How BoJack Horseman became binge-worthy viewing

HORSIN' AROUND: Will Arnett voices washed-up sitcom star BoJack Horseman.
HORSIN' AROUND: Will Arnett voices washed-up sitcom star BoJack Horseman. Netflix

EVERYONE'S favourite TV show about animals living in disharmony is returning to Netflix for your binge-watching pleasure.

BoJack Horseman is an animated comedy series about a horse who was a beloved sitcom star in the 1990s but has since fallen from grace.

In this Q&A, creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg talks about satirising Hollywood, celebrity culture, drug abuse and the entertainment industry in the Emmy-nominated show.

A scene from season four of BoJack Horseman.
A scene from season four of BoJack Horseman. Netflix

Q: BoJack is often not an easy guy to watch. He is incredibly flawed, even broken and his actions are occasionally despicable. Why do you think people are so attracted to him?

A: Well, I think you like BoJack in spite of yourself because he is vulnerable and he is wounded and that wound is somewhat relatable. You see him struggle and you root for him in spite of yourself, because you know he is a bad guy who wants to be better.

I think that struggle is inherently interesting and I think we are always rooting for him to be better even if we don't agree with what he is doing in the individual episode.

Q: How do you walk the line with BoJack to ensure that while his flaws are on show, the audience doesn't give up on him?

A: I think it's a danger. I was having a conversation with Michael Eisner about the character once, because he works on the show and he helps make the show with us and he said, "You know, the thing about BoJack is that he walks right up to the line but never crosses it." In that moment I realised that the thing about BoJack is that he does cross the line - not only that, he crosses back and forth so often that you are never really quite sure if you're supposed to be rooting for him or if you're even supposed to like him - sometimes you do and sometimes you don't and that's okay.

What I think makes the character work is that we never force you to like him or side with him. We are never saying, "Isn't this screwed up and yet you still like him." In fact, sometimes he screws up and you're allowed to be really mad with him. Sometimes you're allowed to think that you might be giving up on him because you don't like him at all any more. I hope that the show allows you to be free to draw your own conclusions about the character.

A scene from the original Netflix TV series BoJack Horseman.
A scene from the original Netflix TV series BoJack Horseman. Luke McClelland

Q: What would be your advice to BoJack if he was your friend and you wanted him to get his life in order?

A: Get sober! I think that would be the first step. Get counselling would maybe be the second step.

Q: The first season began in August 2014. Do you think the nature of celebrity has changed since then?

A: Yes, absolutely. I think we now have the internet celebrity - the YouTube celebrity, the Instagram celebrity. I think we are getting famous younger and with less experience and I think it is dangerous. I think nobody should be famous - ever (laughs). Honestly, certainly not before they are 25.

Q: If season three was an animal, what animal would it be? And what can we expect this season?

A: If season three was an animal it would be a barracuda because it just chomps down and keeps chomping. Season four would be a turtle because it is wise. This season we can expect turtles (laughs). Expect the unexpected, baby!

A scene from season four of the TV series BoJack Horseman.
A scene from season four of the TV series BoJack Horseman. Netflix

Season four of BoJack Horseman is available to stream on Netflix now.

Topics:  netflix television

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