Although Bojack Horseman is a series about personified animals and human beings dealing with mental health issues and at times some of these episodes start to feel very unrealistic and wacky, but it’s this very defamiliarization of the characters and events that make it easier for its viewers to grasp the sad reality of their lives. This style helps the TV show give their more serious messages without making it seem too heavy and serious in its presentation.
While watching the series for the second time, the chickens episode in season two stood out to me but I noticed this episode doesn’t get the recognition it deserves and that most of the fans and viewers of the show didn’t think this episode was that outstanding or good.
This episode is just a “silly Todd adventure” as Mr. Peanut Butter puts it, but despite the randomness and craziness of the episode, it brings up many issues such as moral values, capitalism, authority and the way we can change the world for the better.
The episode starts off with an ad about Gentle Farms, which is a chicken slaughter house run by chickens that is supposedly a better place for the “food” chickens and gets rid of any moral gray areas by providing freedom and a good life to the food chickens up to the point when they slaughter the chickens.
These food chickens are injected with hormones which dehumanizes them and makes them only meat. This part of the story brings up the general issue of eating meat and in this case cannibalism and how they justify it by separating chickens into two types and claiming that these chickens are not like other friendly chickens but they are just meat, and this claim is repeated multiple times throughout the episode. The other way they justify eating meat in a society where animals are personified is by saying the process is completely legal and FDA approved. This reflects the issues on how we as a society or more specifically common people perceive our moral gray areas, justify them through simplistic answers like accepting laws as objective justice without asking any further questions to challenge our actions through our moral compasses. This brings up the question of why we actually do this and avoid challenging our comfort zones.
Taking Action Towards Change
One of these food chickens escapes and Todd forms a connection with it and tries to save it. The rest of the episode continues with Todd getting help from his friend Diane to save this chicken. They go through a lot to save this chicken, like running from the police to take the chicken to Gentle Farms and then break into Gentle Farms to set it free.
At the end of the episode Diane reassures Todd and maybe even herself that even making a small change is good enough and it counts as a step towards a better future. But the scene after that makes us completely doubt whether the small changes matter at all.
In the end, all their efforts seem to have been for nothing as more and more chickens are being eaten and the food business keeps doing better than ever.
The only way the chicken was saved was through Bojack Horseman's connection to Drew Barrymore as she owed Bojack a favor and ended up adopting the chicken. And this proves itself to be the answer to why people would rather not take any actions or make any effort in changing the world. From previous experiences we have seen and been disappointed so often when fighting for a cause and seeing no change, and seeing right after how everything has stayed the same.
Our Last Hope
This episode has one of the most hopeless endings as it brings up the issue of how the only way change can be made is through having authority and connections. This episode is not advocating to stop making any efforts, it shows that these small efforts do make a change when they grab the attention of the people with authority and power. Perhaps this episode is somehow assigning responsibility to the people with power and connections as they are probably the ones who can actually make the changes happen.
© 2021 Saya Mohammed Amin Ali
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on May 23, 2021: