By Louie Wieseman
Back in the 90’s, he was on a very famous TV show. Now he’s the star of his own show again: Netflix’s Bojack Horseman.
Among the Reel Deal staff, my love for this show is no secret. The show stars Bojack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett) as a washed up reality TV star from his sitcom Horsin’ Around. His agent, Princess Carolyn (voiced by Amy Sedaris), tries to land him other roles around Hollywood with little to no avail. He tries to have an autobiography written but is not successful (starting to get the trend?) so he gets help from a ghost writer named Diane (voiced by Alison Brie). The show also stars Paul F. Thompkins as Diane’s golden retriever boyfriend, Mr. Peanutbutter, and Aaron Paul as Todd, Bojack’s deadbeat roommate.
The show is set in a world where anthropomorphic animals and humans live together in harmony, but they hardly even acknowledge the fact that the world is half human-half animal (much like the strange anatomy of the animals). Many guest stars pop up within the show, ranging from Stephen Colbert to Jordan Peele to Lisa Kudrow.
Now, there is only one problem with Bojack: for a series, it has a slow start. There are three seasons released so far, with a fourth season being released in the summer of 2017. The first season, released in 2014, is where the problem lies. The first six episodes follow a standard sitcom format (except, well, the animated part) with backstory obviously being created. It isn’t until the second half of the first season when the story starts to become deeper, more intricate, and personal, ending with an overall more mature tone. Season 2 is where the show pulls away and finds itself. Most shows go through the same sort of slow start and eventually find themselves, so I don’t fault Bojack for having the same thing happen to it. I mean, we all made it through the first season of both The Office and Parks and Recreation, and those shows are favorites for just about everyone I know.
I’ll leave it at this: the first half of the first show establishes his humor and characters while the second half establishes the themes and tones. It’s a comedic trainwreck that you can’t turn away from.
The first season is just the beginning of what Bojack explores in terms of Hollywood, depression, mental illnesses, and much more. Each season must be watched together in one session. Thankfully, that’s easy since each season is only around 4 hours. If you tried, you could finish the whole show in a day, but I suggest watching each season on a separate day to take in everything.
Bojack has been praised for the themes and tone of the show from Season 2 on. One episode in Season 3, “A Fish Out Of Water,” has been critically acclaimed and even landed on TV Guide’s Best Episodes of 2017. The show overall has received acclaim for Season 2 and Season 3. It is also one of Netflix’s best shows in their collection of original content.
The mature themes of Bojack Horseman is what makes this show so continuously watchable. Character-based, literal, on-the-nose, and absurdist humor are a great cherry on top, resulting in a show that creates a different way to explore these themes. I can’t recommend this show enough, and all I can really hope is that I have praised this show enough to inspire you go watch it.