The Great BoJack Horseman Rewatch: Nice While It Lasted

After being found in the swimming pool of his former apartment, BoJack was rescued – and sentenced to eighteen months in jail for breaking and entering. A year into his incarceration, BoJack is allowed out on day release for a very important event – Princess Carolyn’s wedding.

The BoJack season finale formula has always followed a predictable pattern – all of the drama and wrapping up of threads occurs in the penultimate episode, with the finale itself being a more subdued affair. The same true of this, the show’s very last episode, the only difference being that there aren’t any new story threads introduced to prepare for the next season. Many shows either don’t get a chance to tie everything up before their cancellation, or leave a few things open just in case they get picked up by a different media service, but not here. Yes, there could be more stories told in the BoJack universe someday, but as it stands, this feels like very much like a closing chapter.

As is only right and fitting, this episode focuses purely on the five main characters – yes, there are plenty of visual gags and recurring background characters throughout, but it’s only BoJack, Todd, Diane, Mr Peanutbutter and Princess Carolyn who get any dialogue. We’ll cover them all one by one.

BoJack: should he have died?

A few years ago, I wrote a blog about that class of badly behaved TV protagonists who never redeem themselves. BoJack himself was covered in that blog, with the caveat that, unlike the other characters mentioned, his story hadn’t finished. At the time, we couldn’t yet know what would happen. Would he die at the end of the show? Would it be left ambiguous, perhaps with a Sopranos-style fade to black?

The first time I watched BoJack season six, my initial reaction was to wish that the show had ended on The View from Halfway Down, with BoJack face down in the pool. We, the viewers, could decide for ourselves whether he ultimately got out, or if he drowned – the ultimate punishment for years of behaving badly and hurting people.

However, on second – and indeed third – thought, I actually prefer the show’s true ending. It’s not just that I quite like BoJack and don’t want him to die, but that it speaks to a more mundane truth, Yes, a fair few people do go out in some insane blaze of glory – the kind of wild bender that took the life of Sarah Lynn in season three. But for BoJack, this would just be yet another escape from the consequences of his actions. Instead, he has to carry on in the aftermath of his former life, always living with his past and the things he did. The life he has now isn’t a bad one – he has an imminent release from prison and some tentative ideas for the future – but things will never be as they were before. BoJack’s friends seem to have largely forgiven him for his past actions, but not to the extent that they want to be a part of his life in the way they were before. When BoJack speaks of possibly needing an agent, Princess Carolyn tells him she can recommend some good names, instead of offering to take him on as a client as before. And when BoJack jokes to Diane that this might be the last time they talk to each other, she looks away and says nothing.

Princess Carolyn: Happily Ever After?

After years of frustration in both her romantic and professional lives, Princess Carolyn finally has everything she ever wanted – a successful management business, an adorable daughter, and even a loving husband. Interestingly, on each viewing of this episode, I got something very different out of Princess Carolyn’s story.

I can’t help feeling the whole relationship with Judah was shoehorned in a bit to tie up Princess Carolyn’s story neatly, but there’s still a lot we can draw from this. First time around, it felt like a nod towards how relationships play out in the real world. Media teaches us to romanticise the idea of a perfect relationship with “The One”, but in actual fact real life is very different to this. Princess Carolyn’s relationship with Judah isn’t some epic relationship, but it’s good enough – instead of always striving to find her ideal man, Princess Carolyn has found a man that makes her happy, and really, that’s sufficient. If it makes her happy right now, then who cares if it isn’t the world’s greatest love story? And if their relationship doesn’t last forever, that’s fine too – they’ll still have had some happy years together.

Second time around, I felt as if I took something very different from Princess Carolyn’s words. She speaks to BoJack of her fears about entering this relationship – for someone as independent as Princess Carolyn, the idea of willingly starting to rely on another person can seem quite scary. Will she lose some part of herself by surrendering some of her self-reliance?

This is of course a very real concern for any relationship. Being too dependent on the other person can easily become unhealthy, but keeping a deliberate distance will get in the way of developing a deep emotional bond. It’s something to keep in mind when embarking on a close, personal relationship, and Princess Carolyn articulates her concerns well here.

Diane and her boyfriend at the time

Diane has always been the everywoman of depression – never as over-the-top and badly behaved as BoJack, her struggles instead seemed more realistic and relatable. For years we saw her try to make things work with Mr Peanutbutter, in the hopes that his sunny, upbeat personality would balance out her low moods and tendency to overthink. Ultimately, it didn’t work, but in this episode we find out that Diane is perfectly happy in Houston with her second husband – Guy.

As I said in earlier blogs, Guy isn’t the most interesting of characters, but over the course of this season he proved himself to be good for Diane. A lot has changed in her life, but she’s now in a much better place. She’s no longer the person she was when she lived in LA, but even though she feels a slight touch of nostalgia for her old life, it’s easily outweighed by her current happiness.

Even though both Diane and Princess Carolyn ended up with “happily married” outcomes, they both came to it through very different journeys, and as very different personalities. It is of course nice to see Diane happy, but I also liked the touch of her both acknowledging and feeling nostalgic for who she was, alongside a general contentment with who she is.

If you’ve ever returned to somewhere you used to live, you’re probably well aware of feeling echoes of the person you were at the time you lived there. Even if you’re perfectly happy with your current life, you might – for just a moment – even feel nostalgic for the old days.

Todd

There’s not really much to say about Todd in this episode. He has a brief exchange with BoJack in which he expresses an optimistic attitude, and also explains that he’s beginning to mend his relationship with his mother.

As the comic relief character, Todd has always been the least relatable, but it seems that even he has grown up a little over the course of the series. He has his relationship with Maude, and he’s beginning to reconcile with his estranged family. Of course, that’s a very “final season” thing to happen, and I wasn’t really keen on the storyline as it played out, but it feels like a good place to leave the character.

Last time we saw Todd, he didn’t really want BoJack in his life – and given all of BoJack’s bad behaviour, that’s hardly surprising. Now, Todd seems more kindly disposed towards BoJack. Is it that Todd has forgiven BoJack, or is that he now has enough other things in his life that BoJack is no longer worth being angry with?

Mr Peanutbutter

Ever since BoJack stole the Hollywood ‘D’ in season one, our heroes have adapted to life in “Hollywoo”. In this episode, Mr Peanutbutter attempts to buy a replacement ‘D’, but due to a miscommunication, he ends up with a ‘B’ instead – ushering in the new era of “Hollywoob”.

On a personal note, Mr Peanutbutter is still single, and as I mentioned a couple of blogs ago, this seems to have helped him mature as a person. I’m sure we all know at least one person who has spent their entire adult (and perhaps teenage) lives jumping from relationship to relationship, and as a consequence has never truly developed the maturity and self-awareness to develop as an independent person.

Other notes

Even though the five main characters are the only ones with any dialogue in this episode, there are plenty of nods to some of the other personalities who have graced our screens over the course of the show’s run.

  • Mr Peanutbutter mentions that he might get distracted by his good friend Erica, something that frequently happened in past years.
  • Mr Peanutbutter orders the Hollywoob “B” from the same company that has been messing up his personalised signs and banners for years.
  • A newspaper headline reveals that Wanda has woken up from her second coma.
  • Numerous background and guest characters can be seen at BoJack’s trial and Princess Carolyn’s party.

Final Thoughts – Nice While it Lasted: “Sometimes life’s a bitch, and then you keep living.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.