On Rewatching BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. It's a Netflix Original adult cartoon (although it subverts nearly every aspect of the genre) about an anthropomorphic has-been celebrity horse living in Los Angeles who is learning to cope with his crippling alcoholism. Despite it being mostly about animals, the show deals with issues that are very human, including attempts to get to the bottom of this elusive concept of happiness and what it means to be content with our lives. 

The show can get quite dark at times; addiction and depression are at the core of its themes, and in general, BoJack Horseman, despite its colorful animation and witty humor, can be hard to swallow. With everything going on for me this semester –– moving to New York City for the first time, balancing new friendships and schoolwork, and not to mention a pandemic thrown on top –– I knew that watching BoJack again might not be the best choice for me. Nevertheless, for some reason, I went ahead with my rewatch, and now I'd like to share some of the things I took away from it. 

While this was by no means my first rewatch, it was my first full rewatch, after the newest season came out last year. Watching all of BoJack again (in about two weeks) made it even clearer just how brilliant it is. If you haven't watched BoJack yet and you've clicked on this article, this is your sign to go watch it. The humor drives the story but does not take the spotlight; that spotlight goes to the nuanced and intricate characters. While it's easy to determine which BoJack character you are (I'm a Diane), you may also see a part of yourself in every single one. And, it's not always a good part. 

Another thing I realized during my rewatch is that BoJack has a way of forcing you to confront your own problems. There's an episode in the latest season where Princess Carolyn is forced to juggle caring for her new child and her high-profile career as a Hollywood agent. While I'm not a working mother, I don't think I realized how much I was dealing with and how much I was juggling until I watched that episode. Without spoiling too much, when two characters who had been together for almost the entire show divorced, I found myself crying over a past relationship I thought that I had made my peace with already. There is something about this show that exposes your deepest emotions, even the ones you've buried so far down that you’ve forgotten about them yourself. 

Watching BoJack Horseman with another person can be a very intimate experience. Occasionally, my suitemates would sit with me and watch an episode during my rewatch. There was always a comfortable silence that settled over me and my friends when watching the show. Though we laughed together at the jokes and sometimes discussed some of the witty background gags, there was this feeling while watching that each of us was having our own experience with the show, together, and that this experience brought us all closer to each other.  

The biggest thing that I noticed when rewatching BoJack Horseman is how far I've come since the last time I watched it. The final season was released about a year ago, a few months before the start of quarantine and before the end of my high school experience. It felt like a different person watched that final season for the first time. And now, looking back on how much has changed, I realized that even though my life right now is really hectic, everything is happening so fast, and I have no time to enjoy anything, I've come such a long way. And maybe with some help from BoJack Horseman, I'll make it even further.