The Great BoJack Horseman Rewatch: Planned Obsolescence

When Yolanda takes Todd to meet her family, she warns him that she hasn’t come out as asexual – and so they must pretend to enjoy sex as much as her relatives do. Meanwhile, BoJack tries to help his Philbert co-star realise a long-held dream, and Mr Peanutbutter takes his new girlfriend Pickles to see the destruction of the International Space Station.

Around this time every season, we get that rarest of things – a Todd A-story. And this time, if you’ll forgive the pun, that ‘A’ is for ‘asexual’, as he and Yolanda pay a visit to Yolanda’s extremely hypersexualised family.

Of course, this being a Todd story, ridiculous hijinks abound, culminating this time in the spillage of an entire barrel of priceless antique lubricant. Even if things get a bit silly, however, the show’s heart is in the right place, as it attempts to parody how alienating our extremely sexualised society can feel to people who don’t experience sexual desire. It also turns the usual ‘meet the family’ trope on its head – instead of having to disguise the fact that they are having sex to conservative parents, Yolanda and Todd have to hide their asexuality from her voraciously carnal family.

Happily, Yolanda’s family turn out to be ultimately accepting of her orientation, but the whole experience leads Todd to realise that, beyond being asexual, they don’t have much in common. We already knew that Yolanda felt somewhat frustrated with Todd’s haphazard approach to life, and here she even lies to her family about his past – telling them that he’s a college graduate rather than a high school dropout.

I can see the point the show was trying to make with Todd and Yolanda – that when it’s hard to meet people of your orientation, you might find yourself tempted to settle with whoever you can find. But that being said, despite their frustrations and difficulties, they did seem to have good chemistry. Yolanda’s sensible, no-nonsense outlook acted as a good balance for Todd, and it felt like his perspective on life might have helped to open up her worldview. “Opposites attract” isn’t always a good mantra if it leads you to always be at odds with your partner, but it did seem that if they’d felt like working on it a bit longer, Todd and Yolanda’s differences could have enhanced and complemented each other.

While one relationship comes to an end, another continues to develop – between Mr Peanutbutter and his new girlfriend Pickles. After heeding warnings from Gina about the perils of dating celebrities, Pickles insists that they take it slow, but with limited success. In a rare moment of self-awareness, Mr Peanutbutter admits that he still has feelings for Diane, and that this is obviously a bad time to start a new relationship, but also that he wants to go ahead anyway. Whilst this is obviously typical Mr Peanutbutter behaviour in running full tilt towards the next new thing that takes his fancy, it does highlight that, in life, you can’t always do the sensible thing. Even when other people advise you not to, even when you know it’s not the best or correct thing to do, sometimes you just have to consciously make your own mistakes.

I also have to admit that, even though I don’t much like Mr Peanutbutter or Pickles, I do find their relationship and interactions quite sweet. Their upbeat positivity does contrast well with the depression and anxiety that some of the other characters have to face.

BoJack himself is relegated to the C-story in this episode. Having started a casual relationship with co-star Gina, he discovers her secret love of musical theatre, and her secret dream of one day starring in a musical. After the requisite amount of teasing, BoJack clumsily tries to help out by getting her to perform for Flip and Princess Carolyn. Unfortunately, Gina sings poorly, and the whole thing is a big embarrassment for her. Oh, BoJack.

Other notes

  • Since all animals are anthropomorphised in the BoJack universe, Laika, the first dog in space, is instead the first astronaut in space.
  • BoJack’s hatred of honeydew and his general melon-based rants continue on the set of Philbert. He describes Carnegie-Mellon as one of the only two acceptable “melons”.
  • While trying not to have a date at the French restaurant, Mr Peanutbutter and Pickles end up in a Lady and the Tramp situation where they both slurp on the same piece of spaghetti.
  • A pair of lovebirds are having dinner together at the French restaurant.

Summary – Planned Obsolescence: “Once again, my life has been worsened by a brush with musical theatre.”

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