With fiction that we later go on to remember, a little bit of ourselves is reflected in the character we see on the screen, play in game, hear about in a song or read up on in some literature. Like any person through the years, I’ve seen aspects of myself in figures ranging from Batman on one end of the spectrum to Michael Scott on the other side.
But one character rises above all those, in an anthropomorphic horse who serves as the lead on a dramatic Netflix cartoon, I see more of myself reflected than is comfortable.
No, I do not share a similar career to that of Mr. Horseman and no, I never would side with myself over a friend who was facing dismissal from work because of their sexual orientation, but in a lot of ways, he is the kindred animated spirit I didn’t know I had.
Like Bojack, I have strong doubt about my own supposed goodness. Is it plausible that in a moment of immense personal misfortune I too could find myself begging someone I know to re-assure me of my own positive qualities? Sad to say I think so, it hasn’t happened yet.
In addition, I too know what its like to go through the experience of unrequited feelings for someone as an adult. In one early episode of the show, the character said the following about Diane Nguyen, the Vietnamese American assigned to help write his autobiography…
“Oh, come on! I mean, am I attracted to her? Sure. Do my days feel better when I’m around her? Yeah. Does she get me in ways no woman ever has? Indubitably. Do I fantasize about her? Yes, but only in two positions. Look, am I the kind of guy who would try to steal someone else’s girlfriend? Sure, of course, but do I like her? The answer’s no. You have nothing to worry about.”
I won’t get into the details here, but that is disturbingly similar to a conversation I had with a heavily intoxicated peer in recent years. He had been dating someone I pined for, but alas, things didn’t work out. Such is life I suppose, like the character I resolved the problem by filling my daily routine with pointless nonsense and wacky misadventures.
Is there more? Yep. I mean, I could go on and discuss our similar feelings about family and sometimes poor treatment of friends (I too have had a Todd Chavez or Mr. Peanutbutter or two in my life whose kindness I haven’t always appreciated.), but no one needs to get that personal at 3 A.M. on a Sunday. It’s not good for you, me, or anyone else.
Fact is, the character and I share a lot of curious commonalities and sad similarity. Whether you want to believe it or not, we both struggle, enjoy the occasional bit of success and yearn for a greater stability and prosperity in our daily routine and yearly lives.
Maybe that’s why the show is my favorite?