Synopsis: BoJack Horseman was the star of the hit television show “Horsin’ Around” in the ’80s and ’90s, now he’s washed up, living in Hollywood, complaining about everything, and wearing colorful sweaters.
Format: 8 x 30 minute episodes
Cast: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, Aaron Paul
Directors: Peter Merryman, Amy Winfrey, Mollie Helms, Adam Parton, Aaron Long,
Writers: Elijah Aron, Nick Adams, Alison Tafel, Peter A. Knight, Rachel Kaplan, Minhal Baig, Shauna McGarry, Raphael Bob-Waksberg
BoJack Horseman is a show I am incredibly attached to. I couldn’t help but relate to these sad characters who want to be better, even if they rarely do. For 5 seasons, I’ve followed their ups and downs, a lot of their worst moments and some of their fleeting best. Upon hearing that this was not only the final season of the show but would be split into two parts, I was filled with a sense of dread. I was worried that it was just going to be arbitrarily cut in the middle to stretch out this season. But you need not worry, this first part feels not only like a whole story but a strong set up for a potentially great final 8 episode run.
The season begins moments after the end of season 5 with BoJack (Will Arnett) entering rehab after becoming addicted to painkillers and getting to a point in which he was unable to distinguish reality from his hallucinations which caused him to almost strange his co-star to death. Interestingly, the rehab section is more focused on Bojack’s issues with alcohol with the first episode flashing back to formative moments in his life involving alcohol, like his father giving him his first drink in order to make BoJack forget about walking in on his father and his secretary hooking up. BoJack’s time in rehab takes up a majority of this part of the season and it seems to have a positive impact on him after his initial reluctance to the process, with him getting to the point to try to keep others on the straight and narrow.
This part of the season is structured in a perfect way with BoJack, Princess Caroline (Amy Sedaris) and Diane (Alison Brie) each getting an A-story episode to catch you up to where they are. Princess Caroline is struggling to adjust to having a baby in her life, so much so that she hasn’t even named it yet, continuing to call her Untitled Princess Caroline Project, something that leads to some amusing misunderstandings in true BoJack Horseman style. Her struggle to juggle everything is beautifully captured in animation with multiple, different coloured Princess Carolines doing things at the same time, a true representation of trying to juggle multiple things at once and the repetitiveness of taking care of a newborn on little sleep.
Meanwhile, Diane is travelling the country, shooting video content for Girl Croosh with her cameraman and new love interest Guy (Lakeith Stanfield). After helping make Girl Croosh successful, it becomes acquired by White Whale, a Disney analog which Diane is not keen on being part of. After trying to make a takedown video of White Whale, Diane is left with a choice: move back to L.A or stay in Chicago with Guy.
It isn’t all serious content though. Todd (Aaron Paul) is back to his usual chaotic self after losing his job at What Time Is It Right Now, accidentally setting up a TV series for Mr Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins), breaking into the White Whale building to recover his kidney that he sold to buy sock puppets and hiring a collection of assistants to help him keep up with his “duties” when he becomes Princess Caroline’s nanny, something that ends up resulting in a Hollywoo assistants strike.
Mr Peanutbutter meanwhile is struggling with his infidelity to Pickles, which comes to a head in the episode “Surprise!”. Mr Peanutbutter admits he cheated on Pickles with Diane as they enter a surprise wedding Todd has planned for them with family and friends having to hide around their house as they have a huge argument. This made me laugh several times at the absurdity of it, with Mr Peanutbutter at one point picking up an empty photo frame that his brother his hiding behind and not noticing that it isn’t a picture of him, but the real thing. Watching everyone try to hide as Mr Peanutbutter and Pickles fight just hit that tickle-bone for me and is really a visual joke that I’m not doing justice to.
This part sees BoJack actually make many steps to improve his life, getting to a point where he is more comfortable with himself and making choices to remove himself from the Hollywoo scene. But the final episode seems to imply that his past actions will drag him back, particularly those involving Sarah Lynn (Kristen Schaal) (who is driving point in BoJack’s sobriety) and Penny. The episode is completely devoid of our usual cast of characters, focusing instead on BoJack’s sister Hollyhock (Aparna Nancherla), his former co-star Gina Cazador (Stephanie Beatriz) and Kelsey Jannings (Maria Bamford), a director BoJack had previously worked with. It was great to catch up with Gina and Kelsey, to see where they are after their encounters with BoJack and it builds on a topic constantly touched on throughout this part: the impact of our actions on those around us.