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.”


Bojack forever.

‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Demolishes The Single Game Record Score With $110,914

Introducing the smartest person in the world, James Holzhauer.

I don’t care about astrophysicists or mathematicians. Einstein and Newton don’t belong in the same room as Big Jimmy. If you score over $100,000 points on Jeopardy!, you are officially the smartest dude on Planet Earth. It’s not even that James crushed the competition. My guy was COCKY doing it.

True Daily double? Nah bro. I’ll take the window maximum. I don’t even know what that means. What a flex by James. The cockiness did not stop there. The previous one-game record was $77,000. Going into Final Jeopardy, James needed $4,400. Let’s just say he bet a little more than that.

$38,314! Holy shit. This man breathes cockiness. I haven’t seen bigger nuts since Randy Marsh.

He even blew on his fingers after Alex Trebek said it was the new one day record. Suck it, Trebek!

Let’s also not forget that he has the most forced smile in history.

I love this man. I hope he never loses.

P.S. He’ll probably lose now that I put a jinx on him.

Mahershala Ali Officially Joins True Detective Season 3

EW – #TrueDetectiveSeason3 will star Mahershala Ali.

During Wednesday’s Television Critics Association’s press tour in Pasadena, California, HBO president of programming Casey Bloys confirmed the network has a deal with the Oscar-winning Moonlight actor to star in a potential third season of the anthology series.

“I have read five scripts for a third season,” Bloys said. “I’m very very impressed and excited about what I’ve read. I don’t want to give away the storyline, but I really think they’re terrific.”

Bloys added the network is currently on the hunt for directors, which would appear to be the final step before scoring an official greenlight. Cary Joji Fukunaga directed all eight episodes of the first season, while the second season was split up among directors, including Fast Five filmmaker Justin Lin.

Contrary to popular belief, True Detective was not cancelled after Season 2 and in fact, will return for a Season 3. True Detective Season 1 was arguably one of the greatest seasons of television ever. What Matt McConaughey and Woody Harrelson did that year might never be duplicated again. Rust Cohle and Marty Hart. The acting, the writing, the suspense. All of it made for superb television. The ending scene to Episode 4 is in my Top 5 scenes on any TV show ever.

Then, Season 2 came along and it was garbage. I tried to defend it because Season 1 was so good, but after the ending, there was just no defense. It had A LOT of problems. For starters, I didn’t like how there were 4 lead characters. I understand that the dynamic of Rust and Marty would be hard to duplicate, but adding more characters doesn’t necessarily mean it would be better. I feel the same way about superhero team movies. I don’t like when it’s 10 superheroes against one villain. Give me one hero and one villain. Focus on character development and tell a story. The same with True Detective. There were too many intertwining stories. It should’ve just been Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams as the leads (I’m so sorry Taylor Kitsch. I still love you, Riggins). It was admirable for Vince Vaughn to take on a role of this nature. Take a risk from the your usual buddy comedies. I get it, but it didn’t work. I think Pizzolato (creator) felt that he could create lightning in bottle again like when he made McConaughey take off. The same magic was not present with Vaughn.

So here we are. Season 3 is just about to be green lit. I like the choice of Mahershala Ali. Ali was spectacular in Moonlight and has never really had the chance to be a leading man. He’s not the superstar yet and I like that because I know he’ll have a chip on his shoulder and go all in for this role. I’m praying Pizzolato and Co. learned from the mistakes of Season 2 and go back to what worked in Season 1. If they can create a little magic that’s close to Season 1, buckle up.

Is It Concerning That I Willingly Want To See Fifty Shades Darker?

I am a single, soon-to-be 24 (birthday tomorrow, humble brag) year old guy and I want to see Fifty Shades Darker.

There, I said it. No shame whatsoever.

Here is your time to call me anyway name you want. Ready. Go.

You good now? Let’s move on.

I want to see Fifty Shades Darker. There are various reasons as to why I want to see it and they might surprise you or you may just call me a liar and say I only want to go to see Dakota Johnson’s boobs. The joke is on you because I saw Fifty Shades of Grey so I’ve already seen her boobs so I’m past the “I just saw boobs on the big screen” phase.

Fifty Shades of Grey Review – Bad, but not as bad as the critics said it was. The chemistry between Johnson and Jamie Dornan seemed really awkward, but I think whoever you put in that same situation would get the same result. Just having fake sex for hours upon hours per day? That definitely can’t be easy. That being said, there were a few laughs as well because it was one of those “this is so ridiculous that it’s funny” type of moments. One thing that is not up for debate is the first soundtrack, which was fireeeee. Ellie Goulding, Sia, The Weeknd, Beyonce. Good stuff. Fifty Shades Darker is off to a good start with T-Swift and ZAYN.

Usually when I see the first movie of a trilogy, I want to see the second one. That just makes sense. Once I start a show/ movie / movies series, I finish it, no matter how bad or good it might be. Another reason why I want to see this movie.

For the crowd that thinks I just want to watch sex scenes on the screen, that’s not the case. It’s actually soooooo awkward at times. I’m not trying to pitch a few tents in my pants if that’s what you were thinking. It’s the exact opposite. Surrounded by people watching a girl and guy moan on screen is not what I like to call a “turn on.” I also saw the first movie with a buddy of mine who is a guy so sitting next to another guy while fake sex is happening on the screen is, also, you guessed it, awkward.

It all comes back to the original question I proposed: Is it concerning that I willingly want to see Fifty Shades Darker? Ehh not really. It’s a movie. I like movies. I go to the movies a lot. No problems there.

The only problem is who am I going to see it with? Ladies, let me know if you want to go on a date and watch awkward fake sex together.

P.S. Will go with guys, too. I’m all about seeing movies alone, but this is a movie I absolutely can’t see alone. Can’t do it. Won’t do it.

P.S.S. Might see it alone.

The Affair Is One Of The Best Shows On Television

Go watch it now

The Affair

Every so often, a show comes around that soon becomes an obsession in my life. I’m more of a movie guy in general, but there are a few TV shows that I truly consider “great” in every sense of the word. The acting, the writing, the character development, the storyline, the twists, the turns. Basically, the show is as close to perfect as you can get. Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad are the two shows that come to mind that I describe as great shows. Well, there’s a new show to the club and its name is The Affair.

“Wait, what is The Affair? I’ve never heard of it.”

That’s usually the response when I tell people to watch The Affair. The Affair used to be “that show that follows Homeland” on Showtime. Now, it’s “that show that is better than Homeland.” It’s a shame that it does not have the popularity as Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, but The Affair deserves the same recognition, if not more. It’s that good and its about to enter its 3rd season.

Since most of you have probably never heard of the show, here is the Season 1 Trailer.

The Affair is about an affair (No shit, Sherlock!), but it’s so much more than that. The show is told in flashbacks. You get to see the inner workings of how an affair begins and how the infidelity affects the people that are closest to you. Each person has their own reason for entering an affair. The long marriage that begins to stall. The high school sweethearts who can never get over a tragedy. I am not married, but you hear about these problems everyday, which makes the show that much more relatable. Real life people going through real life shit. While the affair is going on, there’s this lingering “problem” in the present day that the viewer is trying to figure out. Think crime related. That’s all I’ll say.

What makes the show so unique is how the story is presented. The story is originally told from two different viewpoints, Noah and Allison. So the first half is from one person’s viewpoint and the second half is from the other person. What show does this? It’s so creative. People choose to remember what they think happened and not necessarily what truly happened. That’s the basis of The Affair. Noah and Allison are involved in an Affair, but they each see their actions and responses in a different light, which is why their stories are different. It’s like when Noah tells the story, he is the angel and Allison is the seductress and when Allison tells the story, she is innocent and Noah is guilty. We all do this in real life. It makes the viewer think about who to believe.

The Affair
The Affair

The writing is absolutely spectacular. I always say that The Affair is the best written show on television and that’s a fact. Every detail is accounted for and every question has an answer. Every scene has a purpose. I never walk away from an episode saying “I hope they tie up that loose end or answer that question” because I know that my prayers will be answered. While the writing is excellent, the acting is just as great. Some episodes, you feel for Noah and his wife, Helen. Other episodes, you might feel for Allison and her husband, Cole. Frankly, some episodes you hate all of them, but every character has a secret and the show takes you on a long journey to figure them out. I’ll also get this simple recognition out of the way. Noah is McNulty from The Wire. Cole is Charlie Conway from The Mighty Ducks. Maura Tierney is Abby from ER.

After reading this all, I still don’t think I have done this show justice. It’s so unique that it’s sometimes hard to explain. All I can say is watch it. You will NOT be disappointed. I have recommended this show to numerous friends and family members and they have all said the same thing: The show is amazing and I’m addicted. This show will bring friend groups together (s/o to MR) and will be the topic of conversation of many group chats.

Lucky for you, the 3rd season debuts on Sunday, November 20. That leaves you 1 month to binge watch 22 episodes. That is a piece of cake. Basically 1 show a day. You can do it.

Also, if you end up watching the show, I expect a “Thank you, DG” sometime in the near future. No pressure or anything.

P.S. ONE OF THE BEST THEME SONGS EVER. Sink back into the ocean, sink back into the ocean.