BoJack Horseman: Season 4 created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg (Netflix, Tornante Company, ShadowMachine)

Starring Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul, and Paul F. Tompkins.

Onward to Positive Psychology

Have you ever noticed the perspective of self-talk? While a subjective observation, it seems self-talk slides into second person.

“You’re not good enough.”
“Look what you did this time.”
“You’re never going to make it.”

As a teenager, my limited training in positive sports psychology argued for a surgical denunciation of this “other.” Often if I used the “I” pronoun and told myself I would succeed or have a good day, I would tend to have a better day.

Some Christian traditions suggest the “other” as a demonic accusation of sorts, but one doesn’t need to place a supernatural element to this phenomenon. At a simple level, we externalize our critic; the devil sits on our shoulder as does the angel. When thoughts form with a narrative function, “I” becomes a “You.”

Such an externalization carries damaging influence. If you come to believe the critic, life can feel quite sour.

These inner dialogues represent a key motif in the latest season of BoJack Horseman.

Painting Humor on Weightier Themes

As ever, the humor of the show in Season 4 continues to hide the weighty subject matters facing the protagonists.

With spoilers ahead, be forewarned, Season 4 begins without its titular horse. Having skipped town at the end of last season, BoJack’s friends move forward and in their separate ways.

For Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) and Diane (Alison Brie), the marital strife sitting below the surface of the relationship faces new challenges as Mr. Peanutbutter runs for governor. Always a ball of energy, Mr. Peanutbutter’s campaign comments on our political climate without getting too specific.

BoJack Horseman at its zaniest

Likewise, Todd (Aaron Paul) continues down his pinball existence, bouncing from one crazy entrepreneurial idea to another. What shades his development this year is his budding understanding of his asexuality. How does he contribute and build relationships when sex is off the table?

For Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris), the season represents a challenge professionally and personally, as she grows her management business while also looking to start a family.

And the Horse

Even though all of these story lines mix humor and serious issues in an engaging way, they play second fiddle to BoJack’s narrative.

Continuing to deal with depression—those voices in his head—BoJack (Will Arnett) must come to grips with his family history. As such, the more he begins to recognize the sins of his father, the more he begins to understand his own sins and how those consequences contribute to the cloud hanging over his head.

BoJack’s past and present unite for an emotional roller coaster.

Despite these deep and serious themes, BoJack Horseman remains one of the funniest and stylistically daring shows on television. Its writers and animators have yet to find a pun they couldn’t include in the show and the sharp writing makes for many quality one-liners.

On top of this, the creative team continues to take stylistic risks, such as standout episodes diving into the minds of BoJack and his mother.

BoJack Horseman remains one of my top shows and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Verdict: 5 out of 5

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