BoJack Horseman: Season 6 (Part One) — a review

BoJack6.1

The final eight episodes of Season 6 of Netflix’s amazing animated series BoJack Horseman are scheduled to drop on January 26, 2020. This review is for the first eight episodes of the last season.

Those of you who still dismiss animated shows as kiddie fare haven’t been watching this one, which pairs anthropomorphized animals and human characters with a plot about depression, addiction and the self-sabotaging behavior of the title character. This first half of the final season doesn’t shy away from its trademark dark humor, but it seems that BoJack (Will Arnett) is honestly trying to change this time around.

BoJack has checked himself into the Malibu rehab facility Pastiches, which satirizes many of its real-life counterparts while simultaneously showing BoJack genuinely trying to work through the steps. Eventually. BoJack’s long-overdue struggle for recovery is driven by both the heroin-overdose death of Sarah Lynn (Kristen Schaal), the former child star who once starred with BoJack on his hit ’90s television sitcom Horsin’ Around, and by his own less-than-ideal childhood.

These first eight episodes don’t leave out the rest of our ensemble characters. Diane Nguyen (Alison Brie) is still trying to find herself after her divorce from Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) while she travels the country making videos for GirlCroosh (itself a parody of Buzzfeed). Mr. Peanutbutter himself—the most superficially positive character in the series—becomes the unlikely public face of depression after becoming a “sad dog” internet meme. Princess Caroline (Amy Sedaris) struggles to balance running her business and being a new mom. Todd Chavez (Aaron Paul) continues to fail upward in life, this time getting involved in a heist to steal a kidney for his ailing mother. Character actress Margo Martindale retains her status as the series wildcard in another bizarre cameo.

As the eighth episode ends, it seems as though BoJack’s newfound resolve to live a sober life is about to be challenged again. Reporters are close to breaking the story that BoJack was with Sarah Lynn at the planetarium the night she OD’d. This was after a lengthy shared bender. And, BoJack’s sister Hollyhock (Aparna Nancherla), who was his daughter for a short time (long story), is about to find out that BoJack was the creepy old guy who took Hollyhock’s new party friend Peter and a couple of other teenagers to an Arizona high school dance, got them drunk and then left them at a hospital. Peter probably doesn’t know the story about BoJack’s ex-girlfriend Charlotte catching him in bed with her teenage daughter Penny, who was one of the high school kids, but I’m sure that bombshell is about to drop as well.

As soap-opera-complicated as this may all seem to you, it’s still a bitingly funny television series. You don’t have to take my word for it. Watch, and you’ll see.

I’m not 100% certain where this series is heading for the back half of the season. BoJack Horseman has already traveled through the darkest of dark territories, and most television series would allow the protagonist to finish up his story arc on a positive note. This series has never shied away from subverting expectations, though. If it took another very dark turn and ended that way, it wouldn’t completely surprise me.

However, I’m surprising myself by admitting, here, that I want the positive ending. I don’t want the Breaking Bad or more nebulous Sopranos ending for this series. I want BoJack to achieve his redemption.

And, yes, I feel a little silly for caring about the fate of a cartoon horse. I do, though, and can’t deny it.

Firewater’s Halftime-Score Report Card: A

A

Still good television. It’s not too late for you to play catchup before the series ends its run.

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