Netflix’s Bojack Horseman hit the streaming service in 2014, and the adult-animation quickly caught the attention of millions. The dark comedy looked to expose the not so glamorous side of the entertainment industry, highlighting the struggles individuals endure behind the scenes. It follows the story of Bojack Horseman, a washed up sitcom actor from the 90s battling serious mental health issues and drug abuse. The controversial television show explores issues of drug abuse, mental health issues, and trauma, which can be triggering for some. However, I think the point of the show is not to glorify drugs, mental illness, and addiction, but instead to show viewers that this is not how it has to be. It’s a show that brings light to the fact that even celebrities struggle with feelings and hardships just as much as the average person.
Bojack Horseman resides in the Hollywood Hills isolated in a large mansion with a very minimalistic interior design. The show’s writers strategically made his house to look bare and simple to represent the loneliness Bojack has been battling his whole life. The only decoration is art of himself, a display of his large ego. The alcoholic, drug abusing horse is a self-deprecating image of someone who grew up in a broken home and fell into the chaos of being a celebrity. Bojack let his slight fame rush to his head and it shows in how he treats everyone in his life so poorly. Bojack is not a character one wants to relate to despite his honesty and ability to say the things polite society won’t. I think seeing a character in such vulnerable states makes a viewer feel like they can relate to Bojack. However, this is where the show could be dangerous. We all have our downs, but if you focus too much on them it’s easy to feel like that’s all there is. But it’s not, and if you look on the other hand, Bojack is a great character that may help viewers realize that things aren’t as bad as they seem. While the show focuses mainly on Bojack as an individual, the writers use many different techniques to expose the flaws of the entertainment industry as a whole, and quite frankly, society since the boom of social media.
There are many episodes surrounding the issues of Bojack’s life that cut deep emotionally, but there are also many which show the way society views celebrities, social media, and important issues. The main idea the writers highlight is how as a society we tend to focus on more materialistic pleasures and taking the easy way out of things. That, or in more sociological terms, the paths of least resistance. When an issue occurs in the entertainment industry, particularly controversial ones, often morals are not a factor in how people handle said situation. There are many examples of this in Bojack Horseman, from issues of abortion to issues of workplace sexual misconduct. In all situations, many try to take the path of least resistance, twist the story to make it sound “not that bad ” or just dismiss the issue blatantly. With the exception of Diane Ngyuen, the one self-righteous and socially-aware character in the show, the rest seem to be okay with sweeping these issues under the rug. I will admit, it’s interesting to see all sides of the situation and the perspective this show can bring to viewers is incredible.
I found that Bojack Horseman really helped with my mental health struggles. As someone who suffered from anxiety, depression, and OCD the show was able to make me realize that I did not want to be a bad person. I wanted to be like Todd, Bojack’s lighthearted roommate who is always positive to reflect the negativity Bojack brigns to each episode. Or maybe like Princess Carolan, Bojack’s ex-lover and agent, a hardworking single woman who’s very self-sufficient and takes care of others, all traits Bojack lacks. Watching the show led me to realize the parts about myself I didn’t like so much, and helped me figure out how to come to peace with them and better those aspects of my life. Overall, I would recommend this show to anyone. I think it’s literary genius and has never been more relevant than the current society we live in today. It’s an important series that is also wildly entertaining and investing. I think the writers really outdid themselves and made a show like no other. If you are looking for something bold and different, Bojack Horseman is the show to watch.