For Millennials. By Millennials.

Bojack Horseman Does More For Suicide Prevention Than 13 Reasons Why

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The final season of Bojack Horseman proved to us that the animated series accurately depicted what mental illness feels like. In fact, the strong script intended to, and successfully conveyed an even more important message for sufferers. One specific scene has touched peoples’ hearts and actually helped the ones who have wrestled with suicidal thoughts. Another show, 13 Reasons Why similarly revolved around the same theme of mental illnesses leading to suicide. But the way the two shows handle the sensitive issue is vastly different. We think Bojack Horseman just raised much more awareness and prevention- the ‘right’ way. And here, we will share how. Keep reading.

Secretariat Suicide in Bojack Horseman

Bojack Horseman’s role model and someone he aspires to be like since childhood is an actor, Secretariat. As a child, Bojack sends him fan letters asking questions and then watches his interviews on television with wide-eyed fascination and love.

One day, little Bojack watches the news showing footage of Secretariat jumping off a bridge, and taking away his own life.

There isn’t much said. No heroic last words. No reasons highlighted. He simply goes away. For Bojack, his hero; the person he saw as his role model, taking away his own life- brings a haunting and poignant side of the show.

For this reason, fans always speculated (read: feared) that Bojack Horseman will eventually commit suicide too.

Spoiler Ahead*

The positivity here is that Bojack Horseman loses everything he ever had but despite that, he keeps living. There is no suicide as a final act.  In fact, the ending scene in the last episode focuses on this message. You have to keep living. There is no other option.

BoJack jokes to Diane in the final moments:

Life’s a bitch and then you die,”

To this, Diane responds.

“Sometimes life’s a bitch and then you keep living.”

The View From Halfway Down

The second last episode of Bojack Horseman titled ‘The View From Halfway Down” shows Bojack Horseman reconnecting with faces from his past, all the while clinging to his own life. The black dripping ooze spreads everywhere and sucks these people into a dark tunnel symbolizing death.

Bojack meets his mother Beatrice Horseman, Herb Kazzaz, Sarah Lynn and his father, Butterscotch Horseman but not in his own skin. He looks like and is Secretariat- Bojack’s personal hero.

Each character performs on stage and expresses their story one last time; in a hauntingly beautiful manner signifying life and then, death for them. But Secretariat’s poem was the one that shone brightly. took away our breath, and gifted us the skin-prickling realization of what suicide can feel like.

Secretariat says that the worst day of his life was August 22, 1973, when he was banned from racing ever again. It was the only thing that made sense to him and without racing, he felt like a nobody. That day, he decides to leave the world forever. The poem describes him jumping off the bridge. In the first few moments he is calm, composed and seemingly ‘free’.

The weak breeze whispers nothing, The water screams sublime

His feet shift, teeter-totter, Deep breath, stand back, it’s time

Toes untouch the overpass, Soon he’s water bound

Eyes locked shut but peek to see, The view from halfway down

A little wind, a summer sun, A river rich and regal, A flood of fond endorphins

Brings a calm that knows no equal

You’re flying now

You see things much more clear than from the ground

It’s all okay, it would be

Were you not now halfway down

Suddenly Secretariat panics, as he describes the moment of his suicide when he realized it is too late to turn back time. The black tunnel of death appears on his side. There’s no running from it now. He is suddenly filled with fear and dread when he realizes he is halfway down.

Thrash to break from gravity

What now could slow the drop

All I’d give for toes to touch

The safety back at top

His voice shakes and breaks, the dark door keeps getting closer and closer. He does not wish to die anymore. But now the deed is done. He must go. And he must try to find peace in him as he does.

But this is it, the deed is done

Silence drowns the sound

Before I leaped I should’ve seen

The view from halfway down

The final verse then shares his final regrets. He wished he had seen the view from halfway down. If only he knew what it looked like, he would have never committed suicide.

I really should’ve thought about

The view from halfway down

I wish I could’ve known about

The view from halfway down

Suicide Prevention Compared to 13 Reasons Why

This scene from Bojack Horseman was one of the most beautiful and visual anti-suicide awareness messages ever created. The poem is written by Alison Tafel, and we need to recognize her for this act of sheer brilliance.

Secretariat- a character who committed suicide, was used cleverly to shed light on an issue in a way that could prevent many people from making this move. With a few powerful words, he described the moment of clarity and instant regret that suicide brings. The fear, the panic, and the realization that death is not easy or smooth.

Many people after watching this episode recounted such dark moments in their life. But watching this scene has steered them away from ever considering it. Such as this user:

bojack-horseman-does-more-for-suicide-prevention-than-13-reasons-why

Many users also compared the difference in Bojack Horseman suicide angle to the one shown in 13 Reasons Why which gained negativity for ‘glamorizing’ the act of suicide in a triggering way.

bojack-horseman-does-more-for-suicide-prevention-than-13-reasons-why

We agree. 13 Reasons Why showed us a graphic and uncomfortable scene in an attempt to raise awareness. But it failed to give the real message that would ‘prevent’ the act itself. A huge number of audience has realized that this poem made the impact that the show 13 Reasons Why tried to make in three seasons.

bojack-horseman-does-more-for-suicide-prevention-than-13-reasons-why

We think that Bojack Horseman creators deserve even more appreciation for this masterpiece of a scene, for depicting one of the saddest issues in society in a way that would help sufferers of mental illness rethink making this choice, and possibly prevent them from ever going ahead with it.

In case of any such unfortunate emergency, or moment please call 1-800-273-8255.

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