After 6 wonderful seasons, BoJack Horseman is sadly coming to an end.
Despite receiving critical and popular acclaim, Netflix decided to pull the plug on one of the best adult animated series of our generation. The show has been hailed for its discussion of tough issues, such as mental illness, sexual assault, drug addiction, privilege, and more.
But as the series draws to a close, we’re in danger of losing one of the only shows with asexual representation.
BoJack first gave us an asexual storyline in season 4 when Todd’s high school girlfriend Emily questions whether he might be ace. While Todd was initially reluctant to embrace the label, he eventually comes out to BoJack, who accepts him wholeheartedly. Throughout seasons 4 and 5, we continue to follow Todd on his journey of discovery as he eventually starts dating Yolanda, who is also asexual.
Unfortunately, Todd Chavez is one of the rare examples of asexual characters on mainstream TV. The only other example that comes to mind is Raphael Santiago from Shadowhunters (however his aromantic identity is conveniently erased).
Even worse, other television shows have outright rejected the idea of incorporating asexual characters.
In 2013 Steven Moffat, the writer for the BBC series Sherlock enraged the entire asexual community by essentially calling asexuality “boring” when fans had deigned to headcanon some of his characters as asexual. In an interview with The Guardian, Moffat stated that if a character “was asexual, there would be no tension in that, no fun in that.”
The obvious disregard that television executives show for the asexual community is best exemplified by CW’s Riverdale in which Jughead Jones, who is Aromantic-Asexual in the comics, is portrayed as heterosexual in the show with Betty as his love-interest. (As if there aren’t enough sex-obsessed teenage characters on television already.)
While the show does feature other queer characters from the comics, such as Kevin Keller and Toni Topaz (albeit to varying degrees of good representation), the decision to deliberately erase an asexual character was devastating for many in the Aro-Ace community. Imagine how iconic it would be to have a character just plainly state that they’re asexual, especially in a world that claims asexuals don’t exist or that asexual people are “broken”.
Figuring out one’s sexuality at any point in their life, whether in their teens or as an adult, is already hard enough. And a lack of representation that could potentially confirm and validate your existence and experiences only makes things worse.
But as amazing as Todd Chavez is as an asexual character, his story does not match that of every asexual individual. Like any community, the asexual community comes in a spectrum of different colors, ethnicities, orientations, and body types/abilities. Not to mention that asexuality is an umbrella that covers identities like demisexual, reciprosexual, and aceflux, while aromantic covers identities like demiromantic, recipromantic, and aroflux.
We need more asexual characters in general, which means more asexual characters of color, with disabilities, and who experience same-sex romantic attraction or none at all. Once Bojack Horseman is gone, we need more asexual representation to fill the void. Otherwise, we risk losing any sort of meaningful ace representation on TV at all.
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