Did Bojack Horseman deserve a better ending?

Did Bojack Horseman deserve a better ending?

Bojack Horseman might be one of my fastest binged series, and yet, as the show ended it left behind a sequence of ambiguity in my head. If I were to break down these questions in the simplest of words, it would go like this: Was Bojack a bad person? Did he or did he not turn into a good person? If he did turn into a better person, was it okay for him to be once again punished for his past?

For a big part of his life, Bojack believed that he was but a consequence of his past – a traumatic childhood, an emotionally stunted family, and a truckload of unresolved psychological issues. He liked to think that no one could hold him accountable for his toxic traits, as he was entitled to act irrationally because of all that he went through as a child. And so, when he finally got his big break with Horsin’ Around, pushing him into the Los Angles life of a Hollywoo(d) Celebrity, this pattern of behavior only kept escalating. He kept doing shitty things and people kept tolerating him because he was at least good with the one thing he could get right – Acting. So when all was going fine on the surface of Bojack’s rich, prosperous life, what was it that put a break to this cycle? What was it that made him want to become a better person than the one he was? I like to think it happened as the people around him slowly began to realize that they were not obliged to put up with his problematic behavior; that just because he wished to remain broken, it didn’t mean he got to hurt those around him over and over again. So like a worn-out bicycle with only loose screws to spare, one at a time people kept falling out of Bojack’s life, until one day he had nobody left.

Thus, when it came to the question of relationships, it was no surprise that Bo was not only no-Jack of all trades, but a master of none too. The first time we realize this is when we witness the grappled relationship between Bojack and Princess Carolyn, a toxic loop of him messing up and PC covering up for him. We see it when Todd goes all out to make life a little less empty for Bojack, but all Bojack can do is fail to look beyond his bubble of self-conceit. We witness it when Hollyhock attempts to form an emotional bond with him. Still, he assumes they’re incapable of having any such relationship because of the eternal doom that comes with their genetic Horseman coding. We observe it when time and again, Mr. PeanutButter extends hundred an olive branches towards him, but he declines and ignores them out of sheer jealousy. We notice it when he sends Sarah Lynn down a life of drugs and intoxication at the age of just ten, taking up no responsibility for his actions whatsoever. But more than ever, we witness it as he holds Diane responsible for his miserable life and its end as he proceeds towards what he presumes would be his death. So yes, Bojack Horseman was no man of relationships, and gradually, one day he realizes he has none left.

In this process, he is held accountable for the consequences his actions brought into others’ lives. He believed he could get away with his actions, for he never got to hold his parents accountable for their indifferent parenting either. He failed to realize that he had been using that excuse to act designated and dismissive of others throughout his adult life. He finally learns the truth of Todd’s words – all the things bad with him in the present were because of him, just him. Yes, he had a terrible life growing up, but he should have let that anger go after a point. Instead, he let it blindside him for the rest of his years, and he hurt himself and others over and over again. Although with time, he did learn to become a better person, one who strived to remain sober and responsible; however, by pure fate, his past came to haunt him back at his best. As they say, what goes around comes around.

So yes, Bojack Horseman was a bad person. Yes, he turned himself into a better person. And yes, he did deserve to be punished even after learning his lessons; because as it turns out, retribution is as much about one’s journey as it is about the justice and solace of those who were wronged. In this case, the journey was Bojack’s and the justice was of those he had injured alongside himself.

~Manasi Varwandkar

“You know, it’s funny; when you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.”


2 Replies to “Did Bojack Horseman deserve a better ending?”

  1. Hey there, I appreciate your take on this gut-wrenching series. Very realistically portrayed, kudos to your writing.
    Is there a place where I can read more of such content from you?

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