BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman Information

BoJack Horseman is an American adult animated sitcom created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg. The series stars Will Arnett as the title character. The supporting cast includes Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, and Aaron Paul. The series' first season premiered on August 22, 2014, on Netflix, with a Christmas special premiering on December 19. The show is designed by the cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt, who had previously worked with Bob-Waksberg on the webcomic Tip Me Over, Pour Me Out.

While BoJack Horseman may have a satirical take on current events, politics, and show business, the show is lauded for its realistic take on dealing with depression, trauma, and self-destructive behavior.

Despite giving mixed reviews upon its debut, critics were notably more positive towards the second half of the first season, before universally acclaiming the subsequent seasons. The series was renewed for a fourth season which premiered on September 8, 2017. On September 21, 2017, the series was renewed for a fifth season.


Main article: List of BoJack Horseman episodes

Series overview

Season Episodes Originally released
1 12 August 22, 2014
Special December 19, 2014
2 12 July 17, 2015
3 12 July 22, 2016
4 12 September 8, 2017
The series takes place mostly in the Los Angeles area, specifically, in Hollywood (later known as "Hollywoo" after the 'D' in the Hollywood Sign is stolen in a romantic gesture). In an alternate world where humans and tailless anthropomorphic animals live side by side, BoJack Horseman, the washed-up star of the 1990s Horsin' Around, plans his big return to celebrity relevance with a tell-all autobiography that he dictates to his ghostwriter Diane Nguyen. BoJack also has to contend with the demands of his agent and on-again-off-again girlfriend Princess Carolyn, the misguided antics of his freeloading roommate Todd Chavez, and his frenemy Mr. Peanutbutter, who is also Nguyen's boyfriend (and later, husband). The series satirizes Hollywood, celebrity culture, drug abuse, anxiety, depression and the effects of the entertainment industry in contemporary culture.

Cast and characters

Main article: List of BoJack Horseman characters
  • Will Arnett as BoJack Horseman, a self-loathing alcoholic horse currently in his 50s, whose acting career peaked when he starred in a successful '90s family sitcom called Horsin' Around. Though he began as a young bright-eyed actor, he has since grown bitter, deeply depressed, and jaded towards Hollywoo and who he has become post-fame. BoJack has been shown to be caring and insightful, but his insecurities, loneliness, and desperate need for approval often result in self-destructive actions that devastate those around him. Arnett also voices Butterscotch Horseman, BoJack's physically and verbally abusive father.
  • Alison Brie as Diane Nguyen, a human ghostwriter, a nice, well-reasoned, misunderstood intellectual, and a Vietnamese-American third-wave feminist from Boston who lives with her rich and famous boyfriend (and later husband), former sitcom star Mr. Peanutbutter. She's intelligent and sympathetic. While writing BoJack's memoir, he and Diane initially develop a strong friendship that becomes increasingly awkward and strained after BoJack develops romantic feelings for her. Diane travels to the war-torn Republic of Cordovia to make a difference, but discovers that this life is not for her. Ashamed of returning to her husband, she develops a severe bout of depression, during which she drinks heavily and sleeps disheveled on BoJack's patio furniture. She is able to reconcile her feelings with Mr. Peanutbutter and gets a job at VIM ghostwriting tweets for celebrities. She is subsequently fired from VIM, and is hired to write for a feminist blog.
  • Amy Sedaris as Princess Carolyn, a pink Persian cat who is BoJack's agent in the first three seasons and former on-and-off girlfriend. Earnest and unflagging, Princess Carolyn was a top agent at Vigor agency through her dogged pursuit of new talent and large network of odd personal connections. Though she struggles to find a balance between work, her troubled personal life, and taking care of BoJack and her friends, she enjoys her fast-paced hectic lifestyle. She left Vigor to start a new agency with her then-boyfriend and coworker Rutabaga Rabitowitz. After recognizing his lack of trustworthiness and confronting her fear of being alone, she ultimately decides to leave him and run the new company named VIM by herself. After several setbacks, Princess Carolyn closes VIM in Season 3, only to reopen it as a management agency.
  • Aaron Paul as Todd Chavez, an unemployed but well-meaning and friendly 24-year-old human slacker who ended up at BoJack's house for a party five years before the beginning of the series and never left. Although BoJack constantly voices disdain for him, he secretly cares about Todd, continuing to financially support him and sabotage his attempts to gain independence. Todd has been shown to possess a plethora of skills including an understanding of Japanese; entrepreneurial know-how, having allied with Mr. Peanutbutter for various business ideas; and writing and composing his own rock opera - Newtopia Rising, Book I: The Search for a New Utopia. His rock opera was eventually sabotaged by BoJack, who took advantage of his former addiction to video games. Todd puts the pieces together of what BoJack did string map style and begins to question his friendship with Bojack. Todd also has an uncanny knack for getting himself in absurd and extremely dangerous situations when his friends aren't around, such as getting into gun fights on several occasions, ending up in prison, and in one case switching places Prince and the Pauper-style with a Cordovian dictator. Todd's friendship with Mr. Peanutbutter landed him various jobs creating seemingly useless products. He sees the best in BoJack, despite his multitude of problems. He's usually happy, even when being insulted by BoJack. Catch Phrases include shouting "hooray!". He is also almost never seen without wearing his signature yellow beanie. In the 2000s he was an aimless skateboarder, and the object of affection of his schoolmate, Emily. It is revealed in the season 3 finale "That Went Well" that he is asexual.
  • Paul F. Tompkins as Mr. Peanutbutter, an energetic and cheerful yellow Labrador Retriever who is BoJack's former sitcom rival and Diane's boyfriend (and later husband). Mr. Peanutbutter was the star of Mr. Peanutbutter's House, which, according to BoJack, "borrowed the premise" from Horsin' Around. He had a stint at filming a celebrity reality show called Peanutbutter and Jelly. Despite their rivalry, Mr. Peanutbutter cares a great deal about BoJack's opinion and admires him for his work on Horsin' Around. He has an especially good relationship with Todd, and his positive attitude and financial resources combined with Todd's outlandish schemes and plans often result in the two starting questionable business ventures, such as a Halloween store that is exclusively open in January. In the episode "Let's Find Out", Mr. Peanutbutter starts hosting his own televised game show after his film company enters bankruptcy due to his and Todd's extensive expenditures on useless products. In "Hank After Dark", it is revealed that Mr. Peanutbutter was formerly married to a woman named Katrina who was emotionally abusive. His second wife was famous actress Jessica Biel, who is portrayed as being obsessed with her celebrity status and people recognizing her. He grew up in the Labrador Peninsula, which is depicted as being populated entirely by Labrador Retrievers. "Mr." is his actual first name. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.


The main title theme was composed by Patrick Carney, drummer for the blues-rock duo The Black Keys with his uncle Ralph Carney. The main sound, starting at the beginning, is a Roland Jupiter-4 analog synthesizer triggered with a click track in ProTools.

The ending credits theme "Back in the 90s (BoJack's Theme)" was performed by the indie-pop act Grouplove. Jesse Novak composed the incidental music.

In addition, the show featured Lyla Foy's song "Impossible" in the end credits of the seventh episode of the first season, the Death Grips song "No Love" in the eleventh episode of the first season, and the Rolling Stones song "Wild Horses" and Tegan and Sara's "Closer" in the season finale. The Courtney Barnett song "Avant Gardener" plays during the second season finale, and Nina Simone's cover of Janis Ian's "Stars" closed out the last episode of the third season. The show also features Oberhofer's song "Sea of Dreams" on the fourth episode of the third season, "Fish out of Water", and Magic Sword's "Infinite" on the fifth episode of the fourth season. Princess Carolyn's hold music is the song "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" from the musical Cats.

The soundtrack for BoJack was released on Lakeshore Records on September 8, 2017 to coincide with the release of season 4. It includes the full version of the main theme, Patrick Carney and Michelle Branch's version of America's "A Horse with No Name", Sextina Aquafina's "Get Dat Fetus, Kill Dat Fetus", the themes from Horsin' Around and Mr. Peanutbutter's House, and the entire score for the episode "Fish Out of Water".

Critical reception

Season 1

Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 60% (20 reviews) 59 (13 reviews)
2 100% (17 reviews) 90 (7 reviews)
3 100% (21 reviews) 89 (12 reviews)
4 96% (24 reviews) 87 (5 reviews)
Average 89% 84
On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes the first season has an approval rating of 60%, based on 20 reviews. On Metacritic, the season received a score of 59 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Erik Adams' review of the first six episodes gave the series a C+ grade; in the review, Adams wrote that the show "spoofs the emptiness of celebrity, but does so without any novelty or true insight". At Slate, Willa Paskin was more enthused. "[It] is perhaps a little more clever than it is uproariously funny, but it is often very clever, and, moreover, well-tuned to the ludicrousness of the sort of low-level fame that surrounds BoJack". She likened it to 30 Rock in its ability to "[present] big ideas without having to commit to them". Chris Mitchell from Popzara was equally optimistic about the show's future, saying that "Fans of FX's Archer or Fox's Bob's Burgers will definitely want to check this one out, as its rapid-fire delivery is always consciously spot-on". The New York Times described the show as "hilarious and ribald". Margaret Lyons of Vulture gave a positive review, describing it as "radically sad. I love it."

The second half of the season, however, received much more positive reviews. Ben Travers of IndieWire believed one possible reason for mixed reviews of the show was critics reviewing only the first half of the season, with the second half changing drastically in tone and developing a darker and deeper meaning. This change was so drastic it resulted in IndieWire changing its policy to only review entire seasons of shows on Netflix, instead of just the first six episodes, which would have boosted BoJack Horseman's C+ grade.

Season 2

The second season of the show received universal acclaim; on Rotten Tomatoes the second season holds an approval rating of 100%, based on 17 critics, whilst on Metacritic, the season has a score of 90 out of 100, based on 7 critics. Vox commented the show had "found its footing beautifully in season two, earning the title of not just the streaming service's best show, but of one of television's best shows". Indiewire gave the series an A-, praising the depth of the show's storyline, the voice cast and the superior comedy in comparison to the first season. The A.V. Club also gave the series an A-, commenting that "for the most part, it"?s an entirely unique, funny, and melancholic exploration into the heart and mind of someone struggling to put his life back on track after a series of dark turns". Slant Magazine awarded the series 4-and-a-half stars out of 5, commenting that "BoJack Horseman"?s second season is an even more confident blend of the various tones it experimentally donned last year, as it"?s simultaneously melancholic, angry, goofy, playful, and often uproariously funny in a distinctively ineffable what-the-fuck fashion". Entertainment Weekly gave the series a B rating, stating it was "one of TV's best meta-skewers of Hollywood".

Season 3

The third season of the show received universal acclaim; Rotten Tomatoes gives the third season an approval rating of 100%, based on 23 reviews., whilst on Metacritic, the season received a score of 89 out of 100, based on 12 reviews. The Hollywood Reporter lauded the series, commenting that the show "evolved from frothy talking-animal Hollywood satire to character-rich treatise on depression in its first season, deepened and darkened into one of TV's best shows in its second season and gallops into its third season with a profound confidence." Entertainment Weekly gave the series an A rating, stating the season is "more digressive than the show"?s first two years, and much more open-ended, sending core characters in different directions" and that it "builds to one of the funniest, weirdest, and most profound moments ever seen in a television show." The A.V. Club awarded the series an A-, commenting that "Netflix has taken it upon itself to add BoJack to the line of TV"?s famous antiheroes" and praising the show for improving with each series. Collider gave the show 4/5 stars, stating "BoJack Horseman ends up becoming a thrilling, rueful study of the psychological games and uniquely vain, notably capitalistic decision-making that powers the entertainment industry". They went on to praise the show's humor; "through its venomous jokes and unrelenting, uproarious gags, the series also recognizes how charming, joyful, and galvanizing entertainment for entertainment sake can be, no matter how stupid or silly it may seem."

Season 4

The fourth season of the show has received universal acclaim; Rotten Tomatoes gives the season an approval rating of 96%, based on 24 reviews, while Metacritc awards the show a score of 87, based on 5 reviews. Indiewire gave the series an A grade, commenting that "by the end of the season, we know these characters, and this show, far better than ever before. BoJack"?s signature tropes--the background visual jokes, the animal puns, the brutal moments of sadness--remain reliably consistent, but turns the focus largely inward, ensuring that some of the more outlandish plots support and highlight the more emotional storylines". The Washington Post lauded the series, praising the installment as "moving and unexpected" and that "it offers hope but never ignores the sorrows that are inevitable in real life". The New York Times also gave a positive review, commenting that the "material has the snap and the poignancy we"?ve grown accustomed to" and that "while nothing matches the adventurousness of Season 3"?s underwater awards show episode, Season 4"?s ninth episode "? narrated from the future by a distant descendant of Princess Carolyn"?s "? is a devastating example of what "BoJack"? can do at its best".

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2016 6th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Animated Series BoJack Horseman
Gold Derby Awards Best Animated Series BoJack Horseman
43rd Annie Awards Best General Audience Animated TV/Broadcast Production "Brand New Couch"
Writers Guild of America Award Television: Animation Kelly Galuska
7th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Animated Series BoJack Horseman
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting - Television Animation Linda Lamontagne
2017 44th Annie Awards Best General Audience Animated TV/Broadcast Production "Fish Out Of Water"
Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated TV Production Alison Brie
69th Writers Guild of America Awards Television: Animation Elijah Aron & Jordan Young
Joe Lawson
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting - Television Animation Linda Lamontagne
Annecy International Animated Film Festival Special Distinction for a TV Series "Fish Out Of Water"
43rd Saturn Awards Best Animated Series or Film on Television BoJack Horseman
69th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance Kristen Schaal
Gold Derby Awards Best Animated Program BoJack Horseman

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