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BoJack Horseman is an American adult animated sitcom created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg. The series stars Will Arnett as the title character, BoJack Horseman. The supporting cast includes Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, and Aaron Paul. The series' first season premiered on August 22, 2014, on Netflix, with a Christmas special premiering on December 19. The show is designed by the cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt, who had previously worked with Bob-Waksberg on the webcomic Tip Me Over, Pour Me Out.[1]

BoJack Horseman
BoJack Horseman Logo.svg
Genre
Created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Voices of
Theme music composer Patrick Carney featuring Ralph Carney
Opening theme "BoJack Horseman Theme"
Ending theme "Back in the 90's (BoJack's Theme)" by Grouplove
Composer(s) Jesse Novak
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 37 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Raphael Bob-Waksberg
  • Noel Bright
  • Steven A. Cohen
  • Blair Fetter
  • Jane Wiseman
  • Will Arnett
  • Aaron Paul
  • Andy Weil
Producer(s)
  • Alex Bulkley
  • Corey Campodonico
  • Mehar Sethi
  • Lisa Hanawalt
  • Kate Purdy
Running time 25–26 minutes
Production company(s) The Tornante Company
Boxer vs. Raptor
ShadowMachine
Distributor Netflix
Release
Original network Netflix
Picture format 1080p (16:9 HDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
Original release August 22, 2014 (2014-08-22) – present
External links
Website www.netflix.com/title/70300800

Despite giving mixed reviews upon its debut, critics were notably more positive towards the second half of the first season, before acclaiming the subsequent seasons. The critical consensus from Rotten Tomatoes is representative of this critical improvement, as the first season was stated to "pale in comparison to similar comedies", while the consensus for season three referred to the show as "one of the funniest and most heartbreaking shows on television".[2][3] The series was renewed for a fourth season, scheduled to premiere in summer 2017.[4]

Contents

EpisodesEdit

Season Episodes Originally released
1 12 August 22, 2014
Special December 19, 2014
2 12 July 17, 2015
3 12 July 22, 2016

The series takes place mostly in the Los Angeles area, specifically, in Hollywood (later known as "Hollywoo" after the 'D' in the Hollywood Sign is stolen in a romantic gesture). In an alternate world where humans and humanoid-esque animals live side by side, BoJack Horseman, the washed-up star of the 1990s sitcom Horsin' Around, plans his big return to celebrity relevance with a tell-all autobiography that he dictates to his ghostwriter Diane Nguyen. BoJack also has to contend with the demands of his agent and on-again-off-again girlfriend Princess Carolyn, the misguided antics of his freeloading roommate Todd Chavez, and his frenemy Mr. Peanutbutter, who is also Nguyen's boyfriend. The series satirizes Hollywood, celebrity culture, drug abuse, anxiety and the film industry.

Cast and charactersEdit

  • Will Arnett as BoJack Horseman, a self-loathing 52-year-old alcoholic horse whose acting career peaked when he starred in a successful '90s family sitcom called Horsin' Around. Though he began as a young bright-eyed actor, he has since grown bitter, deeply depressed, and jaded towards Hollywood and who he has become post-fame. BoJack has been shown to be caring and insightful, but his insecurities, loneliness, and desperate need for approval often result in self-destructive actions that devastate those around him. Arnett also voices Butterscotch Horseman, BoJack's physically and verbally abusive father.
  • Amy Sedaris as Princess Carolyn, a pink Persian cat who is BoJack's agent in the first three seasons and former on-and-off girlfriend. Earnest and unflagging, Princess Carolyn was a top agent at Vigor agency through her dogged pursuit of new talent and large network of odd personal connections. Though she struggles to find a balance between work, her troubled personal life, and taking care of BoJack and her friends, she enjoys her fast-paced hectic lifestyle. She left Vigor to start a new agency with her then-boyfriend and coworker Rutabaga Rabitowitz. After recognizing his lack of trustworthiness and confronting her fear of being alone, she ultimately decides to leave him and run the new company named VIM by herself. After several setbacks, Princess Carolyn closes VIM in Season 3, only to reopen it as a management agency.
  • Alison Brie as Diane Nguyen, a human ghostwriter, a nice, well-reasoned, misunderstood intellectual, and a Vietnamese-American third-wave feminist from Boston who lives with her rich and famous boyfriend (and later husband), former sitcom star Mr. Peanutbutter. She's intelligent and sympathetic. While writing BoJack's memoir, he and Diane initially develop a strong friendship that becomes increasingly awkward and strained after BoJack develops romantic feelings for her. Diane travels to the war-torn Republic of Cordovia to make a difference, but discovers that this life is not for her. Ashamed of returning to her husband, she develops a severe bout of depression, during which she drinks heavily and sleeps disheveled on BoJack's patio furniture. She is able to reconcile her feelings with Mr. Peanutbutter and gets a job at VIM ghostwriting tweets for celebrities. She is subsequently fired from VIM, and is hired to write for a feminist blog.
  • Paul F. Tompkins as Mr. Peanutbutter, an energetic and cheerful yellow Labrador Retriever who is BoJack's former sitcom rival and Diane's boyfriend (and later husband). Mr. Peanutbutter was the star of Mr. Peanutbutter's House, which, according to BoJack, "borrowed the premise" from Horsin' Around. He had a stint at filming a celebrity reality show called Peanutbutter and Jelly. Despite their rivalry, Mr. Peanutbutter cares a great deal about BoJack's opinion and admires him for his work on Horsin' Around. He has an especially good relationship with Todd, and his positive attitude and financial resources combined with Todd's outlandish schemes and plans often result in the two starting questionable business ventures, such as a Halloween store that is exclusively open in January. In the episode "Let's Find Out", Mr. Peanutbutter starts hosting his own televised game show after his film company enters bankruptcy due to his and Todd's extensive expenditures on useless products. In "Hank After Dark", it is revealed that Mr. Peanutbutter was formerly married to a woman named Katrina who was emotionally abusive. His second wife was famous actress Jessica Biel, who is portrayed as being obsessed with her celebrity status and people recognizing her. He grew up in the Labrador Peninsula, which is depicted as being populated entirely by Labrador Retrievers. "Mr." is his actual first name. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.
  • Aaron Paul as Todd Chavez, an unemployed but well-meaning and friendly 24-year-old human slacker who ended up at BoJack's house for a party five years before the beginning of the series and never left. Although BoJack constantly voices disdain for him, he secretly cares about Todd, continuing to financially support him and sabotage his attempts to gain independence. Todd has been shown to possess a plethora of skills including an understanding of Japanese; entrepreneurial know-how, having allied with Mr. Peanutbutter for various business ideas; and writing and composing his own rock opera- Newtopia Rising, Book I: The Search for a New Utopia. His rock opera was eventually sabotaged by BoJack, who took advantage of his former addiction to video games. Todd puts the pieces together of what BoJack did string map style and begins to question his friendship with Bojack. Todd also has an uncanny knack for getting himself in absurd and extremely dangerous situations when his friends aren't around, such as getting into gun fights on several occasions, ending up in prison, and in one case switching places Prince and the Pauper-style with a Cordovian dictator. Todd's friendship with Mr. Peanutbutter landed him various jobs creating seemingly useless products. He sees the best in BoJack, despite his multitude of problems. He's usually happy, even when being insulted by BoJack. Catch Phrases include shouting "hooray!". He is also almost never seen without wearing his signature yellow beanie. In the 2000s he was an aimless skateboarder, and the object of affection of his schoolmate, Emily. It is revealed in the season 3 finale "That Went Well" that he is asexual.

MusicEdit

The main title theme was composed by Patrick Carney, one half of the blues-rock duo The Black Keys with his uncle Ralph Carney, while the ending credits theme "Back in the 90s (BoJack's Theme)" was performed by the indie-pop act Grouplove.[5] Jesse Novak composed the incidental music.[6]

In addition, the show featured the Death Grips song "No Love" in the eleventh episode of the first season, and the Rolling Stones song "Wild Horses" and Tegan and Sara's "Closer" in the season finale. The Courtney Barnett song "Avant Gardener" plays during the second season finale, and Nina Simone's cover of Janis Ian's "Stars" closed out the last episode of the third season. The show also features Oberhofer's song "Sea of Dreams" on the fourth episode of the third season, "Fish out of Water". Princess Carolyn's hold music is the song Jellicle from the musical "Cats."

Critical receptionEdit

Season 1Edit

Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 56% (18 reviews) 59 (13 reviews)
2 100% (17 reviews) 90 (7 reviews)
3 100% (21 reviews) 89 (12 reviews)
Average 85% 79

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes the first season has an approval rating of 56%, based on 18 reviews, with an average rating of 5.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It's intermittently funny, but in most respects, BoJack Horseman pales in comparison to similar comedies".[7] On Metacritic, the season received a score of 59 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[8]

Erik Adams' review of the first six episodes gave the series a C+ grade; in the review, Adams wrote that the show "spoofs the emptiness of celebrity, but does so without any novelty or true insight".[9] At Slate, Willa Paskin was more enthused. "[It] is perhaps a little more clever than it is uproariously funny, but it is often very clever, and, moreover, well-tuned to the ludicrousness of the sort of low-level fame that surrounds BoJack". She likened it to 30 Rock in its ability to "[present] big ideas without having to commit to them".[10]

Chris Mitchell from Popzara was equally optimistic about the show's future, saying that "Fans of FX's Archer or Fox's Bob's Burgers will definitely want to check this one out, as its rapid-fire delivery is always consciously spot-on".[11] The New York Times described the show as "hilarious and ribald".[12] Margaret Lyons of Vulture gave a positive review, describing it as "radically sad. I love it."[13]

However, the second half of the season received much more positive reviews. Ben Travers of IndieWire believed one possible reason for mixed reviews of the show was critics reviewing only the first half of the season, with the second half changing drastically in tone and developing a darker and deeper meaning. This change was so drastic it resulted in IndieWire changing its policy to only review entire seasons of shows on Netflix, instead of just the first six episodes, which would have boosted BoJack Horseman's C+ grade.[14]

Season 2Edit

On Rotten Tomatoes the second season holds an approval rating of 100%, based on 17 critics, with an average rating of 8.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "BoJack Horseman truly comes into its own during season two, maturing into an ambitious comedy that sensitively blends wackiness with dark, nuanced drama".[15] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 90 out of 100, based on 7 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[16]

Season 3Edit

Rotten Tomatoes gives the third season an approval rating of 100%, based on 23 reviews, with an average rating of 9.2 out of 10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Skillfully puncturing the idea of celebrity and our culture's bizarre obsession with it, BoJack Horseman's third season continues its streak as one of the funniest and most heartbreaking shows on television."[17] On Metacritic, the season received a score of 89 out of 100, based on 12 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[18]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2016 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Animated Series BoJack Horseman Won
Annie Awards Best General Audience Animated TV/Broadcast Production "Brand New Couch" Nominated
Writers Guild of America Award Animation "Hank After Dark" Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Animated Series BoJack Horseman Won
2017 Annie Awards Best General Audience Animated TV/Broadcast Production "Fish Out Of Water" Nominated
Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Alison Brie Nominated
Writers Guild of America Award Animation "Fish Out of Water" Nominated
"Stop the Presses" Won

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "TMOPMO Merch". Archived from the original on May 3, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2016. 
  2. ^ "BoJack Horseman: Season 1 (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 8, 2014. 
  3. ^ "BoJack Horseman: Season 2 (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 22, 2015. 
  4. ^ "BoJack Horseman". Twitter. Retrieved July 22, 2016. 
  5. ^ Reilly, Dan (August 29, 2014). "The Black Keys' Patrick Carney Wrote the 'BoJack Horseman' Theme Song". Spin. Retrieved October 2, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Jesse Novak to Score Netflix's 'BoJack Horseman'". Film Music Reporter. June 30, 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2015. 
  7. ^ "BoJack Horseman: Season 1 (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 8, 2014. 
  8. ^ "BoJack Horseman – Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  9. ^ Adams, Erik (August 21, 2014). "Netflix's entry into the adult-animation race, BoJack Horseman, stumbles out of the gate". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  10. ^ Paskin, Willa (August 22, 2014). "The Longest Face". Slate. Retrieved August 23, 2014. 
  11. ^ Mitchell, Chris (August 29, 2014). "BoJack Horseman Popzara Review". 
  12. ^ Neil, Genzlinger (August 24, 2014). "A Talking Horse of a Different Color: Blue". Retrieved August 31, 2014. 
  13. ^ "BoJack Horseman’s Radically Funny Sadness -- Vulture". Vulture. Retrieved January 16, 2016. 
  14. ^ Ben Travers (June 27, 2015). "7 New Netflix Shows to Binge Watch in July 2015 - Indiewire". Indiewire. Retrieved January 16, 2016. 
  15. ^ "BoJack Horseman: Season 2 (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 22, 2015. 
  16. ^ "BoJack Horseman – Season 2". Metacritic. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  17. ^ "BoJack Horseman: Season 3 (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 9, 2016. 
  18. ^ BoJack Horseman, retrieved 2016-08-09 

External linksEdit