|“||Oh my god, I'm not in a mood! Whatever! Get bent! I hate my life! I can't wait to be dead!||”|
—Penny, Escape from L.A.
Penny Carson is a recurring character in BoJack Horseman. She is the daughter of Kyle Carson and Charlotte Carson and the older sister of Trip Carson. She was in the 2015 graduating class of Tesuque High School and graduated from Oberlin College in 2019.
Penny is a doe like her mother Charlotte, and according to BoJack, she looks a lot like her. She has taupe brown fur, with cream fur on her eyes, mouth, the front of her body, and inside her ears, and brown fur on the top halves of her ears. The fur on her cheeks and neck are longer and fuzzier compared to Charlotte's.
She has green eyes, brown freckles on her cheeks, shoulders, and snout, black eyebrows, and a tuft of dark brown hair.
According to the model sheets, she is about 5 1/2 ft tall in her prom heels.
In Escape from L.A., when she is seventeen and still in high school, she wears a short, mid-length sleeved magenta dress, with a lavender zigzag on the collar and the bottom of the sleeves and skirt, mauve knee socks with tears on the tops of them, and small black boots with yellow spots. Her hair was worn styled up.
She also wears a long necklace with a triangle-shaped yellow pendant with a black spot in the middle, and another smaller necklace that has small round grey beads and light green and light blue tear dropped shaped beads in between them.
In That's Too Much, Man!, when she is now in college, and it is wintertime in early 2016, she is wearing a purple and white Letterman style jacket, along with a grey top that exposes a little bit of the bottom of her stomach, black jeans, and a red and light pink ear flap beanie with pom-poms, which her ears stick out of, and the boots she wore in her previous appearance.
In Season 6, taking place in the first half of the year 2020, Penny, now a twenty-three year old young adult, wears a dark grey short-sleeved shirt, dark mauve jeans, a necklace with an upside-down gold triangle-shaped pendant, a blue bracelet, and an orange bracelet on her left wrist, black and purple sandals, and a ring with a green gem on her left hand. Her hair is now styled down.
In her debut appearance as a seventeen-year-old, Penny is seen as a dry, sarcastic, angsty, but sometimes vulnerable teenage girl. She is also somewhat of a gossip, often speaking of the fast-changing friendships and relationships of her classmates at school. She worries about her popularity and image among her classmates, as she is self-conscious about being the only senior at her school without her license, and changes who she declares as her best friend multiple times.
Penny was initially suspicious of BoJack, but she eventually grows close to him because she believes he actually treats her like a person rather than a kid, and due to BoJack himself being mentally stunted as a washed-up celebrity.
Due to this, after prom Penny wants to become intimate with BoJack and is somewhat pushy towards asking him, when in reality she is considerably naive about intimate relationships, believing her crush Diego saying "Hey" to her on a daily basis was "a special thing" the two shared. BoJack even tells her she doesn’t really know what she wants. Despite this, she still tried to initiate sex when BoJack gave her the opportunity by leaving his cabin door open, and her mother walks in as the two are about to undress each other.
In That's Too Much, Man!, she seems to have matured significantly, by behaving in a much more outgoing fashion and doing plenty of campus activities in college. Her happy and social exterior leads BoJack, who traveled to her college with Sarah Lynn during their bender to stalk her, to believe he didn’t scar her as bad as he thought he did. However, when she recognizes BoJack, she reacts fearfully, thinking he might have come to find her, and tells him “I was seventeen, I didn’t know any better!"
It’s further shown in Good Damage how much she regrets what almost happened between her and BoJack, albeit with some conflicting feelings as she still saved the prom photo of them together with her friends Peter Pocket and Maddy Ginsberg. It is even revealed she still suffered from panic attacks and had just recently got them under control. She wants to go forward with telling the Hollywoo Reporters Paige and Max about it, hoping it will both bring BoJack to justice and also give some sense of closure for her trauma. before Charlotte convinces her to think it over. Earlier, when the aforementioned reporters were at their home to question them about BoJack and Sarah Lynn she had ignored her mother, insisting that she wasn’t a kid anymore.
When Penny is introduced along with her father and brother, in Escape from L.A., she is seventeen years old and is attending Tesuque High School. While her family life is relatively normal, she holds some typical teenage angst, fueled by her school life.
When BoJack, who came to New Mexico to see Charlotte not knowing she was married with a family, stays at her household, claiming he is there for a boat show, she is at first suspicious of him but learns to bond with BoJack, when he mentors her in driving, and spends time with her, and also where he admits he came to New Mexico because he didn’t like the person who he was in L.A. Most of Penny's worries stem from her crush on her classmate Diego Mendoza, and the impending prom night.
After Diego rejects her for a turtle girl named Lyla K. when she asks him to prom, BoJack offers to go with her as part of a plan to make Diego jealous and gain his attention at the prom. BoJack and Penny attend prom with her friends Maddy and Pete Repeat. During the car ride, BoJack catches Maddy drinking a mixer of Red Bull and whiskey from a flask, and he orders Penny to go to the liquor store so she can have real alcohol.
At prom, Penny is sad over seeing Diego with his date, and Maddy becomes drunk. BoJack eventually convinces the rest of the group they don't have to waste their time and they all leave in an attempt to salvage the unsuccessful night. They go out to the desert and release balloons with glow sticks attached to them.
Penny and BoJack climb to the top of a water tower, where they briefly dance with each other, and BoJack tells her that she looks just like her mom.
However, Pete calls them down from the water tower due to Maddy having passed out. He fears she might have alcohol poisoning, saying he knew someone who died from it.
They go to the hospital, but BoJack convinces Pete to stay with Maddy while he and Penny go home, and to tell the nurses he doesn't know where she got the alcohol from. Pete reluctantly agrees.
Upon returning home, BoJack assures a worried Penny that Maddy will be fine and they did the right thing. Penny thanks BoJack for the night they had together. She tells him that he's the first grown-up she's met that treats her like a person, whereas everyone else treats her like a kid.
She kisses BoJack and prepositions to sleep with him. Despite her reassurances that she is within the age of consent in the state of New Mexico, and that she is sober, BoJack turns her down; stating she does not know what she wants. She gets upset and goes inside the house with tears in her eyes.
She is found aboard BoJack's ship later in the evening, after BoJack is turned down by Charlotte, stating she does know what she wants. BoJack dismisses her but leaves his cabin door open.
A drifting glow stick balloon floats by the ship and catches the attention of Charlotte. When Charlotte walks by to investigate, she hears noises from within the ship and opens the cabin door to discover both Penny and BoJack in bed, about to start undressing each other.
Penny is last seen leaving the ship crying upon obeying Charlotte's command to go to her room, right before the latter demands BoJack leave within thirty minutes or she would call the police. She says that if he ever tries to contact her or her family again, she would, in her words, "fucking kill [him]."
This incident is among one of many of BoJack’s biggest regrets.
Penny is alluded to in Start Spreading The News. When BoJack is about to have sex with Heather, a Manatee Fair reporter, she mentions "climbing up her boat" in an effort to seduce him. This ruins the moment for BoJack. He begins to solemnly talk about Charlotte and Penny, although he doesn't mention them by name - He talks about a girl on his boat in New Mexico, how she trusted him. BoJack also states how he's sure that he wouldn't have done anything if her mother hadn't walked in, but he knows that that's a lie.
He also reveals to Heather he was digitally replaced in Secretariat. Unbeknownst to him, Heather was recording the entire conversation. The next morning BoJack panics about everything he said being released, but Ana manages to "take care" of it.
Penny would make her second appearance in That's Too Much, Man! where she is seen having a successful time in college. While on a bender with Sarah Lynn, BoJack attempts to make amends with the various people he's wronged in his lifetime but, in his intoxicated state, keeps blacking out.
In one of the black-outs, he ends up in Ohio with Sarah Lynn to make amends with Penny. BoJack makes a U-turn, before blacking out and coming to Penny's college, having apparently gone through with the plan despite his own protests.
After another blackout, they end up spying on Penny in the cafeteria. One more blackout nets BoJack and Sarah Lynn at a dorm party, where BoJack seems to be under control once more. It appears as though she was completely healed emotionally from the incident with BoJack due to her sociable and happy exterior, and he believed he may not have scarred her as bad as he thought. He elects to stop following Penny and attempts to get inside to use the bathroom. In his stupor, he garners the attention of Penny, who recognizes him instantly. BoJack attempts to explain himself, Penny fearfully informs him that he can't be there and that she was seventeen and didn’t know any better—before disappearing into the crowd swarming BoJack and Sarah Lynn.
Penny is briefly mentioned in Stupid Piece of Sh*t when BoJack thinks about people he let love him, and then he let them down. He later mentioned that Charlotte will never forgive him for what BoJack almost did to Penny.
The incident between BoJack and Penny is brought up numerous times in Season 5. In The Dog Days Are Over, during one night where Diane goes to BoJack’s place to work and gets drunk with him. BoJack offers for her to stay overnight in the guest room but Diane says she can't stay here again because last time she was a mess, and mentions how he left for Michigan.
BoJack corrects her and says it was New Mexico, and begins to tell her about what he did—but says all that happened was that he stayed with a family he knew, got a boat, and came back. Diane passes out by this point, and BoJack covers her with a blanket.
In BoJack the Feminist, as Ana gives Diane the tape of BoJack confessing it to the reporter from Start Spreading The News. Diane ends up writing a similar plotline to the incident in BoJack's new show, Philbert, after saying they’re the same when he refuses to continue therapy, offending Diane due to the knowledge she recently gained about him. In Head in the Clouds, she has an angry confrontation with him about it, after the Philbert premier; along with all of his other past behaviors and actions. He comes clean about New Mexico, but he insists nothing happened, although implying only because Charlotte walked in. Diane storms off afterward.
In The Showstopper, a paranoid, opioid addicted BoJack believes someone is out to get him. He accidentally calls Charlotte, but Kyle picks up instead.
BoJack speaks with a fake voice, telling Kyle he's doing a survey, for his cable company. BoJack asks him about his marriage and daughter's sexual life, and the possibility if she was scarred by an older man she trusted and wants to reveal the bad thing he did.
Before BoJack hangs up, Kyle responds positively to these questions, giving them all 8/10. This implies Penny and her family, have been able to move on and heal, from the BoJack incident.
Penny is also pictured during the musical number, Don't Stop Dancing 'Til The Curtains Fall, in a piece of scenery representing what almost happened between them.
In A Quick One, While He's Away, taking place in either December 2019 or January 2020, reporters Paige Sinclair and Maximillian Banks from Hollywoo Reporter are investigating the circumstances behind Sarah Lynn's death, due to her mother, Carol Himmelfarb-Richardson repeatedly calling the publication to get information about the details surrounding her daughter's death.
They interview people coming out from an AA meeting and comprise a list of celebrities who attended the meetings.
Finally, a bird man confesses he had seen Sarah Lynn about a month before she died, and it was clear she was using. They ask the man if Sarah Lynn said something. He tells them she didn't but her friend did. They then press the man on who her friend was. He says he can't remember. He then tells them the man told the members a story about when he went to New Mexico. He said the story was about a girl and a mother, that the narrator of the story had sex with either the girl or the mother.
The bird man tells the reporters he remembers the name of the girl from the story, Penny Carson, and the man narrating the story was weirdly proud of it.
This leads the reporters to travel to New Mexico to investigate further.
Meanwhile, Hollyhock meets an older Pete Repeat, who now goes by Peter, at a party in New York City when she has an anxiety attack and he uses grounding techniques to help her calm down. After heading outside to sit on the fire escape, Peter tells Hollyhock about how when he was a senior in high school, a man lived with one of his friends while she was friends with his girlfriend. The man went to prom with them, bought them alcohol, practically forced them to drink it, and when his girlfriend got alcohol poisoning ditched them at the ER
He assures Hollyhock his girlfriend was OK, but it was really scary because she had to get her stomach pumped and he suffered from anxiety for a while. Peter says it wasn't anyone else's fault, just some bad guy's fault. He then tells her the craziest part of all, the guy is famous and he's actually a movie star.
Hollyhock questions who the guy was and Peter hesitates to tell her. Peter opens his mouth to respond, but the episode cuts him off before he speaks.
It is obvious in both of these plots the man the bird and Peter were referring to was BoJack.
Penny arrives at their table to take their order, and they question her about Sarah Lynn. Penny becomes anxious and asks if this has anything to do with BoJack, and says she hasn't seen BoJack or Sarah Lynn in years. They try to press her further but Penny leaves the diner and drives away. The reporters also leave and tailgate after her when they realize their lead is escaping.
Penny drives back to her parents' house. She walks into the kitchen and nervously tells Charlotte she just wanted to drop by and see her. Penny starts to tell Charlotte what happened at work when the reporters barge into the kitchen. The reporters introduce themselves and say they think BoJack may have played a role in the death of Sarah Lynn and they are looking for information. Charlotte sternly asks them to leave, but Penny then admits Sarah Lynn and BoJack came to Oberlin College and she saw them there before Sarah Lynn died. This comes as a shock to Charlotte, who did not know about her running into BoJack at Oberlin.
The reporters then ask if Sarah Lynn and BoJack were intoxicated. Penny retorts by saying is there ever a time BoJack is not intoxicated. Charlotte attempts to stop Penny from saying anything else to the reporters.
Penny says she's not a little kid and they should tell the reporters about Maddy, and reveals to Paige the incident with BoJack living with them and going with her and her friends to prom and getting Maddy alcohol poisoning.
The fact BoJack was living in the Carson family home catches the attention of Paige. Just then Kyle walks in the kitchen, and Charlotte lies and says Max and Paige are from the refrigerator repair company who are just leaving as their refrigerator is working fine. As she and Max leave, Paige then hands Penny a business card and tells her to call if she is willing to give any information.
Later, Penny comes home again and tells Charlotte she needed to get something. Charlotte follows Penny up to her old bedroom, where Penny pulls out the group photo from her high school prom night from a box under her bed and tells her mother she tried to throw it out but couldn't. She says she kept it because she thought she looked nice but that isn't the only reason she kept it.
Penny says they should tell their story because BoJack is still out there and it might help other people. Charlotte tells her she has no control over the story once it is out in the open and all of their past mistakes are exposed, and she just got her panic attacks under control.
She tells Penny to give it a couple of days to think it over and then she can call the reporters. Penny tucks the prom photo into her purse and tells her mother she has to go. After Penny leaves Charlotte is seen dialing a number on her phone. She is later seen calling BoJack angrily telling him to get the reporters away from her and Penny and she doesn't want her daughter included in the investigation.
In Sunk Cost and All That, BoJack comes clean to Princess Carolyn and Todd about New Mexico while they try to figure out why the reporters are after him. Princess Carolyn says he didn’t even do anything and if he did it wouldn’t have been illegal, but Diane argues back it’s not the legality it’s the fact it’s really shady, which Todd agrees to.
Penny is indirectly mentioned in Xerox of a Xerox during BoJack’s second interview with Biscuits Braxby, who exposes all of BoJack’s past shady and predatory behavior with women, including taking teenage girls to prom.
It is never exactly revealed if Penny did come forward to the reporters about her incident with BoJack.
- Escape from L.A. (debut)
- Stupid Piece of Sh*t (mentioned/pictured)
- The Dog Days Are Over (indirectly mentioned)
- BoJack the Feminist (indirectly mentioned)
- INT. SUB (indirectly mentioned)
- Head in the Clouds (mentioned)
- The Showstopper (mentioned/pictured)
- A Quick One, While He's Away (mentioned)
- Intermediate Scene Study w/ BoJack Horseman (mentioned)
- Good Damage (final series appearance)
- Sunk Cost and All That (mentioned)
- Xerox of a Xerox (indirectly mentioned in BoJack's interview with Biscuits Braxby)
- She is voted with "Best Smile" in her yearbook.
- Her bedroom posters have artist names including "F.K.A. Pigs," "Llama Del Rey," and "Bunny Ver w/ Fleet Foxes," which are puns on F.K.A Twigs, Lana Del Rey, and Bon Iver respectively.
- Penny resembles her mother Charlotte in looks and personality.
- According to her Facebook account, she likes Thai food and the smell of a fire on the first cold day of winter.