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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

weekend

No more horsing around

Grade: A

“Who threw my cocaine in the champagne fountain?”

“BoJack Horseman” is an odd show. 

An animated dramedy revolving around an anthropomorphic horse that is the amalgamation of Don Draper, a washed up Hollywood movie star and your alcoholic uncle that brings up Donald Trump at Thanksgiving dinner is a difficult show to wrap one’s brain around. It’s also the best thing on television (Is Netflix television? I guess so).

Perhaps the best way to understand it is with the quote mentioned above. It takes place midway through the new third season in which a character describes their rough upbringing and how she had to fill in for her alcoholic mother. 

It’s a funny throwaway line that is somehow part of an extremely moving speech, sprinkling in backstory along the way. There’s no show that can run the gamut like “BoJack.” From inane puns to tough emotional moments, one thing you can definitively state about the series is that it’s not cookie-cutter.

The beauty of “BoJack” is in the details, and, regrettably, some of the best content goes unnoticed as a result. 

Unlike the titular character, the writers of “BoJack” aren’t going to beg for your attention. Each episode is a scavenger hunt for hidden gems, from the skinhead and Latin King tattoos still on Todd’s arms from when he went to prison in the first season to a young donkey wearing a soccer jersey that reads “Foal!”

“BoJack” separates itself from other animated shows in its genre because the universe is constantly updating based on the actions of the characters, no matter how radical. 

Fans will remember from the first season how the Hollywood sign changed to “Hollwoo” in the opening credits after BoJack stole the “D” for Diane. In season three, it’s callbacks like these that bring about the most merriment in the show.

Although animated shows often harken back to childhood thus setting up an expectation for simple setup-punchline structures, “BoJack” is inventive and dazzling in its storytelling.

Just this season alone featured a “Lost In Translation” inspired silent episode, a flashback episode that was chock-full of even more flashbacks and a hallucinogenic episode that cut back-and-forth putting the viewers in the characters’ shoes. 

In previous seasons, the writers have satirized important stories such as that revolving around Bill Cosby. Season three does the same with plotlines about abortion, death and depression. 

For a show that has a sight gag poster of “Hamilton” with a pig on it, it somehow is one of the more “real” shows on television. These small jokes never take away from the overall story as they often create a setting that seems like a clash to the overall tone.

The brilliant writing is often strengthened by the voice actors chosen throughout the series. The special guests are some of the biggest names in entertainment such as Paul McCartney, Daniel Radcliffe and Jessica Biel — who is un-Biel-eivable — but it’s the core that really makes “BoJack” work. 

The eponymous character is voiced by Will Arnett, who uses his gravelly Batman-ish voice to center the entire show. The hurt in his voice at certain points is palpable and although Arnett is never seen on screen, his role as BoJack is some of the best work he’s ever done.

Netflix’s foray into original programming has been good as of late. “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Narcos,” and “Making a Murderer” are all beloved.

However it’s not a stretch to say that “BoJack Horseman” is the best thing that the online media streaming service has ever produced. 

It skirts the line between laugh-out-loud comedy and hard-hitting drama without missing a beat, while simultaneously boasting some of the best actors in the world.

But, hay, look, we're getting a little horse singing the praises of the show, so you should just watch it. 

gigottfr@indiana.edu | @gott31

vziege@indianaedu | @ToriZiege

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