Fish Out of Water (BoJack Horseman)

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"Fish Out of Water"
BoJack Horseman episode
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 4
Directed byMike Hollingsworth
Written by
Original release dateJuly 22, 2016 (2016-07-22)
Running time26 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"BoJack Kills"
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"Love And/Or Marriage"
BoJack Horseman (season 3)
List of BoJack Horseman episodes

"Fish Out of Water" is the fourth episode of the third season of the American animated television series BoJack Horseman.[1] It was written by Elijah Aron and Jordan Young, and directed by Mike Hollingsworth. The episode was released in the United States, along with the rest of season three, via Netflix on July 22, 2016. Angela Bassett provides her voice in a guest appearance in the episode.[2]

The episode features BoJack travelling to a film festival in the ocean, where he wears an oxygen-filled bubble to continue breathing. Notably, the episode features less than three minutes of audible dialogue.[3]

In 2017, the episode was nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award for Television: Animation at the 69th WGA Awards. The episode "Stop the Presses" from the same season won the award.[4] The episode was also nominated for Best Animated Television Production at the 44th Annie Awards.[5]


Ana Spanakopita sends BoJack to the world's biggest underwater film festival to promote Secretariat. Unfortunately, ex-Secretariat director Kelsey Jannings is also attending.

Faced with the thought of seeing her, BoJack panics: Not only will he have to have an awkward confrontation—he'll also have to do it underwater, where speaking is inhibited by his helmet.

When BoJack gets to his hotel room, he realizes two things: a confrontation with Kelsey is inevitable, and he will have to make it through without the help of cigarettes or alcohol.

After he successfully avoids a hallway run-in, BoJack goes down to the festival lobby where press events are underway. A group of fish journalists takes his picture, so he poses for them—giving them the thumbs-up sign, not knowing that this gesture is actually offensive in Pacific Ocean City.

He notices Kelsey sadly trying to drum up interest in her movie, so he tries to write her an apology note, but she disappears before he can give it to her. In the background, a big BoJack-related scandal appears to be breaking due to BoJack's giving the thumbs-up to the cameras—but clueless to it all, BoJack chases after Kelsey.

In doing so, he falls asleep on the bus and winds up far from the city, where he has to help a male seahorse give birth. As he starts his long walk back to the festival, BoJack realizes that one of the baby seahorses clung to him, so he reluctantly decides to find its dad.

BoJack doesn't have any local currency on him—so he's forced to steal seahorse milk from a shark-owned convenience store. The shark goes chasing after BoJack and the baby seahorse—forcing them even further from Pacific Ocean City, the film festival, and the chance to make things right with Kelsey. They find themselves plummeting into the deep ocean, and BoJack chases the baby seahorse through a neon seascape.

They follow what they think is a current into an undersea factory. Luckily, it's the freshwater taffy factory where the seahorse dad works. BoJack saves the baby seahorse from being crushed into taffy, and though he raises the ire of the factory owner and guards, he's unable to reunite the baby with its father.

Cornered by the guards, BoJack falls out of the factory window, only to remember that he can swim underwater. With baby seahorse in tow, he goes flying toward the seahorse dad's house—where it turns out the kid wasn't necessarily missed. The seahorse dad invites BoJack in for dinner and even offers him money, but BoJack doesn't want any of it. The dad seems to ask, "What do you want?" but BoJack doesn't know, and shakes his head sadly.

BoJack leaves, depressed and jealous of the seahorse family. Before he does, he smiles and waves goodbye to the baby seahorse, but he doesn't notice and the audience cannot even tell him apart from his identical siblings.

BoJack catches a cab back to the hotel. While in the cab, he writes a new note to Kelsey—this one much more heartfelt than the previous ones. He writes "Kelsey, in this terrifying world, all we have are the connections that we make. I'm sorry I got you fired, I'm sorry I never called you after."

He's too late to attend the premiere, so he goes back to the hotel just in time for the festival's opening-night party, where he learns that Secretariat was a huge hit. As Kelsey leaves the party, BoJack runs after her cab, but by the time he reaches her window, his soggy note is runny and blurred. Kelsey speeds off without knowing what he wanted to say.

As BoJack stands at a crosswalk, a man also with a helmet yells at him by pressing a button on the collar. Realizing that he could speak the whole time, BoJack presses the button and the episode finishes with him saying "Oh you have got to be kidding—"


"Fish Out of Water" received highly positive reviews from critics, with many calling it one of the series' best episodes, and one of the best television episodes of 2016.[6] Les Chappell of AV Club described the episode as "nothing short of a masterpiece, a culmination of both BoJack Horseman's unique animation style and its views on isolation and connection".[6]'s Rory Cashin called it "one of the greatest episodes of TV ever made".[7] For Vulture, Jesse David Fox praised the episode as "a must-watch", noting that "the best part is, you don't have to have watched a single other episode of the series to love it".[8]


  1. ^ Travers, Ben (July 27, 2016). "How 'BoJack Horseman' Achieved Perfection Without a Word". IndieWire. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  2. ^ "How a near-silent underwater episode conveys the brilliance of Bojack Horseman". Little White Lies. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  3. ^ "The Music From BOJACK HORSEMAN'S Underwater Episode is Serene (Premiere)". Nerdist. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  4. ^ McNary, Dave; Littleton, Cynthia (February 20, 2017). "WGA Awards: 'Moonlight,' 'Arrival' Win for Best Screenplay, 'Atlanta' Wins Twice". Variety. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  5. ^ "44th Annual Annie Awards Nominees & Winners". Archived from the original on April 13, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Chappell, Les. "BoJack Horseman goes underwater and hits its high-water mark in a tour de force episode". TV Club. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  7. ^ "A look back at BoJack Horseman's 'Fish Out Of Water', one of the greatest episodes of TV ever made". Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  8. ^ Fox, Jesse David (July 22, 2016). "This BoJack Horseman Episode Is a Must-Watch, Even If You've Never Seen the Show". Vulture. Retrieved 2019-03-02.

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