As a critically acclaimed show lauded as one of the most realistic depictions of depression and other mental issues, the Netflix show “BoJack Horseman” has a lot to live up to in the first half of its final season. Thankfully, Season 6 is shaping up to have the same mix of clever jokes and gut-wrenching narrative that has made this show unlike anything else on television, live action or animated.
Last season ended with BoJack entering rehab after experiencing one of his darkest moments. Not only is BoJack reflecting upon his terrible life choices, it’s evident that the show’s creators view this final season as a reflection of the show “BoJack Horseman” itself.
Instead of focusing on one location key to the season, its classic opening credit sequence now features a collage of moments from all 5 past seasons of the show.
Season 6 of “BoJack Horseman” goes beyond its titular character with great storylines for the supporting cast as well. Princess Carolyn juggles being a single mom and a successful businesswoman. Diane struggles with how depression denies her happiness, and Todd faces his difficult relationship with his parents.
Mr. PeanutButter, as always, faces some challenges of his own but nowhere near the magnitude of the rest. The show pulls irony from this by giving him a plotline where he becomes “the face of depression,” in Hollywood, despite being the least depressed of the main cast.
“BoJack Horseman” tackles all sorts of issues with nuance that television can fail to dive into. Past seasons have had thoughtful depictions on depression, drug addiction and abusive relationships — to name a few. This season continues thoughtful dialogue on these issues, adding to the list, the challenges of parenting, racism and corporate oligopolies.
These issues never feel forced into the narrative, and their lessons never contrived — in fact, many times they are left unresolved just as in the real world. This is part of what makes “BoJack Horseman” such an earnest show.
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“BoJack Horseman” has also been praised for its experimentation with animation, and this season is no exception. One highlight is Episode 2, “The New Client.”
Ghostly reflections of Princess Carolyn constantly follow her the first half of the episode, representing the litany of stresses on her mind as she balances her work and raising her adopted child. Their accompanying sounds crescendo into a rock beat before collapsing as she falls asleep from exhaustion.
As stated before, the focus of this season is reflecting on BoJack’s past transgressions. By Episode 7, both BoJack the show and BoJack the character finally appear on the road to solace. Longtime fans of the show are rewarded with old characters and gags reappearing, and the show finally seems headed toward the happy ending its denied so long.
That is until Episode 8, “A Quick One, While He’s Away.” BoJack may have made peace with himself, but the lives he’s ruined throughout the series have not. While BoJack Horseman has made viewers feel for its central character all along, this episode reminds them of the irreversible trauma and damage he’s inflicted on others.
The show’s writers have created one of the most brutal reflections on how men get away with abuse in the #MeToo era, while also conflicting viewers in their desire for a happy ending for BoJack. How this conflict will resolve leaves me on the edge of my seat for the finale next January.