Stars flocking to guest on BoJack Horse­man

The Hamilton Spectator - - A & E - BILL BRIOUX

In the past few years, Ta­tiana Maslany has re­ceived many hon­ours. The Saskatchewan na­tive just picked up a sec­ond Emmy nom­i­na­tion for play­ing a woman cloned on “Or­phan Black.” That star turn has also earned her three Cana­dian Screen Awards, two Crit­ics’ Choice Tele­vi­sion Awards, a TCA award as well as Golden Globe and SAG nom­i­na­tions.

Her big­gest thrill? Last sea­son she got to do a voice-over on “BoJack Horse­man.”

“That’s dream stuff,” says Maslany. “It’s so good, isn’t it? And so smart, too.”

Maslany is part of a grow­ing list of en­ter­tain­ers who have lent voice to the an­i­mated se­ries, which pre­mièred for a third sea­son Fri­day on Net­flix. Paul McCart­ney, Daniel Rad­cliffe, Naomi Watts, Henry Win­kler and Lance Bass have all spo­ken for them­selves on the se­ries.

The char­ac­ters can be peo­ple, an­i­mals, fish or fowl. The se­ries stars an­other Cana­dian — Toronto-na­tive Will Ar­nett — as the voice of BoJack, a horse who is try­ing to make it in Hol­ly­wood. BoJack’s fits of de­pres­sion lead this edgy com­edy into many dark places, not un­like themes ex­plored on con­tem­po­rary shows such as “Louie” or even Ar­nett’s re­cent live ac­tion drama for Net­flix, “Flaked.”

Other reg­u­lars in­clude Amy Sedaris as Princess Caro­line, a Per­sian cat who is BoJack’s agent and oc­ca­sional girl­friend. Ali­son Brie plays a Viet­namese-Amer­i­can ghost­writer from Bos­ton who lives with former sit­com star and cur­rent game show host, Mr. Peanut­but­ter (an an­thro­po­mor­phic yel­low Labrador re­triever voiced by co­me­dian Paul F. Tomp­kins).

Aaron Paul (“Break­ing Bad”) voices Todd Chavez, an un­em­ployed, 24-year-old slacker who, Kato Kaelin-like, crashed at BoJack’s house and never left.

Maslany played a mouse who worked at Mr. Peanut­but­ter’s game show. She was try­ing to im­press J.D. Salinger, voiced by Alan Arkin.

In three short sea­sons, “BoJack” has ri­valled “The Simp­sons” as the place to be heard but not seen. Oth­ers who have recorded for the se­ries as re­cur­ring char­ac­ters in­clude Pat­ton Oswalt, Olivia Wilde, Wendie Mal­ick, J.K. Sim­mons, Ken Jeong and Lisa Kudrow.

“BoJack Horse­man” is the brain­child of 31-year-old co­me­dian Raphael Bob-Waks­berg, who pitched Net­flix on a show that was hon­est about sad­ness.

De­pres­sion, un­hap­pi­ness and lone­li­ness are themes ex­pressed in many of today’s dark come­dies, from “It’s Al­ways Sunny in Philadel­phia” to “Man Seek­ing Woman” to “You’re the Worst.”

Why are so many of today’s co­me­di­ans ex­plor­ing the dark side?

Louis C.K., pretty much the fa­ther of the mod­ern move­ment, says he sim­ply wants the free­dom to ex­plore dark and light in what he does. “It’s not like I’m play­ing bas­ket­ball and I want to play base­ball,” he told crit­ics in Los Angeles last year. “You can do them both on the same court.”

He’s put “Louie” on hia­tus while he works on other things, in­clud­ing the FX se­ries “Bas­kets” as well as the up­com­ing Ama­zon Video black com­edy “One Mis­sis­sippi.” He feels co­me­di­ans should be free to ex­plore dra­matic mo­ments within a com­edy frame­work.

NET­FLIX

Diane (left, voiced by Ali­son Brie), Todd (cen­tre, voiced by Aaron Paul) and Bojack (right, voiced by Will Ar­nett) are back for sea­son 3 of Net­flix’s “BoJack Horse­man.”

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