The Great BoJack Horseman Rewatch: The Telescope

BoJack takes Diane and Todd on a road trip to Malibu, in the hopes of reconciling with his former friend Herb Kazzaz. Along the way, BoJack tells Diane about his past with Herb, and how the two of them ended up parting ways.

Ever since Sarah Lynn told BoJack about Herb’s cancer way back in episode three, the seeds were sown for this storyline. We saw BoJack and Herb’s first meeting in flashback, BoJack eventually calling Herb, and Herb finally calling back. Now we see both their reunion in the present, and the events that led up to the end of their friendship.

Back in the eighties, Herb and BoJack were both working as stand-up comedians, with a view to breaking into television. Eventually, Herb successfully pitches the idea for Horsin’ Around to ABC, and insists that BoJack be allowed to star in it. For a while, it’s a dream pairing – at least until Herb comes out as gay. The network decides to fire Herb, and although BoJack promises to quit in solidarity, ultimately he chooses his career over his friendship. Horsin’ Around continues with BoJack as the star, but his friendship with Herb is irreparably damaged.

We definitely get some interesting insights into BoJack’s past in this episode. Even before he and Herb hit the big time, we can see the seeds of his outlook – isn’t it inevitable that BoJack will get left behind once Herb becomes famous? Had BoJack been the one to get the first break, it seems doubtful he would have insisted on finding an opportunity for Herb to be involved. Herb took a risk insisting that the ABC execs accept BoJack as the star of Horsin’ Around, and BoJack simply doesn’t have that kind of appetite for risk. We can see this plainly when he refuses to risk losing his job on Horsin’ Around and his chance to play Secretariat in order to support Herb.

In both past and present, we can see the immediate chemistry between Herb and BoJack – they have the same sense of humour, and even the same voicemail message. It’s quite possible Herb was even a bit in love with BoJack, although of course BoJack would have been too self-focussed to reciprocate, even if he was attracted to men. That doesn’t mean that Herb can ever forgive BoJack, though. As we saw in episode three, BoJack likes to ‘roll credits’ on a happy ending where everything turns out all right, and here he can’t even process the fact that Herb doesn’t accept his apology. Herb might be dying, but he has no intention of absolving BoJack of responsibility. Not every harmful act can be washed away with forgiveness.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an episode of BoJack Horseman without some outlandish Todd antics. This time, he’s left to turn the car around while BoJack and Diane go to talk to Herb. Todd being Todd, not only does he manage to turn the manoeuvre into a “300 point turn”, but his car gets hijacked by two young women who go around robbing celebrities. Unfortunately for Todd, this entire incident ends with BoJack and Diane driving home without him.

First appearances

  • Tina Bear: Herb’s live-in carer, who only communicates via bear growls.
  • Charlotte: A doe who was good friends with BoJack and also Herb’s girlfriend until she broke up with him to move to Maine.

Other notes

  • In this episode and the last, we see BoJack almost run down an armadillo lady, who responds by curling up into a ball and rolling away.
  • BoJack tells Herb he has never used his Vitamix, even though we saw him using it in the first episode to blend some pills into his juice. Maybe he was just being creative with the truth in order to have a bonding moment with Herb.

Summary – The Telescope: “It’s just starting to hit me – I’m getting married. Thank God I don’t have to die alone.”

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