I can’t think of another TV comedy that’s addressed the abortion debate in such a direct, unapologetic manner. Then again, I can’t think of another show that addresses deep, universally held human fears through a cast of talking animals, so BoJack Horseman is really cornering a few markets here.
On the way back from the hospital, Mr. Peanutbutter and Diane discuss the fact that they’ve never wanted kids, and agree they need to make a joint decision about the pregnancy. Diane clearly wants to get an abortion, but Mr. Peanutbutter seems slightly more conflicted. (“Oh no, we said different things!”)
At the Golden Snowflake Awards, one of the many exhaustive awards shows on the road to the Oscars, BoJack loses the best actor prize to Jurj Clooners, the star of The Nazi Who Played Yahtzee. Ana reassures BoJack that this doesn’t mean he won’t win the Oscar, but BoJack’s confidence is clearly shaken. Soon after, Diane tells BoJack that she’s getting an abortion — but flustered by her social-media duties, she also accidentally tweets the words, “I’m getting an abortion” from Sextina Aquafina’s account.
Princess Carolyn jumps to put out the fire, but the tweet ends up working in her client’s favor. Other celebrities are impressed with Sextina’s supposed bravery, and the publicity is great. Emboldened by good press, Sextina decides to own it as a way to destigmatize abortion. (And promote her new album, of course.) Sextina tags along with Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter to the abortion clinic, where they are put through the “mandated counseling” that doctors are forced to impress upon their patients in this backwards country of ours.
At the Leonard Maltin Awards, BoJack is once again beaten, this time by actor Bread Poot. At the after-party, Jurj Clooners approaches BoJack and tells him that he’s not going to win an award because he’s “the fifth man” — that is, he’s not “a name.” Later, when he tries to pull a prank on Jurj Clooners by posing as his limo driver and hitting him with a baseball bat, he learns that Ana Spanikopita has been working on Jurj’s Oscar campaign as well. Ana’s clients don’t win because she’s a good publicist; she just represents everyone who’s up for an Academy Award. BoJack immediately fires Ana, but now he’s got no plan to wage his Oscar campaign.
A Ryan Seacrest type interviews Sextina about her impending abortion, and she takes the opportunity to drop her new single, “Get Dat Fetus, Kill Dat Fetus.” The music video is as hilarious as it is horrifying, and Diane worries about the tone. After the video ends up backfiring — an out-of-touch MSNBSea panel thinks that it glamorizes abortion — Diane encourages Sextina to think about what she wants to do with her platform, and expresses regret in not using her own platform to do more good. Sextina agrees, announcing that she wants to have her abortion on live TV, faked through the magic of the movies. Diane is horrified at the idea, and Princess Carolyn makes it clear that she doesn’t feel much sympathy for her. (This is a very smart character moment. Princess Carolyn might not get to have a family of her own, so of course she’s not sympathetic.) Diane refuses to be a part of Sextina’s fake abortion.
While sitting in the abortion clinic waiting room, Diane decides to go on TV and tell the world the truth about Sextina. Or she does, until she meets a scared teenager who admits that she feels inspired and hopeful when she listens to Sextina’s music.
Meanwhile, BoJack tries to appoint Todd as his new publicist, but Todd is predictably useless for the job. BoJack goes home to find Ana sitting in his living room, and she tells him that she dropped all of her other clients because she likes the challenge of representing him. Instead of being excited, BoJack is terrified because this means all of her hopes are now pinned on him. And then, Ana comes onto him in a scene that’s … well … a little more graphic than BoJack Horseman usually gets.
After getting her abortion, Diane and Princess Carolyn watch Sextina’s live fake abortion. Diane finds it surprisingly tasteful. She tries to explain to how she’s feeling, and Princess Carolyn seems to inherently understand. Just then, Sextina calls and tells them that she’s actually pregnant — and she wants to keep it. As Diane and P.C. come up with a plan to hide Sextina’s real pregnancy from the public, it’s clear that their friendship hasn’t been significantly damaged.
This episode isn’t the strongest of the season so far, but it’s an important one. Think about this: A central character on a relatively popular TV show just got an abortion, seemingly without any inner conflict over whether or not it was the right choice for her. This is a wonderful moment for pop culture, and I really commend the show for such a frank and honest portrayal of Diane’s experience. It’s also important to note that Diane isn’t a character who couldn’t or shouldn’t be a parent — actually, she could be an excellent mother, but she made the decision that feels right for herself. Same goes for Sextina, whose story line is handled with an equal lack of judgment. A-plus work, BoJack Horseman.
- Bread Poot and Lernernerner DiCapricorn deserve Golden Snowflakes for the “Best Name” category.
- What is God but an old guy who loves pranks, anyway?
- There is a whole network of guys who sleep on the couches of famous guys. I love this idea and I hope the show expands it.
- Sextina dressed as Furiosa in the “Get Dat Fetus, Kill Dat Fetus” video really makes me want a full video for this — forgive me — abortion of a song.
- “We’ve assembled this diverse panel of white men in bow ties to talk about abortion.” When BoJack Horseman gets real, it gets real. That entire scene is gold.
- I love how Mr. Peanutbutter just straight-up is a Labrador. It’s easy to forget that BoJack is a horse and Princess Carolyn is a cat, but Mr. Peanutbutter … he’s a dog. He just is.