BoJack-sh!t (a review)

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Unless this is a satire about satires, I don’t get the new Netflix Original Series BoJack Horseman.

Ostensibly, the zany life of a washed up sitcom star from the 90s, who also happens to be a horse, who is trying to find meaning in a life of idle emptiness, the show is instead an endless string of really bad puns and lame jokes about anthropomorphic animals and Hollywood, punctuated with long speeches to highlight the irony of a scene or episode.

I am surprised the character giving the speech doesn’t hold up a sign reading “Ironic part” or “Satirical condemnation of status quo” just in case the audience was too stoned to realize that’s what the speech was about.

Episode 3 starts with an establishing shot of a bar called The Pelican. We then cut to BoJack sitting at the bar which is being tended by a…wait for it…pelican. Or in Episode 2, BoJack has a run-in with a Navy Seal who is a…here it comes…actual seal. Oh, and at the apex of humour, whenever BoJack’s girlfriend/agent puts him on hold, he listens to music from Cats…oh, did I mention his girlfriend/agent is a cat? Them’s the animal jokes, my friends.

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There are attempts at social commentary, of course. In Episode 3, BoJack’s memoir ghost writer tries to make him feel better about a friend by claiming she was a victim of her circumstances and the pressures of society. But silly BoJack…he misunderstands this to mean that no one is responsible for their actions and that the fault universally lies with society, so he can act like a jerk and it’s not his fault. Silly BoJack.

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The voice talent is, well, talented. Alison Brie (Madmen, Community), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Amy Sedaris (Strangers with Candy), Paul F. Thompkins (No You Shut Up!) and Will Arnett (everything else)…these people can act.

Show creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg is a mystery to me. An actor and writer, all I can really find out about him is he a member of a sketch comedy group called Olde English.

And the more I read about him, the more I wonder if my original comment wasn’t dead on…this may just be an amazing meta joke perpetrated by a very funny man. Or it’s just not very good.

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Because I only lose 25 minutes of my life at a go, I will continue to watch to see if it gets better…dear God, let it get better…or let me in on the divine joke of this comedy.

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