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What am I, a Tortoise?

—Lenny, Angela (episode)

Introduction

Lenny Turteltaub is a recurring character in BoJack Horseman. He is a big-shot Hollywoob producer and a colleague of Princess Carolyn's. He makes a cameo in The Pilot, although his official debut is in Say Anything, in Season 1.

Personality

Lenny is a dry-witted, monotone producer.

Being a producer, Lenny's main point in making movies is to make a lot of money for the business to keep going and get recognition. Seeing that he mainly looks for money, he doesn't put much care into the movies himself. This is not to say he is a heartless person, and he is not out to cause malice or genuinely harm someone. He is merely only on the business side of movie-making.

He also doesn't really care that Secretariat the film was changed from being a dark and gritty story to a family-friendly and cheesy film.

Screenshot (132)

Lenny introduced in Pilot

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 10.23.56 AM

Princess Carolyn meeting with Lenny Turteltaub in Say Anything

Physical Appearance

Lenny is an adult male green turtle with wrinkles under his eyes and around his mouth, and short brown hair, which is very likely a toupee as turtles cannot grow hair. He wears thick black square-rimmed glasses.

According to the model sheets, he is 4 1/2 ft tall.

He is seen wearing a white turtleneck, a gold dangling necklace, a maroon sports coat, grey dress pants, and maroon ankle-length boots.

Background

History

Lenny is very old, as turtles typically have long lifespans and he has mentioned having known Ed Begley Jr. and Buster Keaton, the latter of whom began his film career in the 1910s, meaning Lenny would have to be in at least his hundreds.

Season 1

In the Pilot, Lenny appears in the background at Elefante.

In Say Anything, he is meeting with Princess Carolyn at the Silver Spoon Diner, she greets him by calling him a "skinny bitch" and asks how he is.

He says he's in a hurry and says he'll make it snappy. He says he's got great news about the film they're putting together. Princess Carolyn then gets a call from BoJack who is filming the Guten Bourbon ad. BoJack thanks her for getting him the Ad Campaign job. He says she sees things in him that nobody else does.

Princess Carolyn then ends the call by quickly hanging up. She asks what's the great news, Lenny says that they got Zach Braff. Princess Carolyn is excited and says no other director can handle producing a movie about the last days of Eva Braun.

Lenny thanks her. Princess Carolyn is ecstatic about the movie and its cast, Lenny replies that he's been in the business a long time, and says what he once said to Ed. Begley Sr., "It ain't a done deal till the deals are all done". Princess Carolyn then says she can seal the deal with her paws in her pants, he replies with "Well, I'll say to you what I once said to a young Buster Keaton, 'What?'"

Later on in the episode, right after Mr. Witherspoon fired Vanessa Gekko from Vigor, Laura Tells Princess Carolyn that Lenny has come to see her, he comes in and talks about how Cate Blanchett left his movie for Cameron Crowe, he then says "As I said to Ed Porter at the premiere of The Great Train Robber...Aaaah! The train's coming right at me!"

Princess Carolyn then blames it on Vanessa because Cate was her client. He then says that "Quentin Tarantulino has got four arms up his ass 'cause he got all excited about making a rom-com," Princess Carolyn recommends making a movie about the guy who stole the 'D' off of the Hollywood sign (which was actually done by BoJack, Mr. Peanutbutter took credit for it while trying to one-up BoJack in their competition over Diane.)

Lenny admits that could actually make a good movie, but there's no one to play the role, he mentions that he would want someone washed-up and that Quentin loves "re-vitalizing dead careers" Princess Carolyn says "Well, in that case, you know who'd be great?" She then pulls out a cardboard cut-out of BoJack indicating he would be perfect for the role.

In One Trick Pony, Lenny is seen on the set of Mr. Peanutbutter's Hollywoo Heist. He asks where he can grab a nosh and Mr. Peanutbutter tells him craft services is in the kitchen and gives him directions to get there and says he can't miss it. He tells Mr. Peanutbutter he's going to grab a quick bite and not to do anything supid while he's gone before he leaves.

Lenny is then seen entering the house and goes to the kitchen to grab his bagel. He then goes and heads back to work.

The movie goes through so many wacky permutations the end result ends up being a bi-monthly curated box of snacks (referring to the bi-monthly that means every other month, not the bi-monthly that means twice a month). Lenny then asks what happened to the movie. He sees the box of snacks sitting on the table and questions there being snacks there the whole time. He then grabs a handful, eats them, and says they're not bad.

In Later, the time has passed since BoJack's memoir has been released to the public. He accepts a Golden Globe (A Totally Necessary Award) for his book under the category for "Best Comedy or Musical" despite him pointing out his book is neither a film nor show. Due to his success and resurging fame, BoJack decides to pursue his dream of starring in a movie about Secretariat and convinces Lenny to produce the film.

In Lenny's office, he tells BoJack he thinks it's the right time to play Secretariat. He then asks what role BoJack would like to play. BoJack then tells Lenny he knows he's a little long on the tooth but not to count out an old pro. Lenny tells him not to play the ageism card. BoJack then asks for an audition that Lenny agrees to.

At the audition, BoJack is introduced to director Kelsey Jannings. He tells her Secretariat is is hero, which she seems unimpressed by, saying he was a lot of people's heroes. BoJack starts to tell her the story of Secretariat and she tells him she already knows it because she's the director. Lenny then tells Kelsey to be nice and explains to BoJack she is just cranky because she has already seen thirty people read today. Also, they are all so sick of seeing auditions.

BoJack then starts his audition. He delivers his lines and impresses Kelsey and Lenny. The casting director then gets a phone call from Andrew Garfield saying he accepted the role of Secretariat. Lenny, Kelsey, and the casting director all celebrate this. BoJack then yells out Andrew Garfield's name in frustration.

Season 2

In Brand New Couch, on the Secretariat set, BoJack is wearing a Secretariat costume and wig and is introduced to his costar Corduroy Jackson Jackson by Lenny. BoJack gets everyone’s attention and says what an honor it is to be here, and how Secretariat was his hero and this was a dream role for him.

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BoJack getting his face scanned in Brand New Couch

Kelsey and Lenny meet BoJack in his trailer. Lenny shows him a machine that will scan his face so that if he dies or does something reckless (which he's well known for doing), they can make a CGI version of him and finish the movie without him. Lenny assures him not to worry, and that if he can't do the role they can just fire him and get someone else. While he leaves he says “Either way I’ll be fine."

In The Shot, BoJack gets to the Secretariat set and learns that the Nixon scene was replaced with a wholesome living room decorated for Christmas. Lenny tells BoJack the scene was cut. BoJack tries to argue that the Nixon scene is the core of the whole movie because it shows Secretariat becoming morally corrupted and the darkness of his soul.

Lenny says the scene is now Secretariat giving Christmas presents to his nieces while his butt is stuck in a chimney. He explains over the break they ran a focus group, and they discovered people don't want to see controversial stuff. BoJack argues the film was supposed to be dark and gritty, but Lenny says that doesn't make money. When BoJack questions Kelsey if she's OK with it, she just shrugs and says it's show business.

BoJack is seen filming the new scene for Secretariat, which is now saccharine and wholesome. During break, BoJack goes outside and complains to Kelsey, but she says there's nothing she can do about it. BoJack tells her the movies she creates are challenging, great, and gritty, and this movie isn't her.

Kelsey says even if she wanted to do the scene, they don't have an Oval Office set. BoJack tells her there's one at the Nixon Library, they could sneak in that night and get the shot there, and once Lenny sees it he'll love it and they can both make the movie they want to make. Kelsey finally relents and agrees to do it.

BoJack and Todd go to the Nixon library and steal the scale model of the library from the exhibit. He brings it to Kelsey so that they can form a plan to get in at night. BoJack says that they need a team so he recruits Todd for the lockpick, Princess Carolyn as the expert cat burglar (although she wanted to stay home as it was her night off), Mr. Peanutbutter to play Checkers, and Character Actress Margo Martindale, who was just released from prison, as the criminal mastermind.

BoJack gathers them together and lays out the plan; Kelsey, Mr, Peanutbutter, and himself are going to break into the library, the problem is that the place is crawling with cops because they stole the model of the library. BoJack tells Margo Martindale, Todd, and Princess Carolyn that they're going to break into the discount art store and create a diversion to lead the cops away.

Margo, Todd, Princess Carolyn, and Allen break into the art store. This causes the police to leave the library while BoJack and his team break into it.

Kelsey begins to set up the shot but they are found out by a security guard (the same security guard Todd distracted when BoJack stole the model library earlier). BoJack tells him that they're just trying to make a movie about Nixon, and offer to let him play Nixon. The security guard accepts as he thinks Nixon was his father.

Kelsey informs BoJack in this scene, Secretariat learns his brother, who was sent to Vietnam in his place, was killed in Vietnam—and the tears start to flow from the guilt. A problem arises, however, because BoJack cannot cry in front of other people. Kelsey asks Mr. Peanutbutter and the security guard to give them the room.

BoJack paces the room. He apologizes to Kelsey because he thought he could do this, and he's sorry he made her come here. Kelsey tells him to sit down and talks BoJack through the scene.

She tells BoJack he has been told his brother is dead and it's his fault, "But this moment is bigger than that. This is the moment that Secretariat stops running. Because this is the moment you realize something inside you is broken, and it can never be fixed."

BoJack looks sad and Kelsey says she got the shot, although BoJack didn't cry. She thanks BoJack for talking her into it, and says she's really glad they're making the movie together. BoJack says "Didn’t know I had it in me, did you?" Kelsey replies "No, I knew" as she leaves, to BoJack's surprise. He goes outside and lights up a cigarette, but after he exhales the smoke he breaks down crying.

Meanwhile, on the Secretariat set, BoJack notices Kelsey isn't there. Lenny tells him he found out they went behind his back and filmed the Nixon scene, so he fired Kelsey.

In Out to Sea, BoJack goes to see Lenny in order to apologize for not being around to finish Secretariat. Lenny tells him that they finished the movie by creating a computer-generated BoJack. They were able to do this because two scientists did a face scan of BoJack back when they first started filming in the case of him disappearing.

The computer version of him was so good, that they decided to go back and replace him in every scene, meaning BoJack isn't technically in the movie at all, to his dismay. Lenny assures BoJack it's the best performance of his career and invites him to a screening that weekend so that he can see the finished product.

BoJack goes to the screening and is blown away by the movie. Lenny tells him to clear his schedule because they're going to do an awards push for the rest of the year. BoJack is concerned because it wasn't really him but Lenny tells him it doesn't matter, "just smile and collect your trophies."

Lenny introduces him to Ana Spanakopita and she tells him that she's going to help him win an Oscar. After BoJack is complimented on his performance by two women, Ana tells him everyone loves him, which BoJack disagrees with, because they don't actually know him.

Ana says that's why they love him—people like to think they know celebrities and like learning more about them, but at a certain point they pass a threshold where "they actually know you and then they find you weird and off-putting." BoJack asks if that means nobody who really knows him could love him, to which Ana and Lenny quickly disagree. BoJack then leaves.

Season 3

In Stop the Presses, there is a meeting about a new ad campaign for Secretariat, the "For Your Consideration" ads for the Oscars.

Stop The Presses (s3ep7) Lenny

"For Your Consideration Adds"

Lenny picks out the one he thinks is the best, but out of the multiple ads he brought in, BoJack finds a mirror ad—a reflective sheet that says "You Are Secretariat." He tells Lenny he likes it and thinks it’s powerful.

Lenny tells BoJack that he likes it because he is Secretariat. BoJack asks, "wasn't that the point of the movie, to inspire people? However, Lenny says the reason they made the movie, "was to make a lot of money and win awards." He says if anyone looks at that ad, and thinks they could also be Secretariat, then there's no point in giving him an Oscar. Ana tells BoJack to leave the decision making to the experts.

However, the ad is a complete fail, as the billboard just reflects the sky. Lenny is annoyed he spent thousands of dollars to tell people to nominate the sky for an Oscar, BoJack admits he didn't think it through. Diane realizes when the sun sets and reflects off the billboard it could be a huge problem. Lenny sarcastically says at least BoJack got what he wanted.

Season 4

In Thoughts and Prayers, Lenny is informed in his office by his assistant that there was another mass shooting. Lenny then questions where the shooting happened, and he is told it was at a shopping mall. Lenny then screams at this. He throws his sandwich out the window and says they've got Ms.Taken coming out next month and the third act revolves around Courtney Portnoy shooting people in a mall.

He then questions what they are supposed to do now, not release the movie? His assistant says he hopes it doesn't come to that. Lenny then says he is sick of real-life gun violence getting in the way of them telling stories that glamorize real-life gun violence. He then questions why this keeps happening and asks if the whole world has gone crazy.

Lenny then tells his assistant he should make himself useful and schedule a sit-down with Courtney Portnoy's team, and distance themselves from this. Lenny then watches the Ms. Taken rough cuts with the mall scene.

At the sit-down, Princess Carolyn, Lenny, Courtney, and Courtney's assistant sit down together for a meeting. Princess Carolyn watches a different rough cut on her phone and says it doesn't look good. Lenny then tells everyone to set a Google Alert for "mass shootings" saying they can't keep getting caught off guard like this.

At the sit-down, Princess Carolyn, Lenny, Courtney, and Courtney's assistant sit down together for a meeting. Princess Carolyn watches a different rough cut on her phone and says it doesn't look good. Lenny then tells everyone to set a Google Alert for "mass shootings" saying they can't keep getting caught off guard like this.

Courtney solemnly says it's so sad as you always hear about mass shootings affecting other people's movie openings but you never think they are going to affect your movie opening. As she sobs, she says her thoughts and prayers also go out to the victims and their families. There is then a pan out to show Todd and Judah are also present. Judah is taking notes and Todd says tragedies like this really put things into perspective.

Todd then asks what they are doing in a conference room and says life is too short and they should be holding this meeting in a waterpark. Todd then says a waterpark where people have meetings could be the movie. Lenny then questions who Todd is and Todd introduces himself as Courtney's fake fiance. Courtney elaborates saying dating Todd makes her seem more approachable.

Lenny then says they still have time to cut out the mall scene from the film. They talk about other scenes they are left with but as they are discussing them they get alerts on their phones about shootings happening in real-life that mimic the locations from the film and they have to cut those scenes out.

Princess Carolyn then gets a call from BoJack and goes outside to take it.

Princess Carolyn then returns to the conference room where Todd is outlining his plan to curtail gun violence. Princess Carolyn then says all this talk about gun violence is depressing and Ms.Taken is a movie about empowerment. Lenny says that's what he's been saying and Princess Carolyn says they just have to keep the story focused on Courtney and not on the real-life gun violence that is occurring.

There is a rise in gun violence and women now have the legal right to conceal and carry. In Princess Carolyn's office, she makes a comment saying again with the crazy gunmen. Lenny tells her on the phone if this keeps up they are going to have to put this movie on the shelf along with the movie about the klutzy babysitter. Todd is at the waterpark and he laughs at the movie about the klutzy babysitter. Lenny then questions what he is doing on the call and Todd explains he was laughing at the idea of the funny movie Lenny just described.

Princess Carolyn then explains the one thing the shootings have in common is they all involve men as the shooters. Princess Carolyn then suggests they play up the "Ms." in Ms. Taken. In a world of increasing terror, their movie tells women they don't need to be afraid anymore. Todd then says when it is put like that it sounds like all the mass shootings could be a good thing for the movie. Princess Carolyn says of course not, they are a terrible tragedy. She goes on to say that anything that makes women feel unsafe may actually help their box office.

Todd then says they don't want women to feel unsafe and both Lenny and Princess Carolyn say nobody wants that or is saying that. Princess Carolyn then says if women already do feel unsafe then there is no reason why they can't capitalize on it. Princess Carolyn then says their just profiting of it, albeit indirectly, from their being more mass shootings.

With the rise of women owning guns, the next shooting that happens in Tulsa winds up being at the hands of a woman. Princess Carolyn and Lenny discuss how the situation is bad for Ms. Taken being released.

At the end of a productive legislative session, it is announced that possession of any firearm is illegal in the state of California.

Later, Lenny and Princess Carolyn see the rough cut of the film without the guns. Lenny suggests it could work as an H&M commercial and Princess Carolyn says it was a shame as it was a really great movie. Princess Carolyn tells Lenny she's sorry for his loss and he just shrugs and says he'll be fine.

In Lovin that cali lifestyle!!,  Princess Carolyn has turned to drinking heavily due to the events of Ruthie. She is called back into work for a meeting with an inspiring writer, Flip McVicker.

While she is ready to shoot down his TV show premise, she changes her mind when she sees the script and that the title is Philbert, which was going to be the name of the baby she miscarried in the previous episode.

Now determined to get the project green-lit, she asks Todd to get a meeting with her with Lenny Turteltaub before passing out. Deciding to use it as an opportunity to practice, Todd and the clowns manage to get Princess Carolyn to her meeting with Turteltaub. Turteltaub suggests that she pitches the show to WhatTimeIsItRightNow.com, but when he asks who was the actor playing Philbert, she told him she didn't have a lead actor yet.

He tells her he won't pick it up unless she had a lead actor. She quickly listed multiple actors, but Lenny isn't interested in any of them. She then blurts out BoJack Horseman's name, who Lenny thinks would be perfect for, although he ran out on both Secretariat and Ethan Around. He tells Princess Carolyn to make BoJack sign a contract to finish the deal (and to ensure he won't run off again).

Season 5

In The Showstopper, only his photo is seen.

Season 6

In The Kidney Stays in the Picture, On MSNBSea there is a news segment about meeting with industry power-brokers to negotiate terms, for a standard agreement. Stuart and Casey McGarry are seen on the news. Casey is being interviewed about the HGA negotiations. She says she is optimistic about the coming talks and confident they can avoid a strike. She goes on to say their demands are reasonable, and their services are crucial to the industry.

Casey, Stuart, and some other assistants are seen in a conference room with Lenny. He tells them he wants to wrap it up quickly and then asks what they want. Casey says they have one request, to not be treated like garbage. The other assistants all nod in agreement. Lenny then says they are at an impasse.

With the assistants on strike, the whole city is shut down and everyone is in a panic.

At VIM, Princess Carolyn and Lenny discuss the strike. Lenny tells Princess Carolyn this is a catastrophe. He then says the strike has shut down the whole city. He asks if they give assistants respect, how are they going to work through their rage issues. He asks if they now have to take out the rage on their spouses, and children. He remarks that it doesn't seem fair. Princess Carolyn declares there has to be a better way. She says maybe they could circumvent the assistants, by giving them what they want, by giving them what they think they want.

She says like how they satiate TV creators, by giving them little vanity cards at the end of episodes, then sell the shows to streaming networks, that auto-skip the end credits, and no one ever sees the vanity cards. Lenny tells her that's good, but asks, what do assistants want? He asks if they want gift cards. He says he honestly can't think of another thing an assistant would want. Princess Carolyn tells him when she was an assistant all she wanted was not to be an assistant anymore.

Casey is meeting with Lenny and Princess Carolyn. Casey tells them she doesn't feel comfortable negotiating without her fellow assistants. Lenny tells her this is not about that. Casey says their demands haven't changed, and Princess Carolyn says she finds it thrilling to see her grown into her role as strike captain. Lenny then tells her there is an opening in his company for a development executive. He asks if she'd be interested.

Casey says she's never really thought about it and would have to think about it. Lenny tells her she would get overpaid to read scripts and other benefits as well. Princess Carolyn says, that is, of course, if the strike ends. Casey says it's a generous offer but she'd have to talk it over with her colleagues. Princess Carolyn asks, "Why? Those are assistants. You're not one of them anymore, you're one of us." Lenny slides the contract to her, telling her it's a two-year contract, and once she signs her troubles will be over. Casey signs the contract.

As Princess Carolyn shows Casey the door, she reassures her she's made the right decision and she'll love the new job. Lenny calls her Stacey and welcomes her to the team. She tries to correct him, and Princess Carolyn slams the door on her face.

Princess Carolyn and Lenny then look at photos of various agents. They kidnap a rabbit man and have him sign to run development of Saoirse Ronan's production company, Saoirse and Rescue. Princess Carolyn then asks a lady to sign a contract, and she says she can't be an assistant anymore, with tears in her eyes. She then tells Princess Carolyn about how Shirley MacLaine threw a cactus at her head, for setting up a meeting with the wrong Steve McQueen. Princess Carolyn then tells her to orchestrate her own great escape. They then look at Stuart's photo.

At VIM, Princess Carolyn and Lenny are meeting Stuart. Stuart says he is sure the other assistants are coming soon. He says traffic is probably bad because of the rain. Princess Carolyn then tells him no one else is coming, and Lenny tells Stuart they all got promoted. Lenny goes on to say his leadership has abandoned him and the strike is over. Stuart just accepts and just says OK. Lenny tells him he gets none of the things he asked for and starts work again on Monday. Stuart just shrugs and says the sounds fair. Stuart asks if he signs the contract will he get promoted too. Lenny says sure, someday.

Coming to a realization she tells Stuart not to sign the contract. She then tells him that she just remembered there was a typo on page twelve. She says she wrote Billy Bob showers instead of billable hours. Lenny then tells her that's not going to fly since that guy hasn't showered since Bad Santa. Princess Carolyn then tells Stuart she'll fix a new version for him and he can sign it tomorrow. She then offers to show him to his car.

Later, Princess Carolyn and Lenny walk back into the conference room. Lenny then notices someone sitting in his chair. Judah turns around tells him he's three minutes late for their meeting. Judah then says if he's serious about negotiating with the assistants it is imprudent to send the message he doesn't respect their time. Judah then suggests they adjourn for the day and start tomorrow. Lenny then questions what that was about. Princess Carolyn simply says to let the negotiations begin.

In The Face of Depression, at VIM Princess Carolyn and Lenny meet with Judah, trying to wrap up the strike negotiations. Judah agrees with the contract Princess Carolyn gives him except for getting rid of office birthday cakes—while he agrees everyone hates office parties, in a stressful work environment employees crave any small morsel of satisfaction. Princess Carolyn finally gives in by saying they can group birthdays so they only happen once a month.

Judah says they accept those terms, and there is one last thing left to deal with, the matter of treating assistants like garbage. Princess Carolyn hands Judah another part of the contract that now states assistants will be treated like recycling. She says there is a new understanding that all assistants one day may be up-cycled to a higher status. Princess Carolyn and Judah shake hands in agreement.

In Angela, Princess Carolyn receives a phone call from Lenny. Lenny tells her he wants her to run Turtletaub's new female-focused studio division called Girtletaub, indicating that the studio is in trouble due to two decades worth of executive sexual harassment. Lenny also tells Princess Carolyn her reputation for success is exactly what he needs to front the female-centric production company. Princess Carolyn asks if Lenny wants her to pitch her dream movie studio and he tells her he needs the pitch by tomorrow morning.
Lennymodelsheet

Lenny Turteltaub Model Sheet

Later, after talking to Judah at Vim it is implied, Princess Carolyn turned down Lenny's offer and started her own production company with Judah's help.
Lenny

Lenny Turteltaub

Relationships

Episode Appearances

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6

Trivia

Lenny Turteltaub concept 1

Original concept art

  • Though Lenny's name is often misspelled as Lennie, show creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg has confirmed the correct spelling is Lenny Turteltaub.[1]
  • The name could be a riff on Jon Turteltaub, an American film director and producer or Harry Turtledove, an author known for alternate history.
Lenny Turteltaub concert 02

Original concept art

  • He claims to have worked with several old and deceased actors, meaning he is very old.
    • This may be due to some real-life turtles being able to live for over a hundred years.
  • He is supposedly of Jewish heritage and peppers his vocabulary with many stereotypical Hebrew words, some of which are made up, which BoJack Horseman notices. It is unclear whether or not he is actually Jewish.
  • Lenny is one of the few people outside of the main characters to make an appearance or be mentioned in every season of BoJack Horseman:
  • Lenny's first line in the pilot is a very similar reference to his last line spoken:
    • His first line spoken in the pilot is "Slow and steady ladies" and Princess Carolyn's last line to him in Angela is "You don't wanna go slow and steady?"

References

  1. https://twitter.com/RaphaelBW/status/622062647236669440
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