Bojack Horseman: the juggernaut of adult animation


Zioni Moore

Looking back, the Netflix original “Bojack Horseman” stands as a highly developed series dedicated to sharing real stories while using the animation format. Through this juxtaposition of anthropomorphic animals and people, audiences peer through the window of protagonist Bojack’s life and further their understanding of what “living your truth” means to them.

Zioni Moore, Copy Editor

Adult animation circles revere Netflix’s original “Bojack Horseman” for bringing a refreshing take on the allure of Hollywood, or in the show’s case, Hollywood. The show signifies to the world what great storytelling can produce with flexible media. Regardless, a plethora of cartoons produced for mature audiences exists for the masses, and for a while at that.

via Dino Strampuolous

Critics cite Adult Swim original “Moral Orel” as the first real gripping form of adult animation. Centered around the theme of middle-schooler Orel Puppington’s extremely fundamentalist upbringing, the show begins the first season with simple satirical jokes about a particular facet of American culture. However, it quickly reveals the playful nature as a facade and slowly delves from its status as a satire to becoming a psycho tragedy. Several can claim that by the third and final season, the show transforms into something entirely unrecognizable, highlighting generational traumas, alcoholism and sexual assault. Overall, the unified cast of characters drives a complex story. Yet, Adult Swim canceled the show because of how dark it became, leaving audiences dissatisfied until 2014.

The general premise of “Bojack Horseman” runs as follows: Bojack, an out-of-fashion ‘90s television star, begins planning an intense comeback through a supposed groundbreaking biographical novel penned by his long-term ghostwriter Diane Nygen. She fills the role of the introspective yet determined author. All the while, he battles with his array of addictions and self-destructive behavior, a trait that also brings those closest to him down with him.

Regardless, these factors intertwine consistently within the show, similar to top Blockbuster movies. Audiences slowly unravel the years of trauma and failed relationships, especially with women. This made Bojack Bojack. Especially within the later seasons of the series as Bojack starts to turn his life around, leading to consequences and conflicts with his friends and loved ones. The representation of borderline personality disorder offers viewers one of the most realistic within the media period, allowing individuals to feel seen and recognize their own faults.

“Bojack has everything but is constantly faced with the feeling of nothingness which he drowns out with sex and substance abuse that drags his life farther down. Then, there are characters like Todd and Mr. Peanut Butter who kept naively positive attitudes no matter what was happening around them and it really set the course for their lives. Even when Todd is homeless without a single real attribute of adulthood in his life, he’s still happier than Bojack ever could be… I feel the show really highlights how it’s all about mindset which really shows how important our mental health is because it shapes our entire reality and perception of life itself,” magnet senior Miya Everage said.

via Raphael Bob-Waksberg

From its gritty atmosphere to its perfect encapsulation of American disillusionment, “Bojack Horseman” deserves all the merit it has gained over the past couple of years since its release. Truly heartbreaking and hilarious episodes bring fans through an incredible six seasons dedicated to the human experience. Although they did not start the adult conversation within animation, the show’s artistry remains undeniable.

“I really don’t see any show being comparable; the show itself is truly a work of art when looking at all its little details and components that go from the first episode to the last. From its humor and pop culture references to the deeper and darker factors of life, the show really just captures all of it so well. I’m not saying it’s the best show in the world and no show will ever be better, but as far as comparisons, I really just think it’s in its own category and one of a kind fr. I don’t think I’ll ever watch another show and think it captures or hits on the same points Bojack does,” Everage said.