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Why ‘BoJack Horseman’ Hits Different

Like most of you, I spent the majority of this summer binge-watching countless TV shows and movies — an unbelievable number at that. But out of all I had watched, it was BoJack Horseman that left me bawling my eyes out in my empty dorm room at 3 a.m. on the first day of classes.

I know I’m late to the hype since BoJack Horseman’s sixth season finished back in January, but please just let me rant and get this out.

Needless to say, there are spoilers ahead.

At first watch, this show is absolutely ridiculous. It’s set in a world in which animals have human-like features and the main character is an anthropomorphic horse. Believe it or not, they never actually explain why that is, but… I guess we just go with it?

The thing about this show is, once you get past the absurdity and the on-the-surface bubbly nature of the first season and into the deeper, darker, more depressing sides of the last few seasons, you really start to turn your attention into yourself.

You start thinking about who you are, who you want to be, and who you’re trying to be. BoJack had money and fame, but he didn’t have happiness. The harder he chased, the harder happiness was to find.

This show deals a lot with mental health, and viewers, for the most part, agree that it very accurately depicts depression. You can run and hide from it like Diane. Overwork yourself like Princess Carolyn. Turn to substance abuse like Sarah Lynn. Or force a never-ending smile like Mr. Peanutbutter.

I went through a series of love-hate relationships with every single character. And to be completely honest, BoJack himself didn’t start growing on me until around Season 3. I couldn’t see past his arrogant and self-centered demeanor, and everything he did generally annoyed me. But the more I watched, the more I started seeing myself in him and every other character. And that was probably the scariest part of watching.

Every character is so deeply flawed, but once in a while they expose their vulnerabilities, and you realize that they, like all the rest of us, are just trying to make it.

Never was that feeling more poignant than when I watched Season 6 Episode 15, "The View from Halfway Down." I have never experienced an episode so haunting and so surreal. Right after watching it, I rewound it, watched it again, watched it one more time, and then read through every analysis I could find. It still echoes in my mind. Sarah Lynn’s voice cracking as she sings "Don’t Stop Dancing" before she falls into the abyss. BoJack’s mom, Beatrice, smiling as she refers to death as “the easy part.” Secretariat starting to panic as he reads his poem about regretting his suicide, only to once again be devoured by the darkness.

When I say I broke down crying, I’m not exaggerating. 

After finally processing it, I put my laptop down, curled into bed, and just stared at the quiet 3 a.m. streets. I had a class in six hours. 

If you haven’t watched BoJack Horseman, I highly recommend it. I went in expecting a light and funny animated series and left punched in the gut by the reality of it all.

Angela Tan

Columbia Barnard '24

Angela is a Chinese-American freshman at Barnard, where she wants to major in psychology and minor in education. She loves baking although she's not very good at it and enjoys talking about horror movies, Taylor Swift, and her dog Oreo.
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