The year is 2007. Horsin’ Around has been off the air for eleven years, but BoJack has consistently refused to take on any new work. Can one Princess Carolyn – currently the assistant of BoJack’s agent – convince him to take on a new TV role? Meanwhile, high school student Todd gets together with his first girlfriend, and Mr Peanutbutter meets Diane for the first time.
What happened between the end of Horsin’ Around and the start of this show? Up until the end of season two, it seemed as if all BoJack did for those years was sit on his couch watching Horsin’ Around. As it turns out, there was one exception to this – the time he made a pilot for an edgy comedy called The BoJack Horseman Show.
This season is really going all in on portraying BoJack’s love-hate relationship with Horsin’ Around. The BoJack of 2007 is a horse who seems reluctant to take on any new roles, finding the flimsiest of excuses to turn down work. Having achieved fame with Horsin’ Around, BoJack now seems afraid of both failure – especially if he lacks the acting chops to do serious work – and the potential for greater success. He hates being asked “are you The Horse from Horsin’ Around?”, and yet seems to fear losing that identity. As we already know, by 2014 BoJack is actively clinging to the memory of Horsin’ Around, and seems to see it in a much more positive light. Is it because the passage of time has left him with rose-tinted memories? Had he resigned himself to being The Horse forever, at least until Secretariat came along? Maybe it was his realisation, in this very episode, that for all that Horsin’ Around was a low quality sitcom, it was something that the public actually enjoyed?
Let’s also contrast 2007 BoJack with 2007 Mr Peanutbutter. Where BoJack is refusing all work, Mr Peanutbutter accepts everything that’s thrown his way, because he “get[s] excited by the possibilities”. For BoJack, those possibilities represent uncertainty and the chance of failure. For Mr Peanutbutter, ever the sunny optimist, they mean the chance to do something new and exciting. Of course, one could also argue that Mr Peanutbutter is simply following his philosophy of filling time with pointless tasks to distract from the futility of life – which sounds neither sunny nor optimistic!
Character notes – 2007 edition!
- Princess Carolyn has spent fourteen years as an assistant, desperately hoping to become a female agent (“they don’t even have a word for that!”). In this episode, she finally gets her wish when her boss Marv retires, but she fails to heed his warning that his job cost him both his health and the chance for either a loving relationship or a family. Given Princess Carolyn’s string of failed relationships, will she ever be able to ‘have it all’ herself, or has her job success come at the cost of everything else? Don’t worry, we’ll be exploring this a lot more in the coming seasons.
- Todd’s early experiments in kissing with his first girlfriend may seem minor here, but take note, as this is the start of an important storyline for the character. We’ll discuss it in depth later in the season.
- Diane is seen here workin part-time shift jobs to make ends meet while she tries to get her writing career off the ground. She spends a lot of time with her then-boyfriend Wayne and best friend Roxy, but a chance encounter with Mr Peanutbutter might just change the course of her life. Wayne and Roxy’s studied negativity towards anything and everything further reinforces why Diane chose to be with Mr Peanutbutter – as we already knew, she was drawn to his cheerful and optimistic outlook.
- Mr Peanutbutter’s wife is revealed to have been Jessica Biel.
- TV shows in the BoJack world include Krill and Grace, Koalafornication, Dirty Sexy Monkey and The Pig Bang Theory.
- Mr Peanutbutter talks about doing a seahorse milk ad – we will see this ad in a couple of episodes’ time.
- The show’s ending lyrics are changed to refer to The BoJack Horseman Show instead of Horsin’ Around.
- The cut-to-black ending of The Sopranos is revealed to have been Todd’s fault, as he broke off the final frames of the only copy of the film reel while escaping from Emily’s house.
- Cuddlywhiskers’ house features a hamster run, wheel and drinking container.
Summary – The BoJack Horseman Show: “What if in the very first scene, we show my character literally taking a massive dump on a VHS copy of Horsin’ Around?”