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BoJack Horseman is TV’s Greatest Anti-Hero

Anti-heroes have always been the heart of any great story. Whether it be in literature, film, or television, audiences love a character with substance that they can relate to and root for, even though they know they shouldn’t be. Anti-heroes make it known that nobody is perfect, and there are always multiple perspectives to any story.

The newest, and highly acclaimed, anti-hero is none other than BoJack Horseman, the animated horse voiced by Will Arnett on Netflix’s original series BoJack Horseman. I fell in love with this show’s uniqueness, storytelling ability, and character development this past summer, and recently binged watch the newest season in two days. After this most recent season (which was amazing!!!), I’ve realized that this animated horse might just be television’s greatest anti-hero.

photo credit: imbd.com

BoJack Horseman is a middle-aged, substance addicted human-like horse who made his claim to fame through a popular, but fictional, nineties sitcom, Horsin’ Around. The show follows BoJack as he struggles to come to grip with his fleeting fame, his horrible upbringing, drug and alcohol addiction, and friendships gone terribly wrong. Basically, we see BoJack, who is very lovable and personable, battle with himself as he tries to remain a “good guy” while his terrible tendencies cause him to do unfavorable things to prove this untrue. Yet, the show also makes you feel a sense empathy for an animated horse, and that in itself is truly groundbreaking and makes BoJack unlike any other anti-hero on television.

For BoJack, the transition from being a enormously loved TV dad to a nearly unknown Hollywood face is a big time struggle for a horse whose ego possesses the fragility of glass, which is shattered so easily spiraling him into his next 48 hour bender. Comically, he is always seen rewatching box sets of his own shown. Though he seems to love his show, he often feels he is not capable of any kind of acting that isn’t his signature Danny Tanner-like role. Hence, his repetitive, depressive mantra “This is all I am and all I’ll ever be”.

photo credit: imdb.com

As the story progresses, BoJack does end up in some gritty roles proving his prowess as an actually talented actor who can do more than deliver catch phrases. Yet, he still feels this sense of insecurity with his abilities, which is something I personally resonate with as a writer on a daily basis.

This insecurities stem from BoJack’s yearning to make his mother, who never once voiced her appreciation or love for her only son, proud. Born out of wedlock, BoJack was often pegged as the reason for his parents fighting. His father was a failed novelist, and his mother was an heiress who was dissatisfied with the way her life turned out. Growing up in that environment shapes the way he sees himself now, which in return results in his insecurity-driven antics.

photo credit: imdb.com

The main reoccurring issue with BoJack is his substance abuse problems. The show introduces us to middle-aged BoJack as he makes a smoothie filled with pills, absinthe, and a little fruit for breakfast. In the beginning, it seems as if he just thinks he’s a crazy partier, but soon his actions take serious repercussions. He often blacks out and misses call times and other career obligations, or makes a large life changing mistake. When these things happen, he gets upset, then finds comfort in vodka, beer, pills, and boxes on boxes of pizza.

Like all substance abusers, his addiction and tendencies make life harder for the people around him. For example, when he first met his autobiography ghostwriter, Diane Nguyen (Alison Brie), he would constantly make her life harder by not complying with their set schedule because he would be too messed up. Similarly, his long-time girlfriend Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) leaves him within the first few episodes because she couldn’t keep up anymore.

photo credit: imdb.com

BoJack also inevitably becomes a bad influence on anyone he meets and entices to party to with. Especially with his ex-sitcom co-star, Sarah Lynn (Kristen Schaal), who has grown up and also became addicted to drugs. However, it’s BoJack, the adult she’s looked up to her whole life, who coaxes her to break her sobriety anytime she tries to be clean.

The show’s ability to create such an intricate, deep, perplexing character out of a man-horse, while also keeping up with the high standards of comedic television, is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Even if BoJack was a normal, live action character on HBO, his inner workings and character development are so moving he transcends his anti-hero predecessors.

photo credit: livestly.com
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Allow Diggy Simmons To Re-Introduce Himself

Words: J’Na Jefferson

Photography: Andre Perry

Stylist: Raven Roberts

Grooming: Chris Tabassi

Barber: Paris Lebron

Diggy Simmons ain’t new to this shit. Although he’s just 23 years old, the EMPIRE signee has been casually killing the game for nearly ten years. When he was just 14, the son of Run-D.M.C.’s Rev Run and the nephew of music mogul Russell Simmons released his first mixtape, The First Flight, which was followed up by two more mixtapes and his debut, Unexpected Arrival, in 2012.

Sandwiched between the projects were the accolades. Simmons, whose government name is Daniel Dwayne Simmons III, received cosigns from industry bigwigs like Kanye West and fellow East Coaster Nas, who praised him after he murdered a freestyle over his “Made You Look” beat in 2010. Even better? The then 15-year-old secured a slot on the 2011 XXL Freshman list alongside future rap superstars Big K.R.I.T, Meek Mill, and Kendrick Lamar; to this day, he is the youngest person ever included in the magazine’s Freshman class.

 

Outfit: COACH

 

After a brief hiatus and a few impromptu freestyle releases over the years, Simmons is prepping his sophomore studio album, slated to drop this fall. On Twitter in early-August before the video for his first single “It Is What It Is” was released, he revealed that negative notions and overthinking his music prohibited him from releasing new material for a few years. However, he’s no longer sweating the small stuff and taking everything the universe throws at him in stride.

“You just have to draw back to that feeling where you think, ‘this is special to me, this presents who I am,’” Simmons tells BLEU about disposing of his pessimism so that his vision can thrive. “You may get anxiety about ‘what if?’ It’s not reality, it’s just all in your head. It feels really good to be able to get out my ideas and to say the different things that I wanna say. Then, to see how people relate to it… them telling me their experiences, it kind of matches the theme.” Per the artist, the untitled project will explore both the gamut of human emotions and his maturation as both a performer and a person.

Outfit: COACH

 

“It definitely has many different layers,” Simmons says of the forthcoming album. “There are vibes like [“It Is What It Is”], but there are several different layers. From the beats being different to the concepts, it’s well-rounded because that’s what life is. We have those moments where we feel like we’re overcoming, where we feel high or cocky, where we feel lower and we don’t feel so good about ourselves, and everything in between. I gave all of those emotions a chance to see this album.”

“It Is What It Is” doesn’t involve fancy beat drops that’ll make the club go apeshit; instead, the scaled back, choir-accompanied violins give way to the song’s introspective lyrics.

“Once I rapped over [the “IIWII” beat], time in the album just went by,” he explains of the minimalism heard in the LP’s lead single. “By the end of the process, we were like ‘do we wanna put drums on this? This is hard!’ So, we didn’t, and it really does come with a message… It makes people focus on the lyrics, and it challenges the ear.”

After some time away from the scene, one may ask the music vet “why now?” to release new tracks. According to Diggy, he was itching to release his music sooner, however, he had to make sure he was ready on all fronts.

“This is just the time where I’ve finally been able to gather that strength, gather that confidence to just do it again,” he reveals. “This is just a time when I could do it. I’m happy. It feels just right, I’m excited.”

 

While he was away from the music scene, Simmons ensured that he was keeping busy in other realms. Other than being a musician, you may have seen Simmons modeling for Dolce & Gabbana in campaigns and on the Freeform show Grown-ish, where he played the romantic interest of Jaz, portrayed by singer and actress Chloe Bailey. He explains that he’s “blessed” for his career to have blossomed in several ways, and he’s thrilled to be exploring all avenues of his interests.

“Of course, I wanted to make music, I wanted to do things in fashion,” he says. “I wanna do more collaborative things with different people, doing my own projects one day. The same thing with acting, it’s something I really love and have a real passion for, and it’s something I enjoy getting better at. I’d always hoped to do different things.”

Suit: Topman | Shirt: Selected Homme | Shoes: Florsheim

Naturally, growing up as a Simmons taught Diggy how to develop and build a brand from a young age. However, he states that he usually moves in a creative way rather than with a business mindset like other members of his family.

“I’ve definitely been able to just watch them build brands of their own,” he says of his family. “Whether it’s the fact that my dad was a rapper and he’s also a family man, and we ended up having the reality show that was really about family…Same with my uncle and him being a part of projects that have to do with him being a vegan or being a yogi, I’ve really been able to see how they work.”

Shirt: Mr. Turk | Pants: Dickies | Shoes: Adidas

Of course, he shouts out his famous father for always leading him on the straight and narrow, especially when it comes to surviving and thriving in the game.

“From my own perspective, getting advice from my dad, or even an opinion from someone who has done it and seen it, I’m really thankful for him,” he notes.

Despite being in the game for longer than many of his rap contemporaries, Diggy Simmons is continuing his journey of emotional growth and maturity whilst spreading his wings creatively. Especially now that he’s readying his second album and is no longer a teen in the game, he’s done a lot of expanding up until this point. Among the biggest lesson he’s learned in his 20s thus far? Taking responsibility for himself and his choices.

“[There are] no longer any fingers that you could point, nobody you could blame, there’s nothing to really fall back on,” he explains of the most important morsel of knowledge he’s picked up as a 20-something. “If you make a decision, or if you do something that doesn’t have to do with whatever your goal is, or how you wanna go about something…that sticks with you. You have to deal with whatever consequences come with your actions.” All in all, Diggy is loving the maturation process, and is growing more and more in love with his beautiful journey as an artist and person each day.

Suit: Perry Ellis | Shoes: Adidas

“Everything I’ve been through, the process in between me being able to come back and the good things that I’ve seen, it’s a whole process,” he says after some brief reflection on his part. “Really, when anyone goes through a transitional period in their life, they’re trying to figure out if it’s beautiful, because they end up learning [at] the end of it. You learn how to not do things, and it’s a whole process. You have to be able to say ‘even if I did mess up here, even if I did make a mistake, it’s okay,’ I think that’s beautiful.”

We guess you can say, it is what it is.

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