You know a show impacts people when the general response to a new season about the depressing life of a toxic, self-destructive horse is, “I’m hyped!”
“BoJack Horseman” is an animated adult comedy-drama, starring Will Arnett as the title character.
In an alternate interpretation of Hollywood, both humans and anthropomorphic animals live amongst each other. BoJack Horseman is a former `90s sitcom star and has since drowned his sorrows in alcohol, drugs and dysfunctional relationships.
Whenever BoJack seems one step closer to facing his problems, he is quick to take three steps back.
After a three-season arc of attempting a comeback, BoJack now ventures further in trying to achieve stability within his life.
His agent casts him in “Philbert,” a drama series about a detective whose character hits too close to home.
While shooting the first season, BoJack struggles with his failed attempts at sobriety, further exacerbated by his recent opioid addiction.
Will BoJack face the music and get help in time, or will he lose all ties to reality?
The fantastic thing about “BoJack Horseman” is not just its consistent quality.
It is that I can vaguely predict how the next season will go, and the series still packs an emotional wallop.
The commentary on current media and social issues is sharp as ever. The comedy is the right amount of cynical and the bleak moments still hit you where it hurts.
I especially admire the meta-criticism woven into the narrative.
The show has attracted a minority of fans who use the show and its title character to justify their toxicity.
While the writers are not required to address this, they went the extra mile by tying it into BoJack’s starring role in “Philbert.”
He loathes the role at first, not because of the writing itself but because Philbert reflects everything BoJack hates about himself.
BoJack then grows an attachment to his character, which prompts his friend, Diane, to deliver a searing speech about how he cannot cling to any convenient shield to validate his destructive behavior and refuse to work on his problems.
This works not only as a turning point in their relationship but also a trenchant critique of fandom culture and how some leech off of what a character means to them rather than what they represent.
Throughout the series, BoJack exists within a state of arrested development. He is unable to comprehend why life cannot resolve everything as a sitcom would.
This season examines why the status quo resets every time.
The season delves deeper into how Hollywood is a target-rich environment for unstable people to seek temporary solutions to their problems.
Rather than provide intervention, Hollywood instead enables it and encourages everyone to hide behind a smiling face in the public eye.
Add the main characters’ tragic backstories such as childhood trauma and failed marriages, and it sets up a recipe for disaster.
Despite its title, “BoJack Horseman” continues to be one of the most human television dramas of our time.