TV Review - BoJack Horseman: Season 3

The season started out somewhat high but then dipped before eventually hitting a plateau. The jokes and satire against Hollywood are funny, but there have been so many comedies poking fun at Hollywood from Entourage to The Comeback that it's just not that interesting here. It might be one thing if it offered a unique take, but BoJack is a washed up sitcom star, which is exactly what Lisa Kudrow's character was in The Comeback. However, there was a series this past year that did have a unique take on satirizing Hollywood, and that series was FOX's The Grinder.


The final episode of this season of BoJack follows the cliché of the child star who becomes a drug addict, a young pop princess who dies of an overdose. That person is Sarah Lynn, voiced by Kristen Schaal. The writers do their best to make Sarah Lynn's death have emotional resonance, but the idea is so cliché. It's so hackneyed, and in that same episode, entitled "That Went Well," we see a revival and spin-off of a show that's almost in the vein of what Netflix did with Full House, and the final note is that it's going to result in another child actor dead of an overdose, or corrupted in some way. It's odd because none of the actual child stars of Full House went the way of Sarah Lynn.

It's also odd because The Grinder features a former child star now all grown up, that child star being Fred Savage. Fred Savage's younger brother was also a child star but in the 90's. He's now all grown-up and is perfectly fine. There are numerous child stars from the 90's and even early 2000's who are now grown-up and are fine. Yes, there are plenty who have their issues but those issues go beyond just the typical drugs and alcohol, and fear of overdose. Raven Symone recently spoke to that on The View.

For this show to go down the road of drugged-out child star makes it pretty stale. For BoJack to be stuck in this story line and in a way foster it makes him pretty stale as well. I think the show was trying to build up the relationship between BoJack and Sarah Lynn, but the show didn't quite nail it. While Sarah Lynn is a character that has appeared in previous seasons, she was relatively absent this season except for one episode, the one in which she died. By that point, it's too late and Sarah Lynn's impact is not that much of an impact at all.

I highly appreciated the second season because it felt like it would make this animated series one with dramatic consequences. After watching this third season, it's clear that this show doesn't want to address consequences. All the characters are not moved or changed dramatically. There will never be any lesson learned or character growth.

Whatever hope for serialized storytelling in this animated program is merely an illusion. It gives the season direction, but that direction is ultimately meaningless. Each episode is essentially a standalone, not a puzzle piece or stair-step leading to anything. The episodes that acknowledge or underline this are ironically the best. Two episodes in particular this season are stellar, the fourth and the sixth.

The fourth episode, which is an all-silent episode and takes place all under water, is a thousand times better than this year's hit film Finding Dory. It's a brilliantly constructed episode with perfect comedic bits and a well-built emotional adventure. The sixth episode was an amazing satire of pop music and the young divas therein, as well as taking on an issue like abortion.

Yet, what the show does well is comedy in general. There is no shortage of funny lines, puns or gags. Given the premise, the animal puns are the puns of choice. It's just a shame that no real advancement occurred with the characters.

The season was summed up with the character of Todd. Some wonder about his sexuality. Some think he's gay. Instead of making him gay and exploring something that's never been explored in mainstream animation, the series decides to make Todd nothing. Yes, it might make the asexual community happy but asexual people aren't as discriminated a minority as gay men.

Four Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-MA.
Running Time: 30 mins.


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