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Introduction
You know, sometimes I think I was born with a leak, and any goodness I started with just slowly spilled out of me and now it's all gone. And I'll never get it back in me. It's too late. Life is a series of closing doors, isn't it?

—BoJack Horseman, Horse Majeure


BoJack F. Horseman is the titular main character of BoJack Horseman. The show primarily follows BoJack and his life after his successful '90s sitcom, Horsin' Around

Design

BoJack is an adult male horse weighing over 1200 pounds as revealed in the pilot episode. He is around 6'7" feet tall and he has a fat belly. He has brown fur and a black mane, with a white streak on his snout that begins at his upper lip and ends underneath his eyes, with a white diamond shaped mark on his forehead.

He also has a pink spot on his nose and pointy ears near his mane. Despite being a horse, BoJack, like other animals in the BoJack Horseman series, is designed with human feet and hands.

BoJack is typically seen wearing an unbuttoned gray jacket with a blue sweater underneath, cyan jeans and red and white sneakers.

During his 20s-30s, he was much slimmer and he had a thicker mane. On Horsin' Around, he wore an orange sweater with pink apples along the middle and a pink collar and cuffs, along with light blue jeans and red sneakers.

In the 80s, he wore a grey collared shirt with a white plaid design with a white tie, a light blue jacket, light blue jeans with a white belt, and red sneakers.

As a child, he wore a blue and white sailors suit and had small visible eyelashes.

As a teenager, he had a similar hairstyle as his young adult self, and he had pimples.

Background

Horseman Family portrait

The Horseman Family: Butterscotch and Beatrice Horseman with their son BoJack.

Born on January 2nd, 1964 BoJack Horseman grew up in a dysfunctional family. His mother, Beatrice Horseman, was the heiress of the Sugarman Sugarcube fortune, while his father Butterscotch Horseman was a failed novelist from a working class background, whom resented his wife's financial independence.

His father was an alcoholic and regularly verbally abused, and sometimes even physically abused, BoJack while he was young.

His mother, Beatrice, resented BoJack for everything he had done to her including being born, saying that she was beautiful before she got pregnant.

Her smoking habits, forceful will, addiction to cigarettes, and constant bickering with Butterscotch made BoJack's formative years difficult, and eventually shaped how he turned out as a grownup.

To escape from his terrible home life, young BoJack reveled in the fame of Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown winner. BoJack grew fond of Secretariat and wanted to be just like him.

As BoJack became older he turned to comedy for solace after the 1973 suicide of Secretariat. In 1985, while trying hole-in-the wall comedy clubs, BoJack met Herb Kazzaz, and later Charlotte Moore, Herb's girlfriend.

The three became good friends while BoJack and Herb tried to become big stars. Herb finally lands a show called Horsin' Around and confides in BoJack that he is to be the star of the show.

Charlotte eventually moves to Maine and then to New Mexico where she starts her own family of husband Kyle Carson and two children Trip Carson and Penny Carson. BoJack does not see her again for decades. The next time they meet is at Herb Kazzaz's funeral.
Horsin' Around Still 1

BoJack on Horsin' Around

During the show, BoJack slowly becomes more and more depressed, bitter, and cynical, and also let fame go to his head. He turns to smoking and alcohol just like his parents in order to deal with the pressure and loneliness of becoming famous in Hollywood, and his relationship with Herb became strained.

In the early 90s, BoJack's agent Marv tells him that a Secretariat movie is in the works, and he might have the lead role if he can avoid scandals. However, around the same time Herb is caught doing lewd acts in public with another man, he talks to BoJack about how the executives are gunning for him, and asks BoJack to back him up and threaten to quit. BoJack, at first hesitant due to what Marv told him, agrees.

Later, an ABC network executive talks to BoJack about letting Herb go. Although against it at first, BoJack finally agrees to stay while Herb is fired. BoJack doesn't talk to Herb after until Herb is on his deathbed. BoJack continues the show through the rest of nine seasons until its cancellation, and the Secretariat movie ended up going into development hell. The finale features the death of BoJack's character, The Horse, and the doctor telling his adopted orphans that he died of a "broken heart" because they didn't love him enough.

Twenty years later, BoJack has fallen into a cynical depressed life of couch living while watching reruns of his has-been show. While staying alone he hosts a party where he meets Todd Chavez, a young slacker man who never leaves his house and becomes BoJack's only friend. He actually cares for Todd, despite saying otherwise. He didn't want Todd to leave him, for fear of loneliness, and sabotaged his rock opera.

BoJack also begins to date his agent, Princess Carolyn, in an effort to not be alone, although their relationship is an on-again-off-again one. He also must deal with Mr. Peanutbutter, whom also had a TV Show in the 90s called Mr. Peanutbutter's House, which BoJack claims copied Horsin' Around's premise, this assumption turns out to be correct as the working title was Untitled Horsin' Around Knockoff, as revealed in Season 4. Due to this he considers Mr. Peanutbutter a rival, whereas the latter is constantly energetic and cheerful around BoJack, considering him a friend, which just annoys BoJack even more.

Reaching utter despair, BoJack is approached by Pinky Penguin of Penguin Publishing, to write his biography. Believing to be up to the task, BoJack promises to write the book himself. Unable to, they force him to hire a ghost writer, Diane Nguyen, the writer of his hero Secretariat's biography. Already hating her for her supposedly "unpronounceable last name", he doesn't meet her until late into a party hosted by Todd.

Attracted to her immediately, he is disappointed when she reveals that she is dating Mr. Peanutbutter. He grows to like Diane, even having a crush on her at some point, and attempting to stop them from getting married and almost tries to sabotage the wedding.

BoJack attempted to reconnect with his former best friend Herb Kazzaz, who had been diagnosed with terminal rectal cancer, and traveled to see him, with Diane and Todd traveling with him. Herb never forgives BoJack, demanding he leave the house, things get physical, and they fight over a telescope Herb gave to BoJack as a gift breaking it, the broken telescope being a further metaphor for their broken friendship which they never manage to amend.

He continued to work with Diane, and eventually they published the book, after being upset that Diane honestly portrayed him as a person that was flawed, yet relatable and also went behind his back and leaked early chapters of the book on Buzzfeed.

BoJack didn't like this and fired Diane, but after a long drug trip, which included a dream where he went with Charlotte to Maine, had a daughter with her and lived a long happy life together, he agreed to publish the book. The book won a Golden Globe, for Best Comedy And/Or Musical despite not being either, not even being a film. He decided to do more with his career, he got the life long dream part of Secretariat, his childhood hero.

In Season 2, he attempts to better himself, acting more like Mr Peanutbutter, however this prevents him from being a good actor. After remembering Herb and talking with his mother, he realized he couldn't be something he wasn't and wasn't an actual actor.

He meets Wanda Pierce, an owl woman who had just woken up from a 30 year coma and therefore had no idea who he was, and finds himself to be not only attracted to her, but actually caring for her and wanting to spend time with her, rather than mainly sex. They begin dating.

He reconnected with his Horsin' Around crew during Herb's funeral. He also reunited with Charlotte, who revealed that she only lived in Maine for a month in the 80s, and that she currently lived in Tesque, New Mexico. She gives BoJack her business card and tells him he can visit her if he's ever in New Mexico. He continued to try and make himself a better person. He continued his relationship with Wanda, and showed his care for her, even saying " I Love You" to her however, the idea of being actually in love scares him and he almost detracts this statement as soon as he says it.

He was also motivated by Kelsey Jannings, the director of Secretariat. He convinced her to go out and shoot the Richard Nixon scene of the film that was cut, for being too dark and gritty, they both didn't like the direction the film was heading in, and shot the scene behind the producer, Lenny Turteltaub's back. Kelsey got fired for this, and was replaced with another director, Abe D'Catfish.

BoJack was upset and over stressed with this, and the director was upset that BoJack had insulted the film, thus he continued to pack BoJack with repeated re-shoots of the same scenes.

He was so stressed, he got into a fight with Wanda, and they broke up, with Wanda saying she couldn't be with someone as negative as him.

He left California, and traveled to New Mexico, to see Charlotte. He finds out that Charlotte is married to a man named Kyle and has two children with him: a 17 year old deer girl named Penny and a 13 year old human boy named Trip. The business went crazy without him, and Princess Carolyn kept giving excuses to cover him up. He lied to Charlotte, and her family, telling them he was there for a boat show. He really went to see Charlotte.

He got along great with her family, especially her daughter Penny. He made himself at home, and even took Penny and her friends to prom when her crush failed to ask her out. He encouraged them to drink, and when one of her friends, Maddy, passed out, Penny and him took off and returned home leaving Maddy with Penny's other close friend Pete Repeat.

Penny wanted to have sex with BoJack, to which he initially refused. He talked with Charlotte, reminiscing about the fun times they had in the 80's with Herb, and BoJack confesses he cannot run away from his problems, and especially himself, it's a tender moment that causes BoJack to kiss Charlotte and asks her to run away with him, confessing he loved her all this time, and wanting her to leave her husband and life for him.

Charlotte refuses and gets angry, saying she has worked hard for this life for her and her family, and BoJack depresses her. She tells him he can stay for one more night, but must leave the next morning.

BoJack returns to his boat that he purchased to keep the lie going, He finds Penny there, still wanting sex, he tells her to go to bed and goes inside the cabin, but leaves the door opened. Charlotte, seeing a balloon with a glow stick, that leads to the boat, ends up seeing BoJack and Penny allegedly about to have sex. She orders Penny angrily to go to her room, and then tells BoJack that if she ever tried to contact her or her family again, she would "fucking kill him", which is the second relationship BoJack has permanently destroyed, the first being with Herb Kazzaz.

He took the boat back to Hollywoo with him. He finds the film has been finished without him, as he was replaced with a computer generated version of himself. His performance and the film are widely praised and he is offered for more and more roles, and hiring a new publicist, Ana Spanakopita, who promises him success with winning an Oscar, as that is what she is well-known for.

He jogs once again up a hill for exercise, and Jogging Baboon tells him it gets easier but he needs to follow a routine of doing it everyday which is the difficult part.

Bojackautograph

Personality

A curmudgeon described by his ex-girlfriend as a "self-pitying masochist," BoJack Horseman is bitter, depressed, self-loathing, narcissistic, and sometimes self-destructive.

BoJack is often bad tempered and irritable, with little patience for a lot of people around him (notably Mr. Peanutbutter or Todd), who although give BoJack plenty of attention, are constantly insulted and looked down upon by BoJack's very bitter nature.

Although being annoyed by his surroundings, BoJack ironically has a nasty habit of driving some of his closest friends like Princess Carolyn to distraction. Most commonly through his numerous schemes to get his own way, which usually end up in a disaster. Despite these struggles and insecurities that he has, BoJack really does care about others. He does care about his friends, can even be insightful, doesn't really want to hurt anybody and has proven to be more tender-hearted than he seems to be.

BoJack is plagued by his utter self-loathing and struggle to accept himself, this depressed side to his nature often comes out when he is with Diane. However, his sentimental moods have been more common recently, even with people like Mr. Peanutbutter, most notably in season 2. In addition, BoJack finds himself haunted by his past, on a regular basis, flashbacks are often seen of BoJack remembering his corrupted relationships - especially his mother and ex-best friend. While he can seem hostile on the outside, BoJack does have a caring, and melancholic side to him, but rarely shows this side of himself to others, partly because of his insecurities to show any weakness others. Fearing that others will catch on that he dislikes himself, he feigns narcissistic behavior like having sex as he sees footage of himself and masturbating to his own image, or at least he says he does.

BoJack image

As a foal, he was inquisitive and keen to earn his father's trust, making him a card which his father referred to as "shoddy craftsmanship".  

As a younger horse, he was polite, cheerful, charming but also a lightweight, who consciously avoided all alcohol, in stark contrast to his current boozhound self. His attitude only soured in his forties.

Added to this, he is not very mannerly - on a date with Princess Carolyn in the first episode he preoccupies himself with eating the bread (nine baskets) and later on he belches while drinking beer and watching old episodes of his show.

In the third season, he belches again after raiding Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter's fridge. These episodes of gluttony can be seen as yet more failed attempts to handle his inner turmoil resulting in his appearing inconsiderate and repulsive to others.

In contrast to his perceived ineptitude at being responsible (in one context, for his own breakfast), BoJack has repeatedly demonstrated a masterful command over philosophy, political science, and history. Also, judging by the way his current home is decorated he also has good taste in horse-themed fine art.

This is ironic, considering that one of the main commentaries of the series is that Hollywood (or Hollywoo as it is known in the show) is a town of shallow, nihilistic people who would be completely incapable in any other industry or lifestyle. For example, in the episode, Let's Find Out, Bojack receives the question "To what extent was Feudalism a cause of the French Revolution?"

Even though he is distracted by Princess Carolyn to properly answer the question, what he actually wrote was quite competent. "A continent ravaged by war, coupled with the retreat of the church from secular life..." BoJack is also very principled about his perspectives, too; on one occasion, he sets off a media flame war to defend his critique of the public's automatic treatment of veterans as heroic without regard for their individual characters.

On another, when Ana Spanakopita explains to BoJack that the French are still annoyed with him for what he "said about them in the press," he states he stands by his criticism of revered French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. Elaborating, he states, "His philosophical arguments helped many tyrannical regimes justify overt cruelty," a reference to Sartre's idea that "humans are condemned to be free," and his stated admiration for Stalinists and Maoists.

As the series progresses, BoJack clings onto the people who even remotely comfort him and goes out of his way to keep them around so he isn't completely alone. Ultimately, most characters avoid or even completely cut ties with him for his toxic domineer.

This seems to change slightly when he meets his half-sister Hollyhock Manheim-Mannheim-Guerrero-Robinson-Zilberschlag-Hsung-Fonzerelli-McQuack. He is very protective of her and she shows concern for him. The two agree to try to form a loving sibling relationship at the end of Season 4.

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
2016 Secretariat Secretariat Digitally added

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1987-1996 Horsin' Around The Horse
2007 The BoJack Horseman Show Himself
2015 Hollywoo Stars and Celebrities: What Do They Know? Do They Know Things?? Let's Find Out! Himself Contestant
2016 Ethan Around The Horse Unknown Results
2017 Felicity Huffman's Booty Academy: Los Angeles Judge Guest Judge

Memorable Quotes

  • "What are You doing here?"
  • "Y'know, sometimes I feel like I was born with a leak, and any goodness I started with just slowly spilled out of me, and now it's all gone and I'll never get it back in me. It's too late."
  • "Life is a series of closing doors, isn't it?"
  • "Nothing on the outside, nothing on the inside."
  • "What's great about Los Angeles is nobody cares where you're from or who you are. It's a superficial town where you can worry about stupid shit like keeping your pool clean, and what artisanal nuts to put on your salad."
  • "Shut up, Todd!"
  • "Clean up your shit, Todd!"
  • "Princess Carolyn, what are we doing?"
  • "Whaaaaaaa haha, get out of here!"
  • "Shiiiiiiiit…"
  • "WASSUP BITCHES?"
  • "CAN WE PLEASE GET SOME ALCOHOL INTO MY MOUTH?!"
  • "I can't do this again"
  • "Do you want to meet my imaginary friend?"
  • (To a young Sarah Lynn) "The thing is, you gotta give the people what they want, even if it KILLS you. Even if it empties you out until there's nothing less to empty"
  • "See, Sarah Lynn, we're not doomed. In the great grand scheme of things, we're just tiny specks that will one day be forgotten.So, it doesn't matter what we did in the past, or how we'll be remembered.The only thing that matters is right now, this moment, this one spectacular moment we are sharing together. Right, Sarah Lynn? ...Sarah Lynn?...Sarah Lynn?"

Trivia

BoJack Horseman model sheet

BoJack Horseman model sheet

  • As of the setting of the series, BoJack weighs some 1,200 lbs (544 kg), and is 6'6''(198 cm) or 19.75 hands tall.
  • Bojack's hair on Horsin' Around is reminiscent of the character Uncle Jesse from Full House.
  • BoJack is very similar to the character Duckman from the early 1990s show of the same name, both are alcoholics, smoke cigarettes, self-loathe and are narcissistic, politically incorrect and sexually deviant.
Baby BoJack model sheet

Young BoJack model sheet

  • Based on its views of Downtown LA's skyline and close proximity to the Hollywood Sign (as demonstrated in Our A-Story is a "D" Story among other episodes), Bojack's house seems to be located just east of Hollywood Reservoir perched above Bronson Canyon. Incidentally the neighborhood is home to Sunset Ranch, which is well-known for horseback riding. It's also quite close to Griffith Observatory, which was of great sentimental significance to Bojack and Herb Kazzaz as well as the location of Sarah Lynn's overdose.
  • The writers have stated that they only have someone say the f word once per season, and it only happens when Bojack has permanently ruined a relationship.
  • Bojack's mane color and pink spot on his nose come from his father, and the diamond shaped mark comes from his mother.
  • One time, at a Christmas party, BoJack sneezed on Marisa Tomei. Embarrassed, he jumped off the balcony and ended up in a full body cast.
  • BoJack still has the sweater he wore on Horsin' Around, but now his stomach hangs out of it, implying he was much slimmer during those years.
  • In "Thoughts and Prayers", it revealed that BoJack played football when he was a teenager.
  • The episode also revealed that in 8th grade he was in choir. He describe his solo a bit "shakey", and his mother pretended not to know him and forces him to get a ride home from the pianist who according to BoJack, "liked to tickle more than the ivories". When BoJack came home safe, his mother said "I guess nobody wanted you."
    • This episode is why he is skeptical of her dementia at first.

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