Bojack Horseman, Quarantine, and Mental Health


Tahmid Shuvro


There is nothing in this world that is more unproductive than watching Netflix while wearing pajamas and lying on the bed all day. And, this hustling culture has reached a point where you are constantly judged for doing nothing. ‘We are in this together’, ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’, ‘Home quarantine’ – we’ve passed that phase. Most of the offices are open now and Covid-19 is everywhere. We are beginning to cope up with everything, or trying at least. And last month, in the middle of this pandemic, I sat down to watch Bob-Waxberg’s show, Bojack Horseman.

To be really honest , I don’t actually like Rotten Tomato’s or IMDB’s review and rating system. Rather, I prefer judging movies and serials from my own perspective.

Anyways, I sat down to watch this — Netflix’s original cartoon series. The main characters of this epic show consist of Bojack, a sitcom artist from the 90s, his sidekick Todd, friend Diane, secretary Princess Caroline, and colleague slash actor Mr. Peanut Butter.
Judging from the first look, this seemed like an adult cartoon series relating to Hollywood show business but it was later that I realised how deep you have to go to understand the whole concept of this show. No show has ever touched me at such a depth ever before.
Each character explores his or her identity in a new way, establishing their perspective in a particular interpretation that you never really anticipated. With dramatic choices and a poor upbringing, the vain protagonist, Bojack, does one terrible act after another and blames the others for his trauma and intoxication. Accompanied by Diane with her ever-present issues of an identity crisis, the dumb and discreet (but trustworthy) Todd, the easy and always-jolly Mr. Peanut Butter, as well as the optimistic yet unsure Princess Carolyn — the characters pass through various phases of adulthood together in this show.

Let’s not talk about how good this show is, rather let’s look at how this show is different from others. The series is so real and relevant that it will force you to try to understand the details of your inner feelings and overall mental condition. And this is what gave me a special quarantine perspective.

Many of us suffer from minor depression, identity crisis, or a crippling anxiety. For a variety of societal reasons, it may not seem like much from a third-person’s perspective, but it’s on a totally different level when you experience it yourself. Each problem hits people differently. And self-conscious beings sometimes turn out to be a little insecure about that.

“Am I overreacting to the problems? Is my depression an attention seeking problem?”

These questions always remain on top of their heads. Everyone knows the state of our South Asian middle-class families — mental health is never an issue. Moreover, in a judgmental and conservative society like Bangladesh, even friends and colleagues do not play a big role when it comes to giving attention to a person suffering from depression and anxiety.

Sushant’s suicide has shown us how much mental health and a person’s (even being a celebrity) depression can be left unnoticed. Through this aspect, I find a similarity in the thinking of Diane in this show — who suffers from an identity crisis all her life and eventually turns around writing her autobiography and discovers that the cause of her depression is simple and insignificant.
And, I feel that this should not be the case — everyone should feel free to express their inner frustration whether it matches the community’s standards or not.

Again, considering all the factors, the social system of our country seems to be responsible for many adversities. As a result, sometimes we justify our impulsive actions by blaming family and friends or blaming various traumas and incidents. Yet, the decision is still in people’s pockets. You cannot only blame your illogical conduct on your messed-up adolescence — You have to face the consequences of your actions, and you deserve it.

Likewise, the writers of this series placed Bojack in such a position where he had to repent for his deeds for the remainder of his life. He had a rough upbringing — his parents were always abusive to him. Alcohol and drug addiction were just two of the causes for his issues. Still, he ruined a variety of lives, including Herb Kazzaz, Sarah Lynn, Penny, Charlotte, among several more, and has gotten out of most of them. He has always felt he’s a good guy internally, while his acts suggest otherwise.

Often people with the best smile are not suspected of being a concern. Will you blame someone who stays delighted all the time, shows people appreciation, and loves everybody equally, for being toxic? Don’t think so. In the last season of the series, Mr. Peanutbutter found out that he was the biggest cause why all his marriages had fallen apart. Aside from experiencing life, a little glitch made him realise how lonely he really is.

Todd is like the ‘deadbeat’ guy society has always despised. Our culture is bringing people to the conclusion that achievements are everything. Time is everything, so doing nothing is an utter waste of resources. Yet, there are a lot of people out there who really don’t know what their role in the universe is. They have no specific objectives and no sophisticated thinking process. They feel emotionally frustrated as they can’t follow the social norms. Yet often they will give you the greatest perspective about existence than anyone else. Yes, it’s cool if you’re unwilling to go with the flow.
Don’t slip through the deep pit of despair because you think that you lack the skills while watching people demonstrate their potential on social media. Because at the end of the day, people like Todd have the ultimate peace of mind, and that’s what truly matters.
Let’s come to the most practical part of the story. The character, Princess Carolyn, is a film agent. Working women in our world suffer from a lot of insecurities throughout their life. Managing time seems to be so complicated that they can’t even find a way to keep up with the demands of society. That’s when insecurities take a trip to your mind. The insecurities Princess Carolyn had was born from fear of falling behind. Solving others’ problems with confidence and dignity, Princess Carolyn became overwhelmed with her own.

However, let’s head straight to the conclusion right now. I think self-realisation is important if you want to keep your mind fit this quarantine. You might never get another opportunity to think and spend quality time with “you” in this life. So, try to enjoy every moment. Feel free to open up to your opinions and stop taking notes from society. Last but not least, you ought to be a better person. That’s what Bojack Horseman from the 90s TV show ‘Horsing Around’ always tried to prove throughout this series.

Then again, if you don’t want to receive mental health guidance from a young man with references from a Netflix show, I understand.

 


Tahmid Shuvro prefers watching philosophical and psychological videos than sleeping.

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