Understanding the Mind with BoJack Horseman

The second season of BoJack Horseman was released on Netflix recently and after watching and re-watching every episode, I thought it'd be a good time to dissect one of the major themes of the first season (I'm still working on unpacking everything in the most recent season of the show, so expect a card about that in the future). BoJack Horseman is single-handedly the most important "television" show to ever be released. It's witty, funny, intelligent, but most importantly, it explores human emotion in a way that other shows do not.


There's one very important thing you need to know about BoJack Horseman before I get into the two scenes from the first season. BoJack is not a good "person" or, eh, Horseman?, whatever, you know what I mean. He's an out of work actor who gets most of his money from residuals that come from a popular 90s sitcom called Horsin' Around (another great thing about this show is the way it dissects the media and the culture that surrounds it, but that's an entirely different card).

Maybe I should rephrase the way I described his character, he's not a good person but he wants to be. He has a vapid lifestyle that leaves him feeling empty most of the time. And the show explores this feeling in a way that most shows -- and maybe most movies as well -- don't.

In the scene above, BoJack apologizes to his ghostwriter, Diane, after spending the past day doing drugs -- there's a lot going on in terms of narrative and I don't want to waste time summarizing so I'll get to the heart of it.

Right when BoJack starts talking, we get to see a person unravel in front of us. Yeah, sure, it's an animated television show. But I can't think of the last time I watched someone plead with another person to tell them that they're alright. We get to finally see what BoJack thinks of himself and how it eats at him inside. And in a way, we can say that this is the moment where it all boils over, it's the moment where he realizes that he needs more than just lifestyle driven by partying.

In the very next episode, we get a flashback that gives us a reason behind BoJack's actions throughout the season. It's a response to a letter that BoJack wrote when he was younger to his idol Secretariat.

Secretariat's response reveals the way BoJack's mind works. And after he's done with the answer, we see Secretariat commit suicide. With these two scenes in mind, we now know who BoJack is and who he was influenced by throughout his life. Unfortunately, that resulted in a sad lifestyle for BoJack but outside the world of the show, both of these scenes are two of the most brilliantly crafted scenes I've ever seen.

They show us the way the mind is influenced and the results of it. BoJack becomes an example of the way the human mind can fracture and break if surrounded by a negative environment. The way the whole first season tackles the idea of "what it means to be a good person" is astounding and a feat that I would never have thought possible on television.

Please, watch BoJack Horseman.

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