Animation / Comedy – TVMA
The story of the average Hollywood star is one that has been told numerous times in the past via numerous mediums. The celebrity starts on top, living in a world of fame, vanity, and luxury. From there, their life travels down a downward spiral till they have become a “has-been.” How do you keep a story like this fresh and original? BoJack Horseman, Neflix’s newest comedy tries to accomplish this goal, but ends up falling a little short, despite having it’s moments.
The story begins with BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett), a famous 90’s TV star from the past that has turned into a “has-been” with a drug and alcohol problem. He lives in his mansion in the Hollywood Hills with his freeloader of a roommate Todd Chavez (Aaron Paul). BoJack’s washed up, but he wants to somehow save his career from going too far into the dumps. He decides to have a book written about him, to perhaps get people interested in him again. He hires Diane Nugeyn (Alison Brie) to ghost write the revealing and tell-all book for him because he can’t write the book himself. Among other problems, he also has to deal with his nagging ex-girlfriend/agent Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) and his friend/rival Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins).
The thing that is the most jarring about the world that BoJack lives in is the presence of anthropomorphic animals that live alongside humans. There is some humor that goes along with this notion, which is probably the only fresh thing about this comedy that deals with the Hollywood lifestyle of a washed up star.
Don’t get me wrong, the show is funny. There were numerous moments that had me laughing out loud. The eleventh episode (out of twelve) was probably the highlight of them all. It involved a massive drug trip that BoJack Horseman goes on with his roommate and the child star of the sitcom “Horsing Around”, in which BoJack was the main star. The only unfortunate part is that most of these moments are spread out between the episodes. I was not asking for a high laughs-per-second ratio but it would have been nice to see these moments closer together.
Another thing that may detract viewers from the show was the turn that the series took a few episodes in. The first couple of episodes gave of the impression that it was going to be a total comedic affair but then the plot started to get a little more serious as it started to dive into the story of BoJack Horseman and his quest for a renewed relevance. Naturally, you can’t tackle this kind of story without getting a little serious so it’s hard to knock the show for this. It almost felt like the show was turning from a comedy into a drama at some points.
All of the actors did a pretty good job with their characters. Given that the series has an all-star voice cast, this should have been the case anyway. Will Arnett was obviously the star of the show, providing the grizzled voice for BoJack that fit the part. Paul Tompkins also did a good job with Mr. Peanutbutter. His character was a surprise. I didn’t expect him to be funny but he gives viewers a lot of comedic moments.
BoJack Horseman is a show that suffers a little from un-originality but it still turned out to have it’s moments. The series got a generally positive response from viewers which warranted Netflix to pick it up for another season. Season one ended in such a way that season two should be interesting to watch. It’s hard to tell where the series will go from here, but I hope it takes a step on its own, without the help of all the similar shows of its kind. I enjoyed my time with the show, and I look forward to what comes next.