BoJack Horseman's radically funny sadness
September 18, 2014 7:03 PM   Subscribe

BoJack Horseman Is the Funniest Show About Depression Ever
BoJack Horseman is a weird cartoon about a washed-up sitcom star (who's a horse), a snappy social criticism of the entertainment industry, and the kind of in-jokey cartoon designed to tickle the internet. It's also one of the most aggressive portraits of depression I think I've ever seen. Look past the anthropomorphic animal characters and the satire of toxic celebrity culture: This show is radically sad. I love it.
Netflix Original's animated series BoJack Horseman stars Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, and Alison Brie. It co-stars Aaron Paul and Paul F. Tompkins and has a long and impressive list of guest stars. posted by Room 641-A (128 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've been watching it this week and it is fantastic. Episode 8 hits you like a bag of bricks. Damn.

... also, I have a theory that Jesse Pinkman ran away to Hollywoo, changed his name to Todd because irony, and ended up living on Bojack's couch for five years.
posted by lovecrafty at 7:15 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


This show is actually really good, despite what a lot of critics said--the first few eps are mostly stoner-ish comedy, but as it goes on, you realize how much else is happening. I'm definitely going to rewatch it soon.
posted by leesh at 7:15 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've been trying to get everyone to watch it, and to treat it as a single entity, like a long movie, not a series of episodes. It is not a series of indepentent vignettes, it's a single coherent story.

In fact the backdrop changes over time to reflect things that have happened in previous episodes. An ottoman catches fires and for the rest of the season it's blackened and increasingly disheveled.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:17 PM on September 18, 2014 [12 favorites]


I don't have much respect for the AV Club as it stands, but it went down another notch when I read their review for this which made it clear they didn't watch past the third or fourth episode.

My closest comparison is Arrested Development, where it's a dark comedy about lovable assholes and idiots where the jokes often take 3 episodes to set up and pay off.

I'm glad Netflix renewed it, despite the lukewarm initial reviews.
posted by codacorolla at 7:17 PM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think if they'd released it an episode per week, over the course of a season, it would have been an enormous flop. I think the first few episodes have some funny moments but it does not take off right away.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:21 PM on September 18, 2014


BoJack Horseman was one of the best shows of the summer. Now, I almost bowed out after watching two episodes but then since nothing else was on, I'd watch an episode each night until I hit the end. Then I was sad I there weren't more.
posted by birdherder at 7:25 PM on September 18, 2014


I like this show but I don'tfind it radical or sad, and the depression of the main character does seem sorta incidental. It's just really cynical, like pretty much every prime-time-type animated show I can remember.
posted by Hoopo at 7:28 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm glad this post was made. I saw this on Netflix and assumed it was another one of Adult Swim's "haha it's weird/random screaming/ugly/disgusting/we're all on all the drugs right now and that's funny because..something something..more random ugly screaming". Anyway I will watch this.
posted by bleep at 7:32 PM on September 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


Oh dear god, the Horsin' Around theme song and opening titles are a thing of beauty.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:34 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I marathoned the entire series in the span of about three days earlier this week. I can say without the faintest trace of sarcasm that this show is one of my new favorite things. When it came out, I had seen a few people on various forums saying that it was kind of mediocre, or that you had to watch a few episodes to get into it, but I was hooked from the very beginning.

This is a delicious piece of television, or whatever this new kind of unbroadcast programming is called, and if you're holding out on trying it because you think it's stupid, you really ought to give it a shot. There's so much there beyond the lowbrow, and I am notoriously stingy with my recommendations.
posted by Krazor at 7:36 PM on September 18, 2014 [9 favorites]


Nthing the recommendations. I really enjoyed this series.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:39 PM on September 18, 2014


I've watched every episode two or three times now, and not because I was stoned and forgot I'd already watched it but because it's that good.
That theme song is excellent. It's by Pat Carney of the Black Keys, with some great sax work by his uncle Ralph. The first time I watched BH with my girlfriend she was like, 'hey I know Ralph Carney': turns out way back when she owned a small record label in Oakland (The Coup was their biggest artist) they put out a CD that Ralph Carney played on. She dug out a copy for me - Deep Field - "South". It's a pretty solid, trip-hoppy record.
posted by Flashman at 7:44 PM on September 18, 2014 [10 favorites]


I love love love this show. I don't know if I'd call it cynical so much as melancholy, or maybe weary. But it's great. Especially the end credit song - back in the 90s, I was in a famous teevee show, ooo ooo ooo. It's an honest assessment of Bojack's life that just hits hard.

The big problem that I have with it, and I swear to god I don't know why they did this, is having Alison Brie play a woman named Diane Nguyen. And her whole family being white. Kinda weird, dunno what's happening with that.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:44 PM on September 18, 2014


I watched the whole show and found it entertaining but not particularly novel or profound. The theme of the emptiness of fame and those in pursuit of it has been done before and they don't add anything new to that dialogue. This leaves it merely as a dark character comedy but it's a little too outlandish to take seriously. For me it lives in that hinterland of clever and entertaining, but too standoffish in its zanier aspects to take fully serious, especially when the narrative demands it. But I liked it.
posted by johnnydummkopf at 7:45 PM on September 18, 2014


Lemurrhea, perhaps divorced?
posted by chainlinkspiral at 7:48 PM on September 18, 2014


Did you think Diane's family was white? I did too at first, but then it occurred to me that while they were these overweight, incredibly obnoxious (and horribly stereotyped I guess?) Bostonians, they were actually also Vietnamese.
posted by Flashman at 7:49 PM on September 18, 2014 [13 favorites]


They're all Vietnamese--Diane says "We're immigrants, we're from Vietnam!" when one of her brothers starts talking about immigrants taking all the jobs. But the voice actors--at least Alison Brie and Melissa Leo, not sure who played the brothers--are white.
posted by lovecrafty at 7:54 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


This show is a work of beauty and, yeah, I don't find it cynical at all. Some of the characters are, but the general outlook of the show is "nothing works out the way you plan, and everything is more complicated than it seems" and in that way this show with talking dogs and horses is more real than so much stuff on TV.

But that leaves a very important question: why were all the house party guests lemurs???
posted by griphus at 7:57 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


An ottoman catches fires and for the rest of the season it's blackened and increasingly disheveled.

BoJack also never fixes the leg on his bed. The books hold it up the rest of the season.
posted by griphus at 7:59 PM on September 18, 2014


Sorry yeah, I meant the voice actors. Hollywood has issues with casting white people to play asian people. And yellowface is a thing that exists, it just seemed weird. Not show-breaking, but weird.

But that leaves a very important question: why were all the house party guests lemurs???

Look, I'm just gonna say it once. You want a dope house party? You want lemurs.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:59 PM on September 18, 2014 [22 favorites]


Oh and I have never ever seen anything on TV like BoJack's "if you give an asshole a gun and send him off to war, he doesn't automatically become a hero, he's just an asshole with a gun" speech. It wasn't satirical, it wasn't played for laughs, it was just a very valid opinion that does not get expressed in the media at all.
posted by griphus at 8:06 PM on September 18, 2014 [52 favorites]


You want a dope house party? You want lemurs.

You don't just want lemurs, you want flows of lemurs everywhere you look.
posted by ambrosen at 8:26 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I played in a charity poker tournament with Ira Glass, and he was nice enough to honor my request for an outgoing voice message. It says, "This is Ira Glass. Everyone has a story. You can tell yours to Eric after the beep." It is one of my most prized possessions.
posted by ericbop at 8:29 PM on September 18, 2014 [54 favorites]


It's an outstanding show, but I wish they'd do more with Aaron Paul's character. Even in the episode that sort of centered around him, he seemed one-dimensional.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:31 PM on September 18, 2014


I agreed with the general critical consensus that the writing is the weakest part of the show. Hopefully they tighten it up for S2 because it has a ton of potential.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:33 PM on September 18, 2014


"Downer Ending" was an amazing piece of work. I mean, the whole series was (and I totally agree with RustyBrooks, it's all one big thing and I hope it gets FanFare'd that way), but that episode was such a standout.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:35 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Downer Ending" was an amazing piece of work

Maine :(
posted by griphus at 8:37 PM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


ugh fine i'll watch it if only to understand wtf you and tim are always on about
posted by poffin boffin at 8:41 PM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


okay I went to look at the source code of the official website because I needed to know if they were using fancy-ass CSS to make something that looks like it's from 1995 and there is what I think is a gigantic goggled ascii dog commented out at the beginning
posted by NoraReed at 8:48 PM on September 18, 2014 [22 favorites]


I suppose I ought to keep watching, because in watching the first two episodes, I didn't see anything particularly special here. Yes, Hollywood is filled with venal and shallow people. Yes, Miller-Boyett sitcoms were cheese and nothing like real life. Yes, BoJack is not a happy horseman. Well worn stuff. Occasionally clever, but meh.

But we only got two episodes in before we wrote it off. So maybe we ought to give it a few more chances to get going.
posted by workingdankoch at 8:50 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


okay I went to look at the source code of the official website because I needed to know if they were using fancy-ass CSS to make something that looks like it's from 1995 and there is what I think is a gigantic goggled ascii dog commented out at the beginning

It's Mr. Peanutbutter!
posted by jason_steakums at 8:51 PM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


there is what I think is a gigantic goggled ascii dog commented out at the beginning

That's Mr Peanutbutter! Bojack's frenemy.
posted by lovecrafty at 8:52 PM on September 18, 2014


I do love when Mr. Peanutbutter and Todd basically start Gobias Industries 2.0.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:54 PM on September 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm halfway through the first episode and I've already laughed so hard it's physically uncomfortable and I'm worried I'll get a noise complaint. So there's that.
posted by Grimgrin at 8:56 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is there anywhere non netflix to see this? I don't really want to enable my permanent incorporation into the very fibers of my couch by getting netflix.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:59 PM on September 18, 2014


Yes, Hollywood is filled with venal and shallow people.

The fact that is is well-traveled territory doesn't make Sullivan's Travels or Action or The Stunt Man any less delightful, though.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:01 PM on September 18, 2014


poffin boffin: If you're willing to risk jailtime (very small risk), massive fines (250k per episode) and the judgement of some of your relatives (and/or friends) there are options... they aren't legal, but there are options.

(for non felony options I think netflix allows you to share an account with a couple of people - you could ask friends/family for their account for an evening or two)
posted by el io at 9:12 PM on September 18, 2014


Yes I just checked and it is available
posted by Flashman at 9:24 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


This show is, no joke, one of the most powerfully moving things I've seen. It had a really massive impact on me, watching it. It's brilliant, bleak, and brutal, and it left me terrified of the thought of what the rest of my life is going to be. I cannot recommend this show enough.
posted by kafziel at 9:41 PM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


This show is amazing please watch it please

that is all
posted by shakespeherian at 9:57 PM on September 18, 2014


but i might GO TO JAIL

it would be all your fault
posted by poffin boffin at 10:06 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I didn't think it was as much about about depression as coming to terms with the hard realizations about life that come with age. The only person who is truly happy (Mr Peanutbutter) is portrayed as an idiot.
posted by the jam at 10:13 PM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


This show is a mediation on Mid-Life, wrapped in the trappings of Celebrity Culture.

"Please, tell me I'm a good person... I need you to tell me I'm a good person"
posted by The Power Nap at 10:22 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Diane Nguyen's family isn't white, they're Vietnamese immigrants. They're just not Asian stereotypes, but rather Bostonian Southie stereotypes. Or as The Onion famously put it, "Asian-Americans Defying Traditional Stereotypes".
posted by robotmonkeys at 10:27 PM on September 18, 2014


I watched four episodes solely on this thread's recommendation. In my opinion the writing, satire, humor and animation were all mediocre.
posted by dgaicun at 10:40 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Actually A.V Club nails it. C+. Average.

Except I disagree with their thumbs up on the visuals. That same omnipresent flat American Dad blandness that characterizes modern "Adult animation". Sure Duckman was unwatchable back in the day, but at least you got the sense that it was animated by artists and not by laborers. Shoot, even South Park is shittily animated in its own unique way, which at least gives it a personality. (There are actually a lot of examples of this: Beavis & Butthead, Ullman era Simpsons ... rough, unique-looking animation runs laps around slick, flat animation.)
posted by dgaicun at 11:09 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry for you that you have to be so terribly wrong.
posted by kafziel at 11:12 PM on September 18, 2014 [13 favorites]


"This is Ira Glass. Everyone has a story. You can tell yours to Eric after the beep."

My name is also Eric...

You feelin' me?
posted by bpm140 at 11:26 PM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


Couldn't make it through the first episode. I'm glad other people found it worthwhile, though. I found the humor painfully on-the-nose, like a lot of other "adult animation" shows. I feel like maybe it's partially a facial-expression thing; without access to real subtlety in facial expressions, you're pretty much limited to high-concept gags and jokebook jokes.
posted by threeants at 11:28 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I remember reading that the general hump was roughly the first six episodes before the show's voice fully develops. That's about right, I think, but it's a pretty tall order to ask people to watch through half of the episodes to start enjoying the show. I was one of the people who found the earlier episodes mildly amusing, which carried me through the rest of the season.

Downer ending really is an impressive shot of pathos.
posted by Qberting at 2:11 AM on September 19, 2014


"And furthermore, I do not believe that animals even CAN talk! Good day, sir!!"
posted by Drexen at 2:45 AM on September 19, 2014


I love that this show has become a phenomenon; a cult. The first few episodes ARE terrible. But for those of us who shrugged our shoulders and let Netflix keep running it the weekend it came out, it spun around into a treasure out of nowhere. But who will believe us? It's like explaining to people that if you watch the Google home page for three hours uninterrupted that it suddenly starts telling you you're God (I swear that this actually happens).
posted by deathmaven at 3:04 AM on September 19, 2014 [9 favorites]


I saw this on Netflix and assumed it was another one of Adult Swim's "haha it's weird/random screaming/ugly/disgusting/we're all on all the drugs right now and that's funny because..something something..more random ugly screaming".

I have no knowledge of BoJack and thanks to the recommendations in this thread will probably check it out at some point, but what Adult Swim have you been watching? The stoner jokes about Adult Swim are well over a decade old at this point. It's almost like any other television network in that there are approximately zero people that love every single show the network produces and airs.
posted by edeezy at 3:05 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I watched four episodes solely on this thread's recommendation. In my opinion the writing, satire, humor and animation were all mediocre.

Ha ha, I missed this one in lieu of the "Actually A.V Club nails it. C+. Average." post. See.
posted by deathmaven at 3:05 AM on September 19, 2014


I remember reading that the general hump was roughly the first six episodes before the show's voice fully develops.

The voice doesn't just develop, it explodes in a nuclear bomb (right about at the point where the cat chastises herself for getting excited about love in voice over). That's what's so insane about all this.
posted by deathmaven at 3:07 AM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is there anywhere non netflix to see this? I don't really want to enable my permanent incorporation into the very fibers of my couch by getting netflix.

If you are the sort of person who looks elsewhere for things, then you well know already that yes, it can be found.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:08 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


So here's the deal about Bojack:

It's not Ibsen, sure. But, look, for a lot of people life is just one long hard kick in the urethra. Sometimes, when you get home from a long day of getting kicked in the urethra, you just want to watch a show about good, likeable, people who love each other. Where no matter what happens, at the end of 30 minutes, everything is going to turn out ok. Y'know because in real life ...

did I already say the thing about the urethra?
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:02 AM on September 19, 2014 [13 favorites]


Netflix needs to get their advertising together, well their lame attempt to computationally figure out what I want to see. This was never listed I looked for something. Mostly when I look for something on netflix it shows b/c/d grade SF or stuff I've already seen.
posted by sammyo at 4:18 AM on September 19, 2014


Except I disagree with their thumbs up on the visuals. That same omnipresent flat American Dad blandness that characterizes modern "Adult animation".

Yeah, I was talking up the show to a friend and told him, I'm enjoying it (and so far I've actually only seen the first few episodes which are mostly highlighted by animal gags), but the animation is horrendous. I find it really ugly and off-putting, and not in a we-meant-to-do-this way, but in a sloppy, careless way.

Now I'm really looking forward to getting to the meat of it, when I have time.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:28 AM on September 19, 2014


I thought the first three episodes were unimpressive, sort of a half-assed (half-horsed?) Family Guy. Then the fourth was even worse, and I almost gave up on it. But after that it just takes off into something all its own.

Some of the less important characters are brilliantly funny. It's worth watching the show just for the one episode with the treefrog office assistant. And Vincent Adultman just did me in.
posted by oulipian at 5:20 AM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


The point where they introduce the three kids in the trenchcoat is the point where the series really turned around for me. I couldn't stop laughing at that one. It was just so strange. And the last couple of episodes really have a kick.
posted by dortmunder at 5:32 AM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


i wasn't going to watch this - a show about a horse you have to be kidding me - but now I am going to watch it.
posted by rebent at 5:54 AM on September 19, 2014


Sometimes I forget that Vincent Adultman was a thing and then I remember and then I am laughing to myself like an idiot in public.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:55 AM on September 19, 2014 [14 favorites]


Is there a very poignant yet squirm-worthy-uncomfortable Mr Ed episode?
posted by sammyo at 6:06 AM on September 19, 2014


Vincent Adultman

He spends all day at the business factory.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:13 AM on September 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


I've never heard of this and doubt the humor would be to my taste, but I'm gonna go ahead and predict a huge upcoming boom in Mr Peanutbutter fanart. Buy stock in that if possible.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:15 AM on September 19, 2014


Every moment Vincent Adultman is on screen is a delight.
posted by griphus at 6:22 AM on September 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Vanessa Gekko fanart is where it's at.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:29 AM on September 19, 2014


See, I liked Vincent. [SPOILER ALERT]

That was a great conceit that was marred by Bojack's hamfisted repetition of the "You know that's three kids in an overcoat, right?" bit. It was funny the first time, not so much the next 8 times.

[/SPOILER ALERT]

The show nails pathos and genuine emotion but falls flat when it comes to maximizing the comedy set-ups.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:34 AM on September 19, 2014


That was a great conceit that was marred by Bojack's hamfisted repetition of the "You know that's three kids in an overcoat, right?" bit. It was funny the first time, not so much the next 8 times.

I think everything about that was supposed to be more ambiguous than you're making it out to be. I.e. was he just three kids in a coat? Did everyone actually know that and acknowledge it? In other words, every time Bojack brought it up, we weren't sure whether either of those two questions would be answered (or how they'd reiterate that they would not be).
posted by deathmaven at 7:28 AM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I love that the show is basically a sort of bleak version of one of those Richard Scarry children's books.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:39 AM on September 19, 2014 [17 favorites]


I think the Vincent Adultman thing ties into BoJack's depression. A common symptom of clinical depression is the false idea that you have this clarity of insight into the world, and the insight is unerringly that the world is awful and only getting worse, and BoJack absolutely exemplifies that.

Everyone sees in Vincent Adultman what they want to see: BoJack sees a deception so blatant he's unsure how anyone else could miss it, Princess Carolyn, who is going through a midlife crisis, sees the man of her dreams despite evidence to the contrary, Mr. Peanutbutter and the other LA people (including possibly Brendan Fraser) see just another fellow partygoer. Vincent is clearly misrepresenting who he is, but it doesn't matter because active self-deception is one of the big themes of the show.
posted by griphus at 7:44 AM on September 19, 2014 [31 favorites]


I love that the show is basically a sort of bleak version of one of those Richard Scarry children's books.

What Do People Do All Night?
posted by Flashman at 7:56 AM on September 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


There's another Easter egg in the site code, a commented out img tag that contains
http://d55ohm6038bug.cloudfront.net/June2014-Bojack/images/peanutbutter_is_dumb.png
posted by domo at 8:11 AM on September 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Neal McBeal the Navy Seal!
posted by radicalawyer at 8:25 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


It was funny the first time, not so much the next 8 times

I dunno, I found the stuff with him in the last couple of episodes pretty hilarious. "I went to the stock market to do a business", "what's a mohogamy?"
posted by Hoopo at 9:03 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hoopo, I think grumpybear69 was referring to Bojack pointing out that it was kids in a trenchcoat, not Vincent himself. Vincent will be funny until the end of time.

I feel like Bojack pointing it out constantly made his turn at the end where he started talking to Vincent more satisfying. I really like griphus's take on it above.
posted by crashlanding at 9:15 AM on September 19, 2014


I love this show. I started watching it because I was bored one night, and I do love Lisa Hanawalt's comics. I find the animation interesting, because while it's stiff and Flash-y, the character designs are great, and the show ends up being more beautiful visually than it has any right to be. (Though I have to admit that it's a little weird seeign Princess Carolyn talk. She seems to be kinda designed as a comic character, so when she's talkin' and movin' around, it's sort of like Phillipe's mouth.)

I agree that the first few eps are the weakest, but I found those engaging enough to stick with it, and was glad I did.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 9:28 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think grumpybear69 was referring to Bojack pointing out that it was kids in a trenchcoat, not Vincent himself.

He's kind of stopped doing that though, no? Sort of resigned himself to just knowing that it's 3 kids while everyone else is being stupid?
posted by Hoopo at 9:51 AM on September 19, 2014


It's an interesting rorschach. People who think the world is cold and ultimately meaningless see Bojack as a realist. People who don't agree want to diagnose him with a clinical depression.

I guess it depends if you're a Zoey or a Zelda.
posted by the jam at 10:13 AM on September 19, 2014 [30 favorites]


I initially watched BoJack for the pop culture snark and tragically flawed characters. Also the Hotline Miami style theme song that plays over BoJack without anchor in another day of a meaningless life. But after the Dick Cavett interview with Secretariat ... I'm hooked on a much deeper level.

This show isn't about animation, it's using animation to allow us to look at something that might be too painful to see if it were real people.

The line Diane wrote describing BoJack: smart enough to see his situation, but too afraid to change it – that was a powerful scene.
posted by zippy at 10:20 AM on September 19, 2014 [11 favorites]


DEFINITELY SPOILERS BELOW

The Zoey/Zelda thing is sort of reflected in the differences between BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter. BoJack is jaded and cynical, and his life just hit a wall he can't climb over. He's anti-social (in the "anti-social behavior" sense), overindulgent without finding any happiness or satisfaction in it, and generally miserable. But at the same time, he's had something of a rough life and the Kazzaz and Secretariat stuff give you an idea of why he thinks what he thinks of the world, and when Diane reveals all that to him, it sends him into the existential crisis/massive drug binge of the "Downer Ending" episode. And then things seem to look up, but nothing really changes. At the end of the last episode, we're basically left where we were at the start.

Mr. Peanutbutter on the other hand is the exact personification of a stereotypical dog: happy-go-lucky, enjoying everyone's company equally, but leading a somewhat dim and unexamined life and trying to force out any sense of uncertainty and lack of direction with poorly-thought-out, half-finished projects and other feats of sensory overload. No one would want to read a book about Mr. Peanutbutter's life because it's gone well, and in not a particularly interesting fashion. He had to steal the one event from his life fascinating enough to make a movie about from BoJack. Meanwhile, an honest book about BoJack's life and the mess he's made of it is a massive hit and critical success.
posted by griphus at 10:27 AM on September 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


At some point there are going to be some very strange logical conclusions reached about this world where animals are all intelligent. There was that throwaway gag about the guy ordering steak from the bovine diner waitress, but when you actually think about what that, or the concept of work and food animals and what would be different about human history with those changes, it gets nuts quickly.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:38 AM on September 19, 2014


Also, always remember: Andrew Garfield hates Mondays and loves lasagna.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:42 AM on September 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


My husband and I binge-watched this over the course of two days while he was sick. I was tempted to make a post about it here, actually, but stopped when I saw the lukewarm reviews and realized that all I had to say about it was, "Jesus Christ, this cartoon about a washed-up horse actor is amazing and you all have to watch it right now!" Glad that at least a few reviewers managed to watch past episode 3. (Willa Paskin gets it too.)
posted by Anyamatopoeia at 10:52 AM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


There was that throwaway gag about the guy ordering steak from the bovine diner waitress, but when you actually think about what that, or the concept of work and food animals and what would be different about human history with those changes, it gets nuts quickly.

Especially when coupled with the scene where someone wants a glass of milk and she, uh, just fills it up right at the table. But the thing is, they aren't fully animal-animals, they're man-animals (manimals?!).

They walk upright, have five fingers and five toes on their hands and feet, Bojack and Mr Peanutbutter don't have tails, Bojack even seems to have some more human looking body hair in that Burt Reynolds picture of himself he has, and the cow waitress fills up the milk not from a lower-extremity udder placement, but from a human breast location...

...I'm overthinking this.

Though I laughed for like, a full minute at the gag where Diane's talking to the rich safari guy and he says, "Malaria will kill you. Hold on, a mosquito just got into my tent!" and the camera pans over to a full-sized mosquito-manimal.
posted by lovecrafty at 11:05 AM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Man there are a lot of Zeldas in this thread.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:10 AM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Early stuff by Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Lisa Hanawalt that will forever remain one of my favorite cartoons: http://www.tmopmo.com/merch/

No longer available online, it seems. Raphael's one of the best writers I've met. He was also behind the most beautiful craigslist missed connection ever written.
posted by namesarehard at 11:22 AM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


when Diane reveals all that to him, it sends him into the existential crisis/massive drug binge of the "Downer Ending" episode

I just watched that episode last night, but the drug binge was sort of incidental to Diane's book. He took the drugs so he could write a book overnight; it wasn't really a direct reaction to Diane's book or even an attempt to get all fucked up on drugs, really. I thought it was more used by the writers to get him to do that soul-searching and reflection that Diane's book initially failed to.

Not that it takes away from your Zoe/Zelda observation, really
posted by Hoopo at 11:58 AM on September 19, 2014


Mr. Peanutbutter on the other hand is the exact personification of a stereotypical dog: happy-go-lucky, enjoying everyone's company equally, but leading a somewhat dim and unexamined life

I think it's worth mentioning that Mr. Peanutbutter is not just any dog, he's a Yellow Lab.

There was that throwaway gag about the guy ordering steak from the bovine diner waitress


My favorite is the anthropomorphic rooster running through the streets yelling, "Wake up, everyone! It's morning!"
posted by Room 641-A at 12:38 PM on September 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Oh man I just realized that in the episode where the agencies merge, everyone's switching to Gecko, aka Geico.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:34 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree that Todd's character is a bit too one-dimensional. I think it's to the detriment of the show. Todd seemed somewhat sympathetic at first, but by the last few episodes I can't say he's even that much anymore. He got distracted from finishing his rock opera because of Bojack sabotaging him, but subsequently he's been getting distracted from everything else he's tried to do too because that's just his character, apparently. The no-floor Halloween store gag made me chuckle a bit but it is a very Family-Guy-esque sight gag.
posted by Hoopo at 1:59 PM on September 19, 2014


I'm pretty sure Todd is the protagonist from House of Cosbys, after he closed down the cloning experiment in a manner he prefers to forget.
posted by zippy at 2:33 PM on September 19, 2014


I think the gag is that Todd has this incredibly dangerous off-screen life--getting into trouble with multiple gangs, tricking Bojack into throwing a Quinceañera for a gang leader's daughter because otherwise he'll be killed, etc. In the episode where Bojack starts talking to him, he even says he never knew Todd had such interesting things going on.

Aaron Paul's a producer on the show, and I kind of wonder if it's a little jab at all the people who come up to him all the time and only want him to say "Yeah Bitch!"
posted by lovecrafty at 3:43 PM on September 19, 2014


"Are you telling me Andrew Garfield likes lasagna AND hates Mondays?!"
posted by gucci mane at 3:48 PM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is there a very poignant yet squirm-worthy-uncomfortable Mr Ed episode?

No, but when you find out the story of Secretariat, it's a serious punch in the gut.
posted by kafziel at 5:09 PM on September 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


So Mr. Peanutbutter is played by Paul F. Tompkins, right? I do not believe that this is a coincidence (1 minute in).
posted by Brak at 5:31 PM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


(I'm having one of my own "Todd figures out the video game" moments.)
posted by Brak at 5:39 PM on September 19, 2014


Watching for the first time... Half way through the first episode and what's his name the horse is handed his ghost writer's business card and...

NGUYENISTHELONELIESTNUMBER@AOL.COM

I might watch more...
posted by shoesfullofdust at 6:05 PM on September 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't have much respect for the AV Club as it stands, but it went down another notch when I read their review for this which made it clear they didn't watch past the third or fourth episode.

This goes to show how Netflix has really changed everything. Not so long ago, it was no problem at all to let the world know what you thought of a show after a few episodes, because 1) that's all you had, and 2) shows had a responsibility to hook you in early if they wanted to earn your interest for a season. Shows with a slow boil were subject to early retirement. It also means that now if you want to assert that a show is truly terrible you apparently have to watch an entire season, if it is available, in order to have journalistic integrity. Because a show could get good, but perhaps we just haven't gotten there yet.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:45 PM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


No longer available online, it seems. Raphael's one of the best writers I've met. He was also behind the most beautiful craigslist missed connection ever written.

It's here
posted by zippy at 6:57 PM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


It also means that now if you want to assert that a show is truly terrible you apparently have to watch an entire season, if it is available, in order to have journalistic integrity. Because a show could get good, but perhaps we just haven't gotten there yet.

I think that's only true if you claim to be speaking to the whole of the work, with the AV Club review does (at the top it describes itself as a review of 'Season 1'), despite-- yes-- it being perfectly clear the reviewer didn't actually watch the whole thing.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:00 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


That was a great conceit that was marred by Bojack's hamfisted repetition of the "You know that's three kids in an overcoat, right?" bit. It was funny the first time, not so much the next 8 times.

I kind of interpreted that as BoJack always having to explain the joke.
posted by chrisulonic at 7:03 PM on September 19, 2014


"Shouldn't we help him?"
"No, he loves treading water."

That was devastating.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:24 PM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


". . . when you're walking alone. Because Jellicles are and Jellicles do . . ."
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:58 PM on September 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


The title logo contains a horseshoe.
The character does not have hooves.
posted by Nossidge at 6:21 PM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


And Peanut Butter is one word.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:33 PM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


DON'T WRITE ONE WORD.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:43 PM on September 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


Goddammit this is good thank you for posting about it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:17 PM on September 20, 2014


I just wanted to say thanks for posting this. What a great recommendation. I gulped the whole thing down in one delirious overnight session.
posted by mrdaneri at 9:44 AM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Bojack is a three act play (each act is divided into 4 episodes) and while the first act can be sorta meh, meandering, and subtly pointless, act two and three are, in my opinion, brilliant and something unique on tv.



Minor minor spoiler:

Did anybody else notice the intro removed the D in the appropriate parts?
posted by Jacen at 7:58 AM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I love how all the bird people just abruptly take off and fly by ridiculously flapping their arms.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 8:04 AM on September 22, 2014


"Horse Majeur" is one of the most beautiful puns I've ever seen.
posted by griphus at 8:06 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Huh. I got through the first episode; I thought it was meh and went back to watching Sliders (where I have reached the terrible Charlie episodes and am just sticking out because of the sunk cost fallacy). I'll give Bojack another shot sometime soon.
posted by klangklangston at 10:55 AM on September 22, 2014


griphus, "Horse Majeur" is irresistible





I'm sorry
posted by Jacen at 11:02 AM on September 22, 2014




At first we were pausing and rewinding trying to catch all the little jokes, but since Netflix's rewinding is so janky (at least with the three different interfaces we have to it including Android/Chromecast) we decided to just enjoy the show and either come back to it later or wait until the Internet hive mind took care of it for us.

So, thanks, Buzzfeed.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:14 PM on September 22, 2014


Excess Hollywoo!
posted by Pronoiac at 3:51 PM on September 23, 2014


FanFare
posted by griphus at 10:40 AM on September 24, 2014


I wrote to Diane Nguyen at her AOL address inviting her to join the discussion here, but the email bounced.
posted by zippy at 7:46 PM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ooh, reddit AMA with the BoJack writers tomorrow!
posted by zippy at 8:05 PM on September 24, 2014


*shakes fist*

Damn you, zippy!
posted by Room 641-A at 8:10 PM on September 24, 2014


Mark me down with Krazor as one of those people who immediately fell in love with this show. Much like with Community, where similarly the majority of fans I've talked to say that it wasn't until a few episodes in that the show got really good, from the very first I new it was a show for me.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:02 PM on September 25, 2014


I've been trying to get everyone to watch it, and to treat it as a single entity, like a long movie, not a series of episodes. It is not a series of indepentent vignettes, it's a single coherent story.

Having just shotgunned the entire show this afternoon, I'll agree to this. Good writing. It actually makes me thing of Rick & Morty a little bit in terms of wacky-tv-show-that-gives-you-some-real-talk-about-life, but I think I prefer BoJack's take on it.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:22 PM on September 26, 2014


Just got through the second episode, which was good. I can see why people don't like the show - Aaron Paul's character's gangster run-in in the first episode, with the gratuitous murder of some schmuck, was ~extremely random~ in a way that I found unpleasant - but I like the main character and hope the show improves from here, as it promises to do.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:03 PM on October 5, 2014


Huh, no one linked the BoJack iama? It's an entertaining read.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:21 AM on October 6, 2014


... aww. I had hoped it would be an in-character AMA as Bojack.
posted by kafziel at 5:13 PM on October 6, 2014


I thought the first half of the show was pretty good, but man, episodes 11 and 12 were really amazing. Looking forward to season 2!

(But yeah, I felt Todd didn't really bring anything to the table.)
posted by archagon at 12:07 PM on October 7, 2014


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