2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

The Human Condition as Told by an Anthropomorphic Horse: Love and Loneliness in Netflix's Bojack Horseman 

Madison L. Pugh
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Bojack Horseman has complicated relationships with drugs, with his mother, and with himself. In fact, all of Bojack’s relationships lack simplicity--not something every animated show can say about its characters. In this paper, I will discuss how the stylistic elements of Bojack Horseman contribute to the profundity of its message. The altered mind state of a character, whether a result of mental illness or drug addiction, is frequently visually induced for the viewer as well. In doing so, the viewer is being invited into the mind of the characters and asked to empathize, especially those whose cruelty they’ve witnessed. It is through this lens that I will dissect Bojack’s most important relationships--with Beatrice, his uncaring mother; with Sarah Lynn, the closest thing he has to a daughter, and with himself--all of which share drug use as a common complicating factor.


Keywords: television, literature , drugs, love, loneliness, empathy


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 305-6
Location: BH 241
Time: 2:45

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