Review: BoJack Season 5

Looks like our favourite dysfunctional character is back – with a new season to boot! When we last saw BoJack at the end of season four, he was attempting to redeem himself as a person by helping Hollyhock find her mother and agreeing to star in the show Philbert after Princess Carolyn forges his signature on the contract. However, as you should expect by now this is not your typical cheery
endings, grand finale with all loose ends tied up in a neat little bow kind of show. Throughout season five the show attempts to address through BoJack and the side characters (through their own stand-alone episodes) what it really means to be a good person, and whether there is such a thing as a good person.

The stand out episode of the entire season is when BoJack speaks at his mother’s eulogy in ‘Free Churro.’ He shows great awareness of his issues but as always, he seems to once again fall short of doing anything to fix them. BoJack’s monologue at his mother’s funeral is not just an attempt to understand his issues, but also a way for BoJack to assign blame for his issues to his parents, touching on his traumatic childhood. This way BoJack can redeem himself as a character without having to take any action to change his life at all. However, in the final episode ‘The Stopped Show’ where he strangles Gina in a drug fuelled rage, BoJack’s character becomes less redeemable.

This season also includes a meta commentary, Philbert in many ways is similar to BoJack Horseman since the character almost parallels BoJack’s life, even the set resembles his house. When Philbert achieves notable success, at an award ceremony Diane reflects on her contribution to making Philbert a more likable character. She is concerned that “Philbert just makes it easier for dumb
assholes to rationalize their behaviour.” This can be seen as an attempt of the writers to reflect on the contribution of Bojack Horseman to popular culture and forces the viewer to consider their relation to the show. Do we continue to watch BoJack because it’s funny and relatable or do we watch it in an attempt to rationalise our own shitty behaviour?

Sophie Wheeler

Image: [Polygon]