Spoilers ahead for BoJack Horseman Season 6, Part 2. Hollywoo found a new dynamic duo — and unlikely faces of depression — with Mr. Peanutbutter and Joey Pogo in the first half of BoJack Horseman Season 6. Mr. Peanutbutter’s blonde-haired, tattooed-covered pop star buddy returns in the final half of the Netflix series. While not officially confirmed, Joey Pogo from BoJack is probably based on Justin Bieber. Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank provides Pogo’s voice, so at-times Joey feels more like Kate McKinnon’s take of Bieber on Saturday Night Live than the real thing. A parody of a parody is very on-brand BoJack humor and Joey Pogo gets to sing again for the final episodes.
Gen Z pop superstar/fashion disruptor Joey Pogo first appeared when he was supposed to take BoJack’s “fancy room” at Pastiches Malibu Rehabilitation Center, but then he quickly connected with “sad dog” Mr. Peanutbutter. In the second half of the final season, Mr. Peanutbutter wants his pal Joey and his fiancée Pickles to emotionally connect and have sex to make amends for sleeping with Diane.
Unfortunately for Mr. Peanutbutter, his plan works too well since Pickles and Joey do genuinely forge a connection and she goes on tour with him as his social media director, leaving Mr. Peanutbutter single for the first time in decades. None of the small plate-lazy Susan, love connection hijinks at Elefino have any basis in Bieber. But Joey Pogo’s style, mannerisms, and career take inspiration from the “Love Yourself” singer.
Joey Pogo has many tattoos and the crown tattoo on his left collarbone is a direct nod to Bieber. In 2017, Bieber added a lion tattoo underneath the crown, so Joey feels more like a throwback to the early Bieber years. Even Joey’s introduction at Pastiches is a reference to Bieber’s previous struggles with drug addiction. While Bieber did not achieve sobriety through a rehabilitation program, he has been open about sharing his story in the last year, like in his February 2019 Vogue profile, alongside his wife Hailey Baldwin.
The fan account BoJack’s Hidden Jokes posted that they confirmed Joey Pogo was based on Justin Bieber — specifically, McKinnon’s interpretation — according to BoJack storyboard artist Tyler Turett. And there are specific elements that point to the connection, like when the Joey Pogo puts steeple fingers to his lips … McKinnon’s move was to put prayer hands to her lips, but close enough.
Bieber may never respond to the animated parody like he did with McKinnon. Caricatures can be cruel and there is quite an element of silliness to Joey Pogo, like with his new song “Two Naked Hearts (Raw Dog Remix).” But by the end of his time on BoJack, he showed he’s a good friend to Mr. Peanutbutter and a perfect match for Pickles, so Joey Pogo will keep bouncing on.