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What BoJack Horseman got right (and wrong) about asexuality in season five

Written by gaytourism

Season five of the Netflix series Bojack Horseman premiered on Friday, 14 September. Last season, we discover that Todd is asexual. This representation meant a lot to the asexual community.

‘There is just so much nuanced and complex self-actualization going on with this character that hits the nail on the head on what my experience has been like,’ a poster on the Asexual Visibility and Education Network forum said.

Ace representation in season five

At the end of season four, Todd began dating an asexual woman named Yolanda. Upon the premiere of season five, many were excited to see where Todd’s asexual plot line will go.

‘In this season, Todd is dating an asexual woman, Yolanda, whose entire family is involved in selling sex, in one way or another, whether it be via writing erotica for a living or being a sex worker in the pornography industry,’ Nicholas, a 26-year-old asexual and agender person from Ohio, explains.

‘It is used as explanation for why Yolanda is so hesitant to come out to her family. Of course, Yolanda’s family is not a typical allosexual family, but it’s a great metaphor for amatonormativity.’

‘Being an ace/aro person in a world that says one true love is a necessity for personal happiness, that the natural conclusion to solidifying said romantic relationship is sex, and that a long-term sexual relationship sans romance is inherently meaningless is incredibly isolating and alienating,’ they continue.

‘It gives us and allosexual folks the impression we’re broken when we’re just wired differently.’

Thomas, a 24-year-old gay demisexual man in New York, concurs.

‘The default for allosexual people to perceive asexuality is in relation to hypersexuality,’ he says. ‘In the same way that homosexual relationships are usually juxtaposed against heteronormativity, which just causes alienation.’

Ace relationships

Nicholas particularly enjoyed the scene where Todd is talking to his allosexual ex-girlfriend Emily. He asks her to imagine what dating him would be like.

‘I guess we’d hang out together like we already do,’ Todd ponders. ‘And you’d be my favorite person like you already are. And when something good happened to me, like, if I got a promotion at work, you’d be the first person I’d tell.’

‘It’s the closest I’ve ever heard on television to someone describing the idea of a relationship I would want,’ Nicholas says. ‘Not hearts and flowers, not physical gratification, just emotional intimacy with your favorite person, and that’s fulfilling, and it’s more than enough.’

Could it have done more?

Thomas, however, felt like this season was a missed opportunity to actually portray dating while asexual. At one point, Emily creates an asexual dating app for Todd. Yet, instead of showing Todd meeting various ace people, that plot point fades.

‘They could have had a B-plot one episode be Todd going on crazy asexual dates,’ Thomas says.

‘The real problem with BoJack’s representation of asexuality is how they frame it.’

Social media reactions

Many on social media also had mixed feelings about the asexual plot line this season. One particular complaint was that Yolanda having to ‘come out’ as asexual to her family minimized the legitimate fears gay and trans people have about coming out.


Though the ace representation in BoJack is far from ideal, it’s still a start. BoJack Horseman is one of the few mainstream television shows to portray asexuality at all, which means a lot for ace representation.

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