Every so often, BoJack Horseman dances on the precipice between rich character development and the sort of navel-gazing introspection that drove me crazy about Community. “Stop the Presses” has a few worrisome moments, but over and over, it pulls itself back from the edge.
BoJack wakes up on his deck wearing a giant papier-mâché Todd head, then stumbles through a house full of people to find an unwanted copy of the LA Gazette waiting on his doorstep. He calls to demand they revoke his subscription, so the Gazette brings in the Closer (Candice Bergen) to save his account. It initially feels like an inside joke — one I felt very much on the outside of — until it becomes clear that we’ve dropped into a story that BoJack will tell the Closer. It’s part therapy session, part attempt to convince BoJack to keep the subscription he never wanted. For anyone who’s ever tried to cancel a newspaper subscription (or a subscription to Time Warner Cable), it seems all too real.
It turns out Todd had using the Gazette to make a papier-mâché head in the hopes of scaring away the shadowy figure who steals their food at night. It doesn’t work (shocker!) but Todd is too busy to really notice. He and Emily are still building their all-female ride-sharing app, which is now called Cabracadabra. (Tagline: “We put women in the driver’s seat.”) When they pitch it to Mr. Peanutbutter, he gets excited about the investment opportunity, so they set up shop at BoJack’s house.
BoJack doesn’t complain about his house being turned into app HQ, though. After all, he feels guilty for sleeping with Emily after they crashed a rehearsal dinner. Thinking they’d never see each other again, they had agreed not to tell Todd — which makes everything weird when they find themselves under one roof.
The Closer suggests that BoJack does bad things as a preemptive measure of protection: If people leave him because of a specific bad thing that he’s done, he doesn’t have to confront his deeper problems. She suspects that he’s trying to push Todd away. Although BoJack resists the idea, it seems right to me.
Later that morning, Diane arrives late to a publicity meeting with BoJack’s entire team to come up with a “For Your Consideration” ad for Secretariat. BoJack rejects all the more traditional ads in favor of a campaign that’s a mirror with the words “You Are Secretariat” written on it. He likes the intimacy of it. After the meeting, while Ana and BoJack have sex in his car, he realizes that he doesn’t know anything about her, even though she controls every aspect of his life.
Things don’t get easier from there. When Emily and Todd play a hyper-specific game of truth or dare that night, BoJack goes to sit on his boat, driven out of the house by their talking and his lingering guilt. Inside, he finds Character Actress Margo Martindale (Character Actress Margo Martindale), who has been living a fugitive’s life off-the-grid, save for a stint at the La Jolla playhouse and an arc on The Good Wife. She’s the one sneaking into their kitchen and stealing their food every night.
The Closer tries to convince BoJack that, with all of the chaos around him, he needs something stable in his life. Something like a daily newspaper. Damn, she’s good.
Ana reveals to BoJack that she was married once, and she’s not allowed to see her son. His curiosity gets the best of him, so he follows her home and spies through her apartment window. He has a revelation: “When you see someone as they really are, it ruins them.” When she thinks no one is looking, Ana Spanikopita is depressingly normal.
The Closer tells him a joke: “How many psychiatrists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One, but it has to want to change.” She also tells him it’s healthy to accept that he can’t control everything. Like, say, a newspaper that shows up every day on his doorstep. Get this woman a raise!
As Character Actress Margo Martindale disappears on the boat, BoJack goes out to the deck to sleep, where he puts on the giant Todd head to block out the noises of Emily and Todd chatting inside. (“Isn’t this where we came in?“)
Emily tells Todd that he doesn’t need her to help run the business. She confesses that she hasn’t been a very good friend to him, and neither has BoJack. Todd understands what she means — or he has a rough idea, at least — but he lets her keep her stake in the company anyway. He’s just that good a guy.
BoJack shows up at Ana’s house to tell her that control is a myth. He wants to get to know the real Ana. Oh, and he wants to go with the mirror ad. Too bad he didn’t think it over: It’s a good idea in theory, but in practice, it’s very dangerous to put a giant mirror over a highway. Sorry, BoJack.
With the season past its midway point, “Stop The Presses” seems to set BoJack Horseman up for some pretty big payoffs. Will the billboard backfire? Will Todd’s company actually succeed? Is Mr. Peanutbutter ever going to use those spaghetti strainers? Most ominously of all, a big confrontation between Todd and BoJack looms. Their friendship has survived a lot, but this may have been a bridge too far. The chickens are finally coming home to roost. Given what we know about this show, let’s just hope they’re not actual chickens.
- Diane is forced to donate to her friend’s Kickstarter for a stop-motion film about a pig who goes to circus school. Honestly … I’d watch it.
- “The Academy doesn’t always consider everything, so they need constant consideration reminders.” Thank you, Ana Spanikopita, for explaining why “For Your Consideration” ads exist.
- “Our relationship … it’s complicated. If our relationship were a movie, it would be Doubt.”
- The little-known Tennessee Williams play is so accurate, it may as well have been Streetcar dialogue.
- “Why did you throw a plum on the floor?” “I thought it was a smoke bomb!”