After a perfect day, Mr. Peanutbutter ruins Diane’s birthday by throwing her a surprise party. The festivities abruptly end when Diane engages in a one sided screaming match, arguing over whether or not Tony Curtis is dead. (For the record: Tony Curtis has, in fact, been dead for 5 years.) The guests leave in an uncomfortable hurry. After the Party goes on to examine some of the previously unspoken issues in Bojack, Princess Carolyn and Diane’s relationships as they settle in for the night. Meanwhile, Todd witnesses some disturbing phone-on-phone action…Yes, you read that right.
After the Party brought about the end of Princess Carolyn and Vincent Adultman’s relationship. I’m sad to see his character go – he had some great moments on screen, what with his aura of adultness and undeniable appeal of grown-upness.I enjoyed the fact that the most arguably healthy relationship on the show was between a cat and a 7 year old. To be honest, I’m not sure if Vincent’s departure was a worthy comedic transaction. A lot of Vincent Adultman’s comedic worth was in Bojack’s frustration that no one else suspected that he was three kids hidden under a trenchcoat. To viewers this seemed obvious, but we also had no proof to support Bojack’s theory. Again, I have no real evidence behind this complaint, but I was disappointed that they basically revealed the truth about Vincent. The ambiguity of his character brought some of the absurd humour to the show that we all love. I hope this isn’t the last we see of Vincent because his character was one of the funniest on the show. At least we got some quality scenes with Princess Carolyn out of it.
We then observe Bojack and Wanda’s drive home (they live together, remember). Bojack tentatively questions the timing of their relationship with as much tact as possible, only to be interrupted when he hits a deer with his car. Bojack briefly forgets that he is in the car with A Good Person and tries to drive off. He eventually follows Wanda into the woods to take the injured deer to the hospital. We learn that whilst Wanda can be a little impulsive, she is caring, sure of herself and has a great sense of humour (just give it time). There are some really sweet scenes between the two that were perfectly complemented by the soundtrack. Sadly, I felt that some of these moments were spoiled by the show’s comedic agenda. I understand that being “edgy” and “modern” sometimes entails oscillating between serious monologues and one-liners, but I felt that this was to the show’s detriment. It tried a little too hard and in my opinion, cheapened some nice sequences. Nevertheless, when Wanda wasn’t making throwaway quips Bojack hit the right note – somewhere between sweet and sad.
Finally, we are left to see what became of Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter post-fight. After watching Diane’s blowup I realised my spirited defense of their relationship was so, so wrong. I’m half happy I was, because the exploration of their marriage provided a profound end to the episode. Bojack Horseman managed to capture all the quirks and complexities of a broken relationship, in 5 minutes. The whole interaction was stained with an undeniable sense of melancholy. We watch the two walk through Mr. Peanutbutter’s mansion, converted into something of a memory palace. After visiting their built in ball pit and Starbucks, their final resting place is laying atop their pool, filled with neon green jelly, talking as they watch the stars twinkle in a deep purple sky. This setting is one of the reasons that I’m so glad animation was created. Mr. Peanutbutter and Diane lie on the thin surface of the jelly, precariously wobbling, one move away from piercing the surface – an astute reflection of their conversation. But even before that it felt like the couple had broken up. Each room of their house was a memory, trying to persuade Diane to stay. (Sort of similar to how it feels as soon as you break up with someone; that flood of desperation and vague regret that you have to endure.) Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter’s scenes were so unassumingly perfect in the way it summed up the confusing dichotomy of relationships: the strange feeling of wanting to break up but in the same instant never wanting to let go. If Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter were smart they should have broken up. But love doesn’t account for logic. And so, After the Party Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter reach a strange new place in their rocky relationship. They are now more honest with each other than ever, but are still hiding the truth from themselves.
After the Party may be the sign that Bojack is nearing the nitty-gritty end of the season. We have arrived at the place where our protagonists can no longer avoid confronting their issues. Their resolutions vary, and like real life, many of the characters reach a middle ground where they simply accept a life of muted unhappiness. Maybe the pacing of this episode wasn’t the smoothest, but it was honest, it was true; and that’s all I can really ask of Bojack.
Bojack Horseman S02E04: 8/10
Don’t look back…
1. So close and yet so far away
2. Her starring Todd Chavez
3. Cowboy vs Cowman: a very important distinction
4. Todd Chavez’s triumph of the will
5. If you look closely, you can actually pinpoint the exact moment his heart breaks
6. Tony Curtis is dead
9. Don’t we all
11. This will turn out just fine…