This season on Horsin’ Around, these MFs are not horsin’ around! If you haven’t seen season 1-3 of Bojack – do it. It takes a minute to get used to the world of Bojack Horseman but a few episodes in, you take a drunken horse and his cat manager maybe too seriously. Bojack Horseman has always been a show of ridiculousness, jokes that hit you hard in an inappropriate way and really made you wonder what Bob Saget’s life after Full House is really like.
For those of you joining us without prior knowledge, Bojack Horseman is a… yes, a horse who had a hit TV show in the 90s in which he adopted three children (humans) and raised them as a single dad. Much to the creator’s surprise and against critics’ views the show did well for quite sometime. We are seeing Bojack much after this, a washed up drunken problem to society and his friends.
Each season is a new bag of tricks, showing us the many ways a person can be f#%?!ed up because they were messed up by life. This season it was like, no I don’t want to show you – I want you to feel this s%!+. It plays out classism, sexism, body image, mental health, misogyny, relationships, adoption, issues conceiving, the list is almost unbearable, but it hits and you feel pain. It doesn’t sound like I’m selling this but in a world where empathy is so very very lacking, this show takes you into the emotional product of these issues, your empathy will grow three sizes this season.
We’re thrown into this past life where we see a young woman horse with her family. Definitely a well to do family, overjoyed about life- like EXTRA excited to be alive and rich, playing pianos and singing together. There is a mother, an older son obviously heading off to war, a father and a young woman horse, and you’re like, who the F are these people? Did I miss something last season?” The time period is way off to be Bojack, is this another version of Horsin’ Around?
Anyways, this young horse is bullied through out the season by her father on how to be a lady, by the girls at school her whole life. She gets scarlet fever as a child and her father tells her it’s a good thing it affects the throat, so she can close her mouth and shed the unsightly pounds to be a better lady. You’re like damn… That is just a taste of the unapologetic non filter this season has. I’ve never seen a show tackle so many issues in one season but I never felt bombarded, didn’t feel hit over the head with the issues, it was a masterpiece.
We have princess Carolyn in what seems to be a perfect life, big name clients, a caring boyfriend, and maybe a baby?? We then watch her explain the many miscarriages she has had, asking her boyfriend are you ready for this to be your life because it can happen. Your heart hurts! We see Todd still trying to figure out his life and where he stands in it all, while in a sense having the luck of the white man, (although he is latinx.) Yet, he finds himself in such unfortunate life situations, it’s so awkward.
Mr. Peanut Butter runs for governor of California in a hot mess of fracking, smear campaigns, and utter nonsense – and Jennifer Biel is there (apparently his ex wife). We watch Diane and Mr. P try so hard, to be married. It runs the gamut of life’s disasters which is reality. Our lives are on fire and if Bojack can show that to the world in such a tangible way, then I wish this were required viewing in schools. I could run a workshop unpacking each frame of Bojack this season.
The episode titled Piece Of Sh!+ is a look into depression that makes you rethink your decisions in life. It’s told through the inner voice of Bojack Horseman. His thought process is animated like a child’s drawing, going through his day and literally not being able to handle responsibility, but wanting so desperately to get his shit together. Leaving the house to get orange juice for his mother and possible daughter, his mind races about why he can’t be a good person why he always fucks it up why he is incapable of being loved he convinces himself to get a quick drink hours later he’s heading home driving drunk with no orange juice.
The entire episode continues while he puts himself down in unimaginable ways and ends up at a bar instead of where he should be. I never once blamed him, never once said what was his problem…. His inner voice literally laid it out for me step by step and I found myself thinking about all the people I know who are depressed who in this world, dealing with so much and have that inner voice just telling them everyday that they are just a piece of shit so why not drink. Damn Bojack…
Then princess Carolyn. There are spoilers in this paragraph, I won’t spoil the big ones. An entire episode told by her future great-great-great-grand daughter giving her futuristic class a presentation about her ancestor. You learn Princess Carolyn is the descendent of immigrants and the necklace is a priceless heirloom of her family. In what feels like an instant, Princess Carolyn manages to lose everything she had going for her. She loses her biggest and only client, fires her right hand man Judah because had kept something from her – which he was doing in her best interest for her business, out of sheer stress and self loathing she breaks up with her perfect boyfriend. To top it off she finds out her necklace is worthless and from JCPenny…
We flash back to the descendent who swears there’s a happy ending. We don’t get that happy ending. We get princess Carolyn sobbing in her car talking to a Bojack and telling him when things are terrible she imagines her descendent telling her story and you know somehow it all worked out, and Bojack says “but it’s fake.” The end… we’ve all been here, when one day or even one unexpected turn of events ricochets and ruins everything. It’s like playing Jenga with your life and sometimes it’s the decisions you have made, the block you chose to pull that brings it all crashing down.
Damnit! Seriously this show cannot get anymore real but it does, oh my goodness, it does. Bojack gets an unexpected visitor who believes she is his daughter. A horse named Hollyhock, who was adopted 17 years ago, and is on the search for her mother, all signs have pointed to Bojack being her father. We get to see Bojack work through actually caring and trying to be responsible and at the same time encountering his mother once again. We now see she has Dementia in her old age and only refers to Bojack as Henrietta, seemingly an old maid she had in the past. We are thrown into this storyline watching he dynamic of Bojack trying to care for his mother but not being able to get past the cruelty of his childhood and also trying to figure out what good parents do because he could be someone’s father…it’s unnerving.
However, when we spiral into the mind of his mother, a mind that is failing her and has so much torment and many revealing truths, I break down. It is superb storytelling – the structure of falling apart of losing memories but still giving a through line to the audience I have never seen Dementia or Alzheimer’s illustrated so fiercely. Knowing friends family members who work through this with their mothers, grand fathers, uncles it was a grippingly emotional episode and I am praising the writers and creators for taking us on that journey.
So much more happens, we address gun violence, ridiculous politics, sadistic clown dentist ventures and we never really define the difference between a manager and an agent. The season is a punch in the gut, but in this time when the world is on fire, I enjoy a punch in the gut that reminds me not to go numb to it all.