I still remember the first advertising campaigns for BoJack Horseman. The show looked ostensibly like already existing adult animated shows such as South Park or Family Guy. A group of terrible, offensive people do terrible, offensive things, learning nothing and suffering no consequences (it even hired Aaron Paul to play a stoned couch surfer). Early reviews seemed to support this idea as well, with critics who saw the first few episodes calling it uninspired and dull. The show, however, had an ace up its sleeve. Halfway through the first season, the show transformed from a comedy about a celebrity to one of the most heartfelt and impactful explorations of love, loss, abuse, and depression in recent memory. It was the ultimate fake out, with the show getting rave reviews for its next seasons. But how does the new season compare, especially considering that every new season is called the ‘darkest season yet’.
After helping his long-lost sister Hollyhock find the identity of her birth mother, BoJack (Will Arnett) is hard at work acting in the new drama series ‘Philbert’, a parody of edgy cop shows such as True Detective. Struggling with feelings of paranoia and doubt, due to the set of Philbert looking identical to his apartment and an incredibly busy production schedule, BoJack starts an ill-advised relationship with his co-star, Gina (Stephanie Beatriz). Meanwhile, BoJack’s former girlfriend and agent-turned-manager-turned-producer Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) is looking to adopt a baby, and BoJack’s former roommate Todd (Aaron Paul, gives yet another amazing performance) struggling with both his asexual relationship with Yolanda (Natalie Morales) and his new job as head of marketing at the company WhatTimeIsItRightNow.com. Meanwhile, Diane (Alison Brie) works through her divorce with Mr Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) who begins dating a waitress.
The writing in this season is superb, with all the wordplay, puns and twists that viewers have come to expect from this show. The writers are even experimenting with the show’s format more, with one episode, ‘INT SUB’, even having a completely different opening sequence to match the episodes off the wall strangeness. The show also continues to tackle current affairs, with the episode ‘BoJack the Feminist’ exploring Hollywood’s strange obsession with forgiving men who break the law, insult groups of people and sexually harass or abuse people on and offset. Unlike previous seasons which have had some less than stellar episodes, this season is fantastic overall.
A special mention, however, should be given to the episode ‘Free Churro’. Consisting of an almost 30-minute-long monologue from Arnett, the episode is beautiful and sad in equal measure, showing just how deeply broken BoJack is, and just how much of it can be attributed to his parents. The twist at the end, presented as a single line from Arnett turns the whole episode on its head in the most amazing way and is almost impossible to see coming. If I had only one episode to show to convince someone to spend time with this show, ‘Free Churro’ would definitely be the episode I would show.