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We’ve all probably experienced every possible emotion that can be associated with the main character of this outstanding animated series. At the end of the third season, we could not forgive him, at the end of the fourth we loved him, we sympathized and identified with his experiences (I used to say that I felt like BoJack myself, and I bet many of us – spectators – projected this character onto ourselves). The fifth season shows that BoJack has long gone beyond the scope of ordinary projection-identification. This is not only the responsibility that the hero has to take in the end, but also reconciliation with the past. We settle accounts with all the faces of the animated horse, as well as with our own disposition as recipients of the series – and more broadly – the culture.

After all, we are a part of an entertainment system that is threateningly ruffling with scandals, but equally quickly forgets about the victims and forgives the torturers (in the series the character of a violent misogynist, Vance Wagoner[1], who is modeled on Mel Gibson, has won many forgiveness and redemption awards, as well as Philbert’s entire production – an inside-series in which BoJack plays the main role). After all, the latter, even in the heat of accusations, bring great profit. The fifth season reminds us at every turn that, despite passing inlets and efforts, excuses in the form of a hard childhood and a long list of addictions, BoJack is a torturer. Forgetting that, we become part of the silent majority who willingly applauds the artificial, theatrical repentance or buying the not-convincing arguments about the good intentions of the creators (just like Philbert’s recipients), thus standing on the wrong side of the barricade.

I am willing to risk the statement that there is currently no better production which in a similarly brave, uncompromising and intelligent way would break down the system that takes away the voice of women and juggles scandals in such a way as to squeeze out the greatest possible profit from them (of course, in BoJack, it is a big film industry, but the principle in other areas of public life is similar).

The latest season, like the previous one, largely focuses on the stories of the main character’s friends. I will not reconstruct them here, I do not want to spoil anyone’s fun, but I’d like to direct the attention to Diane. From the first season, that is from the moment of writing the book depicting BoJack as he is – hurt and harming his surroundings – she serves as a voice of reason. This time she also becomes a clear female voice. As the theme of Diane’s therapist and the very end of the series show (calm down, there will be no spoilers), Diane in a sense takes over some elements of BoJack’s life, thus entering the foreground of the series. BoJack has accustomed us to intense endings, so it is not known for how long it happened (I pay attention to the nickname that the therapist uses for Diane and the last scene of the season).

The fifth season will probably not leave us full of tears and will not cause strong emotions. It is definitely more mature – it focuses not on the limited structure in which the climax must surprise, but on the importance of the story itself, meta-level and autothematic threads. My favorite moment that illustrates this maturity well is the sixth episode. Halfway point of the season, composed entirely of a monologue – BoJack’s eulogy. It’s almost twenty-five minutes of auto-deconstruction of the hero’s life and relationship and controversy – for BoJack it is also an opportunity for a dark-comedic stand-up.

What some probably deem unnecessary – scenario fragmentation, softening emotions in favor of constructing the world and lack of focus on the main character – I consider positive, perceiving the fifth season as an intricately built, meta-level whole. That is one of the reasons why I think BoJack Horseman’s fifth season is at least brilliant.


[1] It is worth adding that the script for the fifth season was created before the #MeToo action and the loud scandal with Harvey Weinstein.

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Mateusz Tarwacki

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Laura Przybylska
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