Spoilers for all seasons of "Bojack Horseman"
I have seen many TV shows, but Bojack Horseman might just be one of, if not the best series I have ever seen. It has great animation, hilarious puns and, surprisingly, it's incredibly deep. It talks about depression, drug addiction, child abuse, God, and the most important aspect, existence. The series focuses a lot on the idea of Absurdism, created by the french philosopher and activist, Albert Camus. It believes that in a universe like ours, incredibly vast and believed to be endless, we are incredibly small in the gigantic scope of the cosmos, therefore our lives are basically meaningless and shall never be noticed since we are such tiny specs in the so called, "Absurd". And Camus presented us with three ways to deal with the Absurd (denial, acceptance and suicide), and we shall be exploring these ways with three of the main characters of the series: Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris), Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) and Bojack Horseman (Will Arnett).
Princess Carolyn: Denial
Princess Carolyn presents us with one of the most hopeful and satisfying options to deal with the Absurd, which is the denial of such thing. She is constantly filled with work, specifically handling Bojack's problems, she tries to help everyone and solve every problem that's presented. The one moment she does not have any work, she then tries to have a relationship. But ultimately months after, she ends up falling in the same hole, which is becoming a manager. She tries to preoccupy herself with this type of nonsense so that she can forget the void in her life. She actually admits this:
Princess Carolyn: "My life is a mess right now and I compulsively take care of other people when I don't know how to take care of myself."
This is almost our own default state, where we are presented with the terrible truth and we try to distract ourselves so that we do not need to deal with such devastating ideals. This part is a bit short since it's a bit more straightforward than the other two. But let's move on to Mr. Peanutbutter.
Mr. Peanutbutter: Acceptance
Mr. Peanutbutter seems to be a dumb dog, but he's the exact contrary. Mr. Peanutbutter represents the other option in Absurdism: accept the absurd and do anything you want. Mr. Peanutbutter lives life in an incredibly optimistic viewpoint as if everything is great, everyone is just awesome, but he does know that it is the exact contrary. So he chooses to do things in his own way. Either it's approving and financing Todd's ideas, getting a gigantic number of spaghetti strainers, just anything:
Mr. Peanutbutter: "The universe is a cruel, uncaring void. The key to being happy isn't the search for meaning; is to just keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually, you will be dead."
And in season 3 episode 10, Mr. Peanutbutter tells Bojack a way to deal with the fact that he wasn't nominated for an Oscar:
Mr. Peanutbutter: "But I realized something today, when my brother called from the hospital, and I think it's gonna make you feel a lot better."
Bojack: "What? What is it?"
Mr. Peanutbutter: "None of this matters."
And Bojack himself admits that he envies Mr. Peanutbutter's attitude:
Bojack: "He’s so stupid he doesn’t realize how miserable he should be. I envy that."
Mr. Peanutbutter offers us a great possibility, although radical it is the most comforting idea of all three, because since we live in a meaningless world, and our lives also present us with horrible things, the best way to deal with all of it is to not caring.
Bojack is in constant pain, since he was even born. His father and especially his mother were very abusive, his career hasn't worked out as well as expected since Horsin Around, most of his friends left him or hate him, he could never have a meaningful relationship with anyone, etc. But he never accepted this, he tried to forget it. He escaped, moving forward, ignoring all of the facts, unfortunately, he could not do that, because he has no clue of what to do. He's just used to go through his problems using drugs, alcohol, and sex. And everyone shows him that he is, in fact, the problem, and that pain has always been a part of him, for example, his mother tells him this:
Beatrice: "Your father and I, we, well... you come by it honestly, the ugliness inside you. You were born broken, that's your birthright. And now you can fill your life with projects, your books and your movies and your little girlfriends but... that won't make you whole."
His best friend Todd tells him this:
BoJack: "Todd, I'm sorry, alright? I screwed up, I- I know I screwed up, I—"
Todd: "Oh great, of course! Here it comes! You can't keep doing this! You can't keep doing shitty things and then feel bad about yourself like that makes it okay! You need to be better!"
BoJack: "I know, and I'm sorry, okay? I was drunk and there was all this pressure with the Oscar campaign, but now that it's over, I- I- I—"
Todd: "No! No. BoJack, just... stop. You are all the things that are wrong with you. It's not the alcohol or the drugs or any of the shitty things that happened to you in your career or when you were a kid, it's you! Alright? It's you. ...Fuck, man. What else is there to say?"
Even his old best friend and old partner in Horsin Around, Herb, tells him that:
Herb: "You know what your problem is? You want to think of yourself as the good guy. Well, I know you better than anyone, and I can tell you that you're not. In fact, you'd probably sleep a lot better at night if you just admitted to yourself that you're a selfish goddamn coward who just takes whatever he wants and doesn't give a shit about who he hurts. That's you."
But in the last episode of season 3, when Bojack sees that in the Ethan Around set, the little girl that also stars in the show wants to be like him in the future. So he sees that the loop he had been going through is about to begin again, so he runs away. He drives off to the desert. While he goes away, every significant person in his life seems to finally find balance and succeed in life. Bojack starts accelerating and then he lets go of the steering wheel, closes his eyes and lets the car go away so that he can die. Therefore he follows, the third option of Absurdism, which is suicide. But something different happens, while Bojack drives off, he looks to the side and sees something that makes him stop the car. He gets off the car and it is revealed that he saw a group of horses running to nowhere, and has he starts thinking, the episode ends. This suggests that Bojack might start following Mr. Peanutbutter footsteps and start accepting the absurd. He has always wanted to start over, but he started over from a point of view that he already knew, not something completely different. But this choice of Bojack does teach us something very important. Bojack chooses suicide since it was the easy way out, but then he truly understood that there are other options, that he had to go through these horrible events to only then truly appreciate life. Fuzzy Whiskers put it better:
Fuzzy Whiskers: "I don’t know what to tell you. I’m happy for the first time in my life and I’m not gonna feel bad about it. It takes a long time to realize how truly miserable you are and even longer to see it doesn’t have to be that way. Only after you give up everything can you begin to find a way to be happy."