Bojack Horseman Season 4 Review: Back and Bojackier Than Ever | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Bojack Horseman Season 4 Review: Back and Bojackier Than Ever

TV Critic Morgan Williams tells us what she thinks of the latest season of the Netflix animated comedy Bojack Horseman

I honestly didn’t know where Bojack Horseman could go post season 3. Every season thus far had seemed to be a build-up of possible success for Bojack, be it professional, romantic, or even within his friendships, just for him to fuck it all up again, in his typical Bojack way.

This format really made me doubt how the show could continue indefinitely, when characters are stuck inside the same loops they have been trapped in since season one - Princess Carolyn moving from a job as an agent to an almost identical one as a manager, Bojack landing another big job before sabotaging it by disappearing on a months-long bender… Even Todd’s arc, which has primarily been as a wacky comic relief sidekick, was starting to seem almost stagnant to me in season 3.

Todd’s arc of trying to understand and come to terms with his asexuality was especially extraordinary to watch
However, season four manages to masterfully progress each character’s arc by building on past motivations and personal histories, making the progression each character does make seem organic and meaningful. Todd’s arc of trying to understand and come to terms with his asexuality was especially extraordinary to watch. Asexuality is so often left completely unexplored by television, classified as ‘other’ and dismissed. Accompanying Todd on his journey to properly understand his sexuality was honestly, a gift. Unlike other seasons, the stories of the main characters do not intersect very often. This season was very much focused on the family unit, and so each character is afforded to explore this theme of family.

Season 4 of Bojack continues to push the medium and structure of what an episode of television can consist of. Following on the previous season’s completely wordless episode under the sea and the ‘blackout’ structure of several previous episodes, season 4 also experiments with its storytelling techniques - one episode takes place almost entirely in the mind of a character suffering from dementia. The episode actually provides a remarkably accurate portrayal of the way in which memory deteriorates in a dementia patient, while simultaneously providing needed exposition without beating you across the face with it.

Although the show tackles a lot of heavy themes this season, it still retains its perfect brand of ridiculous humour
There are so many insane details in this show, it lends itself so well to rewatching and its binge value is absolutely through the roof. From Todd’s edited prison tattoos to Channing Tatum’s doormat there are a thousand jokes on screen in this season, which become more satisfying the more difficult they are to spot.

Although the show tackles a lot of heavy themes this season, it still retains its perfect brand of ridiculous humour - the banner joke runs over from previous seasons, as well as the writers’ love for audacious word play (a new character named Courtney Pourtnoy is the central point of most of this season’s more complicated tongue twisters). I often found myself laughing in the middle of a very serious, exposition-heavy scene due to a wicked little joke the writers’ had slipped in. This season of Bojack is by no means a completely nihilistic experience- despite the lows (and my God, are there lows), the season manages not to completely wallow in these moments. It even ends on a subtly beautiful note - a welcome change from seasons 1-3.

This show manages to adapt and change while still keeping its best elements consistent. Its dark sense of humour remains intact, as well as its moments of heightened absurdism. Ever since its first season it has invited us to get to know each of its characters intimately, to watch them when they succeed, when they fail, and as they all pursue meaning in their vapid Hollywoo lives. This season we know them better than ever, and despite (and sometimes because of) their flaws, we still love them, and their messy, impossible lives.

TV n film reviewer- I yell about things I hate and love free of charge on the internet! (@ragga_moffin)



Published

6th October 2017 at 9:00 am



Images from

IGN and Netflix



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