'BoJack Horseman': Season 6 Part 1 Review
Goodbye has never felt so bittersweet
I was upset to hear that BoJack Horseman was ending with its sixth season. It’s been my favorite show on Netflix since its premiere, and every season has been consistently well-written, animated, and acted. However, after watching the first part of the final season, as it is being split in two with the second half scheduled to air in a few months, this does feel like a natural ending point. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still criminal of Netflix to cancel this show, but I think they’re finding the best way to end it from what I’ve seen.
I’ll keep this review mostly spoiler free, but it’s hard to discuss this season without mentioning where are characters are headed. The first part of season six is clearly heading toward a theme of growth and moving on from the trauma, grief, and addictions that have plagued each of our characters since season one. We ended in season five with BoJack in rehab. Contrary to all of his self-sabotaging in the past, he’s still there in season six and going through with the program. This kicks off a season different from the others, in that the characters start to actual implement the changes they’ve known they’ve had to make.
Part of what makes this show about animated anthropomorphic characters so astounding is how well it portrays how one could deal with complex emotional issues in real life. The writing is spot on with how they feel, like BoJack’s letters to Diane in the third episode, or Princess Carolyn describing her new life as a mother to Vanessa Gekko. Nothing in this show ever feels like they’re dumbing things down for the audience. With BoJack’s letters, for example, they easily apply to his own life while perfectly describing what Diane is going through without being too on the nose.
Another facet of the writing and overall style of the show that stands out is how they always find new structures to tell the story in compelling ways. In previous seasons, there’s an episode that takes place totally underwater with no dialogue, and another told entirely in a monologue by BoJack. This season is another that has a lot of cool storytelling techniques to get a point across. Going back to Princess Carolyn’s baby, they have almost ghost versions of herself running around in the background as she goes about her day to show all the things she has to do to be a “Do It All Woman.” Differently colored versions of herself represent her mother side, her personal side, her work side, etc. I loved how it showed how worn out she was and how thin she stretched herself. Another was an opening detailing Pickles and Mr. Peanutbutter’s relationship all through Pickles’ evolving livestream channel. There are small things that keep the stories fresh and the pace quick and easy to follow.
As usual, the humor is on point. Princess Carolyn’s snappy rhyming always entertains me, and I thought Todd was especially hilarious this season. A personal favorite moment of his that I simply can’t leave out comes from a pitch meeting he has with a network executive. He “pitches” a show idea and the exec asks him to name his price, to which he pauses and cautiously replies, “…Jonathan?” I completely lost it. The writers should be incredibly proud of this season, because every piece of dialogue is crisp, clean, and essential.
Without giving away too much, The real meat of this season is in acceptance and change. As mentioned before, a lot of BoJack has focused on the cycle of climbing out of and falling back into destructive patterns. After a lot of rock bottoms for all the characters, this season seems to offer a break in the pattern. Even the opening is different; instead of going to BoJack’s house, the camera flies right by and goes into his past, following him from his sitcom days to now. In a season where we see even more key moments in BoJack’s past that kicked of his alcohol habits and negative thoughts, it’s clear that we’ve reached the roots of his problems. This season asks us how much we deserve to suffer for past mistakes, as it seems those mistakes won’t leave BoJack as he starts to get better. If that cliffhanger says anything about it, BoJack will have to seriously deal with huge consequences and mistakes he’s made in his life.
I’m truly sad to see this show go. I’m excited (and honestly anxious) to see where it picks up in the second and final half of the season. Will BoJack hit another wall and fall back into the abyss, or will he triumph? Most likely it will be bittersweet, at least that’s what I’m expecting. I hope BoJack ends up in a good place, it would crush me if he didn’t at least have a bit of happiness in the end. I’m rooting for you BoJack!