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BoJack Horseman is an American adult animated comedy drama television series that started airing in 2014 on Netflix. It's about an anthropomorphic horse who lives under depression years after his popular sitcom from the 1990s was canceled.
Why It Rocks
- The show tackles many personal problems that most adults around BoJack's age would have. Things like existentialism, suicide, depression, trauma, fatigue, and abuse are handled very maturely and realistically, rivaling and sometime surpassing that of most live-action dramas.
- One of the first adult cartoons to take itself seriously and being more than just a Family Guy or South Park clone to actually be successful.
- Characters that are morally ambiguous and jerkish are somehow likable, due to their strong character development and relatability.
- Very emotional scenes that hit hard and stick with you.
- It’s one of the few adult cartoons to be completely story driven and not episodic.
- Adding to that, every single episode of the show is continuous and adds to the story, with it even surpassing Avatar: The Last Airbender's continuity.
- The show reveals the ugly, narcissistic reality that lies beneath the dazzling façade of Hollywood. From Mr. Peanutbutter's feigned interest, to studio executives only focused on money, to meaningless award ceremonies that only reward those with established names.
- The show's ensemble cast, with BoJack being voiced by Will Arnett of Arrested Development fame, is excellent and are capable of multiple forms of emotion.
- Two amazing opening and ending themes by Patrick Carney, Ralph Carney, and Grouplove.
- The opening changes every season to reflect what happened.
- The show has the advantage of being on Netflix, so it's not hard to get into.
- Speaking of Netflix, the show made history as being its first animated original series.
- While known primarily for it's drama, the jokes are hilarious and like Archer, many of the jokes are callbacks from prior episodes and are funnier when rewatching them.
- Even though the series has a TV-MA rating and has full permission to cuss as much as they want, the show intentionally limits the f-bombs to be used only once a season and only during a very important moment in the series where a relationship a permanently ruined. This really helps to makes those moments even stronger than they would be otherwise. It's also another factor that prevents it from being just another Family Guy or South Park copycat.
- Another big rule of the series is that the penultimate (11th for the first 5 seasons, 15th for the final one) episode of each season always needs to have some major, game-changing, insane drama go down, and the show nearly always succeeds in the powerful drama.
- Great visual gags and animation shifts, despite the actual quality of the animation not being the best.
- The first season, while pretty funny and good, is considered the weakest season (particularly the first half). Though this was most likely done to lure in viewers.
- Sometimes, BoJack can be on the receiving end of punishments that other characters in his situation do not receive.
- The most obvious one is that Princess Carolyn went on a date with "Vincent Adultman", who was obviously three kids in a trenchcoat, despite being a full-grown adult. This was never brought up and was used entirely as a joke. Meanwhile, when BoJack almost sleeps with the 17-year-old Penny, he's not only called out by Charlotte, but it also comes back to haunt him later.
- Diane similarly can be just as cruel and malicious as BoJack, but unlike BoJack, and contradicting the theme of the show, she's usually never called out on it, or gets a free pass due to something she was going through or something form her past.
- Todd's last straw with BoJack was having sex with a consenting adult.
- When Hollyhock was put in the hospital due to Beatrice spiking her drinks with weight-loss pills, Bojack is confronted by all of Hollyhock's fathers and blame him for the incident, even though Bojack had warned Hollyhock what kind of person Beatrice was several times.
- Will Arnett named Bojack as the hardest role of his career to get inside, admitting that he sometimes took the darkness of the character home with him.
- Amy Sedaris hated doing the tongue-twisters, so the writers responded by giving her the most of any cast member.
- As part of the promotion for this title, Netflix created an original entry for the fictional "Horsin' Around" on their site. If a user selects this, it plays the intro theme for the sitcom (which is shown in other episodes within the show proper) and then takes them back to the main menu.
- Margo Martindale didn't immediately know that the world of the show was populated by humanoid animals as well as humans; after her first recording, she told Will Arnett how much fun she had in her session, and that Mr. Peanutbutter had oddly dog-like qualities.
- Patrick Carney of the Black Keys recorded the theme to this show as a test of his new home studio, with his uncle providing saxophone. The song was never intended to be used for anything, until Carney was approached by the show's creators, who asked to use the track as their opening theme.
Reception and Legacy
Initially met with "mixed" to "average" reviews from critics, the series would quickly go on to receive consistent critical acclaim midway into season one and onwards. It was ranked as the best Netflix original series of all time by Thrillist and Uproxx in August 2018 and May 2019, respectively. IndieWire, in November 2018, named BoJack Horseman as the best animated series of all time. It has also been ranked as one of the best TV shows of the 2010s by multiple publications, including Time and Vanity Fair and following the premiere of the first half of season six in 2019, Chris Mandle of the BBC declared BoJack Horseman "the 21st Century's best animation". Rolling Stone has labeled BoJack Horseman "phenomenal". GQ magazine hailed the show as one of the best of the decade, declaring it to be "the benchmark by which all comedies of the decade can be judged". It is considered by many critics as one of the best shows of all time, becoming the first Netfflix original show to do so. It also received praise for focus on topics like depression, drug addiction, alcoholism, and celebrity status. In fact, it is also beleived to inspire other good and critically acclaimed animated shows Like Big Mouth and Broad City.
The first season received mixed to positive reviews. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has an approval rating of 69%, based on 26 reviews.
The second season received universal acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season holds an approval rating of 100%, based on 19 critics.
The third season received near-universal acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the third season has an approval rating of 100%, based on 31 reviews.
The fourth season also received wide acclaim. The season holds a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 35 reviews.
Keeping up with the performance of previous seasons, the fifth season received widespread acclaim. Based on 46 reviews, the season has an approval rating of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes
The sixth season has also received wide acclaim. Jen Chaney of Vulture called it "more clever, intelligent, and multilayered than 95 percent of comedies on television or any other platform". The season holds a 96% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 49 reviews, with a critics' consensus that reads: "Bittersweet and brilliant to the very end, BoJack Horseman's final season manages to keep surprising viewers with its empathy and depth, solidifying its place as one of TV's greatest offerings.