Aren’t You Bojack Horseman?

Critical Essays on the Netflix Series


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About the Book

When the final episode of BoJack Horseman aired on Netflix in 2020, it was to massive critical and popular acclaim. Across six seasons, viewers followed the exploits of a washed-up sitcom actor and his wacky collection of friends, set against the fading glitz of Hollywood and played out through a distinct cast of both human and anthropomorphic characters. Before the series even concluded, it was clear that it would be the topic of research and discussion long beyond its relatively short run. This collection brings together essays about the ways this series handles complex and highly nuanced topics within three main themes: mental health, masculinity, and the perils of celebrity. With contributions from researchers across a broad range of fields, these essays offer a variety of perspectives on these themes, how they are represented within the show, and the ways that both characters and viewers engage with them.

About the Author(s)

Harriet E.H. Earle is a lecturer in English at Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. Her work has appeared in The Journal of Popular Culture and The European Journal of American Culture.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Harriet E.H. Earle

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 6 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9063-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5098-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Introduction: Once Upon a Time in Hollywoo
Harriet E.H. Earle 1

“That’s too much, man”: Masculinities and Identity
It’s Different Because He’s a Horse: Race, Gender, and Identity in Anthropomorphic Animation
John Alberti 13
More Horse Than a Man, or More Man Than a Horse: Rethinking Masculinity Through Zany Anthropomorphism
Juliana Varela 30

Anthropomorphic Deviations
Ole Christoffer Haga 45
Scribbles and Compression: Tracing Feminist Animation Aesthetics
Jacqueline Ristola 65

“Silence drowns the sound”: Mental Health and Trauma
“Someday this will all be a pleasant memory”: Exploring Cycles of Trauma in Beatrice, Sarah Lynn, and Hollyhock
Laura Mulcahy 85
“I’m really carrying this double act”: BoJack, Beatrice, Memory, and Forgetting
Sam Chesters 101
“Why the long face?” Metamodernism, Incongruity and Mental Illness
Lucy Rivers 118
“I’ll take flight. Maybe tomorrow. Not tonight”: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on “The Old Sugarman Place”
Mike Clarke and Aanchal Vij 134

“Everyone loves you, but no one likes you”: Celebrity, Fame, and Entitlement
Property, Entitlement, Impropriety: Hollywoo(d) Plays Itself at 1475 Luck Hoof Avenue
Lawrence Alexander 153
Hollywoo Stars and Celebrities: Who Are They? How Are They Created? Let’s Find Out!
Arya Rani 170
Todd’s Rock Opera and the Efficacy of Art
Dikshya Karki 185
“We’re all terrible, so therefore we’re all OK”: The Deconstruction of the Masculine Icon and the Concept of Forgiveness
Sarah Wagstaffe 197

About the Contributors 215
Index 217