BoJack HorsemanLatest News and Opinion
Posted Saturday 4/14/18 at 12:07AM EDT
A journalist of South Asian descent says "most of us happily embraced Apu" in the 1990s, but The Simpsons can fix its most controversial character
"For those of us with low expectations, starving for any representation, Apu was a breath of fresh air," says Wajahat Ali, the son of Pakistani Muslim immigrants who grew up near Silicon Valley. While other portrayals showed brown people as cab drivers or terrorists, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon "was an integral character in the Simpsons universe who was able to be a co-protagonist of several episodes," he says. "Only in a cartoon, we thought, could people who look like us achieve such a feat." But that doesn't mean Apu or The Simpsons "get a lifetime pass to perpetuate lazy stereotypes," he says. "Any piece of art, no matter how well intentioned, harmless or silly, is not above reproach or critical examination... Instead of engaging with the issue of representation, which would have made for a more satirical and topical show — you know, the type The Simpsons used to do years ago — the writers responded with the worst creative sin: laziness." What The Simpsons shouldn't have done, he says, is "hijack your show’s most intellectual and empathetic voice, Lisa, as a foil for the writers’ unwillingness to be self-critical and engage their blind spots when it comes to listening to people of color who feel silenced and misunderstood. Thus, the show engages in another major sin: omission. After Lisa’s finger-wagging, the camera pans to a photo of Apu with the inscription 'Don’t have a cow!' Apu, who is a supporting character, is robbed of lines, rendered mute and frozen in a suffocating frame, smiling as a token prop. That’s exactly how so many people of color feel in real life — all the time." Ali adds: "What The Simpsons should have done was a stand-alone episode centered on Apu, who, after becoming a citizen many years ago, is confronted with an immigrant travel ban...Nobody would have a cow. But we would have an intelligent, critical, satirical show that at least confronts problematic issues instead of running away from them."
- Showrunner Al Jean explained why Lisa Simpson defended Apu, but why did she look at the camera?
- Jean criticized for tweeting conservative media in The Simpsons' defense
- Jean tweeted a link to the National Review piece: "Why the Apu Simpsons Controversy Bothers Me as an Indian American"
- Harry Shearer stuck up for the show, tweeting to Hari Kondabolu: "Bart, a pre-pubescent boy, is played by an adult woman. What's up with that?"
- BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg slammed The Simpsons response: "Imagine choosing to describe yourself and your work as 'applauded and inoffensive'"
- Bill Maher defends The Simpsons' response to Apu: "If you spend your time combing through old TV shows to identify stuff that by today’s standards looks bad, you’re not ‘woke,’ you’re just a douchebag"
Posted Tuesday 3/06/18 at 2:34PM EST
Amazon orders its first animated series, from BoJack Horseman team
BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg is teaming with one of his writers, Kate Purdy, on Undone, about a woman who discovers she has a "new relationship with time" after a car accident.
Posted Tuesday 2/20/18 at 3:30PM EST
Tiffany Haddish to voice an animated bird on Netflix's Tuca and Bertie, from the producers of BoJack Horseman
Haddish will play a cocky, care-free toucan named Tuca who interacts with anxious, daydreaming songbird Bertie in the animated comedy revolving around the friendship between two female birds. Tuca and Bertie is from BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg and two of his executive producers.
Posted Tuesday 1/30/18 at 8:39PM EST
BoJack Horseman creator confronts the “whitewashing” of white actors voicing minority characters on his show
Raphael Bob-Waksberg recently discussed with a Twitter follower why the Vietnamese-American character of Diane Nguyen was voiced by white actress Alison Brie. It’s something he’s wanted to talk about, but it's a topic that hasn't been brought up to him. “I think I used the idea of color-blind casting—(of) ‘It doesn’t really matter” — as an excuse to not pay attention,” he says. “I just said, okay, let’s find good people for every role … But I think if you’re not paying attention, you’re going to end up with mostly white people just because that’s how our industry is set up. If you want to go against that, you have to be active about it. You have to actively hire people of color. You have to actively think for every role: Can this be not a white person? If I’m not thinking about, it’s not going to happen.’”
Posted Tuesday 1/09/18 at 6:45PM EST
BoJack Horseman is being shopped for cable syndication
The Netflix comedy could find a whole new audience on basic cable.
Posted Wednesday 11/29/17 at 12:21AM EST
In defense of “boring” old-fashioned joke-telling sitcoms
Acclaimed traditional sitcoms like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Superstore and Fresh Off the Boat are often damned with faint praise, says John Schneider. Because they look conventional, they aren’t seen as boundary-pushing as shows like Atlanta and Bojack Horseman. “But this perception glosses over the fact that those conventions evolved for a reason,” says Schneider, “and they often allow traditional sitcoms to tell more resonant stories than more overtly innovative shows. Jokes are only the most obvious such convention. A series like Master of None and Atlanta will often go for entire scenes without anything resembling a joke. In many cases, this makes the dialogue feel more realistic, and can often set up bigger laughs later in the episode. But often, the lack of jokes in prestige comedies feels self-aware, a way of telling you this scene is supposed to be important. On the other hand, the comfortable patter of a sitcom like Brooklyn Nine-Nine allows them to sneak in discussions of issues like the NYPD’s credibility and racial profiling without feeling preachy."
Posted Friday 9/29/17 at 11:05PM EDT
BoJack Horseman creator: “it’s easier to talk about very serious issues through the lens of these wacky cartoon animals”
Raphael Bob-Waksberg talks about the even darker fourth season, saying that the Netflix series is able to plunge dark depths because it features animated animals and a show business setting. “I think the show business setting kind of gives us that too because this industry is so over-the-top and outlandish,” he says. “It allows us to comment on this real stuff in a way that perhaps if you were more straight ahead it would feel almost, like, afterschool special–ish or maudlin or indulgent.”
Posted Friday 9/15/17 at 2:29AM EDT
How BoJack Horseman put together the heart-wrenching dementia episode
“We did do research about (dementia), and also drawing from personal experiences with our family members,” says Kate Purdy, who wrote the episode. “We talked a lot about our own experiences in the room, and we talked about our own memories and compared how our memories work.” PLUS: BoJack’s opening credits are can’t-miss TV, and how does Jessica Biel endure jokes about herself?
Posted Wednesday 9/13/17 at 10:02PM EDT
South Park: "A case study in what happens when woke white dudes keep making art for other woke white dudes”
As it kicks off Season 21, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s creation is no longer subversive, writes Jeff Ihaza. “South Park’s all-knowing crassness and moralistic tone today seems as outdated as the New York Times opinion section,” he says. “Animated series like Rick and Morty and Bojack Horseman tackle many of the same issues as South Park, and with a refreshing helping of nuance. For 21 seasons, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have given fake woke white people a sense of self-satisfaction, reassuring them that they rise above the myopia that grips the residents of South Park; that they are subverting the establishment, rather than perpetuating it.”
Posted Friday 9/08/17 at 11:02PM EDT
Despite starring a horse, BoJack Horseman returns as one of the most human shows on TV
In its fourth season, the Netflix animated series “isn’t just another adult cartoon,” says Bethonie Butler. “It’s a smart, often tender comedy that puts a spotlight on the realities of addiction and mental illness, while skewering celebrity culture and serving up some of the best cameos (Margo Martindale as ‘character actress Margo Martindale,’ anyone?) on TV.” PLUS: BoJack unexpectedly turned into the spiritual successor to The Sopranos.
Posted Friday 8/25/17 at 10:15PM EDT
A Netflix pop-up is selling strains of weed based on 10 of its shows
From today through Sunday, a West Hollywood pop-up store will help promote the new pot dispensary sitcom Disjointed by selling strains of cannabis based on 10 Netflix shows, including "Banana Stand Cush" (Arrested Development), "Camp Firewood" (Wet Hot American Summer) and "Peyotea 73" (Grace and Frankie). Three of the strains of weed are named after the Kathy Bates sitcom. In a press release, Netflix insists it’s not making a profit from the weed.
Posted Thursday 8/24/17 at 6:15PM EDT
BoJack Horseman’s Season 4 trailer shows very little of BoJack
The title character is conspicuously absent from the new trailer.