Feeling depressed after her divorce, Diane decides she needs to get away from it. She decides to reconnect with her roots in Vietnam, but even in Hanoi it proves impossible to leave everything behind.
At the end of the last episode, we saw Mr Peanutbutter picking up Diane from the airport, before getting her to sign their divorce papers. How did we get to there from the end of season four? This episode fills in some of the gaps.
Presented in a part as a Girl Croosh travelogue about Diane’s trip to Vietnam, The Dog Days Are Over is interspersed with flashbacks to how things have been going since Diane and Mr Peanutbutter first split up. Initially, we see them taking it well, still meeting up for dinner and congratulating themselves for being the most mature and sensible divorced couple ever. Diane also claims to be enjoying singlehood – yes, her new apartment is a run-down dive, but it’s the first time in years that she’s paid for her own accommodation, and it feels good to be independent and self-supporting.
One theme that is explored quite a bit in season five is how much an individual might need to compromise or change themselves when they’re in a relationship. We see it with Todd and Yolanda, in flashbacks with Mr Peanutbutter and his wives, and also much later in the season for Princess Carolyn. In this episode, we get our first taste of it with Diane. Having moved out of Mr Peanutbutter’s house, she finally retrieves all the stuff that she put into storage in her twenties. Since Diane is in her late thirties, this means she had the stuff in storage for around a decade, and yet never felt comfortable enough to properly move it into Mr Peanutbutter’s home. As Mr Peanutbutter himself pointed out at the end of season four, she’s basically been living like a house guest all this time. In contrast, even Todd had all his possessions with him when he was sleeping on BoJack’s couch, and it took him five years to even be allowed a bit of closet space.
We know that all is not well, however – after all, we opened the episode with Diane sobbing in her car. And as the episode unfolds, we start to see the cracks in her cheerful post-divorce mien. When she starts feeling down, she turns to BoJack for company – and as in late season two, they prove to be a bad influence on each other. Even though BoJack now has a ‘system’ for controlling his alcohol consumption, they both get drunk together. Diane even points out that, since they’re now both single, they could make out together, before quickly withdrawing and declaring BoJack disgusting. Diane and BoJack getting together is definitely a line the show shouldn’t cross.
Finally, however, we learn what it was that made Diane so upset – having gone to his housewarming party, she accidentally saw Mr Peanutbutter kissing his new girlfriend. Even though she was the one who couldn’t make the relationship for her, and the one who asked for the divorce, that doesn’t mean her feelings for Mr Peanutbutter have completely dissipated. Seeing him holding and kissing someone else in just the way he used to hold and kiss her is just too much of a shock to the system. Mr Peanutbutter has moved on, and now there’s no going back to the way things used to be. Being single, living in a rundown apartment – this is now Diane’s reality.
- Pickles Aplenty: briefly glimpsed in the intro last episode, this pug waitress makes her first appearance here. Young and cheerful, she becomes Mr Peanutbutter’s new girlfriend.
- There are plenty of recurring characters at Mr Peanutbutter’s party, including Pinky Penguin, accountant Oxnard, and ‘Jelly’, the latter of whom is also working on Philbert.
- Diane has her new haircut in the intro, and Todd is now wearing his suit.
- The ending theme is sung in Vietnamese, covered by a Nguyen.
- The house-warming party mostly takes place in the “Belle-room” Mr Peanutbutter originally had made for Diane. Many of the books are gone from the shelves, but other features – such as the globe with a smiley face scrawled on it – remain.
Summary – The Dog Days Are Over: “Me am also America!”