BoJack Horseman ☺ TV Show Review


Written by Tia

BoJack Horseman is a dark comedy first, and a tragedy second. Going into the show with no knowledge other than a screencap, you can expect lots of laughs because—duh—it's about a cartoon horse that used to be the star of a beloved '90s sitcom called Horsin' Around. Half the characters are non-human animals, and half the jokes are based on that fact.

But BoJack is not a show to be underestimated, skipped, or ignored, whether it's the animated part that turns you off, or the anthropomorphic animal world that gives you the anti-furry willies. This show is too clever, too unexpected, too quippy, too brilliant to not suck in even the most resistant of viewers.

Imagine a world where animals live as humans do, wearing clothes, working jobs, and dealing with relationship issues. Now, imagine I'm not talking about Zootopia, and you've got it. BoJack Horseman takes place in Hollywoo(d), California, in a universe where humans and anthropomorphic animals coexist and cohabitate as if nothing odd is happening at all. At the center of our story is BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett), a former star who dropped off the map for reasons rooted in depression, alcoholism, and general, all-around jerk-ism. He's a cliché antihero, and his story manages to be both painfully typically and beautifully unique.

You see, BoJack is the kind of show that can make a trope feel fresh again—it takes the easy joke and the character you've seen at least twice before, and gets them to surprise you. It twists them around and makes them real, and tangible, and a little piece of you. It takes feelings that everyone has felt before in their lives and displays them in a way that's clear, simple, and painfully honest. Watching BoJack means laughing one second, then going "oh shit" when the joke turns into a gut punch about life, finding your passion, love, pursuing your dreams, and the twists and turns of family, friends, and relationships. Feeling betrayed, you'll wonder and accuse through your uncontrollable tears: I thought this was a comedy.

But BoJack doesn't start that way. Each season starts light, with silly jokes and arcs and new characters that save the cat by proving their charm and showing their best sides. Then things start to spiral down—usually bringing you below sea level before you realize—and episode 11 comes in like a swinging axe, chopping your heart into little tiny pieces. Which is why you can't go through three episodes of BoJack and stop. You can't say, okay, I've seen it all. The jokes—I get it. They're cute, but they aren't enough. No. You have to power through to episode 11, when you realize the season has been setting you up for the perfect, sucker punch of an ending.

I'm trying my best not to spoil what makes BoJack great, but it's hard to explain without doing so. Really you should just know: The show is incredible. It'll hurt and it'll inspire and it'll make you think about your own life. It starts underwhelming, but it gets better. It's winding up for the punch. You just have to keep going.

You can watch all three seasons of BoJack Horseman on Netflix. Check out the teaser trailer for the first season below:

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