BoJack Horseman is easily in the top tier of the greatest animated TV shows ever created; in fact, it is in the elite tiers for TV as a whole. The show’s approach to relationships, mental health, life, and every heavy-hitting topic there could be was refreshingly well-done and raw.
The show’s intelligence and production level was truly lightning in a bottle. The final season swung hard, and it bashed the hearts of its audience into tiny, bite-sized pieces. How so? With some more existential crisis-creating lessons. Heavy spoilers ahead.
10 Important People Can Come Into Your Life, But Don’t Have To Stay
Throughout BoJack’s storyline, he continually comes across people who he wishes would stay in his life but never do; they add to BoJack’s desire for stability. In terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, BoJack fails at maintaining healthy relationships; whether they be romantic, familial, with coworkers, or with friends. Eddie (the dragonfly) in Season 4 was one example of a person.
In BoJack Horseman‘s final season, this would be the case with none other than Diane Nguyen. Diane was responsible for BoJack’s re-catapulting into the public spotlight, and likewise, BoJack was a critical influence on Diane’s life and how she functioned. As the writers of the show revealed, the f-bomb was only used once per season, in moments where BoJack ruined a relationship. It was so suiting for Diane’s farewell to instead be “thank you.” Important people can come and go, but they don’t have to leave under bad circumstances.
9 People Can Change For The Better Or The Worse
People are a product of their decisions throughout life. BoJack constantly fails, and fails hard, throughout the first few seasons of the show. Occasionally there are glimmers of good, even noble choices made, but he always taints them with much worse bad choices and expects forgiveness on account of his previous good actions.
Finally, BoJack began to make a positive change for the best, genuine and not to be accepted by others, but by himself. The final episodes of the show throw that acceptance into complete turbulence, but the show never forgets that BoJack can change, if he tries.
8 Someone’s Bad Background Is Not The Only Reason For Their Bad Behavior
As Todd pointed out to BoJack, “It’s you.” BoJack’s tough and traumatizing background, while understandable, does not give him a free pass to do bad things. He always fails to learn the lesson. Princess Carolyn had a troubled past. As did Diane. Even Todd.
But though all of them come to terms with their situations and occasionally, it can affect them, they try to not take that trauma out on the people closest to them, unlike BoJack. BoJack constantly projects, deflects and uses his past as reasoning for why he is the way he is instead of accepting it.
7 Friendships Evolve, And That’s OK
BoJack Horseman, like Breaking Bad, made change and evolution a major part of its formula. Another perfect show with Aaron Paul…What is this, a crossover episode? At any rate, Todd and BoJack’s relationship crumbled relatively early in the show’s run, but it slowly knitted itself back into a sort of respectful acquaintance-ship.
The most notable sign of this change was when Todd refused to let BoJack into his home for a party, as he feared BoJack could start trouble. The early season version of Todd likely would have let BoJack inside nonchalantly. But the matured Todd recognizes his friend’s faults can affect him. Todd, being a nice guy, still welcomes BoJack’s company with a few new ground rules.
6 You Never Really Stop Loving Someone Once You Start
Princess Carolyn dated BoJack many years ago, but that relationship simply would not have worked. And while Princess Carolyn tells BoJack at her wedding to Judah that she will always love BoJack, she means in terms of caring for him, not passion.
They shared many experiences together as a couple that were their moments, and those moments can be cherished. The love that was felt in those moments will always have existed at that moment and will be remembered fondly, but while that, and the person connotated with it, can always be loved, the present is not the past.
5 You Can Be Selfish With Happiness, But Not Harmful
At many points in the show, BoJack feels he has “earned” happiness due to his sad life. He uses this philosophy to crush the people around him because he feels he is justified in the pursuit of happiness to look out for himself primarily. And while there is some truth to the need to be a little selfish, BoJack warps the idea and takes it to the extreme.
In his need to go on an apology tour to bring himself closure, he breaks into Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter’s home, he annoys Princess Carolyn, he triggers Penny, and he ends up getting Sarah Lynn killed after breaking her sobriety. In the final season, BoJack realizes that his destructive hunt for happiness hurt the people around him, and if anything, it affected him when they would counter. He is more accepting of other people’s decisions and does not try to force “the same old” or force change.
4 Familial Blood Does Not Have To Necessitate A Relationship
In the final season of Bojack Horseman, two characters related to Bojack stand out in particular: Butterscotch and Hollyhock. Even in (near) death, BoJack sees his father more as Secretariat instead of as his actual dad. His idol meant more to him and was a better father figure than his deadbeat father. But just as BoJack chose to not view his father fully as his “father figure”, Hollyhock also decided to sever ties with BoJack despite being half-siblings.
She had been patient with him as much as anyone could be, and by no means was she obligated to keep Bojack around. On top of that, Todd’s strained relationship with his mother at long has some form of closure, thanks to esteemed character actress Margo Martindale! The fixing of their relationship was due more to them both deciding to come together out of choice rather than their blood.
3 Don’t Excuse Toxic Behavior
Princess Carolyn is one of the show’s best character. Her Achilles’ heel was her hero complex, which was admirable, but problematic, and it especially did not age well with her constant clean up and covering of BoJack. In the final season, Princess Carolyn manages to save Bojack’s image from being tarnished by setting him up with a nice interview; but, against her wishes, BoJack almost immediately does a follow-up interview and fails spectacularly.
It does finally wakeup Princess Carolyn to the futility of trying to cover for someone as toxic as BoJack. thus, in her final scene with BoJack, she decides to pass the torch of being an agent to someone else, relieving herself of the burden.
2 Being Happy Takes Work, But It Always Pays Off
Mr. Peanutbutter was a mess throughout BoJack’s run. He consistently seemed to just be given “happiness” on a silver platter and was very successful in life, and could pick up relationships in seconds, but despite his intensely happy persona, he was never quite satiated or fulfilled.
And in the final few seasons, Mr. Peanutbutter came to recognize his default mode for charisma and his drive in life would lead him to take the safe and comfortable routes, the first things that would come along. And he would remain content, but never fully happy. But genuine happiness and fulfillment takes more searching and self-awareness.
1 Life Has No Guarantee Of Stability; Neither Does Death
In “The View From Halfway Down”, BoJack meets the people that were killed off in the show, as he himself approaches death. As he is dying, he realizes that while his life was messy, he at least had some sense of control, something BoJack craves. Death did not grant that, and it was represented as a black abyss.
If anything, BoJack was already imagining he was in an abyss in life, but seeing the darkness made him realize the permanent loss of control was what scared him most.
NEXT: BoJack Horseman: 10 Best Moments From The Final Episodes