By Paul Esquivel
Bojack Horseman is an animated comedy-drama and Netflix original series. The main cast is Will Arnett, Amy Seders, Alison Brie and Aaron Paul. Season 2 premiered on July 17, 2015 and if haven’t seen the show you are missing out big time.
The premise takes place in a world where human beings and anthropomorphic animals coexist. It follows the life of Bojack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett), a horse who is the washed-up star of the fictional 1987 sitcom Horsin’ Around. Bojack tries to reclaim the fame and celebrity status he once knew with a tell-all autobiography that he dictates to his ghostwriter and love interest Diane (voiced by Alison Brie). He also juggles his freeloading roommate Todd (voiced by Aaron Paul), his agent and on-again-off-again girlfriend Princess Carolyn, a cat, and frenemy Mr. Peanutbutter, a dog who is also Diane’s boyfriend.
Initially the show’s first season received mixed critical reviews, many critics citing it didn’t find its footing until the second half of the season. Bojack Horseman is the perfect blend of over the top humor and downright serious heartfelt, depressing moments. Littered with clever animal puns, pop culture references from the 80’s to present and smart observational comedy. The show examines bonafide depression and the age of social media where narcissism is a common feat society shares with almost everyone trying to find their 15 minutes of fame and celebrity exploits go viral on a moments notice.
Bojack’s ego constantly gets in the way of him making any progress of growing as an individual or of self-development with many episodes giving mood-whiplash, switching from absurd jokes to deep emotional moments being on point bringing the laughs and feels. Bojack Horseman is not the first adult animated show to dabble in the portraying depression but is the first to show it in such an honest and raw way.
Will Arnett’s comedic performance is funny as usual but the real gem here is his dramatic performance, making Bojack feel convincingly four dimensional character. Almost every character has a depth to them excluding one off prop characters for the quick laugh. The supporting cast get subplots giving them a three dimensional feel that makes the show hard not to binge in one sitting. The show has dark comedy on the top layer that has real heart at its core, which most animated sitcoms on air today can’t provide.
The band Grouplove provides a nice ending theme which makes me wish they could have done the opening theme as well. Netflix easily has a hit on its hands and I feel are breaking new ground for adult animated sitcoms, we already knew possible thanks to anime. I can only hope we get more stories of the selfish and flawed Bojack Horseman. Cameo’s are coming from the likes of Steven Colbert and George Takei, while having recurring characters voiced by comedic talents, Patton Oswalt and Kristen Schall, it’s an all star comedic ensemble. If you haven’t already, add it to your watch list.