Sunday, February 2, 2020

REVIEW: 'BoJack Horseman' - A Face From the Past Provides New Perspective to BoJack as He Spirals in 'Angela'

Netflix's BoJack Horseman - Episode 6.14 "Angela"

Angela Diaz reaches out to BoJack. Princess Carolyn gets an offer from Lenny Turteltaub. Todd cooks up a scheme.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's BoJack Horseman.

"Angela" was written by Shauna McGarry and directed by James Bowman

BoJack's cling to fame is starring as the horse from Horsin' Around. That was the project that launched him to fame. It's not the only Hollywoo project he's been associated with. Secretariat and Philbert have been major opportunities and successes as well. However, Horsin' Around has long brought him comfort. The series starts with him casually watching reruns of his sitcom. There was the sense that he was yearning for the glory days of his past. It was a return to a simpler time in his life. People have moved on and evolved since production on that show ended. In fact, BoJack saw the show as vital for keeping him sustainable as a celebrity. He was more than willing to be quiet and allow Herb to be fired as the showrunner after the network learned he was gay. He felt he had no power in that situation. He was the star of the show but felt beholden to the demands of the network executives. And now, he lashes out upon sitting down with Angela Diaz once more as she tells him that he could have called her bluff at any moment. To BoJack, that was a life-changing decision. He betrayed his best friend and had to succumb to the joys of alcohol and drugs in order to cope with continuing on with the show. He views that as the action that led him down this destructive path. Angela promptly calls him out for wanting to blame all of his mistakes on other people or one decision that he made. His life is made up of a series of choices. He could have improved himself at any point in time. Instead, he forever fell into this pattern of remaining selfish and not particularly caring who he hurt in the process. Sure, he has expressed feelings over the course of the series. But now, he finds himself in the exact same place where he started the series. This time he just happens to be all alone. No one is willing to stand by his side. His friends have all essentially moved on with their lives once more. He is repeating the same mistakes. That is tragic especially considering how the season started. BoJack was sober and content with making a peaceful new life. He could have had that as well. He blew it. It was destroyed because of his disastrous interview. That didn't have to cost him everything. It did though. And now, he is reduced to starring in heinous projects created by Vance Waggoner. That's demeaning. The same extends to Angela essentially treating BoJack as someone coming to her house to do chores for an old woman. She doesn't see it as a personal deal to cut BoJack out of Horsin' Around in order to keep it profitable for the studio. She just needs BoJack to sign his rights away. The payoff will be more than sustainable. Severing that connection though would be destroying the one thing that has always provided him with some sense of comfort. Him learning all of this now makes it seem as if he could have had an entirely different life. He can blame Angela for the way things turned out. That's not true though. It's something he needs to believe in so that he can justify his latest bender. That just makes it all the more depressing and hard to watch when he goes into this dark space. He is no longer hiding who he is. He is an addict once again off the wagon. Everyone who once cared about him is finding emotional closure elsewhere. Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter can have a genuine conversation with each other as friends where they are happy for each other and their respective accomplishments. Sure, there is the sense it could lead to them rekindling their marriage. But it's also clear that she would still have to fake a smile in order to be with him. Guy may be attracted to damaged women. However, she appreciates that support and has achieved so much because of it. Similarly, Princess Carolyn views Judah as a fantastic partner and potentially a great romance because they have the same priorities. Plus, it once again positions Princess Carolyn at the top with the confidence to know that she can achieve whatever she sets her sights on in Hollywoo. And finally, Todd gets to reconnect with his mother in the episode's most clearly absurd storyline. But that too comes across as Todd having these new personal connections without fundamentally having to change at all - even though Character Actress Margo Martindale's fake kidnapping of him sends his mother to the hospital with an anxiety attack. But that's a place where happy endings can be found with Martindale going to her next film set instead of prison. That stands in sharp contrast to the growing despair that surrounds BoJack's life. He doesn't have the clarity that Diane has found about accepting the life she has and seeing herself as perfect within it.