If you know me or follow my columns, you’ll know I absolutely adore the Netflix Original Series “Bojack Horseman,” one of the most human shows on television today, despite being a show about talking cartoon animals. This past week, I finished watching the latest season, and it lives up to all my high expectations.
If the first five seasons are — at least for the titular character of Bojack — about depression, addiction and trauma, then the sixth season is all about getting better, and tackling the issue of what it means to “get better.”
The show looks at weighing the good a person does through the rehabilitative process, but asks whether getting better is enough when you can’t undo the pain you’ve previously brought into the world.
All of Bojack’s worst mistakes follow him through his romp of an adventure in season 6, shown to us both through flashbacks of mistakes we as the viewer hadn’t been shown before and references to the mistakes we have been shown. His most harmful mistake follows him like a dark shadow, threatening to envelop him when he hits low points.
But, to Bojack’s credit, he is legitimately trying to get better, which is something he’s never done before. Sure, he’s spent a lot of time talking about wanting to get better or pretending to try to get better, but this is the first time he has honest-to-God put in the legwork to improve.
We see Bojack working as hard as he can to better himself and reject all his old vices, but we also see the people he’s hurt in seasons past struggling themselves to deal and cope with the pain and grief caused to them by Bojack.
And, in typical “Bojack Horseman” fashion, the season ends on a cliffhanger that could threaten to undo all the hard work Bojack has put in and send him spiralling back down.
Then there are the other main characters of the show. Each is off doing their own thing in season 6, and where before they were constantly interacting with each other, in the latest slew of episodes, their paths cross more intermittently.
Bojack has been checked into a rehabilitation facility, and even after leaving he sees his friends less often, choosing instead to embark on a road trip shortly thereafter.
Princess Carolyn is busy trying to balance her demanding job as a talent agent with the stress of raising a baby she adopted at the end of the prior season.
Dianne is off on the other side of the country having traveled to Chicago for a project and electing to stay there when she enters a relationship with her cameraman. Mister Peanutbutter is trying to save a failing relationship. And Todd is, well, getting up to his typical hijinks.
In the latest season, in-person interaction between the main characters feels more like a special occurrence rather than the meat of the show, and it’s a bold choice I think paid off in spades.