Friday, September 22, 2017

TV Show Review: Bojack Horseman (Season 4)

The depressed and narcissistic horse who was once famous for a television career is back with another hilarious season of hijinks and interesting storytelling. Bojack Horseman (Will Arnett) has left his life in Los Angeles behind to hideout in an abandoned house of his grandparents while keeping up a bender of alcohol and drugs. Bojack has really escalated in the past few seasons and it is so funny with thousands of witty jokes each season. The show also has a nice mixture of drama from these outrageous characters. Bojack's struggle with addiction is traced back from his upbringing under the harsh criticism of his mother Beatrice (Wendie Malick). The history of Beatrice Sugarman and how she came to be a mother is slowly told through flashbacks and a full episode of jumping memories near the end of the season.

Without Bojack's presence initially, the other characters move on in their own way. Diane Nguyen (Alison Brie) is the only one wondering where Bojack is and she constantly leaves him messages about what is happening in her life. She is working at a blog desperate for clicks while trying to write more serious stories. Her husband Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) has decided on a whim to run for governor of California against the current governor Woodchuck Coochuck-Berkowitz (Andre Braugher). Lampooning of politics can feel too limited with the absurdity of what's actually going on, but Mr. Peanutbutter silly commitments to issues like fracking cause hilarious hijinks. When he agrees to frack in his backyard, his house collapses into a hole while he hosts a celebrity donor party.

Todd (Aaron Paul) is coping with the discovery that he is asexual while trying to help everyone out. Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) is hoping to conceive a child with her lover the mouse Ralph (Raúl Esparza). She's also trying to help her client Courtney Portnoy (Sharon Horgan) which leads to a lot of hilarious alliteration. A serious topic addressed in one episode revolves around the complications between promoting a violent film during this awful time of frequent mass shootings. The show does its best to make a sickening subject somewhat humorous but it mostly falls flat. Also arriving during Bojack's absence is Hollyhock (Aparna Nancherla) who believes she's Bojack's daughter. Even though this review touches on Bojack's absence he returns by episode three only to return to his terrible habits of drinking, drug use, and pushing away everyone he knows. 

The search for Hollyhock's mother is the main thread of this season and culminates in two awesome final episodes that had me crying and laughing at the same time. Mr. Peantbutter's campaign comes to an end when he realizes he's not leadership material but Jessica Biel, in a hilarious cameo, starts a campaign against Woodchuck who has new hands bringing down his public appeal. Princess Carolyn loses her baby but somehow we know she'll have descendants remembering her in the future. Bojack comes to terms with his mother and discovers the true identity of Hollyhock's mother only to land a new series lead on a new streaming platform, What time is it now? 

This show is great and my disjointed and forgetful review doesn't quite do it justice. The wild plots like Todd's and Mr. Peanutbutter's venture into clown dentists that goes horribly wrong or Bojack's coping with depression make certain episodes stick out and the conclusion of this series one of the best yet. I would encourage anyone with an open sense of humor to check it out and definitely get past the first season as the show really picks up in the second and is peaking in these last two seasons. It's easy to binge at 30 minutes an episode and the humor is lightning quick but pulls a lot of pop culture references that may go over some people's heads who are not as buried in the current zeitgeist of the Hollywood elite. They've announced a new season and this will be a pleasant return to one of Netflix's top comedies. 

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