BoJack Horseman: Series 6, part 1

BoJack Horseman – Netflix's tale of a Hollywood horse with myriad issues – begins its final season, letting us luxuriate in these beloved, dysfunctional characters for one last time

Review by Carmen Paddock | 28 Oct 2019
  • Bojack Horseman

For its sixth and final season, BoJack Horseman has split itself into two eight-episode segments – one out now, the other coming in January 2020. Considering where the last series left the main characters, it is a fitting strategy: the eponymous horse (Will Arnett) is in rehab after last season’s rock bottom, agent Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) is raising her adopted child, best friend Diane (Alison Brie) continues her quest for fulfilment, and former housemate Todd (Aaron Paul) continues with his hare-brained yet improbably successful schemes.

As this is the audience’s last outing with these beloved, dysfunctional characters, the pacing is markedly different; more time is spent in each of their lives, luxuriating in their day-to-day struggles and small signs of progress, enjoying how far they all have come since the first season. BoJack is a show that has always been easy and encouraging to binge, but this more introspective tone highlights the meticulousness and truthfulness of the character work of both the cast and creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg, as well as the worldbuilding underneath the irreverence and animal puns.

Furthermore, the show’s astute observations on modern culture feel more cutting with this structure; everything from commodified feminism and corporate exploitation to #MeToo and legacies of childhood trauma are out on the table, and all get their chance to breathe. The latter two points, considering their history on the show, are given special weight. BoJack may be a more sympathetic protagonist in a happier, healthier place than he has been previously, but the same cannot be said of those his behaviour has affected.

At some points in this half series, BoJack feels worryingly like a normal sitcom with a ridiculous setting – until the last episode hits. It feels premature to pass judgement on this season, knowing that its payoff will have to wait until January. That said, its set-up promises a continuation of what makes this animated fantasy one of today’s greatest television shows – also, complete emotional devastation. From its madcap humour to its honest, human (of sorts) depictions of mental illness, addiction, and recovery, BoJack has always cherished its characters but never sought easy answers.