If you ever told me that one day I would be crying over a middle-aged horse, I would say that’s too much, man! But seriously, “BoJack Horseman” is an existential masterpiece disguised as a mature animated comedy. The show was created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg in 2014 and now has three seasons, all of which are available on Netflix. The fourth season is (hopefully) coming sometime this year (in other words, now is the perfect time to get caught up!)
“BoJack Horseman” takes place in an alternate universe where humans and anthropomorphic animals live in sort-of harmony. The title character, BoJack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett), is a一 you guessed it一 talking horse.
BoJack Horseman was the star of the 90s hit sitcom “Horsin’ Around,” in which he took in three orphans and acted as a father figure for them. To an outsider, BoJack has achieved fame and wealth. He has everything that a person (or humanoid animal) could want. However, BoJack’s life isn’t all fun and games. He’s the perfect anti-hero. He’s selfish and destructive to all that’s around him, but he’s also emotionally damaged, incredibly lonely and depressed.
“One day, you’re going to look around, and you’re going to realize that everybody loves you… But nobody likes you. And that is the loneliest feeling in the world.”
(“Love and/or Marriage” Season 3, Episode 5)
“BoJack Horseman” portrays the struggles of very flawed, complex characters in a way that shows that no one and nothing is simply black or white, good or bad. Each character has their own issues and ways of coping while trying to find their places in the world. BoJack especially is an example of someone who is morally grey and is attempting to do what he can despite his emotionally abusive upbringing and character flaws. As hard as he tries to fix himself and be good, he always ends up screwing up both himself and everyone around him.
“I need you to tell me that it’s not too late. I-I-I need you to tell me that I’m a good person. I know that I can be selfish and narcissistic and self-destructive, but underneath all that, deep down, I’m a good person, and I need you to tell me that I’m good.”
(“Downer Ending” Season 1, Episode 11)
Don’t get me wrong, here, this show is still hilarious, both in the “Haha that animal pun was clever, good job” way and in the “Wow, that dark statement was too real but I’m going to laugh about it uncomfortably” way. The dialogue is always witty, dark and real. The show as a whole manages to both comment on social issues with clever witticisms and irony while also expressing grim yet honest perspectives of life.
Basically, this is the best show ever. The first few episodes are amusing enough, nothing too special, but you have to hang in there. Each season picks up momentum and gets better, more heartbreaking, more meaningful, and before you know it, you will be the one crying about a middle-aged horse.