The Unexpected Genius of BoJack Horseman


Now that suddenly a lot of people have more free time due to the circumstances we find ourselves in, I considered it fitting to recommend a really good show to help fight this boredom.

BoJack Horseman is the name of a 2-D animated show, and its main character is a talking horse. It is also one of the most serious and controversial shows I have ever watched. It takes itself seriously when it needs to, but also knows when to make its audience laugh. This Netflix show came to an end in January 2020 after six seasons following the life of a caricature of a Hollywood star. In the following lines, I hope to convince you to not judge a book by its cover and to give the series a try. 

At the start of the series, BoJack Horseman is an ex-sitcom star from the 90s who lives a selfish life of excess and does not care about anyone around him. We follow his struggles and get to know him as he changes and improves. The series is never afraid of telling things how they are. It has very intense emotional moments and never tries to make things easy for BoJack. He is not an uncomprehended hero, his actions are his fault, and most of these actions have terrible consequences for him and for his “friends”. BoJack’s self-destructive attitude distances him from everyone and drags those who care about him down with him. 

One of the main themes in the show is change, and the ability of someone to fix their wrongs. The show reminds us that sometimes, one can’t fix past mistakes, and the best thing to do is apologise and move on. While this won’t stop the mistake from haunting us, this acts as a reminder for us to avoid the same mistake in the future. The show highlights the steps that one needs to follow in order to better oneself and does so with incredible maturity.

I’m Responsible For My Own Happiness? I Can’t Even Be Responsible For My Own Breakfast!”

— Bojack Horseman

The show’s side characters have a depth that’s uncanny of any show I have watched. In the first episode, we are introduced to Diane, who is hired as a ghostwriter for BoJack’s biography. She starts as this upbeat and somewhat innocent character that contrasts with BoJack’s nihilistic attitude. She goes through many arcs throughout the series as she discovers to trust herself. Her character is probably the one that suffers more than the others because of her relationship with BoJack. This is because she never loses faith in BoJack’s ability to get better and ends up disappointed countless times. In the end, the lesson that I took from her is that it’s okay to address your mental health issues and that to avoid dealing with them is not sustainable in the long run.

Todd is BoJack’s best friend although BoJack never recognises that. He sometimes acts as comic relief, because be reminded, this show is really funny too. He is careless and acts foolishly all the time, but surprisingly things seem to always work out for him at the end. He is probably one of the happiest characters of the series although he definitely has a rough ride. What allows him to be so happy? The answer is that he is always satisfied with what he has and gives importance to every interaction, every success, however little it may be. He reminds us to appreciate the little things in a series where everyone seems to be an overachiever. 

What made me appreciate this show as a nearly perfect work is how it addresses so many delicate topics and does so in a way that I have never seen before. Its range is huge, it can be light-hearted and have extremely heavy emotional episodes one right after the other. Most importantly, the delivery is always spot on. BoJack Horseman is a show about life and how hard life can be. It doesn’t always try to be hopeful, but it’s always believable. The show mixes humour with drama in a way that only an animated series with a talking horse as a protagonist can.