By Carmen Saffioti
Published: October 3rd, 2018
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
BoJack Horseman season five started off in its usual nature: crazy antics with a mix of existential dread. After the more positive end of season four, season five is quick to establish that it is not going down that same route.
Characters are left to deal with the repercussions of last season: divorce, death, relationships and guilt. Each episode focuses on a character and their plot line – Diane’s divorce, Mr. Peanutbutter’s new relationship, BoJack’s guilt, Todd’s asexuality, and Princess Carolyn’s adoption process. What is great about this season is that we really get to delve into each character’s personal drama and background. There is a lot of character development this season and it is very rewarding.
BoJack is the show’s complex protagonist. He is not a “good person.” He continually makes mistakes that are almost unforgivable, yet the audience cannot help but latch onto his personality, even if it is narcissistic at times. What is great, however, is that the writers of the show do not let him off easily. They do not let the audience forget the long list of bad things that BoJack has done. BoJack has to truly work this season in order to forgive himself.
This season is strikingly relevant to the #MeToo movement. BoJack assaults his female co-star during a stunt gone wrong. Although it was an accident and BoJack was high, the writers make it clear that that doesn’t matter. Instead, BoJack needs to apologize and take full responsibility for what he has done. It sends the message that the circumstances do not matter when you have hurt someone – you still need to accept responsibility. This sends the right message about sexual assault and it is also a powerful critique of Hollywood celebrities who have refused to take such responsibility by twisting the story in their favor or flat out denying allegations. This season refreshingly is in tune to out changing the culture of today.
My favorite episode of season five is the funeral episode. The entire episode is BoJack delivering a eulogy for his deceased mother, in which he goes off into many existential tangents about life, death, and his childhood. The perspective never shifts from BoJack; there are no flashbacks or glimpses of any other character – forcing the audience to focus solely on what BoJack is saying. If you have been watching the show from season one, it should be clear to you that BoJack has had a terrible childhood and he mostly blames his parents (particularly his mother) for it. BoJack starts his 20-minute speech by bringing up an incident that happened at Jack in the Box; he got a free churro because he told the drive-thru cashier that his mother had died (“Free Churro” is the title of the episode). Even someone who has not watched BoJack Horseman at all can enjoy this strange concept episode.
BoJack Horseman is still thriving in its fifth season, which is pretty incredible for any show. Fans, myself included, are excited for the next season, but season five is so saturated with meaning that we will be satisfied until next year.