Words by Micah Avry Guiao
BoJack Horseman finally released its long-awaited season five on Netflix. Although BoJack Horseman is advertised as an adult animated sit-com, that seems to only be the tip of the iceberg. Underneath all the comedy, the show is emotionally heavy to process—its reflection of reality almost abusive, and its truths painfully hard to swallow. It’s one of the few shows that depict mental illness accurately in its realest, most hideous form.
With season five just newly upon us, we look back at the past four seasons of BoJack Horseman and its most gut-wrenching, heartbreaking moments that remind us how this show really is so beautifully painful to watch.
6. Can you taste the ice cream, Mom?
What makes this scene so emotionally difficult to absorb is that throughout the series thus far, BoJack has been very vocal about his loathing towards his mother. However, in this scene, he sees no point trying to get back at her now that she’s suffering from dementia. Perhaps for the first time ever, BoJack chooses to set aside all his pent-up anger and does a genuinely nice thing.
When Beatrice asks BoJack where she is, he doesn’t mention the shabby room of a revenge he’ll be leaving her with for the rest of her life. Instead, he gives the moment to her, depicting their lake house in Michigan: the crickets are chirping, the lake is still, and the night is full of stars.
BoJack: We’re listening to your brother play the piano and we’re eating ice cream. Vanilla ice cream.
Beatrice: Yes, that’s right. Oh, it’s all so marvelous.
BoJack: Can you taste the ice cream, mom?
Beatrice: Oh, Bojack, it’s so… delicious.
5. What happened, BoJack?
What was once a constructive romance between BoJack and Wanda has slowly deteriorated. As BoJack’s life began spiraling down, he lets himself be consumed yet again by his self-destructive lifestyle. An argument ensues between the couple, which eventually led to their inevitable break-up. The scene resonates with Hollyhock’s dialogue in the fourth season: “to know you more is to love you less.”
Wanda: I can’t be around someone who’s always fueled by bitterness and negativity. What happened, BoJack?
BoJack: Same thing that always happens. You didn’t know me. Then you fell in love with me. And now you know me.
Wanda: You know, it’s funny. When you look at someone with rose-colored glasses, all the red flags look just like flags.
4. I’m so tired of squinting.
No matter how much they love each other, Mr. Peanutbutter and Diane proves to be an incompatible couple from time and time again. Their differences are just too massive and too impending to look away from. Diane compares their failing marriage to a magic eye poster. Diane finally opens up about how jaded she is looking past all the turmoil in their relationship in order to see the tiny, fleeting moments of happiness.
Diane: It’s messy, and at first glance it doesn’t seem to make sense, and it’s hard to figure out. But sometimes, if you squint at it just right, everything lines up and it’s the most perfect, beautiful, amazing thing.
Mr. Peanutbutter: Yeah, I know what you mean.
Diane: But…I’m so tired of squinting.
3. You are 40.
Among all the complex characters in this show, Princess Carolyn is one of the most deeply unhappy characters. At 40, she essentially has no one. This scene doesn’t just portray one bad day—it manages to emphasize on the reality that 40 years of her life has passed since. She’s nowhere near fulfilled even if she tries her hardest to make everyone around her happy. Staring out at her office window at night with a deeply melancholic undertone, her phone pings to wish her a happy birthday. No one else does.
Laura: Are you gonna head out soon?
Princess Carolyn: Where else would I go?
Phone display: Happy birthday, Princess Carolyn.
Princess Carolyn: Thanks, phone.
Phone display: You are 40.
2. The tiny voice in the back of my head.
Most would agree that Hollyhock was a fantastic addition to the show. For a change, we’re not faced with someone who’s as problematic as the other characters are. Hollyhock has some moments, however.
It’s significant to remember that this episode centered around the voice in BoJack’s head that’s constantly reminding him of what a “stupid piece of shit” he is. In the final scene, as he joins Hollyhock musing by the pool, she evokes how she suffers from exactly the same thing. Wanting reassurance and comfort, she asks BoJack if it’s a passing phenomenon. Needless to say, BoJack lies.
Hollyhock: Like, sometimes I have this tiny voice in the back of my head that goes, like “Hey, everyone hates you and they’re not wrong to feel that way!”
BoJack: I know what you mean.
Hollyhock: That voice, the one that tells you you’re worthless and stupid and ugly?
Hollyhock: It goes away, right? It’s just, like, a dumb teenage girl thing, but then it goes away?
1. Right, Sarah Lynn?
Perhaps the most heartbreaking ending, this episode was downright chaotic right from the start. BoJack and Sarah Lynn join forces to being as reckless as they can possibly be. No one understood each other more than the two of them, having gone through the same past. In the planetarium, where all is peaceful and pensive, Sarah Lynn “falls asleep” as the narrator goes on to discuss the vastness of the universe. As BoJack is comforted, he is met with an unsettling surprise.
Just before the credits show and when the screen turns to black, he calls out her name once more, distressed and shattered as ever.
Planetarium Narrator: Be it horse, cat, human or even lizard, our lives are but the briefest flashes in a universe that is billions of years old.
BoJack: See, Sarah Lynn, we’re not doomed. In the great, grand scheme of things, we’re just tiny specs that will one day be forgotten. So it doesn’t matter what we did in the past or how we’re remembered. The thing that matters is right now. This moment. This one spectacular moment we are sharing together. Right, Sarah Lynn?
Do you think we missed a scene? What other heartbreaking moments in BoJack Horeseman stuck out to you? Let us know in the comments!