Arts and Entertainment

Riding Into The Sunset: BoJack Horseman’s Final Season

A review of BoJack Horseman season six, a masterclass in comedic television.

Reading Time: 4 minutes


BoJack Horseman is over, and everything’s worse now.

After six years and six seasons, the legendary Netflix series has finally come to a close, capping off what can easily be described as one of the most legendary runs in television history. With one-third of its seasons currently rated at a perfect 100 on review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes, the animated show’s legacy is undeniable.

Set in Hollywood, “BoJack Horseman” follows the titular anthropomorphic horse as he navigates his life in the modern world. Back in the ‘90s, BoJack starred in a TV show similar to “Friends” or “Full House,” but after its eventual cancellation, his life is turned upside down. Weighed down by the mistakes of his past, BoJack is forced to deal with being a washed-up celebrity living a self-destructive life.

The stellar set-up for the show allows for endless creativity from the writing team, which was able to weave in not only comedy, but also pathos, allowing for a truly multi-dimensional story. Applauded for its accurate portrayal of mental illness, the show doesn’t pull punches as it tackles difficult topics like depression, suicide, and substance abuse. The show is incredibly funny as well, tying in smart animal puns, sly Hollywood humor, and plenty of visual gags to keep the show fun despite its darker tones.

Good writing, however, isn’t enough to elevate this show to legendary status. “BoJack Horseman” also totes an incredibly talented voice cast. Will Arnett stars as BoJack, and his deep, rough voice is able to perfectly capture BoJack’s broken, vulnerable character. In addition, Alison Brie and Aaron Paul perfectly portray BoJack’s contemporaries Diane Ngyuen and Todd Chavez respectively, each lending a unique voice to a unique character.

While it may be animated, in its sixth and final season, “BoJack Horseman” differentiates itself from shows like “Family Guy” or “The Simpsons.” While these shows rely on lighter tones and more juvenile comedy to entertain the viewer, the writers of “BoJack Horseman” navigate season six through a dark place in the lives of each of the characters, forcing them to confront their demons and attempt a journey of self-improvement one way or another. BoJack’s mistreatment of his friends and coworkers gets him “canceled” by the general public. His estranged sister Hollyhock, his former friend and ghostwriter Diane, his roommate Todd, and his agent and former lover Princess Carolyn all leave BoJack and his toxicity behind, bringing the horse to his rock bottom.

While the beginning of season six brings a sense of hope to the show, with BoJack going to rehabilitation, making amends, and working genuinely on self-improvement, the second half of season six, released four months after the first half, sees everything BoJack has built go down in flames. He is forced to admit his past wrongdoings on national television, most crushingly the death of his TV daughter (Sarah Lynn) on his show in the ’90s, “Horsin’ Around.” He reveals her death was a result of a dangerous heroin overdose with the drugs he gave her after a month-long bender. BoJack is also revealed to have a history of taking advantage of powerless women in his relationships, including his former co-star Sarah Lynn and his former assistant Princess Carolyn. By the end of the season, canceled by the media, drinking again after nearly a year of sobriety, and all alone, BoJack Horseman finds himself in jail.

Some would say BoJack Horseman finally got what he deserved in season six. After all those decades of abuse, he is finally receiving a fair punishment. No matter your stance on BoJack’s eventual fate however, the ending is undeniably poignant. The final two episodes of the show display exactly why “BoJack Horseman” has been such a loved and respected program for as long as it’s been on air.

The penultimate episode is a trippy out-of-body experience of BoJack’s. In a dinner party dream sequence, a drowning BoJack envisions all of the people in his life whose deaths have significantly impacted his story. Two of his co-stars, his parents and veteran uncle are among the figures in attendance. The episode closes the stories of these deceased characters, all of them discussing philosophy at a table before giving a final speech or performance and jumping into an empty, black void, signifying their true end. The unique, twisted animation techniques highlight the show’s everlasting creativity.

The final episode, however, shows BoJack about seven months after the incident: alive, but in jail. He leaves his penitentiary for a weekend to attend his former agent Princess Carolyn’s wedding. The episode consists of five conversations, each tying up the story of a character in BoJack’s life. The final conversation is the most heartbreaking, finishing up BoJack and Diane’s stories as they sit upon a roof, reminiscing and talking about their respective lives since BoJack got locked up.“Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if this night was the last time we ever talked to each other?” BoJack jokes to Diane, who stares into space.

This episode gives “BoJack Horseman” a perfect wrap up. Not everybody gets a fairytale ending, and loose ends are still left untied. The ending brings closure to the stories of the main characters and brings the audience intense remorse, but a strange sense of hope. BoJack has now truly seen his rock bottom, and while his future is clear, he has only one direction to go: up.

The last season of “BoJack Horseman” is a masterclass in television. Filled with genius writing, unique animation, immense voice-acting, and heart-crushing twists and turns, Netflix brings a terrific end to an outstanding show.