My Favorite Scene: 'BoJack Horseman' Creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg on the Episode That Made Netflix Nervous
By Stacy Lambe
No one loves a great scene more than the person who first
dreamed it up -- the writer. We're asking iconic shows' creators and writers to
tell ET all about getting to see their most cherished moment
on their series make it from script to screen.
Ahead of the return of BoJack Horseman, season three of
which premieres on Friday, July 22, on Netflix, creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg
opens up about the final moments with Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) in episode
7, “Say Anything,” of season one. (“This is a favorite scene,” Bob-Waksberg clarifies.)
In the episode,
Princess Carolyn suffers a day of personal and professional failure as Vigor,
the agency where she works and represents BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett), merges
with a competing agency run by her rival Vanessa Gekko (Kristin Chenoweth). And
on her 40th birthday, she realizes how many of her own dreams she’s sacrificed
for BoJack, who remains oblivious to her emotions.
There have been a few, I guess you'd call them “elevator
moments” of the show, where it feels we're kind of shifting into a new gear.
This is a big moment for us. This is our first of many downer endings on the
show, where we don't end with a laugh. The idea of “Happy Birthday, you are 40”
is a joke, but it's a very dark, sad joke. I think this is the moment we as the
audience said, “Wait a second. There's more going on here than I thought.”
The whole episode is kind of special in that way, that we're
doing this story about Princess Carolyn. It’s the first time we haven’t done an
episode from BoJack’s perspective. And it’s the first of many experimental
episodes where we try to do different kinds of storytelling. It really kind of
launched us off in a much wider idea of what this show could be, or the kind of
things the show could do.
What was nice about it is that the show is called BoJack Horseman and ultimately, it's
always about BoJack. What’s presented here is a new way to tell a story about BoJack
and see his effect on other people. It is Princess Carolyn’s story, but a big
chunk of it is about how dedicated and devoted she is to BoJack and how little
he appreciates her.
Netflix was originally hesitant about that. There was some
debate about how dark this show is. You know, what can this show be? Is it just
a comedy? Is it just about BoJack? Originally, there was less of BoJack in it, and
one way to sway Netflix is we went back in and we made it much more about BoJack.
And we made sure every act ends on a BoJack beat.
Then, we also had this idea that BoJack brings in this
cardboard version of himself into Princess Carolyn's office. That was like our
subliminal way to make BoJack feel more present in the episode. Even when he
wasn't there, there'd be this cardboard cutout of him. It's like a tongue-in-cheek
way to attack a note, but it actually does help. I think it does feel like a
BoJack episode because BoJack is there in the background saying a Jerry Maguire quote whenever anyone
But there was also this idea about sadness. Now we're going
to take BoJack’s actions seriously and we're going to see how he really hurts
Princess Carolyn. Then the question is, “Do we want to do that with our
protagonist and show that he's not this fun a**hole that can get away with
anything?” People are really rooting for him, and then he f**ks them over and
doesn't really appreciate them. Do we want to throw our main character under
the bus like that? And I think this show is much better because we decided,
“Yes, we do.” This episode holds a special place in my heart for that reason.