This episode of BoJack Horsemean heavily references an episode of The Larry Sanders show where Larry is caught on security tape knocking over a lady at a grocery store. In BoJack’s case, he just can’t resist being a jerk and denying “dibs” on some muffins a seal hid in the produce section while he went to the bathroom. BoJack doesn’t even want the muffins, he buys them out of spite, and then hate eats the entire box on the way home.
When it turns out the seal is not just a regular seal, but Neal McBeal the Navy Seal, BoJack Horseman finds himself in a harrowing media storm. Everything he says gets him in further trouble, but it’s all more appealing to him than actually opening about his childhood to Diane, his ghostwriter.
BoJack’s unwelcomed flashbacks to his stressful childhood involve watching his parents bicker about his dad’s affairs during his birthday breakfast and his dad insulting the Father’s Day card he made for him.
“This is a really good conversation, and I definitely want to keep have it, but I keep thinkin’ about this muffins thing. So, maybe we can put a pin in this thorough deconstruction of my past so I can put that other thing to bed before it spirals out of control,” he tells Diane, in a train wreck of an evasion. Thinking about his past not only compels BoJack to avoid talking about it entirely, but dredges up negative feelings that he uses to fuel The BoJack-off.
The episodes culminates in BoJack being forced to make up with Neal McBeal the Navy Seal on his frenemy Mr. Peanutbutter’s reality show Peanutbutter & Jelly. BoJack almost carries off his olive branch maneuver, but he can’t resist turning it into a rant session. A standout opinion is his scathing remark about the shallowness of reality shows, ironically criticizing them for reducing our complicated lines to “catch phrases.”
This entire episode is an illustration of “projecting.” From the comment about reality shows (which is oft-repeated criticism of sitcoms) to telling a young woman he’s about to bed that not knowing she’s an awful person doesn’t make her not an awful person, BoJack is full of insightful boomerang barbs that bounce off others and smack him right in the face.
What’s fueling this deflecting blindness in this episode is his unerasable childhood. Having faced the initial anxiety of taking steps to complete his book, he’s left with a deeper, smoldering fear of sorting through some of the dark parts of his consciousness. When BoJack finally complains to Diane in a snide voice that “people just want to hear what they already believe” instead of the truth, Diane calls him on his BS, but not in attacking way. She’s a judo-master of sly attempts to get BoJack to open up, and this one finally works. She’s nice but firm in telling him that he hasn’t been that good at telling the truth himself, and he suddenly starts opening up like he’s on WTF with Marc Maron.
As the episodes fades we learn that his parents heavy drinkers and that his dad was a failed novelist who was resentful of his mother for being a Sugar Cube heir and (most disturbingly) made BoJack cry with him while they listened to Cole Porter records.