Raphael Bob-WaksbergLatest News and Opinion
Posted Wednesday 9/19/18 at 10:06PM EDT
BoJack Horseman creator named the character "Todd Chavez" after a childhood friend -- without realizing he was Latino
Whether or not Todd Chavez is Latino has been hotly debated on the internet over the past five seasons, yet his ethnic and cultural identity has remained a mystery. Well, it turns out creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg didn't think about Chavez as being Latino. “I’m embarrassed to admit that it hadn’t occurred to me. I didn’t even realize that my friend in middle school was Latino.” he tells Vulture. "I want to be very honest, we have not talked about Todd’s race or cultural heritage a lot," he says. Bob-Waksberg doesn't want to take credit for creating a Latino character, especially when he's played by white actor Aaron Paul. “I didn’t want to feel like we were telling a Latino story that we were ill-equipped to tell, especially because we got some of that criticism with (Vietnamese-American) Diane, I think deservedly so, for being voiced by Alison Brie," he says.
Posted Friday 9/14/18 at 11:17PM EDT
BoJack Horseman creator on #MeToo parallels: "Most of the season was written pre-Harvey Weinstein"
Season 5 of the Netflix series seems especially timely by tackling Hollywood sexism and abuse. Yet "very little" of it was written after the Harvey Weinstein scandal sparked the #MeToo movement, says creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg. "If we had started post-Weinstein we might have structured the season a little differently, but I don’t know if it would’ve been better," says Bob-Waksberg. "I think it actually worked out nicely this way, where the season kind of echoes and dovetails with some things that are happening in the real world but isn’t explicitly about them. There was just one line of dialogue we had to change. Diane said, 'these guys get away with everything and nobody cares.' And then people started caring! So we had to change it to something like, 'these new stories break and people care about them, but nobody cares about the dirtbags we already know about,' which I think is sadly true. And as we move forward in time and the dirtbags that were breaking news turn into the dirtbags we already knew about, that frustration continues."
- BoJack Season 5 shows how protecting abusive, famous men is a tangled and corrupting process that touches everyone
- BoJack Horseman critiques itself in Season 5, taking an unforgiving look inward to find flaws
- In spite of all of BoJack's previous accomplishments, this season's “Free Churro” episode feels particularly risky and unique
- Raphael Bob-Waksberg calls Will Arnett's performance in "Free Churro" the best acting of his career
- Arnett deserves the Emmy with his "Free Churro" performance
Posted Wednesday 9/12/18 at 1:11PM EDT
BoJack Horseman creator: "The fact that I’m still making this show with mostly white people in every episode fills me with tremendous guilt"
"I say this not to just flagellate myself or to show off what a great guy I am," says Raphael Bob-Waksberg, "but because I want to put this on the record and to hold myself up to this when I go about making other shows. Also so that other white people making shows can see that this has been something that I have wrestled with, (instead of) looking at my show and saying, 'Oh well, he did it and it’s OK, so maybe it’s not that big a deal.' I would (also) like to be very open that my guilt does not solely come from a place of white progressivism. I do think that the show has been hurt by our all-white cast." Bob-Waksberg points to Alison Brie's casting as an Asian-American woman. "For a long time, because we cast a white actress to play Diane, I was afraid of this conversation happening," he says. "And because of that, we really downplayed her race and her cultural heritage. We’ve treated her basically like a white woman because I didn’t want to have a white woman playing an overtly Asian character, because that felt somehow more wrong to me. And now I feel the opposite. We did a complete disservice to the character by making her so white. Obviously what white-coded means is subjective, and there are Asian women who relate to Diane and I don’t want to discount their experiences. But I do think we have avoided stories that could have been more interesting because of my own fear and guilt about the casting."
Posted Wednesday 9/05/18 at 2:03AM EDT
Presenting an oral history of BoJack Horseman
Read Raphael Bob-Waksberg's 2010 pitch for "BoJack the Depressed Talking Horse."
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
Source: The Washington Post
"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
Source: The Verge
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 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.”