The Great BoJack Horseman Rewatch: The Amelia Earhart Story

Princess Carolyn travels back to her hometown of Eden, North Carolina, to meet a young pregnant woman who is looking to give up her baby for adoption. While there, she can’t help but recall her own teenage years.

Season five is just packed full of excellent episodes, and this one’s a real treat for Princess Carolyn fans. In previous seasons, we learnt some bits and pieces about her past, but this is the first flashback to her childhood and teenage years.

As a girl, Princess Carolyn’s ambition and spirit were fuelled by an inspirational film about Amelia Earhart, not least because it was the only VHS her impoverished family owned. Years later, and all of her siblings have moved out, leaving Princess Carolyn to look after and cover for her alcoholic mother. Much as she longs for the freedom and opportunity provided by attending college at UCLA, Princess Carolyn feels duty-bound not to leave her mother alone.

Instead, Princess Carolyn starts a relationship with the son of the wealthy family her mother cleans for, and accidentally gets pregnant. For a moment, it seems as if her future is assured – she’ll marry into their family and raise her child, but unfortunately, she miscarries.

In season four, we saw two unplanned pregnancies that did result in children – namely BoJack and Hollyhock. Back then, Beatrice resented feeling trapped because of the demands of parenthood – so much so that she insisted that Henrietta give up her baby for adoption. In contrast, Princess Carolyn loses her baby, but as her mother points out, this means she is free to pursue the life she wants in California.

To complete the set of parenting circumstances, in the present we have Princess Carolyn, now desperate to impress young mother Sadie and secure the right to adopt her child. Leaving her clients to sort out their own problems back in LA – certainly a recipe for disaster when those clients are BoJack and Mr Peanutbutter – Princess Carolyn puts on her best sales pitch. Unfortunately, her plan backfires – much as she genuinely wants this opportunity, she just comes across as insincere.

We know that Princess Carolyn has a strong instinct to mother and look after others – one that only gets stronger when she’s struggling with her own issues. This will no doubt be an asset when it comes to looking after a child, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges ahead when she finally does get the chance to be a mother. We know that her hectic lifestyle and devotion to her clients will make the work-life balance a challenge, especially as a single parent. And Princess Carolyn’s style tends to favour looking after others to the exclusion of her own wellbeing. You have to put on your own oxygen mask first, and knowing Princess Carolyn, she might just burn out or exhaust herself trying to do everything for everyone else first.

Other notes

  • In the intro, Diane and Mr Peanutbutter are now on the set of Philbert.
  • Last season, we learnt that Princess Carolyn’s necklace wasn’t the family heirloom she thought it was, but just cheap costume jewellery. In this episode, we see her mother giving her the necklace, and lying about its origins.

Summary – The Amelia Earhart Story: “I wish Strib was a back-door pilot. Maybe then I wouldn’t be pregnant.”

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