What makes “Rick And Morty” or “BoJack Horseman” so impeccably awesome?
You know that the best things happen to you when you’re bored?
At least that’s how it works with finding the best gems on Netflix, YouTube or Spotify.
One day I was tired after work. I was about to scream “my brain hurts”. I looked for something vaguely ambitious to let my cerebral ganglia rest. I wanted to turn off my brain, feed it with something that I didn’t have to invest much energy into.
One option was to get back to reading “The Disaster Artist”, but although the book is peculiarly gracious and perfect for a non-tiring read (I’ll write about it some time as well), I have quickly lost my interest.
So, Netflix it is, I thought to myself.
One of the reasons I signed up for Netflix was “BoJack Horseman”. I’ve heard only splendorous opinions about this show and felt that it’s a must see for a film buff as big as Gregg Turkington (yup, I’m that film buff).
“BoJack Horseman” was much more than I have expected. A phenomenal animated treat. A heart-breaking analysis of lost dreams and wasting time in life. A series that was as much painful as relatable. To put it simply, I love BoJack, because it makes me laugh and cry and think about life.
This is all why I literally “devoured” the four seasons and was left with an empty hole in my heart.
A hole that needed to be filled with a new cartoon.
Since I needed to wait a year for the new season of “Bojack Horseman”, I started looking for an alternative. That’s how I stumbled upon “Rick And Morty”.
Another sheer genius, another phenomenal animated series that moved me deeply. The way it mixed pure nonsense with crushing drama was the exact type of thing I was looking for. Smile, laugh, cry, repeat.
Soon, “Rick And Morty” was also over. And a new, even bigger hole was created. A new weight to carry. A luggage consisting of BoJack and Rick, two broken characters that I found very close to the heart.
Only recently I found another gem – “Final Space”.
The first episode was a bit rough to land, but I experienced the same with “BoJack” and “Rick”. The first episodes were both somehow too strange to like them immediately. Three more episodes in and you are already immersed.
“Final Space” made me a promise with its prologue. The beginning was stupendous – an astronaut, hanging in the vast, never-ending space, left alone to die. Soon we hear an AI counting down to the inevitable doom. This short sequence sent chills down my spine and made me think – this might actually be something good. Let’s give it a try.
Okay, so at this point, I might throw (here and there) some spoilers.
I have finished the first season of “Final Space” a few weeks ago. Me laying in my bed, headphones on. I couldn’t be too loud, so my reaction to the finale was a silent gasp at how good it was. How freakin’ deep it was.
I woke up the next day and felt that the whole season left me in an inflaming state of “I need more“. Did Gary really die? Was the final space opened or not?
Those, who watched “Final Space”, would clap here. It’s a fantastic series, which gave grounds to just another prominent animated series. It’s hard to imagine that the creator of the show has started this whole concept as a cheesy YouTube animation.
It made realise something very important.
We live in the golden times of animated television.
I’m not over-reacting here. Three phenomenal series have given so much fodder for my thoughts that my brain’s cogs are running almost constantly.
Each one of them has shown me a different shade of fun, adventure, but also fear and loneliness.
I have begun to wonder – what makes them so powerful? What causes these short episodes to fill my heart with such a vast range of emotions. In a split of second, I can feel entertained by Morty’s pitiful appearance and Rick’s detachment from the world and then a heart-wrenching sentence pierces through my chest and leaves it wide open.
One theory I had was that the fact that these are all animations are prejudicially treated less serious. After all, BoJack sleeps with a cat, Garry befriends a flying green blob, while Rick and Morty travel between dimensions.
As a consequence, we might automatically perceive these “sad, heart-breaking moments” as much more unexpected and, therefore, powerful (not like top 10 anime deaths of course). They create balance and tie our emotions to the animated, goofy characters.
Another thing is that feature films and tv series are extensively using violence, death and drama in order to move us. But the outcome is that the audiences are becoming increasingly insentient. If you watch movies regularly, you experience so much death on the screen that it’s sometimes impossible to muster up the right reaction.
Was it supposed to be a Tarantinesque wink? Or was it serious and we should be sad now?
Animated series and films poke at a different area of our sensitiveness.
There is something psychologically incredible about these animated series. The fact that all of these characters live in the imaginary worlds, makes them more abstract and harder to grasp. But, at the same, time they are paradoxically more human.
They are often confronted with very heavy problems. BoJack is – under the surface of a horse – a depressed, middle-aged guy, whose life has slipped through his hoofs. Rick is an alcoholic (just like Horseman), who fills the time with these ridiculous adventures. Why does he do that? To push away the self-destructive awareness of him slowly fading away. And Garry from “Final Space” faces the sad truth that the universe couldn’t care less about his existence.
The more we would analyse, the more saddening these stories and characters appear.
Do these cartoons push our brains towards an existential crisis?
At some point they might.
I remember when I watched the 11th episode of BoJack Horseman’s 3rd season. Sarah Lynn and BoJack, last time together. By the end of the episode, I couldn’t believe that this series turned so dark, so self-aware of its destructive influence on the viewer. I was flabbergasted and needed a break.
No wonder Will Arnett (who voices BoJack) jokes about Raphael Bob-Waksberg (the creator of the show) paying for the mental treatment after “BoJack Horseman” ends.
However, there is a bright side to it. I feel that these shows are very much like a catharsis. They throw me into some dark places, but as Rustin Cohle in True Detective said, ask me, the light’s winning.
They represent life better than majority of award-winning dramas. The craziness of it all, the constantly downward-upward sloping line of it. By using imaginary monsters, animals and aliens, they all unclothe the reality.
I know that there is a bright future ahead of us. “BoJack Horseman”, “Rick And Morty”, but also shows I haven’t seen – like “Futurama” or “Archer” – they have all opened gates that were reserved for die-hard anime fans.
I am thrilled to see what’s coming next. One thing I know for sure is that no matter what the future brings – I am glad and thankful for this golden era already.
- Read about a fantastic Chilean animated movie “La Casa Lobo”
- “Isle Of Dogs” is the reason why Wes Anderson deserves much more love
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