Bojack Horseman: Not Your Parent’s Sitcom

Hello, people who may or may not like self-deprecating humor, this review is for you. Check out my take on Bojack Horseman.

Background~

Normally, I wouldn’t touch a show like Bojack Horseman. I don’t like self-deprecating humor or main characters that are completely dysfunctional and unkind (you can tell this from the trailer). But then my friends said one of the characters reminded them of me. That sure got my attention. I asked which one and they wouldn’t tell me until I watched the ENTIRE thing. 

Do you know how nerve-wracking it is watching a show filled with dysfunctional people wondering what kind of person your friends think you are? Eh, probably not (but if you do please comment below and tell me the story). Spoilers ahead!!!!

So what is Bojack Horseman about?

Bojack Horseman is a washed-up actor who starred in a hit show from the ’90s called ‘Horsein’ Around’ that sounds like a parody of ‘Full House’. He played a dad-type who adopted 3 kids. In the present day, he is a super-rich actor who spends a lot of his time partying. Every episode has an A plot and a B plot that somehow ties together. So Bojack has an adventure but then CP and Todd or Diane and PB will also have an adventure. 

Main Characters of Bojack Horseman:

At the start of season 1, Bojack’s close circle is quickly established. Todd is his best friend and roommate that sleeps on his couch. Diane is a ghost-writer helping Bojack write his memoir. Mr. PeanutButter (PB) is another actor who starred on a show similar to ‘Horsein’ Around’ where he also played a dad-type. Princess Carolyn (PC) is his agent/former girlfriend. 

What I liked about season 1 of Bojack Horseman:

Season 1 really focuses on setting up the tone of the show. I’d call it the memoir arc. You get to know a bit about Bojack as he talks to Diane about his past. He doesn’t have a great childhood but it isn’t until ~ season 4 you learn more details about how screwed up it was. You learn Diane and Bojack are very similar people much like how PB and Todd are similar people and can egg each other on. PB and Diane get married.

There is a bit of dark/controversial humor but compared to what happens later, it is relatively light. One moment, in particular, made me stop and realize I was falling in love with the show. It’s where you definitively learn this show is going to get real and in life sometimes you don’t get happy endings. Sometimes you don’t get forgiven. My favorite episode of the season is ‘Zoes and Zeldas’.

2nd Season of Bojack Horseman: 

Season 2 is what I’d call the Secretariat arc. Bojack is working his dream role of Secretariat in the movie Secretariat. PC is dating 2 children in a trenchcoat. Bojack and Diane are also doing a book tour. PB has a new tv show and Todd is getting into improv (enter theater joke pursued by a bear stage left here). Some spoilers happen and then Bojack makes a break for New Mexico in the middle of filming Secretariat to meet up with an old friend.

What I liked about Season 2:

After landing his dream role, Bojack is determined to get in shape and become a more positive person and it is amazing. Jarring, but amazing. You can see the potential this character has to be good, to be better than his past and you want it. It is a fleeting moment but it was a good one. I liked the ongoing jokes of the season with PC’s boyfriend and theater/improv is a cult (which can 100% confirm it is). My favorite episode is ‘Escape from L.A.’ at least the first 20 minutes. The last 5ish where the spoilers happen hated that. Absolutely hAtEd it.  

3rd Season of Bojack Horseman: 

Season 3 is what I’d call the Oscar arc. Bojack is up for a nomination for the Oscars. Ana Spanakopita is introduced as Bojack’s Oscar coach/lover/thing. There are a lot of spoilers for this season, too many for me to comfortably cover. Let’s just say life for Bojack gets way worse in this season. 

What I liked about Season 3:

On the tour for Oscars, it’s nice to have another person besides PC trying to get Bojack to get his stuff together. Ana reminds me a bit of Beyonce, she’s strong and empowering but also eats mac n cheese like the rest of us (except for those who are lactose intolerant and gluten-free where are my people at?) so I like her a lot. I love the episode ‘Fish Out of Water’ it’s a perfect mixture of wholesome and slightly horrifying wrapped in irony.

Season 3 introduces two of my favorite characters of the whole show, Ralph and Judah. Ralph is PC’s new boyfriend and Judah is her assistant. Right off the bat, I loved Ralph and PC’s chemistry. They are a great couple. Judah is assistant goals. He’s punctual, thoughtful, and blunt. My ultimate favorite episode has to go to ‘Love And/Or Marriage’. Not only is it Ralph’s debut but PC’s blind dates are relateable.

4th Season of Bojack Horeseman: 

Season 4 is what I’d call the Chaos arc. PB is running for governor of California. Bojack is off the grid and then he’s not. Hollyhock is introduced as Bojack’s daughter/sister thing. Ralph and PC are trying to start a family. Diane and PB’s marriage goes under a lot of strain. We get a deeper look at Bojack’s mom Beatrice’s upbringing. (oh boy).      

What I liked about Season 4:

I think season 4 is kind of an apology for what happened at the end of season 3. It starts off super light with PB racing the Woodchuck Couldchuck down a hill for the title of governor of California. It’s refreshing. I loved the overlaps of the past and present in ‘The Old Sugarman Place’. The feelings Bojack experiences in ‘Stupid Piece of Sh*t’ are raw and real and encapsulates a feeling I’m not sure many would be able to put in words quite like how the show did. I loved how sometimes, the show will tell the episode from a random person’s perspective like in ‘Ruthie’. I loved Beatrice’s retelling of her past through the ins and outs of dementia in ‘Time’s Arrow’.

Hollyhock is another one of my favorite characters. She’s sweet and funny and quirky and I think we’d be friends. I love how her dads have a ‘secret language’. It reminds me of my mom, sister, and I signed to each other in ASL while my dad looks on wondering what we are saying at the dinner table.  

5th Season of Bojack Horseman: 

Season 5 is what I’d call the Philbert arc. Bojack, PB, and Diane are working on a new tv show called Philbert, a detective show. Diane and PB divorce. Mr. PeanutButter acquires a new girlfriend almost immediately. PC’s backstory is told as she tries to adopt a baby. Beatrice dies. Bojack starts dating Gina.  

What I liked about Season 5:

If season 4 is an apology, season 5 cranks it back up to 100. I loved ‘INT. SUB’  for its unique perspective storytelling. The ability to have flashbacks seamlessly woven in the present day in ‘Mr. Peanutbutter’s Boos’ was awesome. Hollyhock’s trauma in ‘Ancient History’ is delivered amazingly. ‘The Showstopper’ depicts an actor’s struggle of separating the roles you take from yourself beautifully. You feel just as confused as Bojack, never knowing if it’s Bojack’s life or Philbert’s. The last 5 minutes of ‘The Stopped Show’ is the best of the whole season-no-the whole show. 

6th Season of Bojack Horseman:

This season is probably my ultimate favorite. Just so you know, the following review is a modified version of the one I sent to my friend. Friend, if you are reading this, thank you for reading my stuff, I appreciate you and your support.

First Act of season 6

I loved that Bojack went to therapy and is sober now. He’s actually on the road to be happy even if with the last episode his past is coming back to haunt him. I hope he can retire peacefully. The PC episode where she overloads herself and then collapses from exhaustion is relatable. I thrive off of to-do lists even if it makes me busy to the point of exhaustion. I’m glad Diane is moving on and hopefully getting some character development. “Surprise!” It is probably my favorite episode as it’s kinda funny that all those people were in the house and the dogs didn’t notice. Pickles live streaming their fight and the crew giving her advice so they could escape? Genius!

Second Act of season 6

Bojack

It starts out well, like so many of the other seasons. Bojack is sober and his acting students coming into his AA meeting had me laughing so hard. The “old man” and son duo were by far my favorite. Then it takes the turn for the worst like the other seasons and this show has reached some low points but I thought he would commit suicide before it happened. The obvious thing–that I’m glad they didn’t do–was to let that be the end and let the act itself speak volumes.

However, the whole afterlife limbo episode was trippy, hard-hitting, and really cool. Bojack coming back from that dead in true Lazarus fashion finally feels like the fresh start Bojack has been looking for. This isn’t even mentioning the fact he’s come clean about some of the worst mistakes of his life. The interview spoke a lot about real issues in Hollywood and I’m glad the show is so willing to tackle these topics even in their final season.

Diane

Diane’s arc is also great. She’s finally happy and genuinely enjoying the work she’s doing. Diane and Guy’s relationship is so cute and I love it. He genuinely loves and supports her in a way that PB never could. The connection she made with sonny? Fantastic. The last conversation between Bojack and her? Sone of the best lines she’s ever said.  I love reminiscing on how much she has grown. Season 1 Diane feels so edgy compared to the happy Diane we see now. I love the idea for her new book series. Coming soon to Chicken Star Rocket will be a short story and I think it’s the first short story that is genuinely happy and actually finished.

PB & Todd

Todd and Mr. Pb’s arcs are pretty good but they aren’t a focus of the last half of the show. I think it’s great PB is single, honestly, it’s the best move for his character. I’m glad he and Dianne were able to talk about their pasts and bring a sense of closure. Todd has grown so much in his relationships. I’m glad he reconnected with his mom and found someone to share life with. Maude is pretty cool and I think she compliments Todd well, even throwing in a few wacky ideas herself.

PC

Saving my homegirl PC for last. I’m proud of her, honestly. Starting a new company? Being able to balance being a mom and CEO? The episode where Judah sings her a love song was adorable and I was totally gushing. The meta-conversation she and Bojack have is awesome and hit hard. I’m glad PC took a step back from Bojack.

The Takeaway of Bojack Horseman:

One of my favorite aspects of this show is its ability to be real and take on topics in a manner that anyone can enjoy. I’m not a fan of excessive self-medicating and s*x but I still find the show enjoyable because the show knows the main character is not that great of a person and they tell you that. Even characters I liked at the beginning like Mr. Peanutbutter are inherently flawed and made me not like them as much by the end. You can be a pleasant, likable person and still not be a great person.

As previously mentioned, this show does not shy away from topics like addiction, mortality, media, and other “controversial” topics. I think it’s great to see the character growth from the result of making better choices. Media like tv shows should challenge our viewpoints and encourage us to talk about these topics. Is it uncomfortable? It can be but there is an opportunity to grow.

Final Thoughts:

It is okay to be a work in progress. Thank you for reading my take on “Bojack Horseman”, I appreciate it. Comment below your favorite character. If you like my content, consider subscribing to my mailing list and if you want a review on something similar, click here 

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