Hooray! It’s Todd: How Todd remains content
Todd Chavez finds true happiness in his life by living outside of – what I call – cultural simulation. We see this in how Todd comes out as asexual, his relationship with Bojack and his own self-awareness.
The creators paint Todd throughout the show as an outlier, he interacts with the world with an optimistic attitude. He’s not on a quest for happiness like Diane or Bojack. He muddles through life, willing to experience all different colours of emotion.
Todd and Bojack
In the latest season, we finally witness Todd coming into his true character, where he realises and proclaims his asexuality. He also learns and develops in his relationship with Bo Jack, whereas Bo Jack’s relationship with every other character remains typical. In season 4, this is a triumph for Todd’s character.
Todd’s character also achieves a level of self-awareness that sets him apart from Bo Jack, Diane, Mr Petterbutter and Princess Carolyn; the other characters searching for idyllic happiness. Todd never fits into the world around him, he stands out as a challenging presence in the face of the cultural simulation that eclipses Hollywoo.
Todd experiences moments of joy and sadness in the show. By excluding himself from cultural simulation, Todd applies the ideals of Stotic philosophy to his life. Something the show continually discusses in each of the characters. To delve into this idea more, watch Will Schoder video on subvert narrative in Bojack Horeseman.
Schoder discusses the foundation of the Bojack Horseman narrative and how it’s grounded in Stotic philosophy.
“The idea that life doesn’t have happy endings, but goes through positive and negative moments in time is the foundation for the entire show.” – Will Schoder
A major development in his character is attempting to explore his own sexuality, and discovering he has none. We, as the audience, can see the writers pointing to Todd’s asexuality in his relationship with his childhood girlfriend Emily.
He never sleeps with Emily, despite his obvious emotional attraction to her. After Bo Jack returns home after his typically “Bojack” escape from society, Todd is finally able to admit he believes he is asexual.
The writers portray Todd’s vulnerable character, without allowing his character to lose his power. By this, I’m referring to the scene when Bojack jokes about Todd’s asexuality and Todd strongly replies,
“I’m not really at a place where I can joke about it, but it feels good to talk about it.”
Todd knows how he wants other people to treat him. He doesn’t allow Bojack to disrespect his identity and how he’s found it. He rises above social norms to create a dynamic conversation centred around self-dignity and respect.
Todd also has the capability to rationally question himself and ask others for advice. Something the other characters struggle with.
Princess Carolyn isn’t able to ask for help when she’s trying for a baby and Bojack never seeks out guidance concerning his depression or addiction. When Todd faces the dilemma of whether to enter into a Hollywoo sham marriage with Courtney Portnoy, he questions it because he is asexual.
He seeks advice from Diane, evaluates it and applies it to his situation. Pointing to the willingness to be vulnerable. And his desire to evaluate what he believes will make him happy.
Todd’s relatable humour is something that contributes to his endearing character, yet also demonstrates his own awareness. He speaks to the simplest nature of our world and why we enjoy socialising. In lines from the season four like:
“I like getting my picture taken, it’s proof I exist.”
“It’s always nice to be included in a sentence someone says.”
He is able to delve into the inner workings of social construct and sort through social pretences to unravel why we do what we do. Revelations that might seem pathetic in one’s own mind, sounds profound and soothing in Todd’s delivery and how he is unfazed by his own feelings.
Again, Todd goes through life outside of cultural simulation, however, he isn’t removed from society. He isn’t punk or alternative, hipster or goth.
He exists as his own identity.
He truly comes into this identity in the fourth season, as he moves past his experience in the improv comedy cult and his dependence on Bojack and their relationship.
As you can tell from this piece, Todd is certainly my favourite character. I look to him for life council. To me he seems perfectly content and has acquired that secret elixir for happiness.
All the content of Bojack Horseman belongs to Netflix.
Get to know the editor
Sean Bradley is editor behind the scenes at Fatally Narrow. He a true literature and feminists comrade, who never fails to pick on my misplaced commas.