[REVIEW] BoJack Horseman

William Lou
September 22, 2014
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

Strangely enough, in a cartoon world populated by anthropomorphic animals, Netflix-exclusive comedy BoJack Horseman touches upon very real human emotions.

The main plot follows the fading star of actor BoJack Horseman (voiced by Arrested Development star Will Arnett) -- who is half-man, half-horse -- desperately trying to fill the soulless void of being an actor in Hollywoo (the letter “d” is stolen in one episode) in the twilight of his career. He fails miserably, betrayed at every turn by his incessant narcissism, while learning lessons the hard way by hurting everyone around him. That includes his roommate Todd Chavez (Aaron Paul), his shadow-writer and love interest (Alison Brie) and his agent (Amy Sedaris).

The show is pieced together with off-beat pop-culture references and fast-paced animal-based joke-telling centred around a reductive plotline. In that sense, BoJack Horseman is not unlike Family Guy or The Simpsons. The show’s writer Raphael Bob-Waksberg relies on a silly, self-loathing brand of humour to deliver a crisp 20-minute per-episode viewing experience.

Masked behind the clever guise of a cartoon setting and the humanization of animals, BoJack Horseman lulls the viewer into a state of vulnerability before introducing very human feelings into the fray. The show tries to catch viewers off-guard with childish jokes about breaking the fourth wall, for example, before delivering poignant statements on vulnerability and the emptiness of life through the childish setting of a cartoon.

That's not to say BoJack Horseman is a thought-provoking drama making grandiose statements on society like The Wire or The Sopranos. It doesn't. The show is a comedy at heart and whimsical in nature. It feels childlike. Innocence is implied.

But BoJack Horseman is also about making mistakes and the shattering of innocence that comes with growing up. BoJack (the character) learns this the hard way in the tail end of his youth. He confronts mortality and all wrestles its implications, running out of time to correct past transgressions. It’s a story of loss, offset by episodes of temporary redemption.

For a cartoon comedy involving quirkily drawn animals, BoJack Horseman elicits very real human emotion. Give it a shot the next time you're browsing Netflix. Suspend your cynicism and you won't be disappointed.

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