When Diane and BoJack go on tour to promote One Trick Pony, Diane draws attention for remarking on allegations made against beloved TV star Hank Hippopopalous. Even as she weathers a sea of abuse and hate mail, Diane becomes ever more determined to expose the truth about Hank.
Some BoJack episodes are so good at mirroring real life events that they’re actually a bit uncomfortable to watch. Hank After Dark is one such episode, covering as it does what happens when a woman (or indeed multiple women) accuse a powerful man of sexual misconduct.
In this case, we never actually find out exactly what Hank did to his assistants, although we’re clearly meant to believe that it’s some kind of non-consensual sexual attention. Diane isn’t even one of his victims – she’s merely pointing out that allegations exist and can be easily found online – but she still attracts the same level of vitriol and hatred from the public. How dare she ruin the life of a popular, well-liked man? With painful precision, the show hits all the notes in this particular narrative. And by the end, Diane is forced to drop her investigation, while Hank’s public refutation of the accusations are considered good enough evidence of his innocence.
Even Mr Peanutbutter, Diane’s loving husband, isn’t on her side this time. How could she pursue Hank when it could jeopardise Mr Peanutbutter’s own newly relaunched TV career? What’s more, having been against it all season, Mr Peanutbutter now thinks it would be a good idea if Diane went to Cordovia, giving them some time apart.
This development is noteworthy on two counts. First, just a scant few episodes ago, we learnt that Mr Peanutbutter spends his days on the sofa waiting for Diane to come home, so for him to encourage her to go away is a massive deal. Secondly, back in season one, Mr Peanutbutter acknowledged that Diane is smarter than him – when she started having doubts about the wedding, it made him wonder if there was something to be worried about. Therefore, if she is worried about Hank and his conduct, Mr Peanutbutter must know, deep down, that she has good reason to do so. Unwilling to jeopardise either his admiration of Hank or his new TV show, Mr Peanutbutter has clearly decided that the best way to ignore the problem is just to send Diane away.
Let’s contrast this with BoJack’s reaction. Even though he’s still upset about the way Diane portrayed him in the book – something which she apologises for in this episode – he still defends her from random abusers and categorically states that he is “in her corner”. And it’s not even that BoJack has nothing to lose – his newly-restored fame and reputation could just as easily be dragged down by association with Diane. Bojack may be an arsehole most of the time, but in this guess, he’s being a more supportive friend than Mr Peanutbutter.
I would be remiss if I finished this review without mentioning the obligatory Todd B-story. As foreshadowed a couple of episodes ago, Todd bears a striking resemblance to Prince Gustav of Cordovia, and here the two end up swapping places. While Todd is held offscreen at the Cordovian embassy, Prince Gustav takes his place as Mr Peanutbutter’s assistant for a few days. Naturally, Mr Peanutbutter doesn’t notice that anything is amiss, and frequently calls Gustav’s foreign accent and strange turns of phrase “typical Todd”.
- In a flashback we see Katrina, Mr Peanutbutter’s first wife.
- In the world of BoJack, Vanity Fair is a manatee-run magazine called Manatee Fair.
- Matthew Fox is a wolf, and Scott Wolf is a fox.
- Katrina heads offscreen to talk to Erica.
- The MSNBSea news ticker includes a headline about the Chicken-4-Dayz “Glutbucket”.
Summary – Hank After Dark: “I’m Hank Hippopopalous. Who the hell are you?”