TV REVIEW: BOJACK HORSEMAN – SEASON 04 – EPISODE 07

 

Underground Poster
Mr. Peanutbutter’s posh campaign fundraiser takes a terrifying turn. As chaos swirls around them. BoJack and Diane get drunk.

Director:

Aaron Long

Writers:

Raphael Bob-Waksberg (creator), Alison Tafel (staff writer)

Stars:

Will ArnettAmy SedarisAlison Brie

“Underground”

No punches have been pulled in this vicious takedown of fracking as Mr. Peanutbutter’s house falls deep underground due to a man-made earthquake. Glamazonian Drag World Superstar RuPaul Charles makes an appearance as the Ant Queen who saves Todd and Princess Carolyn from their earthen tombs.

Mr. Peanutbutter’s near-miss at being burned alive by Jessica Biel was the incentive he needed to realize his quest to be governor was just a reaction to being around his ex-wife. Bojack and Diane finally have the heart-to-heart they’ve been avoiding since the death of Sarah Lynn.

We’re over halfway through the series, and there’s no clear indication where any of this is going, or how any of these story lines are going to tie together. There does seem to be a recurring theme of families and parenthood going on, which is why I have a terrible feeling about Princess Carolyn’s pregnancy, but it’s too early to tell exactly how this season will end for Bojack and his friends.

 

******
“Mary Cox is an entertainment writer from the United States. Her hobbies include making good beer and bad decisions, watching drag queens fight on the internet, and overanalyzing everything. Mary one day hopes to be the person shouting “World Star” in the back of a Waffle House brawl video. She is currently tolerating life in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_K_Cox”t

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TV REVIEW: BOJACK HORSEMAN – SEASON 04 – EPISODE 05

 

Thought and Prayers Poster
A mass shooting at a mall creates a PR nightmare for Princess Carolyn. BoJack takes Hollyhock to visit his estranged mother.

Director:

Amy Winfrey

Writers:

Raphael Bob-Waksberg (creator), Nick Adams

Stars:

Will ArnettAmy SedarisAlison Brie

“Thoughts and Prayers”

In this highly political episode, gun ownership, street harassment, and mass shootings are all on the table for discussion. In a way, “Thoughts and Prayers” is an airing of America’s dirty laundry when it comes to our problems with gun violence, and with women’s safety. After accidentally causing comprehensive gun control to pass in the California senate in lieu of societal changes that benefit women’s autonomy, Diane sums it up perfectly with the assertion that Americans “hate women more than they love guns.”

The only problem rattling around with this episode comes down to Bojack’s forced relationship with his estranged abusive mother, Beatrice, who is now suffering from dementia. Hollyhock’s continued insistence that Bojack cares for his mother in her old age is highly problematic. It’s been established that Bojack was the victim of severe emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his mother. Being old and sick doesn’t excuse literal decades of child abuse, and it’s hard to feel any sympathy for Beatrice with that in mind.

Having the background about Bojack’s grandmother’s lobotomy gives us more perspective in regards to Bea’s cruelty towards her son, but it doesn’t excuse her behavior. Normally in the Bojack Horseman universe, there’s a strong theme of “you reap what you sow,” which is why Bojack turning the other cheek feels out of place for his character, and out of place for this series.
 

******
“Mary Cox is an entertainment writer from the United States. Her hobbies include making good beer and bad decisions, watching drag queens fight on the internet, and overanalyzing everything. Mary one day hopes to be the person shouting “World Star” in the back of a Waffle House brawl video. She is currently tolerating life in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_K_Cox”t

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TV REVIEW: BOJACK HORSEMAN – SEASON 04 – EPISODE 04

 

Commence Fracking Poster
The campaign takes a toll on Diane’s love life. BoJack helps Hollyhock search for her mom. Princess Carolyn tries to get pregnant.

Director:

Matt Garofalo

Writers:

Raphael Bob-Waksberg (creator), Joanna Calo

Stars:

Will ArnettAmy SedarisAlison Brie

“Commence Fracking”

It seems like Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter’s relationship has been on the rocks pretty much ever since they’ve been together, but they’ve never come so close to splitting up as they are now. It’s always super weird to see sex scenes between the human and animal characters of this show, but there’s something fundamentally uncomfortable about watching shirtless Mr. Peanutbutter furiously laying pipe in his wife.

Hollyhock is still on the quest to find her birth mother, but that’s another issue in the whole people and animals in relationships thing. Can two different species actually reproduce in the Bojack Horseman universe? If Hollyhock is a horse, doesn’t that mean her mother has to also be a horse? If not, then Princess Carolyn’s quest to conceive with her mouse boyfriend isn’t going to end well.

The long-lost daughter angle is very much a cliché, but I’m interested in riding it out to see where this goes. Frankly, I’m not entirely convinced that Hollyhock is genuinely Bojack’s daughter, so there might be more to this situation than meets the eye.

 

******
“Mary Cox is an entertainment writer from the United States. Her hobbies include making good beer and bad decisions, watching drag queens fight on the internet, and overanalyzing everything. Mary one day hopes to be the person shouting “World Star” in the back of a Waffle House brawl video. She is currently tolerating life in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_K_Cox”t

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TV REVIEW: BOJACK HORSEMAN – SEASON 04 – EPISODE 02

 

The Old Sugarman Place Poster
BoJack goes off the grid and winds up at his grandparents’ dilapidated home in Michigan where he reflects on his family legacy and befriends another soul haunted by the past.

Writers:

Raphael Bob-Waksberg (creator), Kate Purdy

Stars:

Will ArnettAmy SedarisAlison Brie

Review by Mary Cox

“The Old Sugarman Place”

Bojack is back! The second episode of this series sits somewhat uncomfortably for me. “The Old Sugarman Place” seems to be jumping back a little from the weight and drama of the previous season, but it’s right now, it feels the direction of the show is kind of still in limbo. Bojack Horseman is half-in and half-out of being a serious drama.

In the flashback scenes with Bojack’s grandparents, the recurring “it’s the past, so everyone is sexist” jokes start to wear a little thin. This isn’t because the repeated references to “womb problems” are offensive or in bad taste, but it’s that the jokes are somewhat one note. After the fourth or fifth antiquated riff, this episode starts to somewhat literally beat a dead horse.

Bojack’s grandmother getting lobotomized at the end of the episode is melodramatic and out of place. This scene is clearly supposed to be evocative of Rosemary Kennedy, the younger sister of JFK who was famously lobotomized against her will, but certain tragedies don’t translate when it comes to cartoon horses. Touching on such a dark and serious topic would be okay if it wasn’t just a throwaway moment in a flashback, but the way Bojack Horseman handles this scenario makes the weight and tragedy of the lobotomy somewhat cheap and unnecessary.

Clearly, there exists a balance between comedy and tragedy, and in the past, Bojack Horseman has successfully walked that line. However, things aren’t looking so hot based on how the content of this episode has been handled. There’s a chance that the flashbacks at the Sugarman cabin will have some greater thematic significance later in the season, but I’m not holding my breath.

******
“Mary Cox is an entertainment writer from the United States. Her hobbies include making good beer and bad decisions, watching drag queens fight on the internet, and overanalyzing everything. Mary one day hopes to be the person shouting “World Star” in the back of a Waffle House brawl video. She is currently tolerating life in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_K_Cox”t

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TV REVIEW: BOJACK HORSEMAN – SEASON 04 – EPISODE 01

 

See Mr. Peanutbutter Run Poster
Mr PeanutButter starts his campaign for Governor of California and starts by challenging the current governor to a ski race while Bojack is no where to be found.

Director:

Amy Winfrey

Writers:

Raphael Bob-Waksberg (creator),

Stars:

Will ArnettAmy SedarisAlison Brie

Review by Mary Cox

“See Mr. Peanutbutter Run”

After last season’s bombshell with the death of Sara Lynn, Bojack Horseman seems to be pivoting away from heavy drama and is returning to more of the lighthearted comedy featured in the first season of the series. Bojack himself is still missing in this episode, but it’s unlikely that he’s going to pull an Agent Cooper and not show up until late in the game.

This season of Bojack Horseman is shaping up to be heavily political, as the California gubernatorial race is pretty obviously taking a page from the 2016 Presidential Election. Mr. Peanutbutter has never really been depicted as a sinister character in the past, but something tells me that drawing a parallel between Peanutbutter and Trump is pretty telling about the direction this season is going to take.

It’s almost impossible to make something now that doesn’t touch on the surreal political climate we’re all desperately trapped inside, but I’m wondering how close to home we’re really going to get here. Can we expect another Cosby episode, where contemporary hot topics like covered-up abuse and sexism in the film industry itself is addressed? Or is this going to be a broader and more general look at the world we now live in?
 

******
“Mary Cox is an entertainment writer from the United States. Her hobbies include making good beer and bad decisions, watching drag queens fight on the internet, and overanalyzing everything. Mary one day hopes to be the person shouting “World Star” in the back of a Waffle House brawl video. She is currently tolerating life in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_K_Cox”t

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TV REVIEW: TIM AND ERIC’S BEDTIME STORIES – SEASON 02 – EPISODE 02

 

The Duke Poster
 Directors:

Writers:

Tim Heidecker (created by), T 

Stars:

Tim HeideckerEric WareheimIsaac Cheung

Review by Mary Cox

“The Duke”

The image of a casino exclusively for scratcher cards is amusing enough, but like all of Wareheim and Heidecker’s work, the point you should consider is the “heart of fear” in this episode. This episode features Ray Wise of Twin Peaks fame, who previously has appeared worked with Eric Wareheim as the starring role in his video for “Wishes” by dream-pop duo Beach House. There’s something about Wise’s natural charisma that lends itself to surrealist media, and his performance, alongside Rhea Perlman and Jorge Garcia, should not be missed.

Bedtime Stories works fundamentally because it plays on our deepest fears and insecurities. On one hand, there’s the surface story about the casino and learning to live with a lie, but that’s not what makes “The Duke” so unsettling. When looking at this narrative specifically from a masculine perspective, this story is very obviously about a fear of cuckoldry and emasculation. Whereas “Baklava” was about the externalized issue of saving someone from themselves, “The Duke” focuses on personal loss of agency via impotence and forced submission.

This is the reason why Bedtime Stories is sometimes described as “hit or miss.” The terror and discomfort doesn’t necessarily “kick in” unless your personal issues and insecurities are up to bat. Even if you’re not afraid of losing your wife to another man, or you’ve never struggled to keep someone’s head above the waters of mental illness or addiction, everyone has some kind of deep-seated anxiety or raw nerve. Give it time. Wareheim and Heidecker will get to you and your issues as well.

******
“Mary Cox is an entertainment writer from the United States. Her hobbies include making good beer and bad decisions, watching drag queens fight on the internet, and overanalyzing everything. Mary one day hopes to be the person shouting “World Star” in the back of a Waffle House brawl video. She is currently tolerating life in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_K_Cox”t

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TV REVIEW: TIM AND ERIC’S BEDTIME STORIES – SEASON 02 – EPISODE 01

 

Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories Poster
Tim and Eric’s parody of horror anthology TV shows.

Stars:

Tim HeideckerEric WareheimZach Galifianakis

Review by Mary Cox

“Baklava”

The second season of Eric Wareheim and Tim Heidecker’s spiritual successor to both Awesome Show, Great Job and Check It Out! is back in action. Anthology horror series are becoming more and more popular with the success of films like V/H/S, creating more room on television for the release of shorts and limited one-offs.

Wareheim and Heidecker’s work balances in that space between humor and discomfort, but Bedtime Stories goes beyond cringe comedy and delves into the realm of the surreal. The framing narrative of “Baklava” about a man trying to get a bonus at work to pay off his daughter’s kidnappers matters only because it gives us a context for the surreal events that follow. This episode feels like an anxiety dream, where uncertainty reigns and dread looms.

Looking beyond the surface of this episode, there’s a clear parable here about the difficulty of living with people who suffer from addictions, and about the pain and futility of constantly pulling someone you care about back from the edge over and over again. This series functions incredibly well because it taps into real fears and anxieties. Bedtime Stories uses comedy to comfortably burrow into us just deep enough that it can still tap on our nerves when it wants.

 

******
“Mary Cox is an entertainment writer from the United States. Her hobbies include making good beer and bad decisions, watching drag queens fight on the internet, and overanalyzing everything. Mary one day hopes to be the person shouting “World Star” in the back of a Waffle House brawl video. She is currently tolerating life in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_K_Cox”t

TIM AND ERIC'S BEDTIME STORIES 1