TV Therapy

Previously published in The Daily Star of Hammond, LA.

Something I tend to struggle with, especially in the late-winter, early-spring in the South, is the blues. It’s never one thing that makes me start to fall into the slough of despond, but it’s many things piling up, pulling me further and further down until something sparks inside of me to help me get back out.

Usually, it’s something like a conversation with a friend or a new project that kickstarts the process of me climbing out of the haze that sets in. However, this year it was strange because a TV show, “Bojack Horseman,” was the primary catalyst for me beating it back.

The first time I started watching “Bojack Horseman,” (BH) I was in a depressed mood and the first season and a half of the show seemed to make things worse. My best friend suggested that I stop watching the show because it was making things harder for me.

This led to my best friend and I decided that watching the show probably wasn’t a good idea for since I identified with the main character, Bojack Horseman, who is a depressed horse-man has-been sitcom star (I am not a star. I am not that deluded) that can’t stop feeling that bad about himself or hurting the people around him. The main reason was that Bojack was still charming, funny and strangely cool which made me wallow in my sadness more.

Since then, the show’s popularity has grown, and many people have said the show gets better, funnier and more profound with each season. So, this time with no one in my apartment to tell me not to watch, I decided to start watching the horse-man again.

Picking up at the end of season two was rough at first because it catapulted me straight into some of the sadder parts of the show with different plot arcs getting resolved, but it made me want to keep watching. So I watched season three which was one of the most funny, heart-breaking and pleasurable television experiences I had in a long time. I found myself enjoying watching TV again and laughing hard while still being able to feel the full range of emotions opposed to being flatlined emotionally.

BH’s ability to act like a defibrillator to my emotional life was precisely the thing I needed because it reminded how it feels to be happy or enjoying something like the beautiful scenes in the underwater episode or all of the fantastic wordplay. But those moments were juxtaposed with the sad or bad parts of life like Bojack worrying about if anybody will ever love him for him or realizing the problem in his life is that he keeps messing things up and he eventually has to stop making excuses.

The show’s ability to deliver profound monologues and observations about the world or life is heightened by it is served right before and after a gut-punch of a joke. With this all happening on the show it reminded me that I don’t want to be like Bojack because his life is terrible because he is miserable and unable to find happiness in anything.

I have theories as to why that is, but instead, it made me start to think, “OK, what are the things I need to do to pull myself out of this dark place?” Which inevitably led to me running more often (even if it’s raining), eating healthier food, calling my friends more often and trying to hang out with others more. These are things that I usually do until I retreat into myself and these are the things I have to slowly work myself back into to get out of those bad spots.

One thing I’ve noticed is that those blues-like periods of my life are starting to happen less frequently and have shorter durations. I don’t think it’ll ever completely stop, but I do think part of getting older is building up the machinery inside yourself to be able to fight those voices or feelings that make someone feel bad or sad off when they’re getting unhealthy. One of the characters said it best (he was talking about running recreationally, but it was meant to have a double meaning for how Bojack can start to feel like and be a better, happier person):

“Every day it gets a little easier. But you have to do it every day. That’s the hard part. But it does get easier.”

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