Column: Relating to and growing with favorite characters

Helena Edwards, Opinions Writer

It helps to connect with media when there’s characters to project your own personality on and relate to. For me, the show “Bojack Horseman” is filled with these characters. 

As some others who have done some not so wonderful things in my life, I found myself relating to the main star of the show, Bojack, at first. After contemplation, I know I relate more to Diane Nguyen’s character.  

The most obvious ways I relate to her are her career and her identity issues. She’s into journalism like I am and struggles with wondering about the validity of her work constantly. In the show she works for a popular writing center like Buzzfeed which feels stifling to her as she wants to do groundbreaking investigative pieces. 

She manages to do some work writing about war but is also struggling with the insecurity of running away from her partner, Mr. Peanutbutter. She wants a balance between her social life and her work life, something nearly everyone can relate to. 

As for her identity issues, she has problems connecting with her Vietnamese culture. After her family immigrated to the U.S., they became whitewashed and so emersed in American culture that they lost their roots. I connect to this struggle of hers as a biracial person. It’s difficult growing up with two racial identities when I am not specifically close to either and growing up in a predominantly white town that prevents me from connecting with one of my sides due to racism. 

Diane’s identity crisis leads to her running away to Vietnam to try to connect to her culture but failing when she still feels so disconnected. It is later revealed that she also ran away because she found out that Mr. Peanutbutter had cheated on her. 

The entirety of the show is a display of Bojack messing up in life after becoming famous at an early age and his celebrity status has made him so self-centered that he refuses to change, putting blame on others in his life. 

Diane’s toxic trait is also self-centeredness when it comes to her work, but many issues that she’s facing are a result of what has been done to her. She overcomes her codependency to Mr. Peanutbutter and realizes she needs to be her own person. She also eventually breaks away from journalism and finds a comfortable life in writing children’s books after battling her depression. 

Her happiness and life goals shifted from how she expected things to be in season one, but that’s also how life goes. Our goals change and the things we find happiness in follow suit. 

The ultimate relatable aspect of her character falls into a discussion she has with Bojack about whether she regrets marrying Mr. Peanutbutter. 

Diane says no. She says no because there are people in life that will make you who you are even if they’re not in your life forever. 

That’s something I took from the show after finishing it. It’s good to able to connect with characters, but it’s even better when you learn to grow with them as well. 

Helena Edwards can be reached at [email protected]