Netflix is arguably the most popular streaming service of all time, rivaled only by Spotify. Netflix features hundreds of top quality shows and movies, and it's really easy to waste an hour just trying to decide what to watch. Over the last few years, Netflix has begun to expand their library to include completely original programs. Among these shows, BoJack Horseman is definitely worth watching.
BoJack Horseman is a Netflix exclusive adult comedy about a washed up actor who had a really popular sitcom in the late 80s. At first glance, BoJack Horseman seems to fit pretty nicely into the generic adult comedy genre. The first couple of episodes have pretty stock jokes and characters, which gives the impression that the show is going to be a fairly harmless comedy.
BoJack Horseman doesn’t stay this way for very long, though. The first couple of episodes are simply the set up for ones that are much more serialized and character driven, all while maintaining and even improving on the show’s relatable brand of humor. The episodes and seasons that follow are some of the most well written and executed I’ve ever seen in any form of animation.
BoJack Horseman centers on the life and times of our titular hero, BoJack the horse. BoJack was the star of an 80s family sitcom called Horsin’ Around, but in the years that followed the show’s ending, BoJack has struggled to maintain relevance in Hollywood that didn’t pertain to nostalgia.
Much of BoJack’s character arc over the course of the show focuses on how he has dealt with the Hollywood lifestyle, as well as his attempts to reclaim the fame that he once had. Naturally, this leads to many episodes that deal with topics like alcoholism, drug addiction and various adult encounters.
BoJack’s relationship with the other characters from Horsin’ Around are also an important part of his character (Sarah Lynn in particular viewed BoJack as a father figure). Each of them portrays an aspect that is commonly seen in the world of celebrities. Sarah Lynn was the cute and spunky kid who grew up to become a drug addicted pop star, while Bradley was the nerdy brother who faded into obscurity following the show’s finale. These characters, among many others, give BoJack an element of reliability, particularly in the cast reunion episode.
Part of what makes BoJack such an endearing character is the fact that he’s not exactly a good person, a fact that he openly admits. He starts out having a ton of negative qualities. He’s dishonest, condescending and narcissistic – just to name a few. At the same time, he’s likable, because he makes a genuine effort to better himself.
As the story goes on, BoJack’s goal shift from being a serious actor, to being a good person and finding true happiness. He goes to great lengths to achieve these things. He makes rash and drastic decisions on a large scale, all to find even the tiniest glimmer of peace and love.
BoJack’s character development is slow and steady, making it seem more realistic. Just when you think he has learned a valuable lesson, he does something to wash away all the good that he accumulated. This makes his character more relatable, as no real person is able to perfectly implement life lessons as soon as they learn them. It takes time and patience to better yourself, and plenty of mistakes are going to be made along the way.
BoJack Horseman is full of realistic themes and relationships. As I said before, BoJack is looking for true and enduring happiness. Even outside of the main character, each member of the supporting cast has their own struggles to overcome. Diane and Princess Carolyn have to deal with drama surrounding their career and relationship choices, while Todd has to deal with the realities of being an adult.
At the end of the day, the characters of BoJack Horseman are all looking for their place in the world, and a way to be happy. Much of what I’ve said about the show paints a picture of a very bleak narrative, and it kind of is. BoJack Horseman doesn’t pull any punches. It’s sad, depressing, and at times can feel a little too real and relatable.
However, this isn’t to say that the show is a total downer. The slower, more dramatic moments, are interspersed with plenty of humor – which goes a long way towards making the characters appealing. After all, being funny and charming can be just as effective as having serious character development when it comes to being relatable.
I’d recommend BoJack Horseman to just about anybody, as I feel that it is one of the best shows out right now. At the time of this writing, there are three seasons and a Christmas special on Netflix, with a fourth season planned for Summer 2017. I implore anybody who is even vaguely interested to give BoJack Horseman a chance. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.