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"And as I'm leaving, I think, "I just got a free churro because my mom died." No one ever tells you when your mom dies, you get a free churro."

BoJack Horseman


Introduction

Free Churro is the sixth episode of Season 5 of BoJack Horseman, and the 54th episode overall. It premiered with the rest of Season 5 on September 14, 2018.

Synopsis

BoJack delivers a eulogy at a funeral.

Plot

The episode begins with a flashback to BoJack as a kid. He is sitting on a bench, waiting to be picked up from soccer practice as it gets later and colder out. His father, Butterscotch, pulls up and begrudgingly tells his son to get in.

On the drive home, Butterscotch tells BoJack his mother is having another episode, as she saw A Doll's House with her girlfriends the other night and she got "ideas," and she locked herself in the bedroom to weep.

Butterscotch rants how because of this he had to make himself a sandwich. He also states how he had a good run on his novel, where he was writing a sentence that went on for several pages—when he realized Beatrice didn't pick up their son. This left him having to do "her job" again, and pick up BoJack from soccer practice.

He goes on a lengthy misogyny-laden speech and tells BoJack to not let this incident give him "mixed up ideas about gender." He says Sundays are his writing days and tells BoJack he and his mother ruined the day for him. He then apologizes for Beatrice, saying she's trying her best, but you still can't depend on women or anyone in that matter.

He tells BoJack he's lucky that he has a good mother to teach him that. BoJack for the entire time sits in terrified silence, being held as a captive audience, and doesn't respond to this. Butterscotch, thinking he is showing his son a form of kindness, is offended and obnoxiously shouts in his son's face "THANNNK YOOOUUUU!!!??"

In the present, BoJack is standing at a podium wearing a suit, and explaining how before he came here, he went to Jack in the Box. The girl behind the counter asked him how his day was. BoJack explains to the unseen audience that he usually feels shitty, but because he doesn't know why he lies and says he's doing great.

However, today he's allowed to say he feels shitty, and he says he told the girl at Jack in the Box that his mom died. She burst into tears and told him she was so sorry and gave him a free churro. BoJack says sarcastically he never knew that when your mom died, you get a free churro.

BoJack then tries to talk about his mother, but all he can say was that she was born in 1938, she went to a parade once, and he once saw her smoke an entire cigarette with one long drag. He says she lived a long life until the end, which is something to think about, you live, stuff happens, and you die.

BoJack admits that's all he has to say about his mother. He turns to the casket and jokingly asks his mother if she has anything to say, and when she doesn't respond he says "Knock once if you’re proud of me." He encourages her to speak up if she wants him to shut up and stop making her eulogy about him.

BoJack apologizes for the closed casket. Beatrice wanted an open casket, but he thought she looked pretty bad dead since the coroner couldn’t get her eyes closed so "Her face is forever frozen in horror and anguish—or what she called Tuesday." The audience stays silent. BoJack asks his mom what she thought of the joke, and he tells her she never did care for his comedy.

Screen Shot 2020-06-29 at 5.03.09 PM

BoJack's imitation of what his mother's corpse looked like.

BoJack tells a story of when as a teenager he performed a comedy routine for his high school talent show. He wanted to buy this cool jacket so he’d look like Albert Brooks. He saved up his money for months—but when he finally had enough, he went to the store and they had just sold it to someone else. He told his mother about this—and she told him that’s what happens when you want things. However, it turns out she bought the jacket and gave it to him on the day of the talent show, and even though she didn’t say it, BoJack knew that meant she loved him.

He then reveals he made that story up, he stole it from an episode of Maude, but he always wanted to have stories like that about his parents to tell when they died. Everything he learned about being good came from TV, where flawed characters constantly show people they care with surprising grand gestures. He still partly believes that it's love.

But that isn't good enough in real life—you have to be consistent and dependably good, and do it every day, which is the hard part. As a kid, you convince yourself the grand gesture is enough—even though your parents aren’t there for you over and over again—you still believe they might still surprise you.

BoJack says he kept waiting for that moment, that moment that proved that even though his mother was horrible to him, deep down she still loved him and he made her world a little bit brighter. He's still waiting to this day. He turns to the casket and asks his mom to knock once if she loved and cared about him and he made her life a little bit brighter.

BoJack says his mom didn't die peacefully—he stayed with her in the hospital during her final moments and he states that they were filled with nonsensical screams and cries. However, there was an instant of calm, where she looked in his direction and uttered her final words—"I see you." No criticism or insults, just the simple recognition that he was a person in the same room as her, and she could see him.

BoJack claimed that it felt weird knowing that he was fifty-four years old the first time that he felt like his mother saw him—the thing he's been missing and what he's always wanted. Unfortunately, it didn't feel like a relief since it came on her deathbed, so instead, it felt like she was taunting him. BoJack was prepared for cruelty in her final moments—to insult him and put him down like all she's done to him for his entire life, but he wasn't prepared for "I see you." He thinks he might be giving her too much credit, maybe it wasn't a connection at all, or maybe she did just mean that she could actually see him. BoJack does admit that she was senile and she could barely even remember who he was, so he could have just been searching for meaning where there was none.

BoJack then brings up Horsin' Around, and how a fan once approached him and brought up how during one scene a coffee cup kept disappearing and reappearing in the background. Being curious the fan further pressed BoJack about whether the writers were trying to make a statement about, "fluctuant subjectivity of memory" by showing how two people can experience the same moment differently. Unable to break it to the fan that the real reason was that a crew member accidentally left his coffee on set, BoJack just says "Yeah." BoJack says that maybe this is like the coffee cup—people try to pin significance and meaning onto every little thing.

BoJack then says Beatrice wasn't even looking at him, she was looking past him, although there was no one else in the room, she was so gone mentally at that point it's hard to tell. BoJack looks at the casket again and asks his mom who she was talking to. He says "Not saying, huh? Staying mom?"

BoJack then begins to talk about his father. He says he died about ten years ago from injuries he sustained during a duel. BoJack explains Butterscotch had worked on a novel for his entire life, but no store would sell it and no newspaper would review it—except for one, who tore him to shreds.

Disgusted and infuriated, Butterscotch wrote a letter to the said paper claiming that the critic didn't understand what it meant to be a "man" and challenged anyone who didn't like his book to a duel; he'd even pay for a night in a hotel and airfare to the Bay Area. Eventually, his challenge reached some kook in Montana who was crazy enough to take him up on the offer and the two met in Golden Gate Park, agreeing to take ten paces, and then shoot.

However, in the middle of the ten paces, Butterscotch turned his head around and asked the guy if he actually read his book—and what he thought of it. Not looking where he was going, Butterscotch then tripped over an exposed tree root and bashed his head on a rock, killing him. BoJack jokes that he wished he had known to go to Jack in the Box at the time to have gotten a free churro. That way, he would have a least had something to show for being the son of Butterscotch Horseman.

BoJack continues to say that at Butterscotch's funeral, Beatrice gave the eulogy, where she said the only some-what positive thing BoJack has ever heard her say to or about his father—"My husband is dead, and everything is worse now." BoJack believes she said it because either she thought you had to say that at a funeral because she hoped someday someone would say that at her funeral.

BoJack then says "My mother is dead and everything is worse now," or because by that point Butterscotch had frittered away all of her inheritance and left them in debt, meaning she'd have to sell all of her fancy jewelry and move into a nursing home (which he also adds was a pretty shitty thing for Butterscotch to leave his widow with).

BoJack asks his mom if that's what she meant. He then makes jokes about his mom's death but ends his last joke by calling her a huge bitch. He then apologizes—she was a "huge bitch," and now she's dead.

BoJack then tells the audience about how the first time he performed in front of an audience was at his mother's supper club parties—she would make him sing The Lollipop Song. The parties would have other skits and acts, but the big finale was Beatrice performing a dance number in a beautiful dress that she only brought out for occasions like this.

BoJack remarks it was beautiful and sad, and that even Butterscotch, who hated these parties and would lock himself in his study and bang on the wall to tell them to keep it down—would linger in the doorway and watch his cynical, miserable wife take flight. BoJack says he was also amazed by this moment of grace, as someone who was terrified of both his parents.

He then says that despite their dysfunctional nature, his family seemed to understand each other, claiming that his mom knew what it was like to spend your entire life like you were drowning, there were these very rare moments when you remember that you can swim. BoJack then starts to imagine the room around him spinning, as classical music plays in the background along with the laughter of party-goers, and a silhouette of Beatrice dancing is briefly seen.

The scene goes back to normal, and BoJack continues by saying they were mostly always drowning, and his parents knew that. He further states that they all knew that they were drowning but none of them knew how to save each other. BoJack thinks maybe that’s what Beatrice meant when she said: "I see you." He then says that we know we could die at any time, and you’d think that would make us better people, but it doesn’t.

BoJack then talks about his new show, Philbert, and how he got in an accident on set, and he’s now taking prescription painkillers, but his erratic shooting scheduled is messing up his dosage. He says when he fell off the building and he thought he might die, he thought to himself "Won’t they be sorry." He claims that he has no idea what he even meant as his mother barely even remembered who he was before she died and his dad was already long gone. BoJack adds that the last conversation he ever had with his father before he died was about his novel, which BoJack never read because Butterscotch didn't deserve that kind of satisfaction.

BoJack once again brings up Horsin' Around and talks about one season finale where Olivia's junkie birth mom has cleaned up and wants Olivia to live with her, but The Horse warns her that moms have a way of letting you down. Olivia thinks the Horse is jealous and leaves with her mom. However, her mom relapsed and Olivia hitchhiked back home with the help of some celebrity guest stars.

BoJack says, "Of course that's what happened. Because you can’t have happy endings in sitcoms. Because if everyone is happy, then the show is over, and the show has to keep going—you never get a happy ending because there’s always more show. I guess... until there isn't."

BoJack jokes that his mom would hate it if she knew he spent most of her eulogy talking about his show, or maybe she'd find it funny her idiot son couldn't even do this right, he couldn't even get her an open casket. He's just standing there pretending he understood how to please her, even though he's spent his entire life doing so. He keeps going back to the moment he was in the ICU with her and when she looked at him and said: "I see you."

BoJack stops mid-sentence however when he realizes—Beatrice was in the intensive care unit, and she was just reading the sign, "ICU" printed on the wall. He then jokingly says "My mom died and all I got was this free churro."

Choking back tears, he says the shittiest thing of all was that the stranger at Jack in the Box who gave him the free churro showed him more kindness than his own mother ever did in her entire life. He angrily rants at his mom's casket about how some random woman at the Jack in the Box had been compassionate towards him even though she didn't even know. While he was her own son and never got any compassion from her for the entirety of the fifty-four years she had been with him. BoJack finishes his rant by stating, "I was your son, all I had was you!"

BoJack then brings up Diane and how she went through the same thing with her dad, and a few months after his funeral she still felt upset, and she didn’t know why because she didn’t like him. BoJack understands what she meant now—he went through it with his own father and now he’s going through it with his mother.

He then says that losing a parent is like the show Becker—he watched the entire show, hoping it would get better, and it never did, although it had the right pieces. He was bummed out that it got canceled because he knew it could have been something better, but it never did.

BoJack then says that it was exactly what he felt at that moment. Because he now realized, he would never have a good relationship with his own mother and even though he never admitted to it, he was still hoping that it would eventually happen, but he only acknowledged it once the opportunity was gone. Further, he states that he now understands what Beatrice meant at his father's funeral. Because now, he knew that he would never have a mother who looks at him from across the room and says, "BoJack Horseman, I see you.'"

However, BoJack says he's glad he knows no one is looking out for him, and he's the only one he can depend on, meaning it's good his mother is dead.

BoJack finally finishes his eulogy by saying Beatrice Horseman was born in 1938 and died in 2018, and he has no idea what she wanted—unless she just wanted what everyone wants, to be seen. BoJack walks over and opens up the casket. He looks inside and reaches for a funeral pamphlet in his pocket. As the audience is finally revealed he then sees that they are a bunch of lizard people, and asks if he's in the right funeral parlor.

Cast

Actor Character
Will Arnett ... BoJack Horseman / Butterscotch Horseman

Trivia

  • Beatrice Horseman died shortly before the events of this episode.
    • It is revealed she was born in 1938, making her eighty years old at the time of her death.
    • Her last words were "I see you," although this was likely influenced by the fact she was in the intensive care unit (ICU).
    • The following episode takes place on October 25, 2018, meaning this episode (along with Beatrice's death) also likely takes place in October.
  • It is revealed how Butterscotch died.
    • It is also confirmed his book was published, but saw no success and got one review, which was negative.
  • The very first line in the episode is "Yes yes, I see you" from Butterscotch Horseman, which is foreshadowing of a recurring theme in the episode when BoJack mistook Beatrice's last words as "I see you" instead of "ICU."
  • In the flashback at the beginning of the episode, Butterscotch mentions Beatrice seeing A Doll's House, which is a play written by Ibsen. This may be a reference to the continuity of Beatrice comparing Horsin' Around to Ibsen.
    • A Doll's House revolves around a woman who is unsatisfied with her marriage, which parallels Beatrice's own dissatisfied and bitter view on her life after marrying Butterscotch, which is likely why she connected to the play.
  • "Do not go gentle into that good night" is from Dylan Thomas's famous villanelle.
  • That episode was nominated for the Creative Arts Outstanding Animated Program Emmy Award 2019. Other nominated episodes were The Planned Parenthood Show (Big Mouth), Just One Of The Boyz 4 Now For Now (Bob's Burgers), Come Along with Me (Adventure Time), and Mad About the Toy (The Simpsons). At the end the winner is "The Simpsons."1

Resource

https://deadline.com/2019/09/creative-arts-emmy-awards-2019-winners-list-1202734630/1

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