Season four of Bojack has the unenviable task of coming after season three. There is no being better than season three, let’s just be real. One and two were solid and built up this crazy cartoon world, but three played fully in all of the glory and mess of that Bojack place to the point that it is not a television season. It is a fraking composition. Watching it, you can almost feel a conductor playing you through a perfectly formed story. One of the best seasons of a show ever.
But we must move on, I suppose. To Season Four:
Well, I get now why Bojack is how he is. There is a long line of dysfunction in the Horseman/Sugarman tree and next to it Bojack seems the picture of even keeled respectability. Sure he drinks to excess and is self-involved, but at least he’s never had someone lobotomized for showing emotion or poisoned someone for the sake of thinness. It’s ugly, and it’s hard to choose a winner for “most horrible”, but I’ll try. Hrmm, my vote goes to Bojack’s mother Beatrice (voiced by the fabulous Wendie Malik). She has moments, sure, where she seems like a relatable character who is forged by bad situations. But then she soaks them up. She thrives on her misery and handing it out to those around her. Her father does these sorts of things without comprehending the consequences, but she is very aware. It takes a dedicated horror of a human to do the things that she does while having dementia. The one thing that is unclear to me is why she was so upset about the babydoll? Does it tell of a nurturing instinct in her as long as the thing to be nurtured is silent and obedient? Is it her own childhood innocence that she is so desperate to save? The last seems more likely.
Unknowingly walking into this disaster is the possible daughter/definite sister of Bojack. Hollyhock is a cute and sweet 17 year old girl who just wants to know who her biological parents are. She possesses a dry sense of humor that makes for lovely moments between her and her father/brother. They bond over the season, and I truly hope that that will continue into the next, because they are funny and cute and I want more. Having grown up adopted by eight loving and supportive dads, Hollyhock has a heck of a good chance of breaking the Horseman/Sugarman curse and becoming a well rounded and whole woman/person.
Oh yeah, there is a thru line with Mr. Peanutbutter and some bits of political satire. Does this last long enough to be a real parody of the most recent presidential election or is it more of a blip that is kinda cute and a setup for jokes that really have little to do with anything political? And some Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter fights? I’m just saying, don’t go in expecting much in the way of Trump takedowns etc. A little bit. Not much.
The workmanship was gorgeous as always, and the rendering of emotion in animated form is impressive. Wanna feel depressed and concerned, while being periodically tickled? This is the season for you. This is not so much of a story as the fleshing out of it’s main character. It’s a flashback, and compelling as hell. Just be in the right mood to watch it.
My heart hurts and my sides are not even slightly weak from laughter. I feel like I watched something that was very good that I did not love as a whole but I did in moments.
Episode 2 and 7 and 9 have the most of these moments.