By Opinion & Editorial Editor James Mellen
It is said that in order to achieve world class expertise in any area of discipline it is necessary for one to put in ten thousand hours of dedicated, well regimented training. If we are to put our faith in this theory, then I know only one world class expert in one area of discipline. This is me, James Mellen, on the topic of cartoons.
And 2019 has been thus far a great year for academic study of such a discipline, and as the new season of Rick and Morty approaches us, the rest of 2019 promises to maintain its high regards. Until this release, there have been two adult cartoons that have been catching the eyes of many people Bojack Horseman and Big Mouth.
These shows could not be more different in any way, however the main difference between these two shows is that Bojack is the greatest cartoon to ever exist and Big Mouth is only funny if you can get past the fact that any joke in the show would make sense in any context.
However if I didn’t feel it necessary to pay homage to The Simpsons I would say without a doubt that Bojack is the greatest animated adult cartoon of all time. In order to demonstrate the high level of complex unity that Bojack Horseman displays through a short analysis of the greatest episode of the show Free Churro.
The episode opens with Bojack waiting in the rain for his father, who once again is late to pick him up from soccer practice. Upon entering the car Bojack senior explains to the younger horseman why it is that he was picking him up from school instead of his mother, claiming that mrs.Bojack went out to see A Doll’s House and now has all sorts of “ideas about gender”. It is through this introduction that the rest of the episode is framed. Bojack is imprinted upon at a young age his father’s failures in his perception of reality. Bojack finds himself completely lost in his feelings of loss.
The show moves from the car that Bojack sits in into the funeral parlor of Bojack’s dead mother. Bojack is juxtaposed in front of her casket with a microphone in hand, the scene is animated in order to show his status as a stand up comedian. This juxtaposition further shows the lost feeling that Bojack encapsulates throughout the episode, he’s at his mother’s funeral, yet he’s prepared for a comedy set. This can be linked back to the opening scene in the car, Bojack’s father was supposed to prepare him with the emotional stability to deal with this moment, but instead he’s lost. His only way to cope with the moment that he’s in is through comedy.
In many ways this scene is the perfect symbol for Bojack Horseman as a show, a comedian at a funeral. Bojack deals with complex themes of depression, abuse, and addiction. But it is done so through the perspective of a cartoon, an animated horse. It is almost as though the audience and Bojack are forever intertwined in the fate. Bojack wanders through life with comedy being his only coping mechanism. As the audience, we watch this completely fail time after time after time, however, we ourselves are made to watch this failure through a comedic lens.
The last gag of Free Churro is the realization that Bojack has been in the wrong hospital room the entire time. Bojack opens his mother’s casket in order to give her the open casket funeral that she always wanted. When he opens it her realizes that he has been in the wrong funeral parlor the entire time. It is through looking inside (the casket) that Bojack realizes that he has been in the wrong place the entire time. It is worth noting however that the only reason he thought he was in the wrong place in the first place was the doubt that his parents gave to him.