BoJack Horseman‘s third season ended with one impression that was painfully clear to me: BoJack can’t believably maintain the relationships he does any longer. It’ll be hard for him to be buddy-buddy with Todd again after Todd unloaded on his entire life the way he did. He can’t be close to Princess Carolyn again after the way he harshly fired her in her moment of need. It’ll be tough to buy that he’s still keeping the same network of people now that he’s convinced he’s poison to everyone he comes in contact with. There’s also the fact that everyone else he knows is going to be occupied with their own all-consuming plots of their own that don’t connect to BoJack’s story in any way.
Princess Carolyn is juggling dramatic changes to her career and a new relationship, Mr. Peanutbutter and Diane are about to face the biggest challenge to their marriage yet, and Todd will have to find something to do other than sponging off of BoJack. All this while BoJack continues to isolate himself further within his depression. The solution I’m proposing would be to spin-off one or both of BoJack‘s strongest supporting characters, Princess Carolyn and Mr. Peanutbutter. There’s no way to interconnect these stories without making it seem awkward, and segmenting them off completely may prove to be a fatal mistake on the show’s part.
I’ve seen this exact thing happen on The Good Wife before, and to say things did not end well for that show would be an understatement. The omen that brought about the end times for the show came in the form of Alicia Florrick’s State’s Attorney campaign. It happened simultaneously with Cary Agos’ trial, while running concurrently with the central law firm’s usual procedural foibles. The result was a fragmented show, with only one storyline it seemed truly invested in and other ostensibly important stories that felt more like filler than anything else. There were a lot of postmortem write-ups on what went wrong with The Good Wife, but the most convincing of them all were the ones highlighting its divided focus. The lack of clear unity that weighed the show show down could have been fixed with a simple solution: Axe the dead weight. We didn’t need Diane and the firm, we didn’t need Cary after his trial, and we certainly didn’t need David Lee for as much as we got him. I loved all those characters, but beyond the show’s final arc, they didn’t have a place in its storytelling. I don’t want the same to happen with Mr. Peanutbutter and Princess Carolyn, I don’t want them to feel like dead weight in a story that’s mostly about BoJack.
The beauty of having one or both of them spining-off is that it would be so easy to write a compelling story around those characters and surround them with great supporting characters. Mr. Peanutbutter would always have Diane by his side, and Princess Carolyn could have Judah on hers while facing off against Rutabaga and Vanessa Gecko (who is NOT a gecko apparently). I don’t want to ever feel like the stories of those two characters are just filler in BoJack’s story, but the more these guys drift apart, the more likely it is that we’re going to get to that point. Having them interact anyways would be bad for BoJack because it would really lessen the impact of him realizing the kind of effect he has on the lives of those around him, and it hurts those other characters, because where they left things in season 3 does not leave much room for BoJack in their lives. It would make sense in a normal TV show where everything has to revolve around the lives of the main character, but in a show like this one, where these cartoon animals have grown and developed in a surprisingly realistic way, it would feel awkward.
Obviously it would be a tall order (read: Basically impossible) to get two spin-off shows based on these great characters, but what I’m really expressing here is worry for the increasingly divided focus the show is getting. Spinning-off would be the ideal way to solve these issues in a perfect world where writing, effort, and reality came secondary to our wants; where things just happened and also turned out for the best every time much like a sitcom, but what the show really needs to focus on is how to do these three fantastic characters justice. That’s all anyone can really ask for really.
Quote of the Day:
“You know, the sound guy’s wife works with at-risk teens. And I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s okay, but compared to what my wife is doing, your wife is bullshit!'”
– Mr. Peanutbutter, BoJack Horseman.