BoJack Horseman is an American adult animated comedy-drama series created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg. The series stars Will Arnett as the title character, with a supporting cast including 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 has been friends with Bob-Waksberg since high school and had previously worked with him on the webcomic Tip Me Over, Pour Me Out.
|Created by||Raphael Bob-Waksberg|
|Theme music composer||Patrick Carney featuring Ralph Carney|
|Opening theme||"BoJack Horseman Theme"|
|Ending theme||"Back in the '90s (BoJack's Theme)" by Grouplove|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||61 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||25–26 minutes|
|Picture format||1080p (16:9 HDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital Plus 5.1|
|Original release||August 22, 2014 –|
Despite mixed reviews upon its debut, critics were notably more positive towards the second half of the first season, before universally acclaiming the subsequent seasons. Alongside satirizing the entertainment industry and having topical humor, BoJack is lauded for its realistic take on dealing with depression, trauma, addiction, self-destructive behavior, racism, sexism, and the human experience. In 2018, online magazine Thrillist ranked it as the best Netflix original series of all time, while Indiewire named the show the best animated series of all time. The fifth season premiered on September 14, 2018; the show has been renewed for a sixth season.
The series takes place mostly in Hollywood (later known as "Hollywoo" after the 'D' in the Hollywood Sign is destroyed in a romantic gesture), in an alternate world where humans and anthropomorphic 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 to be written by 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 friend and rival Mr. Peanutbutter.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Will Arnett as BoJack Horseman, a self-loathing alcoholic horse currently in his 50s, 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 Hollywoo and whom 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.
- 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. She struggles throughout the series with starting a family, but frequently suffers miscarriages. In season 5, after several failed attempts, she successfully adopts a baby porcupine from Sadie, a young woman from her hometown in North Carolina.
- Alison Brie as Diane Nguyen, a human ghostwriter, a well-reasoned, misunderstood intellectual, and a Vietnamese-American third-wave feminist from Boston. She is an idealist who wants to make the world a better place and expects others to behave to a higher standard, even though she often falls short of her own ideals. While writing BoJack's memoir, Diane and BoJack develop a strong friendship that initially becomes awkward and strained after BoJack develops romantic feelings for her, especially as she was dating Mr. Peanutbutter at the time. She eventually marries Mr. Peanutbutter, but during and after Mr. Peanutbutter's run for Governor of California their marriage begins to deteriorate, and they divorce at the beginning of Season 5. She is a graduate of Boston University.
- Paul F. Tompkins as Mr. Peanutbutter, an energetic and cheerful yellow Labrador Retriever who is BoJack's former sitcom rival. Mr. Peanutbutter was the star of Mr. Peanutbutter's House, which, according to BoJack, "borrowed the premise" from Horsin' Around. 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. Mr. Peanutbutter has been married three times (including to Diane). His marriages all end after his wives grow out of their 20s and tire of his immature behavior. "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, which was eventually sabotaged by BoJack. This, along with other examples of BoJack's poor behavior towards him leads Todd to break ties with him. 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. He is also almost never seen without wearing his signature yellow beanie. In his teenage years, 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.
|1||12||August 22, 2014|
|Special||December 19, 2014|
|2||12||July 17, 2015|
|3||12||July 22, 2016|
|4||12||September 8, 2017|
|5||12||September 14, 2018|
|BoJack Horseman (Music From The Netflix Original Series)|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Producer||Jesse Novak & Andrew Gowan|
The main title theme was composed by Patrick Carney, drummer for the blues-rock duo The Black Keys, with his uncle Ralph Carney. The main sound, starting at the beginning, is a Roland Jupiter-4 analog synthesizer triggered with a click track in Pro Tools.
In addition, the show featured Lyla Foy's song "Impossible" in the end credits of the seventh episode of the first season, 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 Kevin Morby song "Parade" closed out episode ten of the second-season, and the Courtney Barnett song "Avant Gardener" plays during the second-season finale. 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", Magic Sword's "Infinite" on the fifth episode of the fourth season, K.Flay's "Blood in the Cut" on the sixth episode of the fourth season, and Jenny Owen Youngs's Wake Up on the twelfth episode of the fourth season.
Princess Carolyn's hold music is the song "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" from the musical Cats. The St. Vincent song "Los Ageless" plays throughout the first episode of the fifth season, including the credits. The song "Under The Pressure" by The War on Drugs plays through the end of the show and into the credits of Season 5, Episode 12 "The Stopped Show".
The soundtrack for BoJack Horseman was released on Lakeshore Records on September 8, 2017, to coincide with the release of season 4. It includes several songs, amongst them the full version of the main theme, Patrick Carney and Michelle Branch's version of America's "A Horse with No Name", Sextina Aquafina's "Get Dat Fetus, Kill Dat Fetus", the themes from Horsin' Around and Mr. Peanutbutter's House, and the entire score for the episode "Fish Out of Water".
|1.||"BoJack's Theme"||Patrick Carney, Ralph Carney||Patrick Carney feat. Ralph Carney||0:56|
|2.||"Horsin' Around Theme"||Jesse Novak & Raphael Bob-Waksberg||Jesse Novak||0:44|
|3.||"A Horse with No Name"||Dewey Bunnell||Patrick Carney feat. Michelle Branch||4:35|
|4.||"Mr. Peanutbutter's House Theme"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||0:40|
|5.||"I Will Always Think of You"||Jesse Novak, David Corwin & Rachel Kaplan||Jane Krakowski & Colman Domingo||1:22|
|6.||"Get Dat Fetus Kill Dat Fetus"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak feat. Daniele Gaither & Manus Dunbar||1:30|
|7.||"Kyle and the Kids"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak feat. Carrick Moore Gerety||0:36|
|8.||"Stars" (Live at Montreux)||Janis Ian||Nina Simone||6:37|
|9.||"Back in the '90s"||Christian Zucconi||Grouplove||0:43|
|10.||"BoJack's Theme" (Full Length)||Patrick Carney, Ralph Carney||Patrick Carney feat. Ralph Carney||4:23|
|11.||"Seaport"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||1:00|
|12.||"Hallway"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||1:35|
|13.||"Kelsey Apology"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||0:57|
|14.||"Chasing Kelsey"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||1:42|
|15.||"Seahorse Birth"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||0:47|
|16.||"Post Birth"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||0:26|
|17.||"Baby Seahorse and Convenience Store"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||2:29|
|18.||"Shark Chase"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||0:34|
|19.||"Darkness and Tunnel"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||0:54|
|20.||"Fan Section"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||0:39|
|21.||"Factory"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||1:58|
|22.||"Flying"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||0:54|
|23.||"Seahorse Reunion"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||0:49|
|24.||"Final Kelsey Pursuit"||Jesse Novak||Jesse Novak||0:28|
|25.||"Sea of Dreams"||Oberhofer||Oberhofer||4:43|
|1||67% (24 reviews)||59 (13 reviews)|
|2||100% (18 reviews)||90 (7 reviews)|
|3||100% (31 reviews)||89 (12 reviews)|
|4||97% (35 reviews)||87 (5 reviews)|
|5||98% (34 reviews)||92 (6 reviews)|
On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes the first season has an approval rating of 67%, based on 24 reviews. On Metacritic, the season received a score of 59 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". 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". 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". 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". The New York Times described the show as "hilarious and ribald". Margaret Lyons of Vulture gave a positive review, describing it as "radically sad. I love it."
The second half of the season, however, 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.
The second season of the show received universal acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes the second season holds an approval rating of 100%, based on 18 critics, while on Metacritic, the season has a score of 90 out of 100, based on 7 critics. Vox commented the show had "found its footing beautifully in season two, earning the title of not just the streaming service's best show, but of one of television's best shows". Indiewire gave the series an A-, praising the depth of the show's storyline, the voice cast and the superior comedy in comparison to the first season. The A.V. Club also gave the series an A-, commenting that "for the most part, it's an entirely unique, funny, and melancholic exploration into the heart and mind of someone struggling to put his life back on track after a series of dark turns". Slant Magazine awarded the series 4-and-a-half stars out of 5, commenting that "BoJack Horseman's second season is an even more confident blend of the various tones it experimentally donned last year, as it's simultaneously melancholic, angry, goofy, playful, and often uproariously funny in a distinctively ineffable what-the-fuck fashion". Entertainment Weekly gave the series a B rating, stating it was "one of TV's best meta-skewers of Hollywood".
Like the previous season of the show, the third season received universal acclaim. Rotten Tomatoes gives the third season an approval rating of 100%, based on 31 reviews, while on Metacritic, the season received a score of 89 out of 100, based on 12 reviews. The Hollywood Reporter lauded the season, commenting that the show "evolved from frothy talking-animal Hollywood satire to character-rich treatise on depression in its first season, deepened and darkened into one of TV's best shows in its second season and gallops into its third season with a profound confidence." Entertainment Weekly gave the series an A rating, stating the season is "more digressive than the show's first two years, and much more open-ended, sending core characters in different directions" and that it "builds to one of the funniest, weirdest, and most profound moments ever seen in a television show." The A.V. Club awarded the series an A-, commenting that "Netflix has taken it upon itself to add BoJack to the line of TV's famous antiheroes" and praising the show for improving with each series. Collider gave the show 4/5 stars, stating "BoJack Horseman ends up becoming a thrilling, rueful study of the psychological games and uniquely vain, notably capitalistic decision-making that powers the entertainment industry". They went on to praise the show's humor; "through its venomous jokes and unrelenting, uproarious gags, the series also recognizes how charming, joyful, and galvanizing entertainment for entertainment sake can be, no matter how stupid or silly it may seem."
The fourth season of the show received universal acclaim. Rotten Tomatoes gave the season an approval rating of 97%, based on 35 reviews, while Metacritic awarded the show a score of 87 based on 5 reviews. Indiewire gave the series an A grade, commenting that "by the end of the season, we know these characters, and this show, far better than ever before. BoJack's signature tropes—the background visual jokes, the animal puns, the brutal moments of sadness—remain reliably consistent, but turns the focus largely inward, ensuring that some of the more outlandish plots support and highlight the more emotional storylines". The Washington Post lauded the series, praising the installment as "moving and unexpected" and that "it offers hope but never ignores the sorrows that are inevitable in real life". The New York Times also gave a positive review, commenting that the "material has the snap and the poignancy we've grown accustomed to" and that "while nothing matches the adventurousness of Season 3's underwater film festival episode, Season 4's ninth episode—narrated from the future by a distant descendant of Princess Carolyn's—is a devastating example of what 'BoJack' can do at its best".
Keeping up with the performance of previous seasons, the fifth season received universal acclaim. Based on 34 reviews, Rotten Tomatoes gave the season a score of 98%. Indiewire gave the season an "A" calling it another brilliant season and saying the series has become so great that it is "beyond reproach". Multiple critical reviews have praised the episode "Free Churro", calling it one of the series' best episodes and giving it Emmy buzz for both the writing and Will Arnett's monologue. The A.V. Club observed that the episode "The Dog Days Are Over", where Diane Nguyen takes an impromptu trip to Hanoi, can be seen as a commentary on the "identity crisis elements" of having the Vietnamese-American character Diane voiced by a white actress.
In the fall of 2010, BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg met with The Tornante Company producer Steven A. Cohen and pitched five different animated projects, from which BoJack Horseman was chosen. Bob-Waksberg later met with The Tornante Company CEO Michael Eisner, who suggested that the show center around a former racehorse rather than a former sitcom actor. While they settled on the show-business angle, this contributed to a storyline in which BoJack played a racehorse in the fictional movie Secretariat.
In the summer of 2011, Lisa Hanawalt was asked to work as a designer on the show. She initially turned down the offer, which she has said was because she was "kind of commitment-phobic". She eventually took the job six months later. She then worked with animation production studio ShadowMachine to develop the show's visual style.
Bob-Waksberg pitched BoJack Horseman to Netflix in October 2013, and it was picked up for a first season that was released in August 2014.
Writers for BoJack Horseman include Bob-Waksberg, Joe Lawson, Kate Purdy, Elijah Aron, Jordan Young, Mehar Sethi, and Joanna Calo. Directors include Amy Winfrey, J.C. Gonzalez, Mike Hollingsworth, Aaron Long, and Anne Walker Farrell.
Creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg has cited the cynical humor in the Canadian show The Newsroom as a large influence on BoJack Horseman. He also praised The Simpsons as an influence for being able to tell sad stories without sacrificing humor. Based on storyline similarities and graphical nuances, the series has been said to have influences deriving from Californication, Two and a Half Men and Daria. In September 2018, before the show's fifth season was released, Bob-Waksberg has stated what the show's ten biggest influences were:
- The Simpsons: "This show is such a titan of the format. It's so influential in so many ways."
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit: "Formally, it's easy to see the connection: Roger Rabbit posits, 'What if cartoons were real and interacted with humans?'"
- Archer: "The caustic style of Archer was really on my mind when I was first doing BoJack - perhaps too much!" 
- Animaniacs: "I've always been a big fan of aspirational references. It's boring if I watch [a show] and get everything."
- Daria: "It did a good job of showing that smart people aren't always right and stupid people aren't always bad."
- The Tick: "There was a villain, Chairface Chippendale, who wanted to carve his name in the moon, and the Tick stopped him, but not before he got the C and the H in. So for the rest of the series, whenever there's a night scene, there's a C and an H there."
- Pixar Animation Studios: "I love how the studio plays with structure and isn't afraid to try different things, like the dialogue-free first act of Wall-E." 
- Futurama: "It plays with continuity in a really cool way, and plays with sadness in a really cool way" 
- South Park: "I particularly love the more didactic episodes of the show, even though I don't always agree with them politically."
- The works of Don Hertzfeldt: "His short Rejected was a big influence, particularly in the first drug-trip episode of BoJack." 
Since its first season, Bojack has addressed many hot-button sociopolitical issues. Its creator, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, once said that he considered the concept of "political correctness" something that other comedians and media creators should view as more of a responsibility: In a 2017 interview with VICE, he said,
I think most people who argue for what you might call political correctness, are not actually arguing for censorship. They're arguing for self-control and self-restraint. They're arguing for people to be conscious of the power they have, right? And I believe that I have a lot of power, as someone making popular entertainment. I do think we have to be careful about the art we put out.
The seventh episode of the second season was perhaps one of the most notable examples of the show's voice on this issue. The season 2 episode "Hank After Dark", commonly referred to as "the Cosby episode", follows Diane and BoJack on a book tour as they field questions regarding allegations that have just surfaced about a comedy legend, Hank Hippopopalous. In the third-season episode "Brrap Brrap Pew Pew" (episode 6), Diane accidentally announces she is getting an abortion via pop starlet Sextina Aquafina's Twitter account, and Hollywoo gets swept up in talks about the practice. The season 4 episode "Thoughts and Prayers", took a similar satirical approach towards the frequency of mass shootings and the gun debate in America, after Diane fires a gun for the first time and one of Princess Carolyn's projects get caught in the crossfire, launching a debate on whether or not women should own and use guns.
Season 5 has been praised for its handling of sexual harassment and powerful men following the Me Too movement. Todd VanDerWerff wrote that it "just might be the best artistic rumination on #MeToo and an age of terrible men yet."
The show also explores Todd Chavez's open asexuality, which is addressed throughout seasons 4 and 5. In the last episode of the third season, Todd says "I'm not gay... I mean, I don't think I am, but I don't think I'm straight, either. I don't know what I am. I think I might be nothing."
On July 26, 2018, Comedy Central acquired exclusive linear television rights to the series. The series premiered on the network after the South Park season 22 premiere on September 26, 2018. The series' syndication deal also makes it the first Netflix original to be syndicated on linear television in the United States.
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2014||Behind the Voice Actor Award||Best Female Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Supporting Role - Comedy/Musical||Olivia Wilde as "Charlotte"||Nominated|||
|Wendie Malick as "Beatrice Horseman"||Nominated|||
|2016||6th Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Animated Series||BoJack Horseman||Won|||
|2016 Gold Derby Awards||Won|||
|43rd Annie Awards||Best General Audience Animated TV/Broadcast Production||"Brand New Couch"||Nominated|||
|68th Writers Guild of America Awards||Television: Animation||Kelly Galuska ("Hank After Dark")||Nominated|||
|7th Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Animated Series||BoJack Horseman||Won|||
|31st Artios Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Television Animation Adult||Linda Lamontagne||Nominated|||
|2017||44th Annie Awards||Best General Audience Animated TV/Broadcast Production||"Fish Out Of Water"||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated TV Production||Alison Brie||Nominated|
|69th Writers Guild of America Awards||Television: Animation||Elijah Aron & Jordan Young ("Fish Out of Water")||Nominated|||
|Joe Lawson ("Stop the Presses")||Won|
|32nd Artios Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Television Animation||Linda Lamontagne||Nominated|||
|2017 Annecy International Animated Film Festival||Special Distinction for a TV Series||"Fish Out Of Water"||Won|||
|43rd Saturn Awards||Best Animated Series or Film on Television||BoJack Horseman||Nominated|||
|69th Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance||Kristen Schaal ("That's Too Much, Man!")||Nominated|||
|2017 Gold Derby Awards||Best Animated Program||BoJack Horseman||Won|||
|2017 Hollywood Music in Media Awards||Original Score – TV Show/Limited Series||Jesse Novak||Nominated|||
|64th Golden Reel Awards||TV Animation – Effects/Foley/Dialogue/ADR||Hunter Curra, Konrad Piñon, Andrew Twite, Joy Elett, Kailand C. Reilly ("Fish Out of Water")||Nominated|||
|Behind the Voice Actor Award||Best Male Vocal Lead Vocal Performance in a Television Series||Will Arnett as "BoJack Horseman"||Nominated|||
|2018||8th Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Animated Series||BoJack Horseman||Nominated|||
|GTA18 Golden Trailer Awards||Best Animation / Family (TV Spot / Trailer / Teaser for a series)||BoJack Horseman (Season 3 "Trailer")||Nominated|||
|33rd Artios Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Television Animation||Linda Lamontagne||Won|||
|45th Annie Awards||Best General Audience Animated Television/Broadcast Production||"Stupid Piece of Sh*t"||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production||Wendie Malick ("Time's Arrow")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement for Editorial in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production||Jose Martinez ("Stupid Piece of Sh*t")||Nominated|
|70th Writers Guild of America Awards||Television: Animation||Joanna Calo ("Ruthie")||Nominated|||
|Kate Purdy ("Time's Arrow")||Won|
|44th Saturn Awards||Best Animated Series or Film on Television||BoJack Horseman||Nominated|||
|2019||9th Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Animated Series||BoJack Horseman||Won|||
|46th Annie Awards||Best General Audience Animated Television/Broadcast Production||"The Dog Days are Over"||Won|||
|Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production||Will Arnett ("Free Churro")||Won|
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