At an event for awards consideration hosted at Netflix headquarters in Los Angeles on Monday, members of the key team behind the streamer’s adult animated series Bojack Horseman gathered to share anecdotes and fun insight following a screening of the hilariously heartfelt season five episode “Free Churro.”

When asked why he thought Bojack has amassed such a loyal fanbase and spawned five seasons—with a sixth one already on the way—creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg explained the show has inadvertently provided audiences with a space for introspection. “People oddly see themselves in it, and are surprised to see themselves in it. It’s a very silly, goofy show but it also goes to some very real places and talks about things very openly and nakedly.”

Contrasting emotionally complex ideas and controversial topics with colorful animation in a world filled with sight gags and acid humor has evolved into something unique, Bob-Waksberg thinks. “At its best, the show provides a language for the way that we feel about ourselves and the world around us. It sneaks that into this bright, silly, cartoon world but there is a real heartbeat underneath that. That is what people love about it.”

For Lisa Hanawalt, Bojack’s production designer, the fact that most of the protagonists are anthropomorphic animals helps viewers relate to the characters. “If they were all humans, they would remind you about specific humans that you know in your life, but if they are animals you can kind of project yourself onto them,” she said. “It makes it easier to relate to the characters and makes it more cathartic.”

Next week Hanawalt’s own animated series, for which she is creator and executive producer, Tuca & Bertie, will debut on Netflix, but despite the stylistic and conceptual similarities (both shows deal with anthropomorphic animals), she confirmed her show and Bob-Waksberg’s won’t overlap and their characters won’t interact.

“It’s a different world from Bojack. It’s not the same universe,” she said. “I’m sorry, but there’s not going to be a crossover episode. It’s a looser, more cartoony world than Bojack.” The only overlap is that Bob-Waksberg serves as executive producer on Hanawalt’s venture.

Tuca & Bertie premieres on Netflix on May 3. Netflix hasn’t yet announced a release date for Bojack Horseman’s sixth season.

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Carlos Aguilar

Carlos Aguilar

Carlos Aguilar is a contributing writer to Cartoon Brew. Find him on Twitter.

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