned above, not only is celebrity culture depicted as inherently toxic or even evil, but no character involved in the arts is in it for the love of the craft, only some ulterior motive (monetary, self-esteem) and those who've achieved happiness have either left the arts or just failed their way into successful careers, which comes off as the show saying that the arts in general are inherently shallow.
The show also takes every single opportunity to deconstruct The Power of Love and The Power of Friendship by repeatedly having Bojack accidentally drive away any and all help with his deep-seeded bad habits. He's also the only character who experiences this, as literally everyone else's lives are visibly, significantly improved by having someone stick by them when they're at their lowest point. The intended message is how it's unhealthy to seek you own happiness in other people, but more often, it feels like telling a friendless loser to just suck it up.
Ass Pull: Mr. Peanutbutter reveals the truth about Sarah Lynn's death, something BoJack kept carefully under wraps around his friends, because apparently BoJack got drunk and confessed it to him offscreen.
The show was again nominated for Outstanding Animated Program for "The View from Halfway Down" (which was the show's last chance at an Emmy win)...and lost to "The Vat of Acid Episode."
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: The subject of the series' end is a contentious one among the fanbase. A sizable and vocal faction believes that the penultimate episode, which apparently ended with the main character's death, would have been a better ending than the finale, which they decry as anticlimactic. A second faction insists just as vociferously that BoJack dying would "let him off the hook" too easily, and that the actual finale was the superior ending for forcing him to live with the consequences of his actions. A third, somewhat smaller faction would have preferred the happy ending BoJack would have gotten if the series had ended halfway through the sixth season. Debates on the topic periodically flare up on the series' subreddit the better part of a year since the show ended, and there doesn't seem to be anyone within the fandom who lacks a strong opinion.
Cant Unhear It: Just try to watch anything else with Will Arnett and not imagine BoJack saying everything. On the one hand, it makes his otherwise hilarious "BABE WAIT BABE!" scene in Hot Rod much sadder. On the other hand, it makes several of his other roles a lot funnier, especiallyLegoBatman and his guest appearance on shows like The Magic School Bus Rides Again, as well as the Reese's Cups commercials he narrated, not to mention the live-action stuff he did like Arrested Development and 30 Rock.
After everything she's been through, Kelsey re-establishes herself as a good director when she tells several producers that a superheroine movie should feature what women actually go through: they have to work twice as hard to get the same positions that incompetent men do and are rarely celebrated for doing good. She ought to know, considering what happened with Secretariat. Even better, she insists on casting Gina in the movie, giving the lady a happy ending.
Diane did break BoJack's trust by leaking One Trick Pony without his consent. She gets some Laser-Guided Karma when working on her memoirs; Diane finds herself lost and drifting when reliving a traumatic childhood and her failed marriage.
Defied in Season 6's "Nice While It Lasted". BoJack's misdeeds finally get exposed, Sarah Lynn's death in paticular, but it's undone by BoJack getting recognition for a movie barely a year later, him only serving prison for the more minor crime of breaking and entering, Sarah Lynn's mom making money off her death while the rest of the country forgets, and similarly abusive celebrities like Hank Hippopopalous ending the series off the hook.
It is played straight, however, when a drunk Bojack threatens Angela after learning she was bluffing about his career getting ruined if he stood up for Herb. While Angela manages to save herself and the deal they signed, while pushing Bojack into a suicidal state, she's terrified when he manhandles her and threatens to burn the contact in her fireplace. If Bojack really wanted to hurt her, the scene establishes that he could if pushed to it and none of her caretakers in sight. In the end, she's left alone, old and bitter with money and people paid to make sure she keeps breathing.
One of the reasons that critics dismissed it immediately was that its first few episodes seemed like another Family Guy wannabe. They changed their tune once word-of-mouth got out that it was actually a Deconstruction of that show's most notoriousassets.
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: At least for the the first season. The show initially 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 and the show's true nature as a tragicomedy was revealed. Reviews for later seasons were much more positive, with it being a critical darling by its final season, as one of its final trailers likes to note. Compare the AV Club's reviews for season 1 to those of season 2 and season 3.
While's Beatrice Horseman's abuse of her son and the severe damage it does is played entirely for drama, Butterscotch is generally so over the top that it tends to play Hilariously Abusive Childhood hilariously straight. The scene of him lecturing young BoJack about not taking the easy way out "like some kind of democrat" feels like something out of Ren & Stimpy, complete with goofy '50s stock music and a Wacky Sound Effect when he backhands BoJack. Averted later on, as flashbacks with Butterscotch become more somber.
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.
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 Arnett. Then it turns out he was at the wrong funeral, and as a result, you can't help but find it hilarious.
"Feel Good Story" sets up intrigue about the Whitewhale company murdering an employee to keep them quiet. Then it's revealed that the billionaire in charge of the company is perfectly comfortable admitting that he murdered the worker himself. Why is he so relaxed? Because congress just passed a law making it legal for billionaires to murder people.
Delusion Conclusion: Some fans who were disappointed with the series finale interpret it as a continuation of BoJack's dream from the previous episode, believing that he really did drown in his pool and the series finale is just his subconscious giving him closure with his friends before he dies.
Designated Monkey: The show asserts itself as being a deconstruction of cartoon tropes but this often only applies to the title character. BoJack suffers greatly from his upbringing and the show never allows him to live down any of his mistakes. This is in stark contrast to virtually all of the other characters, who not only do plenty of morally ambiguous or even cruel thing without nearly as much angst or consequences but who are all allowed to keep the happy endings they earn (this may contribute to the show's Misaimed Fandom of using it less as a cautionary tale about the toxic behavior that comes from trauma and more as an excuse for it: why should someone be encouraged to kick their bad habits if it's only going to make everything worse for themselves and everyone else?).
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, though she finally reappeared in season 6 where she's able to reboot her career by doing a superhero movie, but on her own terms.
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 seen 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.
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 was a constant fandom prediction. Charlotte's last appearance has her tell Penny not to take the risk of putting the full story out there, and her last interaction with BoJack is just a phone call telling him to leave them alone and that they don't want to be involved in any kind of scandal story.
Much fandom prediction around Stefani Stilton going to maliciously slander Mister Peanutbutter using GirlCroosh as an anti-manPropaganda 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 a normal feminist leaning 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.
Another popular theory before Season 6 stemmed from Diane's pseudonym being "Princess Diana" in "INT. SUB," which included a reference to the song "Candle in the Wind," a song re-written after Princess Diana's death. The last scene of the season, where Diane enters a tunnel but doesn't come out, brought to mind the princess's fatal crash in a tunnel. Therefore, many assumed this was all foreshadowing Diane being Killed Off for Real before Season 6, likely through a crash in that tunnel. This did not happen and Diane survived for the series.
With the final eight episodes lacking the show's typical single use of "fuck," some fans theorize that it's actually in Hollyhock's unheard letter to Bojack when she permanently ended her relationship with him.
Another theory based off the unrevealed letter is that it's Hollyhock's suicide note as an explanation for why she never appears again (though given BoJack doesn't react as strongly as if he'd read that his sister had died and the fact that she wasn't in Bojack's Dying Dream with the other people who died before his attempted suicide, the implication is more that she just cut ties with him for good.)
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.
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 its 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 its 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 premiere of Bojack's sixth season created a narrative that it didn't last for being "too happy."
The Time Skip in the finale, and how everybody's life progressed while BoJack was in prison, especially Diane and Princess Carolyn who got married to Guy and Judah, respectively.
Fanon Discontinuity: An interesting case with the ending of the show: Some people found the penultimate episode so well crafted they wished the last one didn't come after. Others like to think the last episode is not canon but just an afterlife "coping mechanism" for Bojack and that he's actually dead. Still others think that episode 7 of season 6 was itself intended as a "happy ending" that anyone could stop watching at if they wanted to end the series on a happy note.
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.
The flashback in "A Horse Walks Into a Rehab" where BoJack walks in on Butterscotch having sex with his human secretary. We don't see much of the action, but we do hear Butterscotch talk about his sheath as a very unpleasant Furry Reminder.
First Installment Wins: Not with the series itself (it got better during season 2), but out of Netflix's original animated series (which also include F is for Family, Big Mouth, and Paradise PD), BoJack is easily the most critically acclaimed and popular.
Franchise Original Sin: Episodes of later seasons have taken some flack for relying too much on political and religious strawmen, but such strawmen appeared in earlier seasons as well. However, the show rarely devoted much time to these caricatures in early seasons: for example, "Hank After Dark" had some rather unflattering stereotypes of "Manosphere" members, but they were only touched on relatively briefly, and the episode's ire remained squarely targeted at celebrities who do terrible things and those who refuse to let said celebs be held accountable.
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 Aggretsuko, 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.
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 "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 offhand 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 is 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.
Most of the jokes or scenes related to Flip's misogynistic elements to his show Philbert (which made allusions to Mr. Robot) would be even more cringe-inducing considering in one of the later episodes of Mr. Robot, Elliot (portrayed by Rami Malek) finds out that the reason why he had DID and developed Mr. Robot in the first place is that he was molested by his father.
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.
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.
Dr. Champ the therapy horse appears to be a Norwegian Fjord horse, right down to being chubby.
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.
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, and ended its six-season run as one of the most critically adored shows of the decade.
He Really Can Act: Many agree that BoJack is Will Arnett's best acting role yet. Before BoJack, Arnett was known for playing narcissistic and idiotic characters. While BoJack still contains a lot of narcissism, he also is a very emotional character. Special mentions go to Bojack's 22 minute monologue spanning the entirety of the episode "Free Churro", nailing all the complicated and nuanced emotions that Bojack felt about his mother's passing, as well as a great performance with Secretariat's poem in "The View From Halfway Down", perfectly capturing the sheer terror that Secretariat felt as he realized what it was like after jumping off the bridge.
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.
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 a lot 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.
In a more bittersweet example, at the end of Season 3, Bojack laments that he has nothing to show for the life that he's lived, and that nobody seems to be better off having known him. At the end of the show, Diane and Bojack share one final heart to heart talk, and she says she's glad she knew him. While it's sweet, she also emphasizes the past tense of knew. She's left behind her life in Los Angeles completely and gets on with her life in Houston, so as much as Bojack doesn't want it to be, that conversation is likely the last the two will ever have.
On the flip side, Diane wanted to make a difference in the world with her pen and good intentions. BoJack starts to get out of his depressive rut when Diane starts writing about his life, and it's clear despite their ups and downs, she was a good friend to him which was what he needed. To a lesser extent, she ends up writing a book series that changes the world by making people happy: Princess Carolyn loves Ivy Tran and wants to share it with her daughter, while Guy's son bonds with Diane over it. She didn't save women from sexual abuse, but she brought joy to her friends and famiyl.
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.
A few years after the digital Bojack in Secretariat, a movie studio named Magic City Films actually announced they'd be using a digital recreation of James Dean in their upcoming film Finding Jack, leading to them being roundly ridiculed.
After being made a pariah, Bojack meets up with fellow Hollywoo powder keg Vance Waggoner and they collaborate on a new film together. In real life, problematic actors Mel Gibson and Sean Penn co-starred in The Professor and the Madman.
In "The View For Halfway Down", Zach Braff points out that he's best friends with Donald Faison in real life. Not long after the episode aired, Braff started a Scrubs recap podcast with Faison called Fake Doctors, Real Friends.
Mr. Peanutbutter describing Felicity Huffman as a "beloved actress of film and television" in "Stupid Piece of Shit" might prompt ironic laughter nowadays, after Huffman was implicated in the 2019 college admissions scandal.
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.
"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."
"Business-wise, this all seems like appropriate business", which is used to label real life examples of kids in a trenchcoat attempting Vincent Adultman-like antics.
"What are YOU doing here?!"
Pickles be thicc, or Thiccles for short.
In light of the episode "Angela," the retool of Horsin' Around that removes BoJack is a popular source of memes and edits, particularly this version of the theme song.
"One minute of Bojack Horseman was more anti-suicide than the entire [insert specific movie or series] was." This is a common response to Secretariat's titular poem in "The View from Halfway Down" about how he felt ready to end his own life but once he'd taken the leap, he instantly regretted it.
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.
In a massive amount, Wanda.
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.
The real Ruthie (the baby porcupine PC adopts at the end of Season 5) is absolutely adorable. It's hard not to 'aww'' at every scene she's in.
Fanshavetaken 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 thispoll and this post reveal. Even after the show concluded on a bittersweet but mostly optimistic note, some fans have chosen to believe that the final episode is a Dying Dream or some kind of alternate reality, because True Art Is Angsty.
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.
Another minority of fans 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.
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.
He crosses this for many more fans in the back half of Season 6, where not only are the former actions and all of his other harmful actions are brought back into the forefront, but it's also revealed that Sarah Lynn died at the hospital instead of where we last saw her in "That's Too Much, Man!" and that BoJack waited 17 minutes to call an ambulance while she was dying, meaning that he lied not just to his friends, the reporters, and the police but to the audience about the circumstances of her death and that if he would've acted any sooner she may have recovered and survived. Even if he did believe that she was already dead, his first actions were to cover his ass instead of being truthful.
However, the trope gets deconstructed throughout the first half of Season 6 where BoJack is trying to turn his life around, and then again in the second half: it's not that there's one specific low point for BoJack that made him irredeemable, it's that there's so many smaller ones that it means he's generally just a bad person.
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 was hurting Bojack, both parents simply refused to change their ways or improve for the better. While giving a eulogy at her funeral, BoJack partially lampshades this by pointing out that in her whole life, Beatrice never once gave a meaningful act of kindness to her own son, and that when a cashier at a fast food joint gave BoJack a free churro to cheer him up after learning about Beatrice's death, BoJack states that he was treated more kindly from her in that small deed than from either of his parents in years.
In a similar vein to Butterscotch and Beatrice, the Nguyen family's constant and unrepentant abuse to their youngest family member Diane (being compared to that of Meg Griffin from Family Guy) could be considered a lengthy and stretched out MEH line crossed. And unlike Meg Griffin, the show doesn`t hold back in showing how all that toxic behavior affected Diane`s personalty and outlook on life negatively later on.
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.
An animated work about humans and anthropomorphic animals coexisting in a story of how difficult and ruthless the celebrity life of Hollywoo can be? Turner Entertainment did a more child-friendly version 17 years prior with Cats Don't Dance. Funnily enough, while BoJack Horseman treats its younger cast as Children Are Innocent, the adorable child star in Cats Don't Dance infamously turns out to be an Enfant Terrible.
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.
Subverted in both cases towards the end of season 6, where Angela is the focus of episode 14 and Crackerjack has a substantial role in the following episode.
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 andanthropomorphic 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.
Realism-Induced Horror: Enters this territory quite frequently, most frequently with it's fairly realistic depictions of abuse, addiction, and mental illness, which helps further the show's central themes of how celebrity can be damaging (particularly for someone who entered stardom very young) and how trauma can often be passed from one generation to the next.
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 its voice and solidified its 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.
Stephanie Beatriz is best known for her character Rosa Diaz in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. As Gina she plays an ambitious actress that wants to build her career but is resigned about her prospects, and sings a showstopper "Don't Stop Dancing" in Bojack's dream". Much later she accurately conveys PTSD after Gina tries to build her career after Philbert.
Kristen Schaal is known for her bubbly persona, which equally extends to her characters in Gravity Falls and Bob's Burgers. Seeing her play the same bubble character Sarah Lynn as a child, who then grows up to be a drug-addicted sex-idol that cheerfully talks about dying young, shows the range of her talent. It especially kicks in when Sarah Lynn gets an epiphany when she is watching her stepfather accept an award on her behalf, and she admits that she hates what she has become. It goes even further when her dream-self sings a Dark Reprise of "Don't Stop Dancing" to Bojack and it comes out as raw, intense, and tragic.
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.
Squick: Sarah Lynn and Bojack having sex during one of her binges. Bojack has known her since she was three, and their relationship is decidedly father-daughter afterwards.
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, especially due to the downfall of Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, the real life people he's based off of. Not even Season 6 brought it up.
Whenever BoJack gets a woman pregnant, his immediate response is to give her money for an abortion and cut off all contact with her. This was only given a passing mention early on in Season 4 even though it's easily one of the sleaziest aspects of his character.
In Season 5, BoJack causes a car accident in order to get more pain pills to fuel his addiction. The show doesn't acknowledge the fact that this was the first time BoJack has knowingly and willingly put other people's lives at risk for his own benefit.
In the latter half of Season 6, Pickles dumps Mr. Peanutbutter for Joey Pogo, leaving Mr. Peanutbutter to deal with not having a romantic partner for the first time in decades, leaving him to seek therapy and even write a memoir. However, the bulk of this happens either in very brief intervals (Pickles dumping him is practically done as a throwaway gag via text message) or offscreen, which is especially disappointing since Mr. Peanutbutter has been more resistant to change and growth than any other main character and yet we barely get to see his process of actually admitting fault and bettering himself.
The unforeseen cancellation after Season 6, with an additional order of only 4 episodes to wrap the show up, meant that a large amount of plans for Season 7 were completely thrown out, or ultra-compressed into the two episodes that lead to the penultimate episode which isn't part of the normal timeline and the finale which needs to serve as closure for the entire show rather.
True Art Is Angsty: Everyone in the show is either miserable, cruel, stupid, or all three, and all of their lives suck. In every single season, the titular protagonist is put through all kinds of emotional hell, with very infrequent moments of bittersweet hope to keep him going on. Bojack Horseman has also become one of the most critically-acclaimed animated TV series of all time, mostly because of just how cynical and unrestrained the characters' personal conflicts are.
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 gives at the end of Season 4. Just look at that goofy face.
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.
While several side characters returned for Season 6, possibly the most shocking one was Pete Repeat, especially since his return brings some shocking information for Hollyhock to learn...
Viewer Gender Confusion: Joey Pogo's androgynous pop star looks and voice byHilary Swank had several fans assume he was a butchy woman in the trailer. Even after his actual introduction, some fans were confused about his gender.
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.