I want to love like Todd
Updated: Oct 26, 2022
I’m not the biggest fan of change. And I’m currently moving to my first studio, which is obviously a massive change. So like a lot of people who have an everlasting to do list - I am in the process of procrastinating whilst indulging in comfort watches on Netflix. Morbidly, this week I have binged all 6 seasons of Bojack Horseman.
Now, if you haven’t watched any seasons of Bojack or have luckily avoided the discourse on social media about the show…well done.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of my favourite shows to ever premiere on Netflix in the 2010s but it can get a little heavy handed. Without spoilers, Bojack Horseman follows a couple of characters in HollyWoo (not a spelling mistake) and delves into their personal traumas (alcoholism, addiction, depression etc.). The character I want to highlight from the show is Todd Chavez. Todd is the comic relief (played by the ever so talented Aaron Paul). And his character plays into the comic relief stereotype exceedingly well. However, don’t think that Todd is one dimensional. He is also kind-hearted, probably the most moral and self aware character comapred to his equally fucked up counterparts. It’s quite easy to focus on the other characters in the show and not pay attention to him when watching because Todd always finds the silver lining in sad situations. He doesn’t have huge monologues like Diane or he doesn’t find himself wallowing in self-pity. It’s easy to dismiss him altogether.
But on my second (or maybe third) rewatch of the show, I made an avid attempt to actually look at Todd and his character growth throughout all six seasons.
Todd is a lover. He loves his friends, he loves life and he loves finding wacky business ventures (which ultimately fail but also, he’s white so that doesn't really deter him at all).
Todd is discovers in the later seasons that he’s asexual. But what I adore about Bojack is that the show doesn’t make him think incapable of love. Initially he feels like “nothing” but he later realised he expresses love in a different format. I think this is one of the few asexual characters on a TV show where I didn’t recoil into my skin thinking about them - which is a start!
When I was watching this show for the first time, I also was coming to terms with my own asexuality (aromanticism to be specific). I didn’t necessarily feel seen watching Todd in Bojack Horseman but I felt like the show gave me a jumping off point to begin a dialogue internally.
A lot of the time, when you don’t prioritise romance in your life, society covertly punishes you. It’s subtle but when you are on the Aspec, it can encompass your whole life. Whether it’s losing out on friendships because they’ve found a partner and have decided that your friendship is not worth the effort anymore. It's unintentionally calling you weird or joking about your lack of interest in romance. They may feel like just poking fun, but those comments can really cause a spiral of depression.
This past weekend, I’ve been despondent because I realised that I actually want a love life like Todd. I’ve been called many names in my life (pedantic, moody, bitter etc.) but I too, similar to Todd - like to have fun with my friends, find wacky situations to be in and I treasure being non-sexually intimate with the people that I love.
But there’s no guidance of how to muddle through a society that only prioritises an “acceptable” type of love. There are days where I muddle through life and feel like “nothing”. My outlet is writing snippy songs about all the times I have had to deal with people disrespecting my sexuality.
Loser is specifically about that. A guy who I was involved with, got a girlfriend and ultimately decided that I wasn’t worth talking to anymore. This was during my final year at university and the last conversation I had with him was pleading with him to be my friend. I needed someone to talk to at the time. His rejection broke me - for months. Loser is me laughing about it years later but at the time, I thought I was a bit too broken for anyone to care about me because of my asexuality.
Todd has a similar interaction with Bojack in the early seasons of the show. Bojack seems to only care about vulnerable women who can make him feel good about himself but the other people, like Todd, who go above and beyond for him - he doesn’t give a shit about them. One day, Todd puts his foot down and decides he needs space from Bojack. He’s not ready to devote himself to someone who doesn’t cherish his friendship.
Initially when I first watched the show, I recognised Todd’s actions as brave but I didn’t make a connection to my own life.
But on my rewatch, I realised that I had to learn the same lesson for myself. I had to put myself first and also put my foot down. Not in a dictator-like manner. But I need to nurture myself. So when people like [redacted] try to gaslight you and only approach you when their romantic relationships have broken down - you can put yourself first and say “no”. I still have a lot of anxiety around honouring my feelings and not gaslighting myself into believing that nobody cares. I’m still trying to navigate it, truth be told.
Todd Chavez is brave. To recognise what you like and what you don’t like is hard to do. To practice that in your everyday life, is very commendable.
He eventually brings Bojack back into his life and is kind to everyone that approaches him. Todd is a great example of how to move in the world as someone who is welcomed into the world as asexual.
Now I’m not in HollyWoo and I am not a white man. So unfortunately things are a bit more bleak for me. But it doesn’t have to be.
I’m recognising that I want to love a bit too much like Todd. And dedicate the rest of my life to getting myself into weird and wonderful situations (which happens way more times than I would like to admit on a public forum). I am a lover like Todd. And I am looking to pursue it moving forward. Just not romantically.