“Bojack Horseman,” an animated series created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, pushes the boundaries of what we expect from television. It balances comedy and tragedy to illustrate the life of the washed-up actor, Bojack Horseman, a horse living in a world populated by both humans and anthropomorphic animals. Here are nine moments from the show that, for better or worse, stay with you long after the credits roll.
Bojack’s Secretariat Letter
In the Season 1 finale, we see a young Bojack write a fan letter to Secretariat, his childhood hero. The earnestness, vulnerability, and innocence in his questions, “How do you not be sad?” not only provide a look into Bojack’s childhood struggles but also set the tone for the depth of character exploration to come.
After the letter was read, Secretariat answered and told Bojack that he also came from a terrible household, and while he got sad a lot as well, all he did was run since it was the reasonable thing for him to do. He then gave Bojack the advice to run and don’t stop running and don’t anyone hold back from running.
A month later, Secretariat committed suicide after being banned from the race. Here’s the thing, people, you just can’t run away from your problems, can you?
It’s also kind of heartbreaking to discover in the next episode that Bojack’s parents were fighting while he was watching Secretariat hear and answer his letter. His mother even told Bojack that he was at fault that her mother was not beautiful anymore, and she hoped that Bojack would turn into someone big to make up for all the damage that he had done. Ever since then, I always think that Bojack is the way he is because of his crappy parents and his crappy idols.
Herb Kazzaz’s Refusal to Forgive
When Bojack learns that his former best friend, Herb Kazzaz, got the big c, he went to drive to his home and tries to apologize to his former best friend Herb for betraying him years ago. Bojack wanted to mend his friendship with Herb before he died.
But it goes differently this time. Herb refused to forgive Bojack! It’s not only a hard, unexpected hit, but it’s also a realistic deviation from typical TV series forgiveness, where everything turns back to normal after every episode.
It really shows us that there are consequences to our actions, and even if you’re trying to turn a new leaf, sometimes you have done irreversible damage that just can’t be fixed even if you try to mend it. Just don’t be an ass in the first place!
In Free Churro, Bojack delivers a monologue, essentially a eulogy for his mother, for the entire episode. His speech started with him making jokes about her mother, and then it turned raw, emotional, and honest, full of resentment, sadness, and dark humor. It’s a testament to the series’ messed up unconventional storytelling, showing the complexity of parent-child relationships and the enduring impact of childhood traumas.
It still makes me cry a little when Bojack says that his mother saying, “I see you,” is the only thing she said to acknowledge him.
I won’t go into too much detail; this whole episode is a must-rewatch if you already finished Bojack Horseman.
Sarah Lynn’s Death
Now one of the most haunting moments of the series is when Sarah Lynn, Bojack’s former co-star, dies of a drug overdose during their bender. The line, “I wanna be an architect,” stayed with people the most since it reveals the lost potential of Sarah Lynn’s life and underscores the devastating impact of being a celebrity at an early age. And, of course, the surprise that comes shortly after with Sarah Lynn dying quietly as Bojack gave a speech about all of us being forgotten one day.
Diane’s Monologue in “The Dog Days Are Over”
After going through her Divorce, Diane gave a voice-over monologue for the whole episode as she explores Vietnam to reconnect with her ancestral roots and goes back to LA only to discover that her ex-husband already has a new girl by his side.
This whole episode presents a relatable and raw exploration of loneliness, heartbreak, and the struggle to find oneself. Diane’s narrative throughout the series provides a unique perspective on mental health, self-discovery, and womanhood.
In this episode, we witness Princess Carolyn’s fifth miscarriage.
This one is told by Ruthie, who turns out to be Princess Carolyn’s imagined great-great-great-granddaughter. Ruthie recounts Princess Carolyn’s worst day ever, where we see her grapple with miscarriage, break up with a boyfriend, and have a career setback.
Now this episode explored the themes of miscarriage among women, which is a topic that’s not usually discussed in the media. It shows the strength of Princess Carolyn and her ways of coping with this. Which is why it stays with the viewers, I’m not a woman, but it also resonated with me and helped me stay tough through anything!
The episode Time’s Arrow is yet another remarkable exploration of unusual themes in mainstream media. This time we explore memory, dementia, and the impact of the past. The episode focuses on Beatrice Horseman, Bojack’s mother, and her fragmented recollections due to her struggle with dementia.
The episode visualizes the erratic and unreliable nature of Beatrice’s memory. Characters’ faces disappear, settings shift without warning, and past and present blur, creating an unsettling viewing experience that reflects Beatrice’s own disorientation. This innovative depiction of dementia provides viewers with a personal and profound understanding of the disease.
Additionally, “Time’s Arrow” delves into the origins of Beatrice’s bitterness and the ways in which her past shaped Bojack’s life. We learn about Beatrice’s privileged but loveless childhood, the death of her beloved brother, the lobotomy of her depressed mother, and her unsatisfying marriage to Bojack’s father.
It certainly stays with viewers since it gave us an unrelenting view of Beatrice’s past, and end up kind of feeling bad for her as well when all this time, a ton of viewers were resenting her for what happened to Bojack. It turns out she was dealt with the same crappy childhood.
Bojack’s Apology to Diane
In the series finale, Bojack’s apology to Diane for his self-destructive behavior and its impact on her life reflects the culmination of this long and perilous journey toward self-improvement and responsibility. Their conversation under the stars is a perfect ending to their complex relationship, offering closure and hope for their separate futures, but still, their conversation stuck with a ton of people. Diane’s quote, “Sometimes life’s a bitch, and then you keep living.” Is the only thing that stuck with me on my first watch.
The View From Halfway Down
Saving my favorite for last, this is the pinnacle of Bojack Horseman’s unconventional storytelling! In this one, Bojack almost drowns in his swimming pool, and viewers are taken on a surreal existential journey through Bojack’s psyche in “The View from Halfway Down.” This episode is more of a dream episode, and it all happened in Bojack’s mind.
Now, it all started when Bojack and young Sarah Lynn enters a dinner party where every dead character from Bojack’s life is present. We have, as we mentioned already, Sarah Lynn as well as his Mother, Herb Kazzaz, Corduroy Jackson Jackson, and Secretariat.
The most disturbing moment in this episode is Secretariat’s poem titled “The View From Halfway Down,” which is more of a suicide note but filled with regrets while on his way halfway down.
Of course, how can I forget what Herb Kazzaz said?
“Everything must come to an end, the drip finally stops” “…Oh, Bojack, no, there is no other side. This is it.”
I still get chills to this day.
Needless to say, take care while watching this. It’s kinda terrifying, especially if you have problems with suicide or facing mortality.
From humor-filled escapades to gut-wrenching dramas, Bojack Horseman definitely provided viewers with unforgettable moments that both entertain and provoke deep thought. In fact, these nine moments barely scratched the surface; there are countless more of these moments in Bojack Horseman.
What is your favorite/most memorable moment from Bojack Horseman? Leave a comment below!