I was late to the BoJack Horseman train, I’ll admit. I only started watching the series just before the third season was released. I was sceptical at first; the animation style was strange, and at first, it seemed like this would be a “crazy antics of an alcoholic horse” story. Personally, not really my thing.

It ended up being so much more than that, and I finished two seasons in three days.

BoJack Horseman is a marvellous and creative look into the way that people live their lives. Based mainly in the world of Hollywood, the series offers a perfect balance of comic relief and daunting revelations. When season three came out, I was not ready for the crippling depression I would experience for days thereafter. Sure, I probably shouldn’t have binged it in a day and a half, but I have no self-control. Especially when I’m watching the unforgiving story about a humanoid horse who just can’t seem to get his shit together.

Why is it that I can’t stop, though? Why do I revel in this sad story? I am not nihilistic – which is the basic premise for how the show traipses through its episodes – and I cannot relate to most of the things that happen to BoJack. I sit there thinking to myself “Why is this happening to this poor horse” half of the time, and then they bring out episodes like the underwater episode in season three and I cry away half of my body fluids.

Then I realised that this is not about the level of melancholy I feel when I watch this show, and it’s not about how sad it is. It’s about the reality of what happens to many, many people in the world – and that is why BoJack must die.

Season five got released on the 14th of September. It started out as usual, carrying on from season four and bringing in a couple of new issues for all the characters to deal with. The strangest part of the season was BoJack. He seemed to try and get his life together, be a better person, drink less, but what is new? The season branched out more to other characters and how they are functioning, and BoJack is left to deal with himself alone (which, of course, ultimately ends in a pill addiction).

In the end, Diane forces BoJack to go to rehab. In light of how horrible her life is going after divorcing Mr. Peanutbutter, Todd having just killed his sex robot and losing his job, Princess Caroline becoming a new mother, and Mr. Peanutbutter still not being able to face the truth – is BoJack going to be the most stable character? The season ends with him checking himself into rehab – which is a direct opposition to how he has gone through most of his life and dealt with most of his problems. Could this finally be the turning point?

No. It can’t possibly be. There is no reason why BoJack will come out of rehab next season and be rejuvenated and reborn. If this show has taught us anything, it’s that we should expect the worst. We never saw BoJack walk into the actual centre, we only saw Diane drive away. Diane was the person who made him go there – but now she’s gone. There is no one watching, and we all know how BoJack acts when there aren’t any people around to watch him.

The thing that this series does well is making you feel something for characters that are despicable. BoJack’s mom is the perfect example of this. She was a bitter, vile woman before she died – and she never showed any kind of love for her son. Then we get an episode about her life and what she had to go through as a child and young adult, and suddenly we get these pangs in our hearts because none of this is her fault. Is it?

And that is the key difference. These characters don’t get any kind of redemption, they just get their heart-wrenching back stories revealed. We have been exposed to BoJack’s horrific childhood throughout the series, and honestly, there is no surprise as to why he is where he is now. After the traumatic experiences he has gone through – Sarah-Lynn dying, Herb Kazzaz writing him off and then dying, his strange and unsuccessful love life, the whole “my parents never really loved me” thing, the drug binges, the list goes on – how can we expect that this is going to be a happy-ending story? Nothing throughout the series has given any hints of these people being able to find redemption – just the harsh reality of how truly unsettling life can be.

That is why he must die. Unless we take the real-life Hollywood twist of happiness being the true winner (which will be incredibly disappointing), the only “satisfying” way for this series to end is to have BoJack die. Then he will finally find peace.

Last Updated: September 26, 2018


  1. [Spoiler Alert]


  2. Nirith

    September 27, 2018 at 12:21

    I agree.

    Sometimes it seems as though BoJack can’t stop doing the same thing. Maybe he is insane for trying to do so.

    We, the audience, revel in the craziness, but in the end, death is the only certainty.


  3. Aishi

    September 27, 2018 at 13:59

    I would personally love if he died. There are way too many happy endings to good series; it ruins everything for me. Also, the fan base would go crazy, fan art would be made. I want that. Don’t you?


  4. Tim

    September 27, 2018 at 16:06

    Thoroughly disagree. I think you can wring out a few more seasons of Bojack post-rehab in a better place but begins trying to ‘help’ his similarly fucked up friends and getting an experience of what their experience with him was lile. Him dying would be just as contrived as a happy ending would be. It ends with him just accepting the minimal power he has in the world.


  5. Me

    September 27, 2018 at 16:49

    The only thing worse than your misspelling of words is your critical analysis.


  6. Aaron Thomas

    September 27, 2018 at 17:39

    This article is surprisingly nihilistic considering you claimed to not be a nihilist.

    The thing that eludes Bojack is contentment. Not happiness, but contentment and acceptance. You write as though a character can only become happy or spiral further down till it kills them. Reality is much more complicated than these extremes, as the show tries to explain. Sadness will never go away. People who become better don’t escape the sadness, the mistakes. Instead they learn to accept them as reality. Bojack has yet to truly do this, and instead has continued to run in fear from that pain. It’s hard not too when he’s been doingit for fifty years. But if he does stop running, it doesn’t mean he’ll have fixed everything in his life. It doesn’t mean he’ll have died either. It’ll just mean he’s learned to accept it, and find contentment in the moment, whatever it may be.


  7. JoshBurnstein

    September 27, 2018 at 19:16

    While I can see where you are coming from – and from what we have seen dramaturgically so far from Bojack Horseman, his death would one of the most logical conclusiona – but I disagree with some of your major arguments. I think the series is very much about the agency one has over their own life. It is true that all these characters have been influenced and scarred by various people and events in their past, but I think what the show is trying to say is that whatever has happened in the past, you have the agency now to become a different person. Just like Diane said: We are all people who sometimes do bad stuff and sometimes do good stuff, and we have to decide what we want to do. And yes, Bojack said during the funeral: “There is no happy end.” But that doesn’t mean that there is going to be a bad end, just that there is “Always more show.” So a storyline in which Bojack is actually confronting his demons and is slowly but surely recovering and really becoming a better person would be totally in line with the philosophy of the show.


  8. isaac bejjani

    September 27, 2018 at 22:17

    I sure hope there are better conclusions than ‘he needs to die’ for those of us that can heavily relate to bojacks life. Im pretty sure suicide is not the answer.


  9. doomydoomydoomdoom

    September 28, 2018 at 01:44

    I prefer the idea of him TRYING to die, or nearly dying in a pure accident which is not his fault. Or even selflessly risking his life for the sheer hell of it to save another person’s….and then he wakes up in a hospital, having realized he has done a ‘good’ thing, or that he at least was given a 2nd chance and he can still make if not the absolute best of things, at least the most of things. That life does contain a lot of shit, but he’ll die eventually, and he might as well stick around for his few friends and family who do care about him, like Diane and Mr. PB and PC and Hollyhock.


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