Over six seasons, BoJack Horseman used humor to examine complex social issues like addiction, depression, and sexuality.
Now, the Hollywoo stars & creative team behind the beloved series reflect on the show's legacy and the incredible fandom it attracted. pic.twitter.com/X9ntM4XWOf
— Netflix US (@netflix) February 12, 2020
“Bojack Horseman” has finally come to an end; and what an end it was. For six seasons, the show was famous for tackling tough topics such as depression, PTSD, alcohol and drug addiction, divorce and more. The final 16 episodes were exceptionally good at not only wrapping the show up, but realistically portraying the emotional closure that comes after the healing process.
Bojack is finally forced to face the music as he enters rehab to cure his addictions and help better his mental health. Although he’s terrified when it comes time to leave, he stumbles back into the world as a man on a mission. Along the way, Bojack is able to repair his relationship with his half-sister Hollyhock and even secure a job as a theatre professor at Wesleyan University; but his world comes crumbling down when the world finally finds out how he was involved in Sarah Lynn’s death. Under the intense emotional stress of the situation, Bojack relapses.
This is more than just a plot point; it’s a restatement of the fact that the path to recovery is not linear. People would prefer to see recovery as an easy start-to-finish process, but that’s far from the reality of healing. By addressing these, the show breaks this stigma of talking about rehab and recovery, and gives hope and validation to those in a similar situation. Part of why “Bojack” is such a fantastic show is the heartfelt way it goes about addressing issues, letting viewers know they aren’t alone and that mistakes aren’t the end of the world.
i wasnt careful around the eyes and now i regret everything thanx 2 prawn evans for having me pic.twitter.com/0D9yL7ipDG
— BoJack Horseman (@BoJackHorseman) January 29, 2020
Diane also struggles this season with recovery, but in a much different way than Bojack. After being stuck in a depressive rut while trying to write her book, she begins taking antidepressants. She clearly gains weight because of this, but it’s never addressed: not because of stigma, but because no one sees it as a huge deal. Weight can change at any time; there’s no need to point it out, because what does it really matter, anyway, if the person is feeling better? An increase in weight doesn’t somehow mean a decrease in a person’s worth. Body positivity shouldn’t be as big of a controversy as it is, but media, like tabloid magazines, have no issue scrutinizing every minute detail about celebrity’s (especially a woman’s) outfit, makeup, weight, etc. Seeing a mainstream show like “Bojack” not make a fuss about Diane’s weight personally made me, someone who’s not skinny, happy, and gave me hope for a world full of people with better things to do than body shame.
Princess Carolyn struggles with a healing-like process this season too, even though she’s healing from having a baby instead of being an alcoholic. She’s raising a baby by herself, but also putting most of her time and effort into her work. She’s so busy, in fact, that she put off naming her daughter for a bit after she was born because she didn’t have the energy or free time to pick out the perfect name. Princess Carolyn epitomizes the struggle many working women face: balancing a baby and their job because they can’t afford to take time off. It clearly takes a toll on Princess Carolyn as we see her rushing around more than usual at her job, barely getting any sleep but still being expected to work at the pace she was before she had a child. She’s under intense pressure and no doubt has anxiety about being a fierce Hollywood executive and perfect mother at the same time, yet she’s unfairly expected to do it all. She succeeds with a help from Todd and other babysitters, but still struggles even though she’s the fiercest character on the show by far. She shows that even tough people can be weak, but weakness is not something that you need to feel bad about or fix by yourself.
The last season of “Bojack Horseman” was by far my favorite season of the show, and it may have just made the show as a whole my favorite of all time. Even though it has been a wild ride that I thought I wouldn’t be able to get off of, I felt completely satisfied and whole with how it all ended. Being able to see characters who struggle with (and ultimately conquer) the same problems as me was relieving and filled me with hope. I’m glad the show got as popular as it did, because it will undoubtedly allow a viewer or two to finally open up about their issues and start to face the music. I was happy to see that mainstream media is at last ready to talk about these topics, full of pride and humor instead of judgement and stigma. There’s so much more to the show than what I’m able to put into words here or fit in here, so trust me when I tell you to watch the show now that it’s complete. Maybe you’ll find a piece of yourself in it too.
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Thumbnail photo courtesy of @BoJackHorseman on Twitter.
Liz Collins is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.