Fun fact about how BoJack Horseman has been covered here at Bubbleblabber. We were still pretty new at the time during the show’s first season, but when I started the company I knew I wanted to make sure we did things differently in covering adult animation. In the case of BoJack Horseman, we were actually the first to review the show’s entire first season all at once and published before anybody else. Most other publications (even to this day) may review the first couple of episodes of a Netflix series, but we do the entire one, even if it means it takes a tad longer for the review to post. However, do you want to hear ANOTHER secret about why we covered BoJack that way? Welp, I remember feeling compelled to stay up the entire day until that fucking show was over, from start to finish.
I couldn’t help it. I had never watched an animated series that commanded me to sit in my chair, contemplate soiling myself instead of taking bathroom breaks (I didn’t), and that caused family members to wonder about my whereabouts as I eschewed social media, phone calls, and other forms of external communication until this thing was done. After six seasons and having hired numerous writers to cover the show for me (and yes, I still watch everything), I am happy to report that BoJack Horseman is shaping up to end just the way it began…an obsession.
It’s hard to argue the show’s importance in the history of adult animation. Family Guy and The Simpsons have had to recognize it, and South Park was forced to become serial after seeing the growing trend of binge-watching made famous by the soon-to-be largest streaming entertainment service in the world. For the show’s sixth and soon-to-be-final season, BoJack Horseman has not only successfully embraced the serial format but has perfected every inch of it including the once anime-exclusive deep dive cliffhanger.
This season, we get to see BoJack come to grips with the fact that he’s an alcoholic and unlike what years of watching The Simpsons has taught us, booze is not the solution to all of life’s problems. It can lead to the destruction of households, of oneself, and tens of thousands of dollars in rehab bills. And he’s not the only one, Princess Carolyn’s (voiced by Amy Sedaris who continues to be fabulous in this show) got a new super-cute baby, and being a single working mother in all places is hard enough but now try and be a single working mother in Hollywoo and you’ve got yourself a solid “B” plot that gets a whole lot of attention in “The New Client”. In fact, pretty much all of the principal characters get an episode of their own so as to fully set up what each of them are up to and to allow us to fully ingratiate ourselves in the happenings of our stellar cast of characters, and never at any moment does the show feel like it slows down at all. Seriously, the eight episodes FLY, which I think is a testament to the writers producing enough juicy plots to sink our teeth into all the while lining our trip with visual and spoken gags galore. Todd (Aaron Paul)’s still Todd. Carolyn appeared to have successfully broached her postpartum depression and is dealing with it and I’m stoked as hell to see where it goes and Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) is subjected to ANOTHER rocky relationship.
The dialogue is truly singing this go-round, perfectly dancing a delicate balance between morose and light-heartedness that I don’t know if any other adult animated series has truly mastered up until this point. It’s the gooey center of the depression Oreo that has me coming back for more. I’m even more fascinated with the producers’ response to the more recent complaints against BoJack Horseman even if they are only slight responses. For example, the series seems to address the faux outrages surrounding voice actors playing characters that may not always match up with their characters ethnicities and backgrounds (which is called “acting” by the way), and we even get a smattering of commentary on the strikes by the animation team that probably lead to both this series and Tuca & Bertie’s cancellations. I bet even the producers of The Simpsons are watching some of this and saying, “Can WE go here?”.
That said, the show isn’t without its plot holes. For starters, the series lays the foundation of a recovering BoJack telling us that addiction is not the solution to solving problems, but have no problem in insinuating that if Diane (Alison Brie) doesn’t start taking anti-depressants for her own bouts of depression, then her life is just gonna go down the tubes. Nowhere have we seen Diane try anything else (aside from her eventual move to Chicago) in which to deal with her issues, but let’s make sure she gets on these drugs right away. In fact, we don’t even get to see the doctor’s visit for the eventual prescription that she gets (which in it of itself is a problem with this country) which I think is a bit self-serving to the show’s writers who probably write more with a one-sided “Twitter will approve” pathos in regards to this issue rather than truly take on the challenge in acknowledging that all addictions are equal. Is it possible that Diane will see the TRUE consequences of prescription drug addiction in the latter half of the show’s final season? Perhaps, but with no seeds sewn on just how blatantly easy and irresponsible script doctors can be, I’m starting to have my doubts (though I’m praying I’ll be wrong). Moreover, Mr. Peanutbutter’s relationship issues seem like a retread of what we saw with her initial relationship with Diane, just seasoned with a modern-day take on an open-relationship that he’s too stupid to understand. It’s a tired effort with our fabled golden lab but it is definitely the most comical of all of the threads being presented this side of Princess Carolyn’s mischevious baby.
Even with all of the wonderful new characters we are introduced to (and in some cases, reintroduced to) like a bison named “Guy” (voiced by Lakeith Stanfield) to go along with the vultures (not actual vultures, a reporter from The Hollywoo Reporter and a random dude that BoJack’s daughter befriends at a party) that are starting to swirl for what could be a tumultuous end for BoJack.
As we stare down the barrel of BoJack Horseman’s final hurrah set to happen on January 31st on Netflix, it will be interesting to see how this one shapes up. Final seasons aren’t always as fondly remembered as final episodes are they? Like who really gave a fuck about The Office without Michael Scott which made his return at that show’s almost-finale a savior to the show’s legacy. And while I don’t give a shit about Game of Thrones, I heard enough about that show’s final season that should keep me comfortable that I never got hooked on the venerable franchise in the first place. Seth MacFarlane has said in interviews in the past that usually, the magic number of when a show starts to jump the shark is around season seven, of which I have to agree (especially when it comes to Family Guy). But, with BoJack Horseman having done so much for the adult animation industry in giving us the likes of Lisa Hanawalt, Kate Purdy, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, and others who have since gone on to create/produce other wonderful examples of intellectual property that are not only taking hold of the contributions that this franchise has made but in some cases even surpassing them in execution, I can’t help but think that if Raph truly had an ending in mind for the show even from the beginning that he would get more out of seeing that come to pass versus being on the wrong side of a popular quote made famous in The Dark Knight…”You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”.
BoJack Horseman is “hero” status.