Horseman Episode 01 Review
Makes it sound like a bad creepypasta.
Why I watched it:
All journeys begin with a catalyst. That's the opening line for my new novel - zing!
But seriously, though. I was popping around YouTube, as you do a garbage dump fishing for the lost Earthbound beta cartridge, and The Mysterious Mr. Enter had on him two new videos. One of them was about King of the Hill as described in an alternate timeline where Tumblr was invented ten years earlier, and the other was about Bojack Horseman.
I don't recommend you watch his review. It's not porn or anything - though that would be pleasant (fucking aces not jackin' off like we do). But it is a review. It describes in great detail about what Bojack Horseman is. It does what a review is supposed to do - it spoils things, and it teaches you a great deal about the art at hand. This is a double-edged sword.
The innate psyche against hype aversion is such that you should never watch a show without at least describing what makes it great, as Mr. Enter has done here. It has described what made Bojack Horseman so great in extensive detail. It described why it was a deconstruction of the tropes of adult cartoons, and why it's so unique in a culturally dead landscape. It is a show that is keenly aware it is what it hates, one of the shows that could only exist at this particular point in time, and why it is one of the shows that we need in cartoons now.
If you don't want to join me on a journey to understand why this is, to understand why this show is so special, why Mr. Enter, a man whose videos I have not only watched, but rewatched, to the tune of almost his entire library, the man who has taught me more about cartoons than any individual has, and has caused me to see beauty in the thing that I never have before, considers it to be his favourite television show out of many years of many upsets for that title, then so be it. You may spoil the entire trip and have the destination spelled out for you in clear terms, as it has been spelled out for me.
I am not going to shy away from these spoilers, either. I will not shy away from sharing with you the same thing as which I have learned, but I will only share them as I have learned them, and not in advance. I will allow you to experience the same themes I am experiencing, alongside you also watching it with me.
I have expressed before that Netflix should not be bought, as it is a manipulative system. If you still have it, make the most of it, and watch Bojack Horseman with me, as I write these reviews each and every day. Am I recommending you a show that I have not seen fully, and yet only do so on the recommendation of another man?
In essence, yes. Because I trust this man very much, and if I am wrong in putting my faith in him, then I will fully admit that this will reflect badly on me, and I am sorry if that happens. I would not blame you for not trusting me, and I would not blame you if you want to skip ahead, watch the review, watch the episodes without me. I can't say I am of any particular importance to you to trust me on this. But I will say, that given the opportunity to, I would very much take the opportunity to be blissfully ignorant and simply ride on a journey with a similarly ignorant man, and see what will happen.
How it works:
Bojack Horseman is a washed-up actor who played on a shitty TV show and he's an entitled dick because of it. Series over, go home.
With pain in his eyes and tears lumping down his throat, he interacts with a cast of characters who are, all together now, dumbass, straight man, stoner, nerd, tinker tailor soldier spy. It's your typical adult cartoon setup - a twat runs around the world being a twat and you're supposed to laugh because of the obligatory funny scenes. Because it is a comedy, and you can't ever have a cartoon on TV that isn't a comedy, unless you're some furry cartoon from South Korea which everybody wants to get vored by.
And it is a comedy, so we have to ask the golden question, did I laugh? Sometimes. To put it bluntly, the animation is cheap. The slapstick and sight gags barely work because the animation isn't fluid enough to adequately make jokes. They must have spent all their budget on the title sequence - in anime, the entire series would look like the title sequence. That's the virtue of the anime art style - it makes everything America makes look like shit.
Beyond that, a lot of the dialogue actually is pretty funny, if just because Bojack is such a pathetic character. The greatest laugh I got was when he kicked over a baby, stole a car, and then got arrested within the span of twenty seconds. The sound design and the acting pick up the pace when the animation goes limp, so good work fellas. It's a shame though that they don't use scenes like that more often, seeing as most of the jokes are either dangerously unfunny or barely worth a chuckle.
I found myself enjoying this episode, but not because the jokes were gut-bustingly (don't quote mine this sentence) hilarious. They really weren't. I was chuckling a few times, but that's when the animation isn't killing the joke or the pacing isn't dragging on unfunny jokes for too long. I found most of the humour coming from just how pathetic Bojack is - he's a child in a horse's body, trying to figure out why he's such a child. And there's definitely some schadenfreuden to seeing someone like him live pathetically through his life.
To be honest, most of the jokes only work because whoever is playing Bojack is a damn good actor. He has just the right twinge of arrogance and displeasure to make everything he says believable, which is a fucking great virtue, seeing as he is innately an unbelievable character. A guy gets a lucky break on a shitty TV show he made, convinced himself that it was great, and spends the rest of life wondering why people are criticising him? His head is so far up his ass an anal vore fetishist would be proud. The theme of today's review is vore - show us your teeth, fellas!
The other characters are your typical breeds as in the aforementioned tinker tailor soldier spy. There's a dog who we're supposed to think is stupid, but seems a bit more like he's taking the piss to me, and as such I can't be bothered to get a boner for him. His human girlfriend is the socially anxious hipster, which is becoming just common enough in media to become cliche. There's a stoner who gets abducted by Mexicans, and I'm going to bet that plotline becomes an entire episode later. And there's a cat who I actually really like because she's an older lady who doesn't take nonsense yet is kind of justified for calling Bojack a dick. Do It Fur Her, I Guess.
The in-depth analysis of these characters tell me that they're all going to be important to each other, seeing as a lot of the jokes develop character as well as simply being funny. Bojack throws a party later in the episode, but made it clear he didn't want a cotton candy machine, because he can't handle himself around them. The stoner gets a machine anyway, and Bojack eats from it. At the end of the episode, Bojack throws up a hill's worth of cotton candy. It's such a stupid detail, but I like the idea of one character not wanting cotton candy, another character getting it for them, and fucking over the first character by giving them cotton candy. It's almost like two brothers pranking each other.
Oh, aren't I supposed to talk about the plot here? Well what's there to talk about? Bojack wants to write a memoir, says no, throws a party, meets a girl, then gets her to write it. That was it. I'm seriously hoping that isn't the entire plot of the series, but I guess I'm going to take things episodically.
What I felt:
Because the plot is so simple, I find myself forced to talk about things that occur because of it as opposed to the actual story itself. I have a feeling this will be a character-driven comedy, an interesting twist of fate that characterisation is the hot new meta for art as opposed to technical skill or fantastical stories, because there's a little hint of personality between each hollow shell. It isn't like the typical sitcom formula where you believe they'll just be flat the entire series, or have such little development that it's not worthwhile to bother watching (shows like Rick and Morty, Family Guy, even The Simpsons).
Typical adult cartoons have black and white characters who show little complexity at all, which is a shame, given that they tend to have so many interesting scenarios. A cartoon that actually does have interesting characters would be Futurama, being fully-developed characters who grow out of the scenarios that their sadistic boss puts them through. IN SPACE. It was easy to tell from the first episode that each character had some sort of backstory, some sort of development, and that's the same sort of development we're seeing with Bojack here.
I can predict it will be one of those shows with room to grow as it gets a grip on what the hell it wants to do, just like Futurama, as it has the potential for a lot of unique storylines and jokes given the Hollywood setting, the furries (or "funny animals" if you're a high-class whoosit), and the blank slates of the character personalities which are initially cliche yet have some potential going for them.
I can understand why a lot of people would immediately dismiss this episode if they weren't generous, giving that a lot of the comedy isn't smart, the animation isn't impressive, and the main character is a pathetic dickbutt, but I am a very generous man, and I will go through and continue to watch this series despite the weak first episode.
What I learned:
Find the best actors you can. They will carry characters, carry your show, and carry what would otherwise be a heaping pile of shit back to the producers desk and set it on fire and burn the entire studio to ash. What was I talking about?
Oh, right, the show. I think it isn't entirely fair to call the cotton candy machine a stupid detail, but it is pretty absurd. A bit like Bojack grinding pills into his breakfast smoothie at noon, or his disdain for his home and his houseguests despite letting a stoner into it, the intentionally bad acting on the television show he starred in, with Bojack's actor having to both be a bad actor while being a good actor and having him say his bad acting was some of the best work he's ever done. Perhaps the best term is subtle details.
Sometimes I have to slap myself in the face and wonder, "Is this really as good as I think it is, or am I just bluffing?". Whenever I find something like that, I just have to go onto YouTube, find some Family Guy Funny Moments, and think to myself, "It could be worse". I think that so long as I give an honest opinion of a work, even if it's all positive, then I'm justified in thinking that something can be good. This episode has its flaws, sure, but you can see the potential, just like you could see the potential in first episodes that were executed far better, for that I kind of like it. But not so much to suck its dick, like I tend to do, and would do if we lived in a perfect world where I could swallow cum without getting AIDS.
I was originally wondering to myself whether or not it would be cheating to review a show that supposedly has a lot of twists and turns sequentially, being aware of these twists and turns without knowing what they are, instead of just doing an all-in-one review. But then I asked myself, "would I want to look back on myself and wonder what I thought at this very point in time when I was watching this episode for the very first time?". Of course I would - that's how I learn! And I think I'll pass the knowledge on to you by doing that, too.
A little horse - Froghand.
Today's page was updated on September 3, 2016!
Listen, it's actually a little FROG...