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Review: Bojack Horseman Season 5

The show's fifth season provides a roller coaster of emotions.

By Josh Strange
On September 25, 2018

On Sept. 14, Season 5 of the infamous cartoon show Bojack Horseman released on Netflix. With it came the existential crises, life questioning revelations, cheeky wordplay, and scathing pop culture criticisms one can expect from a Bojack Horseman season.      

The series, which premiered on Netflix in 2014, tackles adult themes of the mental illness and morally corrupt decisions that fame can bring someone to do.

Starring Will Arnett as Bojack Horseman, a washed up actor/comedian who starred in a massively popular sitcom in the 90s, Horsin’ Around. At the start of season 1, Bojack finds himself forgotten and tossed to the side as two decades have passed since Horsin’ Around ended. From then on, the show follows the titular character in his never-ending quest to be more famous and more recognized in Hollywood.  

The show inhabits a fairly unique space in the cartoon television series world in the way that it deals with the serious way it deals with its subject matter. It sets itself apart from contemporaries such as Family Guy or Futurama, which make no discernable effort to deal with serious issues. 

Make no mistake, Bojack Horseman is still a ridiculous comedy. In one episode a character can be having a light hearted adventure of surviving a horde of clown zombies while another character could be suffering from their addiction to painkillers. 

It is this dichotomy of bizarre, silly events punctuated by dark reminders of the human condition that can be jarring to some viewers.

It’s understandable that this can turn some people off to Bojack, but for me it’s the perfect combination. What other show can make you chuckle at a clever reference and in the same episode have you questioning the purpose of your life.

This most recent season of Bojack is no exception to this formula. The cast deal with events interestingly reminiscent of the recent accusations that have shook Hollywood to its core. It paints a sober view of how horrible actions from character’s past can come back to haunt that them.  

However, instead of damning the perpetrators in the show irrevocably, the show offers some kind of grace that hasn’t yet been seen in the dialogue surrounding what should be done with these people. 

“There’s no such thing as bad guys and good guys! We’re all just guys! Who do good stuff sometimes. And bad stuff sometimes.” Diane Nguyen (voiced by Allison Brie) says in one of the climatic scenes of the season.

The show certainly doesn’t give the characters at fault a pass on their immoral actions, however it does provide a different take that makes the viewers think differently.

And that’s the best part of Bojack Horseman, it doesn’t want you to think a certain way or change yourself, it just wants to show you the dark side of humanity. You can take whatever you want away from it, but this is the way that life is.

Season 5 offers a uniquely nuanced view of the seemingly unforgivable actions from people’s past and takes viewers on a trip that will challenge their beliefs.

For those wanting to ride an absolute roller coaster of emotions check out Bojack Horseman on Netflix.


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