“Bojack Horseman” is a sucker-punch of a show. I was skeptical to give it a shot at first, due to it’s Seth MacFarlane-esque style and off-the-rack flash animation, but “Bojack” is a series that has reinvented what an animated show can do.
It’s absurd plotlines and colorful characters are all sugarcoating for the bitter pill at the core of the series: happiness is fleeting. This show could easily feel at home on HBO, and it’s a huge asset for Netflix in this writer’s opinion.
Bojack, voiced by the talented Will Arnett, is a sleazy, washed up actor who’s been riding the success of his mid ’80s-mid ’90s sitcom “Horsin’ Around” for two decades since its cancellation, who also happens to be an anthropomorphic talking horse.
Stay with me here, it gets odder.
Bojack lives with his lazy millennial houseguest Todd Chavez (voiced by Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul) and has zany misadventures with his biographer-turned-activist-turnedsocial media organizer-turnedblogger Diane Nguyen (Alison Brie), Her husband Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Thompkins) an anthropomorphic golden retriever from a rival ‘90s sitcom: “Mr. Peanutbutter’s House” and his agent Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris), a pink anthropomorphic cat who has had an off and on relationship with Bojack for almost a decade.
Got all that? It’s okay; watch the show and you’ll find yourself doing mental character studies on all these characters. Okay, so on to actually discussing season three.
At the end of last season, Bojack had patched things up with close friends, committed to leading a more positive life and landed his dream role as the lead actor for “Secretariat,” the selftitled biopic about his childhood hero. Of course he also burned a few bridges, opened some old wounds, created some new ones and turned an old flame into an enemy, without giving too much away of season two.
The burning question for this season was, “could Bojack do it?” In short, the answer we got was yes, and no.
For a show so fantastical as to have a world where anthropomorphic animals and humans coexist, they sure are realistic in terms of depicting depression and things never going exactly as planned. The season deals thematically with not meeting one’s own expectations, as Bojack and company strive for, but never quite reach, their goals.
A running theme of the show is Bojack’s seemingly never-ending quest to find happiness, and for season three Bojack has pinned all his hopes on “Secretariat” winning him an Oscar, “If I win an Oscar, my life will have meaning.”
However as Oscar season approaches throughout the season Bojack is filled with questions of self-doubt and even self-loathing over winning. This is where “Bojack Horseman” stands out from other adult aimed animated shows.
Every character is deeply flawed in some form or another and nothing ever works out in a picture perfect way, yet that’s the reality of being alive. No other show quite nails the existential dread of modern western civilization like Bojack. These characters all live in posh extravagant homes and lead exciting adventures in the glitzy glamour of “Hollywood,” yet they feel empty inside.
That’s what hits home for me, and I’d imagine most viewers. The millennial generation is a generation so rich in technology and luxury that we’re going out of our minds with complacency.
There’s no real tangible threat to our way of life, so we bounce from one cause to another, one fad to another, one distraction to another, looking for something, anything, that will help us be who we’ll be; and we come up short every time.
It’s no surprise that a show like “Bojack Horseman” rings so many bells with our generation.
Okay, that got kind of dark really fast. Art direction is fantastic this season with visual sight gags aplenty and a stinging parody of 2007 life (oh lord, 2007 was 9 years ago).
The fourth episode of season three, titled “A Fish Out of Water,” features a fully realized undersea city where the show gets super creative with how building structure and objects work with such varying fish anatomy. That episode in particular was my personal favorite, because it features very little dialogue and the story is told almost entirely through music and animation. The soundtrack to this episode is as fantastical and wondrous as any Disney score, and really helps immerse you into this interesting undersea world.
“Bojack Horseman” has been renewed for a fourth season set to premiere Summer 2017. Seasons 1-3 are streaming now on Netflix.
I would say this show is a must see if you have a Netflix subscription. Oh, and just a heads up, like seasons one and two; episode 11 of this season is a doozy.
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