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Femestella — The End of 'BoJack Horseman' Could Mean the End of Asexual Representation on Mainstream TV

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After 6 wonderful seasons, BoJack Horseman is sadly coming to an end.

 

Despite receiving critical and popular acclaim, Netflix decided to pull the plug on one of the best adult animated series of our generation. The show has been hailed for its discussion of tough issues, such as mental illness, sexual assault, drug addiction, privilege, and more.

 

But as the series draws to a close, we’re in danger of losing one of the only shows with asexual representation.

January 7, 2020 — https://www.femestella.com/bojack-horseman-asexual-representation-todd-chavez/

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Knight of Cydonia

Given how great the ace representation was on Bojack Horseman, how strongly it was featured, and how positively it was received, I'd really like to think that the show is simply the start of a brigher future for asexuality on TV.

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Brygid

I have to say I'm glad BoJack ended.

It's good to have a proper end; move on to better things, instead of milking a series to the point it's not to the standards it was in earlier seasons.

 

I hope that some day asexuality is represented in the media, but seeing that we are a minority, and most writers have little experience with asexuality, it's best to put it on the shelf for a while. I'd rather have no representation than poor representation rooted in stereotypes. The treatment of Aspergers and ASD conditions comes to mind. It's also likely writers will just create a "straight" character that they slap the "asexual label"  onto, much like gay characters. Nothing changes except the orientation, and no struggles that character deals with related to their orientation comes up.

 

I actually think asexuality is an easy way for writers to build a fresh character purely on their platonic relationships that most people can relate to, unfortunately, it's also a lazy cop out to throw someone into a relationship and create love triangles to engage audiences instead of proper storytelling these days. Most writing has gone down the toilet, and I haven't properly watched TV since 2011. I maybe occasionally watch a new episode of Steven Universe, or a series like BoJack.

 

It might be too much work, and too experimental for Hollywood cash grabbers that have a boring formula they always follow that's guaranteed to meet a minimum audience. It would require going back to the drawing board and using the nogin like old-school television that would either spike charts or flop. I'm okay with missed representation if the effort felt genuine and there was enough character development to go off of, but that's not what writers do. They take every poor understanding and slap it on to a character in a pre-existing framework/script for a show, just to get woke points, and asexuality just isn't woke right now.

Edited by Brygid

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RoseGoesToYale

Slightly off-topic, as it's not about BoHo, but it is about ace representation in TV, because it sure doesn't have to be the end.

 

The ace community needs to start actively calling out Shonda Rhimes for not representing asexuality on Grey's Anatomy (granted, this current season is nowhere near over, miracles could happen, but if they don't...) It's one of the longest and the most watched television shows, and claims to be the wokest by covering pretty much everything... lesbian/gay, bi, transgender, nonbinary, interracial/interethnic relationships, religious/non-religious mixed relationships, feminist issues, immigration issues, you name it. They have literally done everything for one character or another, whether main cast or guest star, except asexuality.

 

And I honestly believe the reason Rhimes won't touch it because she is feminist, and has made quite clear through GA that women (especially black women) have full control over their bodies and their sexuality and can express it as vocally and visually as they want to, and no one can tell them that's wrong or dirty, and in the past they've been forced to hide it, or tone it down because people find it intimidating. I think the writers think introducing asexuality will somehow undermine this, which... no, doesn't make sense. If anything, I could see it having a hugely positive impact on women and people of color, who have unfairly had their sexualities defined by white perceptions. As a society we went from "black/female sexuality is wild and unpredictable and should be controlled" to "women and people of color can/should be able to express their sexuality." But now it's just pressure that goes the other way... now the standard is that women of color have to be sexually active and expressive. Introducing an asexual character could go a long way to bring asexuals of color out of the shadows and into the conversation (and I already know AVEN skews disproportionately white).

 

IMHO I actually think such a character should be black and male. It would be a huge challenge to long-held white perceptions of black male sexuality as "inherent, uncontrollable, and animalistic". Not to a mention major upheaval of the "men are always ready to go" crap.

 

Plus, think of the positive publicity that would come from someone like Dr. Meredith Grey saying on national television "Asexuality is officially recognized by the APA as a sexual orientation. It is not a mental disorder." That would be huge. That would start conversations. That would get some naysayers to shut up.

 

We'll see how season 16 plays out. I have low hopes due to the very high rate of unplanned pregnancies in the main characters already (I don't get it, a show that's supposed to be about women having control over their bodies, and their birth control methods are failing left, right and center? 🤨). I may start planning my letter to the NYT editor right now.

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Moon Spirit ☽

I've found all ace representation disappointing so far. Todd is a bum who doesn't have his life together. Maybe that's more likely to be true of someone who is asexual than the rest of society because you're often treated as an outcast and that can negatively impact a person, but there are also asexual people who have successfully transitioned into adulthood. Why have all asexual characters needed to have some obvious flaw to them? Especially with how unrealistically perfect characters in movies and TV shows are generally portrayed to be. It's just not true to reality that asexuals aren't as diverse as people of other orientations. I imagine there are asexual normies out there who are equally as boring as sexual normies are.

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QueenoHearts AceoSpades
On 1/11/2020 at 7:09 AM, Moon Spirit ☽ said:

I've found all ace representation disappointing so far. Todd is a bum who doesn't have his life together. Maybe that's more likely to be true of someone who is asexual than the rest of society because you're often treated as an outcast and that can negatively impact a person, but there are also asexual people who have successfully transitioned into adulthood. Why have all asexual characters needed to have some obvious flaw to them? Especially with how unrealistically perfect characters in movies and TV shows are generally portrayed to be. It's just not true to reality that asexuals aren't as diverse as people of other orientations. I imagine there are asexual normies out there who are equally as boring as sexual normies are.

The show explores everyone's flaws, I really don't think Todd is the only one with other issues. Sexuality or otherwise. 

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