“The key to being happy isn’t a search for meaning, it’s to just keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually you’ll be dead.”
A line from Netflix’s newest animated comedy, Bojack Horseman. Yeah, that’s right, I said comedy. Not too long ago I watched the first episode. I thought it was a good show that had a handful of funny moments, thanks to Jessie Pinkman and Gob Bluth, along with a fine supporting cast. I was not ready for the heartbreaking tour de force I was about to witness. As a whole, it’s one of the best shows about isolation and depression that I’ve ever seen. Again, this show’s billed as Netflix’s new original animated COMEDY.
Maybe it’s out there, but I’ve never come across a show that balances bleak and silly so well. One moment Bojack is pleading for Diane to tell him he’s a good person, the next Mr. Peantbutter and Todd are pitching a “Halloween in January” store. Each character gets screen time to show how depression can affect you. Obviously there is Bojack and the life that is his mess. He slowly realizes that he’s only ever taken from people and never gave anything of himself. Truly a parasite. Todd hits hard times when he’s betrayed by his best friend. Performing a rock opera was his life dream. Not only did he not get support from Bojack, he was manipulated for the horse’s gain. We’ve all been used, it’s not a pleasant feeling. Princess Carolyn is generally alone. She works hard, is generally around people most of the time, but is utterly alone. Nobody in her life genuinely cares for her. Bojack’s resurgence into her love life ends with them realizing they are only with each other because they share the solitary that is their lives. The image of her spending her fortieth birthday alone is piercing to the heart.
I couldn’t get over what the show would deal with sometimes. Bojack’s opinion on the military, Herb Kazazz’s unforgiving stance, Diane’s disappointing family, Bojack’s abusing parents, all are things the viewers have been through. I never expected to have these types of feelings watching a cartoon. But that I am is a good thing. Animated shows shouldn’t automatically be classified as for children anymore.
May I make a bold statement? This is the best work of Will Arnett’s career. I know, we all love Arrested Development, and Arnett is fantastic in it. Here though, he’s the top billing carrying the bulk of the show. He’s been a sitcom journeyman ever since Arrested Development was cancelled. Mostly garbage NBC shows, with a few funny side roles in films. It feels like something has finally stuck with Bojack Horseman. What Secretariat was to Bojack, perhaps Bojack Horseman is to Will Arnett. Just an amazing performance by a deserving actor.
Let me reassure you that the show is very, VERY funny. It’s not all doom and gloom. There’s an arsenal of comedic warfare on display. You have the reoccurring jokes, the finer details (like Arrested Development, the background of scenes are almost just as funny), the dumb comedy (there’s a character called Vincent Adultman), references (Peanuts, Breaking Bad, The Thing), to name a few. If you’re still on the fence, just YouTube any clip with Mr. Peanutbutter.