*Spoilers ahead. This post mentions some details from the final season of Bojack Horseman.
I have been very grateful to find a new audience once I started to offer my response and reactions to popular TV shows, how they convey either mental health issues or how mental health is discussed in general.
This has been so fortunate for me as if we are able to open up a conversation on anything that you might not have otherwise spoken about, then this format has been nothing but success in my eyes.
As the response has been so positive, this time I put a poll out asking what you would like me to respond to next. I have to admit that I was rooting for a certain result and I got it – so I got to watch and react to Bojack Horseman.
What is Bojack Horseman going through and how can we relate?
One of the first things that I think of about Bojack is his current situation. This is that he is rich, successful and has numerous parties at his “Hollywoo Hills” house around his infinity pool. He is surrounded by friends, admirers, and groupies constantly.
I hear over and over again things like ‘He’s rich, why isn’t he happy?’ or ‘How can you have problems when you’re that famous?’
This is a common misconception that I am happy to debunk and Bojack is the perfect example of this. Now, no matter who walks into my office, their issues, their trials, and their worries are no less valid than anyone else.
What is real are the feelings and repercussions of their actions.
If money can’t buy you love and happiness, what are we aiming for?
What Bojack is going through is a long and tedious domino effect stemming from childhood.
What is so raw about this show is the fact that we not only see an addict struggling to find happiness in the present, but we also find out more about his background as the show goes on.
He strived for fame and success because he never gained any validation from his parents. You will always seek validation from your parents and a lot of the time this can be to your detriment.
As Bojack works and works, he finally breaks into TV with Horsin’ Around, still doesn’t feel the validation that he hoped for, so he then turns to alcohol.
And why is that? Because alcohol will take that sting of emotion or disappointment away – albeit only in the short term, but that is why it becomes a crutch and where that habit starts.
When you find yourself in this cycle, even though you have that sheen of success on the surface, that doesn’t mean that destructive cycle isn’t whirling underneath.
Imagine too, with that sheen on the surface, it is much easier to hide your anxieties and bad habits. You have admirers creating a (temporary) distraction from it and you can also distract yourself by buying anything your heart desires. But, as Bojack finds out, nothing will mend that long-term damage that needs addressing.
What Bojack does, eventually, is pull himself away from that lifestyle and burst’s his opulent bubble. He leaves Hollywoo, attends rehab which is able to ground him and really confront the reality of his negative cycle.
You can see in the show how a neutral place or person is able to really help shine a fresh light on your past actions and patterns.
Bojack is only able to fully decide to stop drinking when he steps away and is given that space to see the reality of everything he has done and everything that he has been hiding from.
So, thank you Bojack Horseman for having the difficult conversations that many are still not able to have, and showing that you can find rehabilitation and atonement not matter who you are or your background.