|“||One day this will all be a pleasant memory.||”|
—Joseph Sugarman, Time's Arrow
Joseph was a male buckskin horse with dark yellow fur, a short combed dark brown mane, pale brown spots on his eyes, ears, and muzzle, black eyebrows, and a white diamond-shaped mark between his eyes. He wore a white suit with a light blue shirt, a dark blue bow-tie, and black, blue, and white shoes.
In the 1960s, when he is shown at an older age, there are wrinkles under his eyes and the hairline on his mane has receded. He also appears to have gained a bit of weight.
When he is seen deceased, he has more wrinkles, white stubble on his mouth, and a white mane with a bald spot on top. His corpse wears a black suit with a white shirt and grey and green striped tie.
Despite his cheery demeanor, Joseph had a weak conscience, almost to the point of sociopathy. He invariably prioritized the success of his business over the welfare of his family, and would do anything but provide emotional support for them. Joseph was deeply misogynistic even by 1940s standards; he was averse to the idea of women doing anything that was not conducive to baby-making or home-keeping.
He frequently berated both Beatrice and Honey for falling prey to what he called their "womanly emotions". He said that as a modern American man he was not prepared to deal with a woman’s emotions, and would never learn how to do so.
On one hand, Joseph was upset with Honey for putting Beatrice in danger, "fixed" Honey at her own request, was horrified by Beatrice's scarlet fever to the point of taking her to the doctor, appeared sad when telling Beatrice that Honey was healed after her lobotomy, and tried to comfort Honey when she started crying over Crackerjack's death upon returning to their summer home.
On the other hand, Joseph did not pay attention to Beatrice's symptoms until she collapsed, blamed Honey for not noticing the illness in spite of his own mistake and made no attempt to console Beatrice when she was visibly unhappy at seeing her own possessions burnt. Additionally, Joseph pressured Beatrice to be skinny, openly admitted to not caring about her personal preferences, and wanted to marry her off to Corbin Creamerman mainly for profit. Hence, his motives for trying to keep Beatrice alive and healthy are questionable.
Therefore, it is difficult to tell whether or not Joseph truly cared for his family, particularly the female members.
Upon realizing that Honey could not react to his yelling and shaking, Joseph said that he would not have bothered to "fix" her if he knew she would become unresponsive, which implies that he was unaware of the lobotomy's potential consequences, and chose that option most likely because it was the quickest way to stop her from behaving recklessly. This demonstrates that Joseph was impulsive.
Joseph Sugarman was one of the owners of the Sugarman Sugarcube Factory. They likely lived in Indianapolis, Indiana. He and his family would stay at a lakefront cabin in Harper's Landing, Michigan during the summer. He, his wife Honey, and eldest son Crackerjack first appeared in flashbacks to 1944-1945 in "The Old Sugarman Place". He wonders where Crackerjack is, as they are going to take a family portrait, and he has to go back to Indianapolis for work. Honey says the government is rationing sugar (due to World War II), so he should be able to ration work.
Joseph wishes he could, but no one else but him will make sure the numbers add up and compliment his secretary on her tight sweaters, Honey says they do appreciate the sacrifices he makes for them. After Crackerjack arrives he and his mother begin playing their special song, "I Will Always Think of You", but Joseph has to cut them off because time's arrow neither stays still or reverses, it merely marches forward. Honey then makes a joke about arrows having legs, and Joseph then kisses her (after she says she has half a mind to kiss him with her smart mouth, to which he replies that half she can keep).
After Crackerjack was shot and killed in World War II, Honey fell into a depression. They go to the summer home in the winter with Honey frantically looking for Crackerjack's baby blanket, and Joseph sadly says even that couldn't have stopped the Nazi's bullet. He says that's just war. Honey thinks she's failed him, Joseph tells her if anyone's to blame it's the Jews for peeving off Hitler so bad.
Months later they return to their summer home for their yearly tradition. Joseph tries to cheer her up by mentioning her time's arrow joke, but Honey begins crying after she plays a few notes on the piano. Joseph then says he'd love to stay, but he must be going, as a modern American man he's woefully unprepared to manage a woman's emotions. He was never taught, and he will not learn. He then runs out the door and drives off.
On the night of the end of the war, Honey and Beatrice go to a celebration at a local barn, where she ends up having a meltdown after hearing and singing I Will Always Think Of You, she gets drunk, kisses one of Crackerjack's War friends, and acts hysterically. She has young Beatrice drive the car, and they end up crashing into a gas station shed and getting hurt.
Back at the cabin, Joseph was furious Honey acted that way and put Beatrice in danger, and says how is he supposed to sell sugar and compliment his secretary when she's having fits of hysteria. Honey says she doesn't know how to feel better and she tearfully begs her husband to fix her. Shortly afterwards, Joseph is seen going to the back porch where Beatrice is. She asks if her mother is healed, to which Joseph, who looked a bit sad when he came out, says she is, and that she just let her womanly emotions get the better of her. He says that a broken heart can never be "fixed", but that there is a lot of scientific information that can help "fix" the brain. To Beatrice's horror, Honey was lobotomized, and she is now a dazed and empty shell of her former self.
Joseph appears again in Time's Arrow. The episode revolves around a now elderly dementia stricken Beatrice remembering her life (with some scenes and details affected by her dementia) It is revealed Beatrice was bullied by Clemelia Bloodsworth as a child, and we see one incident where she and her two friends call her fat (Beatrice says her father says she is just growing) and then push her off of a tall slide. The next morning Beatrice puts down the book she is reading and tells her father she does not feel good and that her throats hurts (during the slide scene we also see her coughing).
Joseph believes she is just making it up to avoid Clemelia and tells her she must go to school, and to stop asking books her friends, because books build the brain which takes away resources from a woman's breasts and hips. As Beatrice starts to get ready she faints and Joseph catches her and realizes she feels hot. He pulls down a bit of her nightgown to find a red rash on her chest, to which he replies "Dear Lord!", and he quickly picks her up and rushes her to the doctor.
Later Beatrice wakes up to see a silhouette of her father yelling at a silhouette of her mother in another room. Joseph yells at Honey that it is a mother's job to keep her children alive and she is constantly failing, and he questions how she didn't notice Beatrice had scarlet fever. However, due to her lobotomy, Honey appears to have gone catatonic as she does not respond at all, even when Joseph shakes her.
Joseph then says if he known she would act like this after they severed the connections to her prefrontal cortex, he wouldn't have bothered. Joseph then goes to check on Beatrice after she calls him. She asks if she's going to die, to which her father replies that one day she will, but for now she is fine. He even says since her throats is swollen shut, she could lose some weight (comments like this lead her to take weight loss pills to stay skinny and pretty when she is an adult).
Towards the end of the episode, Beatrice wakes up and cannot find her "baby" (her horse doll, her prized possession). She finds it, but to her horror the maids and servants are burning her belongings in her fireplace. Beatrice begins crying and begging them to stop. Joseph then comes up to her and says "Beatrice remember what we say about crying...crying is stupid!".
Joseph then tells her that her sickness has affected everything and it all must be destroyed for her own good, especially her baby. He then picks up her doll and throws it into the fireplace. Beatrice screams and cries for her baby. There is a cut to the year 2000, and then back to this, although there is now fire everywhere, due to Beatrice's dementia affected memory. Joseph tells her she must be strong and not let her womanly emotions consume her, or she'll end up like her mother. A shadow of Honey with her scar highlighted appears behind him as his ears somewhat resemble devil horns. He then tells Beatrice that one day this will all be a pleasant memory.
When Beatrice is a young adult, he throws her a debutante ball in June of 1963. He also pressures her to be in a relationship with her chaperone, Corbin Creamerman, an awkward, dull goat whose father, Mort Creamerman, is the owner of Creamerman's Creamy Cream-Based Commodities. Joseph hopes to create an alliance with him and expand both their products into ice cream which is something Beatrice was never allowed to have.
Beatrice now rolls her eyes and scoffs at her father's outdated views on women, even for the time period, and openly expresses this to him. He expresses frustration and disappointment in her attitude, and the fact he sent her to Barnard College to find a husband but she returned with a bachelors degree and a mouth full of sass, and that she worries about social issues like poverty and the civil rights movement.
This pressure, combined with Beatrice's resentment toward her father after years of his emotional abuse, and the fact her date Corbin was boring to her, ultimately caused her to run away with Butterscotch Horseman, a rebellious young horse who was an aspiring author and who admired the beatniks. Beatrice leaves her own party to have sex with Butterscotch.
Two weeks later, her father comes into her room and tells her Corbin Creamerman is here to take her on a Sunday stroll. Beatrice says she is not interested in him. Joseph angrily admits to not caring where her interests lie, and that after her ditching her own party she is lucky he doesn't put jellied beans in a jar and marry her off to the man who can provide the most accurate estimate of the number. He tells her Corbin is waiting and that she should be civil to him.
Beatrice agrees, and she does actually find a connection with him, but she ruins the date by throwing up on him, due to morning sickness. She is pregnant with BoJack and finds Butterscotch to tell him. Butterscotch tells her to get an abortion, she can not due to the trauma from childhood of her baby doll being burned, and the two agree to move to San Francisco where Butterscotch can finish his novel. Butterscotch finds work at a fish cannery, but in the year 1970 he agrees to work for Joseph's company to make more money.
Joseph passed away in 1999, leaving Beatrice a painting which she later passed down to BoJack, but it is unknown exactly how he passed. He most likely died of old age, as he was either in his 90's or 100's when he passed.
- He is very similar in terms of misogynistic personality and voice to Wilbur Nelson of Duckman fame.
- Similar to Butterscotch, it is hinted that he flirted with his secretary.
- He was also apparently anti-Semitic like Butterscotch, since he blamed World War II on the Jews for peeving off Hitler so badly.