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No, I'm not gonna give you closure. You don't get that. You have to live with the shitty thing you did for the rest of your life. You have to know that it's never, ever going to be okay!—I'm dying! I'm not gonna feel better! And I'm not gonna be your prop so you can feel better!—Do you know what it was like for me? I had nobody. Everybody left!

I knew all those showbiz phonies would turn on me, sure. But you?—I don't care about the job! I did fine! I had a good life, but what I needed then was a friend. And you abandoned me. And I will never forgive you for that. Now get the fuck out of my house!

Herb Kazzaz to BoJack Horseman, The Telescope


Introduction

The Telescope is the eighth episode of Season 1 of the Netflix original series, BoJack Horseman. It premiered on August 22, 2014, along with the rest of Season 1.

Synopsis

When he learns that his old friend from Horsin' Around is dying, BoJack tries to mend fences.

Plot

On their way to see Herb in Malibu, BoJack tells Diane about his past with Herb, and how BoJack admittedly stabbed Herb in the back.

BoJack and Herb were both stand-up comedians, trying to make it big in Hollywood, during the 1980s.

One night, network executives from ABC catch one of Herb's routines and are impressed. Herb, BoJack, and Herb's girlfriend Charlotte are invited to a party by the executives.

BoJack, while glad for Herb, is disappointed that his big break has not arrived yet. Charlotte assures him it'll come, but what she's actually worried about, is how fame will change him. She walks him over to see the tar pits across from the party, saying "L.A. is a pretty town on top of black tar, and by the time you realize you're sinking, it's too late."

BoJack doesn't seem to understand, he asks if this is a science lesson. When she tells him it's a metaphor, he groans, saying that's even worse. Charlotte then reveals she's moving to Maine, to BoJack's shock. When he asks if Herb knows, she says he does, and that she doesn't think she's the person he's looking for. BoJack says that he'll miss her. Charlotte then asks him if he would have made a move on her if Herb hadn't met her first. She continues, saying she doesn't think BoJack would have because she thinks "[he's] a coward."

The next day, at the planetarium, Herb reveals to BoJack they bought his Horsin' Around show idea. BoJack is at first saddened he is being left behind, but Herb surprises BoJack, by saying he only agreed to the deal if they agreed to let BoJack be the star. BoJack is enthralled by this news. Herb then kisses BoJack, but then quickly takes it back, insisting he's not gay. The two then celebrate their upcoming fame and wealth.

The episode then cuts to the 90s the height of Horsin' Around and BoJack's career. However, BoJack has let fame get to him; becoming narcissistic and difficult to work with, arguing with the writers. He has started smoking and drinking heavily, as a result, his friendship with Herb has become strained.

One day BoJack is called by his agent Marv that his dream role of starring in the Secretariat movie may become a reality if he can avoid scandals in the meanwhile. At the same time, however, Herb is caught doing "lewd acts with another man," in a police sting, effectively outing his sexual orientation to the media.

An outraged public pressures the network, and Herb wants BoJack to back him up when the executives inevitably seek to fire him. BoJack agrees, admitting he wouldn't have his success if it weren't for Herb and that he would threaten to walk off the show. Ultimately, BoJack is talked down by the intimidating head of the executives, Angela Diaz, and continues to do the show while Herb is fired. The Secretariat movie ended up going into "development hell."

In the present, BoJack arrives at Herb's house with Diane. He is confronted by Herb, who appears very sickly. Herb throws barbed jokes about BoJack "stabbing [him] in the back" at an uncomfortable BoJack. Diane eases the tension, by getting the two to joke about common topics of interest. Herb also reveals, he actually had a good life after getting fired, he started a charity and even met the president.

He also kept in touch with Charlotte. Herb ends up admitting it was actually nice to see BoJack again. All the while, Todd was held at gunpoint, in the middle of helping BoJack turn his car around by two girls. They claim to rob celebrities. Todd eventually gets the girls to open up about their feelings—until they remember their original plan, after Todd lets his guard down, and pistol-whip him unconscious.

As BoJack and Diane are about to leave, BoJack complains about the visit not feeling right. Seeking closure, BoJack returns to Herb's bedroom to apologize for the past. Herb accepts but does not forgive BoJack.

When BoJack says this will probably be the last time they'll see each other. Herb angrily says he's not giving BoJack closure. BoJack has to live with the shitty thing he did to him for the rest of his life. He recounts how he felt after his career fell apart, and expected everyone except BoJack to abandon him. He also states that was the difficult time in his life he really needed a friend and BoJack abandoned him, and will never forgive him for that. He then tells BoJack to, “get the fuck” out of his house. BoJack solemnly sighs with acceptance.

On his way out, BoJack picks up a telescope on his way out that Herb had given him on the exact day Herb told him Horsin' Around was being picked up. This sets off Herb—demanding BoJack leave the telescope, and when he refuses, the two get into a physical altercation. Diane then separates them.

Herb then begins to tell BoJack off again saying while he thinks of himself as the good guy, he's actually nothing but a selfish coward. Herb goes on to say BoJack takes what he wants and doesn't give a shit about who he hurts. BoJack says he doesn't know why he came here. Herb says, “Yes, you do," as his nurse, Tina Bear helps him back to his room. Diane and BoJack leave. However, they both forget to pick up Todd on the way out, who is unconscious on the lawn.

On the way home, BoJack brushes off Princess Carolyn's phone call from the end of Say Anything and stops along the highway to collect himself. Diane gets out of the car to console BoJack. He tells her she can put this in the book, and that he doesn't care what anyone thinks anymore. Diane tells him she thinks it took a lot of guts to do what he did. BoJack then kisses Diane unexpectedly. She pushes herself away, shaking her head, and returns to the car wordlessly. BoJack is left staring at the ocean.

Cast

Actor Character
Will Arnett ... BoJack Horseman
Amy Sedaris ... Princess Carolyn/ Sharona
Alison Brie ... Diane Nguyen /Cammie / Kenzie
Paul F. Tompkins ... Concerned Man
Aaron Paul ... Todd Chavez
Rachel Bloom ... Sitcom Writer
Chris Cox ... Bubbles / Marv
Anjelica Huston ... Angela Diaz
Keith Olbermann ... Tom Jumbo-Grumbo
Stanley Tucci ... Herb Kazzaz
Olivia Wilde ... Charlotte Moore

Trivia

  • The two girls of the self-proclaimed "Celebrity Stealing Club" is a parody of characters from the 2012 film Spring Breakers and the 2013 film The Bling Ring.
  • Mr. Peanutbutter does not appear in this episode.
  • There is a running gag where 80s BoJack refuses alcohol, which contrasts with the heavy alcoholic he is now.
  • "Crown on the Ground" by Sleigh Bells plays when the Celebrity Stealing Club first try to carjack Todd.
  • This is the first appearance of Charlotte.
  • It is revealed Princess Carolyn was an intern for Marv, BoJack's former agent, in the 90s.
  • This is the first time in the series someone says fuck. In this episode, Herb says it in the phrase, "Now get the fuck out of my house" after telling BoJack off and refusing to forgive him.
    • The writers have a rule that they can only use the f word once per season, and it's always used when a relationship with BoJack has been irrevocably destroyed.
  • List of '80s references during the generic '80s sequence:
    • Rubik's cube
    • Fanny packs
    • Floppy disks
    • Synthesizers
    • "Tag" soda seems to be a reference to Tab soda (given the similarly-designed logo), although Tab soda has been around since the '60s, and in fact its popularity declined in the '80s.
      • The billboard also says "The Cola Wars are over," referencing the rivalry between Coca-Cola and Pepsi, which was at its peak in the '80s.
    • "Gorbachev Stain Removers" features many references to the Cold War.
      • This also possibly be a reference to a famous Stahler political cartoon where he drew Gorbachev putting the Soviet Union in the washing machine with Gorbachev exclaiming, "It Shrunk!"
      • Mikhail Gorbachev was a significant political figure in the Soviet Union at the time.
      • The storefront features a sickle-and-hammer motif, referencing the Soviet flag.
      • A sign in the window advertises "explosive deals!" with a picture of a mushroom cloud, referencing the constant danger of nuclear war that existed during the Cold War.
      • Gorbachev had a birthmark on his head known as a "port-wine stain."
    • "Disco Forever" is now "closed forever," following disco's decline in popularity during the '80s
    • House of Leg Warmers
    • "Condor 64" (Commodore 64)
    • Walkmans
    • "Big Brother is Watching You" is displayed on one of the billboards, referencing George Orwell's novel 1984.
    • The "That's So Reagan" storefront references Ronald Reagan's presidency
      • The storefront boasts "Trickle-Down Savings," referencing the economic policies that Reagan is associated with.
      • The store advertises jellybeans, which Reagan had an affinity for.
      • The store's "Bonzo Sale" references the 1951 movie Bedtime for Bonzo, in which Reagan plays a psychology professor who tries to teach human morals to a chimpanzee by raising it like a human child.
      • The name of the store also appears to be a reference to the Disney Channel sitcom That's So Raven, although that show first aired in 2003.
    • The "Cocaine Mirrors" store references the popularity of that particular drug during the '80s.
  • List of '90s references during the generic '90s sequence:
    • Virtual Pets (one example of a popular brand being Tamagotchi)
    • "Beenie Babies" (Beanie Babies)
    • Slap bracelets
    • Hacky Sacks
    • Flannel
    • Got Milk?
    • "The S"
    • "Magick: The Assembly" references the Magic: The Gathering card game (the logo is even stylized similarly).
    • The billboard for "Llama" brand cigarettes references the Joe Camel ad campaign used by Camel cigarettes during the '90s.
    • Pogs
    • There was a picture on the wall in his house showing nude BoJack on the bear skin—it`s a reference to famous Burt Reynolds` photo.
  • Picket signs used by anti-gay protestors:
    • "C'mon!"
    • "Don't be an ASS - ditch Herb!"
    • "Clean up your stable Horsin' Around!!!"
    • "Gosh I'm angry!"
    • "2 men kissing makes me uncomfortable"
    • "Get a brain, morons!"
    • "It's Horsin' Around not Horsin Around"
      • then, on a second sign taped to the first, "(in a GAY way!!)"
    • "Keep our parks hetero"
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