By Nate Richard
When Bojack Horseman premiered on Netflix in August, 2014, the reviews were polarizing, and for good reason. The first several episodes of the animated dramedy felt like some throwaway cartoon you’d find on Adult Swim (Rick & Morty aside). However, as the first season went on, the series began to morph into something deeper than what it had initially seemed. As each season has premiered on Netflix, the show has only gotten better and better. The series portrays mental illness in a way that even Emmy-winning dramas struggle to do; even though Bojack Horseman is about a anthropomorphic talking horse, it’s easily the most human show on television. Season 5 is the prime example of why that’s true.
Bojack Horseman Season 5 finds Bojack (voiced by brilliantly by Will Arnett) starring in a new crime series entitled Philbert (a clear riff on shows such as True Detective). The showrunner, Flip McVicker (Rami Malek), is a neurotic perfectionist who pushes the limits of what Bojack is comfortable doing. Bojack is also sleeping with his co-star, up-and-coming actress Gina Cazador (Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz). Meanwhile, Bojack’s friend Diane (Alison Brie) struggles with her divorce from Mr. PeanutButter (Paul F. Tompkins) and decides to visit Vietnam to help discover herself.
The main talking point about the latest season of Bojack Horseman is that it is not only the darkest season yet, but also the most ambitious. The sixth episode, entitled “Free Churro,” is possibly the greatest episode the show has ever put out, and all it consists of is Bojack giving a eulogy at a funeral for over twenty minutes. It’s a heart-wrenching and devastating episode that builds upon the character of Bojack more than all of Season 1 did. In Season 5, we see these characters go through their lowest of lows and do some pretty despicable things, but in that classic Bojack fashion, the show still makes the audience feel empathic and attached to the them.
Bojack Horseman is a prime example of a television show improving upon itself rather than going down in quality. Typically, a TV series will start out with a triumphant first season, but struggle to recapture that magic for the rest of its run. Instead, Bojack Horseman just keeps chugging along and improving upon itself each season. However, it’s going to be extremely hard for Season 6 to possibly top this. If you haven’t seen this series yet, I highly advise you to seek it out. Bojack Horseman is truly one of the most powerful shows on television.