There can’t have been many harder pitches in the entertainment industry than Bojack Horseman. A cerebral and deadpan animation series about a talking horse, who happens to be the former star of a hit comedy. Washed up, alcoholic and nihilistic as only an anthropomorphic horse can be, on paper it reads as too wacky to function.
But as the hit show finishes after six seasons, it cannot be denied that Bojack Horseman will leave a gaping void in the overflowing, rush hour tube-like world of modern television. The second part of the final series aired 31st January, making the series the only countdown many Britons could joyously anticipate. The season’s final act does not disappoint.
Having seemingly achieved the long-awaited happiness that he had pursued for so long it seemed as if Bojack had become content, working as an acting teacher at Wesleyan. Unfortunately, the past wouldn’t leave Bojack behind. A depressingly inevitable, yet dishearteningly justifiable downward spiral of media and public outings are the sad ramifications of supplying alcohol to high schoolers and his entirely dysfunctional history with former co-star Sarah Lynn. Grey-haired and haunted Bojack attempts suicide. But this is Bojack Horseman, and with a knowing wink to the shows inevitable end, Bojack survives.
The season peaks during the penultimate episode, The View from Halfway Down, which in the vein of Free Churro and The Showstopper, is undeniably brilliant.
The dichotomy of silliness and severity, tongue twisters and existentialism has enabled Bojack to profoundly navigate issues such as abortion, anxiety, sexual assault and depression whilst remaining incandescently original and hilarious. But what was the point of it all?
Bojack was in essence about how you can be happy when you’re fundamentally unhappy
Not only is this uncertainty a central theme to the series but also a poignant question to ask of a show that covered so much ground. The point of Bojack is best summed up in the season finale, in which Bojack sitting on a rooftop with Diane, says “Life’s a bitch, then you die”. After a pause Diane responds, “Life’s a bitch, then you keep living”.
Inevitably many fans posed potential endings to the show. But to do so is to misunderstand the point. Despite the fame, cross-species relationships and pertinent animation, Bojack was in essence about how you can be happy when you’re fundamentally unhappy. This horse is no hero, in fact laid bare he’s shameful. However, his inner struggle remains unnervingly relatable.
Before Bojack attempts suicide in a paralytic haze, he sits watching his old sitcom Horsin’ Around. His reminiscences of the show mirror the sitcom ideology of anxiety-free contentment that is wrapped up in a happy little bow after 20 minutes. But this is not Bojack Horseman.
We end not knowing if he will or can be happy. But that’s not the point. Although it won’t be easy for Bojack, he will at least try.
Last modified: 17th February 2020