In “Bojack Horseman,” Bojack’s a 12,000-pound, boozing, Cosby-sweater-wearing ’90s sitcom has-been. He’s got a squatter for a roommate, a cat for an agent and a Labrador for an arch nemesis.
Some characters are anthropomorphic and some are human in this new Netflix Original series, and the lead is a horse, man.
Will Arnett voices Bojack, and his delivery makes this character like voice actor H. Jon Benjamin’s makes Archer in “Archer.”Bojack’s battling sociopathy, ego and his memoir, and when his agent Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) and his publisher (Patton Oswalt) urge him to hook up with a ghost writer — after a couple of panic attacks and ego trips, he concedes.
As the series progresses, “Bojack” unwinds a bit like an afterschool special on crack, but not as intense as an “It’s Always Sunny” episode.
He meets the now-adult co-star from his ’90s TV show, Sarah Lynn (Kristen Schaal). She’s hopped up on drugs and spiraling downward. Cue a blind-leading-the-blind scenario — with flair.
In one scene, Bojack gives Sarah his TV Guide award. He says “It’s the most prestigious award I ever won. I always thought if I ever had kids of my own, I’d give them it, and I want you to have it.”
She thanks him.
He sighs, starts humming a tune and waves his hand slowly in front of his face.
When she asks what he’s doing, Bojack shushes her — hand still waving — and says “Just let the credits roll.”
This horse has problems, and I’m laughing out loud and rewinding.
Watching the pilot, I was way curious why creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg mixes animals and humans, but after a bit, I saw what it added.
Princess Carolyn drinks cat-nip tea and reads “BIRDO” mags. Bojack’s publisher is a penguin, and at the publishing house, employees belly-dive across the lobby — like penguins. It add a bit of levity, and it works.
Yeah, Bojack’s a cartoon, but it could be kinda depressing — post-reality shows like “Celebrity Rehab” — watching an aging has-been circle the drain. But having the main character as a drunken “Mister Ed” makes this show’s premise easier to take in.
And it’s funny.
In another scene, Bojack’s in the hospital, and he’s watching videos of his old TV show.
“Do you just take those DVDs with you everywhere you go?” his roomie asks.
“Linus walked around with a blanket. No one gave him s—t for it,” Bojack says, and I’m in till the end.
Will Arnett’s voice will forever brighten my soul post-“Arrested Development.” Supporting voices bring it home with Sedaris, Oswalt and even a cameo by Stephen Colbert. Bojack’s roomie is voiced by Aaron Paul — who I can’t see as anyone but Jesse from “Breaking Bad” — and Alison Brie is Bojack’s ghost writer. I’m pretty bored with their storylines, but, with so much comedic star power, they’re doing their jobs supporting the glory.
In the end, “Bojack” has a lot of biting humor and some lags, but it’s worth checking out — after the kids are asleep.
Available: Netflix Instant
Rating: TV-MA (language throughout, adult themes)
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