overnights

BoJack Horseman Recap: The Merry Wives of Peanutbutter

Bojack Horseman

Mr. Peanutbutter’s Boos
Season 5 Episode 8
Editor’s Rating *****

Bojack Horseman

Mr. Peanutbutter’s Boos
Season 5 Episode 8
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Netflix

Mr. Peanutbutter seems simple on the surface. He’s a good boy. Happy-go-lucky. He loves everything and everyone. And because he never gets too deep to really examine himself, nothing really bothers him. When things go wrong he just finds the new thing that makes him happy. But all of this just means that the psychological engines that drive him are just a little harder to understand. And in this episode, we not only start to examine some of those engines, but we get our first hint of the consequences that come with always being a good boy.

The story takes places over four rapidly alternating timelines, all during the same (unplanned) annual Halloween party at BoJack’s house. There’s 1993, when Mr. Peanutbutter was with his first wife Katrina. Then 2004, when he was with Jessica Biel (who continues to be the greatest guest-star on this show). Then 2009, when he was with Diane. And now, we are in the present with his new girlfriend Pickles. The timeline-swapping not only allows for the show’s penchant for über-specific references, but creates an arc that allows us to examine the the cruxes of Mr. Peanutbutter’s relationships. BoJack even drunkenly remarks to him and Pickles, “Man you have brought so many wives and girlfriends to these parties I cannot keep track!” As the same problems keep happening to him at this party again and again, Mr. Peanutbuttter finally frets, “Why do all these vivacious women turn bitter and cruel after being with me? What’s the common denominator?!” It is, of course, himself, but the bigger story is always in the how.

Entering a new social situation with your significant other is always multifaceted. You’re a team, but you also have your own internal story. But so does your significant other and so do the guests. When we first see Mr. Peanutbutter and his wife, Katrina, she seems so different from the stern conservative woman we’ve seen in other episodes. Instead, she’s nervous and concerned about the big Hollywood party, and she just wants him to be with her. But Mr. Peanutbutter, the good boy who gets along great with everyone, is always running off to talk to someone new and leaving her alone. The consequence? It turns out she was left alone with Ben Stein and Tim Allen too long and they inceptioned her with conservative thought. She finally tells him she is not having fun, yells at Mr. Peanutbutter for abandoning her, and says she wants to leave.

Later with his second wife, Jessica Biel, they’re going to the party, but she’s a bit more assured and career-driven like him. But her nervousness is more comic, in that the one thing she wants is for him to protect her from having to see her greatest Halloween fear: mummies — which, it turns out, is all because she didn’t get a part in a movie. (“It’s my one major career disappointment as of 2004.”) Of course, he lets her down too and she sees BoJack dressed as a mummy. Cue her not having fun, yelling at Mr. Peanutbutter, and wanting to leave.

Later in 2009, young Diane accompanies him to the party and she’s the same as the wives before him. Yes, she wants to be cool going to hang out with her boyfriend’s famous friends, but deeper than that, she also wants be more fun than his exes. (We get the sense the story has had a cumulative impact.) It’s here that we realize Diane’s also nervous about meeting BoJack because she loved the show when she was young. Like the others, Mr. Peanutbutter leaves her about too much, but also blindly encourages her to go meet BoJack, assuming it will go fine! Needless to say, it doesn’t. And when she’s later stressed out, she finally breaks. Cue her not having fun, yelling at Mr. Peanutbutter, and wanting to leave.

In the present, the same demons come out with Pickles A. Plenty (my God, her last name). She’s nervous for all the same reasons as the others, but particularly because Diane is there. Pickles wants to be the dutiful significant other, but this time Mr. Peanutbutter is trying to be a bit more supportive and learn the lessons from the time before. But the tension starts creeping out (especially when he realizes how much younger she is than he thought). In trying to compensate for the tension, Pickles gets too drunk. Finally, Mr. Peanutbutter sees a reflection of himself and tries to do the right thing this time, saying, “We can go home.” But Pickles tries to put up a good front and says she doesn’t want to, then cries and runs to the bathroom. Mr Peanutbutter doesn’t understand, but that’s because he never really gets deep with himself enough to understand.

He keeps thinking it’s about doing the right thing, being by someone’s side, etc. He asks Diane, “I don’t know why this keeps happening! I take these amazing women like Pickles, you, Katrina, Jessica, and I ruin them!” Diane counters that she’s not ruined, but he realizes it’s about the fact that he doesn’t listen. And in part, it is. He doesn’t listen. But there’s more than that. Diane puts it simply: Mr. Peanutbutter keeps dating women in their 20s (cue his surprised, “I do do that!”). Meaning he is dating people who have not fully formed yet. They’re not getting more cynical. They’re not getting ruined. They’re just growing up … and he’s not.

Diane lays out his options clearly: He can date someone older (“Orrrrrrr?”) or they’ll keep outgrowing him. With all this rattling around in his head, Mr. Peanutbutter tries to tell Pickles they can go home. But of course, she’s so young she’s ready for his next party. And he’s immediately hit with the terrible catch-22 of his current path. He’s finally found the person exactly like him, who thinks life’s a party. But he not only realizes this is a problem, but that he’s also too old for this cycle. But unsure of how to do anything else, he goes along with it it. The truth is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a good boy, we all get stuck in our cycles unless we confront the deeper aspects of ourselves and really change.

You have to treat the disease, not the symptom.

Best Jokes & Other Notes

• Jessica Biel’s guest spots are the gift that keeps on giving.

• “I usually take fountain,” and there we have the greatest Bette Davis meta-gag.

• Princess Carolyn’s perennial Amelia Earhart costume is now heartbreaking.

• OMG YOUNG TODD’S VOICE, plus surprise origin story!

• “Am I gonna be 35 soon?! That’s when they make you president!”

• The Home Improvement transition.

• “If you’ll all excuse me, I’m just going to take this dickhole’s helicopter home.”

• As someone who spent their early 20s making way-too-obscure Halloween costumes with lot of explaining, I related hard to Diane.

• Which brings us to the first moment BoJack and Diane actually met. Note the way it symbolizes their relationship perfectly. He got her costume immediately (they’re on the same wavelength), but he was then inconsiderate to her and more importantly, didn’t tell her what was really going on. If he had simply said, “My father died,” she would understand completely. But BoJack didn’t say anything because it didn’t matter to him if he was rude or not. She was just some random person. But she could have given so much understanding; she could have been like the empathetic person at the drive-through who gave him a free churro. And that’s why BoJack’s solipsism is at the root of so many of his problems.

• Best Bit-Part Animal: The Three Blind Mice, and definitely the lemur (?) who is dressed as Alison Brie’s character on GLOW.

• This Week’s Actual Mean-Joke Targets: I’d say Ben Stein, but he deserves it.

• Moment That Made Me the Happiest: Todd’s (momentary) sage wisdom, “Sometime parties are over.”

BoJack Horseman Recap: The Merry Wives of Peanutbutter