The Great BoJack Horseman Rewatch: Head in the Clouds

Everyone is excited for the Philbert premiere party, but when BoJack’s opening speech rubs Diane up the wrong way, she decides to confront him about his past misdeeds. Meanwhile, Princess Carolyn has some firefighting to do when it turns out a line from the show might have been plagiarised from a lollipop stick.

At the end of the last episode, we saw BoJack drive into traffic in a desperate attempt to get more pain medication. Flash forward two months, and it clearly worked – he has his arm in a cast and is downing even more drugs than ever. There’s even hints that he’s losing his grip on reality – he remains dressed in his Philbert costume throughout the episode, and calls Flip “Herb” in his speech.

It was Diane’s work that turned Philbert from a shallow and incomprehensible script into something workable, but it turns out that she can’t be proud of her work for long. The writers of BoJack once said that they worked to make BoJack himself a character that was likeable, but not aspirational – and on that front they have done admirably. However, when BoJack sees Philbert – and indeed, perhaps, if he were to watch his own show – the message he takes away is that, since everyone does bad things, no one person is any worse than other. In other words, it’s absolutely fine that BoJack has been a terrible person on many occasions.

Naturally, Diane isn’t pleased to hear BoJack’s interpretation of what she wrote, and it leads to one of the most intense and heartfelt arguments we see in the series. Perhaps thanks in part to his parents, BoJack is a master of twisting the words of others, of making himself the victim even when he’s clearly in the wrong. Despite the various ups and downs of their relationship, BoJack and Diane have always been the two people who understood each other the most, who needed and relied on their connection. That makes it all the more painful when they clash – although in some ways the excellence of the dialogue is also fascinating. It certainly inspires me to want to write the most piercing, hurtful arguments between characters that I can manage.

The episode also boasts some minor plot threads, of variable quality. First up we have Princess Carolyn trying to mediate between a former writing partnership – Abe Ziegler, who writes the setup for lollipop stick jokes, and Ziggy Abler, who writes the punchlines. This storyline is clearly meant to be played for laughs, with comedy sound effects accompanying Abe and Ziggy’s every move, but it didn’t really do much for me. Somewhat more amusing was the return of Henry Fondle, whose pre-programmed sex phrases inadvertently turn out to be just what he needs to become CEO of What Time Is It Right Now.

Other notes

  • Despite what happened in the last episode, BoJack and Gina are still together. Gina even stayed with him in the hospital after his accident.
  • This episode also marks the return of Character Actress Margo Martindale.

Summary – Head in the Clouds: “What this show says is that… is that we’re all terrible, so therefore we’re all okay.”

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