1. It's not really about a horse.
The show's 30-year-old creator, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, says he actually drew upon his own experiences to create the initial concept of BoJack. "I moved out to L.A. from New York ... and I remember feeling, kind of like anyone does when they first move, so very lonely and isolated," he tells TVGuide.com. "It was a very strange feeling to be in this amazing house, literally on the top of the city but I never felt more alone. ... So that kind of disconnect was the very beginning of the character for me, the idea that this guy who's gotten everything he's ever wanted and still can't find a way to be happy." And then also it's a talking horse, he adds,"For me it was just like, how can I use these characters to tell my stories? It's such an easy well to keep going to, but it's always fun when you have this very serious conversation and you need a joke. It's like, oh, I'll just have him do something a dog would do. It kind of deflates everything in a really funny way."
2. It makes horse/human sex seem ho-hum.
Half of the characters on BoJack Horseman are animals. These include BoJack himself, BoJack's agent-slash-sometimes girlfriend, Princess Carolyn, and his dumb but well-intentioned frenemy Mr. Peanutbutter. The other half are humans, like BoJack's slacker roommate Todd and ghostwriter Diane Nguyen. The juxtaposition is never explicitly addressed beyond being occasionally played for laughs — either subtly or explicitly. (The editor of Penguin Publishing is a penguin; Mr. Peanutbutter at one point gets distracted by a tennis ball. And yes, there's more than one instance of horse/human sex.) But here's the kicker: It actually works.
3. It's not just another dumb cartoon.
"I think of the show almost as a dramedy, in the way that some live action shows are," Bob-Waksberg says. "The way I pitched the show is it's going to be this wacky, fun, goofy cartoon show that gets gradually darker the further it goes. I think all the actors really liked that idea — that it wouldn't just be funny voices, that they get to do some real acting in addition to the silliness."
4. It lets celebrities show they can take a joke.
The impressive list of Season 1 guest stars includes Stephen Colbert, Kristin Chenoweth, Patton Oswalt and Olivia Wilde, as well as Margo Martindale, Naomi Watts and Wallace Shawn playing outsize versions of themselves. And other celebrities, like Andrew Garfield and David Boreanaz, find themselves the butt of running jokes.
5. It's not afraid to take risks — and they pay off.
While network sitcoms tend to either play it safe when it comes to humor, or egregiously misfire, BoJack hits the mark both in terms of absurdity and poignancy. If you think a show about a horse with a drinking problem can't be moving, think again. "Netflix really trusts us," Bob-Waksberg says. "We don't get a lot of network notes. They're not coming back all the time like, 'Oh, this is too sad,' or 'This is too weird.' ... "
6. It begs to be binge-watched.
Aside from not having to deal with language restraints because it airs on Netflix BoJack Horseman doesn't push the envelope that much further than, say, Family Guy. But Bob-Waksberg says Netflix's viewing model was really the big draw in terms of the story he wanted to tell. " The fact that the episodes are all released at once and you can go through the whole thing, I really wanted to use that to my advantage. ... I love the idea that everyone's going to watch these episodes in order. That's how Netflix is designed. No one's going to tune into Episode 6 and not know what happens. I don't have to reintroduce the characters every episode. It's a really fun way to think about writing television. It opens up a lot of possibilities."