'BoJack Horseman' Cast on Their Favorite TV Sitcoms - Rolling Stone
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The Mane Event: ‘BoJack Horseman”s Cast on Their Favorite Sitcoms

The stars of Netflix’s new animated series about a TV-star horse gush about the comedy shows that inspired them.

BoJack (left, voiced by Will Arnett) and Todd (right, voiced by Aaron Paul) shoot the breeze in Netflix's 'BoJack Horseman'.

BoJack (left, voiced by Will Arnett) and Todd (right, voiced by Aaron Paul) shoot the breeze in Netflix's 'BoJack Horseman'.

Courtesy of Netflix

Back in the Nineties, BoJack Horseman had it all: success, stardom, the lead role on the sitcom Horsin’ Around (imagine Who’s the Boss or Charles in Charge, only starring a horse). After the show was cancelled, however, BoJack fell on hard times. Like many a narcissistic former TV icon, he’s been living off the fumes of his fame for a while. Now, however, he wants to get back in the small-screen saddle. If he can just get that second great role, maybe he can move out of the messy apartment he shares with that twentysomething stoner and get back on top.

A landmark in bingeworthy stallions-behaving-badly TV comedies, Netflix’s BoJack Horseman comes with an impressive pedigree: Arrested Development‘s Will Arnett voices the equine antihero, with Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Alison Brie (Community), Amy Sedaris (Strangers With Candy), Paul F. Tompkins (Mr. Show) and Patton Oswalt (The King of Queens) lending their voices to the animal and human characters who circle around BoJack in the show’s warped version of Hollywood purgatory. Given that it’s a satire of cheesy primetime comedies as much as showbiz types on the skids, we asked a few of the cast members and showrunner Raphael Bob-Waksberg wax poetic on their favorite sitcoms.


Alison Brie on ‘Saved by the Bell’

"The first thing that came to mind, and I'm going to stick by this, is Saved by the Bell. I know, I know! Look, I'm aware there have been a number of amazing TV shows that have come and gone in the last 20 years, but this was the first show that affected me as a kid. I owned the board game. I had a crush on Zach Morris. I wanted to dress like Lisa Turtle, I wanted to be Kelly Kapowski."

"I have to say, during all of the Community table reads we've had over the years, I'd find myself constantly re-evaluating which SBTB character the Community characters would be. Annie had started out as a Jessie, but as she's grown up, maybe she's become more of a Kelly? Troy really started as the Slater of the group, the football player who Annie had a crush on…then he and Abed sort of formed into one big super-Screech. And of course Joel McHale is Zach. [Pause] I've thought about this way too much, actually."


Amy Sedaris on ‘The Flintstones’

"My love of The Flintstones actually starts with their decor — those people knew how to do a lot with prehistoric furniture and housekeeping tips. But I also liked the characters, and the fact that they made up the names of everything: Mr. Slate at the rock quarry, all that. When we started working on Strangers with Candy, the idea to make everything up and create own world came from The Flintstones."

"People have said, 'Oh, it's just The Honeymooners but done as a cartoon, for kids.' Which is like, great! The Honeymooners is so incredibly depressing! Make it a cartoon! That show is a classic but that set…it's almost like they did it on a dirt floor, you know?"

"We loved The Flintstones as kids, though. One time my sister literally took a pencil and stabbed it in my brother David's eye because she wanted to watch The Flintstones and he wanted to watch I Love Lucy, and we all ended up going to the doctor's office. I mentioned it to him not too long ago and he said, 'Ha, I forgot all about that!' I'm like, 'Oh my God…' [Pause] There were always fights in my house and it still wasn't as depressing as The Honeymooners."


Paul F. Tompkins on ‘WKRP in Cinncinati’

"Oh, I loved WKRP in Cincinnati! In fact, I just re-watched the first season recently on Hulu and afraid that it wasn't going to hold up, but it holds up really well. In terms of the comedy, some of it comes from situations — it's a 'situation comedy,' after all. But I think in large part, [it's] from the characters. The jokes aren't just interchangeable with everybody; it's not like you can shift them around and it would be still work. A Herb Tarlek line wouldn't necessarily be that funny coming out of Les Nessman or Venus Flytrap's mouth."

"Everybody seemed like a grown-up – even the Bailey character seemed like a woman as opposed to girl, you know? And that's not really a thing that you see much anymore. With shows like WKRP or Barney Miller – I mean, look at the cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine versus the cast of Barney Miller. It's astonishing. People that were on Barney Miller would just flat-out not be allowed on television today. Same with WKRP. Just a great show."


Showrunner Raphael Bob-Waksberg on His Favorite Sitcom Characters

"I got a little overexcited here…I ended up compiling a list of my Top 9 Greatest Sitcom Characters of all time. It's a bit much, I know, but…there are so many good ones out there! So I took a look back at sitcoms from the beginning of the form to the more experimental things you'd see today, and this is what I came up with."

"Number one has to be: Danny Tanner from Full House. He just gives a master class in how to set up jokes, and it never seems like he has to hog the spotlight. A comic genius. In the hands of a lesser performer, the character just wouldn't work."

"My number two choice: Stephanie Tanner from Full House. What can I say about Jodi Sweetin and this character that dozens of other pundits haven't already said? The quintessential sister role. When you start with the show, she's a kid; by the end, she's an adult. So listen up, Boyhood, don't go thinking you're so special. Maybe if I hadn't seen Full House first, I'd be more impressed with Boyhood."

"Number three: Jesse Katsopolis from Full House. Look, there's lots of stuff for the kids here, and shenanigans for the dads — but John Stamos is a little bone they're throng to the moms here. And a top-notch comedian: You watch any episode where Stamos says "Have mercy," and he gets a laugh every time. Every. Time. I don't know how the man does it."

"Number four: Jesse Cochran, as played by John Stamos on the show Full House. In the first season, of course, the character is named Jess Cochran, then he eventually starts going by Jesse Katsopolis. I don't know if we're supposed to think this is the same Uncle Jesse, or if Danny had two brother-in-laws, each named Jesse but with different names. It's a riddle for the ages. I just don't want your readers to think I only liked Jesse during the Katsopolis years. Think of the letters you'd get!"

"Number five of the greatest sitcom characters of all time: Cousin Stavros, played by John Stamos on the show Full House. He was Jesse's Greek cousin, and stayed with the family for a while and hit on Aunt Becky. I would kill to have been a fly on the wall in the writer's room: 'Guys, you know what we need? A character who can out-Jesse Jesse!' I'd heard that showrunner Jeff Franklin actually wrote a spin-off for Cousin Stavros that was very similar to Lou Grant, but ABC killed the idea at the last minute. The world wasn't ready."

"Number six: Gia, played by Marla Sokoloff on Full House. She was the secret weapon of ABC in the Nineties: She did episodes of Step By Step, Boy Meets World, The Practice. But if you want the full uncut Sokoloff experience, watch the eight episodes of Full House she did. It's…there are no words. She is the dark, dark heart of Full House."

"Number seven: Michelle Tanner from Full House, as played by Mary-Kate Olsen. You know, Mary-Kate Olsen never asked to play Michelle; she was born into it. She was not a trained actress at the time…she was, in fact, a baby. But you really get a sense of her hopes, her dreams, her loves and her loss. Ashley Olsen'se version of Michelle was good, but I'm not sure it would make my top 10. Top 150 characters, maybe, after the ensemble of Wings. But not the top 10. No way."

Rolling Stone: So wait: You said this was a top 9 list, right? Are there even 9 characters in Full House?

"Well, they're not all Full House characters, man. This is the Greatest Sitcom Characters of All Time list. Don't be ridiculous."

Rolling Stone: Okay. Sorry. Go on.

"Number eight: Jesse Katsopolis from Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, as played by John Stamos. He showed up for a one scene cameo on that show, as Uncle Jesse. But that one scene was all he needed to make you get Jesse Katsopolis. I don;t even remember the names of the other actors on that show. He was that good."

"And finally, number nine, it's the inimitable Joey Gladstone, played by Dave Coulier on Full House. He's the unsung hero of that show — a stand-up comedian with an ocean of sadness running underneath his laughter. I don't know if he invented the sad-clown archetype, but he certainly perfected it. There's a real irony going on there…in fact, I'm pretty sure Alanis Morrisette's 'Ironic' is based on Dave Coulier. Everyone thinks it's that other song. No, it's actually 'Ironic.'"

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