BoJack Horseman is one of those shows that is extremely difficult to explain. It’s about a world in which animals are people, and are the stars of television shows. It’s also a man (who just so happens to be a horse) attempting to find goodness in himself and fulfillment in his life. He’s also friends with a writer who is married to a dog and his agent is a cat.
From first look, you wouldn’t expect this show to be a deep and meditative look on life, and the way it wears people (and animals) down. But that’s precisely what BoJack Horseman is. I found the first season a few months back and watched the whole thing in two sittings. I jumped on the chance to review the second season, hoping it would be even better than the first. I was not disappointed.
The first season ended with BoJack seemingly coming to terms with the fact that his life was a mess, and that he needed to start fixing it. Unfortunately for him, that sounds a lot more easier than it looks. He’s got his dream role as Secretariat for a gritty film and a new girlfriend, Wanda (who is technically an owl and voiced by Lisa Kudrow). However, he still has to deal with his past, in the form of his mother, his old “Horsin’ Around” cast mates, and his former best friend Herb.
BoJack has always tried to cling to his past, where he was famous, well-paid, and most importantly, loved. This season sees him trying to outrun his past, and when that doesn’t happen, attempting to work through it. This gives us some of the strongest moments of the first six episodes, with BoJack realizing that he’ll never be able to making things right with Herb, and that in order to properly act in his dream role, he can’t be happy.
It also sees BoJack’s friends going through problems as well. The first season focused mainly on BoJack’s struggle to be a good person, and only occasionally shifted direction to show the problems of Princess Caroline, Diane, and Mr. Peanutbutter. Even those plots highlighted just how toxic BoJack was to the people he supposedly cared about.
This season gives some of the spotlight over to the supporting characters, and while BoJack is there to witness their problems, he isn’t always the root of them. We get to see Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter deal with the idea of Diane travelling half a year for her career and Princess Caroline keeps trying to figure out what she really wants in life.
One of the main themes in Season Two is that it isn’t easy to face who you really are. BoJack wants so badly to be someone else, who hasn’t made so many mistakes and hurt so many people. Diane wants to be more courageous and strong, so she can be a better writer and person. Princess Caroline keeps trying to figure out what will make her happy in life. Each of their journeys in this season are painful to the characters.
But that’s one of the main points of the show: life is never simple or easy. It’s painful and it hurts, but life has to be lived. The fact that BoJack Horseman can make this point and still make me laugh hysterically is an achievement to the show, and to Netflix.
Notes and Observations
- Best episode out of the six: “After the Party”. It features Vincent Adultman (my favorite character), Todd caught up in a moral crisis between two cellphones, and it shows some sweet insight into Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter’s relationship, and what makes them work so well as a couple.
- Best weird plot: J.D. Salinger faking his own death to open a bicycle shop, only to give that up and make a TV game show.
- Best recurring joke: Mr. Peanutbutter walking off to talk to Erica and completely ignoring whoever he was with.
- Best animal joke: A tie between an escaped chicken crossing the road and Mr. Peanutbutter attempting to tell firefighters that Todd’s theme park was on fire, only for them to assume he was trying to tell them that someone had fallen down a well.
- Best really scary idea that Hollywood will one day use: Scanning an actor’s face in order to finish making a movie without them, just in case anything happens to them.