How BoJack Horseman Deals With Depression | Netflix
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– I think I’m depressed. – Yeah? – It started when I was
having trouble with my book and then it kind of snowballed
into my boyfriend saying I should take antidepressants. – Are you going to? – What’s the point? – Of antidepressants? I believe the point is
to be anti-depressed. – Sure or you just flip over the nothing and underneath there’s more nothing. (lively guitar music) – [Dan] Over six seasons, BoJack Horseman, has delivered a groundbreaking, nuanced exploration of mental health. It has subverted expectations
around animated shows and sitcom structure to deliver
a single, narrative arc, exploring not just the reality
of living with mental illness but also examining it’s many root causes and knock on effects. – I can’t keep lying to myself, saying I’m gonna change, I’m poison. – BoJack. – I come from poison,
I have poison inside me and I destroy everything I touch. That’s my legacy. – [Dan] In BoJack Horseman, the world doesn’t reset at
the end of every episode and as such, every action sooner
or later has a consequence. – So you don’t know where
Sarah Lynn got the heroin from? – I have no idea. – Alrighty then, that’s
the only question I had. – I mean, of course, I knew
she was doing a lot of drugs, but that’s who she was, who I was. Felt like we could keep partying forever and it wouldn’t catch up with us. – [Dan] In the first
few seasons the camera was fixed firmly on BoJack himself. A middle aged, fading star,
suffering the twin perils of addiction and depression. The cycles of which he found
himself unable to escape. – [BoJack] You stupid alcoholic,
talk to your daughter. You’re ruining her, you know that, right? No matter what, your
poison is already in her, there’s nothing you can do. That’s not true. Yeah, it is, you stupid piece of shit. You’re a real stupid piece of shit and everywhere you go, you destroy people. – [Dan] But in recent seasons, the lens has shifted somewhat. Zoomed out, expanding the
scope of the stories being told and giving us a broader view
of depression, anxiety, PTSD and dementia. Attempting to document the many masks that mental illness wears. – Okay, yeah, I’ve been a
little depressed but I’m not, like, depressed, I don’t have depression. – [Dan] By spending time with
the supporting characters and showing us more of the
struggles they’re dealing with, season six, as a whole, and
episode seven in particular is dispelling the myth that mental illness only
affects certain people and deconstructing the question, what does depression look like? – What is depression? – Depression. – Who is depression? – You or someone you love. – Where is depression? – A grassy field, perhaps. – If any of these words
describe you or your feelings, you may suffer from. – Depression.
– Depression. (somber music) – [Dan] In episode seven,
BoJack, fresh out of rehab and on a mission to make amends, travels the country checking in with his now disparate friends and loved ones. – So what’re you gonna do now? Just keep getting lunch with your friends? – There was a stewardess in the meeting, she was talking about
how everyday she wakes up in a different place. I thought, that sounds perfect. Every city, a clean slate. – Stewardess? I think the preferred
term is flight servant. – [Dan] Throughout season six, BoJack, has been working through the 12 steps and struggling with both
reality and his identity. Now he’s sober, if he doesn’t
hate himself then who is he? – Of course, you did this to
me, because I cared about you and you ruin people who care about you. – Well, best of luck. – I want you to remember this, BoJack. I want you to remember what you did to me. (forlorn music) – I remember everything. I’m sober now. – [Dan] We followed him
through chemical highs and ever lower lows but against
the odds, by this episode, BoJack is finally making good choices. While those around him
are seeming to stumble, he is the one who has made the
most progress towards balance and wellness. – Okay, you got me. My parents gave me an
internalized self hatred of horses so my horse body is a prison
that I can never escape. This manifests in rotten behavior because I subconsciously believe I deserve to be punished but being famous, I’m never punished so I act out even more and since this pattern is
so woven into my identity it is unfathomable to me
that it can ever be curbed so instead I drink! – Check, please! – So the only way I can
progress is to return to my life as a sober man and finally hold myself
accountable for my actions, past and future. Oh, my God, is this what therapy is? – [Dan] His friends are in pain. Each at a crossroads. Transitioning between life
stages, jobs and relationships. – It’s so amazing to hold
a baby and look at it sleep and think, this is a perfect thing. – I can’t imagine. – It’s weird to think that at
one point someone held me in their hands and thought, I’m going to love this
kid forever, you know? What happened? – What happened to what? – I dunno. Moms are weird, right? – Yeah. – [Dan] BoJack has no
answers but he’s present. For the first time in a
long time, he’s turning up. He’s a terrible listener but he’s trying. – I need my job! I love my job! – Okay! – It’s just, there’s always
so much stupid bullshit to take care of there. – Aren’t you the boss? Why are you doing the stupid bullshit? – I dunno. – Hey, my only responsibility
right now is to not drink and I’m barely getting by. You are producing a
show, running a company, catering to your clients,
raising a child, a tod, you need your own Princess
Carolyn to take care of you. – [Dan] And though he does offer comfort, he realizes during these visits
that he can only do so much. The ripples of his self
destruction spread further than simple words can reach. – I was in a bad way and
Sarah Lynn followed me down because she thought I was a safe place. What have I done? – [Dan] The one friend BoJack can help is the only one who isn’t
struggling, Mr. Peanutbutter, a pathologically happy yellow lab, is being publicly vilified
for cheating on his fiance until Princess Carolyn convinces the world that he’s depressed. He’s called a hero for speaking up and is named the national
face of depression. Mr. Peanutbutter is not
even sure what depression is but he’s pretty sure he doesn’t have it. – I am not depressed. (gasping) – Wait, how can you know that? – Well I feel very happy. Oh, I know, just as I
suspected, half full. – That is a troubling development. – And right before our tour! I would be quite upset by
this if I were at all prone to depression which as we’ve
just established, I am not. – But isn’t it possible
that you are depressed and just don’t know it. – Well I do frequently not know things. – According to the
literature for this tour that I did not read, but had my mom peruse and then paraphrase for me, people who seem happy can
actually be the most depressed. – Oh, no, I seem very happy! – I know! – But, wait, you seem happy too. – Oh, no, does that
mean I’m also depressed? – Oh, good thing we’re going on this tour. – We gotta get the word out. – [Dan] This is BoJack at it’s best. The very real issues affecting Mr. Peanutbutter’s friends
and loved ones are made a mockery of by his sudden celebrity. What the show is doing is
exactly what depression does. It undercuts you at every turn. – You’re looking at the
national face of depression. – You’re the national face of depression? – Yup. – This face? – Uh-huh. – You’re depressed? – [Dan] Literally any other
character in the show would be a more suitable face of depression but the overwhelmingly
positive, Mr. Peanutbutter, is the only face the public will accept. Everyone else is, well, too depressing. – Well, I gotta say, I am having the time of my life being depressed. – [Dan] Is this willingness to poke fun at the most difficult
aspects of mental health that makes BoJack so good. The humor helps balance
the dark and the heartfelt and ensures that on the
occasions the writers swap a complex punchline
for a simple gut punch. BoJack is rarely short of devastating. – [BoJack Voiceover] The
main thing I think about is how stupid I am that
I didn’t do this sooner. I wasted so many years being miserable because I assumed that
was the only way to be. I don’t wanna do that anymore. (somber music) Also, am I crazy or have I gotten really
good at writing letters? – [Dan] The road to recovery
isn’t just 12 big steps, it’s 1000 small ones. BoJack is making tiny, incremental leaps in the right
direction on his journey to a destination he may never arrive at. Certainly not before the show
ends but that’s the struggle. For all of us. Well, unwell and in between. It’s the journey and, yes, the
friends we make along the way that make it all worthwhile. Everyone is struggling. None of us are alone. (inspirational music) – You do this thing where
you don’t think you can ever be forgiven so you don’t apologize but I can’t forgive you if
you don’t say you’re sorry. – Okay. I’m sorry. – Thank you. That’s all I wanted. – I’m sorry. – I love you. – I love you too! Come here. – That’s it? – Come on. Let’s dance.
– Yeah! BoJack! – [Dan] But creator, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, is too savvy to suggest
that BoJack is all better or that depression is an
illness that can be cured. This show is all about
the ebb and flow of life. The natural ups and downs. It’s about the day
after happily ever after and the day after that. – [BoJack] So the thing
I keep thinking about is, was it worth it for
Beverly to be happy for a little bit even though it ended up sad or would it have been better if the whole thing never happened? – [Dan] At the end of
episode seven, BoJack, visits a historical reenactment
town where he attends a church service. – It is only when we show
ourselves forgiveness and mercy that we truly
live a life of grace. That we are reborn! Turn to the horse next to
you and offer a sign of grace and peace in the name of the Lord. – [Church Goers] Peace, peace be with you. – [Dan] He offers
enthusiast affirmations of, may peace be with you,
to his fellow patrons but peace is not with him, not yet, just as he is
attending a facsimile of a historical church service,
BoJack feels like he is a facsimile of a real person or horse. He’s walking the walk of wellness. But it feels pretend. The question BoJack is left with, is this, when you’ve spent the better part of your adult life wrecking
everything you touch, how do you begin to reckon with the ruins? – I bought into this
idea that I was the thing that couldn’t be changed so
the reason I came to Chicago is I wanted to thank you for
believing in me when I didn’t and for encouraging me to
accept the help I needed. – [Dan] BoJack’s face is the
very face we think of when we think of the face of depression. When your illness is so
tied to your identity, can you ever truly leave
that identity behind? And who would you be without it? It remains to be seen whether
BoJack can forgive himself for the pain he’s caused or if his forthcoming self-judgment day will see him tumble back into
the depths of depression, addiction and loneliness. Season six started with a
reference to the well known joke. A horse walks into rehab. So why the long face? After five and a half seasons,
we’re still finding out. (lighthearted music)

26 thoughts on “How BoJack Horseman Deals With Depression | Netflix

  1. Who'd have thought that "Bojack", which is primarily a comedy, would portray depression and mental illness so more realistically than "Thirteen Reasons Why", which prides itself on delving into "real teenage issues?

  2. “When your illness is so tied to your identify, can you truly leave that identity behind? And who would you be without it?” 11:13

    Wow, just wow.

  3. The best written animated series of the 21st century in my humble opinion. I'm excited to see how it comes to an end.

  4. Bojack made me realize that I might I’ve been living with depression and anxiety for most of my life. The thing is when it’s been a part of you for so long you don’t even recognize your self destructing tendencies anymore because your see it as your version of normal.

  5. DEPRESSION IS A SERIOUS TOPIC! Thanksntou so much for this video! If you agree with me, Watch my latest video on how I GOT THROUGH IT ALONE! AND HOW YOU CAN AS WELL!🧘🏽‍♂️☯️☮❤➕
    https://youtu.be/L-S4E2H8G48

  6. Wow Netflix is slowly becoming my favorite thing in the entertainment industry this was beautiful

  7. It's amazing how out of all the topics the Bojack series tackles, depression is one of the many that it tackles the most, and to think Diane was been depressed on at least two occasions in the show and in two different seasons.

  8. BoJack himself is also a good example of depression played very straight and uncompromisingly. This is best highlighted in "Stupid Piece of Shit", where we see BoJack's inner monologue describing to him about how much of a piece of shit he is. This is a spot-on job describing the thought process of someone with depression as a nagging voice in the back of your head making you question everything you do, and the payoff is enormous. Also, despite what he tells Hollyhock (who is also implied to suffer from depression) at the end of the episode, lots of people still need to work through it as adults.

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