I don't know when I became wary of adult animated shows (possibly around the time Family Guy became an unkillable monster) but even the better ones are often mean-spirited, repetitious and relying on cheap shock humour. It's weird because animated stuff for adults was my dream when I was a teenager. (Well, Simpsons existed then too, but I thought it might lead to more, y'know, variety...) Plus, I understand the value of limited animation--it can actually be funnier than lavishly rendered stuff--but the cumulative effect of all these kinds of shows is that adult TV animation looks shitty and ugly (with The Venture Brothers being a pleasant exception). All of which to say that I was reluctant to give this a try, despite hearing good things.
But nine episodes in, I'm really enjoying it! There's still a bit of the "GOSH WE'RE EDGY" crap that bogs down Seth McFarlane and his wannabes--Bojack throwing up cotton candy isn't as funny as they think it is--but most of the gags are legitimately smart and character-based. And somehow the fact that they weave in a bunch of vaudeville-level animal-related puns and visual gags is charming (some of them are legitimately hilarious, too, like the llama sucking up grass clippings as he mows the lawn, or the bird-men flying away by flapping their arms--the nonsensical "rules" of this world are half the fun). My favourite joke is the 80s flashback beginning with Bojack listening to a song whos lyrics are "GENERIC 80S NEW WAVE BEAT, YEAH, THIS IS THE MUSIC OF THE 80s, THE DECADE THAT IT CURRENTLY IS" and Bojack *singing along*.
But it's the character stuff that really makes it shine. I like that Bojack isn't just a flat-out narcissistic jackass, sometimes he's the smartest guy in the room. Same with Todd actually being a decent guy despite being a parasite, sort of (though of course the rock opera episode flips that around a bit). And Diane's stereotypical family of...Bostonians was amazing. There's no way one of the writers isn't from Boston. Oh, and the desperate Penguin publisher. I like that the comedic premise of each supporting character is really clear and logical as soon as they appear, it's not just something random like "This is Bojack's lawyer, and he also LOVES TO ROLLER SKATE! WACKY!"
Interesting to hear it takes a more dramatic (?) turn in the last few episodes. I thought they knocked it out of the park with the episode where Bojack confronted his old partner, dying of cancer, so I'm cool with that.