Hello and welcome back, Bojackers! Toady’s episode is Let’s Find Out, which chronicles the first episode of Mr. Peanutbutter’s new TV show Hollywoo Stars: What Do They Know?: Do They Know Things?: Let’s Find Out! And yes, that is the title. After yesterdays jaw-droopingly subversive episode, I wasn’t really sure what to expect this time around. I can tell you, it was not this. And I was surprised we got a Mr. Peanutbutter-centric episode that had nothing to do with his decision to back the network and Hank Hippopopulous. There was some tension regarding him and Diane, but that was unrelated. I’ll get to that later.
In the control room, Wanda is experiencing her first brush with an exciting new technology (for her). And Todd starts a rivalry with an ambitious assistant for the attention of the show creator, JD Salinger.
And we’re off!
1. That Aaron Sorkin cold open
I’ve never seen Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (has anyone?), but I imagine that that cold open was riffing on that show a little bit. Along with more familiar titles like The Newsroom and The West Wing. It was an Aaron Sorkin opening, that’s for sure. People walking down a hallway talking in quips while behind them exciting workplace chaos whirls about? That’s basically the definition of a Sorkin script. It was a nice, gentle send-up amidst a show that usually had very barbed things to say about Hollywood and the media elite in general. And there is certainly some of that later in the episode. But for this opening, the best you’re going to get is Bojack snidely saying to Wanda, “I didn’t get your fax because our fax machine isn’t plugged in.”
2. Oh, right, JD Salinger is a big part of this show now
I keep forgetting that renowned (dead) author JD Salinger is the one who came up with Mr. Peanutbutter’s show Hollywoo Stars: What Do They Know?: Do They Know Things?: Let’s Find Out! And yes. I’m going to type out that title as often as I can. It’s nice to see (or hear, as the case may be) Alan Arkin doing voice work. Besides the fact that he’s from my alma mater, I like Arkin because he’s able to do the Larry David grumpy old man bit while still being incredibly likable and fun to spend time with. He also knows how to communicate pathos, although that wasn’t really on display this episode. Mostly it was him playing the maniacal executive producer of the show and milking every opportunity for “good television” (which mostly consists of getting to that “raw human emotion that literature can never achieve”).
3. Daniel Radcliffe
Also, Daniel Radcliffe showed up. As himself, obviously. He was there as a contestant to go head-to-head with Bojack (who was Mr. Peanutbutter’s first guest on Hollywoo Stars: What Do They Know?: Do They Know Things?: Let’s Find Out!). This version of Radcliffe, however, is a bit of jerk with a bloated ego. Despite having had a very meaningful talk with Bojack some years ago, he can never get his name right (which I will get to later). But in real life, Daniel Radcliffe is supposedly a very gregarious guy who likes to make fun of himself (go watch his episode of Extras), so it was fun to see him riff on his persona. Especially when asked what the colors blue and yellow mixed together make (“…that artist was Banksy. And that color is green”).
4. “I’m J goddamn D goddamn Salinger, and I want rain!”
5. Hey, we got two Salinger references!
Salinger offers a pen to whoever shows the most promise during the broadcast. The thing about this pen is that he used it to write Raise High The Roofbeams, Carpenter! which I’m pretty sure only like 6 people have heard of. And later he asks for a “bannafish sandwich and a redbull” to which Todd replies “It’s a perfect day for redbull!” which is a riff on his famous short story “A Perfect Day for Bannafish.” Which is a story about suicide.
6. Here is a list of names that Daniel Radcliffe calls Bojack
If I missed any, please let me know. I think it’s very important that they be catalogued.
7. And here are some of the better gags of the episode
-When Bojack makes a bad joke, we cut to the audience, which is made up of crickets.
-Bojack’s first question is “What is the average general rainfall in Bora-Bora?” If you listen closely at the top of the episode, you can hear a producer shouting “Can someone get me the average rainfall in Bora-Bora??”
-That one bird who keeps getting hit by the door
-Todd dressing up as different versions of himself (“Pretty Todd isn’t funny!”), culminating in an awesome fake-out (see below)
-Todd running away screaming at JD Salinger “I got your pen that means you respect me!”
-Wanda’s fascination with social media (see: queefburglar69)
8. Good fake out with the potential Todd romance
Mia (Tatiana Maslany) is one ambitious mouse. In a lot of ways, she resembles someone like Alison Pill’s character on The Newsroom. Although, I can’t be sure. I stopped watching that show after the first three episodes. She’s Salinger’s assistant and after Salinger says he’s going to give his pen to the person who showed the most promise the night of the taping, she is determined to win it. And she does, after Todd fails spectacularly and confides in her that he feels like a failure. Feeling bad for him, she gives him the pen. Jump ahead to the future, Todd telling his kids about that night. About how he, against all odds… got that freaking pen. Pull out. He’s just in the make-up room. It’s “old Todd” and Salinger chases him, trying to get his pen back. It was all an elaborate scheme to get that pen. Thank you, Bojack Horseman, for not adding a superfluous romance plot.
9. Those sound effects are legit terrifying
Intercut throughout Hollywoo Stars: What Do They Know?: Do They Know Things?: Let’s Find Out! (I told you I would keep doing it) to signify new segments are just utterly terrifying titles in red letters saying things like “Oh, god, they’re going to kill me!” seemingly apropos of nothing. Every time they happened I jumped a little bit. They’re really scary and kind of funny but mostly scary.
10. Bojack and Mr. Peanutbutter make up… and out
After Bojack blows his lid and insults Mr. Peanutbutter, Mr. PB gets real. He reveals that he knows that Bojack kissed Diane and the two of them get into it in front of a live studio audience and the world. During the break, Wanda tells Mr. Peanutbutter he needs to make up with Bojack on camera because if he doesn’t want emotional resolution “he can bring that shit over to AMC.” So they do. And then they make out. Which was… interesting.
What was more interesting was that the show has never really dealt with the rivalry between Mr. Peanutbutter and Bojack head on. They’ve always skirted around it, but the two of them have never had a one-on-one interaction about it. Bojack admits that he’s jealous of Mr. Peanutbutter because he doesn’t know how to feel good about himself. Mr. Peanutbutter doesn’t understand how he could feel that way when he has everything he could ever want. It’s a really lovely, well-written moment between the two rivals and even if their make-up wasn’t real, it was a good airing of grievances. I’m excited to see how it’ll play out.
Check out earlier reviews of Bojack Horseman episodes below!
10 Thoughts on Bojack Horseman – Hank After Dark
10 Thoughts on Bojack Horseman – Higher Love
10 Thoughts on Bojack Horseman- Chickens
10 Thoughts on Bojack Horseman – After the Party
10 Thoughts on Bojack Horseman – Still Broken
10 Thoughts on Bojack Horseman – Brand New Couch & Yesterdayland
Tags: Aaron Paul, Alan Arkin, BoJack Horseman, bojack horseman season 2, Daniel Radcliffe, lisa kudrow, paul f tompkins, Will Arnett