I guess I can thank the Netflix for my boyfriend. We first started dating after he introduced me to “The Flash” and since then we have been swapping TV shows like candy. I offered up “Glee,” and he introduced “Game of Thrones.” We don’t always take each other’s suggestions. In fact, I tend to turn down his attempts to introduce me to anime or cartoons. I've never been drawn to those kinds of shows. I am more of a live-action type of girl. But, one cartoon that he did manage to get me hooked on was “BoJack Horseman.”
"BoJack Horseman" is an adult cartoon that follows the life of the main character: BoJack. In case you missed it in the title, he is a horse-man. Throughout the show, BoJack struggles to overcome his problems with addiction. He often finds himself in bad situations with his family and friends as a result of his addiction problem, and his failure to confront it at times. Each season generally goes through a cycle of BoJack trying to get clean, failing in one way or another and facing the issues that result from his failure. The show is a testament to harsh realities of those who are struggling with addiction and what it can look like at its worst. After five seasons of watching the rise and fall of BoJack, the sixth and final season was fully released in January. Here are three things to look for and think about while you watch the final season.
The small details
One of the things my boyfriend probably finds most annoying about me is my inability to focus on one thing. While watching "BoJack Horseman," I could often be found checking my phone or closing my eyes for a short amount of time. I was listening, but I wasn’t really invested in the screen. My boyfriend is the opposite. When he sat down to watch BoJack, it was his only focus. His eyes were stuck on the screen and not even a cute dog picture could pull them away. An upside of this was that he noticed all the details of the show that I tended to miss because I wasn’t watching closely. This usually resulted in us having to pause the show so that he could rewind and show me something witty that I didn’t catch. So, while you are watching the show, don’t be like me. Put the phone down and really pay attention. In the back ground of scenes, you will find funny posters filled with thoughtful alliterations and billboards that help to wrap up old story lines.
The storylines of supporting characters
After we had finished watching "BoJack Horseman," my boyfriend and I had a long talk about how the show tied up its ends. While BoJack was the main character of the show, there were strong supporting characters that felt just as important as him. Todd, Diane and Princess Carolyn all had their own story lines and struggles throughout the show. They were just masked by the overarching problems of BoJack. My boyfriend believed that all of the characters problems were solved by cutting BoJack out of their lives. According to him, BoJack was the source of every issue. However, I had a different opinion. I didn’t think that BoJack caused Diane’s depression, Princess Carolyn’s emptiness or Todd’s family problems. He may have exacerbated the issue, but he didn’t create it. By the end of the show, everyone seems to have diverged paths and overcome their own personal demons. As you watch the final season, pay close attention to the way things play out. There is more than one way to interpret the ending.
"The View from Halfway Down"
In every season of "BoJack Horseman," the show includes an episode that is different than any other. It’s highly emotional and artistically done, leaving my boyfriend and me feeling stunned. In the third season, it was “Fish out of Water.” In the fifth season, it was “Free Churro.” In the final season, “The View from Halfway Down” helped to explain BoJack’s personal demons and provide a glimpse of what an alternate ending could be for the show. People like my roommate and my boyfriend felt that the proper ending for the show would be for BoJack to die. They argued that the story wasn’t meant to be one of redemption, but tragedy. In this episode, we got to see what death for BoJack would look like. As his body is failing, he faces all of the people he hurt who had already passed away. The episode is packed full of emotion as BoJack comes to accept that no matter what happens in life, everyone must eventually die.
Being the eternal optimist that I am, I was happy with the ending of "BoJack Horseman." Although none of the characters maintained strong relationships with each other, they were still in contact intermittently. I thought of the ending as a way for all of the characters to pursue their own well-being, including BoJack. My boyfriend, being a pessimist, claimed he was also happy with the ending. Even though we both had different expectations for how the show would end, we felt that the final season provided the closure that we had wanted.
"BoJack Horseman" changed my ideas about what a cartoon could be. While I was associating cartoons with children narratives, "BoJack Horseman" taught me that cartoons are capable of covering adult subject matter, and it did it exceptionally well. I was sad to see the show end, but I appreciate the art that it created and the conversations that it started.