How BoJack Horseman Season 5 shines an ugly mirror on itself

I’m back!

Sorry for the layoff. Was recovering from the annual crippling depression incurred by “BoJack Horseman,” Netflix’s greatest show.

Comedy compliments drama and animation is a comfort zone for many. BoJack Horseman takes advantage of this comfort. The show is a comedy, and has some of the funniest gags around, but it comes with a blistering caveat – the show’s relentless dread.

It’s no mystery to my friends and family that I love this show, but it’s a tough sell. No one I know (away from the internet of course) likes this show. They either haven’t seen it, or couldn’t get into it. The complex weaving in between emotions is often jarring, but to me, it feels all too real.

Show-runner Raphael Bob Waksberg and his team have created their opus with season four and five. They never let loose their grip on these complex themes as they introduce ideas of nuance and compliment it with beautiful animation and a hysterical variety of jokes ranging from puns to callbacks.

There are so many great video essays of this show on Youtube though, and I’m not going to be able to add much more to the discussion. I don’t want to dive too much into the show’s philosophies, but I do want to talk about Season 5, specifically the subplot of BoJack starring in a new show.

SPOILERS FOLLOW

BoJack Horseman stars in a new show being produced on a set nearly identical to his home. In many ways, he becomes the toxic detective he portrays through his opioid addiction.

Meanwhile, Diane discovers BoJack’s darkest secret from back in Season 3, when he almost slept with a teenager in New Mexico. There’s a remarkable confrontation scene between the two characters after Diane becomes concerned that too many people are “sympathizing with his character.”

Sound familiar?

BoJack is not someone to root for. Even scarier, he’s someone to relate to. In season 5 his character expresses an amalgam of the Me Too movement through Hollywood, the nuances that come with it, and the show focuses keenly on using his, Diane’s and the rest of the character’s unfortunate situations to express those nuances.

It’s downright frightening, at times, to see all those who idolize Rick Sanchez from “Rick & Morty,” when he represents the narcissistic and cynical nature of genius.

In popular culture, when you see a character you can relate to, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are a hero, they are simply a tool a writer uses to tell a story or express an idea.

The idea of BoJack Horseman is that everything bad in this world is not immediately identifiable, and if it is, there are details and nuances under every circumstance.

This is depressing. Our biology commands us to classify, to avoid what is wrong and embrace what is right, but it’s not always so easy. Especially when we, more often than not, simply embrace what is comfortable to us.

This is arguably the best show on television right now and I’m somehow floored even more by each season.

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Posted in: TV

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