One of the most important things I have learned from watching Elf is that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is to watch BoJack Horseman angrily jeer…or something like that. I removed The Night Before in part because I have already done a video review of the movie here. But also because when I was making my Christmas movie list I forgot that BoJack Horseman had a Christmas special. And I can’t think if a better character to represent Christmas than BoJack– he is so full of the holiday spirit and familial love that he will obviously make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. This is the same character that chose to lose 500 thousand dollars that was going to charity merely out of spite, after all.
Tood, BoJack’s long-time roommate and annoying friend, decides to celebrate Christmas in style by stealing BoJack’s credit card, buying himself a new hat, and then sitting down with our favorite horse to watch one of the classic Horsin’ Around Christmas specials. In this special, BoJack celebrates his adopted children’s first Christmas ever and runs into a problem when Sabrina, hopped up on all that Christmas cheer, wishes to have her parents back as her Christmas gift from Santa. BoJack has to wrestle with the idea that she either (1) will be crushed on Christmas day when no parents arrive or (2) telling her that Santa Claus doesn’t really exist.
BoJack Horseman is one of the best Netflix Original shows today, Will Arnett’s is quite lovable even as a horse who is overly cynical and selfish. He does things in the series that are truly jaw-dropping and does it with such an unforgiving attitude that you can’t help but be in awe over how much of a perfectly awesome ass he can be. And yet, his character isn’t so destructive that people alienate him. He has his loyal roommate and friend Todd as well as a host of other recurring characters that, in spite of him taking every opportunity to tear them down, truly care for him and see the goodness that he barely sees in himself.
That being said, this Christmas special isn’t the best representation of the Netflix Original Series as Bojack himself feels a bit like a pushover throughout. He is perfectly fine letting Todd steal his credit card and he easily gives in to his pleas to watch the Horsin’ Around special. This special is more about Horsin’ Around than it is about BoJack Horseman and that isn’t bad, just different. In fact, I quite enjoyed this special as you got to see much more of the Horsin’ Around show than you were able to in the original series. We got to see peppers of it but never a full 23 minutes of it. Horsin’ Around is meant to be a cheesy knock off of the old sitcoms where the story lines were predictable, fake laughs from the crowd were a must, and each episode felt like they were trying to force a lesson down your throat.
But what I really liked about this Christmas special is just how full of realism it contains given the shows nature. BoJack within the Horsin’ Around special has to deal with the fact that Sabrina has asked for an impossible wish and has to decide whether or not to reveal to her that Santa is not real. I feel like most parents have had to go through that at some point in their lives right? Additionally, BoJack himself has a lot of angst and dislike of the holiday season stating that, “Special Holiday episodes always stupid cynical cash-grabs by greedy corporations looking to squeeze a few extra Nielsen points out of sentimental claptrap for mush-brained idiots who’d rather spend their Christmas watching a fake family on TV than trying to have a conversation with their own dumb families.” But in reality, Todd had BoJack pegged correctly the first time when he states that he hates Christmas “Because the themes of family and togetherness are a chilling reminder of your own isolation…” And BoJack does open up throughout the episode in his own subtle ways– he likes Christmas– and hates being along deep down regardless of what he says to those around him…so I ask you, what is more heartwarming than seeing a horse open up to his friends on Christmas? NOTHING.
While this special isn’t the best representation of the show, I do recommend watching the show before watching the special as it will give you an overall context and appreciation for it. I mean, you could probably not watch the show, I just don’t think you will enjoy the special all that much then… If you have seen the show, then I definitely recommend watching this special as, at the very least, seeing Todd overly excited for Christmas is pretty fun, but also because you get to experience what Horsin’ Around was like! And, let me tell ya, it is just as corny and over-ridiculous as you would expect!