January 20th, 2020 is a date that will go down in infamy as the end of one the greatest eras in modern television : the brief but powerful reign of "Bojack Horseman", star of screen and book. Five and a half moving, funny, poignant, brilliant seasons have left little doubt that Raphael Bob Waksberg and friends will knock the final six episodes out of the park but there are many questions left about how our dubious hero will say his final goodbyes. Besides "The Office" ( the soundtrack of my life) there are few shows I have examined as carefully or studied as intensely as "Bojack Horseman". It is the only show I’ve ever loved enough to consider a fan tattoo. My careful examination of a show that rewards careful examination has revealed the following : Bojack Horseman’s (Will Arnett) life is in danger.
It is a show run by women, about women, and about women using their bodies not for the benefit of men but for the benefit of themselves. As someone who has been inundated with images of how a woman should look and can’t look, it is powerful see a group of women who show that there is no wrong way to look or be or exist. That every woman has strength in her.
At the 2018 New York Film Festival, actress Carey Mulligan was asked how she could get into character for someone as unlikable as Jeannette in “Wildlife” (2018). Mulligan explained to the shortsighted audience member that likability is more than niceness. It is finding a connection in someone. Mulligan transformed herself into Jeannette, a young mother who, while her husband is away, has an affair as she tries to find herself again. It is a beautiful performance about the way definitions can be thrust upon and shackle women. So, what made her unlikable? Was it the infidelity? The selfishness? The uncomfortable self-exploration? It seems that male characters can do and be those things. We call them “complex” or “complicated.” We label them the “anti-hero.” But what makes that journey different for women?
GLOW - The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling - is a based-on-a-true-concept type sitcom (? drama ? sit-ma ?) about a women’s wrestling in the eighties. It’s a feminist by default excuse to recreate the most extreme looks of 80s women's fashion and some of the most cliched of 80s women's problems with some kitschy wrestling scenes and liberal politics thrown in for good measure. Like the "A-Team" meets "A League of Their Own" meets "Tiffany" but with heart.