Bojack Horseman is back for the beginning of the end and just when we thought the series was starting to veer off track, Raphael Bob-Waksberg reminds us why the series is truly one of a kind.
When we first introduced to Bojack in season one, we viewed him as a self-sabotaging narcissist whose cruel treatment of his friends adds to the show’s dark humor. As the series progresses, we watch Bojack fall deeper and deeper into a vicious circle of self-destruction, hurting those around him and yet somehow managing to keep the audience on his side. When season six begins, he has checked into a rehab clinic and for the first time, the show offers a glimpse of genuine hope for our bitter 90’s TV star.
Bojack’s journey throughout season six is hard-hitting and credible. He becomes afraid to leave his safe space while simultaneously growing tired of his counselor’s aphorisms. It’s only when said counselor falls off the wagon himself that Bojack is able to finally see himself clearly and make an honest step towards change.
Season six is just as much about Bojack’s friends’ journey as it is about the titular character. Princess Carolyn spends the season struggling to find a balance between being a single mother and staying ahead in the industry. The lonely agent has always struggled to find a work/life balance but now that she is a mother, her struggle reaches a new level. In many ways, her storyline this season is a commentary on what can happen when a woman tries to succeed both in her career and in motherhood. The “balance” ultimately seems to be taking off one measly Friday every two weeks.
Meanwhile, Dianne is refusing to accept that she is depressed. Todd’s storyline in relation to his asexuality is revisited, only there is still more scope to explore. Mr. Peanutbutter is facing yet another failed relationship and Princess Carolyn’s PR skills land him a gig as the face of depression. Each character’s journey is riddled with satire and commentary on Hollywood culture. Most pressing of all, however, is Bojack’s part in the #MeToo movement.
By episode eight, Bojack has shown signs of true and humble change. He apologizes sincerely to his friends, throws Mr. Peanutbutter and Todd a bone and most importantly, he commits to his sobriety. It is just when we are feeling proud of our anti-hero that Bob-Waksberg cruelly rips away our hopes of a happy ending.
Episode eight ends with Hollyhock having a chat with a stranger at a party. This boy just so happens to be the same kid that Bojack got drunk at prom before abandoning him with his ill girlfriend at a hospital. This comes after a pair of ridiculous reporters remind us of Bojack’s role in the downfall of Sarah Lynn.
Just like that, we are reminded that as a celebrity, Bojack has continuously gotten away with horrendous crimes. As an audience, we’ve forgiven him over and over again on the basis that we find him entertaining and charming to watch. In this way, Bob-Waksberg makes a shocking commentary on not just Hollywood’s willingness to ignore unforgivable behavior, but the role we as an audience have to play. At the end of the day, however, Bojack Horseman’s ultimate victim of critique is itself. And that’s what makes the show so brilliantly clever.