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Why We Love Bojack Horseman

Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead!

The Netflix cartoon, Bojack Horseman, has been a hit ever since it aired in 2014. Bojack is a washed-up 80s sitcom star and anthropomorphic horse who has lost purpose after the end of his acting success. Some write the show off as depressing or off-putting, but if you ask me, it’s a gem in Golden Age of Television on the same level as Catfish and other stellar programs.


Photo courtesy of The Vulture

Even if cartoons are not your thing, this cartoon is your thing. The color palettes, the underwater effects, and everyone’s clothing choices are always impeccable-Especially Todd’s model-worthy ensemble.

Todd is our boi

Photo courtesy of Tumblr

We love Todd. He’s the ray of purity and hope in the mess of chaotic Hollywoo life. While all the other characters’ growth is stagnant, or in some cases, retracting, Todd’s develops a steady incline. Often overshadowed by Bojack, his development is slow in the first seasons, but quickly picks up. He makes a personal effort to know himself more deeply by joining an improv group, and we later learn that he’s asexual, further encouraging more LGBTQ+ representation, as well as adding another layer of growth within Todd. The end of season four eludes to a possible asexual relationship with a dolphin(??), so hopefully we’ll see more of our favorite boi in future episodes.

Mental illness

GIF courtesy of Giphy

Unlike many other shows that glamorize or romanticize the struggles of mental illness (quiet jab at 13 Reasons Why), Bojack Horseman presents depression and self-destruction in a raw, unfiltered light, that is sometimes painful to watch. But it’s definitely worth the difficulty to watch to further understand the depths of human (or horse?) emotions.

It’s meta AF

GIF courtesy of Giphy

Even without any dialogue, the very structure of Bojack Horseman is set up to be both funny and profound. First of all, it has multiple TV shows within this one TV show – Horsin’ Around, Mr. Peanutbutter’s House, The Bojack Horseman Show and, of course, Hollywoo Stars and Celebrities: What Do They Know? Do They Know Things?? Let’s Find Out! We see the development of these TV shows and their content throughout the series, and they all dichotomize the rawness of Bojack Horseman with their superficiality and their ridiculousness both on and off the set. In fact, there are numerous juxtapositions of shallowness and intensity, i.e. Bojack’s Horsin’ Around persona versus his present character, the sweetness of Sarah Lynn versus her adult self-destruction and the nonchalance of Todd versus his inner fears.

Wordplay to die for

GIF courtesy of Giphy

Rewatching Bojack Horseman never gets boring because there are so many silent gags that remain unacknowledged by the characters, and you only notice them sometimes. Rewatching the show is like watching a new show. And some puns are so blatantly obvious that they stay funny no matter how many times you watch them.

Celebrity satire

GIF courtesy of Tumblr

The show completely calls out the dirty secrets of celebrity culture–from the explosive actions of the media over trivial stories to get the public rumbling, to more serious criticisms of discrimination in Hollywood, the glamour of fame is stripped away and developed in a truer light.

Belle Weiner

Bryn Mawr '21

Bryn Mawr College 2021. English Major, History of Art Minor.
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