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"BoJack Horseman" Review - A Gift From A Horse's Mouth

By Evan Heins -- Eagle Staff Writer/Photography Editor

"BoJack Horseman" is a show on Netflix that is a roller coaster of emotions and yet is also one of the most comforting. While most of the characters that make up the BoJack world are animals, writer Raphael Bob-Waksberg manages to make all of the characters relatable.

BoJack and his friends all show who they are as individuals (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the US Copyright Code)

The show follows BoJack Horseman, a retired 90s actor that has been sulking about the cancellation of his sitcom “Horsin’ Around." Throughout the show, we see how BoJack tends to have a very negative outlook whether it’s on purpose or not, but we also get to see how he grows and tries to become a better person.

The show was poorly received in its first season, being called a “Family Guy clone”. Bob-Waksberg was also told the show was very dark in its comedy, but he would later incorporate that dark humor into the show as he began to rework it with the intention of tackling themes involving mental health.

All characters of the show represent different insecurities. For example, Mr. Peanutbutter represents the fear of being alone, Diane represents the fear of not being enough, and Princess Caroline shows us the load of stress that can take on someone’s personal and professional life. Meanwhile, BoJack embodies all of these attributes of the other characters and turns them into self-destructive situations. Even his house is symbolic - it sits up on a mountain alone, representing how disconnected he is from others.

The way that this show differs from other shows like "13 Reasons Why" is its animation style and the way that the characters learn to be less flawed. The animation is designed by Lisa Hanawalt and her creative team, they make the show engaging and colorful without drawing the attention away from the main narrative.

That narrative revolves around BoJack learning to be less flawed over the course of the show's six seasons, making changes to better himself and even helping others around him. By season five's last episode, we see BoJack finally getting the help that he needs, which results in him checking into rehab to get him away from his addictions.

Coincidentally, he also starts to give better advice to his friends in this episode. Princess Caroline begins to have doubts about being a mother and BoJack finally gives her his thoughts on how she needs to have someone else to help her. After all of this we finally see BoJack focus on himself more than those around him and we see him finally work in a job he likes. BoJack seems to have clawed his way back up from the bottom.

Oddly, it's a story arc that mimics the show's own history. After a rocky start, the show went on to win several awards and nominations such as GQ Magazine's award for Best Shows of the 2010s, Critics’ Choice television awards for Best Animated Series, three Annie awards, and three Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Now, BoJack is hailed as one of the best animated shows of all time - a real gift from the horse's mouth that's well worth watching.

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