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YMMV / Bojack Horseman S 4 E 05 Thoughts And Prayers

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  • Anvilicious: Bojack isn't exactly a show famous for its tactful approach to politics, and this episode is easily it's greatest affront to subtlety ever.
    • Similar to "Brrap Brrap Pew Pew," the creators make no hesitation to say not only exactly what their opinions are but that they aren't even willing to humor the contrary. However, while the topic of reproductive rights was at least relevant to Diane's character and showed that even being pro-choice wasn't a black-or-white decision, gun violence has been mentioned exactly once prior in this show as a throwaway gag (and is arguably a much denser subject). As a result, this episode has to develop a whole new story in 20 minutes solely to justify its many, many arguments about gun control, hence why all of the discussions of the subject are spat out, rapid-fire and everyone takes a level in jerkass for the sake of a straw argument. Even worse, we never actually see the shootings in question, anyone they directly effect or even enough of the movie that supposedly glorifies gun violence to determine whether or not it does, only everyone's reactions to what they see of it. The topic of gun control also left the show just as quickly as it came, making it hard to take it sincerely.
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    • Much like the whale strippers in "BoJack Kills," this episode uses an already controversial topic as a springboard for a stanch feminist message. Since the subject of unwanted advances has also never come up prior, it seems like Diane is encouraging women to arm themselves because of an (admittedly traumatizing) incident with just one guy, despite her saying that this is a constant occurrence. Truth in Television or not, the fact that it's never happened before in the show makes it a hard sell. And in case you weren't paying attention to what was actually happening in the final scene, Diane outright says "I can't believe this country hates women more than it loves guns," which sounds more like something from a social media rant than something a normal person would say.
    • As evidenced by the title, the episode is meant to take a sledgehammer to the shallowness of the phrase "thoughts and prayers" by clearly showing that any character who says it is merely trying to abstain themselves of guilt for not actually caring about who gets murdered by a mass shooting. This wouldn't be so unfair if the characters saying it were politicians, namely those with a direct influence and authority over gun control laws, and not movie producers, who... don't. While transplanting the phrase to people making a movie with gun violence was clearly intended as a statement about how the media normalizes certain ideas (in this case, the fetishization of guns), placing that much blame it feels more at home with the uninformed moral panic about video games and Marilyn Manson post-Columbine.
  • Critical Research Failure: It's painfully obvious the writers didn't look into the other side's arguments at all. That women are only vulnerable because they aren't armed has been a core point for the pro-gun side for literally decades, and in conservative parts of the country women carrying is perfectly normal. The ending also refers to an outright ban as "sensible gun control", when the term is usually used to very specifically not mean that (it refers to registration and background checks, sometimes limits to where you can carry; it's "sensible" because in theory the pro-gun side can support it without abandoning their general position).
    • In addition, their belief that women shooters would change pro-gun politician's standpoints. However, there have been several female mass shooters in real life such as Brenda Spencer and Sylvia Seegrist before this episode and neither shooting resulted in stricter gun laws.
  • Don't Shoot the Message: Haha, but seriously... while the episode brings up plenty of real-life controversies worthy for discussion (movie executives worrying more about their violent movies failing than whether or not they glorify violence, women feeling unsafe because of constant unwanted advances, people being more concerned with their second amendment than with people getting killed by guns), the fact that it's squeeze all these dense topics into a 20 minute episode of a sitcom with no prior setup makes it feel less like an interesting, reflective discussion on these topics and more like... well, getting shot in the face with the message.
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  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The episode concludes that gun violence in the media is a direct (if not the main) cause of real-life gun violence. Not only does it ignore pretty much all evidence to the contrary, but it's basically another way of saying "violent video games were the cause of Columbine."
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Less than a month after this episode was released, the as of 2017 worst mass shooting in American history occurred in Las Vegas. Twitter was, of course, flooded with the hashtag "#thoughtsandprayers." Whatever one thinks of the episode itself, it's message was definitely relevant. One savvy Redditor even pointed out that, if the show released on a weekly basis rather than all at once, this episode would have premiered the exact same weekend as the shooting.
  • Padding: Arguably, the whole reason the gun plot exists in the first place is because the story of BoJack visiting his mother wasn't enough to fill a 25 minute run time.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: As mentioned above, this episode tries to transplant the responsibilities of politicians to movie producers. This wouldn't be so bad if the episode didn't end with a scene in which a character speaks to a group of lobbyists and congressmen, who don't show up until said ending.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot
    • One side of the argument that we never hear from are the people making the film which is constantly being Undermined by Reality due to the mass shootings. It might have been interesting to hear them argue on the side of artistic expression regardless of Reality Subtext (and maybe be just as guilty of using "thoughts and prayers").
    • As mentioned below, it's nobody's fault that the movie being produced in this episode just happens to feature plot points that actually happen in real life, subject matter notwithstanding. It'd have arguably been funnier to cut out the "thoughts and prayers" angle and just made it about how frustrating it is for a movie to be Undermined by Reality. Instead, it's just using one political issue as a metaphor for another political issue.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: While the episode outright states that movies that idealize gun violence help perpetuate (or at least don't help prevent) real-life gun violence, it still hoists all of the blame on this group of movie producers who are just trying to handle some unfortunate coincidences that happen to reflect on the plot of the movie that's in production.

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