If someone had told me a few years ago that one of my favourite TV shows would focus on a washed-up cartoon horse called Bojack Horseman, I would have laughed. Yet here I am three seasons in, loving every moment and impatiently waiting for the soon-to-be released fourth. What at first looks like yet another wacky adult animated comedy is actually a unique mix of dark character study, goofy humour, an examination of celebrity culture, and some of the best animal puns I have ever heard. Featuring an all-star cast including Will Arnett and Aaron Paul, combined with genre-defying storylines and character arcs, Bojack Horseman is a show unlike any other and well deserved of its critical praise and cult status.
The last few seasons have examined various stages within a celebrity life with dour realism. Season 1 examined Bojack as a washed up former sitcom star, drinking his life away and trying to relive his glory days. Season 2 finally sees his big comeback as he lands his dream role, whereas last year’s offering was largely a parody of the awards season. All the while Bojack’s friends, including workaholic Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) and lovable slacker Todd (Paul), attempt to support him while working through their own personal problems – Diane (Alison Brie) and Mr Peanutbutter’s relationship problems reached levels of realism I thought not possible for a cartoon dog and his human wife. Not that it’s all doom and gloom – the show effortlessly mixes sobering soul-searching with the most often bizarre and ridiculous comedy.
Season 4 on the other hand looks set to continue this quality, and answer the many questions from the season three finale. A big focus looks to be of course the reveal of Bojack’s daughter which could really bring some light to balance out the increasingly dark few episodes. The season 3 finale also hinted that Todd could be exploring his identity this coming season, and if handled correctly could be a really progressive and touching storyline. Other storylines hinted at in the trailer – such as Mr Peanutbutter as Governor and Princess Carolyn attempting to have a baby – also look to continue Bojack Horseman‘s traditional blend of wacky humour and deep character exploration.
If I were to make a few requests for the new season, several spring to mind – consistency would be a fine thing, as the first season especially wavered somewhat drastically in quality. Furthermore, the writers often like to shake up the formula, with episodes constructed around Bojack’s calls to his newspaper company, or focusing on three different couples after a dramatic party. One of the series’ best episodes, ‘Fish Out of Water’ went even further being set underwater almost completely without dialogue, and is a masterclass in visual storytelling. If Bojack Horseman could take the brave choice to attempt something as equally difficult and different within the new season it could really cement the show as one of the most self-aware and innovative comedies out there. And if I am to have one final request for season 4, could it be anything other than to see more of fan-favourite Vincent Adultman?
Despite a rather sluggish start, Bojack Horseman has really grown into one of the most unique and impactful sitcoms out there, and the new season will hopefully be the next great binge of the year.
Bojack Horseman Season 4 will be available on Netflix on Friday 8 September