How “Bojack Horseman” gets asexuality right

November 7, 2017

The spectrum of sexuality is broad, intimidating and really, really confusing. While gay and lesbian characters are increasingly being featured on TV, the actual spectrum remains uncharted territory in Hollywood, with alternate sexualities such as bisexuality and asexuality left untouched. It’s hard to think that Netflix’s “Bojack Horseman,” a show that follows the deteriorating life of a washed up 90’s actor who also happens to be a horse,¬†would be the show to break this barrier.

Asexuality is defined as the lack of sexual attraction to others, or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity. The concept is foreign to many; only 1% of the world population identify as asexual, yet representation is dire, especially seeing how humans have a tendency to shame others for their sexual choices. Living in a world where sex is seemingly vital for human survival, coming out as a person who doesn’t feel the same sexual attraction as others is terrifying. Add in the fact that, before “Bojack Horseman,” there had been no asexual main characters on TV, and coming out as asexual seems scarier than ever.

“Bojack Horseman” seems to have created the ideal mix of comedy and heavy emotion in order to create a TV show that ever so perfectly chronicles real life issues and struggles within the city of ‘Hollywoo,’ where animals and humans live side by side unremarkably. One of the citizens of ‘Hollywoo’ is Todd Chavez, Bojack’s slacker roommate who somehow ends up in the most off-road storylines each episode. Todd initially seems to be a source of pure comic relief, but the series’ progression reveals the internal struggles Todd has repressed for his entire life. While various signs had been left unnoticed through the show’s seasons, Todd officially comes out as asexual in the 3rd episode of season 4. Confused at first, Bojack and all of their friends react positively and with an admirable sense of empathy. Instead of leaving it at that, the show continues Todd’s journey with his sexuality by featuring multiple discussions, asexuality community meetings and other asexual characters who attempt to help him with the monumental change in his life.

Aside from the historical impact of featuring the first asexual main character on TV, Todd’s character development truly changes the way viewers and Hollywood view asexuality. By showing the mindset and life of an asexual person, although fictional, the writers make an alienated issue so much more personal and intimate. The multi-dimensional approach taken, such as showcasing the different relationships an asexual person can possess, leaves almost no introductory questions unanswered. Todd’s journey in coming to terms with his sexuality has provided a window of insight into a world never publicly explored. Not only should the entertainment business admire the step “Bojack” has taken, but view it as a cue to follow in the footsteps and give different sexualities the representation they deserve.

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