Season five of the Netflix series Bojack Horseman premiered on Friday, 14 September. Last season, we discover that Todd is asexual. This representation meant a lot to the asexual community.
‘There is just so much nuanced and complex self-actualization going on with this character that hits the nail on the head on what my experience has been like,’ a poster on the Asexual Visibility and Education Network forum said.
Ace representation in season five
At the end of season four, Todd began dating an asexual woman named Yolanda. Upon the premiere of season five, many were excited to see where Todd’s asexual plot line will go.
‘In this season, Todd is dating an asexual woman, Yolanda, whose entire family is involved in selling sex, in one way or another, whether it be via writing erotica for a living or being a sex worker in the pornography industry,’ Nicholas, a 26-year-old asexual and agender person from Ohio, explains.
‘It is used as explanation for why Yolanda is so hesitant to come out to her family. Of course, Yolanda’s family is not a typical allosexual family, but it’s a great metaphor for amatonormativity.’
‘Being an ace/aro person in a world that says one true love is a necessity for personal happiness, that the natural conclusion to solidifying said romantic relationship is sex, and that a long-term sexual relationship sans romance is inherently meaningless is incredibly isolating and alienating,’ they continue.
‘It gives us and allosexual folks the impression we’re broken when we’re just wired differently.’
Thomas, a 24-year-old gay demisexual man in New York, concurs.
‘The default for allosexual people to perceive asexuality is in relation to hypersexuality,’ he says. ‘In the same way that homosexual relationships are usually juxtaposed against heteronormativity, which just causes alienation.’
Nicholas particularly enjoyed the scene where Todd is talking to his allosexual ex-girlfriend Emily. He asks her to imagine what dating him would be like.
‘I guess we’d hang out together like we already do,’ Todd ponders. ‘And you’d be my favorite person like you already are. And when something good happened to me, like, if I got a promotion at work, you’d be the first person I’d tell.’
‘It’s the closest I’ve ever heard on television to someone describing the idea of a relationship I would want,’ Nicholas says. ‘Not hearts and flowers, not physical gratification, just emotional intimacy with your favorite person, and that’s fulfilling, and it’s more than enough.’
Could it have done more?
Thomas, however, felt like this season was a missed opportunity to actually portray dating while asexual. At one point, Emily creates an asexual dating app for Todd. Yet, instead of showing Todd meeting various ace people, that plot point fades.
‘They could have had a B-plot one episode be Todd going on crazy asexual dates,’ Thomas says.
‘The real problem with BoJack’s representation of asexuality is how they frame it.’
Social media reactions
Many on social media also had mixed feelings about the asexual plot line this season. One particular complaint was that Yolanda having to ‘come out’ as asexual to her family minimized the legitimate fears gay and trans people have about coming out. However, this view can be read by some as acephobic, as it ignores the particular struggles asexuals face.
This new season of Bojack is shit and the asexual plotline is insulting lmao
— Nick 🐊➕ sugarandmemories (@sugarnziles) September 15, 2018
Todd’s asexual farce plot in ep3 of new bojack is fuckin amazing
— Tracy Chapman’s Faster Car: The Video Game (@veidtlemania) September 15, 2018
MINOR BOJACK HORSEMAN SPOILERS:
Very surprised and THANKFUL by the fact that Todd informed characters correctly that you can still be romantically involved with people despite being asexual, and explaining that romance and sexual attraction are not the same
— www dot Big Meat dot gov (@LauraIsLate) September 15, 2018
Which writer for BoJack is asexual because I wanna give them a big hug and a million dollars
— Emma Tyler Cannot (@kantt_who_can) September 15, 2018
Bojack spoilers // I know Todd is specifically asexual but I love that line about getting together w someone just because you fall into the same category and don’t vibe well bc I know I and other lgbt folks relate so hard. So many times we settle with what we can get because-
— Alex 🏝️ (@wavedwhelk) September 16, 2018
[bojack spoilers] i like that todd is asexual but maybe his gf being asexual w a family of very sexual people was a bit much. the lube did make me laugh bc im 12 though.
— .dunk (@shittywelshsord) September 16, 2018
That was such a weirdddd 3rd episode… but overall, very good writing re: the asexual stuff. Also yet again, Bojack has been nothing but good. #BojackHorseman
— Måx (@maxtrimblr) September 16, 2018
Imagine being asexual, your representation in mainstream culture right now is todd from bojack horseman. Pouring one out for all aces out there
— molan (@Anhydryd) September 16, 2018
Glad s5 of bojack starts off with more of the shoehorned asexual thing
— zephyrin (@zephyrinnn) September 16, 2018
BoJack Horseman actually makes me feel good about being asexual.
— Scott Day (@scott__day) September 16, 2018
Tell me how Bojack Horseman explained how someone could be asexual and not aromatic and then also had the same character have a existential relationship realization directly afterwards
— the amanda show (@mandAJTaylor) September 16, 2018
— Jess (@aomyuu) September 15, 2018
todd in bojack horseman explaining the asexual spectrum MY HEART IS FULL
— heather (@ThatsSomeCatch) September 15, 2018
I enjoy Bojack! It does have a dark sense of humour and it deals with a lot of heavy topics, but it’s also full of puns and loveable characters and has A CANON ASEXUAL CHARACTER 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 the books are really good; quick easy reads because they’re aimed at younger readers 👌🏻
— wordsarelifealways (@isaksredscarf99) September 15, 2018
Sometimes I remember Todd is asexual and I just get so happy like BoJack is such a popular show and Todd is a fan favorite and he’s one of US
— lumpia space princess 🎀 (@artifishly) September 15, 2018
“if you really want to be asexual first you need to put on every single piece of clothing that you own”
omfg fuck bojack really read me on that one
— briar lake (@corvus_b_) September 15, 2018
its crazy that bojack horseman is the best asexual representation out there
— melissa (@melissamdphoto) September 15, 2018
the new BoJack Horseman season has so much asexual representation and has todd learning so much about it and everyone around him learning more about it and it made me really happy
— todd chavez stan account / dodie today!!! (@fearlesslyreads) September 14, 2018
I AM LIVING FOR THE CONTINUED ASEXUAL REPRESENTATION IN BOJACK SEASON 5
— Trans Stamp (@EmmaINFP) September 14, 2018
I hope the Coming Out As Asexual To Your Disappointed Parents episode of new bojack is meant as a parody of the absurdist situations that the mogai community invents as a reason to come out and feel marginalized. probably not though
— 💊misery chastain🔨 (@pissbees) September 14, 2018
Bojack Horseman has said the word asexual in this ep more times than it has ever been said on television before truly
— #1 sarah paulson stan (@reallybeanie) September 14, 2018
Though the ace representation in BoJack is far from ideal, it’s still a start. BoJack Horseman is one of the few mainstream television shows to portray asexuality at all, which means a lot for ace representation.