BoJack Horseman: Nice While it Lasted
February 3, 2020 5:46 AM - Season 6, Episode 16 - Subscribe

A celebration brings people together.
posted by Tevin (35 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I was pretty disappointed with how this ended. It seems like they were really gearing up for some hard questions about getting MeToo'd and how the people close to the accused deal with that, etc. It would've even been a slight cop-out if Bojack got cancelled and then died and we had an episode of his friends mourning him and trying to understand all the harm he did.

It just felt really lightweight I guess, even with Diane's amazing monologue. I almost expect another episode to get uploaded where they reveal this was just a continuation of his previous dream as he was dying and that he actually died, which would be a very self-aware, meta Bojack writing team move.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 6:45 AM on February 3, 2020

LOL, you don't need to indicate spoilers here, Cpt. The Mango. This is the last episode, not much to spoil.

I was satisfied with the ending. IMO they did address how the people close to the accused handle it, for instance, Hollyhock decides to cut Bojack out of her live.

The show didn't cop out like some other shows with a problematic lead, like Mad Men or Breaking Bad. No happy or heroic ending for Bojack.
posted by Pendragon at 7:25 AM on February 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

I really loved the ending and found the last two seasons and particularly these last few episodes to be a meta-commentary on the Problematic Male Lead shows and some attempt to close the book on them. Diane is ready to move on, so are we. The plotline in which she realizes there really is a need for more stories about people like Ivy Tran - new characters, with different flaws and different struggles - seemed a part of that commentary. I loved the scene where her boyfriends son had notes and questions for her about Ivy Tran and felt a real emotional connection to it.
posted by windbox at 7:55 AM on February 3, 2020 [19 favorites]

This was the episode that decentred BoJack! What happens to him is less important than what happens to those harmed by his actions, and this episode lets us know that Todd, PC, and Diane are doing OK now, using the framing device of Bojack talking to them.

This is a story about a 20something man seeking some direction in life, a 30something woman trying to make it as a writer in LA, a 40something woman wondering if her choice to put career before everything was right, and the problematic horseman that connects them.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 8:11 AM on February 3, 2020 [21 favorites]

On first viewing, it was a satisfying if melancholy coda.

On second viewing, the episode started with flatlining EKG superimposed over the final shot.

The shot fades, the EKG flatlines.

Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, y'all.
posted by whuppy at 9:11 AM on February 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

I don't agree with your Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge hypothesis.

Episode 15 ends with a flatline going into a heartbeat.

The flatlining EKG from episode 16 is from the last Horsin' Around episode.

I see ot more as a metaphorical death of Bojack Horseman.
posted by Pendragon at 9:48 AM on February 3, 2020 [4 favorites]

as someone who has done a lot of messed up shit, lost a lot of friends, and is trying as hard as he can to improve himself (aka a human being) this episode absolutely destroyed me. given the road that led us here they could have gone with a much darker ending, but the quiet devastation of frayed connections really spoke to me and is something i think is pretty universal and profoundly, beautifully sad. i think many of us have a diane nguyen who just doesn't need us in their life anymore. sometimes we are the diane nguyen, and the person in our life who hurt us doesn't necessarily die, and it's up to us to move on in life knowing that person is still out there.

i feel like this endgame has been in the cards for years now - the metoo commentary wasn't baked into the DNA of the show, and has been more of a reflection of the culture and how bojack the character fit into a particular moment that's happening around us.

raphael bob-waksberg has definitely implied on twitter they weren't ready to wrap things up this soon, and i do think that they would have benefited from two full 12 episode seasons to tell these stories. certain side plots felt a bit rushed and there were several big time jumps.

weird that one of the most human shows of the modern era was the cartoon about animal people. who knew?
posted by JimBennett at 10:46 AM on February 3, 2020 [12 favorites]

I liked how we didn't get to read Hollyhock's letter so we didn't get closure with her, either.

Over in Ask, we often advise the asker to enforce boundaries. Here we got to experience the being-shut-out side of the transaction.
posted by whuppy at 12:47 PM on February 3, 2020 [11 favorites]

Ah, glad I came back to read these! Always makes me happy when something I didn't love so much resonates with other people.

I guess I'm just used to a bit more narrative bombast and wanted Bojack to really get what he deserved, which I suppose is much more realistically along the lines of what the show portrayed.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 4:37 PM on February 3, 2020

"No, I'm not going to give you closure. You don't get that. You have to live with the shitty thing you did for the rest of your life. You have to know that it's never ever going to be okay."
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 9:09 PM on February 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

The five (living) women "in" BoJack's life--Princess Carolyn, Hollyhock, Diane, Charlotte, and Penny--have all cut him out of their lives (some more severely than others). I think that's an excellent result for the #metoo/#timesup through-line of the show.

Nothing else like it before or since. I'd put the penultimate episode up there with the very best episodes of television I've seen. What an astounding work of art this is.
posted by tzikeh at 12:32 AM on February 4, 2020 [18 favorites]

I didn't really like this, and while there are definitely elements I can isolate as ones I did not like*, it's hard for me to articulate what I didn't like about the whole thing. Mostly, it's underwhelming.

BoJack is not a great person. I get it. But the premise of the show is that he's been trying to improve as a person. The show would have it, I think, that his progress has been meaningless; we are effectively told this, but we have seen something else throughout the run of the show. Here, he just seems to give up, and everyone gives up on him, and I'm left wondering whether the people writing the show weren't just super fucking depressed about getting canceled. I sure understand why they would be. But the show to this point doesn't really validate this ending. Sorry. You can end it this way,'s probably the least interesting possible way.

"The View from Halfway Down" is easily the best episode of the season, and it's (I'm sorry) the only episode that really lives up to the best work the show has done. I don't think it's a coincidence that we're in BoJack's head here. The show has always respected the interior lives of the characters, and shown them to be richer places than we expect. Similarly, the best stuff with Diane this season is her grappling with her childhood and trying to wring gold from her trauma. The show seems to conclude that you can't, or at least that she can't, but the show itself is evidence that this is not true. Diane aims low and hits a target...and, to be honest, I think the show is trying to do the same.

But we expect more from the show, or at least I do. It's capable of more.

*The show is usually more imaginative than what we have here, which is a dreary melodrama sandwiched in comedy jokes that aren't really that funny. The two investigators are insufferable, putting a spotlight on the show's most questionable well of humor (punning) for what feels like at least a solid quarter of the season's whole runtime. Did we really need to spend this much time with these characters, at the expense of...well...everybody we actually give a shit about?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:27 AM on February 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

That said, sometimes you just have to give up on solving a toxic person's mystery and cut them out of your life. As the kids say, sometimes it do be that way. So. I dunno.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:52 AM on February 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

The show would have it, I think, that his progress has been meaningless.

I don't think the show is saying that his progress is meaningless but more that his progress shouldn't depend on external validation. BoJack's (former) friends aren't obligated to stick around to validate his progress.
posted by Pendragon at 8:19 AM on February 4, 2020 [18 favorites]

I loved this ending. Sara Lynn’s death was a fridge too far, and while I enjoyed a lot about each season, I didn’t like the fact that more seasons meant No Real Consequences: just the same abusive cycle Diane talked about.

I loved our reporters. They forced us to confront the fact that BoJack’s work has mostly been about fixing his own life, and not on noticing any of collateral damage caused by having so much damn power while such a shell of a human. His list of mistakes were so narrow minded and did such a great job demonstrating the fact that he never had a genuine empathetic relationship with his friends to see what he had done to them. And they finally processed and grieved and let him go.

I love that he lost so much, but that he’s still very much in a survivable place. And that he still has agency on whether or not he wants to keep the progress he was able to find in jail. He doesn’t get closure because it’s a lifetime of work without laurels.
posted by politikitty at 4:05 PM on February 4, 2020 [12 favorites]

It's been very strange watching the last season of The Good Place alongside the last season of Bojack Horseman. I'm not sure I can articulate why, but they are inextricably linked together for me, thematically.
posted by tzikeh at 5:37 PM on February 4, 2020 [18 favorites]

I feel the same way, tzikeh.
posted by Superplin at 5:50 PM on February 4, 2020 [4 favorites]

I was thinking about that too. How much they're about punishment, consequences, how your own damage is a reason but not an excuse for the damage you inflict on others, and whether it's possible or meaningful to become a better person. If The Good Place about believing in the possibility of change, seeing everyone as redeemable, and getting past punishment-based justice, Bojack Horseman is about the limits of that worldview - how wanting to become a better person and trying to be a better person don't (and shouldn't) let you escape the consequences of your actions.
posted by Jeanne at 7:12 PM on February 4, 2020 [11 favorites]

I also hated the two reporters, who seemed to exist for only two purposes: to out BoJack, and to work as a parallel to Pickles and the Justin Bieber clone. But they were super annoying and I didn't really care about them.

Otherwise I feel like this was a fitting end to the BoJack story, even if it was really depressing.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:00 AM on February 5, 2020

In my bitterness, I forgot to mention that the scene where Judah sang to Princess Carolyn kinda made me cry.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:22 AM on February 5, 2020 [7 favorites]

Raphael Bob-Waksberg hisself shoots down my Occurrence At Owl Creek Theory. So: melancholy, wistful but vaguely hopeful coda it is.
posted by whuppy at 2:34 PM on February 5, 2020

I wish Vincent Adultman had showed up at the wedding. I don't think his identity as three kids was ever officially confirmed, though his last appearance came the closest. But I suppose that was all the way back in the second season and they just figured they'd drop him like so many other ancillary/gag characters. (Part of me had always hoped for some utterly wacky reveal, e.g he's just a very tall man with a misshapen body and child's head and voice.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:12 PM on February 6, 2020 [8 favorites]

Totally forgot about Vincent Adultman. Someone do a work and get this spinoff into production.
posted by snofoam at 5:23 PM on February 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was initially disappointed with the finale along the lines of what Cpt. The Mango said in the comment starting the thread off, but then the rest of the comments in this thread turned me around and made me appreciate it after all. Thanks guys!
posted by XMLicious at 10:22 PM on February 6, 2020

It's been very strange watching the last season of The Good Place alongside the last season of Bojack Horseman. I'm not sure I can articulate why, but they are inextricably linked together for me, thematically.

Among other things, they involve very similar doors near the end.

I really liked this ending. Really, my only complaint is that I've long been in the "Vincent Adultman is an actual adult man" camp (he has an office!), and I'm bummed that I never got validated on that.
posted by Ragged Richard at 1:39 PM on February 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

I liked the ending. The show acknowledges that there is potential for Bojack to become a better person but doesn't put a bow on it. Everyone is doing what's right for themselves, which for most of them means some form of break with him but covers the spectrum, from Mr. Peanut Butter who seems to give unconditional support, to Todd who has pulled back considerably, to Princess Caroline who is redefining their relationship, to Diane who is taking an indefinite possibly permanent break, to Hollyhock who seems to be completely done, to Penny who is not just breaking personal contact but publicly ensuring a reckoning for Bojack (with seemingly reluctant support for that from her mother).

I took Diane's silence to mean "let's just leave it at that." It isn't necessarily a lifelong split, but it wouldn't be right to say "don't be silly, of course we'll talk again." More like "it's good you're doing a little better, or trying to, but you need to fix yourself." When he thought Princess Caroline was offering to engineer a comeback for him, he was 100% on board without a second thought.

I thought the stuff with Vance Waggoner was interesting in that there is clearly a contrast between the two, with Vance unrepentant, perhaps even unaware, but the basic behavior much the same. So you are left to wonder if Bojack is just Vance with more self-pity or is Bojack something else, something redeemable. (Is Vance supposed to represent someone in particular? The almost alliteration makes me think of Vince Vaughn...) Reminds me of the Sopranos with a similarly reflective and self-aware antihero. The Sopranos came down pretty clearly on the position that Tony's modest degree of self-awareness was ultimately meaningless. And he got a much more definitive, though coyly executed, end.
posted by nequalsone at 9:35 PM on February 7, 2020 [7 favorites]

I’m so sad that we didn’t get closure on Gina.
posted by bq at 9:31 AM on February 27, 2020

’m so sad that we didn’t get closure on Gina.

Interesting, because I thought we did get closure on Gina - it's just not anything good. My sense from A Quick One While He's Away is that Bojack basically ruined her career; he gave her PTSD, which lead to her being branded as 'difficult' on her next project (the kiss of death for an actress).
posted by Ragged Richard at 4:23 PM on February 27, 2020 [4 favorites]

There's a background billboard showing Gina starring in Kelsey's Fireflame movie. Kelsey, fortunately, is canny enough to see through the bad recommendation.
posted by Glier's Goetta at 6:33 AM on February 28, 2020 [11 favorites]

Thank for pointing that out.
posted by bq at 10:52 PM on February 29, 2020

I just watched the last two episodes. In a show that occasionally misses (but makes up very well when it does), I thought these were really great. I particularly liked the last episode, for all the reasons included here. The writing seemed to summarize most of the protagonists well. This show will be missed!

"When BoJack confesses that he’s surprised Princess Carolyn is getting married, because he thought he’d “wasted all her best years” as her boyfriend, he’s promptly informed that this decade—her 40s—is, in fact, her best. “Well, joke’s on me,” BoJack muses. “I couldn’t even waste the right years.”
posted by firstdaffodils at 8:04 PM on September 27, 2021

Did we really need to spend this much time with these characters, at the expense of...well...everybody we actually give a shit about?

I'm glad I chose to. It's not often I get to see something taking such relentless jabs at the Just World delusion that's also really funny.
posted by flabdablet at 6:28 AM on March 17, 2022

Also, hooray for Hollywoob.
posted by flabdablet at 6:30 AM on March 17, 2022

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