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11.08.17 Rowan's Six Years on Here 09.19.17 ranked: all of bojack
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ranked: all of bojack

because what else am I gonna spend my time on?
49Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

The Bojack Horseman Story, Chapter One
This is an obvious pick for last, as like many comedy pilot episodes in history, it really just sucks. I mean, it does an adequate job of introducing us to the five primary main characters, and one or two of the jokes land, but at this point there’s very little suggesting the show will be more than a one-note satire, and a weak one at that. Humble beginnings, folks.
Choice quote: The OG "What is this, a crossover episode?”
48Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

A rare stinker from any of the seasons that aren’t the first, Underground sees S4 kill all the forward momentum for an exercise in how not to do anticlimaxes. The big moment that should have been Bojack and Diane finally reuniting pretty much just happens offscreen as the two get drunk in the bedroom and then emerge after some half-hearted sad talk that plays like a weak rehash of their Season 2 depressions; PC and Todd are shafted into a dumb B-story for the sole purpose of giving us the problem-solving deus ex machina solve. Worst of all, we see the five main characters together on-screen for the first time since Season 2, and the writers waste it on a joke about Ethiopian food. Fuck that shit.
Choice quote: “My only hope is that the meat of Zach Braff proves lasting, but I fear by daybreak there will be no Braff meat left."
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BoJack Horseman

Kristen Schaal makes her first appearance as the grown-up, fucked-up Sarah Lynn in a relative flop of an episode. There’s an appeal here in how quickly things spiral out of control, and Aaron Paul does great work as Todd being the only one seeing how ridiculous things are getting, but it’s a largely hollow episode that sets a formula future ones will capitalise on. Hard to totally hate this as it sets so much important groundwork, with the first mention of Herb’s cancer and some very clear foreshadowing of Sarah Lynn’s end, but the show still had a long way to go.
Choice quote: Will Arnett fucking kills in the only really great moment as we get a flashback to the Horsin’ Around days: “No matter what happens, no matter how much it hurts, you don’t stop dancing and you don’t stop smiling and you give those people what they want.”
46Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Bojack Kills
Another rare late dud, we see the show following its impulses on a weird concept but not going far enough to pay real dividends. This episode could have made an enjoyable genre exercise had it really leaned into the murder mystery parody, but instead it sits in a weird halfway point between ‘gritty underbelly caper’ and ‘silly Bojack shenanigans’ that does neither side favours. Mostly just a mediocre thing that takes all the air out of the Cuddlywhiskers story, thus allowing S3 to kick off a truly incredible run with the following episode.
Choice quote: “It’s spooky in here. Too spooky.” “Oh? And what would be the right amount of spooky?”
45Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Sabrina’s Christmas Wish
That weird Christmas special that happened after S1….. this actually exists, right? I didn’t dream this up?
44Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

See Mr. Peanutbutter Run
Season 4 gets off to a very okay start, investigating just how much wackiness can be got away with before the return of Bojack brings back the darkness. To be fair, this ep does breeze through reintroductions to PC, Todd, Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter’s lives well, and Diane’s voicemail messages to Bojack provide a nice framing device that allows the episode to grow without its main character instead of die without him. Despite this, the overly silly campaign storyline pretty much telegraphs that this is going to be a nothing story the whole season through, and the breathless pace doesn’t leave room for the jokes to land. Mediocre.
Choice quote: “This D’onofrio, has had…. Enoughfrio!”
43Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

The Bojack Horseman Show
Every episode from here on out is genuinely at the least good, and The Bojack Horseman Show sees the show delivering a technically well-accomplished episode without really reaching for any more. After all the mystery about Jill Pill and Bojack’s other show built up at the end of S2, we get our answers pretty much immediately in the form of a very expositionary flashback. As much as I enjoy the vast majority of their work, I think it’s fair to say the writers of Bojack are not particularly accomplished at following through on the storylines they set up at the end of previous seasons, and that’s okay, because the places they end up going are almost always way more interesting.
Choice quote: honestly the one-off deflated closing credits. “Back in ’07, I was in an unsuccessful TV show!”
42Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Commence Fracking
A busy episode sees the show try to juggle pretty much every character without an obvious A-story, and ends up pretty messy as a result. The first major cracks in the PB/Diane marriage are showing, and it brings out some terrific voice work from Alison Brie especially, but the governor campaign stuff is still too uninteresting to be... anything. Meanwhile, despite Hollyhock’s instant likability as a character, the search for her mother becomes a fairly repetitive exercise in ‘past Bojack being a dick’ too quickly. There’s also some really dodgy POV dog/human sex in here that I could have lived without, but y’know, I do not judge.
Choice quote: “By the way, your show sucks. Should be called Tedium.”
41Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Bojack Hates the Troops
Sandwiched between two not-great episodes and often handwaved as part of the early S1 slump, Troops is actually a great episode which foreshadows the ‘topical episode’ formula that later seasons will perfect. Our first glimpses of Bojack’s parents, MSNBSea, and most importantly the long-running tongue-twister chains all land effortlessly, along with a great turn by Patton Oswalt as Neal McBeal the Navy SEAL. Unfortunately the show is still working out some structural kinks, and the episode runs out of air by the time it hits the end; an early and better climax sees Bojack’s rant at Neal/Tom go from jaded and cynical to increasingly self-loathing in a matter of seconds, an early showing of the range Will Arnett will bring to the role.
Choice quote: “You never know when gold’s gonna strike!” “Gold doesn’t strike.” “That’s why you never know!”
40Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

The Judge
A funny, well-made episode that rings slightly hollow and compromises some of S4’s forward momentum. At a point where the show has moved increasingly away from satire and into pretty fuckin’ genuine drama, it’s nice to have a return to a fairly straightforward jab at TV, and the Judge gets off some crackers at competition television with Felicity Huffman’s Booty Academy. But it comes at a weird place in the season, emotionally, as the story of Hollyhock’s mother is largely put on hold for some one-off jokes, and Princess Carolyn’s largely stagnates as she visits Ralph’s parents and finds out they suck, etc. A good episode with some real belters, though.
Choice quote: tough one between the “these bitches are basic” crack, or “Your booty’s been abjudicated!”
39Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Zoes and Zeldas
S1 shows significant signs of improvement as it decides to delve into the relationship between Todd and Bojack, one which will give us some of the show’s richest material over the next few seasons. Of course we’re not quite there yet, and Zoes and Zeldas is largely content to start getting us used to the concept that Bojack is actually a self-centred dick who will frequently be unlikable as a main character, and that Aaron Paul will literally always be likable as his stoner sidekick. Some amazingly terrible space opera jokes give this episode a more unique feel, and the first full appearances of Herb Kazazz and Character Actress Margo Martindale start kicking off both the show’s best long-running jokes and darkest material.
Choice quote: “Rock opera? More like shock flopera.”
38Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Love And/Or Marriage
S3’s hot run hits a very small bump as it tries to analyse Diane, Bojack, Todd and Princess Carolyn’s feelings on love all at once. PC fairs the best as she meets Ralph for the first time, and the genuinely touching connection between the two of them provides a lighter tone to the darkness that we all know is slowly coming on. Bojack’s story for the first time feels a little perfunctory; despite the power of the “everybody loves you, but nobody likes you” moment, it comes on a little too quickly and resolves everything a little too easily. Meanwhile, Diane needs to get high to tell Mr. Peanutbutter she loves him, and that’s all fine, and the animation team gets to do some nice effects and stuff. Overall, definitely an episode that could have benefitted from another five minutes or so.
Choice quote: “Well, I’m only albino rhino gyno I know.” “Oh great, you’re also a wine addict!”
37Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Still Broken
Let’s be fair to the other seasons and give S2 an appearance towards the bottom here, although every episode from here on I’d give a 7/10 at the most conservative. The Herb story comes to an end as the Horsin’ Around crew go on an episode-long treasure hunt that ends in a pretty quick de-escalation. Of course, the anti-climax is the point, and the episode makes it work with Henry Winkler as the vehicle for delivering a ‘death is death, not a call to adventure or anything else’ moral, but many of the emotional beats are ones that the second half of Season 1 hit much harder. Even so, I’m pretty much in love with every second of S2 from beginning to end, and the fact that this is a weaker point pretty much speaks volumes.
Choice quote: “So in that flashback, were you British, or American?”
36Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Start Spreading the News
A highly entertaining, dark episode that picks up all the pieces of S2 and starts moving along the Oscars plot effortlessly, but still feels pretty small-time compared to its subsequent season. The episode’s strength is the way we can see how easy it is for Bojack to be caught up in the excitement of the Oscars campaign, even when he and us both know that it’s both emotionally and literally a lie; a powerful scene from Secretariat is muted by the fact that it’s a computer program, not Bojack in the scene. The other great moment reminds us forcefully that Escape from LA will not be so easily forgotten – “why did you say that thing about the boat?” – and we’re back into the darker territory quicker than you would have believed.
Choice quote: “Is dyke an okay thing to say now? Has it been reclaimed?”
35Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Brand New Couch
Let’s tick off our last season opener as S2 opens up. Bojack premieres are all really just table-setting episodes, which sufficiently introduce the major stories without really delving into any of the heavy stuff just yet. Brand New Couch is the best of these, but it’s mostly just a very solid run of jokes as we get used to the Secretariat set and Cordovia as our major settings for the season. Of course, there’s an exception to that, as our first major scene with Beatrice in the present day gives us a brutal reminder that despite Bojack’s newfound positivity and cheerful George Takei audiobooks, he’ll never be fully fixed. Damn, son.
Choice quote: literally take your pick of any variation of “what are YOUUU doing here?”
34Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Live Fast, Diane Nguyen
Back to Season 1 as we start getting some real traction on the show, but there are still leaps to be made. For the first time Todd’s full potential as comic relief is totally unlocked, and we get the first B-story that is far more entertaining than the A-, as Boreanaz House somehow manages to get stupider and funnier over the course of 25 minutes, and still one of my favourite running gags all this time later. There’s nothing wrong the major plot, either, as we finally get some more layers on Diane’s character (and about time), but there’s nothing really amazing about the way the episode plays out – her family really are as sucky as she says, so there’s no real tension, and it would feel a little pointless if we didn’t have the lovely moment of Bojack finally making his call to Herb at the end.
Choice quote: “You’re hearing my voice in your head because that’s how reading works.” “Oh yeah…”
33Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Hooray! Todd Episode!
Speaking of Todd, Season 4 devotes a whole episode to the adorable little guy, as we get another glimpse of how batshit insane life as a stoner comic relief in a universe like this can be. Like a lot of S4, it juggles a lot with a breathless pace, although in this particular case the pacing works well towards letting us get inside Todd’s head. The first appearance of Hollyhock is appropriately funny and exciting, whilst the PC and Diane sections give us some amazing jokes in the form of Courtney Portnoy and Channing Tatum respectively. Hard to fault Aaron Paul on his performance here, even if S4 itself is looking a little directionless at this stage.
Choice quote: “That’s a TERRIBLE thing to say to a baby!”
32Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Out to Sea
After – fuck it, let’s call it one of the most gruelling episodes of TV probably ever – Season 2 decompresses slightly with a fairly upbeat, fun romp. Raphael Bob-Waksberg delivers quick, simple jokes focusing largely on Bojack and Todd’s relationship, an emotional beat which largely falls by the wayside during S2’s batshit insanity; meanwhile, Princess Carolyn gets to be a badass and Diane’s sad-drunk storyline winds down sweetly, if a little too simply for my tastes. It’s a little disingenuous to have all this be the ending hook with Escape from LA just in the rearview mirror, sure, but such a light and easy script is a much needed relief as a near perfect season of TV winds to a close.
Choice quote: (Bojack answering his smashed phone screen) “Hello? Prince?”
31Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Horse Majeure
In the wake of the show finally hitting its true heights/depths, Horse Majeure is a really funny but fairly light follow-up, as we get an increasingly absurd montage of Bojack trying to stop Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter’s marriage. Given how long they’re married for, I honestly almost forgot this was even a plotline in Season 1, and it feels weirdly pointless to watch Bojack run around trying to stop it when he’s so clearly grasping at straws. Still, that’s the point, and as Todd finally realised who sabotaged his shock flopera and Diane’s book gets closer and closer to release, we get a supporting cast starting to wake up to the fact their lead is a bad person who can do awful things. And we see Vincent Adultman and Margo Martindale goes to jail, so those things are pretty important.
Choice quote: “Don’t you want to know what my Rosebud is?” “You told me repeatedly it was the nudie magazine your uncle showed you with the three-nippled woman.” “Who WAS she?”
30Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Our Story is a D-Story
We hit the second half of Season 1 and stuff really starts picking up, as we get some much-needed friction between PB and Bojack and the tension starts mounting. Bojack falling in love with Diane is a pretty temporary development, but it also provides a much-needed narrative kick that gets us into the really juicy stuff. As it is, this is the first episode to mesh Hollywood satire with emotional blows in a way that feels earned and natural, and it establishes a baseline for the show to work from from here out.
Choice quote: “Nothing on the outside, nothing on the inside.”
29Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Thoughts and Prayers
The show tackles gun violence and sexism in an entertaining episode, which slightly falls flat of the high standards set by its two predecessors. Diane takes the lead as usual, standing in for morality and decency in a universe populated by jaded cynics. Of course, the richness is that she’s as much as a jaded cynic as anyone else, but unlike its two predecessors Thoughts and Prayers doesn’t get much mileage out of the central tension, largely coasting by on some incisive social commentary jokes. Meanwhile, a very important moment for Bojack and Hollyhock is largely relegated to B-story as Beatrice comes into their lives, beginning S4’s major downward spiral; it’s a shame this story has less time devoted to it, because it really could have carried the entire episode.
Choice quote: really gotta give this one to “I can’t believe this country hates women more than it loves guns.” “….No?”
28Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

After an incredible run of episodes, Later lowers the bar slightly in the final round, giving us what we now know as a fairly standard ‘pick up the shattered pieces from the end of 11 and set up a bunch of storylines for next season’ formula. Having said that, it’s pretty damn good at what it does, as Bojack and Diane’s relationship gets kiiinda repaired, Secretariat becomes a possibility, and Mr. Peanutbutter and Todd have their first classic moment as a duo pitching Halloween in January. It’s a sentimental, lowkey episode, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
Choice quote: “I really wanted you to like me, Diane.” “I know.”
27Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

After the Party
An early structural experiment sees the show bouncing around in time to follow its multiple storylines, to an interesting but slightly underwhelming effect. We get a brief, glorious moment of all five main characters in a room together – gasp – before they split off into pairs of PC/Todd, Bojack/Wanda and Diane/PB, with the episode giving us the following events from everyone’s perspective. It’s technically great, but the structural experiment doesn’t really enhance or detract from any of the stories, which of themselves are pretty much strong enough to hold up the episode.
Choice quote: “I went balls to the wall for this party! Literally, there are balls all the way to the wall!”
26Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Old Acquaintance
Another episode which juggles a lot but manages to catch it all, as PC fucks up two movie deals for Bojack, we meet Captain Peanutbutter, and Bojack tries to patch things up with Kelsey. The PC material is the strongest by far, and the show plays with some interesting questions as all our lead characters end in a bad place, while the two villains get a wholesome happy ending. Really makes you think, huh?
Choice quote: “The kind of stuff you’d hear in a sad Creed song. Or a happy Elliott Smith song.”
25Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

What Time is it Right Now
Season 4, weirdly, ends on a happy note. It’s good weird, not bad weird – the show is aware that continuing to have Bojack on a downward spiral could pretty much only end one way (and that would’ve been pretty soon, judging by S3), and that having the character grow towards something more healthy is the smartest way forward. Unfortunately, like a lot of the season the road to get there is unfocused and inconsistent, like Diane and PB's story, which ends on a beautifully delivered line that almost makes the governor shit on the way worth it.
Choice quote: "But I'm so tired of squinting."
24Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

That Went Well
Like the other season closers, That Went Well sees Raphael Bob-Waksberg setting up a bunch of plotlines that don’t really get followed through on in S4, although that’s unfair to hold against what is an extremely solid season closer. The payoff to the spaghetti strainer/Cabracadabra storyline is indeed tremendous, while one especially brutal scene sees Bojack freaking out over the possibility of creating another Sarah Lynn on Ethan Around. The show’s all-time best musical cue closes out the episode as we come closer than ever to seeing an actual end for our main character, only for the smallest of things to bring him back.
Choice quote: “When you sang that high note and shoot fireworks out of your boobs, that was such a moving tribute to gays in the military.” RIP Sarah Lynn
23Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

lovin that cali lifestyle!!
The obligatory-at-this-point structural experiment crosses the line into cruelty in Season 4, giving us an intense cliffhanger with Hollyhock at the beginning that it refuses to answer until the final few moments. There’s nothing wrong with some teasing, of course, but this episode really reinforces how mediocre the rest is – Todd’s stupid dentist clown storyline takes the edge off PC’s sadness and gives it an unnecessarily zany tone, while the governor stuff is wrapped up so perfunctorily you wonder if the writers even cared about it to begin with.
Choice quote: “Hollyhock Manheim-Mannheim-Guerrero-Robinson-Zilberschlag-Hsung-Fonzarelli-McQuack. That’s her name. And she’s about five-eight. And she’s 17, and her birthday is in September. And...she looks like me. And she loves apples but hates applesauce."
22Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Fish out of Water
The famous ‘silent episode’ kicks off an incredible streak of material that lasts all the way to the end of S3. This is a weird one, an episode which plays off existing relationships but feels almost entirely divorced from the show itself, a weird one-off that manages to be captivating and beautiful but never feels essential. The animation team have a field day creating the show’s best visuals to date (Season 4 will somehow even eclipse it), but it’s Jesse Novak’s sound design that really brings the underwater city to life and make the episode land.
Choice quote: “Oh you’ve got to be kiddi-“
21Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Yes And
Season 2 breaks up the most sincere, sweet relationship Bojack’s had on the show, and in doing so sets us up for the complete gut punch of the next episode. Secretariat, Cordovia and Wanda are all largely wrapped up this episode, with varying levels of brutality and heartbreak, and the fact that it rarely feels perfunctory makes it one of the show’s tighter and more consistent scripts. Still, nothing really reaches for the stars until that breakup scene, when the show lets you know how hard it’s willing to let the characters fall and fall and fall.
Choice quote: “It’s funny. When you look at someone through rose-coloured glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.”
20Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Ah shit, dudes. Season 4 is Amy Sedaris’ best season of the show, straight up, and Ruthie is the episode where they finally pull out all the stops in taking arguably the show’s most solid, centred character and tearing her entire world down. Not all of this works for me – the cat musical flashback is just dumb weird, even the episode is aware that the Bojack b-story is a total waste of time, and How I Met Your Mother conditioned me to expect the twist from the moment the future setting was revealed. But that doesn’t make the moment where it happens – or indeed all the others, like PC pushing Ralph out of her life – any less utterly devastating.
Choice quote: “I was not trying to engage in punnery during business hours.”
19Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

One Trick Pony
Season 1’s funniest and most scathing satire is not like the other episode 10s, which are generally used as a final fuck-up/narrative nosedive which set the scene for the infamous 11s. Instead, One Trick Pony leans fully into the comedy, drawing together all the disparate plotlines in a satisfying way that does not at all prepare you for the complete turmoil to come. We finally see Bojack actually on a movie set, and the inherent absurdities in such a place are cranked up the point where the actual episode content is almost irrelevant underneath all the quickfire jokes. Still, though, this is the episode where Bojack’s book finally hits the shelves, and the season’s most important relationship starts to show the cracks that it will fall into in just the next episode.
Choice quote: “Not to over-use my catchphrase, but tru dat.”
18Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

One of the most underrated episodes introduces Wanda in a straightforward, sentimental, fucking hilarious fashion. Wanda’s coma backstory allows for some terrific jokes about nostalgia and memory, but it also gives us a powerful look into Bojack’s psyche and the type of woman he thinks is perfect for him. Joel McHale gives one of my favourite guest turns as the Russian sleeper agent who takes a liking to Wanda, a completely unnecessary plot that is nevertheless hilarious. S2 is barely revving its motor and we’re already getting quality like this?
Choice quote: this one is fucking difficult, episode is straight fire dialogue-wise. I’ll throw it to Bojack for Arnett’s delivery of “slap my salami, the guy’s a commie!”, but Wanda’s “I haven’t had sex in 30 years – I hope” is a close runner-up. Honourable mention to Aaron Paul for the “noooo! beeeeeees!”
17Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Stop the Presses
S3 takes another swing at a structural experiment and pulls it off way better than After the Party did. The framing device of the mysterious ‘closer’ is a brilliant way to keep bringing the episode back to a baseline despite all the narrative tangents, and the fact that it all happens just to unsubscribe from a newspaper keeps things from getting too serious this early in the season. Not much else to it except a terrific illustration of all the guilt, confusion and bad choices that are pulling at Bojack from every direction.
Choice quote: “It kinda just looks like a billboard for the sky.”
16Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Higher Love
Bojack tackles auto-erotic asphyxiation in one of its funniest episodes. Literally just listing all the various names for it said throughout this episode would be a pretty apt descriptor of how good it is – “the funky spiderman” vs “the one-hand strangle dangle” for my favourites – but the show weaves in some genuine Wanda and Bojack relationship action in the midst, again showing how expertly it mixes its two emotional halves, and so on and on you get the idea by now. Yeah.
Choice quote: “let’s talk about the elephant in the room-“ “wooow. OK. You know what? I can’t even- woooow.”
15Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

The Shot
The show runs away with one of its wackier concepts, but even more than usual there’s a heart of melancholy bubbling underneath which keeps even the best jokes grounded in something grim. Yet another S2 episode where all our characters’ work is savagely undone in a single line at the end – seriously, writers, chill – The Shot manages to juggle Diane in Cordovia, PC’s idyllic dreamworld, and some powerful Bojack material without ever dropping the ball; and a scene where Boj breaks down crying after admitting he can’t cry in front of people, which would feel cheesy and forced on any other show, becomes one of the season’s most tender moments. Just the ninth classic entry in a series of twelve, folks.
Choice quote: “And that’s when you realise… the book you’re writing in your head will never be a book. So you stop-“
14Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

It’s You
Season 3’s wild rollercoaster gets closer to the crash-and-burn point, but we’re not quite at the bottom of the pool yet. It’s You once again pulls out the non-traditional episodic structure in a clever way, as a wacky Mr. Peanutbutter story (giving us the incredible background “Tom Hardy (who is a cat)" gag) nestled inside some typically depressing Bojack-on-the-edge stuff. There’s a little tonal whiplash, especially in the too-long chase sequence with PB’s phone, but the sincerity of both the comedy and the drama lands both as we end on one of the most stark, brutal scenes, feat Aaron Paul’s best line delivery on the entire show.
Choice quote: “Fuck, man. What else is there to say?”
13Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

One of the show’s most underrated episodes shows how the non-sequitir wacky Family Guy thing could actually work if it was, y’know, written to resemble not-garbage. Chickens raises some horrifying questions about the nature of food preparation and consumption in an anthropomorphic world, then just leaves them hanging over your head while digressing into a series of hilariously dumb jokes. Todd takes the lead, of course, and gets some of his absolute best material as the show fully leans into the potential of his comic relief. Plus that opening ad is just fucking incredible.
Choice quote: “Don’t you get it, Todd? THEY’RE ALL BECCA.” “Ohhhhhhhhhhh.”
12Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Stupid Piece of Shit
Will Arnett pulls out one of his best ever performances – not an easy statement – for this mid-season peak. The first watch of this episode had me convinced me it was top 5 at least, but it’s fallen slightly on rewatch – the episode reaches a feverish emotional peak a little too early when Bojack throws Doll out the window, and once Mr. Peanutbutter comes in it leans a little too hard into the wacky comedy (a problem in the season overall) rather than the powerful place it started (with some of the show’s best non-standard animation). Either way, though, the last scene is one of the show’s most brutal, as Bojack tells a lie even worse than his usual kind to Hollyhock, something he better have the chance to fix in S5.
Choice quote: “What if for eighteen years straight I just tell it how worthless it is every day, how it embarrasses me, how my life would be better if it had never been born! Would that be a good idea? Probably, right?”
11Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Hank After Dark
Just another one of Season 2’s masterpieces switches gears a little bit, diving into the darkness not emotionally but with a cold, brutal analysis of the shit celebrities get away with on a daily basis. The show’s leaned this way before in Season 1 with some of the more satirical stuff, but Hank After Dark zeroes in on sexual abuse and attacks the topic so ruthlessly it’s brutal to watch. It’s no throwaway episode, either; Diane’s total failure at the episode’s end sends her on a spiral that will play out savagely over the last third of Season 2.
Choice quote: “Everyone knows who I am. I’m Hank Hippopopalous. Who the hell are you?”
10Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Brrap Brrap Pew Pew
The show’s second funniest episode beat-for-beat, Brrap tackles a tricky subject the only good way to tackle a tricky subject – blow everything so out of proportion you can only see how silly everything else is. Perhaps sensing that trying to match the darkness of Hank After Dark with the next topical episode would be futile, the team swing the pendulum so far the other way it pretty much shatters all good taste, sensitivity and subtlety. Thank god, too, because this shit is fucking hilarious.
Choice quote: “we’ve assembled this diverse panel of white men in bow ties to talk about abortion.”
9Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

That’s Too Much, Man!
The fact this is the lowest ranked of the four 11s gives you a pretty good idea of how phenomenal this show is at penultimate episodes. That’s Too Much, Man! is in some ways an anti-Downer Ending; while that episode headed straight for the tripped-out drug sequence as a way to get into Bojack’s head, this episode stays ruthlessly fixed on the brief moments of lucidity, giving us terrifying snapshots of a bender growing further and further out of control. I’d say this is the show’s definitive rock bottom moment, but I’d just end up repeating myself by attaching that label to five other episodes. You all know what I mean.
Choice quote: “This might be all the nitrous and bath salts talking, but I wanna do more nitrous and bath salts.”
8Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

The Telescope
The show finally plays its first ace with the reveal of Herb Kazazz, and in the process finally shows how broken and irreparable its characters truly are. A stupid Todd B-story keeps this from being a classic, but Stanley Tucci’s electrifying final scene with Will Arnett provides the show’s first dive into the real emotional depths.
Choice quote: “Now get the fuck out of my house.”
7Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Say Anything
The Telescope is, canonically, the episode where this show became great – our first ‘fuck’ moment showing how unforgiving and brutal the show could really be. Except, on rewatch, it’s not – Say Anything, the Princess Carolyn episode right before, has all the clear indicators of how phenomenal the show would become. It’s hard to talk about them separately because the timelines of the two episodes are cleverly intertwined – a clear precursor to the likes of “lovin that cali lifestyle!!!” and others – but for the first time we see the mask of cheap satire and sharp dialogue fall completely away, and we’re left with one of the most powerful endings the show has still ever done.
Choice quote: “where else would I go?”
6Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Time’s Arrow
Well. Damn. This might be the best episode of the show from a production standpoint, as Beatrice’s dementia is rendered in horribly beautiful detail for us to see; it condenses an entire life into 25 minutes and somehow does justice to every second of it. More importantly, it explains but not excuses Beatrice’s terrible parenting, and shows us how small fucked up things can ripple down across generations to make someone like Bojack. It’s a hard left turn from the other episode 11s with the main characters almost entirely absent, for sure, but Time’s Arrow is the definition of experimentation done right.
Choice quote: “If I’d known this is how you’d be when we severed the connections to your prefrontal cortex, I’d hardly have bothered.”
5Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Let’s Find Out
This isn’t the most powerful episode of the series, nor the most experimental or emotional; for those reasons there are still four spots above it for those episodes. But Let’s Find Out is, arguably, the best scripted episode of the whole show. In fact, the script for this thing is so watertight it should really be used in scriptwriting classes; every single joke lands perfectly, the satire is well-placed and cutting, the celebrity guest appearance puts every other instance of a star parodying themselves on a show like this to shame, and the characters are perfectly sketched and move in the ways we expect them to move. Honestly, this is the episode I'll rewatch above all others.
Choice quote: the entire episode, really, but “daaaaamn Bojangles, you got served!”
4Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Downer Ending
This is the episode that kicked off a lot of things. It introduced us to the Episode 11 gut-punch, arguably the show’s most consistent and powerful feature. It truly let the animation team off the hook for the first time, in a major way. It showed us the real depths the show was willing to show its characters sinking to, making The Telescope look practically upbeat by comparison. Last of all, it showed us that there was nothing else quite like Bojack Horseman on TV, and probably never will be. So say we all, amen amen.
Choice quote: “Tell me that I’m good.”
3Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Best Thing That Ever Happened
Right in the middle of Season 3, before the emotional rock bottom of That’s Too Much, Man! and after the literal rock bottom of Fish Out of Water, the best episode is actually very well hidden. Kate Purdy pretty much makes a case for being the best writer on TV currently between this, Downer Ending and The Old Sugarman Place, as Best Thing That Ever Happened draws on years and years of PC and Bojack’s relationship – and you can feel every one of those years in Arnett and Sedaris’ voices here - to destroy everything they’ve built in a painful 25 minutes. Like a trainwreck in slow motion the episode starts out wrenching and just gets worse; it relies not on crazy drug trips or tragic deaths, just two people who love each other tearing each other apart because they have to.
Choice quote: the way Will Arnett’s voice changes when he says “Bojack, you wasted my thirties!”
2Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

Escape From LA
From a place of deep, sincere love and reverence for this episode, I say ‘fuck this shit’. Fuck it wholeheartedly, deeply and forever. Sitting through this thing is worse than a hundred 9/11s. That low, upset feeling in your gut where you know you’re watching something wrong, and you don’t even want to keep watching but you’re pretty much out of options, intensifies to the point of fucking danger to the audience’s health. And even when you’ve already seen it before, and you know what it’s building to, it’s somehow even fucking worse because you see all the signs screaming what’s gonna happen but no-one’s doing anything about it. Honestly, it’s a masterpiece, but fuck this episode.
Choice quote: the poster on Penny’s wall that says 'Llama Del Rey' tbh
1Soundtrack (Television)
BoJack Horseman

The Old Sugarman Place
And there it is. Sandwiched between a mediocre opener and a throwaway Todd episode, technically a filler offering that serves the purpose of catching us up on what Bojack did while he was away and getting him in the headspace to come back to LA in a brief 28 minutes. In that time we get the most poetic, moving thing on TV possibly this decade. The flashbacks to Beatrice’s fucked-up childhood, handled not as clunky cuts back and forth in time but rather playing out side-by-side with Bojack’s current life, the self-destructive cycles echoing over and over across the generations. Jane Krakowski’s show-stealing turn as Honey Sugarman, plucky determination giving way to mania and finally to that horrifying, dead-eyed lobotomised thing at the end. The humour and the horror sit together here better than in any other episode, but there’s one small moment that transcends both and completely transports you to another time and place.
Choice quote: It's the duet, obviously.
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