BoJack Horseman was an animated show that took Netflix by storm, but what gave it staying power was its characters. Find out why.
In this new era of streaming, we're seeing networks take chances on shows that may have never seen the light of day on broadcast television. One of those shows is BoJack Horseman, a cutting tragi-comedy that defied typical genre tropes and really dug into some interesting places.
One of the most interesting things to come out of the show are the characters and their arcs.
We've talked about character arcs on here before. And given lots of tips. There are no rules, only guidelines, and advice from people who have seen it work.
So...check out this video from Savage Books and let's talk after the break!
Is the Character Arc of Princess Caroline in BoJack Horseman Best in Show?
This video is so excellent. I love the deep dive into character arcs, which are the journeys of characters that keep us coming back for more. Especially in television. Great character arcs introduce us to the wants, needs, fears, handicaps, and goals of the characters inside the show.
While the titular character of BoJack traverses all these storylines, Princess Caroline, who is highlighted in the video, is one of the show's standouts.
Princess Caroline is Bojack's agent and part-time lover.
Let's go over the three acts of Caroline's arc to see how the show so masterfully draws her into reality.
The Three Acts of Princess Caroline
To examine her journey, let's follow Princess Caroline throughout all six seasons of the show. Savage Books does a great job outlining what each act of a character's arc should contain. We have them in image form.
Then we will follow Princess Caroline after.
So who is Princess Caroline?
She's a workaholic who can't separate her personal and private life.
Her main issue? She feels incomplete.
But how could her problem be solved? By getting married, settling down, having a litter of kittens?
No, that's too easy. As the show explains, if she wanted that life she could retire from being an agent and have it.
Still, how do you arc without the simple answer?
Well, that's for your later seasons to figure out.
As we get to know Princess Caroline we learn one thing to be true, she's afraid of being alone. She jumps from one bad relationship to another in order to prevent herself from having to deal with this fact.
She grew up poor with lots of brothers and sisters, but Hollywood constantly highlights her inadequacies and what she does not have.
She wants kids, but she's getting older and that's getting harder, especially with the losers she brings home. And she's using BoJack as a parachute.
BoJack wants a girlfriend who mothers him, but Princess Caroline doesn't want to mother BoJack...
She realizes that being an agent made her a mother in more ways than one...but not in the main way she wants.
Here's where the show gets depth. When Princess Caroline finally DOES find the right guy, she confesses her trouble with miscarriages. These are struggles that have plagued her.
But that's not even her lowest point.
That involves her admitting she could have had all these things long ago.
When she was a teen, she accidentally got pregnant from a rich man who her family worked for...and instead of what her mother wanted, she didn't keep the child and chose to have a family on her own terms.
Now she's scared that cost her the chance at one.
In the final season, the show finally presents Princess Caroline as a mother thanks to her adoption. But instead of a success, that becomes her biggest struggle of all. That's because the baby exposes what she can and cannot have.
Adding one thing to her life didn't make it better.
It made it more chaotic.
It actually blended work and personal life even closer.
This messes with Princess Caroline's head. She even calls her baby "Untitled Princess Caroline Project" which is definitely unhealthy.
She's trying to have the baby and do it all, failing at both.
Princess Caroline has to find a balance or else she will fall apart.
So, how does her arc end?
By realizing that to have it all she does not have to do it all. She delegates running her business to underlings and gets childcare handled. That way she can devote who she is fully, but split her time and not attention.
This gives us a complete journey and a wonderful arc.
What are some of your favorite arcs in film and TV?
Let us know in the comments.
What's next? Learn character development!
There are lots of terms thrown around when you try to write a character in a screenplay. But what sets character development apart from the pack and why is it crucial to your story?
Click for more.