Movies + TV, Pop Culture

I was shocked when Netflix’s “Bojack Horseman” helped me with my childhood trauma

The latest season does an incredible job of capturing the human condition.

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We had to wait a little longer than usual for it but this season proves to be well worth the wait.

Bojack often discusses heavy topics such as depression, loneliness, and substance abuse. I’ve never seen a show capture the woes of the human condition the way Bojack does. It makes me sad at times- but I cannot stop watching. There are so many great storylines, like Todd coming to terms with his asexuality and Princess Caroline’s struggles with trying to have a child. One theme is the clear focus of this season: family.

One theme is the clear focus of this season: family.

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We’ve seen Sarah Lynn’s mother crush her aspirations of being an architect and force her into show business. This set her on a cataclysmic path that ultimately led to an early death. In Bojack’s own words, “Family is a sinkhole, and you were right to get out when you had the chance.”

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When Hollyhock arrives suspecting Bojack to be her father, I was unimpressed by this familiar story line. A broken man who finally reforms when he has a daughter. It is overdone and unrealistic.

Luckily, the show proved me wrong.  Hollyhock is not a plot device to fix Bojack. Her arrival allows us to look at the Horseman family as a whole – starting with Bojack’s mother Beatrice.

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We learn through several flashbacks that parents really can ruin a child forever. This season, we see that Beatrice was not born cold and cruel. No one is. Sometimes it can feel like family is just a vicious cycle of parents passing their issues on to their offspring. This season perfectly illustrates that notion.

It certainly does not excuse her mistreatment of her son. Nevertheless, it was refreshing to finally see her as a full person and not just the monster Bojack remembers.

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Seeing Beatrice’s backstory really struck a chord with me. There was a time in my life when I blamed my family for all my problems. My parents were married for ten years before divorcing. Similiar to Bojack, I am fairly certain my parents only stayed together that long because of me. Their relationship was plagued by constant fighting and resentment till the bitter end. And a lot of that anger was flung in my direction. Just like we learn in this new season, my grandparents kind of played a big part in messing up my parents too. My paternal grandparents were not big fans of my maternal grandparents and did not approve of my parents getting together.

I can trace a lot of my own issues back to things from my childhood, as I’m sure many of you can. It seems like family is nothing more than a vicious cycle of people passing on their problems to their offspring.

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Even though I have tried to let the trauma go, I still resent my parents for things they did during my childhood. I think we all reach a certain point in our lives when we realize that our parents aren’t complete heroes or villain. They are only human and they do the best with what they have.

Bojack reaches this point when Beatrice finally recognizes him. Instead of cursing out his mother when she’s finally sober enough to be coherent, he comforts her. This speaks a lot about his development and the capacity for forgiveness that we all have inside of us. All of Bojack’s past resentment is not worth storing inside anymore. He realizes his mom is only human. Well, a horseman.

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This is a rare moment of maturity for Bojack.

This season proves that even though families situations are difficult, we can grow to be better people despite our trauma. The past does not have to poison the future and we can always learn from our parent’s mistakes.

Yasmin Sara

Yasmin Sara

Yasmin Sara Merchant is an NYC based writer and journalist with a BA in International Political Economy and Communications from Fordham University. She currently works as a News Production Assistant for CBS Radio and a contributing writer for ScreenRant. You can follow her terrible sense of humor at batglare.com.

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