Bojack Horseman is one of the most controversial shows that I’ve ever seen. Controversial in a sense that it depresses you yet uplifts your spirits, it makes you grieve for the characters yet you hate them, it gives you great lessons yet shows you the realities that you can never escape from. You can relate to one character or the other. Not in a generic way, but a specific attribute that you can point out in their personality. It’s a show infiltrated with narcissism and self-reflection. You cannot help but to feel all the emotions that you are exposed to.
The whole show revolves around Bojack Horseman, who used to be the star of a 90’s sitcom called ‘Horsin’ Around.’ It’s when Bojack had his big break, kind of like F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Those actors are known and loved only for their roles in the show but never got any big movies or shows after that. On the side note, one of the characters, later in the show, is voice acted by Phoebe of FRIENDS. Anyway, no one wants to hire him, and the work he has, he doesn’t get it done. Bojack sits around all day drinking and watching Horsin’ Around. He has a roommate, Todd, who lives in his living room rent free. Bojack never kicks him out because if he did, he’d fall into a loop of immense sadness, that Todd can get him out of by just being there.
In the first season Bojack is shown as a massive a-hole, who doesn’t care about anyone but himself. All of his conversations are about him, and everything that anyone has to do is for him. He goes out of his way to sabotage, not only his career, but anyone around him who tries to take off. He hires a ghost writer to preserve his legacy, as he is the only Horseman left. When the memoir is released, he jumps back to the reality of who he really is and all that he has been trying to run away from.
Bojack always gets what he wants but in the end there is always this emptiness that stays within him. Nothing can fill that void with drugs, women or fame. We are shown why he is the way he is, and it is implied that those reasons are buried deep within Bojack’s memory, but he doesn’t want to admit it. During his journey he realizes all that he is and runs away from it as far as he can. Bojack is shown as a bad influence on those who seek his help and a nightmare to those who try to help him. But in the midst of Bojack’s self-loathing and self-pitying there are small moments of vulnerability. He hurts a lot of people along the way, but there’s always that minor action that shows that there is good in him. Even though his actions are horrible, he himself isn’t bad.
Every character has great development. All of Bojack’s friends, at some point, try to cut him off because they realize how intoxicating he is. They run into dead ends, where their dreams are shattered and there is seemingly no way out. But at the end of every problem, we know that they will find a way. Not a sitcom, happy go lucky ‘everything will be okay’ way, but practically through acceptance, or sweat and tears. In the end, we know that not everything will be the way we want it to be, and we have to take responsibility of the things that we do. It’s not the mistakes that we make, but what counts is how we fix them and try not to do them again. And the show expresses this beautifully.
The show is pretty self-aware and makes the most of it. The writers understand the things they repeat and the flow of each show. There is an entire episode on how they present the show, the side stories and everything in between. The writers of Bojack Horseman have fun with the qualities of different characters as animals and the current fads. They make fun of the absurdity of what is perceived as important. Anyone who wants to make a difference can’t because everything that is brain numbingly mindless is viewed more than proper issues. The comedy is lighthearted, and the presentation of lessons isn’t cheesy. The animation can be a bit off at times in regards to the colors. I highly recommend this show for anyone who’s going through hard times. Or just generally wants to watch a good show.
The final season is coming on the 25th of October and the show is going to be wrapped up. We have high hopes for the finale. Half of it will be shown in October/November and the rest in January. Fingers crossed.
Will Schoder eloquently explains Bojack’s concept in this video (without spoilers):
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Visit IMDb for more info on the upcoming Bojack Horseman!