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Thread: BoJack Horseman: Because Everything Ends

  1. #1
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here

    BoJack Horseman: Because Everything Ends

    There's this theory in psychology called the Hedonic Treadmill. In broadly simplified terms, it says that all of us exist at a base level of happiness: regardless of how many good or bad things happen to us, our dispositions tend to regress towards this baseline given enough time. So it doesn't matter how much fortune or fame or friends you have, or how little: at some point you'll habituate to your circumstances and settle back towards your earlier levels of happiness, at which point you need something more to be happier.

    Which means, depending on how you look at it, we're all either fucked or blessed regardless of what happens to us.

    The reality is as always more complicated than that. But returning to your wellbeing baseline(s) seems to be an inherent human trait.

    I've spoken about BoJack before, and yes, it's an animated show that features talking animal people. When you go beyond that, though, it's about being an asshole, about being self-aware and still being an asshole, about depression, about resenting mental abuse in your formative years, about taking your support systems for granted; but it's also about friends who're there for you anyway, about trying to make the journey towards being a better person, about knowing there are some things you can't make amends for, about trying to accept who you are. And yes, that is self-contradictory, but it also makes perfect sense. Because despite yourself, no matter what happens, you return to your baseline.

    In reality, it's a show about escaping that treadmill. Not just through BoJack and his issues, but through many of its characters who also have their own problems. And for a show about such dark existential things, its true masterstroke isn't just that it's a quirky animated cartoon: it's risky, creative, and also really, really funny.

    And that humour is important, because it's smart, it lampoons current-day issues, and makes you feel for these silly, weirdly relatable people on this show. Because after you've laughed with them, and at them, and through them, it will break your fucking heart.

    And then, you return to your baseline.

    I know The Wire's the best show ever made. I also know that Deadwood's the best show ever made. I know. But there's also this. I don't know how an animated serial about animal people ended up being one of the most precisely observed, character-driven, human shows I've ever seen, but it's managed to be so much more than a set of animal gags (of which there are so many, you guys). I've only watched the first few episodes of its final season, and it's already poised to be a complex yet powerful send-off for these characters. I don't know if it'll answer the question of how to make BoJack or the people in his orbit happier with themselves, but I know it'll try its damndest. And once it's done, I don't know what show's ever going to replace it. Perhaps nothing will. And perhaps - that's okay.

    Perhaps the treadmill doesn't actually matter, and you find your own happiness, I think, one day at a time.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 26th Oct 2019 at 05:00.

  2. #2
    Administrator
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Athens of the North
    The show is something special. I did watch the first few episodes a few years ago but then pretty much put it on hold until earlier this year. For some reason the early episodes didn't really grab me but when I went back to it I was pretty much hooked until the end of season 5. The character development, realisation and psychology is where the show really shines and I was captivated by a poignant episode where the main character essentially monologues for its entirety.

    I didn't realise that the latest season was out - I guess that's my viewing sorted for the next few days

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: OldDark Detox Clinic
    You got that joke right? That was funny right?

    Maybe don't always ask people if they got the joke....

    If I don't ask, how will I know if they got the joke?

    Umm.......they'll....laugh??

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Haven't seen the show yet, but I saw a video last month where a dude (Mother's Basement) was making an argument against binge watching and BoJack Horseman was the example he based it on, particularly one episode based on a funeral speech. I wonder if there's some truth to that and the show's content really suffers from watching it in one go instead of spacing it out to give some time in order to ponder each episode. Cause binge watching is the primary mode I consume my TV shows now.

  5. #5
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Al: yeah, it is. This season's split in half though. The first half is out now, and the second part's due at the end of Jan.

    Starker: honestly? I binge it every time it's out, or do something close to bingeing it. It may not be strictly healthy, but it's definitely possible. I did have to take a break after that episode though (which is also the one Al mentioned), and get back to it the next day. Some of the smaller moments and social critique do tend to lose importance in the contrast to the bigger ones, but really the question bingeing poses depends on how one consumes media. If you have the temperament to pay attention to strokes broad and narrow, a show's messages aren't lost on you. And that depends on whether the bingeing is more a function of stimulating yourself for [x] period of time than bingeing to experience what the show has to say.

    But anyway, if you do start watching it: the first season's first half is a bit of a slog, as Al noticed, but it finds its stride immediately after and doesn't stop.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 26th Oct 2019 at 09:30.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Absolutely adore this show, despite how down it's made me feel at times. Looking forward to digging into the final season.

    As for what replaces it, Bob-Waksberg's new show Undone on amazon is also excellent. It's the first fully rotoscoped show.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2009
    Location: thiefgold.com
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    There's this theory in psychology called the Hedonic Treadmill. In broadly simplified terms, it says that all of us exist at a base level of happiness: regardless of how many good or bad things happen to us, our dispositions tend to regress towards this baseline given enough time. So it doesn't matter how much fortune or fame or friends you have, or how little: at some point you'll habituate to your circumstances and settle back towards your earlier levels of happiness, at which point you need something more to be happier.

    Which means, depending on how you look at it, we're all either fucked or blessed regardless of what happens to us.

    The reality is as always more complicated than that. But returning to your wellbeing baseline(s) seems to be an inherent human trait.

    I haven't watched the show, but this is a good topic you brought up. I've come to realize with age that for me the ultimate happiness and contentment lies in the absence of major stress factors. I'd rather lead a boring but safe and tranquil life, than an exciting yet stressful one.

    I currently have a few major stressors in my life, whose absence I'm sure would lead to pure solace. I've had long getaways/vacations where I was completely free of tension, and the only negative aspect was periodic boredom. That's an acceptable tradeoff as it is very easily fixed

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: May 1999
    That baseline happiness becomes your comfort home and rooted foundation, because there’s also an opposing ceiling of personal growth that is derived from all this “inspiration”. My humblest apologies for continuing down this path, and perhaps it needs to be a topic of its own, but constantly searching for more and more enlightenment through consumption is going to start bringing diminishing returns at an exponential rate. You are already inspired. You’ve already figured yourself out. You’ve already done the homework. You already know the artistic cues and flourishes that maximize your emotional responses. You are as smart and self-aware as you’re likely going to get, and you know how the world works to the best of your cognitive capacity. You’ve hit the highest highs you’re ever going to hit in your search for them, and all you’re doing is sifting through scraps upon scraps in the vain hope to find that little bit more (and you might). But you don’t need it; at this point you just want it.

    And so I’ve come to criticize this culture, ultra-hypocrite that I am. What are you consuming, what are you hoping to consume, what haven’t you consumed yet, what is your consumption backlog… you’re going to do this until you die. But that’s okay, because everything does end, and that’s all it does. And you enjoyed yourself.

  9. #9
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    The reality is as always more complicated than that. But returning to your wellbeing baseline(s) seems to be an inherent human trait.
    Thanks for the link, that was interesting! Not sure if I've heard about the "hedonic threadmill" before, but it does line up with my own conception of happiness.

    I've seen a few episodes of Bojack here and there but it's never really grabbed me. Should probably give it another go. Do I need to start from the beginning or can I start from season 2? A lot of comedy series take a while to find their voice and get good, after all.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I've been meaning to thank you, Sulphur. Your posts on BoJack persuaded my wife and I to watch BoJack Horseman and we're very grateful. We love it. She's a bit of a self-loathing introverted animal lover with a degree in psychology, so... yeah. In fact, several times over the last couple of years she's asked me if I had thanked you yet.

    Netflix kept suggesting it to us. For something that looks pretty campy at a glance, though, we needed some assurance it'd be worth our time, so we lazily glanced at Metacritic... where the first season was poorly reviewed, so we kind of dismissed it. D'oh!

    I'm really thankful Sulphur wrote about it as he did, because it was a huge mistake to dismiss this show and it's become one of our favorites.

  11. #11
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.
    Years ago I popped into Netflix, wondering what could grab my attention for more than a nano second. The splash screen showed the preview image of the first season of a new animated show; the main character was an anthropomorphized horse that once had a sitcom in the 90s, and now was a depressed, alcoholic self-loathing asshole.

    I was hooked from day 1.


    'Free Churro'......yeah.......yeah.




    Jesus.

  12. #12
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Quote Originally Posted by Twist View Post
    I've been meaning to thank you, Sulphur. Your posts on BoJack persuaded my wife and I to watch BoJack Horseman and we're very grateful. We love it. She's a bit of a self-loathing introverted animal lover with a degree in psychology, so... yeah. In fact, several times over the last couple of years she's asked me if I had thanked you yet.

    Netflix kept suggesting it to us. For something that looks pretty campy at a glance, though, we needed some assurance it'd be worth our time, so we lazily glanced at Metacritic... where the first season was poorly reviewed, so we kind of dismissed it. D'oh!

    I'm really thankful Sulphur wrote about it as he did, because it was a huge mistake to dismiss this show and it's become one of our favorites.
    Consider me thanked, Twist! I'm really glad you guys found your way to it. I ramble on about it because I think it's one the few stories that tends to be quietly meaningful; and, despite the the places it goes to, it's ultimately a hopeful show.

    henke: you could start from the last half of S1 and not lose out on much, I think. Episode 6 is a good starting point, plus it also has a specific bit of hijinx that changes the landscape (literally).

    Abysmal: it doesn't matter what I think. If that's what you believe and if it legitimately gives you some solace, then who am I to tell you differently? But, if it's a security blanket laying on top of things you really need to process, then perhaps you lose nothing in trying to see if there's a different way to go. In any event, FWIW: I don't believe the answers really lie in our perpetual consumption of media - that's part of the point.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 31st Oct 2019 at 06:09.

  13. #13
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.
    <3

  14. #14
    SShock2.com
    Member

    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: The land of ever sideways rain
    Quote Originally Posted by henke View Post
    I've seen a few episodes of Bojack here and there but it's never really grabbed me. Should probably give it another go.
    That's what I'm thinking right now. I saw pretty much all of season 1, half of 2, but I didn't quite get into it. Did I miss something important? Perhaps I should give it another go as well.

    About the baseline thingy: I may have misunderstood the concept, but from personal experience, it does not seem to uniformly apply to me. Sure, when things are stable, perhaps it does. But my baseline has shifted vastly at least twice over the last 12 years, to the point where it is now tricky to even call it a baseline anymore.

    Clearly, when I was watching BoJack, I must not have been paying enough attention, I was mainly annoyed by what an asshole the main character is, and didn't see deeper psychology of it. I might give it another go. Unless this is really a big massive joke and it's just a show about a talking cartoon horse-man. I'll caveat with my standard "I'm pretty thick nowadays and clever details may elude me". But I'll give it another go.

  15. #15
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Quote Originally Posted by Gray View Post
    About the baseline thingy: I may have misunderstood the concept, but from personal experience, it does not seem to uniformly apply to me. Sure, when things are stable, perhaps it does. But my baseline has shifted vastly at least twice over the last 12 years, to the point where it is now tricky to even call it a baseline anymore.
    There are things that can affect it over the long term - point 5 in the link, for instance, posits that different people adapt differently, and an event like marriage may cause a shift if it's a great enough net positive. Keep in mind it's a generalised theory for a specific thing, and there are individual differences to consider too. Like I said, reality tends to be more complicated.

    As for the show, it's definitely about a talking horse-man. That's the schtick. If season 2 didn't work for you, then it might be possible it's just not in the set of things you enjoy, and that's fine. It only really started to slide into place for me with the first episode of S2, when BoJack's mom tells him she read his book and what he thinks of her. The entirety of what she says, the entire 'you were born broken' speech, comes from a place of ambiguity: is it resentment masquerading as an apology? is it a twisted but ultimately accurate interpretation of his psyche? is she projecting her own brokenness? is it a complex mix of all of that? That's what made me sit up and pay attention. In my experience, no one can hurt you as much as the people who know you inside out, and those people tend to be family. It's something that rings with emotional truth, which is what the show really brings out as it goes on.

  16. #16
    SShock2.com
    Member

    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: The land of ever sideways rain
    Hmm, interesting. Yeah, I'll give it another go, if nothing else but to prove myself wrong. I love it when I'm wrong.

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