The first three seasons of BoJack Horseman, a truly bizarre animated comedy from Netflix, debuted in the middle of summer. Season 4, on the other hand, was pushed back to September. Did the extra few months give BoJack Season 4 enough time to shine, or has Netflix’s affable animal series finally hit a wall?
Well, you can make like Todd Chavez and shout “Hooray!”, because BoJack’s fourth season is just as good as the three that preceded it. BoJack Horseman continues to be a deep, thoughtful and unsettling look on depression, relationships, and the pros and cons of losing yourself in your work. At the same time, it’s also a zany, clever, hilarious show with wordplay, slapstick and running jokes in generous supply.
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Basically, if you’ve seen the first three seasons, you can dive into the next one immediately. As for the reviewers: What do they know? Do they know things? Let’s find out!
I binged BoJack Season 4 in the course of a single weekend, because when it comes to clever animated sitcoms, I have even less self-control than BoJack himself. I thought the show went to some exceedingly dark places early on, but never sacrificed the absurd Hollywoo humor along the way.
“One of the most profound themes of Season 4 is ‘family.’ Between his aging mother and his estranged possibly-daughter, BoJack spends more time with his relatives this season than he does with his kooky cast of friends. BoJack’s family brings him both profound joy and sorrow, which feels realistic.”
“The guest actors this season are a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of TV talent. There’s Kristen Bell, RuPaul, Zach Braff, Andrew Braugher, Jessica Biel, Patton Oswalt, Keith David and more — and every one of them gives 100 percent without ever taking themselves too seriously.”
“Character Actress Margo Martindale was nowhere to be found, for the first time in four seasons.”
“Two of the season’s most heartbreaking episodes — both about BoJack’s mother Beatrice — offer very few laughs to break up the constant, crushing sense of heartbreak.”
Les Chappell at AV Club has been reviewing individual episodes of BoJack Season 4, but his praise for the season premiere is indicative of what he has to say about the rest of the episodes. He appreciated the show’s consistently excellent writing, as well as its ability to balance moments of intense drama and incredible comedy.
“It’s saturated in all of the things that make BoJack Horseman such a delight, all the verbal flights of fancy, non sequiturs, and existential dread that keep it in the conversation for best show on television.”
“It’s the sort of perfectly constructed randomness that BoJack shines at, tying together its loose elements and finding ways to subvert the expected sitcom tropes in a way that makes you want to stand up and applaud.”
“BoJack may be incidental to his own show.”
“The idea of an unqualified easily distracted former reality TV show host achieving major political power isn’t as funny as it used to be.”
Collider’s Chris Cabin reviewed BoJack Season 4. In spite of (or perhaps because of) the series broaching ever-darker topics, Cabin still thought the season was brilliant, claiming that its second episode was one of the best programs on TV so far this year.
“It’s a very funny show about some very serious matters.”
“BoJack Horseman continues to explore relationships from a variety of emotional and historical angles, colored in by an array of soulful, complex characters.”
“The series doubles down on the sense of loss and existential malaise that helped fortify the more audacious narrative passages of Season 3.”
“Michelle Branch & Patrick Carney’s lovely cover of America’s ‘A Horse With No Name’ kicks in. How it’s taken this long for this song to be used in this show is unclear.”
At IndieWire, Liz Shannon Miller loved Season 4, in spite of some initial misgivings about the direction of the show following Season 3’s cliffhanger ending. She liked that the over-the-top episode storylines mirrored the smaller, but just as interesting, internal character arcs.
“By the end of the season, we know these characters, and this show, far better than ever before.”
“The show remains as interested as ever in satirizing celebrity culture, with an added political edge.”
“For those who might be expecting a jaw-dropping breakout episode on the level of Season 3’s largely silent experiment ‘Fish Out of Water,’ know that rather than aim for one big moment of artistry, Season 4 instead plays semi-consistently across several episodes with animation styles and points-of-view.”
“There’s nothing quite as prescient as Season 2’s Cosby episode.”
The New York Times
Mike Hale reviewed BoJack Season 4 for the New York Times, and he liked it, in spite of what he viewed as a few missteps. The ambitious animation and blink-and-you’ll-miss them jokes usually pay off, he said, but the season didn’t feel quite as tight as the previous ones.
“The 12 episodes of the new season have episodes and moments equal to the show’s best.”
“[The elaborate flashbacks have] the snap and the poignancy we’ve grown accustomed to.”
“[The episodes] also have ideas that don’t pan out, and an overall lack of cohesion.”
“While the topical jokes are funny enough, the plot feels forced, serving primarily as a vehicle for the marital tensions of Mr. Peanutbutter and his human wife, Diane.”
Caroline Franke reviewed BoJack Horseman Season 4 for Vox, and gave it about the highest praise possible. The second she finished watching it, she wanted to go right back and start again. The continued development of the show’s main cast kept her hooked, as did the incredibly funny, topical jokes.
“Fans have known since the end of the first season [that] the show is just incredibly deft and powerful, period.”
“Diane, wary but supportive, keeps writing for ‘Girl Croosh,’ one of the only clickbait blog satires that’s ever truly made me laugh.”
“Without BoJack firmly at its center, the season becomes a little more scattered.”
“Even more jarring is the ninth episode (“Ruthie”), when what seems like a flash forward to a space future featuring Princess Carolyn’s distant descendant is ultimately revealed to be a fantasy Princess Carolyn imagines in order to tell herself things will work out, eventually.”
The Washington Post
The Washington Post employed Bethonie Butler to review BoJack Season 4, and she called it the show’s “most emotional season yet.” Although she was reluctant to give the show a chance, it won her over with its deeply resonant storylines and hilarious cameos.
“BoJack Horseman isn’t just another adult cartoon. It’s a smart, often tender comedy that puts a spotlight on the realities of addiction and mental illness.”
“No matter how grim BoJack Horseman gets, the show always manages to uplift with a shrewd cameo.”
“BoJack Horseman takes a somewhat risky swerve in this season’s first episode, as its title character is nowhere to be found.”
“BoJack (voiced by Will Arnett) [is] more depressed than ever.”