REVIEW: Bojack Horseman – Season Six, Part One (2019)

*Warning: Full spoilers ahead*

Munir: Bojack Horseman, one of Netflix’s best series, has returned for the first part of its final season. While that is undoubtedly sad news, it’s better to finish it on a strong note rather than going on endlessly and lose what made the series great. And if there’s any indication, this first eight episodes of the final season demonstrate a TV show that’s as strong as ever, equal parts funny, heartbreaking, and relevant. The season starts where the last ended, with Bojack in rehab after the assault incident he did in his TV series Philbert. Meanwhile, Princess Carolyn is trying to manage single parenthood with her demanding career, Diane is trying to tell stories that matter, Mr. Peanutbutter is feeling guilty about his infidelity, and Todd is just failing upwards, as always. Everyone has a compelling arc, but I think Bojack’s is the strongest (not surprising, since he’s the main character). He tries to take responsibility for his actions while still being haunted by the past. I really enjoyed this first batch of episodes, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends. What do you think, Virginia?

V: I feel really alone in that I’m not bothered by this being the last season. I love Bojack Horseman, and I’ll miss the feeling of looking forward to new episodes, but as you said, it’s better they wrap it up now than try to drag it out forever. Besides, last season’s finale, with Diane dropping Bojack off at rehab, felt like the beginning of the end anyway. Bojack is at his best in season 6 (at least so far), and it would be contrived to try to come up with reasons to keep the show going forever. I agree with you that these episodes are excellent, and they might be amongst my favorites overall. It feels good to see Bojack finally confront his actions, even if there’s some occasional second-hand embarrassment. There are a lot of poignant moments in episodes 1-8. Among them is when Bojack expresses to his therapy horse, Dr. Champ, his fear of losing control once he leaves rehab. This is the easy part, like going to camp. It’s going back to the real world that truly scares him.

M: Agreed. I also like how they used flashbacks this season. We return to Horsin’ Around a lot, and Bojack’s childhood, to see how he came to be like he is. I also like how the show can make you empathize with Bojack without absolving him of his actions. You can understand him a little more, but you also know that many of his actions brought harm to others, and he does need to be accountable. I think that’s a timely message. Lately, there’s a tendency to try to forgive people who have done terrible things by blaming their harsh childhoods or other bad things that happened to them. However, whatever happened to you is no excuse to harm or damage others, and I think that’s a very important point that the series makes. I also like the rest of the supporting characters’ arcs. The episode of Princess Carolyn trying to juggle her career and her daughter is also very relevant, and shows how women are expected to “do it all.” I also like how Diane started a healthy relationship, but she’s still struggling to find her place in the world. And Todd’s episode with his step-father was very compelling and showed another side of the character.

Bojack Horseman Season 6 Part 1

V: I completely agree about Bojack taking responsibility for his actions. In the season opener, “A Horse Walks Into Rehab,” he starts out talking to Jameson about how we’re all culpable for our own actions. However, he briefly falls into his old spiel of blaming parents for their children’s’ dysfunctions. I’ve always enjoyed this exploration of how Bojack was shaped by his parents and several people and events. At the end of the day, however, he has made these mistakes, and he has to own up to it. In some cases, he may make amends, but the implication is definitely there that some things can’t be fixed. For example, his almost-affair with the underaged Penny and his assault on Philbert co-star Gina. Princess Carolyn’s subplot and episode two, “The New Client,” brilliantly explores, as you said, her attempts to have it all, be it all, and do it all. She’s always buried herself in work, but all the while, she had a yearning to be a mother. Last season, when she adopted Ruthie, I didn’t think it was going to work out well. However, things seem to be going well, with Todd being her live-in babysitter. They could always throw us another curveball in part 2, but I hope not. Speaking of Todd, I also liked his role in episode 6, “The Kidney Stays in the Picture.” His step-father proves to be a pretty interesting character, and I love that he clearly cares for Todd. It’s frustrating because you want them and Todd’s mother to all be a happy family. Still, they have very different definitions of what constitutes “happy.” I also thought it was smart how Todd and Jorge’s differences were based on the different lives they’ve led. Todd does well by accident most times, while Jorge has struggled and climbed to have a successful life. I also really like Diane’s arc this season. She’s always been my least favorite among the main cast. However, I’m loving this new direction with her cameraman Guy and her head-on confrontation of her depression.

M: I like Todd’s step-father realization at the end of the episode that Todd is mostly always lucky because he’s white. With this, the show talks about white privilege. Todd is not a bad man, but he is fortunate, and that has to do with his race. It does speak of the world today, while his step-father, being Latino, had to work hard to achieve something. Diane’s confrontation with depression was also very well done, and I like that she and Bojack have developed a true friendship. I loved the episode “Surprise,” where Todd organized a surprise wedding for Mr. Peanutbutter and Pickles. Mr. Peanutbutter confesses his infidelity while everyone hides around the house, avoiding them and their big fight. It’s a masterful execution of timing, humor, and some hard truths. It also speaks volumes to how dependent we’ve become on social media, as Pickles airs her every grievance online and seeks advice and validation on the net. I immensely enjoyed the episode, as it featured every one of the main characters, and it was written and done with flawless execution.

Bojack Horseman Season 6 Part 1

V: That was a funny line. Like many great jokes in the show, it’s funny and quick, but also says something about our culture. I also love the way Diane and Bojack’s friendship has developed. When he encouraged her to go to Chicago and said he’d be fine, I was almost moved to tears. He wouldn’t have been able to say this in season one or even season five. Episode four, “Surprise!” was hilarious. I loved the scenes of the party-goers trying to hide as Pickles and Mr. Peanutbutter move around the house. Pickles’ closeness with her online following is disturbing. What Mr. PB did was definitely wrong, and I felt awful for Pickles, but telling everyone on the internet all the dirty details isn’t right either. I liked the scene where Diane pretended to be Mr. Peanutbutter’s talking thermostat and Bojack the coin sorter, and gave him advice. It was also funny when Diane did show herself, apologizing for sleeping with him as if to make Pickles feel better. Honestly, though, I don’t think this relationship is going to work out at all. Their agreement that Pickles cheat on Mr. Peanutbutter to feel better is an indicator of that.

M: Exactly; they are not making the right decisions. The fact that Pickles had to sleep with 32 men to get “even” speaks volumes to how their relationship is not OK, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it all ends. One other aspect that I liked is their dig at big conglomerates. WhiteWhale starts buying everything, including Diane’s channel, and it’s evident that its main target was Disney. I found this hilarious and relevant. I’ve been wary of Disney buying more and more stuff (I’m still uneasy with the Fox purchase), and I also liked how the series illustrates how the powerful can almost always get away with crime. The line that now it’s legal to murder someone if you’re a billionaire was both funny and prescient. Another aspect I liked was the assistant’s strike, where they wanted to be treated by human beings. It speaks about the workforce is underpaid and mistreated in our world. I liked how Princess Carolyn reversed course and actually helped them to achieve a good deal.

Bojack Horseman Season 6 Part 1

V: That was great of her. Princess Carolyn has been one of my favorites. She’s sassy, hilarious, hardworking, selfless, and my favorite animal, a cat! What’s not to love? I was disgusted with her helping Turtletaub to trick the assistants, but when she gave Jonah’s number to Stuart, I wanted to cheer. On that note, they’re bringing in a lot of characters I’ve missed, like Jonah, Kelsey, and esteemed character actress Margo Martindale. I feel like they’re going to fit everything into this final season, and so far, it’s glorious. I agree that the WhiteWhale (CEO voiced by Stephen Root) purchases are a clever indictment of the monopolies going on in America. I took it as more of a general statement on the capitalist system, but Disney is the easiest target at the moment. By the way, I loved the little 30’ s-style animation about WhiteWhale’s history. This was funny and kind of cute. I wondered why it said “Directed by Brad Bird” at the end, though. What are they implying, I wonder? Bird is one of my favorite directors, having made The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille, among others.

M: It’s an interesting point. I think both the 30’s animation and the “Directed by Brad Bird” bit reinforce the notion that they were mostly criticizing Disney, since he has done four films with them. Also, I think it’s because his last name is Bird, but I don’t think it was an actual snipe at him. At least, I don’t know what they would be criticizing about him. I wanted to talk about the final episode. I think it was very bold how we saw characters that we’ve seen before, but none of the main cast. It’s also interesting that, even though Bojack is trying to be better, some things cannot be erased or easily amended. The inquiry of Sarah Lynn’s death and his almost affair with Penny are coming out. I think it would be especially devastating to Hollyhock, who was about to learn the truth. I really how they used characters that are not directly involved with Bojack (except Hollyhock) to see the events that have surrounded him throughout other people. I’m sure these events are going to have significant implications in the final eight episodes when they arrive in January.

Bojack Horseman Season 6 Part 1

V: Episode 8, “A Quick One While He’s Away,” was indeed excellent, and quite somber. I hope these revelations don’t deter our eponymous equine from his path of self-improvement and sobriety. I already feel terrible for Hollyhock. She’s young and impressionable, and I’m afraid for her to be faced with some of her brother’s worst deeds. The Penny story getting out at the same time as Bojack being implicated in Sarah Lynn’s death could be catastrophic. Like you, I’m quite eager to see the series finale in January. Before we go, I wanted to mention some great bits in episode three, “Feel Good Story.” This episode focuses on Diane and her cameraman/boyfriend, Guy. I love the main storyline, with Guy proving to be the best significant other Diane has yet had, and their willingness to compromise shows growth on Diane’s part. I found it meaningful when Diane rents a hotel room to get away from him after a fight. There are two beds in the room, in contrast to their shared room earlier in the episode, which has one bed. This is probably random, but I loved the scene with Isabel the reporter. The Moby Dick references and her Great Gatsby comment killed me.

M: She’s a great character, and I’m sure we’ll see more of her in the final episodes. I also liked how Diane grew this season while still struggling. I hope she finds a way to be happy in the end, and I think Guy is a tremendous influence on her. To wrap up, the first part of the final season showcases, yet again, how strong this series is. The cast is at the top of its game, the references are apt and timely, and each character has an excellent arc. I can’t wait to see how it all ends with one of TV’s best series of the modern age.

What did you think of Bojack’s sixth season? Are you eager to see the final episodes? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to come back to Geeks + Gamers for more reviews on your favorite films and TV shows!

Bojack Horseman Season 6, Part 1

Plot - 10
Acting - 10
Progression - 10
Production Design - 10
Comedy - 10

10

Outstanding

What else can we say? Bojack Horseman has always been a great show, and the first half of season six is no exception. The vocal talent is dynamite, the dialogue is hilarious and poignant and the themes are extremely well explored.

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