“For some people life is one giant kick in the urethra.” This quote proves to be a defining portrayal of Netflix’s new original series Bojack Horseman. Cleared for its second season almost immediately, it’s an adult animated comedy by Bob Waksberg that follows the fictional, semi-famous, 90’s sitcom star from “Horsing Around,” Bojack Horseman, as he struggles to deal with his muddled spiral into unimportance. Voiced by Will Arnett, each thirty-minute episode covers Bojack’s often drunken escapades through a Hollywood where humanoid animals and mankind live in perfect ignorance. Bojack, an anthropomorphic horse, lives with his freeloading houseguest Todd, voiced by Aaron Paul (yes, from “Breaking Bad”), in an upper class abode in the Hollywood hills. While not in a drunken stupor Bojack is struggling to write his memoir with the help of his ghostwriter Diane, voiced by Alison Brie, and his agent/girlfriend Princes Caroline, a cat voiced by Amy Sedaris. These characters along with Bojack’s happy go lucky nemesis Mr. Peanutbutter, Paul F. Tompkins, provide the basis for story development, character growth, and, of course, the enormous amounts comedy.
At its base Bojack Horseman is not a very new idea. There has been more than enough on television about the gilded Hollywood life, forgotten movie stars, and we can all agree the adult animated comedy niche of television is by far overpopulated. Even so, “Bojack Horseman” takes these ideas and does something remarkably different. To start, as a comedy, Bojack Horseman is actually quite witty. A discerning eye will often pick up on rather comical things in the background such as Bojack’s “Not Porn” computer folders or Princess Caroline’s catnip coffee. While some of the jokes may fall flat for audiences, the superior voice acting coupled with the charismatic characters can make even some of the routine things quite funny, like Todd’s rock opera escapade. The really nice thing about the show’s humor though and what truly sets it apart is that it all plays a part in the story. Unlike other adult animated comedies that throw as many irrelevant jokes as possible at their audiences in an effort to make things stick, “Bojack Horseman”‘s humor all plays along with the storyline and the backdrop. Even matters that might seem mildly off topic at the start come back in later episodes as inside jokes or even venues. One example is when Bojack’s sitcom show daughter turned pop star, Sarah Lynn, shows up and showcases her self-destructive new life style with a catch phrase to match, “Suck a dick Dum-shits!” The phrase then shows up with repetitive hilarity in the following episodes as various other characters use it in increasingly absurd situations.
What really sets the show apart and makes it rather revolutionary for an adult animated comedy is its remarkable depth. Nowhere on earth will one find a animated horse nearly as complex and 3-D as Bojack. The shows depictions of depression and remorse are almost universally relatable and have actual emotional impact on the viewer. Bojack in all his weaknesses is essentially a depiction of the failing and flawed nature in all of us. It points to a show that’s trying to be more than just an animated comedy, but a dark humorous depiction of life itself. Even through all of the gags and comedy the show seems to biding its time for the next moving and passionate blow, making it into a sort of inverse Shakespearian play. More imaginative than this is how the characters, even in the first season, change dramatically. This gives the show actual meaning, a trait quite unlike other relatable shows in the genre, like “Family Guy” or “American Dad.” Even seemingly uncomplicated characters like Mr. Peanutbutter who would have been all too easy to leave obtuse and 2-D come out of the season with multidimensional personas after making statements like, “The universe is a cruel uncaring void, the key to being happy isn’t a search for meaning. It’s to keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually, you’ll be dead.” Character developments turn characters on their head and leave the audience reconsider their opinions and the meaning of the show itself.
After season one, “Bojack Horseman” is already showing remarkable promise in its first twelve episodes. With all twelve episodes ready to binge watch on Netflix, it’s a show that goes above and beyond the call of duty. With its often dry, witty, humor and stark depictions of life and depression Bojack Horseman is a must watch. In the end, “Bojack Horseman” will catch you with its humor and then keep you around through its poignant significance through its complex characters. That is, of course, if viewers can get past the gregarious, omnipresent bestiality that is a horse having one night stands.