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It's no secret that Netflix has become one of the best places for high-quality, original television programming. Beyond that, few Netflix originals have managed to match the quality of the animated black comedy, BoJack Horseman. Nobody could have imagined that the tale of Will Arnett's alcoholic, anthropomorphic horse would ever reach such mature, hard-hitting levels, but the show's third season recently proved that it has yet to slow down. No episode epitomized that idea more than BoJack Horseman's underwater episode, but such an artistically fulfilling episode apparently did not come without its own set of challenges. Recently, production designer Lisa Hanawalt explained that one of the biggest hurdles of the episode was making it look like it actually took place in an aquatic environment. She said:
Just making sure people could tell it was underwater and not having that be overpowering was a big [challenge]. We didn't want to just throw a blue filter over everything, because it begins to look kind of muddy.
The episode in question is hands down the most unique single episode we have seen from BoJack Horseman to date. In a clear homage to the Bill Murray classic Lost in Translation, "Fish Out of Water" sees the titular equine actor take an overnight trip to an undersea city to schmooze at a film festival so he can increase his chances of winning an Oscar. BoJack Horseman already features some incredibly distinctive animation, and according to Vox, the team behind the series aggressively endeavored to make the undersea world feel like a foreign part of the BoJack universe, instead of spoiling the animation with simple filter effects.
The effort most certainly paid off, as "Fish Out of Water" definitely sells the unfamiliar nature of BoJack's surroundings. Everything from the color of the underwater city, to the music that plays over the episode, to even the physics of BoJack's movements feel perfect realized, and distinct from his recognizable home in Hollywoo(d).
Beyond that, the episode felt ambitious for its simplistic writing -- or lack thereof. BoJack has to wear a breathing apparatus that hinders his ability to speak, and as such the whole thing becomes an allegory for culture shock and language barriers. Because of this narrative device, the entire episode plays out almost completely nonverbally and it becomes a beautiful yet silent journey to get a baby seahorse back to its father. It's a single episode that encapsulate's BoJack's consistent (but often futile) attempts to prove that he's a good person.
At the end of the day, all of these gambles and risks seem to have paid off. The third season of BoJack Horseman has received widespread praise, and many seem to consider "Fish Out of Water" to be the standout episode of the entire season -- if not the series. BoJack Horseman is a show with a proven track record of artistic bravery, and we cannot wait to see what risks it takes when its fourth season premieres.
Make sure to check out CinemaBlend's comprehensive fall premiere schedule for more information regarding this fall's upcoming television debuts.