Can BoJack Horseman Be Forgiven: Season 6 Part One

Spoilers ahead

Throughout BoJack Horseman, we have seen BoJack struggle with substance abuse, depression, self-loathing and just being a decent person. When we start this new season with BoJack in rehab, he is really putting in the hard work to become better. It was refreshing to see BoJack who was such a toxic garbage fire of person be able to actually ask for help and to do good things for the people around him. For the first time ever, we see BoJack make un-selfish choices. He encourages a teenage girl who’s in rehab with him to stay in the program. He also tries to help his therapist get sober again after accidentally falling off the wagon. Most importantly, he supports Diane’s decision to move to Chicago and even encourages her to get help when she is severely struggling with anxiety and depression.

 

We see BoJack finally making real change in his life and not just trying to fill the void in himself anymore. I think the most important change for BoJack is he is starting to take responsibility for the way his actions have harmed other peoples' lives. He finally gives Princess Caroline the apology she deserves, and they have this beautiful moment where they acknowledge they’re family to one another. He opens up to Todd saying that he really needs a friend and acknowledges that his relationship with Todd is really important to him. This is huge when considering the first couple of seasons where BoJack treated Todd like he was an inconvenience to have around.

We also see in one of BoJack’s flashbacks how back in his Horsin' Around days, he caused the show’s hairdresser, Sharona, to be fired from the show. He sees her at an AA meeting, and he apologizes for his mistakes in the past. She forgives him and they have a very therapeutic moment together where she cuts his hair and convinces him to rock his natural gray mane. She helps him transform into the better version of himself he is trying so hard to become.

Though these moments in this first part of the season give BoJack and the audience some catharsis, we cannot forget some of BoJack’s more deplorable mistakes such as encouraging Sarah Lynn to go a drug and alcohol month-long bender, almost sleeping with Penny and choking his co-star Gina. In the last episode of part one, it seems like all of these actions may be exposed in the upcoming part 2 of the season and BoJack may have to face real consequences for his actions. Many speculate that the show will end with BoJack killing himself or maybe ousted from any professional endeavors he wishes to partake in.

This reckoning that BoJack may have to face does not insight the fear of doom or hopelessness in me, but a feeling of opportunity that we could get BoJack to apologize to people he has done arguably the most harm to. BoJack represents a rich white guy in Hollywood who has lots of power and influence. He has had ample opportunity to get help but refused and took the easy path for much of life. I don’t want to minimize BoJack’s struggle with addiction or mental illness because those are immense hurdles to overcome, but lots of people do overcome them with fewer resources then BoJack had and do less harm to the people around them.

I know BoJack has deep regret for all the ways he hurt Sarah Lynn, Penny and Gina, but his feelings of guilt and shame aren’t doing anything for them. I was recently listening to an episode of This American Life and the episode was about growing a spine. One of the acts was about the creator of the shows Community and Rick and Morty, Dan Harmon, on his apology to a writer who he sexually harassed. This apology is amazing as Harmon describes and acknowledges how horribly he treated this writer and how he allowed himself to do this because, at the time, he had no respect for women. This apology is over seven minutes long, and at no point did Harmon ever defend his action, he just owned up to everything he did. In the wake of "#MeToo," lots of men have been exposed for their terrible treatment against women, but I bet like only a minuscule amount have actually acknowledged it and then given genuine nonscripted apologies to the women whose lives they ruined. Most of them got to continue with their careers and faced no repercussions for their actions. I don’t think BoJack will kill himself because he is ready to take control of his life. I want to believe that BoJack is different and is ready to acknowledge the harm he has done to these women and that he is ready to face the consequences of his actions much like Harmon.