BoJack Horseman is another TV program (this time a Netflix original) about a washed up, once-famous actor, who had his big break at least a decade ago. But this time, the washed up celebrity? Well, he’s a horse. But as well as this, BoJack gives a striking social commentary, especially on how fame affects the people ‘lucky’ enough to be famous.
The story of BoJack Horseman follows the titular character as he deals with life after starring in a very famous 90s sitcom for almost 10 years. He’s drunk most of the time and has meaningless sex. His life ricochets between self-discovery and self-deprivation. But of course, he’s not the only character on the show. He co-stars with three children that BoJack’s character adopted. They say never to work with children or animals, and maybe that different approach made Horsin’ Around so popular in the BoJack Horseman universe.
BoJack Horseman does a very good job showing how BoJack deals with fame, but the once-child-stars also speak volumes. Children deal with fame and pressure very differently, and the creators of BoJack do a very good job of showing this. Also, a lot of the celebrities, or retired celebrities, show a very clear relation to the real world. This article shows how BoJack Horseman‘s child stars are more real than maybe you thought.
Warning: this article contains spoilers for BoJack Horseman
Joelle played Olivia, the oldest and most mature of the three children on Horsin’ Around. She is only seen once as an adult throughout the whole of BoJack’s three seasons. Joelle herself mentions that she now lives far away from the hustle of LA, in England. She has clearly ducked out of the Hollywood (or ‘Hollywoo’ in the BoJack universe) spotlight and opted for a very different life. She is barely ever mentioned and has very definitely disappeared from the public’s view.
There a lot of child stars out there that have vanished- just ask Google- but very similar to Joelle is the actor Jake Lloyd. He brought young Anakin Skywalker to life in Star Wars: Episode I. Jake started acting at the age of seven and quit acting for good only two years after the first episode of Star Wars was released. Both of the child actors have been famous as children. Anakin Skywalker may not have been the most well-received character, but Joelle and Jake did become largely famous. However, they have both intentionally vanished from the limelight. The public haven’t heard of either of them since.
Bradley portrayed Ethan, the middle child and arguably the least-liked on Horsin’ Around. He seemed to be the victim of pranks, such as BoJack throwing a football in his face, or his jokes just not getting any laughs. As an adult, he boasts that he owns the largest hardware store in Seattle, although he’s actually based in Olympia. He creates, writes, and stars with BoJack in a sequel series to Horsin’ Around, namely: ‘Ethan Around’. The show evidently has a very low budget, and if the ending of Season 3 of BoJack is anything to go by, it may not even ever air.
Now, there are a lot of disliked child actors in the real world. But what’s more interesting is how Horsin’ Around and Ethan Around draws inspiration from Full House, and its sequel series: Fuller House, respectively. All shows feature a single adult adopting three children, and the hilarity that ensues. Just like Bradley, Jeff Franklin who worked on Full House, also oversaw the production of Fuller House.
Fuller House, although receiving mostly positive reviews, according to some critics, offers constant nostalgia from the original show, but offers very little other substance. Bradley is so caught up on the five minutes of fame he had as a child, he leaps at the chance to ‘remake’ the series he was once in. Even BoJack himself admits that Ethan’s writing is too much of a throwback to Horsin’ Around when Bradley gives BoJack the funny lines, instead of saying them himself.
Sarah brings the character of Sabrina to life, as a very cute and vulnerable girl, the youngest of the three children. Sabrina was definitely meant to appeal to the sympathy of the viewers, receiving a constant ‘aw’ from the studio audience. Of all the child actors, Sarah Lynn grew up to have the most interesting life. After Horsin’ Around finished, Lynn went on to pursue a career as a very successful pop star. Her music is described as an inspiration during her glory days as an artist. Although, she fizzled out from the music scene. After that, it’s fair to say she went off the rails quite a bit.
Fame is a double-edged sword. Amongst all the riches and fortune are insecurities, fake friends, drug abuse and being paid to wear clothes. Sarah Lynn admits to feeling all these things and more. Lynn is literally the personification of a child celebrity gone wrong, and she’s not just one individual. BoJack realizes this when he meets a new hopeful child actor, with dreams of becoming famous ‘just like [him]’, and as an audience, we’re constantly reminded that being BoJack is definitely something no one wants to do, aren’t we?
Just another TV Show
As BoJack himself put it, ‘[some people] just want to watch a show about good likable people who love each other, where, you know, no matter what happens, at the end of 30 minutes, everything’s gonna turn out okay.’
That may have been true for the fictional characters, but for the actors on Horsin’ Around, they definitely suffered after the end of 9 seasons. One disappeared completely; another one resorted to opening a hardware store. (MAJOR spoilers ahead) One of the actors died after a drug-fuelled bender, and BoJack? Well, he’s still Horsin’ Around.