BoJack Horseman: Equestrian Happiness

[BoJack Horseman is a comedy about a man with a horse’s head. A talking horses head. This article will be about the show eventually. It ties together in the end, honest. But for now, read about me feeling sorry for myself. I promise there’s a point!]

Me and the people I like are having a hard time, at the moment. Not in the way that our family members are dropping dead and we’re living on the streets or anything. Instead it’s the kind of hard time that makes you feel guilty for even complaining, because we’re lucky. I am, at any rate. I’m lucky, and I have a lot of good in my life. So this sadness feels wrong. But it’s there, and it sucks, and it’s deeper than a lot of the sadness I’ve felt before. Talking to my friends I get the feeling we’re all like that, in one way or another. We’re in a bad place, and it feels big. It feels like it’s going to last.

I want to be positive. I want to be the sort of person that finds good in the world, and can be happy in that. This blog exists because I get frustrated when people put time and effort into explaining why they hate something. I feel like it would be so much better spent showing off how great something is, how worthwhile. So here is a place where I write about the things I like and the things that are important to me, and how they affect me personally. I’ve stuck to that pretty well so far, I think. But this sadness of ours, the troubles me and my friends are going through, they can feel like everything, in the evenings at least. It feels huge and all-consuming, and it’s something I want to write about in one way or another, because writing helps me process my thoughts and understand them better.

The trouble is, wanting to be positive isn’t very helpful with this sadness. I want to find the good thing in it, the silver lining I can grab hold of until the horribleness goes away. But it’s not there. I can’t see it, anyway. Feeling sad sucks. Having regrets sucks. It all just sucks, and there’s nothing good about that. So I have to try and be confident that things will change. I have to think that it’ll get better, that it’ll get good again, for all of us. That’s so hard to do, though, because we’re not there. We’re here and now and the road we’re on looks pretty straight, and pretty endless.

But watching BoJack Horseman makes me realise it’s already been done. There’s a story out there that talks about this sadness, that explores it in the most truthful way you can imagine. It doesn’t forget to be funny, and it doesn’t ever get bogged down in its topic. It’s full of weird jokes about obscure things, and bizarre situations that border on the surreal. It’s strange and often hilarious, which only makes it seem that more true to life, and it takes its time in exploring the themes it eventually does. It took me about half of the first season to really begin to realise how much I loved the show. It was funny, but it never made me laugh as much as Parks and Recreations. It was occasionally profound, but never really personal. Then the pieces started to fall into place, and the cogs began to turn, and I began to see what an incredible thing BoJack Horseman was.

They’d created a person. A complicated, sad, frustrated person, with more depth and feeling than I’ve ever seen before. Those jokes I hadn’t been laughing at, I suddenly found hilarious. They became funny because the show suddenly felt so much more grounded. These were the sort of weird things that happen in life, those things that somehow become even funnier when everything else seems so grey, maybe even because everything else seems so grey. And those profound moments, they suddenly became poetry, perfect encapsulations of how I feel, how I think, how I see the world, rightly or wrongly. BoJack is a person just like me, with all the same anger at his own sadness that I have. It just so happens that he has a horses head.

So I don’t know. I don’t know what’s good about this sadness of ours. And I don’t know what I can do about that. Our sadness is not okay. But this show has explored it. It hasn’t found a silver lining, it hasn’t found the good thing to latch onto. But it’s found something so much more important, and something so much more practical. It’s a show about a sad person, and where I’ve watched up to, at least, he’s still pretty sad.

But there’s a scene, right at the end of season two, which I think is the most important thing I’ve heard in a really long time. I don’t think reading about it will ruin the moment, but it is a spoiler, so if you’re worried about that, go and watch the show, it’s great, and don’t read on.

BoJack Horseman is going out jogging. He’s out of breath, gasping, swearing at the whole idea of it. What a stupid thing to do, it’s painful, and it’s exhausting, and he’s fed up. He collapses, looking up into the clouds, when a face appears, looking down. It’s a fellow jogger, not so worn out, not so tired. He looks down at BoJack, and he gives a little bit of advice. “It gets easier” he says. “Every day it gets a little easier. But you gotta do it every day, that’s the hard part. But it does get easier.”

I’m not done yet. I’m not done thinking about this sadness, and trying, futile as it might be, to get somewhere good again. I suppose that’s my silver lining. I guess that’s the little bit of hope I think we should all try and hold on to. So long as we’re thinking about it, we’re not resigned to it. I don’t know how long it’s going to be like this for. I don’t know that it ever won’t be. But I’m not content, and I want to be, and maybe in a few weeks time I’ll write another article like this but I’ll have worked it all out by then. Probably not. But I’m still thinking about it, and I think we all are, a little bit at least.

It’s a small something. But people get through sadness. We’re people too, with or without snouts. It sucks to be sad, but hopefully it won’t be forever, and I don’t think we’re going to settle for this melancholy, not anytime soon.

BoJack pauses, once he hears the joggers advice. He looks up, and he thinks, just for a second.

“Okay” he says. I think he means it.


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