EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'BoJack Horseman' recap: Todd's brilliant rock opera

Season 1 | Episode 4 | “Zoes and Zeldas” | Aired Aug 22, 2014

A loner, an outcast and a has-been, BoJack has been struggling all season with the rising tide of social irrelevance. From MSNBSea scandals to flings with his TV sitcom daughter, BoJack is desperately trying to keep hold of the one thing everyone loses: time. In episode four, things go one step further as he not only tries to keep a grip on his past,but for the first time, he’s goes out of his way to influence the present.

But before the drama, the episode opens with BoJack doing standup back in 1985. His Rock Hudson and “why the long face” jokes are bombing and when the only person getting any laughs is a front row heckler, you know he’s having a rough night. After his set, the heckler offers to buy BoJack a drink. After BoJack politely tells him to get cancer, the heckler introduces himself as Herb Kazazz, a fellow comic. Herb gives BoJack some advice, starts him on the downward spiral of binge drinking and a friendship is born.

Fast forward to present day where BoJack is wandering around his fancy house and tripping over Todd’s stuff. As Todd tries explains the mess, BoJack gives him the same advice Herb gave him all those years ago: “Sometimes, big shots like me have to look out for little guys like you.” Ever the narcissist, BoJack has no recollection of who gave the advice in the first place.

After the title crawl, BoJack and the gang are attending the roast of Gloria Steinem. After a wonderfully obscure feminist jab from the roastmaster, Mr. Peanutbutter asks BoJack if he’s a “Zoe or a Zelda.” After BoJack looks at him like he’s crazy, Mr. Peanutbutter tells the table that Wayne, who happens to be Diane’s ex, is writing an article about him for Buzzfeed. Since Diane is writing a book for BoJack and Wayne is writing for Mr. Peanutbutter, he feels they’re practically the same!

First Awesome Line of the Episode Moment: As he defends his book as a piece of literature, he tells Mr. Peanutbutter his article will be “crammed between an animated .gif of a cat falling asleep and a list of fun facts about Legally Blonde.”

When BoJack again doesn’t get the “Zoe or Zelda” reference, Wayne explains they were the daughters in Mr. Peanutbutter’s sitcom. Zelda was the fun, sunny extrovert and Zoe was the intelligent, cynical introvert. In Wayne’s mind, everybody falls into those two categories; for example, Nixon was a Zoe, JFK was a Zelda. BoJack feels the conversation is beneath him, but when Todd claims to be a Zelda, BoJack laughs and classifies Todd as a third class: a life sucking parasite. Todd sighs and agrees. In a moment of sadness, he admits to be a being a bit of a loser who will never finish his rock opera.

Episode 4 - Rock Opera

Before BoJack can regret he even asked, we’re back at his place listening to Todd explain the musical. According to Todd, it’s going to be a mishmash of every conceivable cliché with the catchy title, “Utopia Rising. Book 1: The Search for a New Utopia.” BoJack punches out at the first note, Mr. Peanutbutter is all in and Todd is off and singing.

One rock opera later, Mr. Peanutbutter is still enthralled, Carolyn is playing with two smartphones and BoJack is cringing. After Todd finishes with a flourish, BoJack, once again, shoots it down with a remarkably uncomfortable comment. Todd sighs and cheerily pronounces he’s going to give up on his dream forever. BoJack agrees with enthusiasm.

Later, BoJack is in his pool room with Diane going over another piece of his book. Diane asks BoJack about Todd and how he came to live there. BoJack explains that Todd came to a party five years earlier and, despite BoJack’s repeated attempts to make him leave, never left. Diane feels Todd could really flourish with some guidance and asks BoJack if he ever had a mentor. The two go back and forth about why Todd’s really there. BoJack thinks he’s being helpful by letting him live there rent free and Diane feels BoJack is purposefully clipping Todd’s wings because he has a fear of living alone.

To prove he truly has Todd’s best interests at heart, BoJack calls him in to settle the discussion. BoJack reluctantly offers to help Todd with his rock opera and goes so far to say he has untapped talent. BoJack wants to be an…uggghh…mentor. After briefly questioning BoJack’s motives by bringing up an ice-skating stripper incident, Todd agrees with a mighty, “Hooray!”

Episode 4 - Todd and BoJack

We next find BoJack and Todd hashing out the finer points of the opera. BoJack, in a word, hates every bit of it and think it’s a steaming pile. This prompts a cough from Diane, which makes BoJack soften his tone a bit. It stinks and he doesn’t like it, but he gives Todd a fraction of encouragement.

After a few days of interrupting him during terrible sex with Carolyn and getting nothing but useless negativity, Todd tells BoJack that he doesn’t think he’s been paying attention the whole time. Astonishingly, this prompts a genuine constructive criticism. As BoJack explains the broken motivations of the play’s main characters, it’s clear he’s actually given Todd’s musical some thought. BoJack and Todd start unraveling the plot points together and before we can say, “Turbidians,” the two have made a story breakthrough! It’s great to see both Todd and BoJack excited about something other than drinking heavily and lying around in their underwear.

As we move forward, it looks like Todd is no longer BoJack’s houseguest. They are actual partners. BoJack doesn’t mind the sexual interruptions and even invites Todd to lunch. After again making sure it’s not another “eating a stripper” situation, Todd again agrees with a mighty, “Hooray!” The two are a team!

Back in Mr. Peanutbutter’s place, Wayne is working on the Buzzfeed article. After telling Wayne a bad David O. Russell story, Mr. Peanutbutter leaves the room, giving Wayne and Diane a minute of alone time. After Wayne asks if the relationship is serious, Mr. Peanutbutter barges in and tells Diane they need to leave immediately for a “burritos as big as your head” special. Diane reminds him they were supposed to go see a Diane Arbus show and when Wayne offers to go with her, Mr. Peanutbutter surprisingly agrees. Evidently, having an ex take your girlfriend out to an art gallery is no cause for alarm, especially when Mexican food is on the line.

Episode 4 - Peanut and Wayne

Back with Todd and BoJack, the two are sitting down to a proper lunch. BoJack is finally learning some of Todd’s backstory: He had a long run-in with the Russian mob, got obsessed with a video game called Decapathon and was thrown out of his mother’s house. Todd admits he always knew he’d be a screw-up but BoJack disagrees. He’s got a fantastic musical on his hands! Todd then tells BoJack that Carolyn has hooked him up with Virgil Van Cleef, the biggest name in rock operas. BoJack isn’t sure it’s a great idea but he’s totally on Team Todd. He even blows off a call from the winged paparazzi from the previous episode. Who cares if they have compromising pictures of him with a pop star? He’s having lunch with his friend.

Back in his place, BoJack is prepping his friends on the rehearsal with Van Cleef, just to make sure Todd gets the best reaction possible for his opera. As Mr. Peanutbutter hands Diane a pair of tickets to see the next Arbus exhibit, Mr. Van Cleef breaks down the door and with a bellowing moose call, announces his arrival.

After the big entrance, BoJack manages everybody’s expectations by explaining the piece is very rough, Todd has no formal training and probably didn’t even finish high school. What an intro! Todd starts in on the opening number and after a “5 Hours Later” cut, we see him finish the final epic chord. Despite saying the musical needs a third act show stopper, Van Cleef is enchanted. He wants to do an investor showcase in six weeks and when Todd agrees, pops the bubbly. Things are really rolling for Todd!

As the group celebrates, Diane tells BoJack she’s impressed with how he’s been a mentor to Todd. Everything is going great until Todd walks over and tells BoJack that if the show is a hit, he’ll finally be able to move out. No more yelling for Todd to clean up his crap and ask random questions about characters from early ’90s sitcoms. BoJack forgot about this piece of Todd’s potential success and is clearly not ready to let him leave the nest.

Episode 4 - Marquee

But there’s no time for mommy issues and the fear of being abandoned. It’s show time! As Todd and Van Cleef prep for the showcase, BoJack confides in Carolyn that he doesn’t think Todd’s ready for the big time.

The “Wow, That Took a Turn” Moment: After Carolyn tells BoJack it’s probably him who’s not ready for Todd’s success, we learn BoJack knows how it feels to leave the nest too early. A hilariously uncomfortable moment between him and a mother bird out a window prove that’s literally the case.

All Van Cleef wants from Todd is a big showstopper in the third act and after Carolyn tricks Todd into signing as her client, he goes to BoJack for advice. BoJack suggests a healthy sampling of snacks first and the two head to a nearby convenience store. While in line, Todd sees a copy of Decapathon VII in the bargain bin. Like an addict after crack, Todd’s eyes glaze over and despite BoJack’s advice, buys the game, promising to not play it until the show is finished.

Back in BoJack’s place, Todd is having a terrible time concentrating with the game sitting next to him. Ten seconds after promising BoJack for the final time he’ll leave it alone, he’s playing the Tetris style puzzler. Fast forward to the next morning as Todd is still staring at the screen, bugged-eyed and zoned-out. He hasn’t done a lick of work on the song! BoJack snaps him out of it and rushes him to the investor showcase.

Half awake and reeling from a night of gaming, Todd arrives to the theater just in time to impress the investors. He sits on the stool, plays half a scale and proceeds to forget every line of the piece. After five seconds, Van Cleef apologizes to his fellow investors for trusting the talentless idiot. BoJack rushes to Todd’s defense and tells Van Cleef that while he may not be ready for the big time, Todd is still his friend. BoJack tells Van Cleef he’s going to die alone, pushes Todd out the door, and tells the room to suck it. Todd isn’t quite sure why BoJack is burning all his bridges, but BoJack seems more concerned about his emotional welfare than fame and success.

Back in BoJack’s living room, Todd is bummed. According to him, it wasn’t the game’s fault. He blew an opportunity by his own doing. When Todd moves to toss out his keyboard, BoJack tells him to safely put it away in the closet. After five years of living there, Todd has earned himself some closet space.

Episode 4 - BoJack Payoff

As Todd revels in his newfound storage area, we see Diane on Wayne’s computer. It turns out Wayne hasn’t been doing any research at all; he’s been tracking their relationship and feels Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter shouldn’t be together. While Diane admits Wayne is cool and intelligent, she loves Mr. Peanutbutter for his warmth, loyalty and kindness. Wayne thinks Diane is really a Zoe pretending to be a Zelda, living a safe fantasy life she can’t possibly maintain.

As Wayne tells Diane how people can’t change from cynical Zoe’s to carefree Zelda’s, we see BoJack returning Todd’s game, getting a stack of cash for it and paying off the lady in the store line. It turns out BoJack staged the entire game appearance and purchase as an obvious sabotage to Todd’s dreams and aspirations. As Wayne finishes telling Diane this uncomfortable truth and leaves in a huff, Mr. Peanutbutter shows us the other side of the equation. Having sat through Wayne’s entire discussion, he still thinks he’s a nice guy.

As we see Todd push the last of his belongings into the closet and with a peaceful sigh fall asleep on the couch, we get the feeling that, despite BoJack’s ruining of his dreams, everything is where it should be…until we see the game receipt with BoJack’s signature laying right beneath Todd’s nose! It’s a fantastic cliffhanger. Will Todd find the receipt and learn exactly what BoJack did? Will Diane realize she’s a Zoe and leave Mr. Peanutbutter? Will the pictures of BoJack and his pop star princess ever see the light of day? Tensions and expectations are running high for the next episode!

Watch BoJack Horseman on Netflix.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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