Professional Binge Watcher
When I tell people how much I like “Bojack Horseman,” they ask a lot of questions. “It’s so sad,” they always tell me. When discussing it with others, the most frequent comment is how the show would hardly be classed as a comedy if not for the animation and the intermingling of humans and animals as main and supporting characters.
The rawness of Bojack springs from its strains of monotony and failure. Though it is never explicitly stated, Bojack’s struggles with alcoholism and his existential grappling with meaninglessness point to his suffering from depression. I notice this because I find it all too relatable.
When I was little, my family used to joke that I was an elephant because of my memory. I would see someone wearing a shirt and cite a day years ago on which they wore the same thing. For years I’ve had better recall of the books my mother has read than she herself does. I sometimes joke that half the things I say are references to something, to some obscure line from a TV show that only I remember or to a throwback to some anecdote a friend told me weeks ago.
Part of my passion for binge-watching comes from the ability to draw connections, to notice the little moments of overlap between shows filmed years apart. I’m sure most of our generation remember the tossed-around fertility statue at the iconic party in “Mean Girls,” but I’ve seen that exact same moment appear in two television shows, at least one of which came before “Mean Girls.”
She’s beautiful—that’s undeniable. She makes me laugh. We joke maybe a little too often about having kids together, and next year we plan to adopt three fish named Chester, Alan, and Arthur after our excellently mustachioed 21st president.
Finding a BFF, as I might say if this were 2008 and I still called Taylor Swift “my favorite band,” has been one of the most grounding forces of my sophomore year. Having a person who will call you continuously when you’re falling apart, who will order Domino’s with you when you feel you can’t study anymore, who will sit talking with you in the dining hall long after it closes about everything from God to the middle names of presidents, is a beautiful thing.
On this past week’s episode of “Broad City,” Ilana Wexler, a hyperbolized version of writer Ilana Glazer, said the B-word.
Frequent pot-smoker Ilana is entirely free-spirited and deeply sexual. She’s one of the few female characters on television who successfully engages in casual sexual relationships without guilt or emotional conflict. Throughout most of the first two seasons, her partners, from long-term relationships to one-night stands, are all men. And then, in the second to last episode of season 2, Ilana engages in an intensely passionate affair with actress Alia Shawkat. Though the fling only lasts an episode, it both subverts and confirms all suspicions about the sexuality of one of the show’s main characters.
For many, Amazon’s “Transparent” is a televisual revelation of what has for so long remained hidden. I’m inclined to agree, but not for the reason most people would expect. To me, “Transparent,” beyond portraying poignant stories of LGBTQ+ identity, looks more deeply and fully into Jewish identity than almost any show I’ve seen on TV.
Jill Soloway’s story about a trans woman’s journey through changing notions of family and identity is beautifully told, if flawed in some ways. “Transparent” traces the aftereffects of a retired political science professor’s coming out, weaving in the personal and sexual struggles of her family. Telling the story of a trans woman so openly is important, but the casting of a cis man to play her is questionable at the very least. But that’s a larger issue that would take far more than a single column to address.