Stop what you're doing - go watch Bojack Horseman.
It's only three seasons, you can do it in a day or two. Okay?
You're back? Already? Cheater.
It's okay, you didn't have to watch it - I'm not giving spoilers anyway. Whether you followed my oh-so-kind request or not, I'm going to yak your ears off (actually, since this is written, would it be "yak your eyes off?") about Bojack Horseman, a show that surprised me and quickly became one of my favorite "adult cartoons" out there.
Well, I like a lot of "adult cartoons," but I'm not going to sit here ranking them - I'm bad at that sort of thing. Moreover, what makes Bojack so great isn't what makes, say, Bob's Burgers so great (although they both do have Kristen Schaal...). Completely different beasts.
Bojack Horseman is so wonderful because of how it staunchly defies, yet also celebrates, the cartoon world it's set in. The shops all have punny names, silly jokes are constant; hell, the show gets a lot of mileage out of the very cartoon premise of "the real(ish) world, but where animals are also people" alone. I mean, come on, there hasn't been animal-based comedy this good in ages.
But see, that's the kicker - Bojack Horseman occupies a world very similar to our own in a lot of respects. And the real world... sucks sometimes. It doesn't have happy endings. Bojack is certainly not always a happy show - in fact, a lot of the time the show is downright depressing when it isn't wallowing in existential nihilism or breaking your precious little heart.
"That sounds awful," you say. "Why would I want to watch it?"
Well... I wouldn't recommend it for everyone. It's the kind of show where if you're in a crummy mood, it'll probably just make it worse. Maybe you'll get a sense of commiseration out of it, but you can't go into Bojack with the mindset of it being a silly cartoon comedy.
Because Bojack Horseman... well, let's face it - it's a tragedy with a lot of dick jokes. Sort of like Hamlet. If he were a horse. man.
So while it may not be the perfect show for you, here's why it was a perfect show for me:
- Black humor that is right up my deranged alley (there's a name for a punk band right there)
- Stupid humor that is also up my dumbass alley (ooh, ooh! This one too!)
- It's about the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, something I have A LOT OF OPINIONS ON these days for SOME REASON
- It really makes me think about the nature of happiness
- It's just... really quality storytelling. I mean, the number of paid-off plot points, thrilling character arcs and subverted tropes is enough to give me a rock hard writer-ection
- It makes me feel emotions. Important since I enjoy and appreciate a lot of my entertainment, but it's rare that one nails me on some deep level - especially as often as this show does
- All my worst fears as a creative person are constantly on screen. Gotta say, that's damn compelling
- Bojack's "Tell me I'm good" speech and the end of the penultimate episode of season one. I mean, that was already a fantastic episode, but that speech...
- Todd is asexual (okay, that may be a spoiler, sorry) in a completely realistic way that isn't made fun of or played for laughs - A+
- The amount of scathing societal commentary makes me want to give the show oodles of poetry snaps
- Oh, and the last episode of season 3 starts off with the world's longest brick joke that the writers set up for THE ENTIRE SEASON - it's as absurd as it is completely brilliant
I'm going to stop there. This show hit so many of my buttons in the best way possible and I highly recommend it.
...if you're willing to partake in the existential dread.
There's a temptation to compare the show to Rick and Morty, another adult cartoon that is so, so brilliant, but I'm not gonna.
Both are wonderful for different reasons and a few of the same.
For instance, both lay pretty heavy on the existential dread thing. So. There's that.