Bojack Horseman and the Absurd

Bojack Horseman is an animated comedy drama series that I believe illustrates most of the statements and theories that Nagel Thomas discusses in his article The Absurd[1]. The show uses satire to convey a sense of comedy that challenges real-life issues such as depression and addiction. It also uses irony to point out how meaningless everything is which is the topic that Thomas opens his article with.

I would like to focus on the analysis of the absurd as provided by Thomas since it seems that throughout the series Bojack is having an existential crisis. More specifically, in this clip, we observe Bojack from the moment he wakes up until he gets back home at night. A voice-over accompanies the sequence which stands for that voice in his head that is telling him what to do and how to react. When his daughter asks him about borrowing his car, he stutters. On a following scene, when he is driving to get milk, he unexpectedly turns and parks in front of a bar.

I think this clip ties with what Thomas has argued: “The absurdity of our situation derives not from a collision between our expectations and the world, but from a collision within ourselves.”[2]I think Bojack’s self-loathing keeps him on a constant struggle with the absurd. The creators of the show seem to play very well with this idea and they seem also to rely on this to create their satirical humour. Thomas says, “When we see ourselves from the outside, everything becomes clear.”[3]The opposite is correct for Bojack since he thinks so low of himself that whenever he takes a step back to survey himself and his relationships to other people, he ends up on a bender.


[1]Nagel Thomas, “The Absurd”, The Journal of Philosophy 68, no. 20 (1971): 716-727.

[2]Ibid., 722.

[3]Ibid., 720.

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