Netflix and Me: BoJack Horseman

by austin beaton

This is an excerpt from Netflix and Me, a discovery of what it means to be lonely and 25 and binge-watching the greatest original Netflix shows of all-time.

Being dead is kind of like having been a toddler—things existed near you and in the brains of family friends and you don’t know you don’t remember it.

Molecularly, the adult super monkey you isn’t the same as the little baby. Your atoms got scattered whether you’re still named as the former atoms or are now called a different collection of them.

When my mom explained to teenage me that a Lil’ Wayne line in The Motto (the most popular pre-game song to play in the dorms my freshman year of college) was referencing a former horse TV star, Mister Ed, I felt strange.

You loved him, she said, and with her I got to feel cute about a memory I didn’t have (mostly the little me, partially him).

At the same time Mister Ed was both my favorite TV show as a kid and a thing I didn’t know existed.

Does the listening to the Lil’ Wayne make that real to me?

This is what scootered through my head before starting BoJack Horseman, a show a lot of my really smart and really sad friends loved when it debuted in 2014.

“So, what you’re saying is everything is society’s fault and we as individuals never need to take responsibility for anything?”

Somewhere in the multiverse memory pie lattice of my American head I watch reruns of Alf while doing homework.

A television full of people acting like they live with an animal that speaks English isn’t foreign.

Being an only child around adults in a forest meant lots of imagination and lots of Nick at Nite reruns. Cheers and Samford and Son, Full House and The Brady Bunch.

White people pretending to be a nuclear family while I pretended to be studying for a spelling test.

I’m 25 now and I sit alone and watch television, simultaneously typing things into Twitter or through my screen to the screen of my long-distance girlfriend.

Depending on my mood it’s a different version of sad nostalgia to notice how similar it can be in this life, years before and years ahead.

“He’s so stupid he doesn’t know how miserable he should be. I envy that.”

In the pilot episode BoJack has an anxiety attack he thinks means he almost died. He has another one after being explained about his first.

If I watched this a year ago or more, I’d be triggered, feeling blood squirt under the skin and my heart vibrate into my own panic.

But, I’m older.

I’m alone in the dark, overstuffed with ramen that was questionably gluten free and dark chocolate with soy emulsifiers I shouldn’t eat, relating to a horse that a human drew into having acted in a fake show they animated.