Netflix’s “BoJack Horseman” follows a middle-aged actor who navigates alcoholism and addiction in Hollywood (and also happens to be a horse). The show’s fifth season premiered on Netflix in September and will likely be renewed for a sixth season soon.
Here are 12 things that might surprise you about the animated comedy series.
The creator hoped to make the characters more relatable by drawing them as animals.
In an interview with Slashfilm “BoJack Horseman” creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg discussed the importance of making a show set in a world where animal characters live amongst humans.
“I think by making BoJack a horse, it allows an audience to project themselves on him in a way that if you were looking at a picture of Will Arnett, you might not be as inclined to,” Bob-Waksberg explained to Slashfilm. “There does exist an odd universality to these animals. By making them more foreign, they become more relatable.”
If he could start the show over, Bob-Waksberg said he would hire a more diverse cast.
One of the principle characters on “BoJack” is a Vietnamese-American named Diane Nguyen, voiced by Alison Brie. In January of this year, Bob-Waksberg was confronted by a fan about hiring a white actress to voice an Asian-American character.
“I love Alison Brie’s work, but why did she have to voice Diane in your show?” “BoJack” fan Lou McLaren asked the showrunner on Twitter. “POC representation without employment seems … off.”
“I love my entire cast, but if I were doing it today, I would not cast the show (or any show) with all white people,” Bob-Waksberg tweeted back. “I’ve really soured on the idea of ‘colour-blind’ casting as an excuse to not pay attention.”
Most “BoJack” guest stars appear on the show as themselves.
Many celebrities have visited the “BoJack” set to lend their voices to the show, but creator Bob-Waksberg said it was more difficult in the beginning to bring them on board.
“Before we actually thought we could get people … we wrote this part for Andrew Garfield,” Bob-Waksberg said at the FYC event for “BoJack” in May. “We went out to Andrew Garfield, he said, ‘No, thank you,’ and they asked me, ‘Well, do you want to change it and actually go after someone else?’ And I said, ‘No, it has to be Andrew Garfield!'”
Cast member Paul F. Tompkins, who voices Mr. Peanut Butter, then stepped in to fill the role of Andrew Garfield in his absence. Since the critical success of the show in later seasons, celebrities like Zach Braff, Jessica Biel, Felicity Huffman, and Margo Martindale have lent their voices to play themselves in the series.
“BoJack Horseman” was influenced by shows like “The Simpsons,” “Daria,” and “Archer.”
In a featured article with Rolling Stone, Bob-Waksberg named 10 animated works that hugely influenced his work on “Bojack Horseman.” Namely among them were “The Simpsons,” “Daria,” “Archer,” “Animaniacs,” “Pixar” films, and more.
“[‘The Simpsons’] is such a titan of the format,” said Bob-Waksberg of his primary inspiration. “It’s so influential in so many ways. One of the best compliments I ever got on ‘BoJack’ was, ‘That whole season felt like a long, sad episode of The Simpsons.'”
The fifth season mirrored what was happening in Hollywood.
When The New York Times interviewed Bob-Waksberg about “BoJack Horseman’s” fifth season premiere, he was asked to speak on the latest season’s focus on allegations against celebrities.
“I personally was responding to the fact that my agency had signed Mel Gibson as a client, which I found really repugnant,” said Bob-Waksberg. “I complained about it, and I wanted to explore that … It really was more organically thinking about what’s happening in BoJack’s life, but also in the life of Los Angeles, right now.”
“Horsin’ Around” is a mix of sitcoms from the ’80s and ’90s.
On the show, BoJack is a washed-up actor whose career originally rocketed to fame by starring in the television sitcom called “Horsin’ Around.” Bob-Waksberg elaborated on the fictional show’s influences in an interview with NPR.
“Diff’rent Strokes is certainly an inspiration [as well as] Full House, The Brady Bunch, Step by Step,” Bob-Waksberg told NPR. “I think in the ’70s and ’80s and ’90s there were a lot of sitcoms about different family units and blended families and odd configurations of families and different ideas of what makes a family, so it felt very appropriate that in our world where we have animals and people coexisting that there would be a show about a horse bachelor raising three human kids and learning how to make a family together.”
Alison Brie said she’s almost too good at voicing Vincent Adultman.
Though she primarily provides the voice for Diane Nguyen on “BoJack” actress Alison Brie has tried her hand at a variety of side characters, including Vincent Adultman (three children standing on each other’s shoulders in a trench coat.)
“I feel like the problem with doing Vincent Adultman – which came very naturally to me, and I have a lot of fun doing it – is that when I try to find voices for other characters, [Bob-Waksberg] was always like, ‘I hear Vincent Adultman. It’s too nasally,'” Brie said at an FYC event for “BoJack” in May. “When I was doing drunk Diane in an episode, [he] was like, ‘You’re veering into Vincent Adultman, so that’s a problem.'”
Bob-Waksberg said “political correctness” makes him a better writer.
There is often talk in comedy of toeing the line or going too far, but Bob-Waksberg said a measure of “political correctness” is welcome.
“I think most people who argue for what you might call political correctness, are not actually arguing for censorship,” Bob-Waksberg explained to Vice. “They’re arguing for self-control and self-restraint. They’re arguing for people to be conscious of the power they have, right? And I believe that I have a lot of power, as someone making popular entertainment. I do think we have to be careful about the art we put out.”
Aaron Paul sees the resemblance between his “BoJack” character and “Breaking Bad” character.
Actor Aaron Paul is well aware that on both “Breaking Bad” and “BoJack Horseman” he portrays slackers in hoodies who fill a sidekick role for the main character.
“Yeah, I think it’s a funny coincidence and maybe a little tip of the hat to the character I once played,” Aaron Paul joked in an interview with Indiewire. “And it’s funny that his name is Todd, my arch-nemesis on ‘Breaking Bad’ – but he’s just a fun-loving guy who just wants everyone around him to be happy. He’s definitely a slacker, but he’s a good guy.”
“BoJack Horseman” has realistic continuity.
“BoJack Horseman” notably has realistic continuity from season to season, unlike other long-running animated series like “The Simpsons” and “South Park,” where characters often return to a status quo at the end of an episode.
“One of the things that made our show special from the beginning is there’s no snapback,” Bob-Waksberg told Slashfilm. “At the end of every episode, the damage that is done retains and the next episode will carry over the emotional story. It will carry over even literally. If someone punches a hole in a wall, the next time we see that wall, there’s going to be a hole in it. The world doesn’t get fixed automatically.”
Bob-Waksberg originally got the idea for “BoJack” from a fellow cartoonist.
In a radio interview with NPR Bob-Waksberg explained that he first thought of the concept for “BoJack” when he was inspired by friend and cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt, who later became a production designer and producer for the show.
“One thing she was doing was just drawing these animal people on her own and posting them in her blog and on the Internet,” said Bob-Waksberg. “I thought they were just so gorgeous, these designs of these characters which were human from the neck down more or less with these animal heads. So I started thinking about: Is there a show that I could write with these animal people?”
Will Arnett said he thinks BoJack is one of the most complex characters he’s ever portrayed.
Famous for roles like Gob in “Arrested Development” and Devon Banks on “30 Rock,” Will Arnett is no stranger to playing bombastic characters, but he told Vanity Fair that BoJack is different.
“[Bob-Waksberg] is a brilliant guy who understands BoJack as a horse, or human, or whatever,” Arnett explained to Vanity Fair. “Any time you can build jokes around a story that resonates on an emotional level, it is going to have a big impact. I think by putting that in an absurd world you can approach it by how alienating it would be to be an animal in this human world. Maybe that’s another layer.”
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