When I first saw the trailer for BoJack Horseman, I thought it was going to be one of those failed Adult Swim wannabe shows. Or worse, any of those those forgettable 1990s-era ‘humorous animated sitcoms’ that clogged cable television in the wake of The Simpson. Am I glad I was completely wrong. After binging through the twelve episodes the show has turned out to be one of the smartest and most bizarrely fun series I’ve seen in quite some time. While Netflix previously caught the animation bug with their exclusive anime import Knights of Sidonia, BoJack is their first entirely original creation.
It helps that the show has a great cast for starters. Arrested Development’s Will Arnett is BoJack, a horse guy (or horseman) who’s a washed-up 80’s sitcom star that’s looking to make a comeback by writing a memoir with the help of a ghost writer named Diane Nguyen (Alison Brie). Adding to the fun is BoJack’s best/only friend and slacker roommate Todd (played awesomely by Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul), a rival sitcom star in the form of a golden retriever named Mr. Peanut Butter (Paul F. Tompkins), and his cat lady agent / girlfriend named Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris).
Oh, and there’s also a penguin that works for Penguin Books who’s desperately in need of BoJack’s book to become a bestseller that is voiced by Patton Oswalt, one of his many roles on the show. Or Keith Olbermann playing a television host/whale in what’s probably his most stable gig in years.
The series chronicling BoJack getting into plenty of crazy situations thanks to his self-loathing, cynical attitude while also dealing with his and other cast-mates’ troubled pasts. Whether it’s BoJack eating a box of muffins that a Navy seal had dibs on (an actual seal that happens to be in the Navy, played again by Oswalt), helping Diane deal with her crazy Vietnamese family in Boston, or supporting Todd and his wild space opera dream, there’s never a dull or unfunny moment in the show.
I also enjoyed how the show has it’s share of tender moments, such as BoJack realizing that he has friends who care about and believe in him, which he passes on to Todd and others. It’s also pretty funny how they poke fun at 80’s and 90’s sitcoms (complete with hilarious theme songs) with BoJack’s show “Horsin’ Around” where he adopts three girls and raises them the best he can. This premise is also used later in Mr.Peanut Butter’s show “Mr.Peanut Butter’s House” much to BoJack’s dismay which leads to the both of them becoming friendly rivals.
In the end, BoJack Horseman is one of those crazy shows where it’s hard to describe what it’s really all about and what makes it funny, much like trying to dissect what makes a joke funny. Fans of FX’s Archer or Fox’s Bob’s Burgers will definitely want to check this one out, as its rapid-fire delivery is always consciously spot-on. I’m glad to learn that Netflix has already renewed BoJack for a second season, which can’t come soon enough for this converted fan.