The Great BoJack Horseman Rewatch: Stop the Presses

Todd and his old girlfriend Emily are using BoJack’s apartment to prepare and launch Cabracadabra – their new ridesharing platform with only women drivers. But for BoJack this just leads to awkwardness, as he recently slept with Emily behind Todd’s back.

Even in an episode that isn’t strictly experimental, BoJack isn’t scared to try out new things. The framing device for this episode is that BoJack is phoning to cancel his LA Gazette subscription, but he ends up talking to “The Closer”, the employee brought in to persuade the most recalcitrant subscribers to keep buying the magazine. The phone call essentially turns into talk therapy, as BoJack explains recent events and discusses his feelings.

The big one, of course, is that BoJack and Emily slept together right after Todd rejected her advances at the end of Love And/or Marriage. It was another of BoJack’s “regrettable life choices”, but at the time, it seemed as if they might get away with it – after all, what were the odds of them ever meeting again?

Of course, in true TV fashion, Emily ends up spending a lot of time at BoJack’s apartment, giving ample opportunity for awkwardness. BoJack’s preferred solution is to never admit what happened, but for Emily that’s just not sustainable. What’s saddest is that when Emily says “I don’t think I’ve been a very good friend to you. Things happened and I don’t think BoJack’s been a very good friend to you either”, Todd is not upset, just resigned and unsurprised. BoJack being an arse is hardly out of character.

The Closer tries to dig down into just why BoJack slept with Emily, swiftly cutting to the heart of BoJack’s tendency to sabotage all of his relationships. She suggests “When you do bad things, you have something you can point to when people eventually leave you. It’s not you, you tell yourself, it’s that bad thing you did”. While this suggests a somewhat arbitrary line between a person and their actions (can you really claim to be a good person deep down if everything you do is terrible?), it is in keeping with what we’ve discussed on this blog before. To someone like BoJack, it feels like all relationships must inevitably come to an end. Princess Carolyn broke up with BoJack “because of a lot of things!”. Wanda left because she didn’t want to be around his misery and negativity. His own mother told BoJack that he was irrevocably broken and could never be happy. If everyone is going to leave anyway, why live in the uncertainty of wondering exactly when it will happen, of when some little aspect of his personality drives them away? By committing some terrible unforgivable act, he can just definitively get it over with.

We also learn that BoJack is now sleeping with his publicist, Ana. In their professional dealings, and in the frantic snatched moments in BoJack’s car, Ana is wild and sexy, always dominant even when she plays the submissive. But Ana is also reluctant to reveal any personal details, so, BoJack being BoJack, he decides to follow her home. What he sees is so prosaic and normal that it taps into his greatest fear that “when you see someone as they really are, it ruins them”. This is what BoJack has always worried about himself, and spying on Ana seems to confirm that.

That being said, at the end of the episode BoJack properly visits Ana’s apartment, this time ready and unafraid to properly get to know her. Could this mark a turning point for him?

Other notes and revelations

  • Ana’s favourite fruit is honeydew melon. In previous episodes, both BoJack and Princess Carolyn have ranted about how awful it is, while Mr Peanutbutter likes it. The show’s obsession with honeydew is just one of the many delightful little details that I love looking out for.
  • Character Actress Margo Martindale has been hiding out in BoJack’s boat for the last few months. At the end of the episode she steals both the boat and Todd’s giant papier mache Todd head, and heads out to sea. We haven’t seen the last of her.
  • We last saw Character Actress Margo Martindale at a shootout at the Discount Art Museum. A piece of stolen art from the museum can be seen in the clutter on BoJack’s boat.
  • In the BoJack world, the popular delivery company is known as FedOx.

Summary – Stop the Presses: “I think I’m just a dumb asshole – can’t it just be that?”

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