Bojack Horseman, Mental Health, and Working on Yourself

Today, Netflix released the trailer for the second installment of the final season of Bojack Horseman.

This makes me immensely sad, as Bojack Horseman has a special place in my heart and is among my personal pantheon of great television shows. A few years ago, if you had told me that one of my favorite shows involved an animated show about a half horse, half man who struggles with anxiety and self-image, I would have called you a lunatic. But this was a show that was different. It came along at the perfect time, as mental health was just beginning to be de-stigmatized in the cultural zeitgeist.

For the better part of a decade, I have struggled with mental health issues, specifically depression. I was turned onto this show during the midst of one of the darkest periods of my life, a time when I felt alone, unsure of myself, and scared. One reason for mental health issues going unaddressed is that people who suffer from them often feel afraid to speak out about them, partly because of a fear of ridicule, and partly because we feel alone in our battle. And, when we ultimately gather the courage to talk about it with others, it is so hard to verbalize exactly what we are going through. How do you describe the feeling of being depressed to somebody who doesn’t know what it’s like to have a shadow hulking over you every day, all the time, weighing you down? It’s almost like the idea of running with a parachute on your back – you might be pushing as hard as you can, but everything is slogged down and slow – as if you’re immersed in quicksand. This was what I felt during the worst stretch of my life.

Then, I was introduced to this show. The way that they elegantly described exactly how I felt was shocking to me, and such an enormous relief. To log on and see millions of people who felt the same as I did and how they related to the show was unimaginably touching and comforting. Yes, I have my support system, I have wonderful parents, two incredible sisters, and a bunch of friends who would and have supported me the whole way. Yet this was something I had never seen, a group of people who got me and what I was going through. For the first time in years, despite the rash of people around me who love me, I didn’t feel alone. In fact, I had felt the exact feeling that I had dreaded for so many years: I felt seen.

In season 4, there’s an episode called “Stupid Piece of Sh*t” that features Bojack’s inner monologue throughout the course of his days. It’s essentially 30 minutes of him berating himself, saying he won’t do a stupid thing, doing stupid things, then berating himself for them, and the cycle begins anew. This is the most picture perfect projection of how people with depression often go about their days. Saying they’re screwing everything up, yelling at themselves, and ultimately falling deeper into their hole because of it, which leads to more self-hatred as the hole gets deeper. Basically, spending every day calling themselves a…well…Stupid Piece of Sh*t. I’ve never related to any piece of tv, media, movie, etc. more than this. It was hard to watch, knowing that this is how I lived my life every day. it’s an exhausting watch, and that’s exactly how it felt to live this day after day–exhausting.


There’s a wonderful Bo Burnham song (he’s my favorite comedian, I really have an existential dread and irony problem) where he rips on people for finding motivation in listening to songs like “Roar” by Katie Perry (naturally the song is called “Kill Yourself”). It’s wonderful.

And, in the first installment of this final season, Bojack alluded to this same idea in a bit of a third-wall breaking moment. While I agree with that sentiment to a degree, I did not seek help because of Bojack (as per Bo’s instructions), rather I took away some lessons from this show that I hadn’t been comfortable with confronting up to that point.

Bojack is endlessly trying to be better, and for the vast majority of the show, he seems to be doing it in earnest. He wants to be a better man (horse?) but every time he tries, he seems to get in his own way. Three steps forward, four steps back. Oh, how we all know that feeling. There is no perfect version of you, there is always an improvement to be made, and at the end of the day that honest effort is the best you can do sometimes. Even the bad things that we do can come from a good place. The world keeps spinning, and you are not the end-all-be-all of existence. Depressing thought, sure, but also a good reminder that this is never the end and you can bounce back.

After I had hit rock bottom, I saw a therapist, made an appointment with a psychiatrist, got medicated and talked my way out of my funk. It’s taken a lot of hard work and perseverance, and while I understand that I may never be fully “normal” and am likely to go through these depressive spells for the rest of my life, I also know that it’s gotten better. I am miles ahead of where I once was, and for that I am eternally proud of myself. Nobody will ever take that away from me. For years now, every day has gotten just a little bit better. The weight is slowly being lifted, if not pound-by-pound then ounce-by-ounce. I can breathe freely again. I still have my slip-ups and bad days, but they are far and few between at this point in my life, and if that’s as good as it’s going to get, I’m damn happy with that.

Happiness is not a myth, but perfection is. It is human nature to never be truly happy. We always strive for more, for better, and rarely is it enough. Being happy does not mean being perfect, it is accepting who you are and that you ARE enough, even though you might not see it that way. It’s taken me years to see that, and it’s taken some people longer. We see people splattered over media who are seemingly perfect, and with Bojack, we finally have an imperfect character who can relate to us. He’s the perfect anti-hero, because he’s the anti-hero of his own story and his own life. And this is how people who suffer from mental illness often feel.

I’m far from saying this silly show saved my life. But it has provided me such immeasurable comfort in knowing my struggle is not alone. That I am not the only one who had to wake up and hate themselves, or the only one who puts on a mask to prevent the world from seeing what’s really there–or at least, my perception of it. This show has been a beautiful reminder of that. You are not alone. If you need help, get it. It has taken Bojack Horseman 6 seasons to finally begin to accept himself for who he is, it has taken me almost 7 years to accept myself and to love myself. It is the most freeing, beautiful feeling in the world to do so. I was scared to work on myself, to look in the mirror and confront my demons. It took years of therapy and work to get to where I am now, but I can say in all honesty it has worked, and been the most rewarding feeling of my life.

As the Horsin’ Around theme song says, “We were lost, and now we’re found, and we’re…Horsin’ Around”. I was lost, scared, and isolated. I had no idea who I was and couldn’t have listed anything I liked about myself. After all these years, I found myself. So goodbye, Bojack, and thank you. From the bottom of my heart, you’ve been with me for years and I owe you for the lessons you taught me. It feels fitting to close with this quote from Season 2, where a baboon comes across an exhausted Bojack, who has just tried to take up running. “It gets easier. Every day, it gets a little easier. But you gotta do it every day – that’s the hard part. But it does get easier.”

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Bojack forever.

New Stranger Things Season 3 Clip Teases Summer In Hawkins

Now that Game of Thrones is out of my life, I need something to fill that void. Thankfully, Stranger Things 3 premieres on Netflix in July. I truly have no idea as to where this season is going to go in terms of storyline. There are only so many times the kids can face the Upside Down and win. At some point, they need to lose. However, I want to take this time to express my displeasure with the release date of Stranger Things 3, July 4.

Why?

July 4 falls on a Thursday this July, which means it will be a four-day weekend for most people. Unless the weather is dogshit, I will be outside on July 4 at a BBQ or the beach. When am I going to have time to watch an episode? Then, you have to factor in that I might be away for the holiday weekend so I could potentially be out of commission until Sunday. So that means there’s a chance I may not be able to watch Stranger Things 3 until Sunday afternoon, which would be roughly 84 or so hours after it premieres on Netflix. How will I avoid spoilers for that long? Will I have to throw my phone into the ocean? Should I delete the Internet and Instagram from my phone? Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

See you in July when I have to make a life or death decision.

I Could Watch Arya Practice Her Knife Switch All Day

I have watched that clip 100x and I’m completely mesmerized. The execution of the move is perfect. I’d even argue that this flip is more impressive than Arya’s dagger switch on the Night King. That was more of a drop than a flip. This maneuver against Brienne had her dagger flipping like a football on the opening kickoff.

Team Arya for life. Say what you want about the episode, and you can read my thoughts here, Arya will always be the badass on Game of Thrones. That will never change.

‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Bends The Knee To 19-Time Champion, James Holzhauer

Bend the knee or die in Final Jeopardy! to James Holzhauer.

https://twitter.com/Anto4799/status/1123376142935842817

Another day, another victory for Big Jimmy. This time, he even made one of his opponents bend the knee! Poor Libby. She was probably so excited to be on Jeopardy! I’m sure she had hopes of going into Final Jeopardy! with a fighting chance before the game started. Then, James “The Night King” Holzhauer said “Not so fast Arya. I’m not dying tonight.”

I’m glad to see James was back on his game after narrowly escaping with a win last night. Do you think he was nervous?

After tonight’s win, James’s 19-day total is $1,426,330. The quest to dethrone Ken Jennings is still alive. Ken won 74 games in a row for a total of $2,520,700. I’m not sure if James can win that many games in a row, but the money total is well within reach. I hope James does it so we can get a dream matchup between Ken vs. James for the true Jeopardy! championship. That matchup would be more must-see than The Battle at Winterfell. Here’s to James ruining more games of Jeopardy!!

Video: James Holzhauer Destroyed Another Game Show Before ‘Jeopardy!’

Last week, I called James Holzhauer the smartest man in the world after he demolished the single game record on Jeopardy! with $110,914. It turns out that Jeopardy! is not the only game show that James dominated. Back in 2014, James was on a show called The Chase. If you thought this man was just a fluke, think again.

When you get 12 correct answers within 1 minute.

Me when James answers a question about Egyptian politics.

I can’t get enough of this man. Everything he does is electric. What baffles my mind is that this guy is not a villain. He’s cocky, says things like the “window maximum” instead of the Daily Double, and blows on his fingers after a hard day’s work and yet I LOVE him. I should hate this guy, but I can’t get enough of him. Inject James answering questions about 20th century literature into my veins.

It was also great to see Brooke Burns again on a game show. Dog Eat Dog was such a classic mid 2000s game show and yet I still have no idea the show’s presence. Go to training camp, answer questions, and then vote for people to do physical tasks? If I wanted that premise, I would just watch CT on The Challenge.

This Is Us Season 3 Episode 18 Recap: Her

Before I dive into the Season 3 finale, does anyone find it concerning that This Is Us has not been renewed for a fourth season? There’s no chance they cancel the show, but it is a little alarming that the show has not be renewed. I’m not worried yet, but let’s keep a tab on this until the Season 4 renewal is official.

This Is Us Season 3, Episode 18 Recap: “Her”

Sterling K. Brown in This Is Us / Photo Credit: NBC Universal

– Beth and Randall are together again at last. Beth and Randall have had their ups and downs, but just like a lot of couples, love conquers all. In the end, Randall offered to resign from his political position, but Beth elected for the family to move to Philly instead so she could run her own dance studio while Randall serves as a councilman. As we saw in the future, the dance studio was a hit and Randall and Beth were still happily married. My prediction for their relationship was a temporary separation and then a reunion. I never thought they would get divorced. I’m giving myself a 3/4 stars for that prediction.

– Deja, hell of a speech, kid. The correlation she made between winning the lottery and Randall’s life was so accurate. It was my favorite scene of the finale. The back half of this third season barely included Randall’s children, but when it came time to step up, Deja shined.

– I like Zoe, but once she told Kevin that she didn’t want to have kids, it was a wrap on their relationship. Kevin wants to be like his father and become the best dad ever. It turns out that Kevin does become a father as we find out in the flash forward that he has a son. Rebecca is also stationed in Kevin’s new house with Nicky by her side, not Miguel. Side note, I hope Miguel doesn’t die. He’s been through too much. Let’s give him a break.

Back to business. I don’t have any theories as to why Nicky was there, but it’s clear that he has turned his life around. However, I do have a prediction for Kevin. Kevin ends up with Sophie and they have children together. When Rebecca gets sick, Kevin takes her in to look after her. Oh by the way, what is Sophie’s occupation? A nurse. Sophie can care for Rebecca at the home. I’m taking this prediction to the bank.

– It’s time to talk about my Kate prediction. I was wrong. It looks as if Kate nor Jack are dead. A major character died in every season (William in S1, Jack in S2) so I followed the pattern. Health problems regarding the pregnancy and a heart condition led me to believe that Kate or the baby would die in childbirth. Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. You win some, you lose some.

– However, there is a major riff between Kate and Toby in the future. In the flash forward, Toby begrudgingly comes to Kevin’s house and says that he spoke to Jack about coming over. We don’t see Kate, but she is supposed to be on the way over with Jack. It’s possible that Toby and Kate are divorced at this point. Maybe Jack is sick and that caused a riff between Kate and Toby’s marriage.

– Cryptic Dan Fogelman quote about the Season 4 timeline. 

“There is a moment in the show where, in a weird way, the present becomes the past and the future becomes the present,” said Fogelman. “That sounds really high-level. It doesn’t always have to be, like, in the deep, deep future, but we can play with time in a really interesting way that really tells the full story of a family. It’s always been our plan from the beginning. I think people aren’t going to quite realize what we’re going to try and do in the next couple of seasons of the show.”

– I tweeted this a few minutes into last night’s finale.

– This prediction may come true. Last night’s episode was all about “her,” which we know is Rebecca. The show gave off so many clues in the past to predict a future where Rebecca was sick. Rebecca’s time in the hospital foreshadows the flash forward scene. In the past, the kids are all scared when Rebecca is in the hospital after a car crash. Each member of the Big Three make wild assumptions about her health, saying that she could have brain damage or even die. The Big Three can’t live without Rebecca CC: Jack’s corn sandwiches. Rebecca is the engine of the family. Without her, the family doesn’t run properly. Kate found this out in the present when she realized that Rebecca would be the best thing for her son’s development. Rebecca has always been there for Kate, and Kate has finally realized that her mother only had her best interest at heart.

Back to the tweet. Does Rebecca have Alzheimer’s? It’s a good guess because Randall has to introduce himself as “her son,” which leaves a confused look on the face of Rebecca. Whatever it is, Rebecca is dying.

– This finale felt like a passing of the torch. For the first 2.5 seasons, the true heartbeat of This Is Us was Jack. The show revolved around Jack’s death and how the Big Three and Rebecca lived before and after his death. With “Her,” the show is shifting to the matriarch of the family, Rebecca. Now, we know what’s at the end of the show for Rebecca, which involves her death bed. It’s time to build up to that point and tell Rebecca’s story. I don’t know how I feel about this change because Jack’s story was far more interesting that Rebecca’s, but I’m positive that the writers have twists and turns for Rebecca’s character arc so I’ll be patient before I judge.

– The Season 3 finale was ____________.

I’m going to go with “ok.” It was just ok. To be honest, the entire third season was just ok. If I had to rank the seasons in order of preference, I would say S1, S2, and S3. The finale felt more like a bridge to the next season instead of an episode to tie up loose ends. There were some standout episodes (Jack in Vietnam, Beth’s solo episode, Randall and Beth’s fight), but as a whole, the season lacked compelling storylines that interested me. Jack and Kevin in Vietnam were great. Randall the politician didn’t do it for me. I do believe the show can find its groove again so I will be watching Season 4. I still enjoy This Is Us. 

See you in the fall.

This Is Us Season 3 Episode 17 Recap: The Downfall Of Randall And Beth

America’s couple has a problem with no solution. Randall and Beth’s marriage is on the rocks and after last night, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

This Is Us Season 3, Episode 17 Recap: “R&B”

Beth and Randall in This Is Us / Photo Credit: NBC

– This Is Marriage.

– It’s clear that Randall and Beth are not in a good place. This season of This Is US has been pretty rocky from the start and many will cite Randall’s political campaign as the beginning of their downfall. However, I’m going to go back even farther than that. It pains me to say this because I love this character so much, but the arrival of William was the beginning of the downfall for Randall and Beth. Since that moment, Randall has been searching for ways to live up to the legacies of William and Jack while Beth is left to support him in all his endeavors despite the negative impact it may have on her own life.

– The episodes use flashbacks at important moments in the story of Randall and Beth to illustrate their relationship. A clear pattern develops in each argument. Randall fully dives into a situation while Beth questions his motives. Randall uses his likable personality and insane charm to win Beth over as she “bends the knee” to every argument in order to find a solution. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing and both Randall and Beth make great points in each situation. What I am saying is that having the same result after every argument is not a healthy way to live.

– On their mini golf date with Rebecca, Beth reveals that she does not want to marry Randall right now because she is afraid she will get consumed in his life without having a separate life of her own. Once again, there is no problem with getting consumed in certain issues in your spouse’s life. However, it becomes a problem when one person can’t fall back on a separate issue in their own life that they can handle alone.

– Fight after fight, the pattern of Beth bending her knee continues until it reaches its boiling point in the present day. Beth finally wants to do something for herself instead of for Randall and to be honest, Randall can’t handle that. Their relationship works best when Beth makes her dreams the same as Randall and she supports him along the way. I feel for Beth. It must have been hard to take on all of Randall’s ordeals without having time for herself. Randall begins to realize that, but it’s clearly too late. I don’t want this to be a pity party for Beth though. Randall also makes good points in this argument. Randall allows Beth to make her own decisions like the grocery store fight. Randall said Beth can go spend the night by herself, but Beth chooses to come home with Randall. Randall may force his dreams onto Beth, but Beth chooses to make those dreams her own dreams as well. Both parties are right and wrong.

– About halfway through the episode, I tweeted this out.

Obviously, the episode was not going to have a happy ending. The fight ends with two low blows. Randall sarcastically apologizes to Beth for following her dreams 20 years later, and Beth says she couldn’t find time to follow her calling between Randall’s anxiety attacks. Yikes. Randall leaves for his office and the duo spends the night sepearte from each other.

– Do I think Randall and Beth will get divorced? No. However, I do see temporary separation in their future.

– Season finale next week!

This Is Us Season 3 Episode 16 Recap: If Happy Ever After Did Exist

“If happy ever after did exist.” – Adam Levine, Maroon 5. I hate myself for singing “Payphone” in my head, but the idea of happy ever after is the only thing in my head. Last night’s episode was all about happy endings and how they don’t always go to plan.

This Is Us Season 3, Episode 16 Recap: “Don’t Take My Sunshine Away”

Chris Sullivan and Chrissy Metz in This Is Us / Photo Credit: NBC

– I’m going to destroy my computer right now. I tried to upload a photo and instead of it going into WordPress, it went into my Browser so the photo took up the entire screen. No big deal, right? Wrong. I clicked “back” and it took me to a new post. Shit. I hope my old post saved since I just finished it. Wrong. Nothing saved. My entire column vanished. I thought drafts saved automatically? I took 30 minutes to right a great recap and now this second attempt at one will be shit. Fuck this.

– Now, back to our regularly scheduled program. Forgive me if it’s brief. I’m going by memory here.

– Kate and Toby: I like this storyline for them. I grew sick of the “Kate and Toby fight and then make up” plot. Caring for baby Jack injects a much-needed fresh take to their story. Toby had a great scene with Finch from American Pie where he decided that he needed to step up and become a father, which Kate greatly appreciated. I still believe that Kate or the baby are doomed. I’ve been in the camp that Kate is going to die for awhile now and it looks like this theory is picking up steam. Hopefully, we will get pointed in the right direction during the finale.

– Kevin and Zoe / Kevin and Sophie. Is it me or is Kevin and Zoe’s relationship moving at the speed of light? One moment they’re in Vietnam, the next moment they’re fighting about apartments. Now, Zoe doesn’t want to have kids. Just like I believe Kate is doomed, so is this relationship, which I’m totally fine with by the way. I like Zoe. I like Kevin. I’m not crazy about them together. On the other hand, I’m all in on Team Kophie being end game. If you’re Sophie, you don’t take that coffee date if you still love Kevin. Guess what? Kevin still loves Sophie. Sending Sophie and her fiancé Billy Joel tickets was a nice gesture, but this love story is far from over. Kevin decides he’s ok with not having kids and stays with Zoe. My prediction is Zoe eventually comes around to wanting kids and there’s happiness and jubilation, but it will never happen. Team Kophie all the way.

– Randall and Beth. This relationship mirrors Jack and Rebecca. Jack and Rebecca had their fair share of marital problems and it lead to a temporary separation. They eventually made up and stayed together up until Jack’s death. I believe that same scenario (without the side of death) is going to happen to Randall and Beth. Randall wants to save the world. Beth wants to teach dance. Both want to achieve their goals, but both are putting themselves first right now. Will they divorce? The easy answer is yes, but my gut says not. A temporary separation is in their future, but they will get back together and fix things. I don’t know how or when, but it will happen.

– Jack and Rebecca. Cute dance! My biggest takeaways: Jack’s childhood is the next chapter of his life that we will learn about and happy ever after’s are complicated.

– Pretty good review from memory if I do say so myself. Next week is “The Fight.” Randall vs. Beth. Ding ding ding. Tune in.