(That title is very funny if you watch the show. 😁)
…is that THE HORSE HIMSELF IS BASICALLY NOT IN IT. That blows my mind a little. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a central character entirely missing from a season trailer for his own show before.
Herein I am obsessively analyze everything I see in the trailer for the next season of Bojack Horseman
(debuting THIS COMING FRIDAY WOOOOOOOOOOO!) I did this with last year’s too
and got pretty much everything wrong. Whatever, I enjoy it. But be careful if you’re not caught up, as spoilers be ahead. You can watch the trailer here.
The structure of the trailer is provided by Diane leaving Bojack a voicemail. Apparently she hasn’t heard from him in three months. That the last image we saw of him in season 3 was him driving out into the desert and experiencing strong emotion in response to seeing a herd of “wild” horses— not sure what “wild” means in the context of this anthropomorphic universe, but that was clearly the concept being drawn upon. Bojack has a history of running away and blowing off his life when things get challenging, so there’s a strong chance he’s been doing that for the time he’s been incommunicado. Did he join with that herd he saw? He doesn’t seem the type to want to live a simpler life, given his addiction to the various excesses of his celebrity, but we know from season 2 how living as just a normal person that was part of a nice family made him the happiest he’s been in years. So maybe that was able to be an escape from him.
But, because we see him in basically none of the trailer, we don’t know much of what he’s up to or what he’s doing. In fact, in sharp contrast to the season 3 trailer, we focus entirely on the doings of the important supporting cast.
Diane has a new job at the blog run by Ralph Stilton’s rich little sister, voiced by Kimiko Glen, or Brooke Soso on Orange is the New Black. She compliments Diane on not caring if anyone reads her work, to Diane’s disappointment, which suggests that the blog job is not working out as well as she might have hoped. The offices of the company seem hyper modern and full of “fun” accoutrements, which are visual shorthand for “cool startup.” Diane works at a giant screen in a nonstandard chair that looks too low, which make her seem weirdly helpless.
Mr. Peanutbutter is running for governor of California, and their house is bedecked with campaign things, like a bus with his picture on it and a parody of the Obama HOPE poster. He has an image of a nasty-old-man-looking woodchuck on the wall in a red no symbol reading “Chuck Woodchuck,” so I guess that’s his gubernatorial opponent. Diane kisses him and seems supportive of his ambitions, but I could guess that she’s going to find the demands of campaigning and accompaniments like invasion of privacy very stressful.
Mr. Peanutbutter campaigns on being “specifically on the side of the fact and… also feelings,” which makes a reporter comically throw up his hands and declare himself satisfied with no questions. I can’t imagine that they won’t use this storyline to comment on the horror that was this most recent presidential election, especially since as Mr. Peanutbutter is basically a know-nothing celebrity who lacks governmental experience, he opens some interesting avenues for parallels and critique. I wonder what angle they’ll take, since he’s basically a decent guy even if he doesn’t seem remotely qualified. That’s a heavy, sad topic, but this show is never afraid to go dark. At a rally where everyone cheers for him, Diane looks down in distress at her phone. Is she reacting to something on the phone, or to the crowd’s reaction to her husband?
Princess Carolyn muses about how she’s always wanted a family, which we knew all the way from the first season when she complained that Bojack didn’t respect her enough to have a baby with her. Then it cuts to her lovely boyfriend Ralph Stilton asking, “Would you, could you, with a mouse?” as he takes her hand in a fancy restaurant. It’s suggesting a proposal, but we don’t actually hear the question get popped. Her reaction of “Wow,” is a slightly odd response if it was a proposal of marriage. I like Ralph though, so I’m kind of hoping they tie the knot. I note with that “Green Eggs and Ham” cadence that they like to do references to children’s literature with mice in it in Ralph’s dialogue, such as “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” last season.
Todd is still crashing on Bojack’s couch, at least at one point, because Diane commends that she hasn’t seen him in a while. The next shot is, hilariously, of him walking on a runway at a fashion show for “Sharc Jacobs” (this is the first point the trailer made me laugh out loud.) As we later see some chick in a hip bar basically wearing his outfit, I bet you a thousand bucks he wandered unwittingly onto that runway in the middle of the show, and then the world thinks what he was wearing was part of the new collection, so everybody immediately starts copying it.
He also seems to be hovering by a Rube Goldberg machine with a pink lizard looking person. No idea there. He skis down a hill and steals a giant bag of popcorn while hanging off a drone. No idea there either. He’s Todd. He’ll have a bunch of weird adventures that will end with a gut twist by the end of the season, because that’s what he always does.
In Diane’s message she echoes Bojack, with “This is Diane Nguyen, by the way. Obviously.” This strikes me because it’s the same way he ended his voicemail to her when he confessed he was in love with her. They do on occasion draw parallels between the two of them to explain their bond, but that one gives me pause, as I really hope they’re not going to have her develop romantic feelings for him. That would not make me happy. I could, however, see the show have her turn to him for validation in a low moment, which he would be too weak not to take advantage of, and have it fuck things up. The show goes to places like that, and while I’d buy it, I care about the characters too much for that to happen to them. I want better than them for that, and again, they’ve never been afraid to blow relationships up and let them stay that way.
Diane narrates further. “It’s funny. Last time I saw you, you told me you needed me in your life. And then you just disappeared. Anyway, things are even crazier around here lately.”
We see a yellow convertible driving along the desert, which is presumably where Bojack is, given where we last saw him. We don’t see the car’s driver, but it’s definitely implied that it’s Bojack.
Diane wakes up in bed alone, with only Mr. Peanutbutter’s sunglasses in his place. Mr. Peanutbutter appears to be somewhere snowy, wearing a ski suit I think. So he’s traveling and far away from her, a reversal of when she went to Cordovia.
A shadowy figure in a Vincent Adultman-style fedora and trench coat appears, and it turns out to be that horse girl we saw trying to get in touch with Bojack through his agency at the end of last season. Todd initially freaks out when she approaches him, and she says, “Ever since I was a baby, people said I looked like Bojack Horseman.” She even points to a picture of baby Bojack in his signature sailor suit. To which Todd replies with the line that caused my second big laugh of the trailer, “That’s a terrible thing to say to a baby!”
It was pretty heavily foreshadowed last season that Bojack might have a child he never knew about. The most obvious was the fact that this horse girl was trying to get in touch with him, and she was described by Judah as “sounding like a teenaged girl.” The other suggestions that this might happen were more oblique. Thematically, one might say his taking responsibility for the seahorse baby last season was sort of an indicator that he might have it in him to be somebody’s parent. More literally and less literarily, when he hears Diane is planning on having an abortion he comments on how many abortions he paid for in his time, ending with, “Gee, I hope those women didn’t lie and actually just kept— my money.”
The joke at the end is a distraction for the possibility that what they actually kept is the baby. The timeline I suppose makes sense, as this likely would have happened during his stardom in the 90’s, and a child born at some point in there could conceivably still be a teenager. She has an odd voice, one I don’t recognize, honestly that doesn’t sound particularly teenaged to me. I’ll have to look the actress up, but I held off for fear of spoiling myself.
As a side note, in the alums beside baby Bojack is a very handsome vintage-y looking picture of two horses in sepia tone and fancy old-timey outfits. I like the picture very much.
Princess Carolyn tells Todd, “The world is dark and scary and full of creepy clown dentists.” We see the two of them surrounded by what appear to be wasps, him in a towel and her in an evening dress, and there’s even a shot of a boy being worked on by the aforementioned creepy clown dentists. For what purpose, I know not, but one of the clowns is a platypus in clown makeup wearing a pretty dress carrying a hockey stick. So that’s fun. She continues, “But you gotta push through and hope there’s better stuff ahead.” We see her walk out of an elevator with Judah, which implies they’re working together again, and Ralph come up and kiss her as they’re both wearing bathrobes.
We get a bunch of shots in quick succession as Diane intones, “I’m sure you’d say, “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.”” Diane stands between a blonde lady and the badger upon whom she pulls a gun from her purse. Mr. Peanutbutter has meets with his woodchuck rival, who bangs furiously on his desk. Diane furiously hurls her giant computer screen to the ground. And then, one of the most shocking shots in the whole trailer— a growling Mr. Peanutbutter holds an angry Diane by her wrists and shoves her against a wall.
Now what is THAT supposed to be? I know trailers can’t always be taken at face value every moment because they pull moments out of context to create interest. But it looks like an act of aggression, which given that they’re married has some rather horrifying implications. Are they going down an actual spousal violence route here? That’s heavy, and rather shocking for these two characters whose relationship has been presented as occasionally troubled but overall mostly loving and supportive. For the record, Diane does not look scared, she looks like she’s fighting back, so it may not be totally straightforward.
But Bojack does NOT do the “haha, isn’t it funny how terrible these people are” thing and leave it with no consequences. Maybe with a peripheral character, but never the leads. They would not show an incident of spousal violence without it having IMPACT. Like, it would be a storyline and they would deal with it. Again, I would find that a shocking direction for these two characters. And again, context may matter and give it a different vibe. For all I know, it’s bait for the BDSM furries in the audience— of which I am sorry to report I know the show has a fan base.
Princess Carolyn and the horse girl both say, “Where have you been?” to an unseen person, who I’m betting on is Bojack. That’s a pretty basic guess, but they went out of their way to keep him out of the trailer, so it may not be intended to be misleading.
Lenny Turtletaub asks if the world’s gone mad in his office. He has great film posters— “Glockerspaniel,” “Americanine Shooter,” and “Bulletproof Principal.” I confess I don’t get the joke of the last one, but it’s of a Great Dane with a gun in a bulletproof vest.
Mr. Peanutbutter and Pinky Penguin are at a black-tie party where a guy in a tuxedo is on fire, which is the mark of a good one.
Todd plays the triangle with an orchestra. We get a quick shot of Rutabega Rabbitowitz, to which I cheered because I love that smart Jean-Ralphio, amid a bunch of white roses with red edges. Makes me wonder if it’s an Alice in Wonderland reference, though he’s a black and white rabbit with red eyes like Bunnicula.
A mouse boy dances on a table in a grand house surrounded by other mice, so I guess we’re going to get to meet the Stilton family. They’re all wearing what look like cat ears and carrying torches, to which Princess Carolyn looks on angrily, so I think we’re going to get a clash of ethnicity or religion storyline as they contemplate getting married. Given how often cats have been used to represent Nazis and mice their Jewish victims, that’s an interesting possible reversal. OH, or maybe she’s like the white person who doesn’t understand racial minorities distrust of white people? Hm, but I doubt a show like this would involve torches in that case and make it look unreasonable. They’re usually pretty good about that sort of thing.
Princess Carolyn gets smashed at a party where one of the clown dentists hovers over a passed-out boy with a handsaw. Todd carries in jugs of mouthwash, which suggests this is not an upscale party. Actually I think it’s supposed to be at Princess Carolyn’s apartment. She may be dealing with the revelation that her boyfriend is prejudiced in some way. That would make me sad, as I like the character of Ralph.
A row of beetles dressed like Ancient Egyptians twerk. That’s… cool.
Brief flashback to what appears to be a scene from Mr. Peanutbutter’s old show, “Mr. Peanutbutter’s House,” with what I guess is a celebrity guest star.
Office Meow Meow Fuzzyface, another character I love, stops Carolyn and Ralph in traffic but appears to startle at the sight of them, then pulls a gun. Again, racial issues to be explored?
A child’s foot in pink slippers reaches down toward a gas pedal in a car, only for an adult foot in a green wedge sandal press down on the pedal alongside it. It is juxtaposed with a shot of Mr. Peanutbutter backing a tiny child’s toy-looking car through the wall of a hospital room. Shockingly, the patient appears to be his woodchuck rival, who has bandages on his wrists and what appear to be lobster claws where his hands should be— and a balloon that reads “Get Hands Soon.” I guess… that’s a thing? I cannot wait to see what happens there, as this show's trademark is to juxtapose the truly absurd with the deeply emotional.
Beatrice Horseman, Bojack’s mother, in her present aged state (as in, it’s not a flashback like when she usually appears) stares out a window, hands pressed to the glass and eyes wide in horror. There are many photographs taped to the window from the inside and we only see a faint outline of them through the back. In my headcanon his dad Butterscotch is already dead, but I wonder if this will resolve it one way or the other.
Diane narrates over all this. “THEN you would be so overwhelmed by the sheer ludicrousness of the situation that you would get in your car and drive to Hawaii!”
Finally, we see our only glimpse of Bojack— from behind, in the driver’s seat of the yellow convertible we saw driving through the desert. He pulls up to a little cabin which may be the same one in the picture Charlotte sent him from the brief period she lived in main thirty years ago. The one where he once fantasized about having a whole normal life, married to Charlotte, raising a little girl named Harper.
“Wherever you are, I hope you’re happy,” Diane finishes over this. “I really do, Bojack.” But once she’s done, a digitized version of Amy Sedaris’s voice says, “The mailbox is full. Goodbye.” So Bojack doesn’t even get the message.
Wow. I am excited. I miss the dulcet gravel tones of Will Arnet, but I am quite intrigued that they didn’t even show the series lead. Makes me think that there’s a TON of plot packed into this, as we have no idea what the main character is doing on top of all the rest they’ve teased.
ONLY SIX MORE DAYS.