There are few shows which accurately display the complexity of human emotion,however, Bojack Horseman, a show about anthropomorphic animals, has come back with afourth season that does just that. The premise of a depressed and alcoholic horse’s adventure sounds absolutely ridiculous on the surface and I’ll be the first to admit that I thought this show was slapstick comedy without any depth before I watched it. The show has happily proved me wrong though. Bojack Horseman is a show which will make you laugh at its cleverly written comedy and cry at the same with its heartfelt and sad moments.
This season starts off with Mr.Peanutbutter running for governor, Diane working at ‘Girl Croosh’ as a new blogger, Todd is now living with Mr. PeanutButter and Princess Carolyn is running her own management company. Everything seems to be as normal as it can be in Hollywoo except for the fact that nobody knows where Bojack is.
The strongest aspect of this season is the writing the show manages to switch, back and forth, between sad and happy moments instantaneously yet the switches feel organic, not forced. What is amazing about this is the realistic nature of the writing. The writers have replicated the chaotic tone of life, the randomness of the mood resembles the randomness of life. Usually, a show is crafted toward a certain audience but Bojack Horseman is written in a way in which anyone can relate to. Going even further, the overall writing itself is strong. The humor moments are witty and funny without trying, too hard, to be witty and funny. They do not force themselves onto the audience and tell them when to laugh. Rather, the comedy of the show is subtly ingrained into the story.
The dark moments are heartfelt without being over dramatic. When the show gets sad, it is as organic as the humor. They are not randomly put in the plot for dramatic effect. Sad moments in the show happen as naturally as they do in life. Though the show is about animals, this factor keeps the show grounded. It also strengthens the impact which they have on the audience. If there was a melodramatic breakdown every other scene, no one would care. The writers have carefully put morbid moments in where they will strike the hardest.
Another strong point of Bojack Horseman is that not a single one of the characters are weak. Every single one is multi-layered and complex with interesting character arcs and stories. Not only that, but their actions seem to be independent of the plot, most of the time. They are their own people with their own goals, not tools for the story to use. The strongest and most compelling character this season is Princess Carolyn. Carolyn easily has the most powerful arc. Her story explores a wide array of themes from motherhood to the meaning of life. Though her story itself is not what makes her the most interesting character this season; it’s how she reacts to it. Carolyn goes through some serious personal turmoil. When it comes time to deal with it, she doesn’t know how and just tries to make up solutions along the way. She tries not to show herself as emotionally vulnerable but, eventually, she just lets it all out. This is why she is the strongest character this season. It’s impossible to do it all by yourself. Carolyn shows us that it’s okay not to be strong all the time. In fact, she shows us how impossible that it is.
However, I do have one issue with this season of Bojack Horsrman and that is the lack of character development in the beginning of this season for Bojack himself. When we last saw Bojack, his life was an absolute mess. He was partially responsible for Sarah Lynn’s death and almost of his friends had moved on without him. He had even attempted suicide a few times but despite this, Bojack does not seem to have changed much in the first few episodes. The events of last season do not seem to have a big lasting effect on him. I have an issue with this for a few reasons. The season 3 finale was one of the most emotional and saddest moments I’d ever seen on TV. When I first saw it, I couldn’t even bring myself to cry. I just sat there, feeling empty, however, seeing how little it changed Bojack undermines the events of last season. It makes it appear, as though it was not as big of a deal as it was, taking away the emotional impact.
The second reason is that it’s very unrealistic for Bojack to come away unchanged from last season. The feature which makes this show so good is how it realistically and unapologetically displays human emotions. The fact that Bojack is able to simply return to his life without all the things he went through last season affecting him doesn’t fit that. Any person would be altered in a major way by what he with through. Yet he really is not which is unrealistic and doesn’t fit in with how the show has presented itself in the past.
Despite that I have to say that this season of Bojack Horseman gets a 5 out of 5. The problem I have with this season does not overlap the multitude of aspects that went well this season. This is a show that deserves as many seasons as it can get.
Author: Jaylen Pearson
Editor: Han Angus
Keshav Kant, aka Mx. KantEven, is a neuroscience nerd turned Creative Consultant and Executive Director of Off Colour!
You’ve probably seen her on TikTok or caught her work on Off Colour's many channels. From consulting on films & shows, manuscript review, conducting interviews, or hosting podcasts & panels, if there is some way to bring sensitivity and authenticity to diversity, inclusion and equity conversations, Keshav will be there.