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Introduction

"The Telescope" is the eighth episode of Season 1 of the Netflix original series, BoJack Horseman. It premiered on August 22, 2014, along with the rest of Season 1.

Synopsis

When he learns that his old friend from Horsin' Around is dying, BoJack tries to mend fences.

Plot

On their way to see Herb in Malibu, BoJack tells Diane about his past with Herb and how BoJack admittedly stabbed Herb in the back.

BoJack and Herb were both stand-up comedians trying to make it big in Hollywood during the 1980s.

One night, network executives from ABC catch one of Herb's routines and are impressed. Herb, BoJack, and Herb’s girlfriend Charlotte are invited to a party by the executives.

BoJack, while glad for Herb, is disappointed that his big break has not arrived yet. Charlotte assures him it’ll come, but what she’s actually worried about is how fame will change him. She walks him over to see the tar pits across from the party, saying LA is a pretty town on top of black tar, and by the time you realize you’re sinking, it’s too late.

BoJack doesn’t seem to understand, he asks if this is a science lesson. When she tells him it’s a metaphor, he groans and says that’s even worse. Charlotte then reveals she’s moving to Maine, to BoJack’s shock. When he asks if Herb knows, she says he does, and that she doesn’t think she’s the person he’s looking for. BoJack says he’ll miss her. Charlotte then asks if he would have made a move on her if Herb hadn’t met her first. She says she doesn’t think he would have, because she thinks he’s a coward.

The next day, at the planetarium, Herb reveals to BoJack they bought his Horsin' Around show idea. BoJack is at first saddened he is being left behind, but Herb surprises BoJack by saying he only agreed to the deal if they agreed to let BoJack be the star. BoJack is enthralled by this news. Herb then kisses BoJack, but then quickly takes it back, insisting he’s not gay. The two then celebrate their upcoming fame and wealth.

The episode then cuts to the 90s the height of Horsin' Around and BoJack's career. However, BoJack has let fame get to him, becoming narcissistic and difficult to work with, arguing with the writers, has started smoking and drinking heavily, and as a result his friendship with Herb has become strained.

One day BoJack is called by his agent Marv that his dream role of starring in the Secretariat movie may become a reality if he can avoid scandals in the meanwhile. At the same time, however, Herb is caught doing "lewd acts with another man" in a police sting, effectively outing his sexual orientation to the media.

An outraged public pressures the network, and Herb wants BoJack to back him up when the executives inevitably seek to fire him. BoJack agrees, admitting he wouldn't have his success if it weren't for Herb and that he would threaten to walk off the show. Ultimately, BoJack is talked down by the intimidating head of the executives, Angela Diaz, and continues to do the show while Herb is fired. The Secretariat movie ended up going into development hell.

In the present, BoJack arrives at Herb's house with Diane, and is confronted by Herb, who appears very sickley throwing barbed jokes at an uncomfortable BoJack. Diane eases the tension by getting the two to joke about common topics. Herb also reveals he actually had a good life after getting fired, he started a charity and even met the president.

He also kept in touch with Charlotte. Herb ends up admitting it was actually nice to see BoJack again. All the while, Todd was held at gunpoint in the middle of helping BoJack turn his car around by two girls who claim to rob celebrities. Todd eventually gets the girls to open up about their feelings until they remember their original plan, and pistol-whip Todd unconscious.

As BoJack and Diane are about to leave, BoJack complains about the visit not feeling right. Seeking closure, BoJack returns to Herb's bedroom to apologize for the past. Herb accepts, but does not forgive BoJack.

When BoJack says this will probably be the last time they’ll see each other, Herb angrily says he’s not giving him closure, and he has to live with the shitty thing he did to him for the rest of his life. He recounts how he felt after his career fell apart, and expected everyone except BoJack to abandon him. He tells BoJack to “get the fuck” out of his house. BoJack solemnly sighs with acceptance.

On his way out, BoJack picks up a telescope on his way out that Herb had given him on the exact day Herb told him Horsin' Around was being picked up. This sets off Herb, demanding BoJack leave the telescope, and when he refuses, the two get into a physical altercation before Diane separates them.

Herb then begins to tell BoJack off again, saying while he thinks of himself as the good guy, he’s actually nothing but a selfish coward who takes what he wants and doesn’t give a shit about who he hurts. BoJack says he doesn’t know why he came here. Herb says “Yes, you do”, as his nurse helps him back to his room. Diane and BoJack leave, however they both forget to pick up Todd on the way out, who is unconscious on the lawn.

On the way home, BoJack brushes off Princess Carolyn's phone call from the end of Say Anything, and stops along the highway to collect himself. Diane gets out of the car to console BoJack. He tells her she can put this in the book, and that he doesn’t care what anyone thinks anymore. Diane tells him she thinks it took a lot of guts to do what he did. BoJack then kisses Diane unexpectedly. She pushes herself away, and returns to the car wordlessly. BoJack is left staring at the ocean.

Cast

Actor Character
Will Arnett ... BoJack Horseman
Amy Sedaris ... Princess Carolyn
Alison Brie ... Diane Nguyen / Spring Breaker #1 / Kenzie
Paul F. Tompkins ... Concerned Man
Aaron Paul ... Todd Chavez
Rachel Bloom ... Sitcom Writer / Sharona
Chris Cox ... Bubbles / Marv
Anjelica Huston ... Angela Diaz
Keith Olbermann ... Tom Jumbo-Grumbo
Stanley Tucci ... Herb Kazzaz
Olivia Wilde ... Charlotte Moore

Trivia

  • The two girls of the self-proclaimed "Celebrity Stealing Club" is a parody of characters from the 2012 film Spring Breakers.
  • Mr. Peanutbutter does not appear in this episode.
  • There is a running gag where 80s BoJack refuses alcohol, which contrasts with the heavy alcoholic he is now.
  • "Crown on the Ground" by Sleigh Bells plays when the Celebrity Stealing Club first try to carjack Todd.
  • This is the first appearance of Charlotte.
  • It is revealed Princess Carolyn was an intern for Marv, BoJack’s former agent.
  • This is the first of four times so far in the series we have heard someone say f*** or f***ing. In this episode Herb says it in the phrase "Now get the f*** out of my house" after telling BoJack off and refusing to forgive him. The writers have a rule that they can only use the f word once per season, and it's always used when BoJack irrevocably destroys a relationship with someone.

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