The Netflix Highlight: “BoJack Horseman,” Final Episodes
What’s up: Netflix’s “BoJack Horseman” is an animated comedy that focuses on a rich actor that ultimately can’t outrun horrible misdeeds from his past. These final episodes feature the actor, BoJack, experiencing a complete comeuppance.
Netflix split the sixth and final season into two parts over 2019 and 2020. The company called this second batch “Part B”.
“Part B” begins with snow falling onto the Wesleyan University campus. A sign advertising the school has a long joke that reads:
“MacArthur Fellows to the left of me, Nobel Laureates to the right, here I am, stuck in the Middletown with you.” (Wesleyan is located in Middletown, Connecticut.)
BoJack has a voiceover amid shots of students playing on campus. “What is acting?” he says. The show transitions to BoJack, struggling to get dressed in “formal” teaching clothes. “Leaving everything behind and becoming something completely new,” BoJack says. He does away with a tie.
The main voice cast includes Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris and Paul F. Tompkins.
“BoJack Horseman,” Season 6, Part B runs eight episodes of roughly 25 minutes each.
Sum-up: These last episodes of “BoJack Horseman” are the first must-watch show of 2020. (And I guess that means this is first great show of the 2020s.)
The series has spent its first five seasons dipping its toe in the water of existential reckoning. BoJack would get a toe (or a hoof) in and be able to take it out fast enough for nothing substantial to change. In these episodes, BoJack falls entirely into the pool, both figuratively and literally. The show’s opening sequence (which has involved BoJack falling to the bottom of a pool since Season 1) always predicted this.
These episodes feature the world finally finding out who BoJack is as a person. That discovery ends up just as bad as BoJack always feared, as the world wants no part of his true self. But when he finally experiences punishment for his actions, that comeuppance also provides a path to new freedom and a potential new self.
Combining such a knotty journey with colorful animation and silly puns has always been this show’s best feature. The conclusion untangles the knots and leaves a bare rope ready for a new story.
Heads up: The first half of Season 6 still feels like classic “BoJack,” with zany hijinks taking place amid settings chock full of puns. These final episodes have a more muted tone as the series wraps up and BoJack’s community crumbles.
That isn’t to say these final episodes aren’t funny. The show still attempts to have at least a few jokes every minute. The dark undertones of the show just become the overtones.
Close-up: In a scene that encapsulates the show as a whole, BoJack has to figure out the subject of an upcoming exposé about him. Put another way, he has to predict what terrible thing he did that will finally become common knowledge.
He holes up in a room with his closest friends and lists, ostensibly, all the terrible things he has done. It just so happens that outside the room, his acting students are partying and singing his praises.
Inside the room, the mood is tense as BoJack writes possibilities on a chalkboard. Throughout the scene, it becomes clear that BoJack isn’t writing the most horrible things even at this moment. His friend Todd adds a couple of things that BoJack did to him onto the board, and BoJack doesn’t even acknowledge it.
Eventually, the friends tease out that BoJack is even more horrible than they realized. Meanwhile, the students outside the room keep calling for BoJack to join the party.
BoJack’s actions have made it impossible for him to have authentic friends. All he can hope to achieve is cultural admiration.
History: BoJack’s fall from social grace in these final episodes borrow from multiple celebrity storylines, including Mel Gibson and Bill Cosby. One of the plotlines involves potentially scrubbing BoJack out of old episodes of his hit sitcom so the show could still make syndication money. The comedy site Clickhole made a similar joke in 2016, scrubbing Cosby out of part of an episode of his signature series: