BoJack Horseman Season Five Review: A Depressing Cycle of Abuse.

5 stars
In my review for BoJack Horseman season four, I sang praises for its uplifting ending, which left me tearing up.
However, I did state that I thought this happiness would not last in season five.
After watching this season, I can say that I was right but I never expected the show to get this dark.
Season five of BoJack Horseman explores some of the darkest aspects of Hollywood as not only BoJack but every single character goes through a cycle of self abuse.
The main sufferer of this abuse is, of course, BoJack himself who goes through a slow downward spiral due to a drug addiction, guilt over what he has done, and the stress of his new show.
These three things all combine to cause BoJack’s mental state to deteriorate until he explodes in episode 11, “The Show Stopper” with what has to be the darkest scene in all of BoJack Horseman.

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BoJack’s downward spiral all culminates in a scene with his co-star and new girlfriend Gina (Stephanie Beatriz), which has to be the darkest and most shocking moment in the show’s history.

As I stated, sadly BoJack is not the only character to go down a trail of self abuse.
Both Princess Carolyn and Mr Peanutbutter go through this and the way it ties into their endings is quite striking.
Both of these characters get endings to their season’s arc that, in any other show, would be considered a happy ending.
However, based off what I know about these characters, all I see them is continuing in their cycles of self abuse.
Thankfully, there are some rays of light this season, with Todd and Diane.
Todd is funnier than he has ever been, with his storylines often leaving me in fits of laughter.
As for Diane, she does not really do anything all that funny, however, she is a great source for pointing out everything that is wrong with the other character’s self abuse.
In a piece of meta-commentary, she even criticizes the show itself for making viewers look up to BoJack and normalize his destructive behavior.
She was the only character to point out all to his hypocrisy in brilliant writing, however, after seeing some theories about season six, I am very concerned about what will happen to her next season.
Along with all of this, season five has some of the best episodes of the entire series.
The final two episodes are, again, some of the most hard hitting episodes of BoJack Horseman but my personal favourite would have to be “Free Churro” an episode which consists solely of BoJack giving a eulogy for his dead mother.
I know it sounds boring but it is surprisingly emotional and managed to add another scene in a long list of them that have made me tear up.

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“My mother is dead and everything is worse now.” A powerful line that drives home the impact of this episode.

This was another amazing season of BoJack Horseman.
My one critique is that we do not get enough of Hollyhock this season but, ultimately, this does not damage the season at all because of how powerful it is.
Season five went to some very dark places that I hope the characters can come back from… however, I do not know if they can.

BoJack Horseman Season Four: Grab the Tissues for This One.

5 stars
Wow, what a roller coaster of emotions this season was.
BoJack Horseman has always been a show that has tackled adult themes like the impact of stardom and depression but season four presents these themes in ways it never has before.
Picking up from the depressing, yet somewhat hopeful, cliffhanger from the previous season, BoJack Horseman season four features many obstacles for its numerous characters.
Princess Carolyn is trying to get pregnant, Mr Peanutbutter is running for Governor leaving Diane to deal with the mess, BoJack finds out he has a daughter and tries to help her find her mother, and Todd is… well, Todd.
To be honest Todd does not go through much this season development wise, even though he has an episode focused on him, but he is still incredibly entertaining.
Along with this, all the other characters have such meaningful journeys in this season that made me connect with them in ways I never had before.

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Season four added layers to so many characters, even minor ones like BoJack’s mother Beatrice (Wendie Malick). 

Princess Carolyn attempting to get pregnant and how this evolved over the season revealed an amazing amount of layers to her.
Mr Peanutbutter and Diane’s struggles highlighted both the highs and lows of their relationship.
Finally there was BoJack’s storyline with his recently discovered daughter, which was by far the most impactful.
Not only was their relationship beautifully done but it also shined a light on BoJack’s family history and the cycle of abuse that has been going on from the days of his grandparents.
This resulted in BoJack’s mother Beatrice also being expanded upon, with the season explaining why she was such a cruel mother to BoJack.
This made her sympathetic, even though she is still a terrible person.
As for BoJack’s daughter Hollyhock Manheim-Mannheim-Gurrero-Robin… OK, I am not even going to attempt to say that.
Anyway, as for Hollyhock, she is another fantastic addition to the cast who I hope sticks around.

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Seeing BoJack try to forger a relationship with his daughter Hollyhock was very moving and the had me tearing up by the end of the final episode.

The whole storyline with BoJack and his family provided some of the best episodes of the entire series.
Episode two, “The Old Sugarman Place”, brilliantly blended flashbacks into the present story and delivered an emotional ending.
Episode six, “Stupid Piece of Sh*t”, had probably the best representation of depression the show has had.
Episode eleven, “Time’s Arrow”, delivered a mind blowing twist that had me shook.
Then there was the last episode of the season, “What Time is Right Now”, which you had better bring tissues too.
The last scene of that episode is probably my favourite in all of BoJack Horseman, delivering a beautiful ending to an already powerful season that left me in tears of joy.
Oh yeah, and the comedy was spot on too, I guess.
What can I say though?
It is very rare for a show like BoJack Horseman‘s emotional moments to be so fantastic that they completely outshine the comedy but this is what happened.
Season four of BoJack Horseman is the best season of the show so far and if you have not watched the series yet you NEED to.
My one concern is that the hopeful note the season ends on will probably result in more depressing stuff in the next.

 

BoJack Horseman Season Three: “We’re Just Tiny Speaks that will one day be Forgotten.”

4 and a half stars
The tragic life of BoJack Horseman continues in season three, which is my favourite season of the series so far.
It all kicks off with BoJack touring to receive an Oscar nomination and from there the show continues to lay out its themes of depression and destructive behavior in both meaningful and tragic ways.
The season was not all sad though because there were a few uplifting episodes like “Fish Out Of Water” to add some feel-good moments to the show.
However, when this season gets depressing, boy does it hit you hard.
This is because season three primarily deals with how BoJack’s self-destructive personality affects those around him like Princess Carolyn and Sarah-Lynn (Kristen Schaal).
This all leads into the final few episodes, which deliver an emotional powerhouse of an ending.

BoJack and Sarah Lynn
The final two episodes of BoJack Horseman season three are real tearjerkers.

The title to episode eleven “That’s Too Much Man!” was an accurate one because the ending to this episode actually had me crying.
Seriously, now everyone time I hear someone say they want to be an architect I will be probably get as depressed as BoJack.
Then there was the ending to the final episode of the season, “That Went Well”, which looked to be going full speed ahead towards a dark and depressing end to the season before concluding on a somewhat hopeful and reflective note, just like the end of season one.
This all came together to deliver an emotional ending to a great season.
Along with this the comedy aspects of the show is also done well but, once again, it is the emotional gut punches that make BoJack Horseman such a great show.
Season three of BoJack Horseman was the best season so far because of its fantastically delivered emotional moments and I cannot wait to watch season four because I have heard its just as emotionally powerful.

BoJack Horseman Season Two: What is Happiness?

4 stars
“What does it mean to be truly happy?”
This is what I found asking myself after watching the second season of BoJack Horseman.
Picking up where the first season left off, this one sees BoJack acting in the role he has been pursuing for years, that of Secretariat.
However, even though this is what he always wanted, BoJack still struggles with the meaning of happiness and how to get it, resulting in often disastrous consequences.
The second season picks up brilliantly from the thought provoking cliffhanger of the fist one with BoJack’s struggles, which made him even more sympathetic.
One feature I particularly liked was how the relationship between BoJack and his mother was portrayed and the effect this had on BoJack.
It was this portrayal that allowed me to understand many of the actions BoJack took, even the reprehensible ones.
I was shocked that, even after he committed an absolutely disgusting breach of trust in episode 11, I still found myself feeling sorry for him, which shows just how great his characterization is.

Bojack and Charlotte
BoJack’s breach of trust in episode 11 is reprehensible but somehow, even after this, the show managed to make me feel sorry for him.

BoJack is not the only great character this season though, as many of the other main characters grew exponentially making me care for them a lot more.
This was achieved through the portrayal of relationships.
Mr Peanutbutter (Paul F. Thompkins) and Diane’s relationship was done a lot better than in the first season and one of their final scenes together had me grinning from ear to ear.
As for Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris), her growth through her relationship with a workmate had me cheering for her by the end.
Finally there was Todd (Aaron Paul) whose friendship with BoJack not only made him grow as a character but also helped BoJack be more sympathetic and relatable.
Even the side characters shined this season with me coming to care for many of them like Kelsey (Maria Bamford).
Even background characters who barely speak stand out on occasion.

It Gets Easier
“It gets easier” this character who is often seen in the background tells an exhausted BoJack, providing a double meaning about happiness that shows the importance of even background characters in this show. 

The humor this season is also good but not as good as the first, with the series’ main selling point being its complex characters and relationships that speak volumes about what it is to be happy and the dangers of celebrity status.
One criticism I do have though is how the Secretariat storyline played out, which kind of went off the rails half-way through the season.
It was set-up that this storyline was where BoJack would pursue his happiness throughout the season but it got pushed to the side by the end only to suddenly reappear.
All in all though, this was another great season of BoJack Horseman that brought up complex questions about happiness.

BoJack Horseman Season One Presents an Unlikable yet Surprisingly Sympathetic Main Character.

4 stars
I have heard a lot of good things about BoJack Horseman over the years in terms of its emotional power.
The main thing I hear people talking about when they reference this show is not its comedy or animation but its heart and, after watching season one, I can definitely see why.
Created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, BoJack Horseman is set in a world where animals are just as evolved as humans and thus live side by side with them.
The titular protagonist of the series is BoJack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett), a has-been actor who, after his popular sitcom Horsin’ Around, quickly descended into a spiral of narcissism, self hatred, and loneliness.
BoJack has been hoping for his big break into Hollywood again so is trying to write a book about himself but, when he proves to lazy to do so, the company publishing his book hires Diane (voiced by Alison Brie) to be his ghostwriter.
What follows is both a funny and very emotional story about the effects stardom can have on a person… or horse in this case.

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Season one details the effects stardom has had on BoJack in a very interesting way.

What I especially liked about Bojack Horseman was how the main character himself was portrayed.
BoJack is an unlikable character because of his selfish and sometimes cruel actions but the thing is you are not supposed to like him.
So many shows like Family Guy present unlikable characters and expect you to root for them after their horrible actions.
BoJack Horseman, however, does not do this.
The audience is supposed to dislike BoJack and this allowed the writers to branch off from this unlikable nature to show BoJack’s vices is affecting.
This allowed BoJack to, once again not be likeable, but sympathetic, even after all he did throughout that first season.
The final two episodes of the season  highlighted this very well, with the season finale leaving me feeling immensely reflective.
These episodes are by far the best of the season.

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The endings to the last episodes of the season “Downer Ending” and “Later” really got to me on an emotional level.

The series also does a great job of highlighting real world issues and topics that may not be as relevant anymore but were big problems in the old days of Hollywood.
The other characters, aside from BoJack, are handled just as well as him and serve to highlight the show’s themes and BoJack’s arc as well.
Another thing I liked about the show was its humor.
While  I did find a few of the jokes to be hit or miss, whenever the show made a joke about the animals that live in this world as people it was often comedic gold.
The one big problem I have with the show is its first few episodes because this is before we are given insight into BoJack as a character so all we see of him is his selfish and cruel nature, which does not offer much investment.
Since so much of this show revolves around BoJack’s arc this makes these first few episodes kind of a drag to sit through but, once it starts getting into why BoJack is the way he is, the show gets a lot better.
Overall, the first season of BoJack Horseman was a great start that has me intrigued about the other seasons.
It turned an unlikable main character sympathetic and I love that because it is not an easy thing to do, but this show achieved it.