It’s that time again! That time when J and I binge-watch the new season of Bojack Horseman and make note of the Simpsons references that we, as people who live and breathe Simpsons references, can’t help but catch.
If you’re new here, please don’t take the article’s title too seriously, we adore Bojack and are not accusing them of stealing anything. It’s just a pleasure to notice the similarities between two of our favorite shows.
- Season 5, Episode 3: “Planned Obsolescence”
In this episode, Todd and his girlfriend Yolanda, both asexual but not aromantic, get into some wacky hijinks when they visit Yolanda’s extremely sex-positive family for dinner. Her father is an erotic novelist, her mother is an adult film star, and her twin sister is a sex advice columnist. Yolanda feels pressured to keep their asexuality under wraps, and asks Todd to help her keep up the appearance that they are sexually active. Hilarity ensues when their ruse works and Yolanda’s father offers them a very valuable barrel of lube (the last barrel of the old family recipe), for their imminent lovemaking. The night gets even wackier when the barrel breaks and the whole family is sliding around like a, uh, a yak in heat.Forgive the crappy attempt at a GIF, I’m not fancy enough to make good GIFs from Netflix, and no brave soul has made a Frinkiac for Bojack Horseman yet.
Recognize that gag? I sure did. It’s just like, in “King-Size Homer,” when Homer tries to slip in oil to get workman’s comp and ends up sliding gracefully into Mr. Burns’ office.
- Season 5, Episode 4: “Bojack the Feminist”
In Hollywoo, there is a yearly award ceremony for celebrities who fucked up bad: the “We Forgive You” awards. Sexual harassers and other toxic assholes get an award for ducking out of the spotlight for a few moments after being called out, and are rewarded with an unlimited number of chances, no matter how many people they hurt or how little they do to deserve redemption! How do they keep up with the news like that? Anyway, the stage setup for the Forgivees includes a word you will probably only recognize from The Simpsons, from “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song.”
Not harassing women or being racist is a real flat tire, I mean a cube, maaaan!
- Season 5, Episode 5: “The Amelia Earhart Story”
This episode was a much-needed glimpse into the backstory of one of my favorite characters, Princess Carolyn. We knew of her very humble upbringing as the daughter of a maid, but this episode showed us that she left that lifestyle behind when she was accepted as a student at UCLA. Here’s the brochure she got in the mail.
Marge got one a lot like it when she gets pregnant with Bart in “I Married Marge.”
- Season 5, Episode 9: “Ancient History”
Bojack’s SPOILER ALERT FOR SEASON 4: ( little sister ) Hollyhock (criminally underutilized this season, I have to say) comes to visit Bojack on a break from her university studies. Bojack brags about how good he thought he’d be at being in college, and drops a phrase that I’m sure he must have heard on “Homer Goes to College” when he was a young actor.
Homer refers to Dean Peterson as a “crusty old dean” twice in that episode.
- Season 5, Episode 10, “Head in the Clouds”
In the Simpsons, this gag doesn’t last past the end of the opening credits. In Bojack Horseman, however, it lasts multiple episodes. And even though it’s post-season 10, I love this gag and wouldn’t dream of not including it.At the very beginning of Season 11’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner,” it is revealed that Homer is able to chaperone Bart and Lisa’s field trip by making a robot out of garbage to cover for him. The robot, complete with a tape recording of Homer singing his version of Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money,” so impresses Mr. Burns that the robot gets promoted and is given its own office (where it soon bursts into flames).
Bojack Horseman’s take on this is when Todd, who clearly does not understand what non-asexual people enjoy about sex at all, builds his friend Emily a sex robot. Dripping with dildos and buttplugs, and equipped with a hacked Speak & Spell that blares sexually aggressive phrases, “Henry Fondle” fails to arouse Emily. Todd then takes it to work with him, where it promptly talks the CEO out of his job by saying “I WANT TO BE ON TOP OF YOU.” Here’s how that plays out:
Here’s another bonus Simpsons joke from the same episode, just an aside because they already did this joke in season 3, Episode 4: “Fish Out of Water.”
Gotta love that joke, though.