This week my Netflix pick is BoJack Horseman. The cartoon stars Will Arnett as the titualar BoJack, a washed up actor from a 90s sitcom titled “Horsin’ Around.” (Think Full House.) The conceit of the show is that it is set in a parallel universe in which anthropomorphic animals live and work side-by-side with humans.
My initial impression was that the show wasn’t something in which I would be interested. The first few episodes, while funny, did not bowl me over. It wasn’t until the middle of the season where the show began demonstrating something unexpected, and something that I look for in comedies that I can really appreciate. A heart.
Beyond the rapid fire jokes and sight gags the show demonstrates a remarkable ability to reveal a deeper layer of damage. BoJack’s lifetime of hurt, betrayal, and substance abuse has left him with some very serious and very well wrought issues that come to light in the second half of the first season. This added layer of substance makes the jokes sharper and more poignant.
One of the main characters says towards the end of the season, “I don’t believe there is a deep down. There is only what you do.” I feel that in the first half of the season, the show’s writers felt that they had a good show, deep down. And in the second half the season they finally showed it.