What’s the Big Deal About…’BoJack Horseman’?

(Image Credit: Netflix)
(Image Credit: Netflix)

It’s funny, it’s stupid, it’s goofy, it’s dramatic, it’s captivating, it’s a work of art. It’s BoJack Horsman, and you need to start watching it. Now.

The show takes place in an anthropomorphic version of reality in which animals and humans have always been living together side-by-side. We follow BoJack, a horse who appeared in a popular ‘90s sitcom appropriately titled “Horsin’ Around,” and his quest to become relevant in the entertainment business once again. Along the way BoJack drinks, smokes, has his heart broken, takes on social issues, and confronts his past.

It’s as if the writers took Bob Saget after his stint on Full House, turned him into a horse, tossed him into an alternate reality, gave him an extremely impulsive personality, and decided to see what would happen. It works, and it’s hilarious.

One of the coolest and funniest parts about BoJack Horseman is the way in which they use the animals in the world. Sure, there are cheesy jokes – the turtles walk slowly, the Navy SEALS are actual seals, etc. However, there are some extremely clever and nuanced ways in which the animals are used throughout the show. For example, at one point there is an intern introduced at a talent agency who is a tree frog. He is clumsy and awkward, and this is escalated by the fact he has a skinny frame and that his hands are sticking to everything. I’m convinced that a tree frog is the most perfect representation of an intern ever – don’t you agree?

But don’t be fooled, BoJack Horseman is not all rainbows and tree frogs. The show doesn’t shy away from getting dark or poking fun at contemporary issues such as gun control. This keeps it from feeling flat – it’s more than just one-liners. The show has some real substance which can be seen when BoJack reminisces about his childhood or realizes his feelings of loneliness. These moments of despair are done well and there’s the perfect amount of them to make the show captivating and dramatic. Sometimes, pain is beauty, and this show is beautiful.

Along with this captivation element, BoJack Horseman carries the same story throughout the series, growing the plot and its characters each episode while still adding new components. With each installment, the plot thickens for not only BoJack, but for almost everyone he encounters. In fact, there are a lot of characters other than BoJack I really connect with and always look forward to seeing where their adventures go. Nearly every character BoJack encounters seems to continually surface. Even characters who you may think are just-introduced-for-a-joke end up getting fleshed out and recur within the story.

My personal favorite of these types of characters is Mr. Vincent Adultman who is clearly three children stacked on top of each other hidden by a trench coat, but one of the adult characters ends up dating him for several episodes. His hobbies include: Business, transactions, and R-rated movies.

Lastly, if you’re not intrigued already, the show has an absolutely star-studded cast. From Will Arnett. who plays BoJack; to Stephen Colbert. who voices a bullfrog, to Lisa Kudrow who plays Bojack’s owl girlfriend; to even Paul McCartney who plays himself, the show is loaded with talented actors who give fantastic performances.

Netflix’s BoJack Horseman showed me that I was missing something in life. Turns out, that thing was a washed-up, middle-aged, drug-taking, self-deprecating horse.

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Doug is a drummer, a cynic, and hopes you also see him as a half-way decent writer. He studies English at Skidmore College.

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