Bojack Horseman is a TV series that first aired on August of 2014 on Netflix, where it still exists. There are three seasons out right now, and a fourth one is expected to come out during the summer of 2017.
The show centers around Bojack Horseman (obviously), who was a very famous actor on a sitcom show “Horsin’ Around” in the 1990’s. It is revealed through a television interview, and throughout the series, that Bojack has done nothing since the show canceled, living off of his multi-million dollar savings and a home he got for his role in the show. He passes his days drinking and eating himself into oblivion, while constantly watching old episodes of “Horsin’ Around.”
In the first episode, he decides to get back out there and be the center of attention again by writing an auto-biography, and fails miserably. He hires a ghost writer, Diane Nguyen, and they explore his past as well as how he got to be who he is today throughout the first season.
The second and third season focus on Bojack pursuing and eventually achieving his dream, and realizing he is no happier than he was at the start of the series, possibly worse off. The third season heavily focuses on the deterioration of Bojack’s relationships with his friends.
The show is ultimately about finding happiness. Bojack, Princess Carolyn and Diane are all trying to find happiness in what they do, and derive meaning from it. Mister Peanutbutter (I think Mister is his actual name) and Todd Sanchez are more interested in finding happiness from the people around them, rather than in what they do for a living, mostly because they are not ambitious people.
I admit that I really wasn’t that interested in the series in the beginning. The first episode is definitely the worst in my opinion, because it has so many cut away gags as stupid as the ones in Family Guy, and because none of the characters do anything interesting. Episode 2 was still uninteresting to me because I didn’t really care for any of the characters… yet.
Episode 3 piqued my interest because it introduced the character of Sarah Lynn, a co-star on “Horsin’ Around.” She causes Bojack to reflect on himself as well as show their relationship while on the show together, finally fleshing out Bojack as well as the world that they live in. This episode really got me excited about the series, as it showed that there was a lot more to the show than stupid jokes.
The episodes become better and deeper, while the characters become more three dimensional and relateable. The turning point for the series came for me at episode 7, which focuses almost entirely on Princess Carolyn. It has the first of many emotional gut punches in the show’s signature style: winning can often leave you sadder than losing. I LOVE this episode so much because it made me realize that I really like Princess Carolyn, as well as most of the characters in the show, despite, or perhaps because of, their massive flaws. This applies to a massive extent for Bojack: he does many terrible, horrible, deplorable things throughout the show, but I just can’t hate him. Normally, when a character betrays someone, I say that they’re dead to me and hate them forever, because I’m petty like that, but I just can’t hate Bojack. I love all the characters and want them to be happy, despite what they do.
What’s so great about all the characters is that there is more to them than initially meets the eye. For example, Bojack comes off as a jackass almost all the time, but often he is intellectual and quite observant. Diane and Princess seem to have their lives all sorted out, but they’re lives are as miserable and messy as everyone else’s. Watching the series and learning how the characters relate to each other and relate to you is a painful and rewarding experience, even after multiple viewings.
When I tell other people about Bojack Horseman, I’m worried that they think the show is about beating a dead horse (pun intended). When I describe the events that happen, it sounds like the show just clobbers you over the head with sadness and pain and suffering, and so the show comes off as angsty and emo and edgy or whatever. I also sometimes wonder why I don’t get tired of the show: oh look Bojack did something bad, hurt his friends, and now there will always be a hair-line fracture in their friendship even after they forgive him. This same thing happens several times, and pretty much everyone in the show is worse off for having known Bojack, as he points out himself. But I can guarantee that the show does not get boring because the show does a really good job at making you care for the characters. Bojack’s betrayals are inevitable and predictable, because that’s who he is, and you understand why his friends still tolerate him because, like them, you can’t help but like Bojack anyway, warts and all. And, like them, you can’t help but keep a tally mark in your head of how many times he’s hurt you, and like them, you know that you’ll hate him eventually, but not just yet. Essentially, I’m saying that the show has the must human and relateable characters I have ever seen, and you will probably relate to them as easily as I did.
Based on the complex and lifelike characters, the interesting plot and induced emotions, I cannot recommend Bojack Horseman enough. It is, without a doubt, my favorite TV show of all time. If you have a Netflix account, definitely check it out; the first several episodes are shaky, but it’s pure gold from there on.