There really is no other show like Bojack Horseman. There are of course plenty of shows that have dealt with similar subject matter, but none of them with this particular approach.
Last season ended with Bojack destroying virtually every positive relationship in his life and running away from his problems yet again, while Mr. Peanutbutter was offered a run for governor. The show does something rather different this time around, leaving Bojack out of the picture for the first episode and instead focuses on Mr. Peanutbutter. The result is actually pretty fascinating.
Mr. Peanutbutter has largely existed on the periphery of the series, being defined in large part by his relationships to Diane and Bojack. This episode goes for a deep dive into just what his worldview is, and the results are unsettling. A know-nothing political candidate who stands for absolutely nothing beyond his own ego, and who is surrounded by a cult of personality, is too true to life in 2017. That being said, the show milks the conceit for everything it’s worth. Paul F. Tompkins is in fine form as Mr. Peanutbutter and finds new inane depths to his unflappable nature, including the origin of his Horsin’ Around knock-off show.
The highlight of the episode though, is Andre Braugher (which you could say about virtually anything he’s in) as Governor Woodchuck Coodchuck. Pun aside, he works as the type of deadpan sane man that Braugher has honed into an art form over at Brooklyn Nine Nine. That comedy comes to great effect here as the opposing force to Mr. Peanutbutter’s thoughtless approach to his gubernatorial race. The other character to benefit from Bojack’s absence is Diane (Alison Brie), who (in lieu of Will Arnett’s sniper-like deadpan) does the heavy lifting in that category – and in that regard she succeeds tremendously. As expected with a Bojack Horseman episode however, Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Alison Tafel’s script plumbs a lot of depths from a relationship that’s been built up over years now. While Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter have been at best a questionable match, the cracks that have built up for years now finally break and it is a sight to behold.
Mr. Peanutbutter’s story is a disturbingly coherent exploration of what happens when people with no goals or regard for anything end up shaping the world. Amy Winfrey in particular deserves kudos for her directing; especially the scene with his adoring crowd, which is far more creepy than it has any right to be. It’s official though: Bojack Horseman is back. Both the show and the character (at the end for the latter), and it’s as in full command of its twisted power to make a person laugh and cry as it ever will be.
5 Woodchucks out of 5