BoJack Horseman returns for a fifth season, September 14th on Netflix.
After a lackluster fourth season, my favorite animated sitcom about a washed-up celebrity horse is back to form.
All the problems of last year’s installments have been remedied, with a perfect balance of standalone, contained stories in every episode and character development arcs. For those who think there’s nothing else BoJack Horseman can say about its themes of fame, pity, and purpose, you’ll be happily surprised at how much is still left for the writers to explore. Yup, this is still the most depressing television show on the air.
Simultaneously, it’s also the goofiest show on the air. Lampooning Hollywood is what the show excels at. These 12 episodes have plenty of knocks at showbusiness, particularly in the new TV show BoJack is starring in, Philbert. Philbert is a whattimeisitrightnow.com original. An insane amount of background gags are once again planted throughout the binge for you to spot. My favorites were during a Halloween party, where you can find a beetle dressed as Beetlejuice and lots of pop culture costumes, including Alison Brie’s character in GLOW!
This season of BoJack Horseman reminded me a lot of Master of None. Much like Aziz Ansari’s magnum opus, this year BoJack is nearly all experimental episodes. To be fair, the series has always broken formula, most notably with a silent adventure set entirely underwater. However, out-of-the-box storytelling feels much more prominent in season five. Without spoiling too much, there are two ‘bottle episodes’ focused on supporting characters, a genuinely fantastic chapter consisting of a 25-minute Will Arnett monologue, a Halloween-themed half hour that splices together three parties from three different years, and another about “Bobo the Angsty Zebra.” (Wait and see.) None of this is groundbreaking per say, but it is refreshing to change up the pace.
One noticeable flaw this season was relegating Todd to every episode’s B-plot. In the early days of BoJack Horseman he was on screen much more, and he’s still the most consistently hilarious character. He and voice actor Aaron Paul deserve better.
My favorite part of season five is how things seem to be coming to a close for the show; it would be a travesty for this series to overstay its welcome. We hit a couple of full circle moments this time around, and ugly decisions made many episodes ago are back to enact consequences. (To paraphrase James Comey, “Oh lordy, there are tapes.”) I can once again safely say that BoJack Horseman is the best Netflix show.
Oh, one more thing before I end this review: everyone’s favorite “character actress” does indeed make an appearance.
I give BoJack Horseman Season 5 an A-.