shaped by what they see in television and film, it can result in a
misinformed viewer base when so many portrayals of mental
illness are riddled with problematic. Instead of falling into
oversimplified, pervasive tropes so common in other media forms,
BoJack Horseman illustrates how those stereotypes are misinformed
and flips them and, in the process, not only presents a more
authentic examination of depression but one that is also corrective
of problematic portrayals. BoJack Horseman turns two specific
depictions on their heads: The Romantic Fix-All and The Tortured
Genius.
Many modern portrayals of depression present the disease
as easily solvable by romance. Be it due to the end of a romantic
relationship or the loss of someone close or any number of
reasons, the protagonist spends a period of time feeling
“depressed.” After moping for a while, a new love interest enters
his or her life and suddenly all traces of depression vanish. The
new boyfriend or girlfriend is a magic elixir, eradicating any grasp
depression has held in any area of its victim’s life, romantic or
otherwise. Some perpetrators of these types of depictions include
Silver Linings Playbook (2012), which promotes the patronizing
narrative that professional treatment is nothing compared to the
curative powers of a boyfriend or girlfriend, 500 Days of Summer
(2009), in which the protagonist’s depressiveness hinges solely on
the status of his relationship, and A Single Man (2009), which sees
its central character overcome eight months of depression and
suicidal fixations within a single day by meeting a new love interest.
These types of depictions are guilty of not only presenting a
relationship status as the sole determinant of depression but also
equating depression to little more than loneliness. In reality, many
factors play into the complex mental illness. These factors are
pushed to the side or ignored entirely, however, in favor of a more
simplistic representation. Moreover, the Romantic Fix-All
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