Monday, February 3, 2020

REVIEW: 'BoJack Horseman' - Friendships May End But the Impact Will Remain for Everyone Involved in 'Nice While It Lasted'

Netflix's BoJack Horseman - Episode 6.16 "Nice While It Lasted"

A celebration brings people together.

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 series finale of Netflix's BoJack Horseman.

"Nice While It Lasted" was written by Raphael Bob-Waksberg and directed by Aaron Long

Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins and Aaron Paul are the only voices heard in "Nice While It Lasted." This series finale honors the main cast and the lives the characters have lived and will continue living. Yes, BoJack survives his near-death experience. The family that bought his house came home and were horrified to discover him face down in the pool. They are traumatized but quickly overshadow BoJack's fate in the press. That's actually quite amusing to watch. BoJack continues to fall on hard times. He is sentenced to prison for fourteen months for breaking and entering. He was convicted in the court of public opinion in addition to the actual legal charges he faced. That may provide him with a path towards redemption. In prison, he is allowed to get sober once more. He can return to teaching. He actually feels good about helping his fellow prisoners learn how to perform even though it will largely be a mess in the end. And then, he is released. It's not permanent. He is only let out to attend Princess Carolyn and Judah's wedding. That is the central celebration that brings the entire ensemble back together. The series finale is framed through BoJack having meaningful conversations with his friends. It's possible these will be the last conversations he has with them as well. For the audience, they absolutely will be. On a deeper level though, it feels like all of this cements how far apart these characters have drifted. They are grateful for having each other in their lives. However, they can't be too dependent on each other either. Otherwise, they would be living their lives for other people instead of truly loving themselves. Mr. Peanutbutter made that breakthrough in therapy. He may always be an enthusiastic friend to BoJack. However, he is also putting in the work on Birthday Dad and reflecting on how to be single after a lifetime of being codependent. He may eventually leave BoJack all alone. But it's also amusing to see Mr. Peanutbutter once again try to give back to his city only to forever change its name once more. Hollywoo has now become Hollywoob. That is perhaps the final straw Mr. Peanutbutter has with the company he goes to for all his banners and signs. That's hilarious considering how long he has stuck with them despite them taking him literally each time. Elsewhere, Todd instinctively knows when BoJack needs his help in order to escape this party. BoJack feels out of place here. He feels like it's only a matter of time before he creates a disaster. He doesn't want to ruin Princess Carolyn's special day like that. Todd helps him escape. That's refreshing considering he wanted nothing to do with BoJack the last time they saw each other. Todd has such a unique perspective on the world. He finds meaning in simple children's songs. And yet, that too can have a profound impact on the people around him. He ultimately lifts people up and helps them see the world from a different vantage point. He may ask that literally from BoJack here. But the conversation pivots around the need to keep life moving forward so that BoJack can appreciate it. That's hard for BoJack because he views his life through the lens of a sitcom. Yes, this show is outrageous a lot of the time. But there is no big panic where only he has the solution to save this wedding because he knows Princess Carolyn best. Sure, she may have those concerns about what being married means to her individuality. But she was never going to actively engage in that disruption. It's mostly just an excuse to encourage BoJack and reflect on the time they once shared together. She may not represent him should he decide to return to a career in Hollywoob. She says that could be a possibility for him once he leaves prison for good. However, she also knows to be worried about him when he's fame-obsessed because that quickly leads to the cycle of abuse for those around him. That may just be a concern for the future though. It's uncertain. With Diane though, she has a lot of anger that she needs to express at BoJack right now. He always looked at her with the hopes that she could keep him stable. He could never be too bad if she still wanted to be his friend. They may eventually just drift apart though. That's okay. Diane doesn't have regrets about her time in Hollywoob. She views it as helping her become the person she is today. She is happy with her life. She is married to Guy. But she is angry with BoJack because of the message he left behind that she has likely listened to over and over again. It's not fair that she has to bear the burden of that action. He understands that and probably accepts it too. They are friends who can share a laugh together. But they endured hardships together as well. That is difficult to overcome all together. They may aspire for more. But the damage has been done too. At the end of the day, they may only have awkwardness between them. It's not static. It's not a bond full of anger or resentment. They just can't live their lives based on how the other is doing. That isn't healthy for either of them. So instead, they may just sit together staring up at the nice night unable to look at each other at the same time. It's awkward and unfortunate. But it may also be fitting for how this story about dysfunctional people should end. It's still uplifting. It's not bleak and dire like the penultimate episode was. It just ensures that people have to keep living no matter how difficult and shitty their lives are with seemingly no change coming to fix them. It's a story about personal strength and acceptance because at the end of the day self-love is crucial for the survival of any individual. This show understood that so well while also acknowledging the importance of these friendships along for the journey.