Bojack Horseman: 5:08 Mr Peanutbutter's Boos
So far, season five has been intense. Which is why I’m quite glad that we’ve already got another episode in which the plot doesn’t necessarily advance, and is told through a different framing device. The main arching narrative of season five, in which Bojack (and we) realise what it actually means to own up to your actions and take responsibility, is pretty serious and so it’s nice to be able to break away from it and reflect, every now and again.
Mr Peanutbutter’s Boos allows us to do just that. Rather than Bojack being the main focus of the episode, it’s Mr Peanutbutter and although the revelations are no less heartbreaking, it does give us a minute to catch our breath.
The episode is framed through Bojack’s annual Halloween parties, although it’s soon clear that Bojack never instigated these gatherings. In fact, the birth of the party came out of Bojack’s desire to not hang out with Mr Peanutbutter. Originally, it seems, Bojack refused an invite to Mr Peanutbutter’s Halloween party under the guise that he was throwing one himself. Mr Peanutbutter, being who is he is, decided to combine both parties and brings his guests to Bojack’s house - much to Bojack’s chargrain.
What we witness is four separate Halloween parties at Bojacks, spanning the last 25 years. Four different parties, four different girlfriend-guests that Mr Peanutbutter brings. Four different Bojack’s - in varying states of hopeful and hopelessness. All of the gang make an appearance at some point and one of the best things about the episode is noticing all the little things in the background that shift and change depending on the timeline. For example, the ghost with their gradually decaying costume or Lake Bell’s conversations with each of Mr Peanutbutter’s boos.
Todd also makes a wondrous appearance and actually begins his elongated stay with Bojack after the 2009 party, which is a nice nudge back to one of the first explanations about Todd’s living situation back in season one; “Five years ago he found his way into one of my house parties and never left.”
The four separate timelines are made up of the 1993 party with Katrina in attendance, 2004 with Jessica Biel, 2009 with Diane and 2018 with Pickles. It’s an interesting contrast between each phase of Mr Peanutbutter’s life, but the similarities are glaringly obvious. Though Mr Peanutbutter promises that they will have fun together (and each of them are very nervous), he ultimately abandons each of them at the party to go and have fun with other people.
This episode is a lot. It’s a difficult watch as we switch between all the different timelines and try to keep up with the whos/whats/whens etc. Nevertheless, it’s a hugely enjoyable episode and is a more in depth look into Mr Peanutbutter’s psyche than we have had previously.
Mr Peanutbutter, after getting into an argument with Pickles (like every other girlfriend, at every other party) concludes that he must be the reason that every woman he dates ends up miserable. He believes, incorrectly, that Katrina, Jessica and Diane were all fun loving and carefree extroverts before dating him, and that he is the reason that they all changed so much. Or, in his words, became ‘bitter and cruel’. He is, of course, completely wrong and Diane tells him as much. The problem, as she sees it, is that at some point all of his partners grow up but Mr Peanutbutter never does. He’s stuck in a state of immaturity, just wanting to have fun all the time whilst his peers and girlfriends move on.
In this light, it’s easy to see Mr Peanutbutter as another puzzle piece in the story of what’s wrong with Hollywoo. He’s no Vance or Bojack, but watching Mr Peanutbutter’s Boos it’s clear that he is increasingly dating women significantly younger than himself. Whilst Pickles and him seem like a good match due to her apparent disinterest in anythng remotely adult - you can’t help but wonder if she is far too young for him. Is Mr Peanutbutter part of the problem?
Though it ends on a uplifting note for their relationship, it’s rocky territory for sure. The episode brings up a lot of Mr Peanutbutter’s inner issues, ones that he isn’t ready to even comprehend right now, and that doesn’t bode well for any future relationships he has.