By Jasmine Bratton
In a sea of “Family Guy” clones and the zombie-like seasons of “The Simpsons” and “South Park,” it’s hard to call adult animation funny anymore, and it’s near impossible to call it smart.
For those who want to watch adult cartoons without feeling like you belong in middle school, Netflix is coming to save you. “BoJack Horseman,” a bleak and darkly funny look into the struggles of a failing horse actor, awaits, with three hilarious seasons ready to tide you over until the upcoming fourth.
“BoJack Horseman” follows the eponymous Bojack, an actor whose career has gone up and down, but mostly down, since starring on his show Horsin’ Around, a very blatant Full House reference. Living in an animalistic but civilized Hollywood, BoJack struggles to have a long lasting career and find friends and struggles even harder not to lose those friends because of a drunken tirade. Because Hollywood is equal parts crazy real and absurd, the humor comes from how weird but realistic everything is.
One of the core aspects of the show is its continuity, which makes it great for binge-watching on Netflix. Every little joke, reference, and the throwaway gag is referenced again later on in the season. Think that joke about the spaghetti strainers was useless? Think again. BoJack spits in the face of useless comedy and tries to make the most of its medium, giving the viewer genuine laughs instead of awkward silence.
BoJack’s characters also deserve some mention, as not only are they hilarious, they’re well-rounded. The show strives on character growth, which looks more like them constantly falling on life sometimes, but ultimately, they grow. Also, a character that behaves like a jerk doesn’t get rewarded for it by the narrative or the characters around them. Instead, the show strives on reap what you sow, and boy is it satisfying to see awful characters get what’s coming to them.
Another aspect of the show that people tend to forget that it has a realistic depiction of a character with depression. BoJack is very clearly working with depression, and his outlook on life frequently show what real people with depression are dealing with.
The show doesn’t vilify or ridicule his condition or justify his actions because of his depression. It’s a very nuanced portrayal, and refreshing to see in modern media.
I see in Bojack Horseman a refreshing change in adult animation. Instead of fart jokes and unintelligent political humor, the reliance on strong characters and the oxymoron of absurd realism build a show. I look forward to the next season and hope there are much more to come afterward.