TV Review: BoJack Horseman (Season 4)
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From the moment it first premiered in 2014, BoJack Horseman has diverted our expectations. From the first season of Raphael Bob-Waksberg's animated series, we have been consistently moved, and shocked, by the existential crises of an anthropomorphic, humanoid horse and those closest to him. Returning for a fourth season, the series continues to surprise in intriguing new ways - and although the season takes some frightfully dark turns, it still manages to end on an uplifting, thoughtful note. Tackling themes of parenthood, mental health, politics and asexuality, the show is rich with thoughtful subtext that takes the characters we know and love to new places. The titular horse of the series doesn't even appear in the season's first episode, having set off on a sombre, nostalgic roadtrip without a word to his friends. Meanwhile, Mr. Peanutbutter's latest shananigans see him running for office as the governor of California with the help of his austere ex-wife Katrina - much to the chagrin of his current wife, Diane. Having managed to devolve the constitution with ridiculous amendments and elaborate ski contests, Mr. Peanutbutter seems as confident as ever that the very likeability that made him famous will make him a good leader. Ever the paragon of rational thought, Diane is less convinced, but reluctant to cause conflict in her marriage. As she quietly bemoans her husband's latest venture, as well as her unfulfilling role as a blog writer, she attempts to reach out to BoJack - who is still off the grid. After wandering from place to place, BoJack returns to the old Sugarman place, where memories of his family's ancestry come to light. Family is perhaps the overriding theme of this season, with almost every character faced with new developments in their closest relationships. While Diane wrestles with the success of her marriage to Mr. Peanutbutter, Princess Carolyn grows closer to her boyfriend and becomes determined to start a family. Todd is often lost in his own incredulous capers - ranging this season from 'drone thrones' to the genuinely terrifying concept of 'dentist clowns' - but is also seen to be struggling with his asexuality and how that defines his relationships with women. Meanwhile, BoJack is faced with the prospect of fatherhood when a young horse named Hollyhock comes to find him, keen to discover her biological parentage. As well as this, we get new insight into the life and childhood of BoJack's tacitern mother, Beatrice - who we discover is suffering from the early stages of dementia. Naturally, BoJack's story is the most intriguing, taking on dark and deeply emotional turns that provoke a lot of thought.
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