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Introduction

"Brand New Couch" is the first episode of Season 2 of Netflix original series BoJack Horseman. Brand New Couch, along with the rest of Season 2, premiered July 17, 2015

Synopsis

BoJack believes an upbeat attitude will change his life, but that attitude doesn't mesh well with his new acting job.

Plot Summary

The episode begins with a flashback to 1973. A nine-year- old BoJack is listening to Secretariat’s interview with Dick Caveat, the same interview we saw in the previous episode. Secretariat is about to answer BoJack’s question “What do you do when you get sad?”.

Unfortunately, BoJack’s parents start having a loud argument in the next room and smashing plates while they do so, preventing BoJack from hearing the TV. The fight ends after Butterscotch storms out of the house.

A jaded Beatrice enters the living room, and she tells BoJack to not sit so close to the TV, because it’ll make him cruel, as she sits down and lights up a cigarette.

As BoJack sits on the couch, Beatrice goes on to tell him that she was beautiful before she got pregnant, he ruined her, and he better become something great to make up for all the damage he’s done. BoJack timidly responds to these statements with “I know” and “I will”. After glaring at her son, Beatrice says "enough of me being a great mom", and that she's going to hide Butterscotch's heart medication. As she leaves she tells BoJack to enjoy his dumb little TV show, leaving him alone.

In the present, BoJack is up at sunrise, listening to an inspirational audiobook on his phone. The speaker tells him he must tell himself everyday “I can change and I will change”, which BoJack repeats. While he continues to listen to the audio book, BoJack puts on workout gear and heads downstairs as he prepares to start jogging. Downstairs, delivery men replace BoJack’s couch and damaged ottoman with a new one. He gets a call on his cell phone, but after seeing who it is, he groans and declines it.

Todd comes through the front door covered in dirt, and questions why he woke up in an ally. BoJack explains he had to get rid of the old couch because it was a metaphor for his old attitude and he misheard his audiobook tell him he had to get rid of the burdens of his life “so far” with “sofa.” Todd is unsure if he likes the new couch and says he’ll just sleep in BoJack’s car.

BoJack goes for his jog, but he barely makes it up a hill in front of his house before he gets exhausted.

At Vigor, Princess Carolyn is talking with Vincent Adultman on the phone. BoJack interrupts to say hello and to brag about his new positive lifestyle. He discovers Princess Carolyn fired her assistant, Laura, and replaced her with a less competent man named Stuart.

BoJack’s first day of filming Secretariat is tomorrow, and Princess Carolyn tells him he better not screw it up. BoJack assures he won’t because of his “brand new attitude”. When he continues to annoy her, Princess Carolyn tells him he should leave because she’s gonna pretend to get a phone call.

At Mr. Peanutbutter and Diane’s House, Mr. Peanutbutter asks Diane from upstairs where his bandana is. She says she doesn’t know and says she has to leave for work with BoJack. Mr. Peanutbutter complains he can’t see anything, as he is wearing a dog cone due to having a cast on his arm.

BoJack arrives and greets Diane positively. He also does the same to Mr. Peanutbutter, and the two bond over their “life-loving”. BoJack assures him the cone looks great, which M.r Peanutbutter reveals he had to get because last he got drunk and punched his reflection in a mirror because he thought it was another dog, and the cone prevents him from gnawing on the stitches in his arm. The two then make plans to see a band Mr. Peanutbutter likes on the weekend.

On the car ride, BoJack continues to listen to his audiobook with a smile on his face. Todd wakes up in the backseat, to the surprise of Diane, and questions where they’re going.

On the Secretariat set, BoJack is wearing a Secretariat outfit and wig and is introduced to his costar Corduroy Jackson Jackson by Lenny Turteltaub. Diane introduces herself to Kelsey Jannings, who shoos her off and coldly tells her to just make sure no one trips over a cable. She is the opposite to Todd, however, as she thinks his face is adorable and makes someone give him a cookie.

BoJack gets everyone’s attention and says what an honor it is to be here, and how Secretariat was his hero and this was a dream role for him.

The crew is ready to begin filming. Kelsey tells BoJack they are filming the scene where Secretariat has lost his first race, and he just learned his father was sent to the glue factory. He is also afraid he’ll lose his scholarship. It is a dark moment. However, no matter how many takes they do, BoJack can not deliver his line “What are you doing here” in a way that isn’t comical, much to the frustration of Kelsey and the rest of the crew.

During this, Diane gets a call from Sebastian St. Clair, saying he is upset she declined coming to North Cordova. Diane apologizes, saying she couldn’t just drop everything. She says she’ll be there in 3 months after filming has finished.

Shortly after she goes back inside, a woman named Debra trips over the cable Diane was supposed to be watching and burns her face in the coffee cups she was carrying. Everyone starts to freak out, knocking down the lights and set. Kelsey announces they’ll need a few days to repair the set, and says it’s a good time to regroup and really figure out what they’re doing, and why they’re here.

Another flashback is shown. It is 1988, and BoJack invited his mother to a taping of Horsin' Around However, throughout the whole show she just glares at him with a disapproving look. Afterwards, the two go to a restaurant.

Beatrice says the show “wasn’t Ibsen”, and is condescending towards BoJack when he isn’t pleased with her comment. Despite her son’s success, she continues to criticize and act condescending towards him, calling him a clown. She also states that LA is full of AIDS, and rants about how she was offended by a man in the theater wearing a t-shirt saying "Just do it".

BoJack responds to these criticisms with sarcasm and by repeatedly requesting alcohol from the waiters. Beatrice angrily tells BoJack he doesn’t know how lucky he is to have her, and that she hopes he dies before she does so he’ll never have to know what it’s like to lose a mother. BoJack shouts at her that as long as one of them dies that’s good enough for him, and then shouts "Can we please get some alcohol into my mouth!?".

BoJack continues to listen to his audiobook on the way home. It tells him he must put his past behind him. Meanwhile, we see Todd in the backseat brushing his teeth and spitting it out the window, and they taking off his beanie to reveal a nightcap and laying down to sleep with a blanket and pillow.

Diane turns it off and asks him if he wants to talk. BoJack, a little frustrated, insists he’s fine. He gets another phone call, apparently from the same person who tried to call him before, and he declines them again. Diane says he seems like he’s on edge, to which BoJack aggressively denies.

Princess Carolyn calls him to tell him she heard he’s blowing it, and says he has to turn the ship around. She puts him on hold as she gets another call. It’s Rutabaga Rabinowitz, another agent who works on the floor below her. Princess Carolyn reveals she is close to getting one of her clients a role in a movie about Jackie Kennedy. He compliments her on how great she is at her job and says she’s his favorite person who works there.

BoJack asks Diane for advice. She asks what he did on his sitcom for nine years. BoJack flashes back to 1988, the same day as the previous incident we saw with his mother.

He goes to Herb’s office and asks him if he’s a clown. Herb says he shouldn’t have invited his mother because she’s a bitch. BoJack then asks if he’s a good actor. Herb says he doesn’t know, but he says he’s good at hitting his mark and saying his lines.

When BoJack asks if he should be doing more for the role as character Herb laughs at this and says it’s a sitcom, no one watches it for the feels. He assures him one day he’ll learn how to act for real, but for now he doesn’t have to worry about anything.

In the present, BoJack suddenly comes to the conclusion that he is not an actor. He always thought there was more to him than what people thought, but maybe there isn’t. Diane disagrees with him (after he yells at her to do so) and asks what he did during his audition. BoJack says he can’t remember because that’s the old him, and he angrily insists he has a brand new attitude.

BoJack then starts to panic, asking what he should do, and considers leaving town. Diane calms him down and says he has two days to make his acting better, suggesting an acting coach or doing more research on Secretariat with Diane’s hard-drive full on information and interviews on him. BoJack reacts positively and says he can accomplish all of that in two days.

Two days later, BoJack has not done anything. Kelsey and Lenny meet BoJack in his trailer. Lenny shows him a machine that will scan his face so that if he dies or does something reckless (which he’s well known for doing), they can make a CGI version of him and finish the movie without him. Lenny assures him not to worry, and that if he can’t do the role they can just fire him and get someone else. While he leaves he says “Either way I’ll be fine”.

Kelsey asks BoJack what he needs. He says he doesn’t know because he really wanted this role but now he’s under a lot of pressure. He asks if it was a mistake to cast him, to which Kelsey assures him he never makes mistakes. BoJack explains he’s trying to have a “brand new attitude”, but he can’t stop thinking about how this movie could be his last shot at happiness. Kelsey coldly says she does not care if he’s happy, he has a job to do. She leaves, but not before calling Todd’s face adorable again.

On set some crew members and Diane are mourning Debra’s face by the cable wires where she tripped and burned herself a few days ago. Lenny asks Diane if she is a writer, which excites her until he reveals he just wants her to write a sign that says “Watch out for cable”.

In his trailer, while Todd sleeps on the couch, BoJack is reversing his line, but to no avail. Mr. Peanutbutter, still wearing his cone and cast, enters and greets him with two mixtapes of a band BoJack agreed to see with him a few days earlier. BoJack angrily kicks him out of his trailer and cancels his plans with him. Mr. Peanutbutter leaves angry at himself for screwing up his chance to bond with BoJack, and he takes off his cone and starts gnawing at his cast.

Todd tells BoJack it’ll be ok, and he has to be strong, His inspirational speech ends up being directed to himself and how he doesn’t like the new couch. Todd teaches himself to accept the new couch, and he leaves to go sleep on it.

At Vigor, Princess Carolyn calls Charley Witherspoon to ask about her new client and the Jackie Kennedy movie. He tells her the director changed his mind and got someone else. Princess Carolyn demands he get the director to change his mind, but this makes him nervous and stressed and he hangs up on her. Rutabaga calls her to reveal that he got his client the role that Princess Carolyn’s client was supposed to get, which angers her. She reluctantly congratulates him.

We see BoJack in his trailer in the dark, once again listening to his audiobook in his Secretariat costume and wig. A crew member tells him he has five minutes till set.

As BoJack continues to listen, he gets another phone call. We see that the person who was trying to call him throughout the episode was his mother. He gives in and questions what she wants.

A now elderly Beatrice, after saying “Look who finally decided to pick up the phone”, reveals she read his book and comments only narcissists like Anne Frank think people want to read books about them.

She says she read the parts about her and the things she’s said to him, and tells BoJack he must think she’s a real monster. BoJack tried to say something, but Beatrice cuts him off, saying she doesn’t want to fight him, and just wants to let him know she knows that he wants to be happy but he won’t be, and she says she “sorry”.

She then goes on to tell BoJack that he was born broken and that nothing he fills his life with will ever make him whole. She tells him “You’re BoJack Horseman. There’s no cure for that”. BoJack appears to be distraught by this, and his mom hangs up after she asks him for an answer to a crossword puzzle, and he gives her the wrong answer.

After she does, BoJack’s inspirational audio book continues, but he stops it, as he seems to reflect on what his mother told him. He is now filming the scene, and he finally says “What are you doing here” with enough sadness in it. Kelsey says they got it, and to move on to the next scene.

Cast

Actor Character
Will Arnett ... BoJack Horseman / Butterscotch Horseman
Amy Sedaris ... Princess Carolyn
Alison Brie ... Diane Nguyen / Vincent Adultman
Paul F. Tompkins ... Mr. Peanutbutter
Aaron Paul ... Todd Chavez
James Adomian ... Stuart
Maria Bamford ... Kelsey Jannings
Jason Beghe ... Jogging Baboon
Kevin Bigley ...
Raphael Bob-Waksberg ... Charley Witherspoon
Brandon T. Jackson ... Corduroy
John Krasinski ... Secretariat
Ben Schwartz ... Rutabaga Rabbitowitz
J.K. Simmons ... Lenny Turtletaub
George Takei ... Audiobook Narrator
Stanley Tucci ... Herb Kazzaz
Keegan-Michael Key ... Sebastian St. Clair
Wendie Malick ... Beatrice Horseman

Intro differences

  • Instead of the grocery store, BoJack now moves through the set of Secretariat.
  • Instead of a stack of books, Bojack's bed is now held up by his Golden Globe, which he won in the previous episode for his autobiography.
  • During the party scene, instead of a Sarah Lynn music video it shows Tom Jumbo-Grumbo on the TV talking to Sebastian St. Clair.
  • The furniture set in the living room (including the couch) has been replaced with a new one, as seen in the episode itself.

Trivia

  • This is the first appearance of Rutabaga Rabitowitz.
  • George Takai is the narrator for BoJack’s inspirational audiobook.
  • This is the first present day appearance of Beatrice Horseman.
  • The blender BoJack uses at the beginning of the episode is a Smoodie blender by PB Livin'. Smoodies were an idea created by Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter in the previous episode.
  • After Beatrice watches a taping of "Horsin' Around", she says "Well it wasn’t Ibsen”. In the first episode BoJack says something similar when defending "Horsin' Around" on his interview with Charlie Rose, saying "It’s not Ibsen, sure.."
    • BoJack says something similar to this again in a flashback to 1999 in "Time's Arrow" when Beatrice again announces her disdain for his show while visiting him to give him a painting.
    • The fact that Beatrice describes Horsin' Around as this when she’s known for being extremely cruel when it comes to insulting and putting people down hints that she secretly liked it, as seen in "Thoughts and Prayers", in which Beatrice, who now has dementia, laughs at "Horsin' Around" and genuinely enjoys watching it.
    • In the same scene, Beatrice tells BoJack she hopes he dies before she dies so he’ll never have to know what it’s like to lose a mother. She may be referencing what happened to her own mother, Honey.
  • Beatrice is listed as "Bea" in BoJack’s phone, and her contact image is a cigarette.