BoJack Horseman premiÃƒ¨red on Netflix last week, a new animated adult comedy dashed with dark humour and satire. In a world where humans and animals co-exist and interact, the show follows the life of the title character BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett), a talking horse who is struggling to come to terms with his failed celebrity career.
Eighteen years ago, BoJack had been the starring actor of the hit sitcom ‘Horsin’ Around’, a show about a horse who adopts three human children. But when we meet BoJack, he’s a washed up, heavy drinking has-been who never saw success after his first hit role. He lives in a plush flat in Hollywood bought from his previous success and allows human youngster Todd (Aaron Paul) to sleep on his sofa. BoJack acts like he is doing Todd all the favours, but in reality BoJack is a loner, desperate for company.
His attitude seems to be a mixture of the self-obsessed Charlie Sheen/Archer type character – as BoJack says himself: “I’m more of a before-rehab friend.” – yet the writers have managed to give BoJack more depth than the classic ‘asshole’ characters viewers have become accustomed to in recent television. They give an insight into his feelings of depression and loneliness that reveal BoJack’s fragile side.
In an attempt to revive his career and please his agent/ex-girlfriend Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris), BoJack has signed a book deal with Penguin to write an autobiography. The problem? B0Jack is lazy and behind schedule. So Diane (Alison Brie) is employed as his ghost writer. In most of the series Diane follows BoJack around to gain information for their book. BoJack, who is at first reluctant to open up his personal life to Diane, eventually trusts her and falls in love with her.
Of course, there can’t be an easy happy ending for BoJack, as Diane is already in a relationship with celebrity-dog Mr Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tomkins) whom BoJack hates. The main story of the series is BoJack’s efforts to woo Diane into falling in love with him and finding the peace and happiness he has always searched for in life. Although some of the themes are rather bleak, the brilliant writing allows the comedy to lighten up the sadder elements.
Unlike some other animated adult series’ (Family Guy, Archer) there seems to be a stronger running plot through BoJack, with more continuity from one episode to the next. This continuity also shines through with some of the running jokes of the series, which get funnier every time they’re repeated.
Another element of subtle comedy which features throughout the series is the animal jokes: the publisher at Penguin books is an actual penguin, a waitress/cow serves milk from her udders and begrudges steak eaters, film director Quentin Tarantula-tino, the list goes on…
What Netflix and creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg have managed to do is create a comedy series with meaning. In the first few episodes, viewers are only shown the wacky, crude and comical side of the characters lives, but by the end of the season, there is so much more to them than first thought.
Punctuated throughout with sharp humour and a good plot, anyone who’s been reluctant to watch BoJack Horseman should give it a try. And with a new series already confirmed by Netflix, we can’t wait to see more!