“Bojack Horseman” is the realest, most daring, most thought-provoking show on television. There is nothing else out there that can illicit so many nuanced feelings for all it’s characters as Bojack Horseman can. It is simultaneously saying so much, and almost every line packs a punch that makes your mind spin in a million different directions. It’s an astounding piece of commentary on mental illness, addiction, toxic and terrible men, hollywood, celebrity, society– not to mention the complex disrespect and violence women face both in the world and particularly in entertainment that I’ve ever seen, and I could go on. Also, it’s marvellous understanding and rumination on the #MeToo movement is intricate, intelligent and intense. The entire series needs to be watched, but this season in particular brings the show to new heights.
“Bojack Horseman” entered its fifth season with it’s release on Sept. 14, and obviously I binge-watched the entire thing as soon as possible. This season is the best one yet, as its exploration into the never-ending depth of its characters has reached an all new level. No one on this show is happy, or can seem to find happiness, and most of them have absolutely despicable attributes and behaviors that don’t deserve redemption.
Except, the show plays with all our notions of redemption and forgiveness. We are made to hold these characters accountable for their actions, and we don’t like them, but we see how tragic they are. We want them to fix themselves and take that one step in the right direction over and over again, yet it’s never that simple.
The best part of the show has to be its inventive and creative storytelling. Various episodes in the series make bold structural moves in how they are structured in giving us the plot; they challenge us in what we expect to see and how we expect to have narratives told to us. The best episode of this season, which left me sobbing alone in my room multiple times, was episode six “Free Churro,” which is a 26-minute-long eulogy Bojack gives for his mother. The entire episode is Bojack standing at a podium giving a speech, which is daring enough as is, and it is the most moving, meditative monologue I’ve ever heard. Will Arnett is perfect in this role, and his voice grants so much more to the character than I ever recognized before. The introspection of this episode is unmatched and is indicative of the sheer brilliance this show offers.
Upon talking about this show, as it so greatly demands to be talked about, my friend Anthony shared with me the best way I’ve heard of understanding what “Bojack Horseman” has done as a series. He pointed out that throughout its five seasons, the show has seamlessly transitioned from a comedy sprinkled with tragedy into a tragedy sprinkled with comedy. It has us thinking deeply in a way we haven’t on any of the issues it presents, while also making us laugh at these terrors. While it is hard-hitting, devastating and all too meta, it’s also witty and hilarious. The humor and the pain go hand in hand. It’s also littered with corny puns.
This show needs to be watched. It needs to be talked about and contemplated and understood. It takes chances that no other show would attempt. It uses the fact that it’s animated to say and do exactly what it needs to do. Bojack Horseman is the best show on television.