Bojack Horseman Season Five – “We’re all terrible, so we’re all okay.”

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Bojack Horseman Season Five – “We’re all terrible, so we’re all okay.”

Jocelyn Padilla, Journalist

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Netflix Original Bojack Horseman is perhaps one of the best shows on Netflix, tackling mental health issues and serious topics such as addiction, overdose, the toxicity of Hollywoo(d), and the numbness of depression, as well as many other topics that show such as 13 Reasons Why miss the mark on, all under the veil of dark comedy. Bojack Horseman as an entity works as a dissection and analysis into life after stardom, as well as a comment on life itself and the way we live.
In season five, Bojack is riding off of the coattails of his success as the star of the Secretariat movie. His agent and former girlfriend Princess Carolyn, grieving the death of her relationship and the passing on her unborn child gets Bojack a starring role in a new TV show called, “Philbert”. For Bojack, this TV show is somewhat of a start for him again – something to keep him in the spotlight and loved, unlike when he was a child, and before his recent surge in popularity. “Philbert” is not only Princess Carolyn’s way of mourning the loss of her unborn child, Philbert, but a way to delve back into work and keep her work driven to distract from the negative feelings associated with the event. Looking objectively, “Philbert” serves as an introspective on Bojack Horseman itself: starring a troubling lead character that is made for the audience to sympathize with, incorporating almost justifications for the often abysmal behavior that the character presents, and therefore providing the people who watch the show to justify their own abysmal behavior.
In the show, Bojack Horseman (the character) is presented as a burnout alcoholic with a big sense of self. His shitty attitude and overall distaste for the positivity emanated by the people around him makes him more of a relatable character. When we dive further into who Bojack is, we learn of an abusive and tumultuous childhood, which explains the excessive drinking that has plagued his adulthood, yet the explanation can be taken almost as a justification for his behavior instead. Accompanying a much younger actress on a two week bender after rehab – one that got her killed, attempting to sleep with his friends’ 17-year-old daughter after her mother rejected him, ruining his roommates chances at success, and choking his girlfriend whilst under the influence of painkillers – Bojack’s constant behavior can be attributed to his troublesome childhood and addiction, but not excused by it.

Whenever talking about Bojack Horseman, my mind always wanders to an episode titled “Free Churro” from its fifth season – an episode that in my opinion encompasses the show as a whole and give insight into who Bojack really is, minus the fame and the drinking. The 20 or so minute episode focuses on the funeral of Bojack’s mother after suffering from dementia and known health problems. Bojack continuously makes jokes about his mother, masking the hurt he’s been dealing with for the past 54 years of his life. His mother died, and all he got was a free churro – a sympathy churro from a cashier. All his life Bojack has been shortchanged in his eyes, and all he ever wanted was his mother to acknowledge his success and be proud of him – for someone to look at him and say “I see you.”
Dealing with an array of characters whom all possess dimension and personalities that draw you in and keep you both entertained and invested, Bojack Horseman isn’t just a cartoon or a dark comedy – Bojack Horseman is in its essence a comment about life and how everyone in their different forms of sadness and confusion is at the end of the day trying to feel okay about themselves, despite what they’ve done. In a later episode nearing the end of the season, Bojack attends the premiere of “Philbert”, Bojack gives an impassioned speech about the show.
“We’ve all done terrible things that we deeply regret,” he says. “I’ve done so many unforgivable things … and I think that’s what this show says, is that we’re all terrible, so we’re all okay. I think that’s a really powerful message.”
In the end, don’t we just all want to feel okay?
If you want to watch Bojack Horseman and you aren’t totally turned off by the intense themes it tackles with the aid of its rather dark humor, you can find the show on Netflix.