Without a home or a family tree.
Until this horse said, 'Live with me,'
And now they've got a new family!"
The premise was simple: Horse (Horseman) decides to adopt three orphans, Olivia (Clarke), Ethan (Hitler-Smith), and Sabrina (Lynn) and has to balance being a father with his job and his love life. Olivia was the sensible oldest daughter, Ethan was the nerdy middle son, and Sabrina was the adorable youngest daughter. Rounding out the cast was Goober, the obnoxious neighbor and potential love interest for Olivia.
The show was never popular with critics, who thought it was an overly saccharine Cliché Storm. Audiences, however, loved it; the show was popular enough to last for nine seasons and is still remembered fondly by people who grew up in The '90s. Its popularity also launched Sarah Lynn's pop star career.
BoJack Horseman and Bradley Hitler-Smith would later try to create a Sequel Series titled Ethan Around, but Horseman allegedly walked off the project during the filming of the pilot.
As of 2020, it's been announced that the show will be re-released in heavily-edited format as Around, with all scenes featuring Horseman removed due to the actor's exposed criminal and predatory behavior. The episodes will be roughly 8 minutes in length, and center on the kid characters living without any adult supervision.
Horsin' Around provides examples of
- Absentee Actor: Olivia was absent for five episodes due to Joelle Clarke being at a clinic for an eating disorder.
- All Just a Dream: All of season 3, where Horse became President of the United States, was declared All Just a Dream in season 4.
- And Starring: "And starring BoJack Horseman as the Horse"
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three orphans. Olivia was the blonde, Sabrina was the brunette, and Ethan was the redhead.
- Butt-Monkey: Poor, poor Ethan.
- Catch Phrase:
- Christmas Episode: Nine Christmas episodes, one for each season.
- Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: As Season 6 reveals, Olivia's birth mother is alive and abandoned her due to being a drug addict and actually tries to take her back after getting clean. She relapses though.
- Drop-In Character: Goober.
- A Dog Named "Dog": Horseman's character's name was just Horse.
- Expository Theme Tune: See the page quote.
- Expy: Ethan was clearly based on Alex P. Keaton, an unusually young hardline conservative.
- Happily Adopted: Olivia, Ethan, and Sabrina were adopted by the Horse.
- Interspecies Adoption: The premise of the show; three human children are adopted by a horse.
- No Name Given: For some strange reason, Horseman's character was never given an actual name; he was only ever refered to as "Dad", "Horse" or "The Horse".
- Orphanage of Fear: Downplayed, but the orphans never celebrated Christmas prior to living with the Horse and Sabrina had to share everything.
- Orphaned Series: The would-be sequel Ethan Around was well in production before Horseman reportedly ran out on the project.
- Orwellian Retcon: What the new Around version of the series will be, with all mentions of The Horse removed. The network had earlier done this with The Cosby Show, which was re-released in even more heavily edited form as The Show.
- Out of Focus: While they were never dropped, both Olivia and Ethan got increasingly less focus as the series went on due to the popularity of Sabrina.
- Phrase Catcher: Goober's was "Go home, Goober."
- Pun-Based Title: The show title, obviously. There's also the episode "Goober Goes Home" in which Goober plays softball (home in this context referring to home plate).
- Santa's Existence Clause: In the Christmas special, Horse tries to get Sabrina to believe in Santa Claus, telling her that he'll bring her anything she wants. Unfortunately, what Sabrina wants is her dead parents back. Horse struggles to let her down easily without destroying her belief in Christmas. On Christmas morning, Sabrina finds a letter under the tree supposedly written by her parents, but this isn't enough for her. After she storms off, Horse is forced to tell her that Santa isn't real, but what Santa represents is still something worth believing end. At the end of the episode, Horse reveals that he didn't write the letter and neither did the other kids. The special ends with a familiar jolly laugh.
- Seasonal Rot: YMMV of course, but many fans claim that the show went into decline after Herb Kazzaz was fired as head writer.
- Special Guest: Several, including Cindy Crawfish, Mr. T, ALF and the cast of Stomp.
- Spiritual Successor: Most people consider Mr. Peanutbutter's House one for Horsin' Around.
- Sudden Downer Ending: For such a lighthearted show, it ends with one of these, where Horse dies and child services takes away the children.
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: The neighbor kid Goober, who spent more time at the Horse's house than his own.
- Title Drop: Done in the last line of the pilot, and semi-regularly afterward.
- Very Special Episode: A few, as was natural for sitcoms of the time. Season 2 has "I'm Ready For My Close-Up, Mr. Dementia" in which Ethan befriends an elderly man with dementia. In another episode, Sabrina befriends a black girl, and in yet another episode, Olivia goes to a frat party and is approached by an angel (played by Jose Canseco) to protect her from the peer pressure to drink alcohol.
- What Could Have Been: Apparently, Mr. Peanutbutter of Mr. Peanutbutter's House was interested in having a crossover episode with Horsin' Around. However the show ran it's course before to could come to fruition, despite Mr. Peanutbutter and Horse's actor Bojack Horseman evidently being friends in real life.