There's a subtle Watchmen Easter egg in the final season of BoJack Horseman
"What is this, a crossover episode?"
BoJack Horseman has always been a show jam-packed with jokes, visual gags, and pop culture references, and the Netflix cartoon's final season isn't any different. In eight new episodes, released Friday morning, the beloved series comes to a bittersweet ending while delivering one of its most subtle, but powerful, blink-and-you-miss-it jokes yet.
Light spoilers for BoJack through Season 6 Episode 13 below.
The episode, titled "The Horny Unicorn," mostly focuses on BoJack's disturbing, Louis CK-inspired Hollywood comeback effort after his past sins come to light in an earlier episode. However, amid that somewhat confusing story is a powerful side plot focused on Mr. Peanutbutter, who's latest romantic relationship is unraveling even while his nonsensical new show Birthday Dad becomes a huge hit.
In a moment of reflection with Princess Carolyn on the set of Birthday Dad, Mr. Peanutbutter opens up and delivers the following monologue:
“I went to the doctor to see if he could make me feel better. He said, ‘You should check out this internet meme, it always cheers me up: Sad Dog.’ And I said, ‘But doctor, I am Sad Dog.’”
If that sounds familiar, well, it should. Rorschach says almost the same thing word for word in the original Watchmen comic in an attempt at humor:
"Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, "Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up." Man bursts into tears. Says "But Doctor... I am Pagliacci." Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains."
For what it's worth, Rorschach's joke is actually a reference to a story from the 1820s.
As for Mr. Peanutbutter's Sad Dog interpretation, that's a callback to a plotline from Season 6, Episode 5 (“A Little Uneven, Is All”) where Princess Carolyn boosts interest in Birthday Dad by creating a viral “sad dog” meme using a picture of Mr. Peanutbutter reminiscent of Sad Keanu. Of course, Peanutbutter is rarely actually sad, but it works. He even becomes the face of a national depression awareness campaign.
So what does this Easter egg mean? Maybe nothing. Maybe it's just an Easter egg. Maybe it's another of Mr. Peanutbutter's extended pop culture references, which are usually more obvious but always impressively convoluted. (Remember this one? "Am I written by Albert Hammond and Diane Warren, originally recorded by Tina Turner, but popularized by Ace of Base? Because 'Don't Turn Around!'")
Or maybe BoJack Horseman is trying to tell us that Mr. Peanutbutter was always the true narrator of the show, the only character who saw things clearly, even when everyone else refused to take him seriously. A clueless idiot who just so happened to stumble upon the truth. Just like Rorschach.
The finale episodes of BoJack Horseman are streaming now on Netflix.