Nov 20, 2017

[TV] BoJack Horseman: Season 3 Review

If the second season of BoJack Horseman had given me a more solid reason  to watch the show, the third season  make me fall in love with the show entirely. And that was a totally unexpected turn of events for me given my initial resistance to the show when I first started exploring it on Netflix.

In these reviews I always concede that BoJack Horseman is not an easy show to get into and it's not even a show I could universally recommend to people. It features a lot of negative behaviors that  some may consider to be triggers including foul and hurtful language, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and other negative forms of escapism.

But when you get past all that and the fact that the show features anthropomorphic animals of an odd sort, then what you'll get is a show that is more than just a silly shits-for-giggles comedy but is in fact a fairly thoughtful show that has a strong message hidden in a very coarse and bristly packaging.

Synopsis: BoJack Horseman is an animated black comedy series created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg. As of the time of this blog review the show has already been confirmed for a fifth season.

The season begins with BoJack (Will Arnett) doing the all the usual promotional activities for his move Secretariat, even though he had been replaced with a computer duplicate in post production as he didn't finish filming the movie. But of course his heart isn't in it and this becomes more of a struggle for him but he does his best to keep moving from venue to venue as needed.

Meanwhile Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) is struggling with her new agency. Diane (Alison Brie) now handles the social media accounts for celebrities (but not very well). And by the end of the season Todd (Aaron Paul) comes to a pretty major revelation. But the real turning point that sort of defines he season is the fact that Secretariat becomes quite the success once released and suddenly BoJack is a person of major interest in terms of the public eye.

What I Liked: This season features two episodes that were amazingly creative in their own way yet still did wonders for advancing the overall narrative of the season. First there's episode 2, "The BoJack Horseman Show" which is a big flashback to 2007 when Princess Carolyn tries to get BoJack on a new show after Horsin' Around. It's easy to flashback to the 80's as it has become quite the iconic period but just to 2007 was subtle and yet amazing given what callbacks they worked into the script and even the backgrounds.

Then you have episode 4, "Fish Out of Water" where BoJack attends the Pacific Ocean Film Festival where Secretariat is being screened. The festival literally takes place underwater with a fish community and is mostly silent as BoJack is forced to use a helmet to breathe but ironically cuts off his words from everyone else. Thus it's a practically silent episode which focuses a lot on him trying to reconnect with former Secretariat director Kelsey Jannings ( Maria Bamford) with a more ironically hilarious ending. It's an amazing episode that just drives home a lot of the frustrations that he deals with in a great way.

And man, Todd had some really great moments this season. As in killer moments.

What Could Have Been Better: BoJack still falls back into somewhat sillier moments of self-destructive behavior that I thought he had already worked past but I guess the show things otherwise. I may not agree with this characterization and I suppose it reflects me wanting him to get better and figure out his life but the show works precisely because he doesn't.

The Princess Carolyn sub-plot woven through the season felt a little underdeveloped. It was interesting and it was a chance to show her as more than BoJack's agent but a lot of times it felt like the same dynamic with little change.

These are both really minor grumblings.

TL;DR: BoJack Horseman is one of the smarter shows out there that uses the distraction of the black comedy form in order to tell a more serious story. He may be a horse, but his struggles feel very human, if you catch my drift. Thus this third season gets a solid 5 moments when it feels like BoJack's life is getting better only for everything to get yanked away later on out of a possible 5.


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