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Great story BoJack. You should put it in a podcast so I can unsubscribe.

—Kelsey Jannings, Chickens


Introduction

Kelsey Jannings is a recurring character in BoJack Horseman. She is first introduced in Later, in Season 1.

Physical Appearance

Kelsey is an adult middle-aged human woman with straight, long brown hair and thick eyebrows. Her face has early signs of aging, with wrinkles around her mouth and bags under her eyes.

According to the model sheets, she is 6 ft tall.
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BoJack and Kelsey film a scene in Nixon's office that is not included in the film Secretariat.

She wears an open dark green coat with brown and grey lining inside the collar with four pockets, buttons, and a zipper, a purple and blue striped blouse with a blue neckline and collar, a pair of dark teal jeans, and knee-length brown boots.

Personality

Kelsey is fairly similar to BoJack Horseman, in the sense of being very hard to please. BoJack tried in Season 2, on numerous occasions to get her to like him but to no avail.
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Kelsey at the police station with her daughter Irving and Todd Chavez.

Kelsey comes across as rather hostile towards people in public, greets them somewhat coldly. Yet she manages to have a lot of patience and professionalism on set when shooting takes.

Kelsey does come across as rather maternal and concerned when it comes down to her daughter, Irving. Kelsey is worried about losing custody of her, especially when she lost Irving, and she thought she was "a terrible mother."

BoJack assures her she is not a terrible mother, and he knows "terrible mothers."

Background

History

Kelsey was the first director of BoJack Horseman's comeback film Secretariat. She first appears in the final episode of Season 1 and is a recurring character in Season 2 and Season 6. She also appears in Season 3 and Season 5, in a minor role.

Kelsey claims the only reason she took the job as director of Secretariat was so that she could provide for her daughter, Irving. Kelsey worries she is not a good enough mother to Irving and she was fortunately reassured by BoJack, who told her she was not a bad mother.

Prior to the big studio film, Secretariat, Kelsey had completed a number of critically acclaimed independent dramas—including Women Who Love Women Who Love Recycling, The Kids Are Just Okay, Dianne Feinstein on the Beach, as well as sports drama Billie Jean King Is Not My Lover.

Kelsey is very professional and serious about her work. This was exemplified when it came to the first day of shooting Secretariat. Unfortunately, BoJack was struggling to perform his lines correctly and took hours upon hours to get the one good take.

Season 1

In Later, BoJack meets Secretariat director Kelsey Jannings while auditioning for the titular role in the movie.

While attending a party, he gets a call by Kelsey, who informs him that he got the part, since Andrew Garfield severely injured himself while entering Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter's Halloween store which had its floor removed.

Season 2

In Chickens, due to her cold nature, BoJack becomes obsessed with making Kelsey like him.

Throughout the first half of Season 2, Kelsey is regularly seen working on the Secretariat movie and trying to get BoJack to improve his performance.

In The Shot, BoJack talked to Kelsey and producer Lenny Turteltaub about the direction the film was heading in, going from "dark and gritty" to a "family-friendly film." The pair brushed it off, but Kelsey confessed to BoJack privately that she wasn't happy about the new direction either.

BoJack convinces Kelsey to shoot a very important scene about Richard Nixon and how he corrupted Secretariat (which was cut by Lenny from the film for being too dark). They break into the Nixon Museum and manage to get away with filming the scene. Thanks to Kelsey's direction, BoJack gives the best performance of his life causing him to cry in private.

When Lenny finds out about the secret filming, he fires Kelsey. She is replaced by Abe D'Catfish.

Season 3

Kelsey returned briefly in Season 3, in Fish Out Of Water, which featured BoJack attempting to speak to her underwater at the Pacific Ocean Film Festival. He was unsuccessful, due to being underwater and having no way of communicating.

Kelsey also appeared in Old Acquaintance, where she reconnected with BoJack. BoJack was to star in a film she is directing about a girl who loves jelly beans.

But due to the dispute between Princess Carolyn's agency and the agency of Rutabaga Rabbitowitz and Vanessa Gekko, he was unable to get the part and was called out by Kelsey over the phone. BoJack fired Princess Carolyn in the next episode due to this.

Season 5

In The Showstopper, Kelsey appears during BoJack's musical number, Don't Stop Dancing 'Til The Curtains Fall sung by Gina Cazador in his drug-induced dream.

Season 6

In A Quick One, While He's Away, Kelsey is in a meeting in the editing room for the new Chicken-4-Dayz immersive product placement journey she is directing. She is questioned about why it is not as Chicken-4-Dayz focused as it seemed in the outline stage. Kelsey asks if she should include a closeup of the bucket and she is told that would make it seem much more like a commercial.

Kelsey is told that their target demographic responds poorly when they are being advertised to. However, they love stories that engage them on their level and utilize themes of inclusivity and dunking the olds. Kelsey says they are already done shooting the immersive product placement journey, however, she can maybe find takes that are in more of a dunking tone and shots that highlight more prominently but do not feature the chicken-bacon finger-blasters. Kelsey is then thanked for sharing her vision.

After coming out of the editing area, Kelsey talks to fellow director Justin Kenyon, in the smoking area about her current directing job which he describes as “bullshit." Kelsey dismisses him saying that a gig is a gig and Vassar won’t except in the film credits in lieu of her daughter’s tuition. Justin goes on to tell Kelsey that she’s a much better director than he is, saying that if she had told him that she would be directing a “commercial” and he would be directing another blockbuster, he would be excited but then get around to being outraged. While he is talking to Kelsey he gets a call about his lead actress Gina Cazador.

At Elefante, Kesey is having lunch with Rutabaga Rabitowitz. Rutabaga tells Kelsey she can't compare herself to Justin Kenyon. Rutabaga jokingly says the difference is he has a great agent. He then apologizes, as he sees Kelsey is not in the mood for jokes. Kelsey then says she's a good director. Rutabaga agrees but says Justin's films make real money. He reminds her that the last big movie she was on she got fired from.

Kelsey then asks Rutabaga how she didn't break into Richard Nixon Presidential Library alone yet, her career is the only one that has suffered. Rutabaga tells her he doesn't know how fate pushes people in their great cosmic dance. Kelsey asks about all the stories she keeps hearing about people wanting to hire female directors. Rutabaga tells her they do, just not for this particular project. She then asks Rutabaga to get her out of "director jail."

Kelsey is editing the immersive product placement journey when she gets a call from Rutabaga about directing a film called Fireflame which is about a lady superhero. Kelsey is hesitant because she doesn't want them to hire her just because she's a woman. Rutabaga tells her Justin wouldn't worry about whether they are hiring him because he's a man, he'd just take the job for the money. He continues saying it's different because it's a superhero movie with a twist. Kelsey asks if they want her to pitch the twist, and he explains the twist is that the hero is a woman. Rutabaga tells them they want to hear her take, by which he means as a woman, Kelsey is supposed to tell them their take.

Kelsey goes to the meeting at the studio. She is told that now that the studio has run out of male characters, they want to do a movie about the character Fireflame. Kelsey tells them she thinks that's edgy. She is told they think Fireflame can relate to today's "Yas Queen" culture. Kelsey says she got a real Yas Queen vibe from the character. She goes on to elaborate Fireflame saves the day and everyone loves her. They then thank Kelsey for her time and telling her they are going to hear a lot of takes, but they feel she has a special connection to the material. Kelsey then leaves the meeting.

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Kelsey's pitch in A Quick One, While He's Away

At the studio, Kelsey bursts in just as another director is being interviewed. She tells the interviewers that the movie they want is just not realistic. The other woman being interviewed says the backstory is realistic and logical. Kelsey goes on to tell them they are approaching this all wrong. The storyline of the character saving the world and everyone loving her would make sense if she was a man. Kelsey says it's never worked like that for her. She is then told it isn't about her.

Kelsey explains the rules are different for women. If a woman saves the day, nobody loves her. She then goes on to say people take her for granted, or become resentful towards her, or try to punish her. Kelsey then says the more powerful a woman is, the more they try to take that power away. Kelsey then tells them if their movie is smart, it'll acknowledge that. The other director comments that sounds like a bummer. Kelsey says it is a bummer because being a superhero is hard and if it were easy everyone would do it. Kelsey says maybe that would be a bad film but it's real and different. Before she runs off she also adds in her version Fireflame would be gay.

The following afternoon, Justin is having lunch with Kelsey. Kelsey informs Justin that she’s directing the new movie Fireflame much to his excitement. Kelsey goes on to tell Justin that he needs an actress that is tough but vulnerable and asks Justin what he thinks of Gina Cazador. Justin tells Kelsey that Gina is very versatile and very talented, but tells Kelsey he ultimately can’t recommend working with her, especially if she has to do a lot of stunts. Justin tells Kelsey that Gina is difficult saying that he doesn’t know what happened as when he worked with her a few years ago she was great. Justin then recommends Courtney Portnoy to Kelsey instead, saying he has heard nothing but good things.
Kelsey purse model sheet

Kelsey Purse Model Sheet

Relationships

Episode Appearances

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 6

Trivia

  • Kelsey bears a strong resemblance to indie director Kathryn Bigelow, director of Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker, and other independent films.
  • Kelsey is lesbian and directed indie films before moving to work on Secretariat to provide for Irving Jannings, her daughter.
  • Kelsey adores Todd Chavez and constantly calls him "cute and adorable" whenever she sees him. 
    • In Brand New Couch, she finds his face very soothing like a Matisse painting, one of which BoJack has in his apartment.
  • Kelsey drives a 2002 Volvo with a reelect Al Gore bumper sticker.
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