Why Do I Feel Like “Diane Nguyen” From Bojack Horseman…
Trying to put out fires while your own home is burning….
Bojack Horseman is one of the deepest and most triggering shows I’ve ever watched. This is saying something especially because it’s an animated show. But because it’s an animation and that’s what makes it easier to digest.
It’s been 5 seasons so far. For me, it’s been easy to identify little bits and pieces of myself in most of the main characters but after the last season, it kind of dawned on me that I related mostly to one character: Diane Nguyen.
If you’ve never watched Bojack Horseman on Netflix, here’s a bit of background: It’s a show about a horse who starred in a comedy show and lost his edge and is struggling to find stardom as he ages. His agent, Princess Carolyn (a cat), enlists a ghostwriter to write a book about Bojack. That writer is Diane Nguyen. In the first season, Diane has deep conversations with Bojack about his past and other things which will be put in the back.
Bojack is a mess. He drinks, does drugs, is rude, unapologetic and never takes responsibility for his own actions. But Diane still manages to write about Bojack and gets him to open about his life and share his story. At times, Diane seems to be the calming voice in Bojack’s life.
Through the 5 seasons of the show, lots of the characters go through a lot of personal development and in Season 5, I can’t help but notice how Diane goes through the most.
Diane has been through a lot. In Season 5, she’s basically jobless, doing gigs here and there to try to make a living and she just had a major breakdown in which she finalizes her divorce.
A pivotal moment is when she decides to go to Vietnam to try to find her “ancestral” roots and find meaning. That doesn’t go over so well but she definitely finds a bit of meaning.
So why do I feel like I relate to Diane? Diane is someone who tries to be the voice of reason in a lot of situations and tries to help out whenever she can. In one episode, she journeys with a character, Sebastian St. Claire, to try to help in a war torn region. She realizes she’s in over her head and comes back home.
Throughout the seasons, her relationship with Bojack Horseman continues to evolve and go through ups and downs. Over and over, Bojack makes bad decisions but Diane is always there to help or support, like the true friend she is.
In Season 5, Diane goes through her own shit and it seems there’s no one she can talk to. But she goes through the pain and eventually self heals. Something I can relate to, going to pain on your own.
I’m the voice of reason in most cases. I don’t try to sugarcoat stuff when it comes to giving advice and telling people the truth. But the problem is I have my own problems. I don’t have a failed marriage but I am still broken from past events and I’m trying to find myself. (Maybe one day in Japan, fingers crossed)
I don’t have a lot of Bojacks in my life but I do have friends who I have deep conversations. Sometimes they do dumb shit and I talk to them about it. The answers they’re looking for is obvious but coming from my mouth, it seems to make a lot more sense to them. But they keep doing the same thing over and over again. It’s frustrating and I keep asking myself why I even bother to be available to help. But that’s when I realize I have more in common in Diane than I thought.
In the final scene of Season 5, Diane talks Bojack into going to rehab. He asks her why she keeps helping him even though he’s been a shitty friend. She tells a story about how her best friend in high school ditched her for the cool kids but when her mother got ill, Diane went back and supported her. She says that’s why she’s helping Bojack. She says she hates him, but she loves me. A feeling I keep having over and over with people in my life: Hating them when they do dumb shit but being there in their time of need and loving them regardless.
People have left me out in the cold and never bother to reach out unless they’re feeling bad. I start feeling like a therapist instead of a friend to talk to. It makes me feel “resentful” and “used” even though that’s not really the case.
In the end of the last episode of Season 5, Diane gets into her car after dropping Bojack at rehab, gives a deep sigh and drives off.
It’s a sigh I recognize. A feeling of exasperation. A feeling that you will have to keep helping your friends even when they fuck up. A feeling of wanting to stop but you can’t because you love the people you have in your life.
But it’s also the feeling of “for fuck’s sake” because you’re tired.
Diane has matured throughout the years. She’s more outspoken than she used to be and starts to tell things like they are. I admire that. It’s something I also do more often.