The Netflix series BoJack Horseman (2014-present) is an adult animated series set in an alternative universe where humans live alongside humanoid animals. Other than this one distinct feature, the world presented to us is exactly the same as our own. The plot loosely revolves around BoJack Horseman, a Hollywoo (the D having been stolen by BoJack) actor whose fame was at its pinnacle during the 1990’s where he starred in the hugely successful sitcom series “Horsin’ Around”, and since has become a washed-up alcoholic and sex addict. The first series centres on his attempt at a comeback through an autobiography to be written by ghost writer, Diane Nguyen. Although allowing other characters to develop their own characterisations and plotlines, season two centres around BoJack’s upcoming new film, “Secretariat”, whilst season three focuses on the release of the film. Season four becomes a more ensemble piece as Diane and her husband, Mr Peanutbutter’s, marriage is tested; Princess Carolyn, BoJack’s manager’s, personal and professional life struggles are more invested in; Todd, a former friend of BoJack’s who was previously only for quick gags, becomes a fully fleshed character as he grapples with his asexuality; and BoJack’s family history and future are revealed and explored. Season five, which was released this year, is the most thought-provoking season yet. The series is based around BoJack’s lead role in the series “Filbert”, a new crime drama series about Filbert the detective. BoJack becomes a paranoid drug addict as he sees the similarities between himself and the character he is playing. The fifth season becomes a metafiction as we watch “Filbert” within BoJack Horseman, and especially during the final episodes, the audience are questioned about how they view BoJack, as we watch how characters respond to Filbert. The entire series of BoJack Horseman could be described in similarly postmodern terms.
First, though, let us tackle what I mean by “postmodern terms”. Postmodernism cannot be described as one thing exactly. Postmodernist thought can be traced back to the 1940’s and is often described as happening after the Second World War. Postmodernism is, in general, the rejection of modernism, which began roughly during the early 1900’s, which was the dominant mode of philosophy and thought in the period of rapid industrialisation. Modernism rejected outdated, specifically Victorian, forms of art, philosophy, literature, science, psychology, architecture and politics. Modernism valued realism and naturalism, rationalism, objectivity, reason, personal experience, individualism, liberal capitalism, business and technical fields. Contrast this to the premodern period which valued obedience, religion, classicism, and the inherent sinfulness of man, and we see a move towards more modern notions of personal autonomy and societal development. However, the postmodernist disagrees with both the pre-modernists and modernists. Postmodernism rejects ideas of realism and objectivity, and values anti-realism, social subjectivism, anti-truth, egalitarianism, socialism and the humanities. Postmodernism denies the existence of objective truth, that we can never know if there is or is not a “real” outside our human experience. Postmodernism holds ‘that everything is relative and constructed by political, social and historical perceptions, therefore nothing can be adequately explained by any sort of grand theory, idea, or meta-narratives’. Postmodernism also often critiques capitalism, or high capitalism specifically, which, whilst some modernist works looked to the past rather than the capitalist future, postmodern works cannot attempt escape from high capitalism which now pervades every aspect of our lives right down to that smartphone in your pocket that seems to rule your life.
So, how is BoJack Horseman a postmodernist show? Whilst it’s easy to merely consider postmodern art as abstract paintings, confusing novels or overly elaborate architecture, postmodern art is really about, says Fredric Jameson in Postmodernism and Consumer Society, ‘the effacement [… of] some key boundaries’ such as ‘the older distinction between high culture and so-called mass or popular culture’. Think of the work of Andy Warhol, his postmodern art sought to make art out of the mass produced. He bridged the divide between high and low art so that ‘the line between high art and commercial forms seems increasingly difficult to draw’. BoJack Horseman uses cartoon characters to represent complex characters addressing very real issues of human nature. Animation allows the show to be narratively complex and put the characters in situations that would be difficult were it live action, such as the silent episode ‘Fish out of Water’ in season 3 that is mostly underwater. Narratively complex television is a postmodern art as argued by Jason Mittel in his essay Narrative Complexity in Contemporary American Television. His paper argues that from the 1990’s onwards, a new form of narratively complex television arose that played with the form of television as a storytelling device. He suggests that whilst conventional television, in the form of sitcom or formulaic television, is still highly popular, he argues that the period from the 1990’s to the present will be remembered for the dawn of a new complex television that plays with narrative structure. BoJack Horseman subverts a narrative structure by offering several narrative strands. The story begins with BoJack, but soon the story is also told from the view of Diane, a kind of voice of reason character, yet with her own set of problems. She is married to happy-go-lucky Mr Peanutbutter, whose impulsive behaviour soon grates on her rather than woos her. Diane is also looking to be a professional and serious writer. Her ghostwriting for BoJack begins to provide this, but soon she is employed in a Buzzfeed type click bate site where she dreams of writing feminist material, but often is stuck recounting “ten times Rihanna gave us life”. We then gain the narrative viewpoint of Princess Carolyn (not a real princess, but a humanoid feline), BoJack’s agent. We soon learn of her great ambitious drive, her personal struggles in love and work, and in seasons four and five, her wishes to become a mother. Season five expands both Mr Peanutbutter’s and Todd’s narrative viewpoints, as we have an entire episode dedicated to Mr Peanutbutter and all his ex-wives attending BoJack’s annual Halloween party, and we see how his impulsive behaviour is the common denominator in driving away his partners. Todd, who in season one was not much more than a quirky homeless couch hopper, by season five embarks on his journey as an asexual looking for companionship. Some episodes are even told from the viewpoint of strangers, such as season five episode seven where BoJack’s and Diane’s therapist is trying to anonymously discuss the two to her partner, who is equally discussing Todd and Princess Carolyn’s legal issues also anonymously. Again, the form of cartoon makes it possible to present the characters in a way that the audience recognises them but are altered by the characters to allow for a comedic effect, for example, BoJack is a zebra and Diane is the late Princess Dianna. There are also some episodes in season four that show BoJack’s family history and one shown mainly from BoJack’s mother’s point of view whilst she is suffering from dementia. This is a creative episode which creates a nauseating and confusing depiction of what dementia might feel like, whilst also revealing heart-breaking truths from her past.
Whilst this method of story-telling, from several points of view, whilst it is arguably just a more complex, rich and more interesting way to tell a narrative, it is actually quite a postmodern move. Subverting narrative structures disallows a grand narrative and opts for smaller narrative strands, which is a poststructural method of constructing a narrative. Jean-Francois Lyotard, a French philosopher, is known as the first to critique the grand narrative, or the large prevailing narratives that act as truths, and see them as mere narratives propagated by powerful elites. For example, the grand narrative that the West is the hero of the world, that the West brought democracy, science and reason to colonised nations, is actually a narrative used to justify imperial pursuits. Whilst this is not a shocking revelation in 2018, at the time Lyotard was writing in, namely in response to disillusioned, post Second World War counter-cultural movements such as the 1950’s Beat generation, tired of American consumerism and the Korean war; the Civil Rights movements of the 1960’s demanding racial equality and justice in America; and the protesters of the Vietnam war in the 1960’s/70’s. Such movements arise from the mistrust of grand narratives propagated by the West. Using this concept in narrative, then, we can use this to understand the meaning of a structural storytelling device and what this might mean. Why tell BoJack Horseman in this way? By allowing such a range of perspectives, the series rejects the possibility of having an objective view on any of the characters. There is no grand narrative of BoJack Horseman, there is no objective value of characters, which is important if we consider that morality is a central theme of the series.
The rejection of the possibility of an “objective” is also a central point of postmodern thought. Whilst the modernists sought to find objective “truth”, and objective reason, the postmodernists deny that there is a reality outside of the subjective experience. This, again, is central in BoJack Horseman. BoJack longs to be told that he is a good person and constantly asks, especially of Diane, throughout all the seasons if she thinks that “deep down” he is really a good guy. This is a harrowing question as we have watched BoJack commit morally questionable acts. At first, it is obvious he is an alcoholic, selfish, narcissist who craves validation and admiration from shallow Hollywoo industries. In later seasons, we watch BoJack travel to New Mexico to visit an old friend (unexpectedly), Charlotte, to escape his problems in LA, when he takes advantage of her daughter, Penny. Penny, 17, tries to initiate sex with BoJack who is hesitant to refute her advances before Charlotte walks in on them and throws BoJack out. Whilst this is bleak enough, BoJack later finds Penny to drunkenly apologise, which only causes further trauma for her. To deal with this pain, BoJack goes on a drug bender with Sarah Lynn, the now grown-up version of his TV daughter in “Horsin Around”. During this bender, Sarah Lynn dies of an overdose. Of course, BoJack’s culpability for his wrongdoing can be debated: we see flashbacks of his childhood where he grew up in an abusive household and we watch segments of BoJack’s severe depression and near suicide. However, BoJack is clearly not a “good person”, be it “deep down” or otherwise. However, notions of good versus bad, or, objective morality, are also rejected by the show in a postmodern way. Diane answers BoJack’s question of whether or not he is a good person with: “you are what you do” and states that she believes that “there are no good guys and bad guys, we are all just guys, who sometimes do bad things and sometimes do good things”. Diane subscribes to a subjective morality, your actions are you and rejects grand narratives of good guys and bad guys. BoJack, meanwhile, continually attempts to believe in an inherent soul and that deep down you are good or that you have a kind of destiny. This often is the exact reason why he acts irrationally or selfishly as he pursues goals which offer validation from industry which comes to embody his idea of an “objective” or “destiny”. Other characters, such as Diane, reject such goals as “receiving an Oscar” or getting a “starring role” she can acknowledge how fleeting and shallow such validation is. The series exposes objective ideas about morality and grand narratives to be false and subscribes to the postmodern subjective view.
Relating to this, another theme of the series is postmodern pop culture, media and capitalism. The series is set in LA in the midst of Hollywoo and is largely centred on exposing the falsity of Hollywood. Not only does the series expose the falsity of television and film by literally showing the constructed nature of the sets, the shallow casting (especially of women) based on appearance or the Hollywood star system, and generally satirizing media platforms such as celebrity talk shows, reality television and even “serious” dramas by pretentious directors, but the series interrogates contemporary cultural movements. Series five especially examines feminism in the contemporary age through its manifestations in popular culture today. The series looks at both the #MeToo movement and, in an episode called “BoJack the Feminist”, the episode looks at the treatment of “shamed” white male celebrities and how easily they are forgiven for their racist/sexist/anti-Semantic or otherwise hateful views and actions. When Vance Waggoner is cast in BoJack’s drama “Philbert” after a hiatus due to Waggoner’s disgrace as a sexist, anti-Semantic and anti-Swede, Diane is asked by her boss to write a click bate Buzzfeed type article to call on the hypocrisy of his forgiveness, or as Diane puts it the public ‘act all shocked when one of their favourite stars turns out to be a dirtbag, but they can’t wait to give a comeback to all the dirtbags we already know about’. When Diane’s boss asks her to write about this, she responds ‘I know how this ends. Our core readership eats it up and a bunch of dude-bros call me a “dumb slunt,” and Vance’s career chugs, right along’. Diane acknowledges that no matter how terrible a man in power may have been, his forgiveness will always be granted with ease and at no cost to his integrity or career. When Princess Carolyn hires him on “Philbert”, Diane asks her to take responsibility, to think about what message it sends to men around the world, to which Princess Carolyn remarks that the industry “is screwed up”. BoJack manages to be shot on camera pulling a face when Vance is on stage receiving a forgiveness award and he is misconstrued as a male feminist, which he uses to further his popularity. BoJack states that ‘it turns out, the problem with feminism, all along, is it just wasn’t men doing it’. Diane then tries to teach BoJack about how the media can normalise good or bad things, using examples like how Ellen makes middle America less afraid of gay people as a positive media influence, or how Jack Bauer of the show 24 made torture normal in the early days of the War on Terror. BoJack does not understand her point and resorts to ‘sprinkling’ words like ‘intersectionality’ or ‘micro-aggressions’ and wearing a t-shirt that says, ‘feminism is bae’, and spouting phrases like ‘the future is female’, which sums up the negative aspects of contemporary feminist movements. Popular culture’s interpretation of feminism involves incorporating it as part of capitalist culture, making the social movement a product, for example, BoJack’s “feminism is bae” t-shirt that commoditises the social movement. Whilst wearing a feminist t-shirt in itself is quite harmless, that such t-shirts as ‘feminist AF’ are widely available today through large corporations like H&M or Topshop, for example, signify how social movements can be commodified into a product, another part of the spectacle of high capitalism, and empties the movement as meaningless. Marxist philosopher, Guy Debord, defines the society of the spectacle as a society ‘where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation’. In capitalist culture, all lived experience now only comes through representation, mainly the image, and this becomes the only way for us to communicate. Instead of lived social action, we can use the commodity of feminist t-shirts or social media hashtags, which are both mere representations, yet that has become the only action left. This notion is articulated through BoJack well, who can’t be bothered to be properly taught by Diane about feminism so opts for the representation, which works well for him in shallow Hollywoo that functions only through image and representation. Forgiveness is an award show whilst feminism is a popular topic used to sell t-shirts: authenticity has vanished in the spectacle.
But, BoJack Horseman attempts to shed light on this in an unflinching way. It exposes the inauthenticity directly by showing how a tv show might hire a female writer, not actually let her write anything, just so that her name in the credits can justify the sexism of the show. The series exposes how men in power are continually forgiven for the terrible things that they do and attempt to point the finger at the powerful industries that let it happen. Whilst it is often a bleak and existential show, the contemporary social commentary is often enlightening and offers solutions as well as exposes the problems. This is interesting as previously, the show itself has been called sexist for the use of the anti-hero character archetype and the way the audience sympathises with BoJack. BoJack is not a likeable character and, as previously articulated, does terrible things. The show doesn’t offer him forgiveness, but it does retell and normalise the same narrative that “shit men do shitty things and there is nothing we or they can do about it”. This is a damaging narrative as it lets men “off the hook” when they do bad things and allows them to blame their destructive behaviour on their mental health or their bad childhoods, whilst not encouraging them to change their ways. Season five, through the use of the “Filbert” narrative, actually questions the viewer on their relationship to BoJack, and asks the audience not to normalise his behaviour. In “BoJack the Feminist”, Bojack is doing an interview about the questionable morals of “Filbert”. When asked if the show is sexist, he states ‘when you take plot points out of context, they can seem unsavoury. But they’re all part of a larger attempt to deconstruct… toxic… masculinity’. The interviewer, a “Ryan Seacrest type”, answers ‘oh! Sounds glamourous!’ to which BoJack responds ‘No, we’re not glamorising it, that’s the thing. You’re not supposed to like John Philbert or agree with the things he does. It’s a TV show. It doesn’t glamorise anything. But… maybe it normalises it’. Here, BoJack is literally talking about “Philbert”, but, the audience is intended to recognise that BoJack Horseman is speaking to us, the viewer, about how BoJack Horseman may normalise toxic masculinity. Season five is self-reflective and, once again, not only points out the problems of the contemporary West but tries to offer solutions. Whilst previously the series was a TV show satirising the television industry, itself a kind of metafiction about the media industry yet being made and produced by Netflix, itself a major media corporation, now the series has moved onto further self-interrogation about what kind of narratives the show normalises, alongside exposing other narratives that populate popular culture. Thus, the series is self-reflective not only in the narrative world but reflective also about the industry that produces the show itself.
This self-reflectiveness is also shown in season five through the whiteboard in the director of Philbert, Flip McVicker’s, office. BoJack Horseman creators seem to pay particular attention to detail, even with seemingly mere background objects, like the whiteboard. However, the whiteboard serves as a crucial detail in understanding the world of BoJack Horseman. For instance, one of the ideas for episodes written on the board is: “magic realism: too girly”. This is comical as BoJack Horseman itself is, arguably, magic realism. Magic realism is difficult to define, but generally speaking, it is a genre in art, literature, film, theatre, etc., that, whilst is mainly a very realistic depiction of our world, contains some small magical elements to the story, but in a very matter-of-fact way.
Magic realism explained here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi6ObKtA57o
This is BoJack Horseman. It is a realistic depiction of LA and the story works to critique the modern West and its shallow industries but contains humanoid animals living amongst humans. Most of the time, the viewer questions how or why, and it seems mainly to serve as a comical purpose rather than providing social commentary. However, having a world of mixed humans and animals allows for creativity in such episodes as the near silent “Fish out of Water” episode in season three where BoJack is underwater for most of the episode and bonding with aquatic animals. It also provides a moment of comedy at the end of the creative but harrowing episode “Free Churro” in season five, which depicts only BoJack giving a eulogy at his mother’s funeral, only in the last moment to show a crowd of lizards and for BoJack to realise he is at the wrong funeral. So, other than comedy, the magic realism may not be for any particular deep meaning but to present some harrowing and real-world concepts within an absurd universe.
Another point on the whiteboard of Flip’s office is the name “Nietzsche”, which is circled, and the famous Friedrich Nietzsche quote written on the board: ‘if you gaze for long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you’.
This is Nietzsche’s most famous and most quoted words, taken from his book Beyond Good and Evil (1886). There is no definitive answer to what Nietzsche means by the abyss, it could mean existence, life, death or meaning. Nietzsche, a German philologist and analytic philosopher, is best known for existentialism and nihilism, which is intriguing as he never uses the word existential, and he warned against humanity’s path towards nihilism. Nihilism is: ‘a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless
Whilst Nietzsche himself was not a nihilist, he is, in a sense, a kind of forefather of nihilism. He famously proclaimed the death of God, indicating the end of widespread belief in God that coupled with the dawn of modernity. This he both lamented and celebrated; Nietzsche was strictly anti-Christian and saw Christian morality as an illness that is killing the West. He saw Christian morals as weakening because Christian morals celebrated submission and servitude. He believed the gap left by Christianity should be filled with art, literature, music and an active culture. He did not see this as an easy task, as he writes how life’s purpose up until the death of God had been dictated by a purpose which God fulfils. Once this is revealed to be nothing more than illusion and the realisation that we are mere animals with no meaning or purpose, individuals fall into despair. Nietzsche did believe in the nihilistic belief that life has no purpose but believed that individuals must interpret life in a way that is life promoting. He saw existence as extremely subjective, and the notion that there are objective moral truths as impossible. This leaves one with the freedom to draw their own moralistic lines and values. Nietzsche’s philosophy was one that championed aesthetic appreciation and culture. He also wrote extensively on the Higher Man or the Overman, who was the select few intended to read and follow his philosophy. The Higher Man was the smart and strong man who did not follow the ‘herd’ of society but followed his own moralistic code. He is to rule the rest of society, but, he cannot ‘maintain this perfection’, and ultimately will be overruled. However, Nietzsche’s disciples are to strive for perfect moments where they are the Overman and are able to overcome weaknesses and fears. This can only be achieved through great suffering: ‘only if the black snake is crawling down your throat can you bite its head off and laugh the laugh of the Overman’. Only in one’s darkest hours can one overcome his problems and triumph as an Overman. Nietzsche valued suffering and saw that society is wrong to pursue the goal of demolishing all suffering as the removal of suffering will remove creative genius:
‘What “makes life on earth worth living”, Nietzsche says in Beyond Good and Evil are things like “virtue, art, music, dance, reason, intellect — something that transfigures, something refined, fantastic, and divine”. But if these kinds of excellences of human achievement are not possible in a culture devoted to hedonistic satisfaction and obsessed with eliminating all forms of suffering (from the trivial to the serious), then we will have no response to Schopenhauer’s nihilism’.
Suffering produces art, which to Nietzsche is what makes life worth living. Art is the gap that fills the hole left by Christianity, but art and creative genius is not possible without suffering. Thus, while Nietzsche acknowledges nihilism and the possibility of pessimistic nihilism to swallow us whole, he provides an active approach to nihilism which is to find the art in suffering and to create meaning in one’s own life. Whilst some of the philosophy can be contradictory and controversial, some of it being used for Nazi ideology (which he was against), his philosophy has proved to be influential. He predicted the nihilistic postmodern condition, as Brian Leiter puts it: ‘Nietzsche here diagnoses capitalist modernity, which has Donald Trump as its current ruler, Twitter with its 24/7 “derision” as its appendage, and the world market that tells us what “happiness” really is and its price’. BoJack Horseman, too, echoes this emptiness of meaning, this nihilism where characters search for happiness through meaning in a meaningless world only to find a void or an abyss.
So, why do the creators of BoJack Horseman quote Nietzsche? Is it to indicate the nihilism which permeates throughout the series? I am not the first to point out the overwhelming existential nihilism present in series. In a video essay named The Philosophy of BoJack Horseman, the video argues that the setting of Hollywoo could be read as a metaphor for life itself, as ‘just like the façade of Hollywoo covers up the reality of an ugly, hollow industry the trappings of our daily lives cover up the meaninglessness of existence itself’. The very question of what to do with our meaningless lives is central to existential nihilism and philosophers have different positions on what to do. Essentially, there are two positions to take on nihilism: the position taken by Nietzsche, Søren Kierkegaard, Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, that one must make meaning in a meaningless world, or the position of Arthur Schopenhauer or Jean Baudrillard who reject the possibility of meaning in a meaningless world. Different characters in BoJack Horseman take such positions, for example, Mr Peanutbutter states explicitly that meaning is pointless, yet he also embraces the absurdity of life. His position is very similar to Camus, who defined the absurd as a confrontation between man’s desire for significance and the universe’s abstinence from giving man such meaning. However, Camus states we should accept the lack of inherent meaning in life and only through this can we make our own meaning. Mr Peanutbutter accepts the absurd and is often the happiest character because of it. Diane believes you can find meaning through positive actions, whilst BoJack attempts to find meaning in a meaningless world and refuses to embrace the absurdity of the universe. What is interesting is that BoJack’s philosophy is very similar to what Nietzsche predicted for the modern West:
‘what I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism… For some time now, our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: relentlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect’. — Nietzsche, Will to Power (1887/88)
BoJack is afraid to reflect and avoids doing so by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. He becomes depressed and near suicidal, and his fruitless attempts to grasp at a purpose in life often leaves him even more afloat. He suffers from existential nihilism in a similar way to his father: by a search for meaning through external validation. BoJack’s father spent his life writing a novel which was to be his masterpiece, his destiny. He spent his whole life writing this novel, only for no one to read it, and those who did thought it was terrible. BoJack, whilst more successful than his father, suffers that same need for external validation, for a destiny or a meaning in life.
This problem is discussed by Søren Kierkegaard who philosophises that people will always find disappointment by thinking their life could be better, or that they should be doing something else, no matter what they choose they will always believe the other option would be better. This is exactly what BoJack experiences, especially when he questions “what if this were different about me”, resulting in his perpetual disappointment with himself. He first looks to make himself relevant in Hollywoo again by publishing his memoir, which only forces him to look at his life and causes him to be depressed. He then is cast in the movie role of his dreams, “Secretariat”, which again, only causes him to be depressed. When he wins an Oscar, again, he expects happiness, only to be let down. And in the most recent season, he is cast in the lead role of a new television programme, and the character he is playing causes him to reflect on his own life, causing major drug and alcohol abuse. BoJack suffers the nihilism of the postmodern age and refuses to reflect. What is interesting is that it is pop culture that tries to force him to reflect, be it the memoir or “Philbert”, yet a major focus in the Philbert narrative is how pop culture acknowledges the bad things that powerful men do and defends bad men. BoJack Horseman is all about reflection and uses pop culture as a vehicle for both BoJack and the viewer to do so.
To conclude, BoJack Horseman is a postmodern show for a variety of reasons. It is a metafiction, it is reflective, it rejects grand narratives, it rejects objective morality and objective truths, it critiques capitalist society whilst acknowledging it is also a product of capitalist society, it is existential and experiments with narrative structure. Season five ends with BoJack going to rehab, and finally reflecting on his actions. He finally takes a positive action to change who he is and accepts that he can only be the person who carries out the actions that he carries out. If he goes on TV and says that strangling women is bad, as he does in “BoJack the Feminist”, that does not mean he is a feminist, especially if he then later strangles his girlfriend and co-star, which happens near the end of season five. Whether or not this is a happy ending for BoJack will be told with the next season, but what we can bank on is that the series will not opt for a neat narrative closure. We learn about all the character’s subjective experiences through a mixture of narrational experimentation, be it through the eyes of strangers or in memories from the past. BoJack will probably continue to be a flawed person, and I don’t believe the show will offer a full redemption. However, I am interested to see how his story will continue, for good or bad. BoJack Horseman, overall, warns against the nihilistic inability to accept the absurd and reflect on the self, or on society as a whole. The pessimism of the show will also rely on the actions of the postmodern West in the near future, so I certainly look forward to seeing BoJack Horseman’s reflection of the future!