‘The innovation of BoJack Horseman may be that it finds nothing funny in the bleakness of its world.’ – New Yorker, August 14, 2015
BoJack Horseman is not an easy show to describe. It is supposed to be a silly comedy about an anthropomorphic horse that once starred in a family sitcom in the 90s. It is also supposed to be a dark examination of heavy issues like depression, addiction and loneliness. The show cannot be categorized into a specific genre. According to some, it is a surrealist show, but for many it is a hefty dose of existential realness.
Some may even call this show a sitcom, but it clearly is not one. Let us consider the age old formula that most of the sitcoms follow: there are some people, their lives are miserable and this gives rise to many funny situations. From the legendary ones like Seinfeld, The Office; to shitty ones like The Big Bang Theory, most of them seem to follow this. But the beauty about BoJack Horseman is that the titular character’s life isn’t funny because it is tragic, it is both funny and tragic at once, and on different tracks.
When I started watching the show – and I will be brutally honest – I got bored. First couple of episodes of first season almost tricked me into thinking that it is yet another Simpsons-South Park wannabe animated show that exists just because Netflix wanted to have some diversity. But somehow I came back for the third episode, then the fourth, then fifth – and I just kept watching. It was the seventh episode that made me realized that to keep going was the right decision.
Then came that scene of the eleventh episode. I was blown away. I have seen a lot of dream sequences/trip scenes in movies and television, but this one caught me completely off guard. After this scene, BoJack sincerely asks Diane, another main character, in crowd of people whether or not he is a bad person and what happens after that is chilling.
‘Do you think it’s too late for me?’
That is the beauty of Bojack Horseman. First few episodes may make you think twice about your decision of watching the show. But if you stay, it will reward you. BoJack Horseman captures the essence of human condition better than any show that’s going on right now. It is strange that an animated horse is a brutally honest and accurate portrayal of all of us, and the struggles and suffering we face in life. BoJack is much more relatable than any other character on television. There has never before been a television show in which the main character was so self-aware, relatable and human at the same time. BoJack doesn’t understand the concept of tranquility. He cannot be compassionate. He has fixed opinions about everything. Despite everything, he is the the most humane character on the show.
‘You know, sometimes I feel like I was born with a leak, and any goodness I started with just slowly spilled out of me, and now it’s all gone. And I’ll never get it back in me. It’s too late. Life is a series of closing doors, isn’t it?’
And I haven’t even talked about how funny some scenes are. The show has loads of hilarious moments and a lot of blink-and-miss puns.
With that, the show has an amazing opening credits scene, fantastic voice acting and brilliant dialogues.
‘BoJack, when I was your age, I got sad. A lot. I didn’t come from such a great home, but one day, I started running, and that seemed to make sense, so then I just kept running. BoJack, when you get sad, you run straight ahead and you keep running forward, no matter what. There are people in your life who are gonna try to hold you back, slow you down, but you don’t let them. Don’t you stop running and don’t you ever look behind you. There’s nothing for you behind you. All that exists is what’s ahead.’
‘You are the star of a movie, and this is the part of the movie where you get your heart broken, where the world tests you and people treat you like shit. But it has to happen this way. Otherwise the end of the movie, when you get everything you want, won’t feel as rewarding. There are assholes out there, but in the end they don’t matter, because this movie’s not about them it’s never been about them. All this time, the movie’s been about you.’
BoJack Horseman may not be comparable to shows like The Wire, The Sopranos, or even The Simpsons; but it surely deserves a place amongst the best shows of all time purely because of its blend of charming wit with bleakness of real world. The second season almost sealed this place, and it is highly unlikely that they will screw the third season up.
Do yourself a favor and give this show a chance. You will not regret it. The show will start off on a dull note but stay, and keep watching. You’ll witness something indescribable. BoJack Horseman is one of those rare shows that will build a serious emotional bond with you, and will teach you a thing or two about life.