Bojack Horseman is a show of depth and wit rivalled by few animations. As a pastiche of depression, it’s unrivalled. Starting very much as the kind of sitcom it lampoons, before the midpoint of its first season Bojack Horseman transcends this to become razor-sharp social satire, a treatise on existential nihilism and a heart-breaking character study.
While often comedically surreal and exaggerated in form, Bojack Horseman is more frequently grounded in drama than in comedy. While always witty, you are more likely to cry for the characters than you are to laugh at their exploits. It takes a sardonic view, but it’s none the less as an extremely dark view of Hollywoo.
Within this drama of broken lives and broken people, there are plenty of shocking moments. Often made all the more uncomfortable because the driving forces behind them are the flawed characters we’re so drawn to, who we so want to believe are the heroes, but who may be something else entirely. Here are ten of their most shocking.
10. Bojack Is Abused By His Mother
The series developed a darker tone in the second half of its first season. Nevertheless, that season’s overall atmosphere was one of irreverent comedy, making the opening of season two all the more shocking. The season pretty much opens with a minute and a half of child abuse. This firmly cements sadness as the show’s mainstay.
In this shocking season introduction, we see the full force of Beatrice Horseman’s cruelty as she blames a young Bojack, her son, for all the woes of her life. While upsetting, the short scene reveals so much about Bojack. We glimpse the origins of his offbeat humour, inherited from his father. We see the start of his cycle of successes which are immediately soured. We see the thrill of his first mention on television. We see his mother plant the bitter motivation for success and in all this, the beginnings of his complex self-loathing.
It’s a huge amount of character development in just a minute and a half. In these moments the depth of the character increases dramatically, establishing Bojack as a tragic anti-hero to rival any of his human counterparts.
From this moment on the show became a critical darling noted for its melancholy, bravery, complexity, wit and tragedy. What a way to open a series.