‘Bojack Horseman’ is More Than Just a One-Trick Pony
When the word cartoon or animation is brought up, most people will think of children’s Saturday morning cartoons or an animated film about a princess waiting for her prince charming to rescue her from a castle. What most people don’t think of is a story about a self-destructive, depressed anthropomorphic horse who tries to navigate life the best way he knows how—that is until Bojack Horseman debuted in 2014.
Bojack Horseman is the farthest thing from a fairytale that has ever graced our screens, but he is arguably the most three-dimensional animated character ever written. While taking on some very real and dark topics, the show is still able to make you laugh; there has never been an animated show like this before. With its fifth season released a few weeks ago on Netflix, the streaming platform has definitely found a show that viewers and critics both adore and connect with.
The show makes you think about your own life and your own actions. It takes the veil off and lets you see what humanity is like, for better, but mostly for worse. The show points out things in society that are very wrong, and yet still makes us laugh while they do it. The character, Bojack, shows you that you can be powerless in life, but there should be a certain comfort found in that. It tells you that it’s okay that you’re not perfect. Bojack Horseman also shows the human experience for what it is, and there is something powerful in that, especially since it’s an animated show—not many live-action “serious” dramas can even do that.
While many shows glorify the glitz and glam of Hollywood, Bojack Horseman takes the story in the deep dark crevasses of what really goes on behind-the-scenes of show business. There isn’t anything polished, and each character is in their own lane respectively with flaws, trying to navigate the world the best way possible. Even though the anthropomorphic animals will act just as humans do in the show, subtle animalistic nuances remind the viewer that these are animals and act as such. For example, Bojack will eat sugar cubes from a craft table on set (because horses eat sugar cubes), or Princess Carolyn will start coughing up a hairball (because, obviously, cats usually cough up fur balls).
There have been many animated shows targeted toward adult audiences, like Family Guy or Rick and Morty, but none of them with the same respect to Bojack Horseman. The storyline of Bojack Horseman could potentially be told through a live-action drama/dark comedy setting—with shows like Mister Ed successfully utilizing 1960s technology to portray a talking horse on television. I’m sure with today’s technology, and they could easily create a visually appealing talking horse head and other anthropomorphic beings.
(For those who don’t know about Mister Ed, it was a television show about this family who had a talking horse.)
Bojack Horseman confronts serious topics, such as depression, self-destructive behavior, and addiction. The newest season references the #MeToo Movement, along with tackling asexuality within relationships. I think there isn’t anything that this show cannot tackle.
Furthermore, this show proves that animation isn’t just a medium for kids. Authentic and raw stories can be told through animation, and be loved by both critics and audiences alike. There are also things that animation allows the show to do that would be impossible if it were live-action. There has been an episode of Bojack where the whole episode takes place underwater.
In the last season, there are visuals that show Bojack spiraling out of control, and he can’t tell what is real or not—the audience sees what Bojack sees and is trying to figure out what is real right alongside him. It seems that this show has proven that animation can be a serious art form, and is a medium that can tell compelling stories, as well as it isn’t just a medium that caters strictly to children.
I recommend that you check it out next time you are looking for something to watch.