Heavy Horses

 

From the cast to the general script, Netflix show ‘BoJack Horseman’ appears to be a twenty minutes dark humor comedy. It’s not. Don’t let the appearances deceive you.

You are in for a treat. A treat you’ll choke into.

 

SERIES: BoJack Horseman

PRODUCER: Tornante Company

YEAR: 2014

 

Share my body and my mind with you

BoJack, as his last name revels, is a horse. A horse in a world where all animals are anthropomorphic versions of themselves. They are like humans but with animal heads and the occasional animal intuitive response (like Mr. Peanutbutter, who happens to be a dog, chasing a mailman, as he just can’t help it). And they live in the world with humans with no-one raising an eyebrow. The world is like that and that’s it, because it’s not actually important or relevant to the plot aside from some puns and jokes and some relative character development. You got to put that through if you really want to enjoy the history of this washed up ‘has-been’ actor.

His story is not much different from the ones of Tony Danza or Bob Saget. Actors who became hugely famous with family sitcoms that got stuck in that role and disappeared (mostly) after the show ended. Saget –and his fellows- lived that ordeal after ‘Full House’, and Tony Danza tried a few comebacks after ‘Who’s the Boss’ but never really hitting the gold pot again. BoJack’s story mirrors those and a lot of others.

What’s so great about it, is that the star of the show is kinda douchy. And that’s why BoJack is voiced by Will Arnett who is basically reprising his ‘Gob Bluth’ persona. Arnett is also executive producer of the show alongside Aaron Paul (Jesse on Breaking Bad if you were living in a bubble last ten years) who gives voice to his best pal Todd Chavez, a freeloader in appearance that with Prince Carolyn (excellently voiced by Amy Sedaris), his ex-girlfriend and agent and Diane Nguyen (Alison Brie unrecognizable), his ghost writer for the autobiography he is writing for ‘Penguin Books’ (obviously managed by penguins), conform his small entourage.

To Diane is to whom BoJack opens up and reveals a gloomy childhood, and the back story of his ended show ‘Horsing Around’, which was full of secrets and booze. The booze –another star of the now tragicomic show- becomes his best friend and one that he respects.

Get a little bit of bourbon in ya’

BoJack’s career dream is to play ‘Secretariat’ the horse that won the triple crown of horse racing. Of course, in ‘BoJack Horseman’ Secretariat is a famous horseman (for whatever reason) that commits suicide at the age of 27 throwing himself off a bridge when his reputation dies after being caught on a case of illegal bets.

The problem is that BoJack is pushing 50.

That’s the whole problem ever. He is a ‘has-been’ that as Sarah Lynn, her younger daughter in ‘Horsing Around’ and now a junky/party lover that followed a path not unlike Olsen twins, says ‘For being a has-been you should have been someone’.

All through the twelve episodes of the first season we get to watch the evolution of BoJack from a total asshole (something he admits) to something more resembling of a nice person. Or at least, trying to be. And that’s where Diane and her boyfriend, Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul Tompkins) become significant to BoJack.

He is struggling with his autobiography and Penguin Books –almost in bankruptcy- hires Diane to help him through. She is somewhat of a nerd and really understands him. And she is dating Mr. Peanutbutter who, also an actor, had a recent show very familiar to the one BoJack had in the beginning of the 90’s. He is now the star of his own reality show qnd BoJack and him are worlds apart. As you can dislike him, he is truly a nice guy. Optimistic, romantic, good friend, in touch with his feelings. Everything BoJack –and a lot of us- is not. He is indeed a dog.  And what other than a dog(man) would be the most happy and driven character of the show?

 

Cruel World

BoJack Horseman is not light. The first six episodes ran like water filled with puns, jokes, and cynicism about Hollywood, fame, stars, and life. The last six episodes of the season start a spiral of hard feelings, depression and reality that hits deep. I honestly don’t remember laughing so much beyond the eighth episode (you’ll see) reaching a point on the eleventh episode that resembles so much the ending of Evangelion that you’ll start to ask yourself were did your comedy go.

The season finale could have had ‘Hope of Deliverance’ as the soundtrack. Because that is what you expect of season two.

Raphael Bob-Waksberg, writer and creator of this hidden jewel of bizarre deserves more credit than he gets to.

At least, it didn’t get cancelled.

 

 

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