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    Saturday, 11 October 2014 13:36

    BoJack Horseman - review

    Written by

    bojack horsemanThere's a certain kind of humor that's hard to define—not quite an anti-humor, but more of a post-humor—where comedy is extracted from what happens after the punchline.

    A good example would be a New Yorker article from last year, "Guy Walks Into a Bar." It retells the bar joke about a hard-of-hearing genie who grants a bartender a 12-inch pianist, but continues past the punchline into a kind of absurd Tennessee Williams play. An excerpt:

    And the bartender’s, like, “No kidding. You think I wished for a twelve-inch pianist?”

    So the guy processes this. And he’s, like, “Does that mean you wished for a twelve-inch penis?”

    And the bartender’s, like, “Yeah. Why, what did you wish for?”

    And the guy’s, like, “World peace.”

    So the bartender is understandably ashamed.

    And the guy orders a beer, like everything is normal, but it’s obvious that something has changed between him and the bartender.

    It goes on.

    BoJack Horsemancan best be explained as applying this post-humor treatment to the increasingly Dadaist world of adult-cartoon comedy. Over the course of its first season, the series mutes from a derivative high-concept sitcom full of sound bites and cutaway gags into a creative character-driven comedic drama, and eventually into a diligent attempt to subvert viewer expectations of characters and plot resolutions.

    The high-concept pitch, as laid out in the show's theme song, is thus: "Back in the ‘90s / I was in a very famous TV show / I'm BoJack the horse.” The pilot is so heavy on cut-away gags, parodies of lame ‘90s sitcoms, and rapid-fire jokes about BoJack as an abusive degenerate that it seems cobbled together from a discarded Seth MacFarlane notebook. It seems intent to bank as many disconnected sucker-punch laughs as possible and then cut to black before viewers can even process what’s happened. I hated it.

    I only continued to the next episode because of a strong word-of-mouth consensus, and because Netflix’s format meant it was just a click away. If I had to wait a week before giving the show a second chance, I probably wouldn't bother.

    I’m glad I did, because the show quickly proves the Family Guy shtick is just one patch of inspiration in a quilt made of bits and pieces of much better shows. To namecheck just two, BoJack’s petty celebrity squabbles in a world of humanoid animals plays out like Curb Your Enthusiasmmeets Ugly Americans.

    There's a great moment in episode 2 that kicks off when BoJack gets into an argument over the last pack of cupcakes in a store, and he spitefully buys them over the protests of a seal who, unbeknownst to him, is a literal Navy SEAL. The seal takes the story to the gossip-hungry media, and we’re treated to an MSNBSea news anchor—a whale voiced by a dead-serious Keith Olbermann—angrily blustering over the depravity of "stealing a meal from Neil McBeal the Navy Seal!" before reflexively spewing water from his blowhole.

    BoJack’s selfish impulses coming back to bite him in the ass turns out to be the series’ theme, which reminded me more than a little of Eastbound & Down. It hits that Kenny Powers balance: let BoJack run wild to get laughs, then reveal his unfulfilled desire for respect on his own terms to remind us that he’s still (sort of) human.

    As the series follows BoJack and ghost-writer Diane working on a “warts and all” memoir, we see the uncomfortable position it puts him in. He has a deeper desire to create something honest and bojack charactersimportant, which only a person of integrity like Diane can pull out of him. All the while, he struggles to see people as anything but puppets made to bring him satisfaction, and hates himself for it.

    The memoir and its creation work as a mirror of the show, with BoJack and Diane arguing about whether the brutal honesty of BoJack’s pathetic existence will endear him to audiences. It’s a clever wink at the viewer, who at that point in the show should be seriously wondering how they feel about their comedic lead mixing his mental struggles in with his binge-drinking jokes.

    This reaches a head when BoJack pointedly asks Diane to tell him, in spite of everything she’s seen, that he’s a good person deep down. It’s a question that may be on writers’ and viewers’ minds in television’s age of anti-heroes, as we evaluate who we root for, who we laugh with, and who is even worth our time to watch. We want BoJack to be terrible because he’s funnier that way. But we want him to be a good person so that we can approvingly share in his eventual success. BoJack presents a real viewer moral quandary, because his only redeeming trait is his desire to be worthy of the success he desires, and his acknowledgement that he isn’t.

    By juggling heavy questions and light gags, BoJack Horseman highlights why few series make such an attempt. It can make for a very uneven experience, especially during binges of multiple episodes at a time. By forcing us to take our main characters’ existential crisis seriously, the wackier jokes fall flat as the season moves on.

    On the other side of the coin, by indulging in bizarre gags (a Red Sox family grinds up their deceased father so his pulpy remains can be dumped on Derek Jeter) it doesn’t quite have the capital to dwell on morality issues that that dominate the second half of the season. There are a few tone-deaf moments where the writers linger too long, and too on-the-nose, with BoJack and Diane’s big dramatic questions that felt like an overestimation of how long BoJack could maintain interest as a sincere, nearly well-adjusted straight man.

    In all, BoJack Horseman does its best when it laughs with us at BoJack’s warts-and-all existence, and then lingers just long enough to make us worry how he got those warts.

    Monday, 28 July 2014 10:36


    Written by

    I'm a geek, admittedly, who enjoys historical, science-based fiction (like "Halt and Catch Fire") so I'm predisposed to like dramas like this. If it's well-done, I should add.

    "Manhattan" doesn't disappoint.

    WGN produces the show. I watched "Manhattan" on the WGN channel and Wikipedia lists WGN as:

    Saturday, 11 October 2014 13:27

    Scriptwriting Classes

    Written by

    Scriptwriting Classes at Irvine Valley College - Mark Sevi

    facebook Scriptwriting Classes
     Taught by a Professional Screenwriter (credits)

    mark sevi logo


    These writing classes are through IVC Continuing Education: Website ( for more information, or call Community Ed (949) 451-5555 if the information is not yet on the website.  
    You can also leave a voicemail at 949.610.4299

    Learn how to write a script but more importantly learn techniques on how to tell a complete and compelling story!

    Get that movie/TV series/animation idea on paper!  Don't think about it - do it now!  
    What are you waiting for?  Seriously!


    Thursday nights 6:30pm-9:30pm
    (normally 8 sessions)
    Thursday nights 6:30pm-9:30pm
    (normally 10 sessions)

    - Winter 2014 -
    Thursday, November 6th, 2014, ends January 15th, 2015
    (no classes Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years week)

    - Winter 2015 -
    Thursday, February 5th, 2014
    , ends April 7th, 2015

    You do not have to know anything about writing or scriptwriting to take tis class!
    Unleash your inner storyteller in a fast and friendly lecture/workshop setting!


    - Winter 2014 -
    Tuesday, November 18th, ends January 27th, 2105
    (no classes Christmas and New Years week)

    - Winter 2015 -
    Tuesday, February 3th, 2015, ends April 7th, 2015

    This is an ongoing class workshop with students working on material already in progress or new material of their own.  It is ongoing and never stops.

    hunger games

    I will take you from zero to working on your feature in 8 weeks through home writing assignments and in-class interactive workshops and lectures.

    • Scenes
    • Scene sequences
    • Dialogue
    • Action
    • Story Structure
    • Theme
    • Formatting For The Screen (very easy and simple)
    • And more - are covered completely in class.

    This is a dynamic, interactive workshop-based class that puts you firmly on the road to your dreams of writing a movie.

    titanicThere is more focus on a dynamic, problem-solving script workshop and in understanding advanced script techniques based on breakdowns of films and submitted ongoing student work.
    Class is 10% lecture, 90% interactive workshop.

    If you:

    • Have a script in progress.
    • Are continuing from the Intro class.
    • Or have written scripts previously...

    ...then this is probably your class.

    This is a dynamic, interactive workshop-based class that helps you shape your material and get it ready for marketing.

    Classroom: A123 - in the A100 Building - Enter on the Quad Side    Classroom: A123 - in the A100 Building - Enter on the Quad Side


    Be sure to get parking pass in machines on campus!
    Parking passes can also be obtained through campus police department on campus, in person before 6:00pm M-F
    Campus Map: HERE


    Find Current Info, Leave Questions at the Facebook Page (


    neoEach class (Intro/Intermediate) has a bit different focus but they are both fundamentally geared to learn film theory, practice, and to write, write, write.

    Each week we will watch a movie at home, break it down in class, and work on our material in a hands-on, dynamic workshop.

    Work with other students in a fun, interactive setting.


    ABOUT MARK SEVI (please see for Mark's film credits if link doesn't work)

    • 25+ scripts sold, 19 movies produced including "Devil's Knot" with Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth
    • Articles on Screenwriting for Writer’s Digest, Salon. com and various other pubs and contributor to various books on scriptwriting.
    • Featured speaker at writing conferences and colleges.
    • Teaching screenwriting for 12+ years.
    • President and founder of The Orange County Screenwriters Association (WebsiteFacebook | LinkedIn | MeetUp)


    charlize theron prometheusQUESTIONS?  

    You can go to MarkSevi.Com and use the contact form to send a message. Or reply through this ad.
    Call 949.451.5555 or 949.610-4299 or send an email (using above REPLY link) through this ad or leave a message on

    REMEMBER TO GET A PARKING STICKER!  There is no "amnesty" for new students.



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