Asexual Representation: Todd Chavez, Our Ace Hero
Part 2 continuing from last week's episode! Todd Chavez from Bojack Horseman is currently our favorite example of asexual representation in the media. We finish our discussion of Todd by reviewing seasons 4-6 including his relationships with Emily, Yolanda, and Maude.
Courtney: Who’s ready for more Todd-tier ace content? I hope it’s you… because you’re listening to this and that’s what you’re gonna get either way. Welcome to Part 2 of Asexual Representation: Todd. Chavez. We are discussing the show BoJack Horseman. My name is Courtney. I’m here with my spouse, Royce. And last week, we discussed, essentially, the first three seasons of the show BoJack Horseman through the lens of Todd being a budding asexual hero. We are making the argument that Todd is fantastic asexual representation. And even though the first three seasons was not explicit – they were not using the word “asexual” – there was a bit of a slow drip of information that was giving us little clues that kept building and building. And now it’s ready to explode. We are starting our timeline today at Season 4, right in the very first episode, where they really hit the ground running with the asexual representation. And we’re discussing it in this way because of the fact that far too much ace representation in media is very fleeting. It’s a small little glimpse. It’s one sort of shoehorned description and definition. We don’t always get really fleshed-out characters or a highly relatable plotline.
Royce: Sex Education, for example.
Courtney: For example. Yeah, Sex Education had one character that wasn’t really a character. They focused on her asexuality for a grand total of five minutes. But Todd Chavez is a main character. He is there in Episode 1 of Season 1, and he is going to continue to be a character until the series finale. And all along the way, he is going to continue to grow and develop, and that is what we adore about him. So last episode, we talked a little bit about his backstory, the leadup before we get to this big ace plotline. But we didn’t really talk about those classic Todd shenanigans, [laughs] which he is so famous for, which is part of the reason he’s so lovable as a character even before this asexuality was introduced. So let’s just rattle off a couple of really good Todd moments that aren’t necessarily ace related. Do you have anything to start us off there, Royce? Anything that comes to mind?
Royce: Well, when in a meeting trying to plan how to curtail rising gun violence, he does come up with the idea that maybe if we pumped up everyone’s kicks enough, they could outrun the bullets.
Courtney: [laughs] That was so good because obviously, [laughs] that’s a Foster The People reference from the darkest song that actually sounds pretty happy and peppy, [laughs] but that’s also very Todd. He’s always coming up with new ideas and schemes and… inventions and businesses. “Maybe they could outrun the bullet!” That was a good one. He also founded Disney World.
Royce: Yes, due to a series of laws and a clerical error in the BoJack Horseman universe, Todd founded Disney World with one N.
Courtney: Yeah, because the Disney Corporation accidentally registered Diisneyland with two Is. [laughs]
Royce: Oh, was it Is? Okay.
Courtney: I think so, because I remember them saying Di’isney. So yeah, Todd created Disney World, which had a giant death-coaster with his face on it and a pile of burning mattresses. [laughs] I don’t remember why. But that was a classic Todd shenanigan.
Royce: Some of it we mentioned already, just by virtue of speaking about Todd. Like, creating a rock opera. Getting way too involved in improv.
Courtney: Oh, yeah, the improv cult. Oh, and then there was – [laughs] when he joined forces with Quentin Tarantulino, who was creating a movie of some kind, and Todd just kept coming up with all of these stranger and stranger ideas to improve the movie.
Royce: Right. Until the movie eventually became a bimonthly curated box of snacks.
Courtney: [laughs] Because of course it became snacks, because it’s Todd we’re talking about. Wacky character.
Royce: If we don’t get a comment after this is posted that’s something to the effect of, “What the hell is this show?” –
Royce: – from someone who hasn’t seen it, I’m going to be disappointed.
Courtney: I really hope someone listening has never seen this show. But oh man, yeah, the out-of-context things that are canon in the BoJack Horseman universe, even though it’s clearly based on real life, and they even have some real-life actors and actresses who are characters. Like Margo Martindale plays herself. [laughs] A violent version of herself. [laughs]
Royce: What a coincidence. Jessica Biel also plays herself, but when she saw the script she asked the writers to not be so nice to her.
Courtney: Is that why they had her fly totally off the handle?
Royce: That’s why she flies off the handle and starts suggesting cannibalism and burns someone alive, and…
Courtney: [laughs] “The fire is our god now!” [laughs] “Un-Biel-ievable. Un-Jessica Biel-ievable.” Yeah. Wild show. Somehow, still one of the most depressing shows I’ve ever seen in my life. Because get you a team of writers who can do both. [laughs] So…
Royce: Do you remember that one episode where he’s Cool Todd? Toad?
Courtney: “Toad. The name’s Toad.” Yes, because he finds the prop that Steve Urkel went through to become Stefan Urquelle. And he became Toad Chavez [pronounced like Sha-vay]. [laughs]
Royce: Who immediately steals a motorcycle from –
Royce: Immediately pops his collar, steals a motorcycle from a biker.
Courtney: And the biker’s like, “I should be mad, but that guy’s just so cool.” [laughs] So when we talk about the wacky Todd antics, [laughs] those are the kind of things we’re talking about. It’s hard not to love a character who’s doing all of this silly nonsense. So the end of Season 3 definitely teased an asexuality self-discovery plotline, because Todd admitted that he’s not gay, but he doesn’t think he’s straight. He doesn’t know what he is, and maybe he might be nothing. Season 4 picks up basically right where they ended off with Todd, because he and Emily are once again sitting in a diner. They’re eating burgers. Todd being Todd, doing classic Todd nonsense, [laughs] is actually scooping ice cream onto his burger [laughs], directly onto the burger patty, and then replacing the bun on top of the ice cream. Because of course he is.
Royce: In this episode, does the waitress that got tipped eight million dollars come up with, like, a scepter and a crown?
Courtney: Yeah, like a robe. [laughs] Lots of big jewelry. She’s also like, [seductively] “This cow likes to be tipped.”
Royce: Still works here, but.
Courtney: Still works here. Just a casual millionaire. [laughs] But yeah, and Todd’s sitting there with Emily, who did not accidentally tip away her eight million dollars. So she’s sitting there. She’s got a shopping bag next to her from the fancy hat store, because she wanted to buy a fancy hat. And then Todd’s just ruminating and says, “You know what I’d do if I had eight million dollars?” And Emily says, “Yeah, you’d give it to the waitress.” [laughs] But then he explains, “No, what I’d actually do is build a Drone Throne.” And he talks about this dream of a drone that has a chair in it so that you can sit in it while it flies.
Royce: Which, everyone he tells this to immediately says, “If you’re sitting on it, it’s no longer a drone, right?”
Courtney: [laughs] Yes, which Emily points out, “Doesn’t that make it not a drone?” But, when she points that out, Todd says, “I feel like you’re getting really hung up on labels.” Ohh, it’s so good! [laughs] He had an issue with labels in the very first episode of the season! And it sounded like a throwaway line, but now it is a major point of development. That’s what we call exceptional writing. And so Emily, who was Todd’s girlfriend – maybe on a couple of occasions in high school and more recently – is looking for other people now, because Todd is clearly not into having a sexual relationship with her. So she describes this new dating app that she’s creating that is just for firemen and redheaded women named Emily. [laughs] So she’s basically designing her own dating app just to meet firemen. So… I guess she has a type.
Royce: Is it all firemen or just firemen named Steve?
Courtney: It’s all firemen.
Courtney: One of them is named Steve.
Royce: No, two consecutive ones are both named Steve. And they are both currently working on their trucks.
Courtney: [laughs] Oh, that’s right. She ends up dating so many firemen that Todd can’t keep up with them. He’ll be like, “Oh, how’s Steve?” “No, that was my last fireman, but now I am seeing Steve.” Which is very interesting. I know logically that there are a lot of straight allo women who just have this thing for firemen. I don’t get it. Is there something I’m missing? Is there a reason why firemen – is it just the heroic thing, or…? Is it because they’re hot?
Royce: I don’t get it either. I assume part of it is that firemen tend to be in shape, yes. There’s also just the social thing of, “Oh, I love a man in uniform.”
Royce: And I don’t understand that either, but it’s a thing.
Courtney: Yeah, man in uniform, I guess that is a thing. Like, Eleanor in The Good Place likes mailmen, [laughs] for some reason. Things I will not understand, ever. But I have an ex who ended up becoming a fireman [laughs]. Actually, that would be a really good future podcast episode, is telling the story of that whole thing, but that’s for later. Today is for Todd. So Todd’s like, “Aw, you don’t need an app, you can just hang out with me!” And Emily’s like, “Todd, you’re great.” To which Todd, who, I mentioned last episode, takes everything very literally all the time, says, “What a way to end a sentence.” [laughs] And she pushes past that and says, “But I want a boyfriend, one who isn’t asexual.” And Todd gets really uncomfortable. He goes, “Woah, why, why did you call me that? I mean, that –” He’s stammering a bit. “That word doesn’t n-necessarily describe –” And Emily says, “You know, sometimes, labels can be helpful.” And Todd says, “I would label this conversation rough.” So he has some soul-searching to do. Yeah, some learning, some self-discovery. And I really like that. Because we mentioned Sex Education, that whole five minutes where a girl learns about asexuality and what it is and she’s immediately like, “Great! All my problems are solved.”
Royce: And disappears.
Courtney: She disappeared. She’s like, “Great. I’m happy now.” [laughs]
Royce: “I don’t need to exist here anymore. I am no longer a troubled teenager dealing with their sexuality and social issues. I can just leave this establishment.”
Courtney: As you do. [laughs] So, I love that BoJack Horseman is showing an ace character who is really bringing nuance to the table about the asexual experience and the actual coming to terms with it, in a way that we rarely get to see in media. So Emily ends up taking a cut of her eight million dollars, and she makes Todd his Drone Throne. And she has it delivered to him with a nice little note. Todd gets very excited to have his Drone Throne. And he can’t pilot it very well [laughs]. He’s constantly bumping into things. But it is because of that Drone Throne that he accidentally becomes governor of California [laughs] for a very small fraction of a minute. Because again, anyone who hasn’t seen the show is going to not know what the heck we’re talking about.
Royce: Yeah, I think that is a statement that should be left there, and we just continue. Todd got a Drone Throne, became governor of California…
Courtney: [laughs] He became governor of California because he won a ski race that he didn’t enter, which was legally binding. [laughs] It sounds weird, but oddly enough for as ridiculous and outlandish as that plotline was, it was a very, very good commentary on modern politics –
Courtney: And how bills become law.
Royce: A ski race was able to decide the governor of California because people couldn’t drive to Hawaii.
Courtney: Yep. Just that and nothing else. [laughs] So Todd goes plowing through this finish line on the ski race for governor on the Drone Throne. And they’re like, “All right, swear him in as governor immediately.” He puts his hand on the Bible and he’s like, “So help me Todd.” But then he immediately resigns. He’s like, “Now that I’m governor, I… don’t want to be governor.” And everyone’s like, “What? You wish to resign?” And he said, “Yeah, I’m just not really into labels right now.” And he says, “Maybe after some soul-searching, I’ll be ready to really know what I am. But for now, I ate too much kettle corn while drifting out of control in my Drone Throne.” [laughs] Yup. That’s what happened, Todd. So, yeah, again with the labels. Again with the snacking, the kettle corn, the massive bag of kettle corn. And as fun and wonderful as that plotline is, nothing, [emphasizes] nothing can compare to Season 4, Episode 3. It is a masterpiece. I can’t even really call it “the asexual episode” because there’s more than one episode where this is a theme, but it is the Todd episode.
Royce: This is “Hooray! Todd Episode!”
Courtney: “Hooray! Todd Episode!” It’s really a thing of beauty. The episode opens with an orchestra playing onstage. And there’s an empty seat next to a triangle, where a worried musician is looking over at it and going, “Uh…” And someone leans over to him and says, “Don’t worry. He’ll be here.” “But his part is in 16 bars!” Cut to Todd frantically pushing through the audience to get onstage [laughs]. And he rings the triangle right at the end of the song and gets there with no second to spare. And then there’s an afterparty where the orchestra members are all gossiping, you know, [hushed tones] “I heard he used to be in a gang.” “I heard he’s a tech millionaire.” Which… [laughs] were all kind of true? Taken out of context, but not false. Someone even says, “There’s… there’s a rumor that he’s a foreign prince,” because at one point he kind of gets swapped with the Prince of Cordovia. [laughs]
Royce: Of war-torn Cordovia, yes.
Courtney: War-torn Cordovia.
Royce: A fictional country in this show that a couple of people interact with.
Courtney: So he is not a foreign prince, but he does look just like one and did swap places with him for a period of time. But then this lion-man, who is the piccolo player, dramatically pipes up and says, “His name is Todd Chavez, and he’s the most giving man the world has ever known.” [laughs] And he goes on to tell this extravagant story that we never get confirmation if any bit of it is actually real or not. But it’s a man claiming that Todd saved his pregnant daughter from drowning in a shipwreck, delivered her baby while floating on driftwood, and then circumcised her baby [laughs] while hanging from the ladder of the escape helicopter, but not before explaining to her that circumcision has gotten somewhat out of vogue. And then they had a spirited and respectful debate about the merits of circumcision and the pros and cons, and he helped her daughter to decide that, since they’re of Jewish heritage, that circumcision is best because the boy might want the option to become religious if he’d like. And someone in the crowd is just like, “Oh, it sounds like he really helped her make the decision that was right for her family!” [laughs]
Courtney: And we never get anything else about this story. It’s just a man who’s like, “I know that man. He’s the best man.” [laughs] But then he goes on to say, “And then, when our triangle player died of starvation after getting his foot stuck in his triangle, Todd Chavez took over purely because we needed him. He is always helping others.” And then he starts to say, you know, “Sometimes, when that triangle part is coming up, I find myself hoping that he won’t show up, because no man should be asked to give that much.” And that’s all just the opening scene [laughs] of this episode, so, you know it’s about to get real good. So because Todd won the ski race for governor and immediately resigned, now, there’s a special election. And Mr. Peanutbutter, this former sitcom star, game show host star more recently, just really excitable people-pleasing kind of person, dog-person.
Royce: I was going to say, there’s a reason why they drew him as a Labrador Retriever.
Royce: Yeah. That’s his personality. He’s a dog.
Courtney: [laughing] Oh, because that’s his personality. Yeah, he is literally a dog. [laughs] So he’s working on stuff with his campaign manager. And it shows Todd waking up, who… Todd moved out of BoJack Horseman’s house and moved into Mr. Peanutbutter’s house and is now staying on Mr. Peanutbutter’s couch. And it shows Todd waking up, and he starts just immediately making breakfast for Mr. Peanutbutter. He makes him an omelet in the shape of his face. He wraps a bib around his neck. And as he’s pouring him coffee, the campaign manager says, “Todd, you never do anything. Here’s an errand for you,” and asks him to go pick up glasses at his manager’s agency. Which does kind of show a bit about how underappreciated Todd is, because he also frequently made BoJack breakfast. And that was one somewhat endearing moment from his improv cult days, when BoJack tried to come and get him off of this improv cruise and rescue him from the cult – the cult that is not Scientology, because Scientology is not a cult. Improv is a cult. – But there was this memory moment of like, “Yeah, that first night that you stayed in my house, you made me breakfast,” and it was a whole thing. So he’s clearly constantly trying to help his friends and be nice for his friends. And it just shows that these little things go unappreciated in this really capitalistic, very fame-focused world. At the moment, he doesn’t have a real job, and people are looking down on him for that.
Courtney: But he agrees. He goes to the agency to pick up glasses. But that’s when the agent, Princess Carolyn, says, “Oh, Todd, you’re not doing anything, right?” And explains this problem she has where the public isn’t relating to this super out-of-touch actress, and so they want her to pretend to date a down-to-earth boring nobody, “Just like you, Todd.” And Todd tries to decline at first, saying, “Oh, you know, I’m kind of busy tonight. I have to return these glasses, and tonight, there was this meeting I wanted to go to.” But Princess Carolyn just fast-talks him and he agrees. But then he gets kidnapped by Hollyhock Manheim-Mannheim-Guerrero-Robinson-Zilberschlag-Hsung-Fonzerelli-McQuack, who is a young horse, 17-year-old horse-girl who has eight dads in a committed gay polyamorous relationship, who thinks that BoJack Horseman might be her bio-dad. [laughs] I just remembered the really good moment when Hollyhock was like, “Oh, ever since I was a baby, people told me I looked just like BoJack Horseman,” and Todd goes, “That’s a terrible thing to say to a baby.” But yeah, she kidnaps him and tries to enlist his help. “I need some DNA from BoJack to test this and see if my theory is correct.”
Courtney: So they go to BoJack’s horse. BoJack, by the way, as far as anyone knows, has run away. He’s just gone, and has been gone for over a year. But BoJack had recently gotten back. Hasn’t told Todd yet. He’s just passed out on his couch. And so when BoJack wakes up and sees Todd, he tries to get all sentimental about how, “Oh, Todd, you’re still here for me, even after everything I did.” But Todd still has his boundary, like we said last episode. He dropped the F-bomb. Even if they’re still talking, that relationship is never going to be what it used to be. So Todd says, “BoJack, we haven’t talked in a year and that’s kind of been working for me. So maybe it’s better if we keep things like that.” We stan a man with healthy boundaries.
Courtney: But now he has another errand: he needs to run all over the place to get these DNA samples tested, while he also has to meet lunch with his new fake famous girlfriend and all manner of other things, these glasses. He ends up cleaning BoJack’s entire house to cover up a lie about why Hollyhock was there. And so he’s just every which way. But then Mr. Peanutbutter, because of a misunderstanding, has just come out in favor of fracking as the governor-hopeful. And his wife is a woman named Diane. She is quite progressive. She thinks fracking is awful, because it is. So he knows immediately, “Hey, Diane’s not going to be happy that I am pro-fracking now. So… hey Todd, can you keep her away from all news and the internet?” [laughs] So then poor Todd is running over to where Diane works at this blog and he’s trying to distract her from the computer, which is literally her job to be on, on top of running errands for the DNA test. But then he gets a call from the agent, Princess Carolyn, who says, “Hey, you didn’t actually get a paparazzi photo when you went to lunch, so we need another chance. You need to go – she’s going to be at this runway show. So chop-chop. Get to it.”
Courtney: So now he has to go to a runway show. It’s the Sharc Jacobs fashion show, which I like very much. [laughs] We appreciate a good pun around here. And Todd accidentally walks right onto the runway. So everyone’s looking at him, and he just goes along with it. He’s wearing his signature yellow beanie and red hoodie with gray sweatpants and flip-flops, so, clearly out of place for a fashion show. But here’s my favorite thing, which I don’t know how many people picked up on. They literally had Tim Gunn there. I’m 99% sure they even had Tim Gunn voicing himself, because I can hear the voice in my head. Tim Gunn is asexual. A lot of people don’t know that, because they just assume he’s gay. Tim Gunn has long been my idol. I have, in my life, known very few actual celebrities by name, very few, especially with how few movies and TV shows I actually watch. But man, I became just totally enthralled with Tim Gunn when I was a child. And to this day, if I’m working on an art project, if I’m working on a complicated piece of writing, if I have something I need to figure out and work through, I swear to you, I have a tiny Tim Gunn on my shoulder who’s just there telling me to “make it work.” And so, of course, when I read an interview that Tim Gunn described himself as asexual, almost certainly homoromantic asexual if we’re split attraction model-ing this – to have him literally here in this episode is such a beautiful ace easter egg, and I love it. I love it so much.
Courtney: So the audience hates what Todd is wearing for obvious reasons, and they are about to start literally throwing things at him. But he gives this impassioned speech about, like, “Wait, shouldn’t fashion be for everyone?” And that just changes everybody’s hearts and minds, and everyone’s like, “Yes. I see the genius of it. It really is brilliant. We should bring fashion back to the people.” And they call it Couchsurfer Couture. Just brilliant, everything about it. I love it. So he quickly ducks out of there, still doesn’t get the photo that they’re trying to get him to have with this famous actress – who’s named Courtney Portnoy, by the way. So of course the agent calls him again and yells at him and says, “Get that picture!” So he rushes off somewhere to meet her once again. She is now wearing a yellow hat and a red hoodie [laughs] while drinking champagne from a flute. And Todd’s like, “Uh, why are you wearing my clothes?” And Courtney Portnoy’s like, [British accent] “These aren’t anything like your clothes. This hat alone cost $50,000.” She starts to almost get a little bit personal. And she asks him, at one point, “Do you ever feel like everyone’s looking at you, but nobody sees you?” And Todd says, “Yeah! Actually, that’s exactly how I feel.” And she goes, “No, I was speaking rhetorically about a feeling only movie stars get, but it feels good to talk about it.” And Todd says, “Yeah… talking’s good. You know, there’s a meeting I was supposed to go to tonight, but I don’t think I’m gonna go. I don’t I don’t think I’m ready. I mean, what if it’s not everything I want to be?” And Courtney Portnoy clearly doesn’t care too much about Todd’s personal stuff. But the paparazzi does finally show up and starts taking their pictures. And she, speaking totally out of line, is now completely ready to own up to dating Todd – “dating” – because now everyone’s seeing him as a famous supermodel and not just a down-to-earth nobody. So she says, “This is going to make a great headline: we’re engaged!”
Courtney: And so, after that, Todd goes back to BoJack, who is acting very apologetic about the things that transpired in the previous season. And he says, you know, “Look at what a piece of shit I am. I had sex with the one person I’ve ever seen you be in love with.” And Todd said, “I guess they’re not going to put you in the Best Friend Hall of Fame, but I don’t really know if I loved her because I don’t think I’m allowed to be in love. It was shitty what you did to Emily, but I think I’m asexual.” Which, first of all, very, very sad that his initial reaction is, “I don’t know if I’m allowed to love because I don’t want sex,” but I think that’s relatable for a lot of aces.
Royce: But immediately after this, they use BoJack, who everyone knows is not outwardly a good person – I think that sometimes his heart may be in the right place, but his interactions with almost everyone are toxic or flawed in some way.
Courtney: And often his heart isn’t in the right place. He kind of sucks.
Royce: True. He kind of sucks. He kind of sucks, but –
Courtney: He really sucks. He sucks hard.
Royce: He sucks. He’s aware that he sucks. We get glimpses of his childhood where he was different than he is now and kind of how his life has shaped him. But –
Royce: But what is interesting is that they use BoJack here to showcase what a lot of asexuals have experienced when they try to speak about asexuality. Because BoJack says, “A… sexual what? A sexual dynamo? A sexual deviant?”
Courtney: “Harassment lawsuit waiting to happen?” [laughs] It’s the “dynamo” that gets me. [laughs] What exactly is a “sexual dynamo”?
Royce: Also, what indication would BoJack have for this? Because he’s been living with Todd for years now and hasn’t seen him really interact with anyone.
Courtney: Yeah, I don’t – [laughs] I don’t know. It’s been a year since they’ve really hung out. Maybe…
Royce: That’s true.
Courtney: Maybe he’s gone on sexcapades since then. [laughs]
Royce: And also BoJack has a lot of lost time from all the drinking.
Courtney: Yeah, there’s also that. Yeah, BoJack, very flawed person. I mean, one of the massive underlying tones of this show is generational trauma. So he was clearly abused as a child, and that has caused issues ongoing for his entire life. But the show also doesn’t let that be an excuse, which is refreshing. But yeah, I mean, I have literally had someone respond – not with the “dynamo” and “deviant,” but I have literally had someone say, “You’re a sexual what?” [laughs] So that’s real. Really, really real. But when Todd gets frustrated and is like, “No, asexual, not sexual,” he kind of backpedals for a moment and says, “But I’m sure you think that’s weird.” But BoJack actually is pretty supportive in that moment. He says, “Are you kidding? That’s amazing!” But then he does the other thing that a lot of aces experience when they come out to someone. BoJack says, “Sometimes, I wish that I was asexual!”
Royce: “Because if I was, then maybe I wouldn’t have [emphasizes] a strain of herpes.”
Courtney: “You have multiple strains of herpes.” [laughs] And BoJack goes, “Yes, I know I have multiple strains of herpes, but the joke only works with the a, Todd.” But yeah, then the tension’s broken, even though – I mean, you should just never respond to anyone coming out as any sexuality with “I wish I was also that way,” because it’s probably a difficult moment for them.
Royce: It also kind of shows that you don’t really get it.
Courtney: It’s very dismissive of the actual reality of what that experience is like, definitely. But yeah, then, you know, Todd looks a little bit more at peace and he says, “It actually feels nice to finally say it out loud. I am an asexual person. I’m asexual.” And then BoJack, again, makes it about him – which is a thing with BoJack. He makes everything about him. He says, “That’s great. So if you’re not mad about that whole Emily thing…” Which also misses the point, because clearly Todd is mad about the Emily thing. But Todd also points out that it wasn’t just Emily, it was multiple things. And he again reinforces boundaries, saying, “I don’t think we’re ready to be friends again.” But then he says, “But, you know, maybe we can be more than not-friends.” [laughing] And then BoJack says, “You know, for an asexual, more than not-friends is probably as good as it gets, right?” [laughs] And Todd immediately, angry eyebrows, is like, “Yeah, I’m not really in a place where I’m ready to joke about it yet.” [laughs] Like, “Not cool, man.” But he does say, “But it does feel good to talk about it.”
Courtney: So yeah, I like that because it’s giving Todd his moment to feel good about saying it out loud. And it’s giving a friend who is supportive on the surface, but also doesn’t quite get it, which I think is a lot more common than probably any of the other alternatives for asexual people. There are always going to be some percentage of people who will not be supportive, unfortunately. There will be some percentage of people who do just get it and are 100% in your corner. But I think a massive experience that doesn’t often get showcased like this is that someone wants to be supportive – they’re like, “Yeah, you’re my friend, I accept you for what you are,” but they just don’t get it. And it’s exceptionally realistic in that way. So I love it 100%. And then… then, the next scene… is so good, it makes me cry every time. We hear the same symphony from the beginning, playing music, as it shows Todd nervously walking into a bar, and he smiles sheepishly as he waves at a bunch of people who are all hanging out in the back with a sign on the wall that says “Asexual Meetup, All Aces Welcome.” The meeting he’s been talking about this whole time was an ace meetup. Oh, my heart! And I don’t know if they had an asexual member of the writing staff or not.
Royce: I think I read in an interview with Aaron Paul, who voices Todd, that they did consult someone who is asexual when writing this character.
Courtney: They did. Okay, I figured they at least had a consultant because they have gotten so many things spot-on. Even the things that are just… like only aces will really get, they hit them all. But the sign with the asexual meetup is the colors of the ace flag, so it has the purple, black, gray, white – our pride colors. And the one thing we saw – because we’re aces [laughs] and we knew a bit about ace culture – we noticed that one of the characters sitting in the corner was an axolotl-woman! [laughs] And, you know, lately, I haven’t seen axolotls be as prominent in online ace spaces as they used to be, but my gosh, ten years ago, it was like, “Axolotls are our mascots.” [laughs] And, I mean, even a few years ago, I still saw a lot of people talking about axolotls. I still very much equate axolotls to ace culture, but I think newer aces, younger aces, people who are kind of just getting into the online community, might not really know about that sign of imagery, but it’s there. I’d like it to make an even more prominent comeback, because I have an axolotl t-shirt that says “Fearless” because I’m a fearless open asexual woman. [laughs] And here’s a fun one. We collaborated on winning an axolotl plushie toy from a Japanese crane machine app. [laughs] Do you remember that?
Royce: Oh, that was a whole thing.
Courtney: That was a whole thing!
Royce: That was us also not wanting to, one, shop for an axolotl plushie. Also, you just like crane games.
Courtney: I love crane games.
Royce: But there was also the moment of, like, “Gambling is more permissible if we’re not actually connecting our own bank accounts to it.” So I got free credit with some stupid time-waste-y app.
Courtney: Yes, you played on this application that had so many ads for a long time in order to win enough coins for me to then go and win the axolotl in the crane machine. [laughs]
Royce: It was like a mobile game partnership thing, where it’s like, if you download this game and you play it up to this certain point, like this experience point, you’ll get all this credit.
Royce: And it was one of those things where it wasn’t difficult and it never took continuous focus. So just going on about the day, I just have my phone out, clicking on stuff.
Courtney: And I was like, [mock emotional] “Royce, they have an axolotl crane! I need to win an axolotl!” [laughs]
Royce: And you did, luckily.
Courtney: I did. I treasure that axolotl.
Royce: It was a surprisingly high-quality-feeling sort of plushie to just come out of a crane game that you played on your phone.
Courtney: It’s great. I love that axolotl. So when people say, like, “So, you’re married and you’re asexual. What do you do with all that extra time?” Well, let me tell you. So I love it. He walks into this and someone at the bar or sitting at a table just sort of motions him over. They welcome him in. And then it cuts to the symphony. And Todd doesn’t show up for the last triangle ding. And that piccolo player from the beginning just goes, [solemnly] “Mm, good for him.” Yes, good for him! [laughs] I love it. I love it. I love it. So yes, the two massive, massive things – other than the obvious, other than what’s literally on the screen, because that’s beautiful enough – is that Todd is able to start understanding himself after he severs ties with a toxic friendship, but also that he quite literally had a fake girlfriend / fiance that was not real. He was kind of forced into it. He didn’t really want to do it. And I think that’s just really representative of the allonormativity and even the amatonormativity of our society. So allonormativity is the fact that basically everyone is expected to be a sexual person. Amatonormativity is for amor, love – so the preconceived notion that everyone is looking for the same kind of, usually monogamous, romantic love. Which, as we all know, neither are true, but they are the norms we exist in.
Courtney: But the really clever thing they did from this point on – because this wasn’t the end of the Todd asexuality. This was just the glorious golden moment that all asexuals deserve – they then made the allo characters the joke, or the weird one. Because the very next episode is called “Commence Fracking,” because Mr. Peanutbutter is pro-fracking now in this governor’s race. And it’s basically the sex episode that follows the ace episode [laughs], because every set of sexual couples are all somehow doing sex weird or wrong in some way. Because now the horse-girl Hollyhock is going on an adventure with BoJack trying to find her biological mother. But BoJack’s like, “I banged a lot of people in the year you were born. We can’t possibly know who it was.” And I don’t even know what this means – I don’t know if this means anything to anyone else or if the show was just making up silliness or if I’m just too ace to know what this means – but he said, “I had one-night stands, two-night stands, nooners, spooners and hot-air-ballooners.” I don’t know what at least half of those are [laughs]. But he’s very much like, “Oh, you know, there was this woman who was a ‘poking the holes in the condom’-type. She was a real nutter, but a good lay.” Just wildly inappropriate, especially considering the fact that this might be the mother of the 17-year-old he’s talking to. But just wildly inappropriate sexual relations, because he says this was the president of his fan club. And when they go to meet her to see if she is, in fact, Hollyhock’s mother, he ends up having sex with her again.
Royce: As a distraction.
Courtney: Yeah, Hollyhock’s like, “Hey, distract her so I can poke around.” And BoJack’s like, “Okay. Sex.” And then, again, just wildly inappropriate, Hollyhock walks in on them and calls BoJack disgusting – which he really likes though, actually, because, eww. But it turns out she was lying. The woman was never pregnant. They go woman to woman. They find someone else who did get pregnant, but she got an abortion. And they’re going on this montage. So I don’t know if we’ve crossed the boundaries into sex addiction for BoJack, but definitely slept with so many people, he can’t keep track of them all, and many of them were inappropriate.
Courtney: Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter, throughout this episode, are also struggling. It shows them first in bed, struggling under blankets, being like, “Oh this isn’t working. I don’t know. I don’t think it’s gonna happen.” And she’s really worried about this whole fracking thing. She’s like, “I really wish that you weren’t pro-fracking.” And Mr. Peanutbutter’s like, “Oh, I just have to say this for the campaign. But if I get into office, then don’t worry, the only fracking that’s going to be happening is in this bedroom.” Because eww. [laughs] But then Diane’s boss at work – and this is a hit progressive feminist blog, so they’re not like a normal office, they’re a cool office – her boss is like, “You seem tense. Have you been eating gluten and also not having sex with your husband?” [laughs] And Diane’s like, “What? This is inappropriate.” But this boss says, like, “You gotta do you, girl, because if he’s doing him, who’s doing you? Because right now, it doesn’t seem like anyone’s doing you.” Because apparently, if you’re not having regular sex, you’re just grumpy and tense all the time and sex is the only thing that can cure that.
Royce: That’s the trope. How many other forms of media has someone walked into a room and everyone can just see this very obvious glow of…
Courtney: “You had sex last night!” [laughs] So weird! But yeah, so they’re having some issues. She’s having some issues. She ends up writing an op-ed against fracking. And she ends up starting this big feud that also has media involvement, because they’re both kind of public figures to varying extents. But they’re arguing on TV. And so a news anchor actually asks Mr. Peanutbutter, “Oh, well your wife is against fracking but you’re pro. And would you allow fracking in your own backyard?” And Mr. Peanutbutter just…
Royce: Literally, by the way.
Courtney: Literally, by the way. He’s like, “Oh, yeah, of course, I would.” They’re like, “Great!” Let’s get started!” And they just immediately start fracking directly in their backyard. So this obviously upsets Diane. There is fire coming out of her faucets when she tries to get water. And she gives him an ultimatum. She writes a story called “The Case Against Mr. Peanutbutter,” and she says, “Drop out of the race right now, or I am hitting publish and this is going live.” And they argue. They are yelling at each other. She ends up hitting publish. And then they start throwing things, like Mr. Peanutbutter throws the computer; she throws a mug. They are literally yelling and throwing things. He pushes her against a wall and it seems very violent and concerning. And when I was watching this, I was like, “Oh no, this is going to be a domestic abuse kind of a situation. I didn’t see that turn happening with Mr. Peanutbutter.” But then they just start making out. And then they start fornicating on the floor. And they… love it and just keep doing that all the time. Angry, angry, rage, sex.
Courtney: [laughs] But the dysfunctional sex doesn’t end there. There’s a third couple this episode. It is Princess Carolyn and her mouse boyfriend Ralph. They decide that they’re going to try to get pregnant, but Princess Carolyn is having some issues getting pregnant. So, they go to the albino rhino gyno, and he’s like, “Well, I guess you can throw money at the problem.” And he gives them prenatal vitamins, cervical mucus boosters, and a “You Can Do It” poster – the “it” meaning sex – and an “I ovulate” watch. And so later, when they’re at lunch, she’s wearing her watch that’s supposed to monitor her ovulation, and she gets the notification. And so they leave without finishing food, and they are speeding away, and they get picked up for speeding. Princess Carolyn yells at the cop to “Hurry up and just write the ticket because I need to get home. We need to have sex.” The cop gets angry at them, arrests them. And so they’re in the back of the cop car in handcuffs. And Princess Carolyn’s like, “Hey, you’re rich and you have a good lawyer. [laughs] So let’s just do this anyway.” And so they start, um, fracking right there in the backseat of the cop car, which I would say is ill-advised. [laughs]
Courtney: So, out of context, I think this would be just barely par for the course for a show like this, because they show dysfunction in relationships in a variety of ways all the time. But I think they very intentionally put this episode right after the asexual episode, because they showed Todd’s asexuality journey as a very feel-good thing, and now they have three different couples who all have different sexual issues and none of them are doing it right. [laughs] So that’s what I kind of mean when I say like they put the joke on the allos. They did not make Todd’s sexuality the joke.
Courtney: So Todd now starts describing himself – because he’s still fake seeing this celebrity, and he calls himself, “I’m Courtney’s asexual fake fiance.” [laughs] But their agents get together and they pitch this, like, “Let’s have the wedding of the century.” And Todd says, “Oh, you know, being engaged is one thing, but I don’t know that I want to actually get married.” And the agents are like, “Don’t worry, standard Hollywoo sham marriage contract.” They’re like, “Not exclusive, three years, you’re gonna get a huge payday. Just do it.” And so Todd just, as he usually does, is going with the flow. But he goes back to another asexual meetup event and he tells them all. He says, “I have a big announcement. I’m marrying Courtney Portnoy.” And everyone’s super happy and excited, because they don’t know that this is, you know, a fake thing. But they’re like, “Oh, good for you! Awesome. Amazing.” And Todd says, “I know it’s pretty wild for an asexual to get married, but–” And then someone pipes up and says, “No, not really. John and I are aces, and we’re married.” So they have a married ace couple right there, who he can talk through some of these questions and complicated feelings with.
Royce: Yeah. Their marriage was nautical-themed.
Courtney: Is that, like, an ace thing?
Royce: No, they just like boats.
Courtney: [laughs] So yeah, I love it because Todd’s also not the only asexual character. We see a few different aces that have varying roles in this. And right off the bat, we, the audience – or at least the allo audience, or people who haven’t been presented with these asexual experiences before – is getting a pretty well-rounded education of the ace experience and the different ways to exist as an ace person, right along with Todd, who is also just figuring his own self out. But yeah, they explain, you know, the term “asexual” only applies to your sexual interest, but some aces are also aromantic, which I think is great that they also bring that up even though we don’t have, you know, a canon aromantic character, they mention it. Because man, aromantics, whether they are also ace or not, also just don’t get nearly enough representation. Absolutely, they need more.
Courtney: Yeah, so they say, you know, “Aces can have relationships just like anybody else. And if you found someone who really accepts you for who you are, then go for it!” And so Todd’s like, “Wow, so it’s not weird for an ace to get married. Does that mean I should marry her?” And he goes to Diane, who clearly is having marriage issues and clearly has no business giving marriage advice of any kind to anybody. He comes up to her and he’s like, “Yeah, so I have this friend… who’s supposed to get married… but should he still go through with it if it’s all based on a lie?” And Diane’s like, “Well, all marriages are based on lies. You’re making a big declaration of how you’re going to stay with this person forever, but you don’t really know that. It’s all just a big farce.” And then she starts a little bit of introspection and she says, “But it’s a lie based on truth. At the center of the farce, there’s this nugget of something beautiful and pure, and that strange beautiful something is why you put up with everything else. And sometimes it’s difficult to remember that thing because it’s been painted over with [louder and angrier] so many arguments and compromises and disappointments, [back to quiet tone] but you have to believe it’s still there deep down, even if you can’t see it. And maybe the belief in that thing is more important than the thing itself, as long as you still believe in it.” Girl. [laughs] Clearly, she’s working through her own issues.
Courtney: But Todd also, being Todd, is sucking on a Tootsie Pop during this conversation. So he’s like, [laughing] “Of course! I understand! It’s all clear to me now.” So he takes it super seriously and ends up calling the agents to explain that marriages are Tootsie Pops. The lollipop is the lie, but the Tootsie Roll is the truth. If he married Courtney Portnoy, it would be like a Tootsie Pop with just the lollipop part and nothing in the middle! So he is now confident in all of his life choices. He calls the thing off. Leave it to an ace [laughs] to compare relationship things to sweets. But yeah, and because of the fracking, I mean, the next episode their entire house collapses in an earthquake and they get trapped underground. And that’s a whole thing which is mostly not anything else related, except that Todd is in the bath when the house collapses, and so he’s naked. He’s able to pull a towel over himself, but this is the first – I think it’s the first – that we’ve seen him shirtless since he got his prison tattoos from his two competing gangs that he joined. And this is another little nugget, a little ace easter egg, which I don’t think a lot of people noticed. First of all, the Latin Kings. He just, he just had the “t-i-n” crossed out, just crossed it out roughly. So it’s just “LA Kings” now. But the skinhead tattoo got changed to be “Skinny Jughead.” Jughead, like the ace from the Archie Comics! Oh, it’s so good! And then we get to meet Yolanda. Yolanda is an axolotl. She’s from the Better Business Bureau.
Royce: She happens to be the same axolotl that we saw sort of in the background of the ace meetup that Todd went to.
Courtney: Yes. And she comes into play because Todd set up a clown dentist business.
Royce: That may or may not be up to Better Business Bureau status.
Courtney: Definitely not. Definitely not, decides Yolanda from the Better Business Bureau. Because yeah, he basically got a bunch of clowns and a bunch of dentist and said, “Hey, train each other so you can all be clown dentists. And we’re gonna work on kids’ teeth, because kids love clowns, right?”
Royce: The two things kids love most: clowns and dentistry.
Courtney: Yes. So, Yolanda eventually shuts them down and Todd’s like, “Okay, well, I will release all of my clown dentists into the forest.” And he just drops them off in the middle of nowhere, and they contract rabies. And Todd’s like, “Well, that’s a good incentive to exercise,” [laughs] because they ran real fast from those rabid clown dentists. He’s like, “People don’t like exercising, but we can fear them into exercising.” So he starts a new business with the same dentists, but now they’re in the forest and it’s a… exercise fright experience. You get check-in vaccines. And she’s like, “Okay, well, yep, you did it. You made a better business.” [laughs] And Todd says, “Yeah, with your no-nonsense approach and my the regular amount of nonsense approach, [laughing] we make a pretty good team.” So she stands up to take her leave and says, “I gotta go, but if you need me for anything, or… if you just want to grab a drink and hang out sometime, call me.” And that’s when Todd says, “Oh, I should tell you, I’m actually asexual.” And she’s like, “Yeah, I know. So am I, that’s why I’m asking you out.” Like, duh, Todd, keep up. And so, Todd just, “Huh,” very thoughtfully, as it pans out on everyone in the diner wearing exact copies of his clothes. It’s very good.
Courtney: And so, now that Mr. Peanutbutter and Diane’s house has been destroyed by fracking, Todd is once again homeless. So he starts couchsurfing at Princess Carolyn’s house now. And Princess Carolyn comes out one morning when Todd and Yolanda [laughing] are in the living room. And she’s like, “Good morning, love bugs. Don’t mind me, I’m just passing through. I’m not sneaking a peek.” And she’s covering her face with a magazine. And Yolanda’s like, “There is nothing to see that would embarrass any of us. We are all fully clothed.” And Princess Carolyn’s just like, “Haha, if you say so,” which is, again, allos: they actually be like that. They will just not believe you if you say you’re not having sex. So later on, it shows Yolanda and Todd having dinner with Emily and her latest firefighter boyfriend who she met on the app. And she’s explaining that she made this app for firefighters to meet her, and Yolanda’s like, “It looks like it worked!” [laughs] And that’s when Todd says, “Hey, we should create a dating app for asexuals.”
Royce: “Because then maybe asexuals could find someone that they actually match well with and not just someone who is also asexual.”
Courtney: Yeah… It’s clear by the way Todd is talking here that he’s not having the best time with Yolanda. It’s kind of sad, really. But I also just really like the reaction from the firefighter boyfriend, because he’s like, “Why would asexuals want a dating app?” And when they’re like, “Well, because not all asexuals are aromantic. You know, some aces do want relationships,” the firefighter’s just like, “Uhhhh…” [laughs] like, clearly doesn’t get it. And Todd tries to describe it better, but Todd’s just not great at describing things, and that’s kind of the humor in his dialogue sometimes. And he says – I had to write this one down because it took me a second to figure out what he was saying, and it was also just really funny to listen to – but he says, “Think of it this way, one could be a romantic or be aromantic while also being a sexual or be asexual. So you could be B-B or B-A. As for me, see, A-B, see?” [laughs] I love Todd. Firefighter boyfriend’s like, “Uhhh…” [laughs] He’s not getting it at all. But yeah, Todd even says, “So even within the 1% of the population that’s asexual, there’s an even smaller percentage that is still looking for romantic companionship.” And then Yolanda, who’s kind of always putting Todd’s ideas down – which is really sad, because his wacky ideas are a huge part of his personhood – she’s like, “Yeah, but that seems like a pretty thin user base for an app.” So that conversation gets shut down pretty quickly because of that.
Courtney: But it’s very clear that Yolanda is pretty judgy. She’s kind of looking down on Todd for not having a job. So he finds a job listing for a janitor position at a company called WhatTimeIsItRightNow.com. And he goes to apply to that, but since he’s been a literal tech startup founder and done a whole bunch of other things, they’re like, “You’re way overqualified. We actually need a director of ad sales.” So he gets an executive position right away. And so he’s actually wearing a suit in his new fancy executive office when Yolanda comes to him because they’re about to go and meet her family, and Todd’s like, “Great, let me go change.” And she’s like, “No, no, keep the suit on because it’ll impress my family.” But she also says, “By the way, I’m not out as asexual to my family, so don’t bring that up.” And Todd’s like, “Oh, it’s just a family dinner. I mean, what are the odds they’re going to ask questions about our sexuality, right?” And Yolanda gets all sketchy. She’s like, “Riiiiiight.” And thus begins the asexual sex farce, [laughs] because there is no better way to describe what this episode is. It’s pretty brilliant, actually.
Courtney: They’re having dinner at Yolanda’s family’s. The only nice thing she has to say about Todd during this dinner is that he’s an executive. And she actually lies and says that he went to a prestigious college. And during this dinner, we find out that everyone in her family is somehow employed in the sex industry. Her father is a bestselling erotic novelist. His latest book is called “Girth.” He has previously written a book called “Depth.” His mother is a world-famous adult film star. And her twin sister Mindy is a sex advice columnist. So, you know this is gonna be good. Her father is like, “Well, the important thing is that Yolanda is happy and that she finally found a man, woman, or object to have sex with.” [laughs] And Yolanda’s like, “Yes, Todd is very accomplished at sexual intercourse. Aren’t you, Todd?” And Todd’s like, “Oh, um, yeah. I’m the best at the sex. Hooba hooba.” [laughs] And they all do a bit of a double-take at that. They’re like, “Hooba hooba? Are you trying to say hubba hubba?” But yeah, the father is like, “I insist that you all spend the night and make love in my home.” And the mom’s like, “Yes, of course, I can’t think of a single reason why you wouldn’t want to have sex at your parents’ house.”
Courtney: And so Yolanda, not wanting to out herself to her family is like, “Yeah, of course we’ll spend the night… and… fornicate.” And her twin sister Mindy is, like, trying to play footsie with Todd under the table and is clearly flirting with him. He’s very uncomfortable. And it cuts to them in Yolanda’s old childhood bedroom. [laughs] And Todd says, “I’m not sure I want to wear the pajamas your dad gave me,” as he rolls out a gimp suit. [laughing] Oh, so good! But yeah, then we get Yolanda explaining that when she was in high school, she was still trying to figure her sexuality out. And so she dressed as her twin sister Mindy to try to seduce Mindy’s boyfriend, quickly realized she did not want any part of it, and left before anything happened, but Mindy found out. And so she’s like, “Yeah, well, now that I have a boyfriend, I’m sure she probably wants to have sex with you, you know, typical sister stuff.”
Courtney: Meanwhile, the mother asks Todd for some help, like “Hey, Todd. Come help me with something real quick,” and brings him into her bedroom, and she just drops her robe, standing there naked. And again, Todd is like, “Oh no, you must be so embarrassed! [laughs] How embarrassing for you. Your clothes fell off.” And she’s just like, “Aha! Just as I suspected, you’re not sexual at all.” And Todd’s like, “Yeah, like heck I’m not! Any ordinary man would be madly aroused by the body that starred in every single porn version of a John Hughes movie.” [laughs] At which point Todd literally runs away. Because that is your only course of action in this situation. And he goes back to Yolanda’s bedroom and is like, “Okay, quick update.” Actually, on the way back, Mindy grabs him, and is like, “You, me, midnight, backyard, gonna have sex. Be there.” And then Todd’s like, “Aaah,” still running.
Courtney: So he’s like, “Quick update. Uh, Mindy wants me for backyard sex, and your mother knows that I’m asexual because she showed me her boobs.” [laughs] And Yolanda goes, “Please tell me you said ‘awooga’!” [laughs] I’m not gonna get through this episode without laughing so hard that I cry. Todd’s reaction is great because he’s just like, “Aw, I didn’t.” Just like, “It’s so obvious. I should have done it.” [laughs] And Yolanda’s concerned. She genuinely thinks that her mom is gonna disown her. She is very panicked. So she hatches a plan to pretend to be Mindy so she can tell her mother, as Mindy, that Todd made a pass at her, because that’ll prove that Todd is, in fact, sexual. And that’s, that’s when the real farce – it really does, in some cases, play out like a literal stage farce. Because you get this scene of people just missing one another as they’re scampering out to their shenanigans. They’re in a hallway, there are, like, three doors and a staircase, and everybody’s crossing paths with different goals and deceiving one another, and it’s really quite brilliant.
Courtney: The mother comes to Todd and says, “I was trying to understand how someone can be like you, so I did a little research. Did you know that a computer can do more than just find porn?” [laughs] And Todd, my ace hero Todd, [laughs] says, “I use my laptop to flatten pie dough.” [laughs] And the mother, ignoring that, is just like, “This concept of asexuality intrigues me. I’ve grown so tired of the whole world thinking of me as a sex object. For once in my life, I would like to have a close intimate experience that has nothing to do with sex!” And she says, “Asexualize me like one of your French girls, Todd.” Because even trying to not be sexual she is just oozing sex. [laughs] Todd’s like, “Okay.” He’s very uncomfortable. She’s getting all up in his personal space, and he says, “If you really want to be asexual, first, you have to leave me and put on every piece of clothing you own. That’s how we make sure we don’t look sexy. So go do that.” [laughs] And she’s like, “Okay, I’ll be back to not have sex with you. I’m getting less excited just thinking about it. Hooba hooba!”
Courtney: So the asexual sex farce continues. The father catches Yolanda, who is dressed as Mindy, and he’s like, “Mindy, come here. I need your help with something.” And he pulls out a giant barrel and says, “I’m about to give Yolanda the last barrel of your great grandmother’s secret recipe personal lubricant.” Because apparently that’s a tradition that they just passed down when the kids start having sex. But meanwhile, Mindy, who is dressed as Yolanda, sneaks into Yolanda’s room for the purpose of trying to sleep with Todd. So sisters are dressing up as each other. Apparently, we learn that this antique lubricant of this high quality is very, very expensive. This barrel is apparently worth $100,000. So Yolanda, who’s currently dressed as Mindy, has no personal interest in using this lubricant, but she still wants to get it because it’s worth a lot of money and they can just sell it. So she rushes back into the room and tells Todd, “Quick, take off your pants and get into bed so that my dad thinks that we’re about to have sex so that we can have this very expensive barrel of lube.” But Mindy, dressed as Yolanda, is in there, so they start fighting.
Courtney: Meanwhile the dad is hauling the barrel of lube up the stairs. The mom comes out looking like the damn Michelin man, [laughs] with every article of clothing she can possibly layer on, and is hardly able to move, just shuffling. The sisters come rolling out of the bedroom, just tussling on the floor. And they accidentally knock the cork off of the lube barrel, so it goes spilling all over the place. The dad slips and falls down the stairs. The mom slips and falls over the second-story railing. The two sisters quickly go and grab her, so she’s hanging over the side, but they’re holding on. And this lubricant is just spilling everywhere. Mindy says, “Oh no, our grandma’s sexily spinning in her grave. [laughs] Not the family lube!” And the dad, from down the stairs, who is just slipping and tripping and can’t get his feet underneath him, is like, “Todd, plug the hole with your erect penis. [laughs] It’s the only thing that will fit that whole perfectly. And clearly, you must have an erect penis because you were just having sex with Yolanda, right?” [laughs] And Todd, just watching this whole debacle, is like, “There must be another way than that!” He’s like, “Uh, you know, I think I’m gonna try my big toe. That’s the penis of the foot, right?” He’s hopping up on one foot, trying to get his shoe off. It’s just nonsense, but it’s beautiful nonsense.
Courtney: While he’s hopping, he loses his balance, knocks the barrel into everybody, and everyone goes falling off of the second story. And the barrel of lubricant falls and completely goes splat. The sisters go to attack each other. Yolanda’s dad goes to attack Todd. The mom just falls flat on her back. And the sisters, who – remember, mind you, these are axolotls – they are literally tearing each other’s arms off and regrowing their arms. So they’re using each other’s arms to strangle each other with. And Mindy accuses Yolanda of sleeping with her high school boyfriend. And when Yolanda denies it, Mindy insists, like, “Of course you did. The whole school knows about it.” And Yolanda loses it and just yells and says, “No, I was going to, but then I ran away because I’m asexual!” And then everyone stops. It’s kind of awkward. It’s like, “Ooh, the bomb dropped.”
Courtney: And then we just get a title card that just says, “One thorough but respectful dialogue later…” [laughs] And it just shows Yolanda and Todd driving away. Yolanda looks happy. She’s saying, “You know, it actually felt good to finally tell them.” They were apparently really cool with it. Yolanda’s like, “Yeah, we have a lot of differences, but they’re my family. They still love me.” And that’s when Todd says, “Why did you lie about me going to college?” And Yolanda says, “I just wanted you to seem impressive.” And Todd says, “Impressive to who?” And then this was kind of the last straw, when Yolanda’s like, “Todd, it’s whom.” Just gonna be a grammar police about it. So Todd sighs and is like, “Yeah, we’re done. We need to break up.”
Courtney: And he says, “The only thing we have in common is that we’re asexual. I’m sure there’s a guy out there, whom’s smart and accomplished and whom went to college.” [laughs] And Yolanda’s like, “Uh, but one that also doesn’t want to have sex? I don’t think so.” And Todd’s like, “Yeah, sure, probably.” She’s like, “But what if there isn’t?” And I like that too. Because even though Yolanda is not good for Todd, it shows us a new side of asexual anxiety, which is very real and relatable. And Todd says, “Let’s make a deal. How about if neither of us meet anybody by the time we are 100, we will give this another shot.” And Yolanda, feeling like it is hopeless for her, says, “Well then, I guess I’ll see you when we’re 100.”
Courtney: And that episode is a lot to unpack. I definitely watch this, as an ace, differently than anybody who is not ace watched this. Because I had an allo friend at one point who did not believe that this could possibly be relatable to the actual ace experience and thought that they were just transplanting the gay experience onto ace characters. They’re like, “Oh, this is clearly just an exaggeration of gay people who are not out to their family and are trying to, you know, not get caught, but they’re flipping the script and making it asexual.” It’s like, no, that’s not quite right. I’ve also seen some aphobes online think that they were making fun of the ace experience by saying, like, “Oh, aces think they’re so oppressed, and they think there’s such an issue, and really there’s not, so this show’s actually making fun of them.” Which I also don’t think. I actually think it’s very well done and quite respectful.
Courtney: But what this really shows to me is the sometimes frazzled state we as aces get in, in such a hypersexualized society, where seemingly everyone around us is hypersexual, sex is so important, and there are reasons for us to be closeted or, as an ace might say, to be in the deck. And it was actually really, really relatable as an ace. Because not everybody has a hypersexual family, and I know there are some… there are plenty of people who come from very conservative families where “sex isn’t really on the radar until marriage” kind of a situation, but there are also sexual families. I also had a sexual family member who was pretty open about a lot of things and kind of default assumed that I was also in the same boat, when I very much was not. So I just… I love that episode. I really do. I think there’s a lot of good stuff there.
Courtney: So Todd and Yolanda break up. Emily breaks up with the latest in her long line of firefighters. So she comes to visit Todd at his new job at WhatTimeIsItNow. And yeah, Emily’s like, “I’m so done with these sexy noble hero hunks. The sex is great, but the emotional connection is not there.” And Todd’s like “I hear you. It was the same with Yolanda. No emotional connection at all, but the no sex was amazing. None of the best sex I’ve ever had.” [laughs] And that’s when Emily says, “You know, I was actually thinking about that. Remember that idea you had about the dating app for asexuals?” And she pulls out her phone, and she made him that app! It’s called All About That Ace. She made the app just for him. I’m so happy. [laughs] And she said, “You should get yourself out there, because you were the best boyfriend that I ever had. And, you know, if there was a version of you that I could have sex with, I know I’d be all set.”
Courtney: And Todd, very ace – here’s another ace easter egg; I wonder how many allos out there knew that this is very specifically an ace thing – Todd says, “Woah, Emily. I just got a crazy idea.” Emily perks up because she’s like, “Mmmmaybe we give this another try and maybe try a sex thing?” But Todd’s like, “My idea is a restaurant… where the menus are printed on garlic bread. So after you order, the menu is the first course.” And garlic bread is an ace thing! It is cake and garlic bread. And I love that. And so Todd’s like, “Well, she did a really nice thing for me. I want to do something nice for her.” But he couldn’t think of anything. So he goes to ask Diane. He’s like, “Can I pick your brain a bit? I want to pay this friend back. What should I do?” And I’m like, “Okay. Well, what do you like – What does she like, rather?” And Todd says, “Well, sex, for one.” [laughs] Diane, misunderstanding the emphasis of that situation, says, “Good for her. A woman needs to know her body before she can expect anyone else to know it.” And Todd’s like, “What? What are we talking about?” Diane said, “I think sex…? For one?” And Todd’s like, “That’s it! you’re a genius.” And he rushes off to build… a sex robot.
Royce: Henry Fondle.
Courtney: [laughing] Henry Fondle, the sex robot. Todd invites Emily over. There are candles everywhere, and he’s wearing a robe. Emily clearly thinks that Todd is going to make a move. But Todd’s like, “No, I just blew a fuse, and so I had to light all these candles for light. And that took so long that I didn’t have time to change. [laughs] Nothing romantic here at all. Just a guy in a robe with a bunch of candles. Totally logical explanation.” But he unveils Henry Fondle and is like, “I made this for you!” [laughs] Emily goes, “Todd, I’m not sure you really understand how sex works.” And Todd goes, “That is so condescending. I know what sex is. I am not a child. I’m just not great at building robots. This is my first one, and frankly, I think it’s pretty impressive that I put it together in one afternoon.” Which I love. Because for as playful and childish as Todd is, that is a very endearing thing, but they’re not letting him be talked down to. And I think that’s something that a lot of aces worry about, is being infantilized and seen as overly childish.
Royce: By the way, Henry Fondle is like…
Royce: How do I describe Henry Fondle?
Courtney: He’s indescribable.
Royce: Henry Fondle is a human height. I’m trying to think back of old images of robots from decades ago. He’s human height. He’s on wheels with a very, very obviously mechanical – is he made of – does he have a noteworthy tape recorder speaker, sort of thing on him?
Royce: And then he just has sex toys jutting out in every direction.
Courtney: [laughs] Yup, yup, and Todd pre-recorded the sound bites [laughs] that just play like at random intervals.
Royce: At random, conversationally convenient intervals.
Courtney: [laughs] Yeah. Henry Fondle is a menace to society. His first act of evil [laughs]... He actually knocks over one of the candles, right then and there, in the living room, and starts a fire. And they have to, obviously, call a fireman, who, of course, is one of Emily’s exes now. So it’s really awkward. [laughs] But yeah, Todd just like, “Oh, well, I just thought you waste all this time with these boring firemen, just for the sex. So maybe, I figured, if you had some other way to satisfy yourself sexually, then you could spend more time with me, just like we used to.” And Emily’s like, “Yeah, but that’s different. We were dating.” And Todd’s like, “But maybe we could date now.” And it’s very sad, because clearly, they have a lot of chemistry. They are very good friends.
Courtney: And Emily’s like, “Well, I don’t know. What would that look like if we did?” And Todd, very sweet as well, “We’d hang out, like we already do. You’d be my favorite person, like you already are. And, you know, if I got a promotion at work or something good happened, then you’d be the first person I’d tell, and you’d smile and say, ‘That’s my boyfriend.’” And I’m like, “Aww,” because after having Yolanda, who is just so condescending and looking down on him, it’s like, aww, he does want someone to be proud of him. And Emily’s kind of into it. She’s like, “Yeah, that could be cool. But then I’d… what? Have have sex with the robot?” [laughs] Todd’s like, [disappointed] “I guess it’s not ideal.”
Courtney: And here’s another little bit of a clever way to continue educating the audience on a variety of ace experiences. She says, “You know, when I was putting that app together, I actually learned that some asexuals actually do have sex. So do you… think there’s a chance?” And Todd lets out this really sad groan and crosses his arms, so he’s clearly not into that at all. But that’s absolutely true. And that’s another way to just sprinkle in, like, there is a diversity of aces. Even if this isn’t Todd’s experience, they’re still putting it out there for the audience. And classic Todd moment. She’s like, “Well, I guess, do you have any other ideas?” And he’s like, “Yes. What if marbles were cube-shaped so they didn’t roll around so much?”
Royce: No dice.
Courtney: No dice! [laughs] So yeah, next we see Henry Fondle and Todd, Todd is throwing him in the dumpster and scolding him for being inappropriate with everyone who comes to the apartment. [laughs] And yeah, everyone actually tries to converse with the sex robot, even though everything is out of context with these pre-recorded messages. He ends up climbing the corporate ladder.
Royce: Of course.
Courtney: Somehow becomes CEO of the entire company, and from there, just continues to menace everybody. But yeah, all of the out-of-context messages are so funny. It’s like, Todd will be saying, “Oh, I need to go to this movie premiere event,” and the the sex robot will be like, [robot voice] “I’m coming.” And then everyone in the board room is like, “Great idea! Bring him with you. Gotta do what the boss wants.” But yeah, after a period of time, a female employee finally goes to a reporter to say that she got sexually harassed by Henry Fondle. And then basically every woman in the company also starts to come forward. So it’s this big scandal that the news starts reporting. And when they ask Todd his opinion, Todd is outright just like, “Um, Henry Fondle is a sex robot and should not be a CEO of any company.” And the reporter says, “When you say ‘sex robot,’ you’re speaking metaphorically, right?” And Todd just squints and says, “No.” [laughs] So that’s a taste of Todd being the one who’s got his head on straight, and everyone else is misreading the situation in spectacular fashion.
Royce: Yeah, the Henry Fondle situation is very reminiscent of Vincent Adultman.
Courtney: Yes. [laughs]
Royce: Of BoJack being the only character who can actually see that Vincent Adultman is clearly three kids in a trench coat.
Courtney: Yes. But yeah, so they end that with… So Henry Fondle gets fired from this company, but of course, as with other sexual predators who are in executive positions and get fired, he is quickly offered a new executive position at a massive conglomerate. And Todd’s like, “You realize he just got fired, right?” And the guy offering him a job is like, “Of course, so he’s learned his lesson.” So Todd, at that point, is like, “We can’t have this.” And he’s like, “Come on, Henry. There’s something I gotta show you.” And he takes him out to a single tree on a hilltop and just “Of Mice and Men”s the sex robot. [laughs] Just, why not.
Courtney: So, Princess Carolyn ends up adopting a baby. She long ago broke up with her mouse boyfriend. She still wants to be a mom. She was kind of rolling into a depression for a while, but Todd flipped the script. She’s normally the one who’s telling everyone to “Get your shit together.” But when she started spiraling, Todd was that person for her. And Todd was kind of the one who inspired her to adopt in the first place, because he’s like, “Get your shit together! You do not need a man to have a family, because you are Princess Carolyn and you can do anything.” And that’s what kind of pulled her out of her funk. She did end up adopting. So Princess Carolyn is clearly a very busy working woman. She is running her own agency in Hollywoo, and she now has a baby porcupine. And she hires a nanny. It sounds like she hired a series of nannies, actually, but her latest nanny has quit because she keeps coming home way late, not really respecting the nanny’s time. And so Princess Carolyn kind of strong-arms Todd into dropping everything to take care of her daughter, even though he has some new job prospects and meetings that people are calling him to. But being Todd, being a people-pleaser, trying to do all these favors for his friends, he once again goes on all of these errands. He’s driving her around, babysitting her, buying black market porcupine milk, even though he has to get on the bus in the Porcupine District, and that’s uncomfortable as a human.
Courtney: And we later see Princess Carolyn with her daughter at a fancy party, and she’s like, “Oh, yeah, I wasn’t going to bring her, but another nanny quit on me.” And Todd overhears her and says, “I assume she resigned in disgrace for not making good airplane noises when feeding her.” The baby’s name is Ruthie. And Princess Carolyn’s like, “Um, no, she said she felt like she’s being watched all day.” And Todd’s like, “That’s ridiculous. I am there around the clock, observing her every move. If someone was watching her, I would know.” And so Princess Carolyn’s kind of ribbing him a little bit for creeping out all the nannies [laughs] and making them quit. And he’s like, “Well, I wouldn’t have to monitor them so closely if they could do their jobs right and if you weren’t hiring quacks.” He’s getting very protective of Ruthie. He clearly loves her. He implies, in fact, that he knows her better than anybody, and at one point, is like, “Oh, I know that she really likes to be wrapped up in soft red hoodies.” And we don’t see it on the screen, but now I’m picturing Todd taking off his hoodie to wrap Ruthie in it just ’cause she likes it, and it’s adorable.
Courtney: And there’s a very comical scene – I’m not going to explain it. If you haven’t seen it, watch it for yourself. Please do yourself a favor. But the porcupine baby gets loose at a failed surprise party. And after Todd helps to track her down, Princess Carolyn’s like, “You know, you’re actually pretty good at this. Do you… want the nanny job?” And Todd’s like “Well, I do know her routine, and I do know all her favorite foods, and I do know how to make funny voices for her bedtime stories.” And it’s very cute, because while he’s saying this, he’s holding the baby, and she’s stealing his hat and putting it on herself, and it’s just very endearing, and I love it. So henceforth, Todd becomes a full-time nanny for Ruthie. But now that he’s a full-time nanny for Ruthie, he doesn’t have time for his classic usual Todd shenanigans. So he hires a whole team of assistants [laughs] to do his Todd shenanigans. And one of the assistants’ jobs is purely to monitor All About That Ace. [laughs] And he’s like, “Yeah, she’s gotta look at it every 15 minutes, because I’m the only one on it, but another ace could join any day now. And when that happens… two of a kind.” Poker joke! I love it.
Courtney: And this is in the last season. You really start to see Todd develop. He’s very comfortable in his asexuality. He’s still looking for a romantic partner. He’s loving his work with Ruthie. And you start to learn about his family, who he’s been estranged from for ten years. He’s putting on a sock puppet show for Ruthie when his stepfather knocks on the door, Jorge Chavez, and tells him that his mother is in a coma, and she needs a kidney. But unfortunately, Todd sold his kidney just last week to buy the sock puppets. So, thus begins their escapade to get Todd’s kidney back. [laughs] Which is such an interesting plot device because it sounds ridiculous, but it’s not about literally going to get the kidney from an organ warehouse. It’s… just an opportunity to be presented with new ideas and to see this dynamic a little better.
Courtney: And they make some really interesting cases about racism in this, because Todd is white but named Chavez. His stepfather, who gives him that name, Chavez, is clearly Latino. And they’re able to kind of break into this rich guy’s organ warehouse because they use the security guards’ racism against them. Jorge takes off his tie and messes up his hair and pretends to be a janitor and puts Todd in a trash can. You’re also getting these quips about Jorge being really hard on Todd growing up, and not really being proud of Todd on Todd’s terms, and Todd’s life not really being enough for him. So Todd clearly has some resentment, not just for him, but also for his own mother. And when Jorge and Todd actually get caught stealing Todd’s kidney back, the security guard does another racism and is like, “Oh sir,” running up to Todd, and was like, “Did this man hurt you? Have you been attacked?” And Todd’s like, “What? No.”
Courtney: So there are these moments where they’re both looking at the way other people are reacting to them and they’re both getting confused. Todd is being confused here. Jorge, at one point, gets really confused because something just happens super easily for Todd. And they have this moment at the hospital later, while his mother’s getting the operation, where he’s like, “I know I was really hard on you, but nothing came easy for me. I had to fight really hard to get where I am in life. And, you know, maybe I should have realized, you’re white, things aren’t going to be as hard for you. I didn’t need to be that hard on you.” So there’s just such a really interesting moment there, especially since there have been multiple times throughout the series where they’ve commented on his last name being Chavez, even though he’s white. There have been several of these moments. So, to get this explanation and to sort of be the entryway to Todd maybe almost kind of sort of repairing this relationship with his mother is very interesting.
Courtney: And so Todd and BoJack still talk a little bit. They’re clearly not friends in the way they used to. They meet at a diner at one point, and Todd is taking new selfies: “Hang on. I got to put new fresh pics on my dating profile, because look at this busted picture from a year ago,” and it looks exactly the same. [laughs] He’s like, “Yep. I’m still… the only one here. There’s still nobody else on the app, but when they join, I wanna be ready.” And then he’s complaining, “[sighs] They always ask for a job. Oh, wait! I actually have a job: hype man for babies.” [laughs] And he’s getting really excited about that, so BoJack’s like, “You’re really into this nanny thing, huh?” And Todd’s like, “Yeah, I love it. It is so amazing to look at a baby sleeping and think, ‘This is a perfect thing.’” And so, you really sense this love that Todd has for Ruthie, and it’s very endearing.
Courtney: And later, BoJack’s at an airport. So now he knows about All About That Ace. And he’s trying to order food and coffee from a Cinnabunny. The bunny who is cashiering is named Maude. And she does a really silly melodramatic scene about, like, “As Gandhi said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’” And then when she gives the change to BoJack, she’s like, [tearfully] “Goodbye, change. I’m gonna miss you.” [laughs] And then as soon as he turns away confusedly, she just has a little grin on her face. So she’s very clearly very playful, and I love that. But on his way back through the airport, he sees her on her cell phone, and she’s talking to someone, saying, “I’m telling you, people come to the airport just to eat these things, but if their houses were made of cinnamon and dough, they wouldn’t have to go anywhere. They could just eat and lie happily in their Cinnabungalow. Ugh, no, I’m not dating anyone. Stay on topic, Mom.” And that was, I think, the moment where I was like, “Ah? [laughs] Is this gonna be Todd’s asexual girlfriend?”
Courtney: BoJack’s just quietly observing all of this. He comes through a third time, and there is a guy there who is arguing with her from the other side of the counter. And he’s like, “I don’t get it. Is this a Jesus thing?” And she goes, “No, I told you it’s not.” And he said, “But I’m confused is all, because I thought you liked me.” And she said, “I do like you, but I was very clear. There are certain things I’m not interested in.” He’s like, “Then why did you go out with me?” She said, “Because I like you, but it’s complicated.” And he’s like, “Are you sure it’s not a Jesus thing? It sounds like a Jesus thing.” And she’s like, “Fine. If this helps end the conversation, it is a Jesus thing.” And then he’s like, “Well, I admire your devotion. You know, what would Jesus do? Not this guy.” And that guy’s satisfied now and walks away. And she just turns to BoJack, who’s there waiting for his food, and she’s like, “It’s not a Jesus thing.” And BoJack’s like, “I figured. Look, I don’t want to presume anything, but there’s an app you might be interested in.” And I love that! Because BoJack’s at a point right now where he’s trying to turn over a new leaf. He’s still very clearly guilty about what he did to Todd. He still has residual guilt about not supporting Herb Kazzaz, his previous queer friend, years ago, when he had the chance. So, he’s, you know, hoping he’s doing a really good thing here.
Courtney: And we do see, at the end of that episode, Todd’s looking at his mother’s contact info in his phone and looks like he’s contemplating calling her, maybe, maybe just about to do it, when he gets a notification from All About That Ace that says, “You got a match! Say hi to Maude!” Oh, and it made my heart so happy! But they don’t stop there. It’s not just what we see on the screen, because actually, the voice of Maude is actually an asexual woman, a YouTuber named Echo Gillette, actually. They specifically DMed her asking her to record an audition for this part. So they were specifically looking for asexual people to voice the character of Maude, which I think is great, because Aaron Paul voices Todd Chavez and he is not asexual. He very clearly is an ally of the ace community and has been really sort of overwhelmed by the response and that he’s been able to help representation so far. But it is even better when you can get an ace person to play an ace character, and they did go out of their way to do that here. So that is very, very appreciated. And especially at the time – I don’t know if she was the only one they reached out to or if they sort of asked for a variety of auditions, but she was kind of one of the only YouTubers who had a sizable video about being asexual. So I’m sure that that is probably how they found her.
Courtney: They show a couple of fleeting scenes of Todd talking with Maude and they seem to have great chemistry right off the bat. They’re both very playful, very silly. And I really just love their interactions. And my favorite one was when Todd asked Princess Carolyn for a night off to go on a date with Maude. And that sounds like they’re going to go out to a restaurant or something, but it just shows them in her basement, on a couch, with a ton of snacks – chips, Cheeto-type things, crackers, Oreos, whipped cream, and Mountain Dew, and they just look really cozy, sitting under a blanket, watching TV.
Royce: Doesn’t Todd at one point separate two Oreos, spray whipped cream in the middle, and then put them back together?
Courtney: Of course he does. Absolutely, he does that. [laughs] But we also find out that Maude is still living with her mom. And you hear her mom yell, “Maude, I heard a man’s voice.” And she starts nagging from the other room and ends with, like, “Oh, and keep the door open. No funny business,” which is a thing that a lot of parents and parental figures say, but it also just hits so much differently when you’re asexual. I know I have been there. And Maude also turns to Todd while she’s mocking her mom. She’s doing this bunny shadow puppet with her hands. And Todd is cracking up and trying so hard to stifle it. So just that little moment of them on the couch, just being cozy – this is their idea of a date. They’re very comfortable with each other, and they’re joking, they’re laughing, they’re eating all these snacks, which has been a key component of Todd since Season 1. It’s very good.
Courtney: But it was that night that Maude actually asks him to move in together. She’s like, “Hey, why don’t we get our own place?” And I love it! And the day they get their own place, Todd and Maude go in to pitch a business idea to Princess Carolyn, in the same way that Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter used to pitch ideas together, several seasons ago. But Todd and Maude walk in, and they’re doing this silly gag, like, “Has this ever happened to you?” [laughs] And they pitch opening a daycare in the agency to take care of the children of everybody who works at that company, and she agrees. So Todd gets to open his daycare – he gets to watch all kinds of kids – and they get their own apartment, all in the same day. And Todd’s feeling very proud of himself. Maude’s like, “I didn’t realize my boyfriend was butter,” and Todd’s like, “You’re right. I am on a roll. So what should we do next?”
Courtney: And then it shows him actually calling his mom, trying to talk to his mom for the first time. And Maude is there, holding his hand. She’s very clearly concerned but there for him. And Jorge answers the phone. His mom does not come to the phone. And Todd gets really upset trying to prove himself, trying to seem like he’s enough, and spontaneously invites them to a housewarming party, even though they have no furniture yet. And it shows Todd at work with like six different kids, right off the bat, but he pulls his classic Todd shenanigans and manages to get all this furniture in place. He fills his apartment with actors to be party guests. But then BoJack shows up uninvited and Maude answers the door. And she looks really concerned and leaves BoJack at the door and goes to get Todd, who is obviously uncomfortable. Todd steps out in the hallway and just basically says, “Look, BoJack, don’t make me ask you to leave. I don’t want a whole thing here.” And just will not let BoJack in. He’s like, “No. You have crossed my boundaries. Not going to happen.”
Courtney: And unfortunately, Todd’s parents don’t show up. It shows Todd and Maude at his parents’ house having dinner. Maude is pitching a crazy business idea, which is fun, but his mom won’t come out of her room. So there’s very much a relationship here that needs to be repaired – which, we start to see it a bit. They make an elaborate scheme with character actress Margo Martindale, who has been living a life of crime ever since she got Todd addicted to that video game again. They try to get his mom to feel better about herself, to try to save Todd in this made-up scenario. And there’s a bit of an endearing moment when she’s in the hospital after she had a panic attack, and they’re kind of slightly tense, but they’re building off of each other’s silly invention ideas. So you get a bit of a feeling that there’s a little bit of hope there.
Courtney: And finally, I think we just have the last episode. BoJack finally has all of his past sins catch up with him. He is finally held accountable. He is put in prison. And about a year later, Princess Carolyn is getting married, and BoJack gets a day pass to get out of prison to come to it. And he’s looking a little overwhelmed, and Todd runs up to him at this wedding and says, “Oh, thank god I found you! There’s no time to explain. We need to go outside right now.” And he takes BoJack down to the beach and sits on his shoulders so they can see the fireworks. And BoJack’s like, “Why did we need to be here?” And Todd’s like, “Oh, you just seemed really overwhelmed and I thought you could use some air.” So even though they are not the best of friends, that still shows that Todd really cares about him.
Courtney: He also at one point calls the kids he watches his “work associates.” Because he’s like, “You know, the other day I was doing the Hokey Pokey with some work associates, [laughs] and I realized that everyone misunderstands that song. There’s too much emphasis on the Hokey Pokey, but it’s about turning yourself around.” And he talks about how his relationship with his mom is a little weird and awkward – she doesn’t really get him, but she’s trying, and it’s better than not having any kind of relationship, which he thought they never would, just a couple years ago. And BoJack says, “Well, what changed?” And he said, “I don’t know. I did, or she did, or we are…? So that’s what I’m talking about. Like the song says, ‘You turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about.’” [laughs] And BoJack’s like, “I don’t know if you’re being smart or stupid. I think you had it there for a moment, but then you lost it.” And then Todd just says, “Oh, well. It was nice while it lasted, right?” And that is the goddamn name of the series finale. That episode is called “Nice While It Lasted.” They gave Todd the roll credits line! I have literally seen people online – I don’t know if they haven’t seen the whole series or not, but I’ve literally seen people online say, “Oh, they gave the asexual plotline to this weird throwaway character.” It’s like, [laughs] how dare you insinuate that Todd is a throwaway character? He is essential to the show, thank you very much.
Royce: He’s obviously not the titular character. He’s not the main character. But if he isn’t the character with the second-most dialogue and screen time, he’s gotta be close.
Courtney: Well, even screen time aside. Yeah, he does these weird wacky comic relief things that might not be essential to the plot. But like I said, he’s the one who pulled Princess Carolyn out of a slump and is the reason she adopted a baby, because he gave her a pep talk when she needed it. So he is very much the backbone of a lot of the relationships that are at play throughout the show. And if giving him the roll credits line of the series finale doesn’t prove that he is essential to this show, then I don’t know what does. And this last season, I’ve seen some people also criticize that they rushed the relationship, “I wanted to see more of Todd and Maude.” And honestly, I did too, but I actually think that what they did was still good and clever. We saw enough to know that this girl is good for Todd. We’ve seen Todd in another good relationship. I don’t think we needed to see that exact good relationship play out again with a different person.
Royce: Well, a lot of what’s seen in media revolves around some sort of drama or conflict. And if Todd just had a healthy, meaningful relationship, what else would there be to show, other than what we’ve already seen?
Courtney: And we saw the moments that were necessary. Because truthfully, I mean, to use another example from the show, love and commitment is not about a grand gesture, like stealing the D from the Hollywood sign. It’s about those little moments of just pure comfort or pure play, where you’re just with someone you love, on the couch, watching TV. You’re cracking jokes, you’re making each other laugh. It’s those little moments. And we got to see those little moments. And also, just paralleling the fact that this is BoJack Horseman; the show is about the span of BoJack Horseman’s life. You see less of these other characters in this last season because of the fact that BoJack Horseman is, you know, having ties severed with a lot of them. He’s going off the rails a bit. He’s getting arrested, getting into legal trouble. A lot of his demons are coming back to bite him.
Royce: He was in rehab for a lot of that last season, or in a completely different area of the country.
Courtney: Yeah, so there’s the fact that Todd is getting increasingly more and more separated from BoJack. I wouldn’t be surprised if after this wedding, maybe they never really saw each other again. That’s a possibility. Or if they do, it’s still going to be on a very casual basis. They are not going to be what they used to be. And in pulling away from him more and more, Todd’s personal details – I think it’s part of the point that we’re only seeing these glimpses, because BoJack is not there, in the heart of it, to experience everything or to be what Todd needs at that time. So it’s really showing a separation and pulling away, and they did that with other characters too. Princess Carolyn with the man she ended up marrying – I was very happy with that coupling, but we saw the couple of moments we needed to see, but we didn’t see it every single step of the way because we didn’t need to. And she’s also distancing herself from BoJack to a certain extent. Honestly, same with Diane. She had a new relationship. We saw everything we needed to see.
Royce: Yeah. All of the characters – we see the problems that they have interacting with everyone, and that serves as conflict for the show. But when everyone settles in, either because there’s less conflict or because BoJack is out of the picture, we do see less of it.
Courtney: Mhm. And I also just love, too, that, I mean, it is not that asexuals could not have kids. I mean, the ones who do have sex could even have biological kids. But adoption is clearly an option too. We don’t know if Todd and Maude are ever going to have kids of their own or not. And that’s fine. I don’t think we need to know.
Royce: Right now, they’re happy running a daycare together.
Courtney: I love that! I love that they still show a man who is asexual who also just loves kids and loves watching them. And it also shows that you can have a meaningful relationship with kids and still have kids in your life, still be an important part of the kid’s life, but it doesn’t have to be your own kid, you know? They always say “It takes a village to raise a kid,” but then you get these news articles coming out being like, “You’re selfish if you don’t have children, because we need more… population. And you just don’t want to go through all the burdens of having a family, like a selfish person.” [laughs] Can you tell I just read one of those articles recently? They come out every couple of years. But yeah, I mean, I kind of felt that too, because I taught dance lessons for about ten years, and I loved kids. I was a science educator in a science center for a bit. I loved teaching to those kids. I was a zookeeper doing animal encounter experiences for kids. And I adore children. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I will necessarily have my own, and it doesn’t mean that I can’t be an important part of the lives of other children.
Courtney: And I think that’s about all we can say today about our dear, dear Todd Chavez, our asexual hero, the best ace representation I’ve ever seen on TV or anywhere. I don’t know when we will have a comparable example of ace representation. Hopefully it won’t be too long. But it is a tall order, because I do think they ticked just about every single box that I personally want to see for representation. Now I’d just like to see a diversity of people who have the same depth as Todd does. I would like to see women. I would like to see Black women. I would like to see trans aces. I would like to see aroaces.
Royce: Specifically ones that just aren’t those weird antisocial types that are played at for comedy, like I hear it was done in Big Bang Theory.
Courtney: Yeah, I never watched Big Bang Theory, but I’ve heard that too, that they made a character more or less asexual but it was as a joke and sort of as a means of dehumanizing him a bit. But yeah, we love Todd Chavez. So to Todd, all we can really say is, “Hooray!”