This has got to be the least dramatic season of filming BoJack has ever done.
He’s completely sober, for one thing. No struggling to be sober for shoots; no getting eaten alive by the studio or PC for getting drunk and fucking something up and damaging his reputation at the exact wrong time. No backstage drama.
And for once, he’s playing a character who is nothing like him. Which is challenging, but also makes it easier. Tommy Thompson, lonely divorcee trying to find his passion with the help of his childhood best friend, is nothing like BoJack Horseman. His flaws are being too passionate about the wrong things, being too indecisive and optimistic, having too open a heart. A contrast to his best friend: cynical, pessimistic, and nonetheless willing to follow Tommy anywhere. Joey Smith, played by Mr. Peanutbutter.
“Subverting expectations,” Princess Carolyn had told him at the pitch, “is the name of the game here.”
And those expectations certainly were subverted. The first episode of season one is about to drop, and BoJack goes into the set expecting to film the scripted final scene: Tommy and Joey, deciding that they’re going to stop searching for meaning when they have each other and that’s what matters.
BoJack, iced coffee in hand, steps into what he thinks is the right studio, and immediately turns around and looks at the door. Yep. Studio F. It’s where he’s supposed to be, except the set of Tommy’s house is gone, replaced by the interior of the gaudiest church BoJack has ever seen. Vegas has nothing on this: string lights galore, garish angel art on every wall, and it seems to be forcing as many architectural styles as possible in the tiny space.
“BoJack!” PC waves from across the room, and BoJack heads over, dodging a PA carrying a pair of massive white angel wings.
“What is going on?”
“Lights!” someone calls, and what already seemed overwrought and tacky lights up and reaches new levels of hideously gaudy. It’s too much. BoJack feels like he can’t look at it too long, like it’s the sun. Except so much worse.
“We’re changing the final scene!” She shoves him a stack of pages and BoJack nearly drops them. “Read up in your trailer. I’ll send Mr. Peanutbutter over to practice with you. We shoot in two hours!” And she’s off, phone to her ear.
BoJack opens the script. INT. CHURCH, it reads. The first speaking character is MINISTER.
“I’m not sure about this,” BoJack says.
Mr. Peanutbutter takes his hand. His hands are so soft, BoJack notices distantly. “I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life. I believe in you. I believe in us. Are you ready?”
“I never am. But maybe… maybe this time.”
“Then… yes, Minister, we’re ready. I do.”
“I… also do. Really? That’s what he says?”
“Well, not so monotone.” Mr. Peanutbutter drops BoJack’s hand and points to the script, a few lines up. “Tommy is sure of this, but the feeling of certainty is unfamiliar. He’s hesitant, but glowing.’”
“Right.” BoJack clears his throat and tries to channel ‘hesitant, but glowing’. “I also do.”
“Perfect!” Mr. Peanutbutter folds up his script and drops it on the table. They’re in BoJack’s trailer, beside each other on the couch, and by BoJack’s watch — well, the clock on the microwave — they should be filming any minute now.
Mr. Peanutbutter stands and stretches a little. They’re both in costume, in cheap yet classy three-piece suits. Given the timeline of the episode, BoJack’s not sure where or when their characters were meant to have gotten dressed up, but he’s been wearing the same jeans and t-shirt for the past nine and a half episodes. He’ll take the variety.
Someone knocks on the door of the trailer. Mr. Peanutbutter’s ears perk up and he turns his head to it. “You’re needed back on set, Mr Peanutbutter and Mr Horseman!” someone calls.
“Showtime,” Mr. Peanutbutter says, and claps BoJack on the back.
“I’m not sure the wig is necessary,” the Minister says, fiddling with it. “Are you sure this says minister? Because I really am one, and we usually don’t dress like judges—”
“Take that up with the costuming department,” Princess Carolyn says, and then spots BoJack lurking behind the Minister. “Just a minute, Minister. BoJack! You ready?”
“All good,” he says. “I was just wondering, does this mean we’re setting up for season two or shutting down the possibility? Why was this changed, anyway?”
“Oh, this was the original ending all along,” PC says. “The writer just couldn’t get the studio to agree to it, so she wrote another ending. But when the critical screenings of the first few episodes came back positive, they agreed to it. Said she clearly knows her stuff. And she does!” Princess Carolyn waves to her, where she’s coming out of her office.
“Oh. Is that why… all that stuff earlier in the season?”
There’s a lot of it, and BoJack remembers it all. Tommy and Joey babysitting together. Tommy and Joey doing a couple’s nude painting class and painting each other. Tommy and Joey huddling for warmth in a cave as a snow storm rages outside — hiking is not Tommy’s passion, they’d agreed, and stripped naked to share warmth in one sleeping bag and wait out the storm.
Really, that last thing alone should’ve been the hint.
“Whatever,” PC says. “It’s a great ending to a great season of TV. There’s Emmy buzz, BoJack. You two should be proud, the critics are saying that they’ve known since Philbert that your dynamic could lead a show and that this is proving it beyond a doubt.”
“Yeah.” PC heads off to talk to the director, and BoJack adjusts the lapels of his suit. “Sounds good.”
The actual scene goes really well. No one stumbles over their lines, and when the Minister says, “I now pronounce you dog and horse, husband and husband, together for life,” and they kiss — very weird, certainly not strangely enjoyable — for the last take, and the director calls cut, it feels complete and perfectly satisfying. The Minister pulls off his wig and grabs the marriage licence that they’d signed during the scene before wandering off. The hideous church — and it really is supposed to be in Vegas, which BoJack finds gratifying — has its lights shut off and is somehow more frightening in the darkness.
“Good job, BoJack,” Mr. Peanutbutter says, and it’s so sincere that BoJack almost can’t handle it.
“You too. See you tonight.”
BoJack drives home and wonders why it feels significant that he just pretended to get married.
There’s only a couple hours before he has to get back in the car and drive to the premier. There’s photos to take, elbows to rub, hors d’oeuvres to sample.
Champagne to not sample. His nine-month chip is in his pocket. He’s two weeks away from a year. He runs his fingers over it as he pulls over and the valet takes his keys.
The beginning goes by in a blur: cameras flashing, Mr. Peanutbutter by his side, questions shouted by journalists. He tries half a dozen canapes and gets a table with the rest of the main cast. The writer goes out on stage and talks about how this story is the story she’s always wanted to tell, that being up on this stage is her dream, all that typical boring bullshit. And then the episode starts.
Normally BoJack wouldn’t stay for the whole thing, and he’s tempted to slip out five minutes in when the opening credits play, but he forces himself to stay and watch. With the knowledge of the finale, the fact that the story was building up to Tommy and Joey’s wedding is a lot more obvious. He hadn’t really thought about it, but he really was playing a romance the whole time. There’s longing glances and significant pauses. They get mistaken for a couple several times.
It’s interesting. He keeps glancing at Mr. Peanutbutter, and can’t discern much of a reaction from him during the particularly romantic scenes.
Not that he would. Why would he?
The curtain comes down an hour later. The applause isn’t wild or a standing ovation, but it’s respectable.
BoJack… feels good about it.
“Go home and know you did a good job,” PC tells him an hour into the afterparty. “Really. Good job, BoJack.”
He reaches for a cigarette waiting for his car, and stops himself, even before he remembers that he doesn’t have any. It’s progress.
Sleep is hard. It’s been a very long time since he’s had to rely on his own body to get him to sleep, and now that he’s out of rehab and the rigid, unchanging routines, it feels nearly impossible to sleep at a normal time. But he doesn’t reach for a bottle of whiskey; he takes melatonin, which is the lamest possible drug, and waits until his head calms down enough and drifts off.
It means that he’s been experiencing those odd, pre-sleep thoughts for the first time since his twenties. He’s had some odd ones so far, but the one that night is definitely the oddest.
He wonders, why did we actually sign the marriage certificate? He remembers it — the reassurance that the cameras wouldn’t capture the paper itself, and the instruction to do what felt natural, since it needed to look natural. They could’ve both done a scribble and written any two words, but they didn’t. He remembers his own signature, BoJack Horseman, next to Mr. Peanutbutter, their names printed neatly below.
Why, he thinks, was that? And then he falls asleep.
The thought occurs, halfway through the next morning — as he’s collapsing on the couch post-run and scrolling through Twitter — that the Minister had objected to his costume. I’m actually a minister, he’d said, and a feeling of faint dread begins to tickle the back of his mind. He texts PC. Just to ease his mind, he thinks.
how did you find the actor for the minister so fast?
She replies half an hour later — which beats her previous record by twenty-six minutes.
Didn’t cast an actor. It was sudden so we just found a real one online who does quick weddings. He brought the certificate and everything.
“Oh, no,” BoJack says, and calls Mr. Peanutbutter.
“Okay, whoa, slow down there, buddy! What are you saying?”
BoJack glances at his speedometer and slows down to a more reasonable five over the limit. His heart is pounding like he’s just done cocaine and he hasn’t needed a drink this badly since the early days of rehab. “That we’re married. We’re actually married. The minister was real and we both signed our real names on the real marriage certificate. And we need to annul it.”
“Huh.” Mr. Peanutbutter pauses. “It didn’t feel like any of my other weddings. But I guess you’re right. We probably should before someone in the media checks the California marriage records and leaks it. But who would do that, really? Is it that urgent?”
“Aren’t you already married?”
The silence that follows is answer enough. BoJack winces. “Uh—”
“Well, as your husband, I should tell you,” Mr. Peanutbutter says.
“Not really my husband, and really, I don’t—”
“I slept with Diane.”
BoJack shuts his mouth.
“After our divorce. More than once. Pickles — she knew I still had feelings for her, but I’d told her it didn’t matter. I was going to tell her that I’d slept with Diane since we’d been dating, but I couldn’t do it, so I proposed instead.”
He pauses again. BoJack doesn’t think he’s ever heard Mr. Peanutbutter this serious for this long. It’s more vulnerable and uncomfortable than he expected.
“We got married a month later and I spent the whole time trying to work up the nerve to tell her. I went through with the wedding and I knew I’d made a mistake.”
Someone cuts BoJack off and he almost hits the horn, reflexively, but stops himself.
“We went on our honeymoon. I felt so guilty the whole time. And when we got home, I told her, and she… well, she started crying. She was really upset, and I told her she could leave, I’d give her half of everything and pay for her lawyer, it didn’t matter. She said it was okay, that I’d told her, that she trusted me and knew I wouldn’t do it again. And I just… I told her we had to end it. That I’d made a mistake.”
BoJack winces. Then he sees his exit, way too close. He cuts across three lanes, through a wave of horns, and makes it just in time.
“So we got a divorce. She could’ve taken everything, but she didn’t want it. She just wanted it to be over. And… well. It was everywhere for a while, but I guess you would’ve missed it. But it’s over now. And I’m married again! So it’s fine.”
“Fifth time’s the charm, right?” BoJack says, and wants to hit himself. It was the wrong thing to say on so many levels. Mainly that they aren’t really married.
But Mr. Peanutbutter doesn’t seem to mind. He laughs. “Let’s hope so!”
He hangs up before BoJack can ask him when they can sign divorce papers.
BoJack had meant to drive to Mr. Peanutbutter’s house, but he ends up outside Princess Carolyn’s apartment building instead. It’s her day off — week off, actually — and she actually refuses to work during her off hours now, so there’s every possibility that she won’t even let him in, but he’s here already, so he goes up and knocks on her door.
It takes her almost a minute to get to the door, which BoJack thinks might also be a record. Motherhood really has changed her. “It’s my day off, BoJack,” she says in lieu of hello.
“I’m here as a friend,” he says. “Not a client.”
She glares at him for a moment, and then there’s a gurgle from behind her. She turns around and crosses the room to a cage in the corner. Not a cage — just a fenced-in area, with a toddler hedgehog in the middle. She crouches down and the toddler reaches out a hand to her.
“Mommy’s here,” she says, and the toddler starts to cry. “Oh, no, sweetheart, it’s okay.” She picks up the toddler and notices BoJack still standing there. She sighs. “Come on in, then. Could use some company.”
BoJack ends up sitting on her couch as she tries to feed the baby. It’s a long process, which allows him time to sort through his own thoughts as she alternates talking to the toddler and telling BoJack all the good things critics are saying about the show. “Tommy and Joey is going to be a hit,” she says when she’s almost done feeding the baby. “It ticks all the boxes. Great acting. A relationship to get invested in. A satisfying ending that leaves enough room for a sequel.”
“About that ending,” BoJack says, and isn’t sure how to proceed. “Uh.”
“Does this have to do with your text this morning about the minister?”
“Yeah, about that—”
“I was just thinking about it. Why was he dressed like a judge? Who decided that? It’s ridiculous. The wig and everything.”
“The wedding was real.”
Princess Carolyn pauses with the last bite of food halfway to the baby’s mouth. “I’m sorry, what?”
“They told us to just do what looked natural, so we both signed our real names. And we said I do in front of a real minister. So it’s real, right?”
“Oh, fish,” PC says, and the baby starts to cry again. “Oh, fish. Damnit, BoJack, you said this was a friend thing!”
“You don’t have to do anything. I’ll figure it out, we’ll get a quick divorce—”
“The media could find out any minute. This could be an emergency! I need to call the office—”
“Don’t.” BoJack puts down his glass of water on the coffee table and stands. “It was good to see you. If it all blows up, we’ll figure it out. But spend time with your daughter, PC.”
She looks up from rocking the toddler in her arms. “BoJack, this could change the course of your career. It’ll definitely change the context of the show. It’ll look like you two made this show as a way of coming out together.”
BoJack’s stomach drops to his feet. “I—”
“We can spin it. It’s fine. But really — get this taken care of, so we don’t have to spin it. Got it?”
He nods and is out the door before he can let himself speak. Out in the hallway, he lets out a breath.
He doesn’t let himself consider his first thought — that it wouldn’t be so bad. (Why would he even think that? Of course it would be.)
BoJack drives back to his house, because he’s not sure what else to do, and flips through TV channels, because he’s not sure what else to do. He lands on a talk show discussing the first episode of Tommy and Joey, and watches a few minutes, lying on the couch and eating chips. They’re analyzing the relationship between the main characters.
“Well, they’re clearly the most important people to each other,” says one of the hosts, a Doberman in a sleek purple dress. “Their relationship propels the story and the season. It’s the catalyst and the resolution.”
“It’s very beautiful, really, and born out of a wonderful collaborative relationship,” adds another host, a human woman with dyed pink hair. “It’s a logical progression of their careers, but really, who would’ve predicted this kind of performance from BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter a few years ago? They work very well together, but somehow they’re only starting to collaborate now.”
The Doberman nods. “Yes, Janice, I see what you mean. So much potential, untapped until now! I can’t wait to see what’s next for these two.”
“Hopefully another season!” interjects the last host, a deer in an outrageous suit patterned like the night sky. Giggles all around.
“You’ve only seen the first episode,” BoJack grumbles, and tosses another chip into his mouth.
“But what about the rumors surrounding the actors?” the pink-haired host asks. “We’re just getting this now, on the teleprompter — oh! Mr. Peanutbutter and BoJack Horseman got married?”
BoJack sits up straight. “Oh, shit.”
“Married?” The Doberman gasps, both hands on her face. “Oh, my! When? Filed last night? What incredible news.”
“The two of them? Married? What is this, a crossover episode?” the deer asks, winking at the camera.
“How wonderful! In the light of that, we really need to analyze this episode again. We’ll see you after this commercial break with a breakdown of their characters and what it could indicate about the real pair.” On a screen behind the hosts’ heads, a picture of BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter from the premier floats into view. Mr. Peanutbutter is laughing, his arm around BoJack, and BoJack looks… at ease. Almost happy.
“So maybe we should have filed for divorce earlier. Oh, well, everyone makes mistakes. Next time, right?”
“Is there going to be a next time?” BoJack snaps, and then closes his eyes. Damn it.
“Okay! Clearly this is bothering you. We can release a statement. Tell the public what happened.”
“No, we can’t!” BoJack glares at the cars in front of him. It’s rush hour now, so it’ll be a while before he makes it to Mr. Peanutbutter’s house. “It sounds ridiculous. We accidentally signed a real marriage certificate during the wedding scene in the finale? And then it got filed without our knowledge? Not to mention that if we spoil the last episode, the network will have both of our heads.”
“Good point. Well… what should we do, then?”
“I don’t know! This is Princess Carolyn’s job and she’s not working this week.”
“Well, I’m sure she’ll help, if it’s an emergency—”
“No. We can handle this. Has anyone contacted you for an interview?”
“A Ryan Seacrest Type wants us on Excess Hollywoo tonight. Are you available?”
“If we can put this all straight? Sure.”
“Well, we need to be there in an hour, so I’ll meet you there?”
“Sure.” It’s in the opposite direction, so BoJack cuts across the median, resists the temptation to flip off the drivers honking at him, and joins the flow of traffic the other way, which is actually moving. “See you then.”
BoJack gets there first, since he was already on the road. He waits backstage for Mr. Peanutbutter, resisting the urge to text PC. Fix your own damn mess, BoJack . He’s been telling himself that for months. Mostly it was about recovering from addiction and trying to build a real, meaningful existence outside of self-pity and constant fuckups, but it applies to his PR disasters as well.
PC should be thanking him for this, really.
“BoJack!” Mr. Peanutbutter says from right beside him, and BoJack jumps. “How’s it going?”
“Fine. Do you have a plan? How are we spinning this?”
“Well, I was thinking… we can just pretend to be really married.”
“Are you serious.”
“Well, I was thinking about it, and I really can’t think of a better way to do this. Like you said, we can’t tell the truth, so there’s not really a better angle. So if you’re okay with it, we’ll just act like newlyweds and get a tragic divorce soon.”
So this is why he needs Princess Carolyn. Because BoJack can’t think of a better solution. They’re on in half an hour. There’s no time.
“Sounds good,” he says, and tries not to think of the state of the media tomorrow.
“What an exciting turn of events!” A Ryan smiles at the camera and then turns back to them. They’re sitting uncomfortably close on a couch together. “The premier of your show and your wedding! On the same day! That must be so great for you two.”
“So wonderful,” BoJack forces himself to say.
“It’s really great,” Mr. Peanutbutter adds.
“So? Spill the deets! How long have you two been together? What was the ceremony like? Why hasn’t anyone heard about this?”
“Well,” Mr. Peanutbutter says, taking BoJack’s hand — and, well, they’ve held hands quite a lot since filming began, but this feels very different, doing it as BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter instead of as their characters, in front of all of Hollywoo — “we started filming this show six months ago, and it was great, and we’ve always been attracted to each other, but the characters showed us a side of ourselves we hadn’t really thought about before. The side… that could fall in love.”
“Aww,” a chorus of voices says, and BoJack jumps. He’s not sure where the voices came from.
“How sweet. And so soon after your fourth divorce!”
“Indeed.” Mr. Peanutbutter looks down. “I’m not proud of it, but when you find the one — for the fifth time… nothing else matters.”
BoJack doesn’t jump at the “Aww” this time. He doesn’t.
“Lovely. And BoJack? What’s your side of this story?”
“Uh.” He looks up. The lights are too bright and he really didn’t sleep a lot the night before; his eyes hurt. “Same?”
The “Aww” this time has an almost confused tone. Is it real people, BoJack wonders, as A Ryan narrows his eyes at him.
“Is that all? After that beautiful speech? I’d almost think you two weren’t on the same page!”
They certainly are not. BoJack doesn’t know how to respond to anything Mr. Peanutbutter just said. It’s more than giggly newlyweds — it sounds uncomfortably close to genuine. But he’s here to sell this, so— “I just don’t know what to say. He said it perfectly. When you find the one… nothing else matters.”
Mr. Peanutbutter squeezes his hand. BoJack can barely feel anything else.
“All right, I believe you. But why was it a secret?”
“We didn’t want to overshadow the show. It’s not about us. We aren’t our characters and we didn’t want our real lives to impact how the show is seen.” Mr. Peanutbutter is really good, BoJack thinks. He’s got the perfect angle — aside from having the world think that they’re in love and married. “I guess it didn’t happen right. But that’s okay. I don’t need to hide anymore.”
BoJack is expecting it when Mr. Peanutbutter leans in for a kiss. It’s almost chaste — almost the same as their wedding kiss. Fake wedding, he reminds himself, but the distinction doesn’t feel as important as it did even an hour ago.
“Aww,” A Ryan says, along with the other voices. “Well, Hollywoo, that’s our time. We’ll see you tomorrow.” The cameras and lights shut off and A Ryan heads off without another word as BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter break apart.
“Well, that was a good spin,” Mr. Peanutbutter says. “That should hold off the media for a bit. Good job, BoJack!” And then he’s gone. BoJack is sitting on the dark, empty stage, alone.
“You went on Excess Hollywoo? Without telling me? Are you both insane? What do you think a manager is for, if not for things like this?”
“It was your week off—”
“Which is why you’re supposed to keep your heads low! Not do this!” She hisses a little into the phone, and on the other end of the line, BoJack can hear the baby crying. “Oh, fish. One second.” She goes on mute, and BoJack makes eye contact with Mr. Peanutbutter, who looks a little cowed for once, staring down at the table. They’re at VIM in the conference room, Princess Carolyn on speaker on BoJack’s phone. There probably wasn’t much reason to be there without her, but it makes it feel a little less chaotic.
When she’s calmed down the baby, she’s back with a vengeance. “I’ll take two more days off and then I will handle this. You two just stay out of public and we’ll work up a divorce story.”
“No,” BoJack says, and Mr. Peanutbutter looks at him, surprised. “I mean — this show, it’s good. It’s really good. And now the story is that we fell in love working on it. If we divorce before the second episode even airs, that’ll taint the rest of it. Even ruin it. We can’t do that.”
“Well,” PC says after a moment of surprised silence. “You’re… not wrong, BoJack. I didn’t think you’d want to stay married for any length of time. Are you sure you’re okay with this? Committing to this? You’ll need to stay in this relationship at least until the finale. Ten weeks from now.”
“Ten weeks is nothing,” BoJack says. “For the art, right?”
“For the art. Mr. Peanutbutter, what about you?”
“Sounds great,” he says, but he’s not looking at BoJack when he says it.
“Wonderful. I’ll take the full week off, then. See you later.” She hangs up and BoJack picks up his phone. Mr. Peanutbutter still won’t look at him.
“We’re good?” he asks, and Mr. Peanutbutter nods, distracted. “...Okay. See you later, then.”
He’s in his car before he wonders if Mr. Peanutbutter is actually okay. He’s never not been okay, but… there’s a first time for everything, right? He almost goes back, because Mr. Peanutbutter hasn’t come out of the building yet, but stops himself. They’re not actually married. He doesn’t need to do that.
He drives home. He goes for a painful run. He can’t stop thinking about it.
By that evening, a day after the interview, #BoButter is trending on Twitter. GirlCroosh has already come out with an article about them: Ten Times BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter Gave Us Life. The first picture is from the nineties, their first meeting at a party, and the last is from the premier.
Diane didn’t write the article, which BoJack is very glad to see. They haven’t talked much over the last year, and he feels like he should be reaching out to her, but he doesn’t really know what to say to her. What are you supposed to say in this situation, really? Hey, long time no talk. So I’m married to your ex-husband now. How’s your life going?
No. He also doesn’t particularly want to lie to her, and the whole truth isn’t really an option, so it’s better that she’s not reaching out and neither is he. It’s better.
Keep telling yourself that, BoJack.
He spends at least an hour clicking through tweets. The reactions range wildly, but only a few come close to guessing the truth, so he counts that as a win. They’re believable enough as a couple to sell their fake marriage, so hopefully that means their show is good as well. Really, BoJack can look at this as the ultimate acting exercise: pretending to be married to someone he only kind of likes in real life.
(Well, they’d gotten closer during filming. Their relationship is closer to friendship than it’s ever been before — or at least it was while they were filming. Mr. Peanutbutter has been a bit weird over the last few days, but generally it’s on the upswing. Still acting practice, though.)
He’s about to close Twitter and find something productive to do when he checks his mentions and sees a recent one that stops him in his tracks.
so why haven’t @bjhorseman & @mrpeanutbutterofficial moved in together yet? hmm... seems a bit weird to me #BoButter
It’s just one person, he’s pretty sure no one else has asked that yet, but the implications aren’t good. They need to be selling this. A hundred percent. It’s important.
He calls Mr. Peanutbutter.
Mr. Peanutbutter moves in with BoJack, rather than the other way around. His house is bigger, he has a rarely-used guest room, and he’s not about to give up his pool. He’d started off with that — suggesting Mr. Peanutbutter move to his place — and Mr. Peanutbutter had agreed right off the bat, without even suggesting the reverse. He’d been prepared to fight for it — he’d laid out his reasons before calling — but he hadn’t had to.
Mr. Peanutbutter is a surprisingly good roommate. Sure, he freaks out when the mail comes, and sometimes he gets up and paces in the night and wakes BoJack up (he’s a ridiculously light sleeper without alcohol in his system, and it’s awful), but overall they get along well.
So well, in fact, that weeks go by and BoJack barely notices. He finds a new project — a high-concept and moderate-budget indie movie — and keeps busy. Mr. Peanutbutter lives his own life out of BoJack’s guest room. Every so often they go on a “date” and let themselves be photographed together, and the social media machine churns ever onwards. They get asked for selfies in public, he gets tweeted questions about their life as a couple all the time, and the general Hollwoo consensus seems to be that BoButter is an adorable whirlwind romance. And the show’s ratings certainly don’t seem to be hurting for it.
The finale catches them both off guard. Or, well, maybe just BoJack. PC texts him the morning it’s meant to air: Happy almost-divorce!
“What?” he mutters, and checks the date. Yep, it’s airing tonight. The date he should have been counting down to has somehow snuck up on him.
When he goes out into the kitchen, Mr. Peanutbutter is already there, making omelettes. (He’s not a big cook, BoJack has found, but he makes a killer omelette when he has the time and motivation. He’ll miss that when he lives alone again.) “Morning!” he says, and slides BoJack a cup of coffee as he sits down.
“Morning,” BoJack says, taking a sip of coffee, and tries to figure out a good way to drop a casual divorce suggestion into this conversation.
Mr. Peanutbutter, of course, beats him to it. “So! We’re getting divorced today?”
(Maybe it’s that the coffee that Mr. Peanutbutter made is so much better than BoJack’s could ever be. Maybe it’s that it’s a beautiful, sunny morning and the kitchen smells like eggs and cheese and BoJack has gotten used to this, even though it makes no sense to have done so.
Maybe it’s the fact that the last few weeks were probably the happiest of his life.)
“I mean. Do we have to?” he says. “That’s kind of soon, right? Might seem obvious that we were waiting for this. What if we wait a couple more weeks?”
“That makes sense.” Mr. Peanutbutter slides the omelette onto a plate. It’s steaming and BoJack has never seen anything more beautiful. Mr. Peanutbutter slices it in half and passes one half to BoJack. When he tries it, it’s light and fluffy and perfectly done. “The whole point of this is to avoid suspicion, right?”
“Exactly.” The omelette has somehow vanished already. Damn it. BoJack wishes he’d savoured it more. “I’ll call PC and let her know.”
Princess Carolyn is silent for probably a full thirty second after BoJack stammers out the words we’re staying married a bit longer. Then she exhales, long and hard, and somehow more full of judgement than words could be.
“Right. Okay. BoJack, should I be worried about anything here?”
“Worried? What would you be worried about?”
She pauses for a moment. “I don’t know. But BoJack… you have a date planned, right? You know when, it’s just not now?”
“So just a few more weeks, no longer?”
“And you haven’t chosen a date… why?”
“We’re both very busy. We’ll get around to it when we get around to it.”
“Choosing a date, or — what, really? BoJack, what is going on?”
He doesn’t have an answer to that. It doesn’t make sense that this divorce feels like an execution and that he really doesn’t want to be counting down to it. None of this makes sense.
“Nothing. See you later, PC.” He hangs up before she can say goodbye back.
Neither of them bring up divorce again for the next couple of months. More and more of Mr. Peanutbutter’s things start showing up in BoJack’s house. BoJack’s living room gains a few more pieces of wall art; an extra room becomes Mr. Peanutbutter’s office.
A few weeks into this… whatever it is (BoJack doesn’t let himself think permanency ) Mr. Peanutbutter mentions over dinner at Elefante that he’s going home for a week for a family wedding.
“Am I coming?” BoJack finds himself asking. Mr. Peanutbutter blinks, surprised.
“I guess I do have a plus-one. And you’ve never been to the Labrador Peninsula, right?”
“No, I haven’t.”
“Well, of course you’re coming! My family should meet my husband. It would be weird if you didn’t come!”
So that’s how BoJack is introduced to Mr. Peanutbutter’s entire extended family as Mr. Peanutbutter’s husband a few days later. He has a lot of relatives and it’s a bit overwhelming, but BoJack thinks he does fairly well, considering he’s never done the whole “meet the family” thing before.
The family gathering goes late; the wedding is tomorrow and the party’s already started. When they finally bow out, BoJack goes to get their luggage out of the rental car and comes to a horrifying realization on the way back into the house.
They’ve been given one bedroom. With, presumably, only one bed. Because they’re married.
He stops in the middle of the path. “Oh… no.”
Climbing the stairs to their room is the longest walk of his life. Mr. Peanutbutter is humming cheerfully beside him, the bastard, completely unaware of BoJack’s panic. When they get to their room, Mr. Peanutbutter still doesn’t react, just takes his bag and starts taking off his shirt.
BoJack unsticks his tongue and manages, “So… we’re sharing the bed?”
“Is that a problem? I can sleep on the floor.”
“No… not a problem.” Damn him. He’s so accepting of the situation and BoJack doesn’t want to look like a jerk. Really, they’re fake-married friends and roommates, why would it be weird? It’s only for a couple of nights.
BoJack keeps his shirt on and climbs into the bed slowly. Mr. Peanutbutter spins in a circle or two on the bed before lying down, in only his boxers.
(Why is he so ripped? It’s not like he needs to be. Not fair.)
It takes BoJack at least two hours to go to sleep. Every time he starts to drift off, Mr. Peanutbutter sighs in his sleep or rolls over and he’s painfully aware that they’re maybe a few inches apart at most.
When he finally falls asleep, his dreams are far too enjoyable.
The wedding is like every other wedding BoJack’s ever been to, other than the fact that he stays away from the open bar. Mr. Peanutbutter even declines a champagne glass of his own, which BoJack tries not to think about — it makes him feel warm inside, like he has some sort of disease. He talks about the weather and light Hollywoo gossip with Mr. Peanutbutter’s cousins, and the night goes by quickly, and soon they’re sleeping in the same bed for the second time and it’s just as terrible and perfect as the first time.
All too soon, they’re back in Hollywoo, and things are back to normal. Life goes on. They both go back to work, and before BoJack knows it, it’s their six-month anniversary. A Ryan Seacrest Type has them back on Excess Hollywoo to talk about it. It’s more of the same: Mr. Peanutbutter being exceptionally convincing, and BoJack being unsure what to say to follow up his grandiose declarations of love.
“Every day,” Mr. Peanutbutter says, holding BoJack’s hand and gazing into his eyes, “I fall more in love with this beautiful horse.”
“I’d be happy to spend the rest of my life with you, BoJack. I knew our marriage was the right thing to do. It may have seemed sudden, it may have seemed like a mistake — but it was the best mistake I’ve ever made.”
BoJack can’t speak for a moment. What he’s saying sounds — real. There’s something in his eyes, in his voice, that BoJack can’t pinpoint, and — a mistake. Why would he say that in public? It was, but that’s not the story—
“How touching,” A Ryan says, hand over his heart. “BoJack, can you even follow that up?”
“Uh,” he says.
“Aww,” the chorus sings.
The only thing that he can think to say is true. It’s true, and he hasn’t admitted it to himself, because this is Mr. Peanutbutter, and he can’t feel like that about Mr. Peanutbutter, that’s ridiculous, but — he does.
“I love you,” he says, and Mr. Peanutbutter’s eyes go wide. “What else can I say? That’s all that matters. You’re right. Our marriage was the best mistake of my life.
“Wonderful. After this commercial break, speculation about meaningless, unverified gossip! See you soon.” They’re off air, and A Ryan heads off to the snack table.
Mr. Peanutbutter blinks at BoJack. Neither of them have let go of the other’s hand. “BoJack—”
“Were you… telling the truth?” It might be the hardest question BoJack’s ever asked. “I mean. To A Ryan. About me. BoJack. Horseman, obviously.”
“BoJack…” Mr. Peanutbutter finally lets go of his hand, and runs one hand over his head, which he does a lot when he’s put on the spot. BoJack knows that about him now. He knows so many things about Mr. Peanutbutter. “I… of course I was.”
BoJack has never felt so many emotions in his life. The biggest, though, is… relief. That Mr. Peanutbutter feels the same, that he doesn’t have to live alone again, that the most functional relationship he’s ever had can keep going. “Me too,” he says, and Mr. Peanutbutter smiles. It’s the best thing he’s ever seen.
They’re both banned from Excess Hollywoo studios twenty minutes later.
“Improper use of dressing rooms,” BoJack snaps as he merges onto the freeway. His shirt is on backwards, he notices. Whoops. “Who are they to say that, anyway.”
“Really, isn’t undressing part of dressing?” Mr. Peanutbutter adds indignantly. His shirt is still in the dressing room. There’s another one back at home. (Home. Their home. BoJack can really say that now.)
The rest of the drive is mostly silent, and thrumming with possibility. BoJack can’t stop smiling.
(He can’t stop smiling. That has to be a first.)