Just as Diane predicted, One Trick Pony has been a great success, even winning BoJack a Golden Globe – despite the fact that it’s a book and not a movie. Feeling directionless after the publication of the book, BoJack decides the time is right to launch the Secretariat movie project. Meanwhile, Diane faces decisions about what to do next, and Todd and Mr Peanutbutter come up with new projects for PB Livin’.
Well, here we are, at the BoJack season one finale. One usually has high expectations for a season finale, and I have to admit that, given the high standard set by the other episodes, this one is a tiny bit disappointing. The reason for this is simple – rather than having its own story to tell, the episode is mostly setting up plot threads for season two.
That’s not to say there’s nothing to talk about, however. BoJack finally has what he thought he wanted – his book is a massive success, and has earned him many new fans and admirers. Somehow, it all feels a bit hollow – BoJack was hoping that the love of all these new people would compensate for the emptiness and self-hatred he feels, but of course it just can’t do that. And BoJack being BoJack, it’s easy for him to downplay his successes and not take pride in them. The only thing he can do is take the advice Secretariat gave his nine-year-old self and keep on running forwards, this time into the Secretariat movie project. As you might expect, filming this movie will be a major part of season two.
Diane also has some decisions to make. She gets offered two jobs – one to follow a famous philanthropist and document the good works he does, and the other to be a character consultant on the Secretariat movie. Diane seems keen to take the first job in the hopes of doing some good in the world, but Mr Peanutbutter isn’t keen for her to go away. The episode ends with her accepting the Secretariat job, but it doesn’t take a genius to guess that things might change next season.
Meanwhile, the episode doubles down on crazy side plots, with Todd and Mr Peanutbutter coming up with all sorts of new ideas for PB Livin’. A “Halloween in January” store is swiftly forgotten once they come up with “Smoodies” – moods you can drink as smoothies, whatever that means. Along the way, Mr Peanutbutter displays a rare moment of nihilism and self-awareness, telling Diane “The universe is a cruel, uncaring void. The key to being happy isn’t a search for meaning. It’s to just keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually, you’ll be dead”.
This might seem out of character for the jolly, bumbling idiot – could Mr Peanutbutter really have hidden depths? Is Mr Peanutbutter not in fact too stupid to know he should be miserable, but putting on the stupidity just to avoid having to think about all the darker and sadder things in life? Certainly Mr Peanutbutter can see that having a bleaker and more realistic outlook hasn’t made BoJack happy, which might make him double down on the sunny, upbeat act. There’s a lot of analysis I can’t really do here until we hit seasons four and five, but it will probably be worth revisiting this point then.
All that being said, I think that line would have been better if it had been delivered by Todd. We know that Todd has had some hard times, from his parents kicking him to out to getting in trouble with mafias and cartels. And we also see Todd get into outlandish scrapes in almost every episode. I could well believe that Todd deliberately seeks out ridiculous ventures and activities just so that he never has to stop and think about all the bad things that have happened to him.
As if all that wasn’t enough, Princess Carolyn also gets a bit of time in this episode, as she struggles to make her relationship with Vincent Adultman work. It remains a source of amusement that Vincent Adultman manages to do a better job of pretending to be an adult than any of the real adults on the show. Then again, lines like “I have to call the guy at the office and take the car to the place” are actually pretty accurate descriptions of the average adult working life.
- Secretariat: we get our first flashback into the life of the famous racehorse. In the BoJack universe, Secretariat was a world champion racehorse who ultimately got banned and then committed suicide at age 27.
- Kelsey Jannings: director of the Secretariat film.
- Sebastian St Clair: A snow leopard philanthropist who invites Diane to come and shadow him whilst he visits war zones to help people.
- Secretariat: wiki page for the real racehorse, who live from 1970-1989.
Summary – Later: “If you want to poop in a bucket, we can get you a bucket.”