By Johnny Perreira, Staff Writer
The growing cultural phenomenon that is Netflix original series Bojack Horseman had its fourth season released on September 8. It is full of gags, goofs, puns, and an extensive commentary on modern depression.
The show has shattered ratings and records with a new plotline in it’s latest season: one of the characters is the first openly asexual character on TV.
What does that mean for the show? Does it mean things? Let’s find out! (This article will have minimal spoilers for Season 3 & 4).
Asexuality falls on the LGBTQA+ spectrum and is often defined as not experiencing sexual attraction to any gender. For some asexuals, that doesn’t mean they can’t have a romantic or sexual relationship with someone.
Confused? So was Todd Chavez, the lovable goofball who often acts as the hero of the show. Unlike his friends, who often venture through many sexual or romantic encounters, Todd wasn’t seen in that context until the end of Season 3.
The viewer is shown flashbacks of Todd being pressured by his girlfriend to have sex, which eventually leads to him just running away and not seeing her again for years.
When they finally reunite, she asks him about what happened, and he explains that he’s not gay or straight; that maybe he’s nothing.
With the release of Season 4, Todd finally is given the label “asexual,” but he meets it with resistance. Are labels too much? Is that label even right for him?
Throughout the season, Todd continues his misadventures while also slowly battling with his identity. He tries joining an asexual support group where he can learn more about what being asexual means.
The frequency of the word “asexual” truly shocked me — I’ve never heard it on TV before. The writers were confident, knowledgeable, and they didn’t write Todd’s journey in some crude attempt to pander towards social activists.
Asexuality isn’t massive in its world, but only massive in our own interpretation because of how new it is to us. But, no one cares all that much in the world of Bojack Horseman.
Sure, they care about Todd, but even Bojack can’t stop himself from making jokes about it. The writers truly nailed what it means to give representation.
The writer’s room of the Netflix original didn’t, however, save the world from asexual erasure. The first glowing mistake is Todd’s voice actor, Aaron Paul.
Although supportive of the role, Paul isn’t asexual himself. Like a straight person playing a gay character, it doesn’t make sense. Why not give an asexual actor the role of Todd?
Perhaps the production team of Bojack, during casting, didn’t figure Todd was asexual and the fact only lent itself when it only made so much sense that he was. Or maybe with Aaron Paul as one of the executive producers of the show, he couldn’t resist grabbing the role of another lovable druggie (see: Breaking Bad).
This is not to say the team didn’t take a big step forward with representation. It’s just more fitting to say they took two steps forward and one step back.
Maybe not a full step back, though, because one of the asexual characters introduced is played by actress Natalie Morales, a woman who revealed this summer that she identifies as queer.
If you haven’t seen any of the show, read more reviews and give it a binge.
Judge yourself how well the show represents human and…animal kind, while laughing and crying along the way. The social commentary and dumb jokes are endless, and it’s very much worth your time.