When Diane finds out that she is unexpectedly pregnant, she decides to get an abortion. However, when she accidentally tweets about it from the Twitter account of teenaged pop star Sextina Aquafina, it causes a publicity storm. Meanwhile, BoJack does the rounds of awards ceremonies, hoping to win against the likes of Bread Poot and Jurj Clooners.
This episode was one of the ones that convinced me that doing an episode-by-episode review of BoJack Horseman was a good thing to do. As you might imagine, with an A-story all about abortion, there’s lots to talk about here.
First off, let’s discuss Diane, who found out at the end of the last episode that she was pregnant. This was very much unplanned – she and Mr Peanutbutter don’t even want kids. In a lot of TV shows, a character in this positon might get as far as going to the abortion clinic, but a montage of cute babies and the need for the show to be wholesome and push the agenda that deep down, all women really secretly do want children, usually means they change their mind at the last minute.
I can’t speak from experience here, but I’m sure deciding whether to have an abortion must be an emotional and difficult time, and some people probably do decide not to. But a lot of other people will indeed go through with it, and it will have both their choice to make and the right thing for them to do. It was definitely refreshing in this episode to see Diane decide right away she wanted an abortion, then to be able to just go ahead and get one. I’m also glad that the writers made Mr Peanutbutter entirely supportive of Diane and her choices – it would have been far too uncomfortable if he’d been pressuring her to have the child.
We also see some friction between Diane and Princess Carolyn here. Princess Carolyn is not only a few years older than Diane, but she desperately wants to start a family – and yet at the moment her prospects for doing so are limited. Naturally, Princess Carolyn feels a bit jealous of Diane and initially unsympathetic with her decision to have an abortion. While this is a realistic and understandable reaction, I was glad that they ultimately resolved their differences and seemed to emerge with a stronger friendship.
“But has the concept of women having choices gone too far? We’ve assembled this diverse panel of white men in bow ties to talk about abortion.”
Between Diane’s real abortion and Sextina’s fake one, the episode magnificently skewers many of the real life aspects of the debate. At the clinic, Diane is forced to listen to the heartbeat and watch hours of puppy videos alone before she can have the procedure, parodying the way ridiculous rules and requirements are used to discourage abortions. The tension between Diane and Sextina also reveals some truths about discussion on any issue that affects minorities.
Diane is worried that Sextina’s over-the-top music video will make it easier for the anti-choice side to criticise their approach and dismiss their arguments. All too often, people experiencing racism, sexism or other prejudice are told they need to speak softly and be nice if they want the more conservative, right-wing element to listen. Any time they get – quite rightfully – angry about having to answer basic questions about the issue, or explain things like “yes, racism happens, even if you, a white person, haven’t personally experienced it” for the hundredth time, they are shut down. Of course, some people are never going to listen no matter how calmly and nicely you explain your position, but as long as they can hold you to an impossibly high standard, they can derail any discussion or stop it in its tracks.
As it turns out, for all that Sextina’s music video is horrific and offensive, it is actually helping some people. For the teen at the clinic, the fact that someone is talking positively about abortion, and even joking about it, makes her feel more supported and less nervous. And, as it turns out, “Get Dat Fetus, Kill Dat Fetus” leads the way for a more sensible and informative abortion video from Sextina – even if the whole thing is staged.
We should also touch on the B-story in this episode, in which BoJack learns the difficulties of the awards circuit and tangles with inveterate prankster Jurj Clooners. It’s mostly light relief from the main story, but we do also get a bit of plot development. Ever the narcissist, BoJack fires Ana when he finds out how many other people she represents, only for her to get rid of all her other clients and pin all her hopes on him. BoJack got what he wanted, but naturally it now comes with the anxiety-inducing pressure of having to live up to Ana’s high expectations.
- MSNBSea employee Randy is once again criticised for getting one of Tom Jumbo-Grumbo’s graphics wrong.
- The suspiciously familiarly named leading men in the year’s best movies are Mitt Dermon, Bread Poot, Lernernerner DiCarpricorn and Jurj Clooners.
Summary – Brrap Brrap Pew Pew: “Everyone loves a baby.”