A look a the world’s most depressed anthropomorphic horse
by Collin Billings
Staff TV Critic
Do you hate yourself? Well, of course you do, you’re reading the paper. In that case, I have the perfect show for you: Bojack Horseman. This Netflix original follows the story of Bojack, a washed-up sitcom actor who has failed to accomplish anything meaningful since his show’s cancellation. Throughout the show, he attempts to recapture his fame and improve his character. Also, the world of Bojack is inhabited by anthropomorphic animals, but don’t let its happy exterior fool you: Bojack Horseman is one of the darkest shows on Netflix. It frequently explores topics like existentialism, mental illness, and substance abuse; the perfect show for people who enjoy seeing their hopes and dreams crumble before their eyes.
On January 31, Netflix released the second half of the final season of Bojack Horseman, receiving praise from fans and critics alike. The final episodes of the series satisfyingly wrap-up the stories of each of the main characters and successfully deliver on the themes of the narrative. Often times, television series are one season away from sabotaging its own legacy (see Game of Thrones, Season 8), but Bojack Horseman has consistently delivered emotionally resonant and engaging stories throughout its five seasons, each one better than the last. With this final season, the writers for Bojack Horseman have successfully secured a legacy for themselves and have delivered a unique piece of art.
Surprisingly, most of the main characters receive a relatively happy ending by the finale of the season. Diane moves to Houston with her boyfriend and learns to accept her childhood trauma rather than ruminate on it. Todd reconciles with his estranged mother and gets an apartment with his girlfriend, Maude. Princess Caroline marries Judah and finds a healthy balance between her work and personal life. Lastly, Mr. Peanutbutter ends his relationship with Pickles and learns how to be happy on his own. While all of these endings are bittersweet, each character demonstrates growth in some aspect of their character. Though the writers have stated that they don’t believe in definitively happy endings, each of these characters is left in a situation in which they can be consistently content.
In contrast, Bojack’s story ends on a significantly more melancholic note. After Bojack’s past mistakes are revealed to the public, he loses everything: his job, house, money, friends, and reputation. While it is evident from the first episode that Bojack has changed for the better, the series questions if he even deserves to be happy. Throughout the series, the audience is made to feel sympathetic for Bojack, but the show forces us to consider the possibility that our sympathy is unmerited. With all the lives he’s ruined, does it really matter that he changed?
Bojack’s fall from grace ultimately culminates with him attempting suicide. Consequently, Episode 15 of Season 6 revolves around Bojack reconciling with his death in the afterlife and coming to terms with his mistakes. The episode explores complex subjects that pertain to the nature of human existence. Ultimately, the show offers no definitive answer to the meaning of our existence and instead leaves it up to the audience. The episode ends with Bojack supposedly accepting his death and disappearing into the abyss. However, the finale reveals that Bojack survived his suicide attempt, and he is now forced to deal with the consequences of his actions. The series ends with Bojack being sent to jail, and while he is able to reconcile with many of his friends, the ending is distinctly mournful. This bittersweet ending, in my mind, is the perfect ending for this series. With this conclusion, I believe that Bojack Horseman has enshrined itself as one of the best series in the history of television.