TV: BoJack Horseman (Season 5)

The greatness of BoJack Horseman continues into its fifth season, which wrings painful laughs and powerful emotions out of the tortured landscape of American gender politics. As the season begins, highly problematic Hollywoo star BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett) enters into the next phase of his career comeback, landing a new role as an antihero detective on the dark cable drama Philbert. BoJack is just self-aware enough to notice the similarities between his asshole character and himself, but not enough to course-correct as his critical success throws him into a new public spotlight. Meanwhile, his drug addiction and reprehensible behavior sink him to a new low that only his unlikely best friend Diane (Alison Brie) can help him to escape.

BoJack Horseman continues to be remarkably, consistently excellent, couching its scathing sociological insight in a colorful, zany package that makes the bitter medicine easier to swallow. Influenced heavily by the #metoo movement, this season is more on the nose and brutally honest than some of its predecessors, but no less effective, leveraging an arsenal of animal puns, zippy dialogue, clever metahumor, and hilarious sight gags at the current media landscape, heavily shaped by the ugliness of the Trumps and Weinsteins of the world. Arnett’s voice work continues to be magnificent, particularly in the season’s most notable setpiece episode (“Free Churro”), and he’s surrounded by spectacular support both from the series regulars (Brie, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris, Paul F. Tompkins) and new guest stars (most notably Stephanie Beatriz and Rami Malek). If this is a show you haven’t seen yet, it is absolutely worth going out of your way for—even this deep into its run I’m regularly blown away by its uncommon brilliance.

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