I love movies. I love writing about them. Hope you like reading what I write.
Time to do something a little different. Let’s review a TV show.
Bojack Horseman is a Netflix Original Animated Comedy starring Will Arnett as an anthropomorphic horse called Bojack Horseman. Bojack was a famous TV actor back in the 1990s with a cheesy family sitcom called Horsin’ Around. We find him 20 years later, depressed and struggling to find meaning in his life, long after his name has faded into obscurity.
This first season focusses on Bojack Horseman’s attempt to regain stardom by authoring a memoir, penned by a ghostwriter, a human called Diane.
Upon watching the first few episodes, one would be forgiven for thinking this was one of a parade of Family Guy clones. While a lot of the humour is smart, the tone feels very light and “random”. It just seems to be a good satire of Hollywood life. This would have been enough to satiate my interests as a film buff, but something happens as the season progresses.
We are drip-fed a terrifyingly deep and dark portrayal of depression and existential crises. By the time we get to the final few episodes of the first run, we get fewer and fewer actual punchlines to jokes. We get dealt harsh realities that one would not expect to be in a story about a talking horse.
Bojack is a complete jerk and worse, but throughout these 12 episodes, we begin to learn who he is. A flawed human being who just happens to be a horse.
The supporting characters include Todd, a 20-something simple man who sleeps on Bojack’s couch, Princess Carolyn, a cat who is Bojack’s former girlfriend/current agent and Mr Peanutbutter, Diane’s boyfriend. These are some of the most perfectly balanced supporting players in a TV show I have ever seen. We love every one of them and feel for them and laugh at them.
In the following seasons, these characters become more developed. We go into themes ranging from sexuality to relationships, from loneliness to family. What’s amazing is that, while one can see these themes play out, they are never done in a way where you can point at an episode and say “This is the Family Episode”. It is an organic component of the show itself.
I have many friends who attest that Rick & Morty is the greatest show on television. I absolutely love Rick & Morty, it is some of the greatest science-fiction I have ever seen and a great absurdist comedy.
Bojack Horseman, though, is for my money, the greatest show on television. It may not be quite as funny as R&M and does not contain the plot complexities of that show, the intimate picture that Bojack gives of internal struggles while also balancing it with absurd humour is breathtaking. We don’t just get “Oh the world is a harsh place” as a theme, we get something more nuanced. BH doesn’t mock the more heartfelt sides of humanity, it strives for them.
Please check Bojack Horseman out on Netflix. I’m sure you’ll find something you did not expect.