The second season of Netflix’s Bojack Horseman, the best comedy about anthropomorphized animals navigating show business on kinda-sorta-television, has been online for three whole days, which means that most responsible viewers have already watched it. Twice.
As recognizable as Bojack‘s stellar core cast is, however, it also boasts one of the most impressive guest rosters around — and one of the hardest to spot, given that the audience can’t actually see them. Here’s a roundup of the biggest names who lent their voices to Bojack’s latest cavalcade of bad decisions, from Ilana Glazer to Jean-Ralphio Ben Schwartz. (NB: Big-name costars like Lisa Kudrow are excepted, as are celebrities who voiced themselves, like Henry Winkler and Daniel Radcliffe.)
“Everything is a metaphor. You are literally a metaphor!” So instructs the audiobook Bojack purchases in the hopes of gaining a new perspective on life, or at least one that isn’t “borderline nihilism.” Unfortunately, the book turns out to be a pitch-perfect parody of every bullshit self-help book to ever bullshit; fortunately, the narrator turns out to be George Takei.
Let’s applaud Bojack Horseman for facing head-on the question of, “Um, if animals on this show are people, but they still eat meat, aren’t they… cannibals?” Let’s applaud them even more for picking Ron Funches to help them do it. Funches’ comedy persona is a total sweetheart, but his turn as a chicken farmer who slaughters his own reveals an ability to go sinister when need be.
Also making an appearance in “Chickens” is Schumer, playing the jaded teenage daughter of jaded Secretariat biopic director Kelsey Jannings, voiced by Bojack regular Maria Bamford. Irving is snotty, cynical, and dead set on Brown, just like any good child of queer and progressive (but still wealthy) LA parents. Tagging along with Diane and Todd, she learns the valuable, thoroughly Bojack-esque lesson that nothing she does as an individual can change systemic problems. Fun!
…as, in the single loopiest subplot of this season, J.D. Salinger, the hit novelist turned tandem bicycle salesmen turned Sorkin-esque showrunner. The lunacy is worth it for the Birdman/Studio 60 parody alone, in which Todd competes for Salinger’s affections with the next surprise guest star.
That would be newly minted Emmy nominee and Orphan Black superstar Tatiana Maslany, as the Emma Stone character/hyper-competent Sorkin heroine (as opposed to the embarrassingly incompetent Sorkin heroine) to Todd’s hapless hero. All this goes down within a nifty concept episode that occurs entirely within the runtime of Mr. Peanut Butter’s gameshow-within-a-show.
Schwartz is kinda making a name for himself playing lovable scumbags, and Rutabaga Rabbitowitz is no exception. Princess Carolyn’s admiring underling turned lover turned business partner turned spurned ex is Bojack‘s very own Ari Gold, an amoral superagent with slicked-back hair — not to mention ears. He’s also not into his wife’s kitchen redecoration plans at all.
She’s “Oscar whisperer” Ana Spanikopita, who promises to guide Bojack through the Academy campaign of his nightmares. Even though he’s not actually in the Secretariat biopic — thanks, CGI! — our hero’s still gotta go through the awards season wringer, which promises Bassett’s return for Season 3. Or so we hope.
As a meerkat with the unenviable task of being Mr. Peanut Butter’s accountant. Johnson’s appearance is short, sweet, and has the glorious short-term consequence of prompting Mr. Peanut Butter to work at a Lady’s Foot Locker (“Meet your Lord!”). Given Todd’s nonexistent business acumen, he probably should have shown up sooner, but points for the attempted reality check.
The proprietor of the orphanage Bojack accidentally started with his Horsin’ Around proceedings, Gervais’ hedgehog is a well-meaning type who nonetheless manages to misspell the name of the man his orphanage is named for (Herb Kazzaz, voiced by Stanley Tucci). He’s still a better caretaker than Bojack “If Your Parents Aren’t Dead, It’s Because They Didn’t Want You!” Horseman, though.
Emily Heller, John Cho, and Rian Johnson
Todd’s improv cult — not Scientology, because Scientology is not a cult, as Bojack reminds us — may be deeply unfunny, but its members are voiced by noted stand-up Emily Heller, freshly post-rom-com John Cho, and Rian Johnson, the director who’s best known for sci-fi works like Looper (and, soon, Star Wars!), yet does a fine job as snob-turned-cult-prisoner Brian. Bonus cameo: L. Ron Hubbard figure Copernicus is voiced by Liev Schreiber.
Ilana Glazer, Adam Pally, and Ed Helms
When Bojack bails on LA for New Mexico in a (pathetic, as Glazer’s character notes) attempt to recapture a fleeting moment of happiness from 30 years ago, he finds out that longtime crush Charlotte (Olivia Wilde, returning from last season) has, of course, moved on. Her new family includes a very chill husband, Kyle (Helms), a preteen son struggling with, uh, puberty (Pally), and a high school-age daughter who just wants to grow up (Glazer). Bojack screws it up, as is his wont, but all three guests turn in admirable performances, even if they’re only around for a single episode.