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How Bojack Horseman Changed Television: Every Character is Now a Horse

The Netflix original animated series Bojack Horseman has changed television in many ways. It has brought added complexity and darkness to comedy and animation. It has encouraged a national discussion about depression. But the most important change Bojack has brought to television is this: every character is now a horse.
Back in 2014, when Bojack premiered, hardly any characters were horses. Maybe you’d occasionally see the Kentucky Derby or the Belmont Stakes. There had been Mr. Ed, of course. But for the most part, characters were played by humans. No more. Now, horses are everywhere. For a generation of television viewer, it’s unimaginable that things could be any different.
Without Bojack, we wouldn’t have Horse MD, Dancing With the Horse, Meet the Horse, The Tonight Horse with Horse, or The Chris Gethard Horse. We wouldn’t have The Good Horse, The Good Horse, or The Good Horse, three different shows about a horse wife, a horse doctor, and a horse place. Now it’s all horses, all the time, and television is richer for it.
Some argue that every genius spawns legions of pale imitators, and that television has become watered down with too many horses. That the horse trend has run its course. “Where are the people?” They ask. “I’m tired of watching horses on Jeopardy. They just try to eat the buzzer,” they complain. “I’m afraid I might be in the midst of a years-long hallucination, because this does not make any sense,” they whisper, their eyes darting around the room, fearing they cannot trust even their own perception of reality.
Hey, man. It’s 2022. This is television now. If you don’t like it, get in your time machine and go back to the years before Bojack when it wasn’t all horses. Or call your congresshorse and ask them to pass a law. But get off my back about it.

Written by Jonathan Zeller

Jonathan Zeller

Jonathan Zeller is a writer, editor and comedian who’s contributed to McSweeney’s, The New York Times, and Teen Vogue.

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