In 2014, Netflix introduced “Bojack Horseman,” a show that takes a satirical look at Hollywood while also commenting on contemporary celebrity culture. The show follows the character of Bojack Horseman (Will Arnett), an anthropomorphic horse who works as anactor in Hollywood. After the recent announcement of Season 5, a few questions entered my mind about the future of Bojack. Will Bojack be able to continue delivering more funny jokes and punchlines? Will he let his old nihilistic ways get the best of him? Or willhe continue to be the caring and compassionate individual that he is at the end of Season 4?
When I first started watching “Bojack Horseman,” I thought it was going to be a typical comedy, like “Family Guy” or “South Park,” where punchlines repeat themselves and eventually get old. Once I really got into it, however, I found it hard to stop laughing because the series uses puns to fuel its jokes on both the characters in the show and on modern day celebrities. For instance, Mr. Peanutbutter is an anthropomorphic dog who acts like a human, but acts like a dog when someone rings the doorbell of his house and Quentin Tarantulino, a spider who makes a living as a director, acts much like Quentin Tarantino. It’s puns like these that make me binge watch entire seasons in one night.
Another aspect of the show that makes it stand out is the attention it brings to depression in Hollywood. Unlike strict comedies that express very little sadness, “Bojack Horseman” contains some pretty serious and heartbreaking scenes that make me sob. For example, I find that Bojack’s interaction with characters who suffer from cancer, drug-addictions, and dementia is really sad because they are unfortunately seen in today’s Hollywood lifestyle. Rest assured that as soon as a sad moment is over, you will soon start laughing again because a more cheerful and funnier scene occurs. Without the proper balance of comedy and tragedy, the show could never achieve its level of success.
Bojack’s character and definition of “Hollywood” builds over the course of the show. The first season follows him as he struggles to come to terms with his long faded fame. We see him start off as someone who is nihilistic, yet highly conscientious about what others think about him. For example, in Season 1 Episode 2, Bojack gets accused of stealing some muffins from a Navy SEAL and becomes the center of ridicule. I think the Navy SEAL took things a little too far, since it was only muffins, but Bojack’s selfishness sets the stage for his interaction with his old friend Herb Kazzaz. In Season 1 Episode 8, Herb refuses to forgive Bojack for not sticking up for him while working on a show back in the nineties. I think Herb made the right decision because Bojack put himself before those who care about him.
The second season captures Bojack’s first attempt at finding his purpose in life. We see that he has a more positive outlook at the start of the season, but his role as Secretariat leads him to think otherwise. I wasn’t a huge fan of Season 2 because I think Bojack should have finished filming his Secretariat movie instead of visiting his friend Charlotte. In Season 2 Episode 11, Bojack wastes his time trying to get her to love him even though she has a family and has no feelings for him. Again, Bojack’s selfishness not only spirals him down further into depression, but his actions prevent him from being able to finish his movie.
The third season follows Bojack as he tries to do right to the people he wronged. We are finally able to see his compassionate side when he helps a baby seahorse return to his father in Season 3 Episode 4. While he does manage to reconcile with his friend Sarah Lynn in Season 3 Episode 11, I am disappointed with this season because I felt that the ending was incredibly sad. Just when I thought Bojack was finally going to change, he ends up taking off without telling anyone where he intends to go. His selfishness returns once again, but thankfully, I’m glad it doesn’t carry on into Season 4.
The fourth season chronicles Bojack’s return to Hollywood and his mission to reunite Hollyhock with her mother. I consider this season to be the best of the series because of Bojack’s strong kindness towards the people he is close with. For example, in Season 4 Episode 6, he allows his elderly mother to live with him after she is kicked out of a retirement home. Another interesting aspect of Season 4 is the diversity of supporting character episodes. For instance, Season 4 Episode 3 is dedicated to Bojack’s friend Todd and Season 4 Episode 9 is all about Princess Carolyn. I like these episodes because they allow me to see what these characters are experiencing instead of just making Bojack the sole focus of the show.
Bojack goes through many changes and many tribulations throughout the shows run. But when we look at it again, we can further see the seeds of development being planted. For example, the Season 1 finale ends similarly to the Season 4 finale. In both finale’s, Bojack reflects on how much meaning his life has. By the end of Season 4, Bojack becomes a kind-hearted individual which one would never think to be possible at the start of the series. However, if it weren’t for his four close friends, Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris), Todd Chavez (Aaron Paul), Diane Nguyen (Alison Brie), and Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins), Bojack’s character would never have transformed the way that it did and the show would not be as hilarious as it is.
Todd Chavez is Bojack’s roommate whom moved into his house after a party. He is one of my favorite characters because he always adds humor to every episode. In Season 4 Episode 10, Todd and his clown friends humorously find a way to get Princess Carolyn to pitch a new TV Show to a Hollywood producer. I love the fact that no matter what mood Bojack is in, Todd always remains positive and manages to cheer him up. Princess Carolyn is the first of Bojack’s friends whom we meet on the show. She is Bojack’s agent and my least favorite character on the show because she is hardly efficient at her job. For instance, in Season 3 Episode 9, Bojack fires her for not being able to land him the role he wanted. Although Princess Carolyn makes me laugh occasionally, I find her voice to be a bit annoying. Also, I think her pessimism towards Bojack causes him to become even more depressed at times.
Diane Nguyen is Bojack’s ghostwriter whom he hires to write his memoir and later becomes his best friend. I really enjoy the moments she spends on screen with Bojack, especially in Season 2 Episode 10, when they talk about what their lives amount to out on Bojack’s deck. I find it sad that they can never be more than friends because of Diane’s marriage to Mr. Peanutbutter. The time she spends with Mr. Peanutbutter, however, can be just as comical. For instance, in Season 3 Episode 8, they travel to the Labrador Peninsula and become surrounded by hundreds of golden labradors. I think Diane is a great friend to Bojack and adds a sense of perseverance to the series.
Mr. Peanutbutter is Bojack’s former rival turned friend who adds the most humor to the show. He is another one of my favorite characters because everything he does makes me start laughing hysterically. For example, in Season 4 Episode 1, he challenges the governor of California to a ski race, but ends up losing when he realizes that he can’t ski. I also like how Mr. Peanutbutter has a strong motivation with everything he does, especially in Season 4 when he invests all his time and money into running for governor until he finds out that he will never win the election.
Looking ahead to Season 5, I hope that Bojack will continue to maintain his humorous and compassionate character and not succumb to his old views of Hollywood. I would like to continue seeing more puns added into the show because they make the jokes more funnier and memorable. I would also like to see more Hollywood celebrities make an appearance in the show. If you are in the mood for a good laugh, considerwatching Bojack and his friends shake up Hollywood. If your laughter makes you tear up, then you’ll agree that Bojack is worthy of a Golden Globe for best actor in a TV series.