Season 5 of animated series BoJack Horseman addresses #MeToo campaign, with mixed results


Season 5 of animated series BoJack Horseman addresses #MeToo campaign, with mixed results

Josh Varlin

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.

Flip lunges at Bojack

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…

Read more