When BoJack Horseman first premiered on August 22, 2014, I hadn’t paid much attention to it. What did a show about a depressed, drug-addicted, nihilistic horse-man celebrity have to teach me? So freaking much. Now, we have to say goodbye as the Netflix series ends with its sixth season, which will be split into two parts, on Netflix October 25 and January 31.
In the trailer, we see BoJack in rehab, writing a letter to Diane because “letter writing is therapeutic.” He heard it worked wonders for the Zodiac killer. Rehab is okay, except there is too much damn honeydew, and BoJack is still dealing with the reality that he assumes his life needs to be painful. Princess Carolyn is still deeply career-driven, but now also is responsible for the young baby she adopted last season—a baby she hasn’t even had time to name. Diane is still stuck in her rut of not being fulfilled by her work without faking it, and Mr. Peanutbutter may actually need to deal with the fact that his happiness is a mask for larger, more toxic issues.
“I wasted so many years being miserable because I assumed that was the only way to be. I don’t want to do that anymore.”
In a post about Joker, I talked about how we have a lot of media that examines darkness, but very little that teaches growth. Well, BoJack is one of the shows that is really doing the hard work of trying to teach people who struggle with their mental health issues how to address their problems. Part of how it does that is by not pulling any punches about the pain BoJack inflicts and the ways he is able to get away with his bad behavior due to his money and fame. We know BoJack is, at his core, a good person who has been damaged by a lot of emotional abuse, but that doesn’t erase the fact that he spreads that pain around, especially with women.
The journey has not been easy for BoJack, and as someone who struggles with their own depression and is a diehard fan of the show, it has always been a painful mirror to the way we can sometimes to turn ourselves into martyrs because of our pain, rather than be proactive.
Despite it all, in my heart, I want BoJack Horseman to end with its titular character finding peace, because we so rarely have a great long-form redemption story, and I think it would be meaningful to really allow BoJack to not just heal, but take full accountability for all he’s done. It doesn’t mean that the women he’s harmed need to forgive him or that he needs to hold on to his fame and career, but for him to find some kind of inner peace and real change would be amazing. BoJack may not deserve that grace, but I want to give it to him anyway.
What have been some of the most gut-punch moments for you with BoJack?
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