REVIEWED: SEASON 6 (EPISODES 9-16) | WHERE TO WATCH: NETFLIX
It’s a sure sign of Netflix’s growing bravado that they tell Raphael Bob-Waksberg, responsible for arguably the best original content the streaming giant has ever produced, to can BoJack Horseman after six sensational seasons. It was an order obeyed with reluctance - the sixth season being strung out into two halves, the first ending last November with a cliffhanger. Now, the show has finally had the curtain brought down. If the first eight episodes had an occasional ‘trudge down memory lane’ feel about them, the finale has shirked this predictability. The final eight episodes will go down as an ethereal reminder of what makes this series so groundbreaking, as BoJack’s path to at least a chance of redemption violently crumbles beneath his feet.
No show handles the social and structural tensions of our time better than BoJack does. The fact that it explores these collective issues through the perspectives of those with highly individualised struggles has always been the most remarkable thing about it. BoJack never comes close to feeling preachy, one-sided or a surface-level exploration of a given problem. It is a sophisticated, funny and moving insight into the haplessness of human life, all the while exposing Hollywoo(d) as a confusing, toxic land of opportunity. In this regard Season 6 part two changes little, yet still feels as fresh and surprising as ever.
The new episodes still find the time to try new things and throw new curveballs at you, none more so than with the penultimate episode. It feels like not just an ode to its eponymous star, but to the show as a whole. This trippy, tragic, and mind-bending episode ranks up there with the best, small laughs somehow fitting perfectly amidst the sorrow and disbelief as to what the hell is going on becomes gradually clearer.
The humour almost always lands, and while it rarely goes for belly laughs, it is more about light moments of relief as BoJack’s world comes crashing down. You have to make up your own mind about how you feel about him, and confronting everyone that BoJack’s self-destructive behaviour has hurt is a difficult watch. Certain characters are a reliable source of laughs by now, but even they feel more complete and genuine than when the show started (Todd and Mr. Peanut Butter in particular). Others, like BoJack and Diane, whose lives remain connected through all the hardship, finally feel like their stories are complete. It is equally clear, however, that there is so much more that could be explored, making it all the sadder that the show is now at an end. This is compounded by the quick exit stage right by a small handful of characters, which doesn’t feel jarring but nonetheless leaves some frustrating questions unanswered.
In one episode, Mr. Peanut Butter exclaims that the best kind of compromise is when “everyone gets what they want, and no one had to compromise” at all. There has never been any compromise with BoJack. No animated show has the phenomenal writing, absorbing characters, and wicked sense of humour that this has. Add in one of the most detailed character explorations seen in modern television, and you remember why you started watching in the first place. BoJack Horseman is the hardest kind of show to leave behind, the kind that moves and affects you down to the deepest core of what makes you a person.