Not every show can translate existentialism to its audience, and not every show can do that and provide the comfort of cartoon antics.
Netflix’s Bojack Horseman has done both and more for six seasons. But like many shows, the series met its end last Friday with eight final episodes.
(No spoilers till the end.)
New season of ‘BoJack Horseman’ raises stakes, builds toward series finaleAs a critically acclaimed show lauded as one of the most realistic depictions of depression and other mental issues, the Read…
It’s hard to see something so highly-rated come to a close, but according to recent reviews, the show left as well as it came.
Created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg in 2013, Bojack Horseman takes you into the darkly comedic “Hollywoo,” an animated world where animals and humans live together as equals.
Bojack is a horse, but he’s also a comedian, actor, 90s sitcom star and struggling alcoholic. He’s joined by characters like labrador Mr. Peanutbutter, cat Princess Carolyn and humans Diane and Todd, all who take on lifestyles within the entertainment industry.
Essentially, the show is a commentary on real-life Hollywood. From actors, writers, managers and even couch surfers, Bojack Horseman uses these characters to reflect different outlooks on fame in LA. And with an all-star cast with too many names to list, it’s eerily authentic.
But the show also comments on things that impact everyone. Each character struggles with something, whether its self-image, sexuality, careers, parents, mental illness, trauma — there’s a lot to unpack.
Bojack Horseman is this funhouse mirror that satirizes our daily antics, but there are moments when it magnifies the parts we don’t like to share.
(Ok, spoilers now.)
The entire show is packed with these vulnerable scenes, but season six puts the Horseman crew under a microscope. It uncovers the fears that the previous seasons didn’t touch, the ones that festered in the dark and were absolutely shocking in the light.
Bojack is forced to confront the past when two reporters uncover his worst deeds. He faces public backlash when the truth of Sarah Lynn and the Carson family are leaked, and it’s gut-wrenching to watch his relapse after six previous episodes of therapy.
“The View From Halfway Down” has Bojack trapped inside his mind as he floats unconscious in his pool. But just as our hearts sink, the writers give us a different ending.
Bojack is found and lives to remember his wrongs, and thus given a chance to make them right.
The last episode, “Nice While It Lasted,” ties all knots as Bojack talks with each of the four main characters, and by the end, he’s right where he started in Season 1 — on a roof with Diane.
The two discuss his suicide attempt, their pasts and current outlooks. They drop gem lessons in their Bojack-Dianne fashion, and also some meta moments like when Bojack asks, “Wouldn’t it be funny if this was the last time we ever talked to each other?”
And then they just sit and watch the stars, for over a minute, to Catherine Feeney’s “Mr. Blue.” It’s this lapse in time from all the cartoon fun and sardonic nihilism. It’s such a simple and beautiful scene that gives us a comprehensive way to end the show.
After all the struggles of self-image and sexuality and careers and parents and mental illness and trauma, the characters prove that sometimes “life’s a bxtch and then you die,” but “sometimes life’s a bxtch and you keep living.”