Asexual characters are unfortunately rarely depicted in TV shows. It is imperative that this changes, as it is vital that individuals of all gender and sexual identities see characters who they can relate to in the media.
Media often serve as an educational tool when it comes to accepting different types of people, making such representation all the more important.
Hysteria over “BoJack Horseman’s” newest season has finally quieted down, allowing the breathing room needed to examine one of the show’s most unexpectedly prominent LGBTQ+ characters, Todd Chavez. Although his character is by no means a perfect representation of LGBTQ+ issues, “BoJack Horseman” is carrying a torch for a new wave of gender and sexual identities, whose presence is necessary in TV shows.
At the end of season three in “BoJack Horseman,” it was revealed that Todd had the feeling he was asexual, or “ace,” meaning that he lacks the desire for sexual activity. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all asexual people don’t desire romantic relationships or will abstain from sex. The term is flexible and varies from person to person.
Todd’s struggle is expanded on in the fourth season as he comes to terms with his new sexual identity. Like many people in the LGBTQ+ community, Todd realizes that a new sexual identity can be daunting, especially when trying to “come out” to the people to whom he is closest. Many LGBTQ+ individuals are likely to face discrimination, lack of support and be misunderstood when coming out, according to Stop Homophobia, an LGBTQ+ advocate group.
Todd is able to overcome this by joining an ACE support group, and as a result learns more about his identity. This aspect of the show is crucial—the fact that Todd makes the effort to become more informed and tries to meet people with similar experiences illustrates an LGBTQ+ character dealing with his issues in a healthy way. Such action sets a positive example for LGBTQ+ viewers on how to manage the stresses that may come.
“BoJack Horseman” is usually known for its flawed characters and this is what makes Todd’s situation so relatable; people struggle and learn to find themselves through hardship, something to which we can all relate.
It is refreshing to see a healthy turnaround for an asexual character in the media, especially for one so likeable and funny. Awareness regarding asexual representation in the media has grown over the last few years, and with the push for LGBTQ+ rights becoming prominent every day, it’s more important than ever to give voice to underrepresented communities.
LGBTQ+ television is still dominated by gay and lesbian men and women, according to The Guardian, but lacks representations of the BTQ+ identities, including asexuality, queer-identifying, nonbinary, two-spirit and intersex individuals.
“BoJack Horseman” not only recognizes and validates Todd’s asexuality, but the show also deals with issues surrounding the confusion over labels and umbrella terms. It notes that sexuality is a spectrum and that not everyone fits into a perfect mold. While Todd’s character is by no means the perfect poster-child for all persons identifying as asexual, his realization and progress helps open the door for other media to follow the show’s example.