Every original series on Netflix is a bait and switch. First, they lure you in with a season or two of good content. Then they stab the viewer in the eyeballs by going full social justice warrior. BoJack Horseman is no different in this regard; however, the show managed to maintain a level of quality as it systematically deconstructed each of its five main characters over the course of five season.
In season, three however the show took a serious nosedive by being heavy-handed on the propaganda. Season four followed the exact same format, and I mean exactly the same. Season three began with two strong episodes. Then they went SJW in the third episode and dropped another turd in the fourth episode. From there the series decided it had to be overly creative with the storytelling format until about the final two episodes where the series would return to a more normal episodic format.
Season four followed this exact formulaic pattern. And aside from the BoJack story arc, I thought season four was weak. The Beatrice reveal at the end was a payoff that saved the season. Season five went softer on the propaganda during its slight dip but produced one of the series’ most acclaimed episodes “Free Churro” before going down the hipster storytelling route.
The viewer begins season six after a sad but happy ending to season five where BoJack checks into rehab after his spiraling opiate addiction. BoJack Horseman season six follows the same format as its predecessors but is extremely heavy-handed. In addition, Netflix is splitting the season up into two parts so that they can game the awards show system like they attempted with their awful Arrested Development. The season was hyped on social media for a supposed cliffhanger. And because I think this season is bad, I will spoil this season. So put on your gloves, we have a lot of crap to deal with.
Before I tear this season a new cavity from which to excrete fecal matter, let me first say that episode four, “Surprise”, was the best in the season and one of the best in the series from a strictly comedic standpoint. The episode begins by setting up a satirical take on youtubers and social media influencers who are otherwise untalented. Meanwhile, Todd is stressed about Mr. PeanutButter being stressed over the upcoming wedding. So, to help his friend, he wants to throw a surprise wedding for him, like it’s his birthday. But Mr. PeanutButter, before stepping in confessing his infidelity to his pug fiancée, Pickles. Seeing the drama and awkwardness unfold, the guest for the surprise wedding remain in hiding while the couple argue. This was comedy gold that reminded me of “Charlie Work” on Always Sunny where Charlie Day carries an entire episode. This episode deserves an award.
The BoJack arc is the strongest in the season, by far. The story begins with him in rehab, going through the motions. But when he encounters a teenager who he identifies with, they sneak out on the night before he would leave. BoJack, set off by conversations about their bad parents, leads to the discovery that the teenage girl was just a rebel without a cause, a bad child to what seems like an upstanding father.
BoJack is faced with the reality that not every broken person has bad parents. And, perhaps, in admiration of the father’s persistence, he checks back into rehab for what turns out to be six months. At the end of this time, BoJack is being pushed to leave by the horse therapist of the rehab center. BoJack doesn’t want to leave because he is afraid of losing control of himself. The season continually shows flashbacks of what each time seems like BoJack’s first encounter with alcohol. Our previous impression was that he developed a problem during his sitcom series. But each flashback took us earlier and earlier. We see that this is not BoJack’s first attempt at trying to fight an addiction of some degree. His drinking problem goes back to high school, then childhood, then earlier childhood.
Being afraid to relapse he accidentally gets the counselor drunk. Instead, the counselor relapses, and BoJack is trying to straighten him back up. We see that this horse is afraid of the same thing that BoJack is. He stayed at rehab to lead it because he too was afraid of ever leaving. But rather than coming out with this remarkable twist it built to, BoJack Horseman season 6 contrives some bullshit about how it’s a problem that, as a horse, he is only friends with humans or other animals, that his resentment of his kind is the source of his alcoholism. This line of logic is incredibly racist as it suggests that a person is healthiest if they have a good relationship with those that look like them.
Economic Lessons from Bernie
Diane the alter ego of the show’s writers, which seems to be a depressed feminist drifting through her thirties working for a Buzzfeed of sorts. In episode three, we go full Liz Warren as the show attempts to teach economics. The show attempts to portray vertical integration as a negative outcome of capitalism. It treats entrepreneurs as unsuccessful when they sell their companies to larger companies in sharp contrast to the actions of its main characters who are accidental serial entrepreneurs. And it villainizes billionaires who want to grow their companies, to the point where there’s a joke, if you call it that, about murder being made legal for billionaires. The Bernie vibes are strong throughout this season.
What’s laughable about the feminist writing in this series is that champions feminism ignoring the irony of it deconstructing its characters. Princess Carolyn is a workaholic who spent season five trying to adopt a child, she clearly was in no position to raise. But because her income is high enough, she pays someone to raise her child for her because she constantly prioritizes work. So essentially, she reversed gender roles with Todd, who knows more about her baby than she does and being more capable of taking care of it because he is more willing to make her a priority.
Diane wholeheartedly embraces the feminist lie to her own demise. After sabotaging her marriage, she continues her career at the pretend Buzzfeed/Goop. She finds herself exploring the country with her bison producer. And the two begin a sexual relationship despite no real connection other than that they work together. Both clearly have prior baggage, and their relationship is at no point convincing anyone that it will last. Nonetheless, the two move in together without giving it much thought. She then proceeds to do nothing with her life except complain about being depressed. This is some fourth wave feminism that Vice wrote about:
Post-war, second wave feminism did away with some of that—women could work, they could have a baby, they could have it all. In recent years, we’ve started to believe we can just want the career—to hustle and travel and wear designer suits.
These developments have been important and positive for many women, but more radical, perhaps, is the idea that we can do neither. Currently, if we aren’t either working on a career or having a family, we can feel as if we’re failing.
As research increasingly indicates that the lie of putting of a family for a career leaves many unhappy in life, pursuing neither leads to a void of purpose which is an unfulfilling lifestyle. This show promotes feminism thematically, but their plot details don’t line up with the themes they are trying to promote.
Plot Holes Galore
BoJack Horseman is a humorous tragedy, but since it has a serious plot, it should be judged accordingly. That being said, its build up to the climax is premised on major plot holes. BoJack Horseman season six is going to go big by bringing back every big moment in the show thus far. The death of Sarah Lynn has been a major focus of this season. All of the sudden, however, BoJack’s presence at Sarah Lynn’s death is unknown despite the documentary about it with BoJack being portrayed in it. All of the sudden, two and a half years later, give or take, Sarah Lynn’s mother goes to the press about it. Quite a coincidence that this is happening with BoJack’s recovery and all. And so, we are forced to follow to random characters in a dreadful to watch episode that exemplifies the overly experimental storytelling methods.
But that’s not all, while the story leads these randos to New Mexico, predicated on a few other coincidences, Hollyhock travels to New York City for night life and college parties. And lo and behold she encounters a more mature Pete Repeat, from season two. So many coincidences to ponder, like how do they end up at the same party in a place where neither of them is originally from. And of course, this is coincidentally timed with other pursuit of the knowledge of New Mexico. Also, the return of Margo Martindale is coincidentally timed. A proper plot relies on the natural development of cause and effect, not random coincidences that exist because the writers need them to reach an ending.
At the beginning of the season, I wondered how the writers could turn a deconstruction story into a redemption arc for BoJack or whether they would just ax him off to end the show. But the writers seemed to have run out of original material, so they are rehashing past plots and rebuilding burned bridges of the story to mash it all together in the end for some sort of grand climax. The beauty of BoJack, I thought was how in season up through season two he envisioned a life where he never got famous, only to go nuclear on it, erasing any chance of reconciliation, just like he had with Herb. Hollyhock was the first development in the opposite direction. Since BoJack seems short on new characters to interact with the more logical approach for storytelling would be to wrap up the series with the remaining characters.
Do BoJack and Diane end up together after all they’ve remained friends through. Is there path for BoJack to finally be happy? Perhaps. But the show intends to go guns blazing into a carelessly contrived plot.
Expect the ninth episode to be just as “experimental” as the awful eighth. Expect the return of Charlotte and her daughter. Perhaps we will see a cancel culture storyline. But I doubt we will have a well-crafted plot that delivers a surprising twist at the last episode. In past seasons, the BoJack plotline was strong enough to carry an otherwise weak season, but in season 6 the BoJack plotline is headed full steam into a pile of crap.
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Promo for Mike Lindell's New Daily Show
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