Bojack Horseman: The BoJack Horseman Story, Chapter One
Bojack Hates The Troops
Zoe’s and Zeldas
Live Fast, Diane Nguyen
Our A-Story Is A D-Story
One Trick Pony
At first glance you’ll be forgiven for mistaking Bojack Horseman as just another adult animation. While the first set of episodes feel closely aligned to many other adult animations, mixing humour and politics together as a parodical commentary on America’s society, the second half changes the style and mood of the show for the better. It’s here where Bojack Horseman transcends beyond its archetypal comedy front, showing a much deeper and personal character study of Bojack helping this stand out from other animations out there.
The story sees half horse/half human Bojack Horseman clinging to the remnants of his previous glamorous life as a famous horse. After many uneventful years, popular 90s sitcom star Bojack (Will Arnett) sets out to write a memoir in a bid to propel him back into the limelight again. With the help of ghost writer Diane (Alison Brie), Bojack attempts to write his story while reluctantly divulging segments of his troubled childhood to help with the book. Ex girlfriend and current agent Princess Coralyn (Amy Sedaris) helps try and guide Bojack in the right direction professionally while roommate Todd (Aaron Paul) proves a constant thorn in his side despite his best intentions to connect with Bojack. Rounding out the core group of characters is a famous dog from Hollywood called Mr Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins), who happens to be Diane’s current boyfriend.
Although the majority of the season revolves around Bojack’s life and the subsequent writing of his memoir, there’s a fair amount of plot development for each of the main characters too. Diane and Mr Peanutbutter’s relationship is examined further, Todd pursues some lifelong dreams and Princess Coralyn attempts to adjust to her newfound single life after her split with Bojack. The various subplots have a great balance of humour and comedy too, echoing societal issues including dating, freedom of speech, relationships and more throughout the twelve 25 minute episodes.
There’s a bright vibrancy to the art style here, with many of the scenes exploding with a bright range of colour, helped by bold colours and thin outlines for each of the main characters on screen. The varied character list of human and animals are generally very good and there’s some clever puns and comedic quips here including a sleazy maggot in a funeral home, a seal who returns from active duty oveseas and a begrudging bull serving a steak at a restaurant. All of this helps to keep the humour ever-present which contrasts nicely with the dark undertones of depression and regret at the heart of Bojack’s character.
This intelligently subtle shift in tone from drama to comedy partway through the season certainly helps Bojack Horseman stand out against other animations. The art style is unique, the episodes full of clever societal quips and jokes and the continuing story around Bojack’s memoir holds the series together and certainly keeps you watching until the very end. While Bojack Horseman is not without its problems and is a little slow out the gates to really hit its stride, the second half of this animation takes this show to a whole new level, helping it stand out as one of Netflix’s most promising animated properties.
Verdict - 8/10