Season 5 of animated series BoJack Horseman addresses #MeToo campaign, with mixed results
22 March 2019
BoJack Horseman, the animated comedy-drama series, returned to Netflix for its fifth season in September 2018.
The show continues to investigate the entertainment industry and its “side effects” in a novel manner, deftly combining comedy and tragedy in a parallel universe full of anthropomorphic animals. The World Socialist Web Site has reviewed Seasons 3 and 4; these reviews provide a more general overview of the show. (Readers who have not seen Season 5 and are concerned about spoilers are advised to stop here.)
Perhaps inevitably, the #MeToo campaign finds reflection in BoJack Horseman’slatest season. Despite initial concerns that #MeToo would be treated uncritically, the show does not adopt or endorse wholesale its methods and views: the junking of fundamental democratic principles such as the presumption of innocence; a Manichean worldview of villainous, monstrous abusers (generally male) and saintly victims (generally female); the use of unsubstantiated allegations of a wide variety of behavior, ranging from the boorish to the possibly criminal, to remove people from the public spotlight. Not entirely, at least.
Despite the general support for #MeToo from showrunner Raphael Bob-Waksberg, reality is more complicated than that, and BoJack Horseman, despite its fantastical elements, attempts to speak to reality. The show is too intelligent to be simply a #MeToo parable about its protagonist’s fall from grace.
The season opens with BoJack (Will Arnett) in the eponymous role in Philbert, a “gritty” television drama about a violent cop who may have killed his partner. (Philbert, the show-within-a-show, is awful, an…