Who would have thought that a TV show starring an anthropomorphic horse would be able to beat out the likes of HBO’s Game of Thrones and AMC’s The Walking Dead to solidify itself as one of the best shows to grace television (well, Netflix at least) at the moment? It’s been awhile since something like BoJack Horseman has came along with an unparalleled sense of humour and heart, not only in animation but entertainment itself, something that hasn’t been achieved since arguably the haydays of something like The Simpsons.
For anyone who finds themselves completely out the loop and wish to stay spoiler free yet want to know what the show is about, Will Arnett of Arrested Development fame voices BoJack Horseman who, as the ending credits tell you, was in a very famous TV show back in the 90’s and since then has struggled with being a down and out actors as well as other existential and alcohol fueled issues.
All of this sets it up to be far more dark than the show genuinely is as it manages to pack in the laughs as often as possible which is helped massively by its supporting cast of characters, some of which are humans and others members of the animal kingdom which leads to a lot of the funniest moments in the season. It would be bad enough etiquette for a waiter to dip his thumb into your soup but when said waiter is also a fly then it’s enough to make you snigger at the very least.
We’ve witnessed BoJack’s struggle back into relevancy with his tell-all autobiography and last season’s passion driven movie role about his childhood hero Secretariat. With Season Three we have the premise surrounding oscar buzz and BoJack’s hopes to win it which brings with it new and old characters though this is pretty much just a backdrop for what this season really is: a non stop punch to the gut which makes each episode even more difficult to watch.
Of course that kind of goes against the whole quota that Netflix pretty much worship with their approach to crafting TV shows bringing with it a new age of binge watching. It’s not like you won’t find yourself watching back to back episodes here as the first half manages to con you into thinking “hey, maybe things are finally looking up for BoJack” which is all swiftly destroyed like a house of cards as the latter half of the season. This show has never shown mercy before and there were instances in this season where I contemplated turning it off due to the unbearableness of it all. From the death of Sarah Lynn to Todd’s heartbreaking dialogue towards BoJack, any glimmer of hope that we saw before was viscerally kerb stomped before us and while some may say they’ve grown tired of our titular character being an asshole, the finale is enough to make this feel like a total turning point.
The show has been hailed as original yet difficult TV and that’s the only way I can think to describe what this season was all about. It was amazing to see the characters we’ve had over the past two seasons still developing and becoming more fleshed out as well as witnessing some creative and refreshing episodes such as the near enough dialogue empty underwater episode.
BoJack’s constant struggles are still as alluring albeit trainwreck-esque as they have been before and as the credits rolled and the season ended, it’s impossible not to ponder about the many questions this show has asked and how it’ll answer them come next year’s installment. In the meantime though, Season Three stands out as one of the best things to grace our tablets/TVs/laptops this year.
-Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)