How Bojack Horseman changed the cultures of “Happy Endings”

Himesh Nag
4 min readFeb 7, 2021

Even for the extremely intelligent person, you, who read the title and might think that this is going to be something you read about a lot a year back, you might be surprised by what it actually means.

About The Show

We all know that Bojack Horseman, the show, is in the face of the earth one of the most real things. It stars Will Arnet as the voice actor for Bojack along with his huge line up of big-time celebrities like Alison Brie (Diane) and Aron Paul (Todd). However, the show is more than just a superficial comedy sitcom with a crazy line up, in some ways it is a revolution that has this powerful script that can make us sad and laugh at the same time.

The show portrays Bojack stuck to his past that has scarred him, thinking that he is this big hotshot celeb among all the “HOLLYWOO”. He realises it — what he thinks is — way too late that he has not made the impact he always wanted to and that the world has moved on only to forget the legacy of “the great Bojack”. It actually seems like everything he touches just gets destroyed one way or the other.

Background on Bojack’s Depression & Anxiety

Bojack has lived an intoxicated childhood and these memories keep popping in his head ruining others. Consider the case of Sarah Lynn. Bojack loses control and makes a taboo-move on a vulnerable girl who had a stepdad who’d be “weird” and finds a father figure in Bojack. It is important to note that from this episode forward the plot of the show revolves around Bojack becoming like his Mother. He never realises the fact that he is becoming the same person he hates the most, and in more than one ways — the alcoholism. The consolidated effect of all these uncalled for situation pushes him to a severe case of anxiety and depression, the one that even 24 weeks of therapy couldn’t permanently fix.

While in agony, the clouds of gloom, self-pity and shame dawn upon Bojack. He discovers a void in his mind. A void intelligently depicted as space*. Trying to fill this void he begins to run down a path of self-destruction turning to alcohol and hardcore drugs. That’s not even the worst part. The worst part about this is that despite the momentary high that he uses to rush through life he regrets it. Time to time he becomes sorry for himself, and then feels sorry for being sorry — The Feedback Loop From Hell as Mark Mason quotes it in his book (The subtle art of not giving a F).

The surprising F you to the Happy Ending Culture

We all know the show, that has now ended, has not blessed him with a “Happy Ending”, but this article is not about that. It’s about how the show did not give us (me and you) the Happy Ending.

We both know that we have the habit of picturing ourselves in the protagonist and all we wanted was for Bojack to get everything back — his reputation, his friends, his integrity, Diane, Todd, Hollyhock, the list keeps going on, but what happens? The show ends on the most powerful dialogue between Diane and Bojack about how sometimes life is hard and you keep living.

So in a way, the show is more than just a sitcom. It is about how ‘not always in life will you get to enjoy the sweetness of the happy ending’ in fact it might even keep getting worse. The show, thus, not having a happy ending is a denial in the face of pop culture dramas that portray the hero and the heroine getting a happy ending — an anomaly. It denies us a happy ending, clearly showing us that there are none, in fact, it’s the right now that counts. The past doesn’t count and who knows what the future holds; but, you can either be a better person today or not at all.

So, be nice, have fun while you live, let go of the past and don’t worry about the future. Who knows Netflix might even drop Bojack season 7 in the future.

* Space is a type of a VOID, kinda like a vacuum. As Rick from Rick and Morty defines it “…[space] wants to suck out all the air from you and leave you spinning…

Even Sarah Lynn felt a void inside her which, by the way, had her beat as she sunk into nothingness and passed away at the Griffith observatory. Hence the analogy of the space.

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